Jan 312014
 

Narsissist Palette16

I’m posting this just to let you know that the Nars Narsissist Palette is up for sale on Nordstrom.com (reviewed here). Given that this sold out quickly on the Nars website, please do not wait to order this may sell out  fast elsewhere.

Narsissist Palette01

Also, on a personal note, I’m undertaking some important personal projects at the moment. Cafe Makeup should be ready to post more frequently after February 10, 2014.  Thank you so much for your understanding.

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Jan 252014
 

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation1

Guerlain has repackaged and reformulated its iconic permanent line of Meteorites. I tried the new Guerlain Meteorites in Clair #2 ($60) (available here from Nordstrom, here from Sephora).  If you are new to the product, Guerlain Meteorties are a vanity-display-worthy container of color correcting finishing powders. Guerlain explains this concept in a more elevated tone:

A subtle blend of matte, rosy and radiant blue-toned white pearls, combined with corrective coloured pearls – yellow to counter redness, pink for freshness and mauve to catch the light – they light up the face in an illuminating and corrective halo to give endless radiance.

I have loved all of the previous powders beyond reason. I have long thought that there are not true “dupes” of the colors. I actually liked the subtle violet scent (which this updated version retains). Perhaps some of their more beautiful meteorites are in their limited edition range, and so it was with some trepidation that I approached this new reformulation.

Guerlain Meteroites new formulationa1

The new packaging is beautiful, the design is updated, delicate and simplified. This lightweight metal product is pretty, although still not extending into the “travel friendly” category (Guerlain makes meteorites compacts for those purposes).

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation4

The container comes with a soft flocked padded sponge, which keeps the little meteorites in their place. The color-correcting, illuminating powders are inside:

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation5

The new reformulation is said to be “softer” in texture, meaning that it is easier to pick up on a brush. I found that these new reformulations are in fact much softer. Indeed, I found that a few meteorites had slight breakage, and there was a pool of loose powder on the bottom of the container that had collected (perhaps during the shipment process). Some of the perles had chipped at bit. The entire contents:

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation6

You can see some of the powder in the open jar as it sits on its side:

Guerlain Meteroites new1 copy2

Certainly this loose residue is still usable as a powder, although it seems to defeat the purpose of the meteorites concept.  I found that I could not use the same powder brush as I have with the prior version on the unbroken perles.  The application was too “white” and heavy. I’ve had to switch to a duo-fibre brush (Chanel’s version of the MAC 187).

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation7

I am thinking of trying the bronzier-toned Guerlain Meteorites in Dore, as a soft bronzer along the lines of the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow #30 powders. Then again, the Chanel Les Beiges is working out so beautifully, comes in a travel-friendly compact, and gives me a beautiful finish. So I’m reluctant to mess with success. After I swept the little meteorites back into their container, the below image shows the residue that was left. Some powder was knocked off during shipment and came from the container during the spill, and some from handling during the spilling and sweeping.  Although I tried to handle these gently, this should indicate my experience with how soft these new meteorites are.

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation8

I trust Guerlian’s powder products so much–they truly understand the concept of finely milled on an entirely different level. These are beautifully formulated, but it will take me some adjustment to learn how to apply this new reformulation properly so that it compliments my skin. I’ve heard different criticisms of the prior version, such as that the effect was too subtle, or that the price point was too high to be justified by the effect. But I had not heard that the prior version wasn’t soft enough. Guerlain thought differently, and they are certainly in a better position than I am to understand and respond to customer feedback.

By reader request, here is an image of the ingredient list. I’ve amped up the contrast because the original box has subtle printing which is hard for me to read/photograph for a blog.  Click to enlarge:

guerlain ingredient list meteorites1

My sense is that, if were not a beauty blogger trying to understand the newest and latest, I would have continued using my existing Meteorites. In the meantime, I am wondering whether the new version of the Guerlain limited edition lines will use this new format as well. If you’ve heard anything, please feel free to share in the comments.

Available here from Nordstromhere from Sephora.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Jan 212014
 

Nars Adelaide04

NARS Final Cut collection includes a new shimmering, sparkling illuminator called NARS Adelaide Illuminator ($3o), a cool lavendar pink with a transparent glitter. Unless you use the very tiniest bit on the upper cheekbone, NARS Adelaide is a color for the confident wearer. Be ready to be noticed–this is a stunning, glamorous shade.

Nars Adelaide02 copy

Like the other NARS Illuminators, Adelaide has an easily blended texture applies with a weightless feel. No tackiness, no oiliness, no messing around. Like a good luxury product, this is done right. Unlike the other shades in the line, NARS Adelaide is more opaque in its color. Although it can be sheered down and mixed with other textures, the decidedly cool cast and stronger color of this shade sets it apart. This means that it mixes well with foundations, but it will darken and add a strong candy pink cast to the foundation. In addition, Adelaide will  suffuse it with both glow and rich micro-sparkle. For that reason, I suspect that most will use this as a stunning upper cheek highlighter for evening, or even for beachy days. It’s a fresh color shade, but not for the wallflower. Someone who loves Adelaide does not mind a bit of attention.

NARS Adelaide highlighter

Here’s an arm swatch of Nars Adelaide alone, below. This is going to look fabulous on tanned skin.

Nars Adelaide06

NARS Adelaide fits in well with the rest of the Nars Final Cut collection. Here, you can see a little different angle of Nars Adelaide next to swatches of NARS Villa Lante and Nars Stourhead Lip Pencils:

Nars Adelaide11

Here, Liz applied Nars Adelaide over Nars Final Cut blush to add a little glow:

NARS Final cut Blush1a with Adelaide Illuminator

Here is Nars Adelaide on the upper cheek over Nars Sex Fantasy blush (applied heavily):

NARS S Fantasty Blush2 with Adelaide Illuminator

Overall, Nars Adelaide is a standout shade for those who love to stand out. It fits well within the cool lavender trend that we’re seeing from other lines, perhaps a more sophisticated version of Benefit’s Lollitint. Nars Adelaide also fits well within the entire Nars Final Cut series of fresher, more modern colors for Spring 2014. NARS Adelaide’s texture is beautiful, sparkling and very rich in tone.

Nars sent Adelaide to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Jan 202014
 

NARS Final Cut Blush08aThe release of a new NARS blush is always cause for celebration, especially when it is wearable and beautiful. NARS Final Cut collection includes four new blushes–in Final Cut, New Attitude, Love and Sex Fantasy ($29 each). I’m overwhelmed, delighted, and happy to share our thoughts about them.

NARS Final Cut Blush10a

This lovely set of highly wearable shades mirrors the Nars Final Cut Satin Lip Pencils (reviewed here), and of course they look lovely when coordinated together. Yet these blushes are universal in their appeal, and should coordinate nicely with numerous types of makeup combinations. These brightening, fresh shades are a beautiful addition to our Spring calendar, but honestly they are so universal and gorgeous they should work year round.

NARS Final Cut Blush03

Nars Love blush ($29) is called “tea rose.” In my mind, it’s a soft misty rose, with a touch of gray and mauve. It’s one of those universal shades that looks amazing applied softly with a strong lip, or built up for a slightly bolder cheek.  Here is Nars Love on Liz (over foundation and Tom Ford Gold Dust Bronzer, with Nars Stourhead on her lips):

NARS Love Blush1

NARS New Attitude ($29) is a “cherry blossom pink.” It is a lovely, build able color that amps up nicely for a clear, beautiful pink with a hint of red. This looks a bit cool, but this is far softer and more neutral than some cooler NARS blushes (such as Angelica).

Nars New Attitude1

Here is New Attitude on Liz (she’s wearing the Guerlain Les Tendres eyeshadow quad on her lid):

NARS New Attitude Blush3a

NARS Final Cut blush is peach coral. This is a color that looks lovely with warm tones, including mixing well with bronzers. Surprisingly, these shades can play well with some reds.

NARS Final Cut Blush07

Here is Nars Final Cut on Liz:

nars blush swatches second try2

Like the NARS Stourhead lip pencil, NARS Sex Fantasy is a cool light pink. Although this shade kicked up some dust when we dipped our Hakuhodo brush into it, we found that the application was smooth and beautiful.  NARS Sex Fantasy is the most lightly pigmented on the Final Cut group, but the color is quite build able for a stronger, cool uber-light pink.

NARS Final Cut Blush01a

NARS Sex Fantasy is the type of color that you are quite sure exists somewhere, but then when you go to find it there doesn’t seem to be anything around. Thankfully, NARS keeps these edgy, rule-breaking colors available. NARS Sex Fantasy reminds me of a pink version of light peachy NARS Sex Appeal. On some, this will be quite subtle.  Here it is on Liz applied very heavily so that we could get some of the cool pink color. She really worked in quite a bit of product here, much much more than would be typical. Despite our heavy application, and the powder dust that our brush kicked up, the application looks quite nice and smooth.

nars blush swatches second try1b

Like a dozen roses, NARS Final Cut has brought out some beautiful, brightening shades. This gorgeous collection is currently available on Nordstom.com, and will be available on Nars online site and Nars boutiques beginning March 1, 2014.

NARS Cosmetics provided Sex Fantasy, Love, and New Attitude to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post includes affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Jan 202014
 

Nars Final Cut pencils overview1

NARS has introduced an extensive collection for Spring 2014. Part of this is the Final Cut collection, which includes four satin lip pencils–Stourhead, Villa Lante, Descanso, and Torres del Paine ($25 each). The satin formula leaves a glowy finish, with more shine than a matte but not as much as a gloss. These are all nicely pigmented, and applied evenly and smoothy. These are available February 1, 2014 at Nordstrom and beginning March 1, 2014 at NARS boutiques, and on narscosmetics.com.

Nars Final Cut pencils overview2

As with all NARS satin pencils, these are encased in black wood and come with tenacious little black caps.

Stourhead is a light cool pink, called a “pale lavender pink”

Villa Lante is a medium bright fresh pink, called a “cherry blossom pink”

Torres des Plaine is a bright peach coral

Descanso is “tea rose,” in my view a grayed-down soft peachy terracotta

Swatches:

NARS Final Cut Pencils swatches more1

Another set:

NARS Final Cut Pencils swatches1

Although some of these seemed right for Spring and Summer, we found some were lovely for year-round wear.

Nars Final Cut pencils1

Surprisingly, Descanto was a favorite for Liz and I. We loved its sophisticated tone that made it appropriate for our coloring for almost every occasion.

NARS Final Cut Pencils2

Descanso on Liz:

Nars Descanso1a

Torres del Paine is slightly brighter and with a flush of red throughout the subdued color.

NARS Torres del Paine1

Torres del Paine on Liz:

Nars Torres Del Paine on lips1b

Villa Lante won our hearts as a beautiful medium pink:

NARS Final Cut Pencils3 copy

Villa Lante on Liz:

NARS Final Cut Pencils8a

Stourhead is perhaps the most unusual of the set.  The light lavendar is fresh and fun, but won’t be for everyone or every occassion.

Nars Stourhead1b

Stourhead–as a pastel color– tended to be a little difficult because of its light tone.

NARS Final Cut Pencils6a

Overall, we were really pleased with this fresh set of pencils. Our favorites were Descanso and Villa Lante.  These pencils–Stourhead, Villa Lante, Descanso, and Torres del Paine are available February 1, 2014 at Nordstrom and beginning March 1, 2014 at NARS boutiques, and on narscosmetics.com.

Nars Cosmetics sent these pencils to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

 

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Jan 182014
 

NARS Pore Perfecter1

NARS is adding to its Pro-Prime line, which has already brought us some lovely facial primers and a highly effective eye primer. New to the line is NARS Pro-Prime Instant Line & Pore Perfector ($28/0.05 oz.). Do you have large pores on your cheeks that prevent you from wearing shimmery blushes?  Well, now you don’t. This small tube acts as a “magic wand” to provide a smooth, pore-less finish. With a bit of time, this product also minimizes very fine lines.

NARS Pore Perfecter2

According to NARS, this new “targeted primer features an advanced, lightweight formula that smoothes and preps skin in a single stroke, creating the ideal canvas for makeup application.

Line and pore-filling microspheres with hyaluronic acid instantly smooth and provide a gentle plumping effect to fine lines

Spherical Line Smoothing Powder visibly reduces the appearance of wrinkles to create a seamless look. The spherical shape and innovative optical technology reflect light evenly to brighten the dark areas within wrinkles

The angular stick format provides artistic precision and convenience for touch-ups, while the non-greasy formula absorbs oil and mattes out shine without drying the skin.

Vitamins A, C and E help provide antioxidant protection. Dermatologist & ophthalmologist tested.”

Notice, although the effect of this primer is temporary, there are some anti-oxidants also provides some skin-care benefits. This product has a highly effective, magic wand quality against pores. Now you see them, now you don’t. The pore-elminating effect is immediateMy one request is to increase the size of the tube, because after I saw how wonderful this made my skin look I sort of wanted to use it over my entire body. I sort of wanted to take a bath in it, actually. However, to help manage your expectations, the tube is small–about the same size as a NARS Pure Matte Lipstick.

NARS Pore Perfecter3

Here is a comparison of two images on which I used the product on my arm. Both images are the same, but with one I’ve outlined the area where the primer is applied (no photoshopping):

Before and after nars pore perfector

Another with the same format. These are the same unretouched image, but one has the area marked where the NARS Pore Perfector has been used:

NARS Pore Perfector before and after 3 NARS also intends this product to be a line-filler. As you can see from these images, the tiny lines on my hand are arm are, in fact, softened and in some cases erased. As you might expect, this does not eliminate deep creases and expression lines, for which you would typically go to a dermatologist for an injectable or surgery. Also, the results for fine lines take a bit more time to appear–I would give it a full minute, or even five minutes, for the product to warm and work. I tried to do a little experiment on the bottom part of some fingers to show you. I’m not sure how successful this experiment is, but I thought it best to post it.

nars before and after

 Overall, I applaud NARS for the pore-reducing and line-softening properties of this effective primer. NARS Pore Perfector is another well-formulated, workhorse product from this innovative line.

NARS Cosmetics sent this product to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Jan 172014
 

Narsissist Palette01

NARS is knocking it out of the park right now. This is a first look at the Narsissist Eye Palette ($79/0.03 oz.), an incredible palette of 15 high-quality, NARS-quality shades. This is currently for sale now sold out on Nars website, and will soon be available from other Nars sources. The official release date for department and speciality stores is February 1st. I’m so glad that this palette exists–this is so beautiful and well done. Yes, I know that we’re seeing a wealth of neutral palettes right now from Smashbox, MAC, Urban Decay. But since I first dipped a brush into All About Eve, I’ve loved the quality of Nars eyeshadows and this palette delivers a rich source of beautiful neutrals all in one place, at a remarkably low price point (given the high quality level). The press materials list this as limited edition.

Narsissist Palette04a

I’ve been playing with this for a few days, and I’ve fallen in love with it. How easy is it to use this palette every morning, 4-5 days a week? Which palette should I take to that multi-day conference, where there are both daytime and evening events? Which single eyeshadow item is going to slide into the side of a carryon, yet is sturdy enough to arrive safely, uncrushed? (The outer dimensions are roughly 6 1/2″ x 3 1/4″) In addition to the ultra-large mirror, there really cannot be a question–the Narsissist palette delivers it all.

Narsissist Palette05a

  Some might think that the lighter shades are too light (or nude), and the darker shades too dark. Keep in mind that Nars truly does design from all skin tones, as the line that brought us everything from All About Eve to the deep Brousse, and so many shades in between. I believe that 100% of the users of this palette will be able to use 80-100% of the shades.

Narsissist Palette14The shades included are NARS neutral classics, which are:  All About Eve, Madrague, Fez, Bali, Coconut Grove, Madrague ll, Nepal, Ashes to Ashes, Brousse, Mekong, Bellissima, Lhasa, Bad Behavior, Dogon, and Pandora.

Narsissist Palette18

 Here are swatches of the top row, a highly usable set of almost every shade of browns. Many of these run warm:

Narsissist Palette25

The second row, which has some unbelievable cool shades. So pretty!:

Narsissist Palette24

The bottom row, which has some epic shades with beautiful depth:

Narsissist Palette21

These swatches aren’t ideal, as they were taking as the sun was getting low and the lighting is warm. Nonetheless, the swatches show the beautiful range and depth of this palette. Really, this is epic. I’m hoping to post some updates soon. The release date for department and specialty stores is February 1st. For now, the palette is up for sale on Nars website, Right now there is free shipping with any order, and this palette is over the minimum for free ship on the site year-round. Up until February 1, 2014, you can get a free mini Super Orgasm blush with the code JANMINI14.

 NARS sent this palette to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Jan 152014
 

MAC Huggables Overview1

There are two times every year when MAC attracts my laser focus–once during the summer for their baked collections, and right after the Holiday when a beautiful neutral collection is released. This year, MAC added a new formula lipstick collection–called MAC Huggables ($20 each)–to the post-Holiday excitement. As is typical of MAC’s limited edition releases, mine are arriving in the mail just as these are selling out in stores. So I thought it best to do a quick post in case any of these catch your eye. Some are still available at Nordstrom, Macy’s, and other MAC sources.

MAC Commotion and Red Necessity1

First of all, these are packaged in a re-designed tube that reminds me of Chantecaille’s Lip Chics ($35 each). The MAC Huggables’ formula is  pigmented, sheer, shiny, and very hydrating. They have “creamy emollients to give you a lasting, glossy color that leaves your lips smooth and sculpted.” I found that my winter-dry lip lines disappeared under this very hydrating formula. For those of us who are on the “more experienced” side of the age continuum, you might give these a serious look because they are a pleasure to use.  Their relatively low price point makes them a fun addition to add a pop of color to your winter wardrobe. I found this video from Lena/senoritaxlena quite helpful in choosing my shades.

MAC Huggables Overview2 final

Here’s the other secret of the MAC Huggables–they are far more saturated than I expected. Some of the online swatches do not really show their high-pigment color. These stay glossy for quite some time, their color lasts and lasts. They feel both hydrating and a slightly tacky, although not annoyingly so.

MAC Huggables Overview5

On some, this emollient formula can feather. Although I did not experience this, it may have more to do with my lip shape more than anything. I’ve only had a chance to play with these for 2-3 days, but I did find that using a lip primer seemed to prevent any migration and added to the formula’s wear time (I used the Bite Lip Primer, but others can work). I found that using the primer did not seem to interfere with the formula’s hydrating benefits to a significant degree. Lip lines, be gone! Also, you can sort of use them as their own primer, by laying down a little bit, let it dry and then add a bit more. The lower under-layer seems to create little base of the top layer to grip onto. Another set of swatches:

MAC Huggables Overview4

The colors are really fun–they aren’t terribly complex but they do mix with your natural lip color and give a very pretty, glossy, moisturized look. Rich Marron is quickly becoming my favorite, and the pinks–Feeling Amorous?, Love Beam, and Out for Passion are great grab-and-go shades. Commotion is probably the most unusual, and the reds are a pleasant touch. Rusty is deep and dramatic, but with a sheerness that’s very pleasant. These shades are perfect not only for this moisturizing properties, but also for at least two other purposes. First they’re great for occasions when you want to wear a bright color to work or other conservative event. These don’t go “over the top.” I wore Feeling Amorous? to dinner tonight, and my husband confirmed that (despite the brightly colored swatch) the color wasn’t “too much.” Second, they are a great way to get used to wearing brighter colors and reds. For those that have never left the house in a bight lip, try one of these. A sheer will get you half-way to being a comfortable, confident wearer of any lip color out there (well, maybe not lime green, but you get the picture). One last set of swatches:

MAC Huggables Overview5

Here are the shades that I chose:

MAC Rich Marron Huggable1

Rich Marron is one of my favorites-this is a gorgeous, high-shine nude. It’s a sheerer cousin to NARS Last Tango.

 MAC Rich Marron2a

Red Necessity is a cool, sheer, high-shine red. Commotion is a fuchsia that leans violet–it can go maroon on my lips. It’s quite a dramatic, cool-toned stained glass wonder.

MAC Rich Marron Huggable two1

Feeling Amorous? is a bold (yet sheer) pink:

MAC Feeling Amorous?2

Out for Passion is a warm pink with a hint of peach:

MAC Out for Passion3

Cherry Glaze a pigmented, warm red:

MAC Cherry Glaze2

Rusty is a warm cognac-burgundy:

MAC Rusty2

Love Beam is a soft, light, sheer pink:

MAC Love Beam1

Overall, I’m really having fun with these colors. My lips looks moisturized, pretty, and always appropriate despite the brightness of these shades (although I have to be careful with MAC Commotion). Because this is a MAC limited edition collection, they are in the “get them before they’re gone” territory.

Available at NordstromMacy’s, and other MAC sources.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Jan 142014
 

NARS Kaui Eyeshadow Duo2 copy

Nars has released some unbelievably beautiful eyeshadows for Spring 2014–Kauai and China Seas ($34 each). I hope they’ve made enough of these. They’re so gorgeous.  You can order them right now on NARS website, and they are up for backorder sale shipping 1/31/14 on Nordstrom.com. Particularly for Kauai, which is absolutely must-have in my opinion, I would get one as soon as circumstances allow.

NARS Kaui Eyeshadow Duo1

We’re seeing some stunning mettalics this season, and so far Nars Kauai is the most stunning of all. The soft cool gold metal can be buffed into the eye for a beautiful sheen. The multidimensional, complex purple on the right provides a stunning accompaniament in the crease.

NARS Kaui Eyeshadow Duo5

Here are some very quick arm-swatches, which do not do justice to the beauty of these shades. I’ve found that the best way to use these is with a flat-paddle shaped brush (similar to this one). You don’t need to place much on the brush. Then buff, buff, buff the shade into your lid in a back and forth, windshield-wiper motion. This prevents migration and fall-out. These colors are so complex and vibrant, you still retain much of the complexity and sheen. I used these with Nars eyeshadow primer for wear that only began fading after a 14-hour work day (no creasing either). This is a dream duo, the colors are so elegant. The gold is not too warm, and the purple goes violet on my lid and brings out the green in my eyes. I love, love, love Nars Kauai.

NARS China Sea Duo1

China Seas is an unusual combination of two incredible shades. The light blue is a pretty, complex, and yet not overpowering shade. The red-purple is a deep and mysterious color that I cannot imagine finding anywhere else. The combination of the two is brilliant.  Who else but Francois Nars would imagine that these work together as well as they (in fact) do?

NARS China Sea Duo3

Both shades are beautifully pigmented, but can be sheered out for a less dramatic effect. They are complex satin shimmers. I’ve been pairing the right red-violet shade with a taupe-mauve in the crease. As the weather warms and the sun begins shining again, I’ll add the blue shade under the eye together with a cool bronzer.

NARS China Sea Duo5

Here are the shades applied a touch sheerly (they can be built up to full force easily enough). You can see that they have a slight duo chrome effect that is simply stunning.

Nars Kaui and China Seas1 copy

I was so excited about both of these duos that I could not wait to post these swatches. I urge you not to let these go without picking them up, or at least a good look as they begin to arrive at counters. Both are absolutely stunning.

Available at Nordstrom.com and  NARS website, and other Nars counters and boutiques.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup) These eyeshadows were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Jan 112014
 

Hair heat protectants06

Listening to the advice from different hair stylists, they all appear to agree on one thing–heat is not good for hair. Still, I’m not giving up my styling tools. Although I’ve invested in a dryer, hot roller set, and the like that promise the gentlest forms of heat, I’ve also begun to explore leave-in products to ensure my hair is as protected as possible.

Hair heat protectants07

My favorite of the ones that I tried is the Kerastase Chroma Thermique ($48/5.1 oz.). Although designed for color treated hair, I have friends who have recommended it that have never had their hair colored (one, in fact, uses it on her 10-year-old daughter). It’s because this leaves your hair all kinds of awesome, and you do not need color-treated hair to get those benefits. This leave-in treatment softens, protects, and conditions hair. Kerastase Chroma Thermique’s beneficial properties are heat-activated (smart!). In fact, it’s accompanying literature claims that the beneficial properties are five times more effective when used with heat.

Hair heat protectants08

This was immediately transformative, giving me far more manageable, softer, conditioned  and shiny hair.

Hair heat protectants10

 For me, Kerastase’s claims for the products all seemed to be present and accounted for:

Protects hair from the stress of heat styling tools
Adds brilliance and mirror-like shine
Smooths the hair fiber
Improves hair drying time and straightening performance
Nourishes, softens and moisturizes hair
Keeps hair color vibrant with UV protection

This does not weigh my hair down at all, and the effect lasted all day and through the next. Gorgeous product. Ingredient list:

Hair heat protectants11

I love this product and never want to be without it.

Hair heat protectants09

It comes in a large five-ounce container, although the company sells a mini-sized for $18 if you’d like to try it with a smaller investment.  I found mine at a spa, but then I ordered a second when Kerastase had a free-ship deal around the holiday (register for their website to learn about their occasional promotions).

Hair heat protectants01

 The second product that I loved was Alterna’s Bamboo Anti-Breakage Thermal Protectant ($25/4.2 oz.). I should add that I have liked a few of Alterna’s products, I believe that they offer good results for the price. This is a spray leave-in product, my pump was a little wonky at first but now it seems to be working smoothly. The ingredient list is here.

Hair heat protectants03

According to the company, Alterna’s Anti-Breakage protection offers protection of up to 428 degrees (my, that’s precise!).  I can confirm that, at least for me, Alterna is right to claim that the product “works to detangle, soften, and create a protective moisturizing barrier around the hair’s outer layer, eliminating dryness and brittleness while naturally increasing its strength and elasticity.” My hair looked very healthy and soft, and it really volumized my hair to a noticeable degree. Comparing this to the Kerastase Chroma Thermique, the Kerastase left my hair noticeably smoother and shinier. With Alterna’s Anti-Breakage, I had to add an additional product to smooth my hair and to add shine. Also, Alterna’s Anti Breakage added volume, but unsurprisingly the volumizing effect did not last overnight.

Alterna CC Cream2

Finally, I’ve been using Alterna’s Caviar CC Cream ($25/2.5 oz.) for the past several months. This leave in cream promises ten different benefits:  moisture, shine, smoothness, softness, anti-breakage, heat protection, light hold, UV protection, manageability, and strength. Whew!

Alterna CC Cream5

I’ve been using this mostly for its heat protective properties. It does make my hair look and feel very nice, and it’s a good all-in-one product that also works well as a leave-in-conditioner. Compared to the Kerastase, my sense is that if your hair is already healthy and shiny, this is a great product to keep it that way. If you need the big guns to transform your hair into the other-worldly shampoo-commercial condition, I’d go with the Kerastase. On the price/volume ratio, the products are about even.

Alterna CC Cream6

The Alterna is nice for travel as well, as the slim little tube goes easily into a overstuffed suitcase. If you’ve tried any thermal protectors, I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links for the Alterna products at Sephora. For more information, see About Cafe Makeup.

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