Nov 292014
 

Keratase hair success1 copy

There have been such continual raves for two Kerastase products that I had to try them myself, especially now that winter fly-away season has arrived. I’ve been very impressed with this little tube of Kerastase Touche Perfection ($35), which can be applied directly to wet or dry hair for lovely body, control, and anti-frizz. Essentially, it acts as a finisher to make the hair look tamed, full of life, and with a touch of extra shine.
Keratase hair success3 copy

It takes just a dime-sized amount to run through my ends to give me a good-hair day. It doesn’t weigh my fine hair down.  The line suggests that you can put this in your bag and retouch your ends throughout the day. I don’t see any reason why not, but I haven’t done that yet. Once a day in the morning has been enough for me.

Keratase hair success4 copy

The little squeeze-tube is foolproof. I haven’t been careful in my application. I’m sure that on some days I use double what I’ve used the day before, but my hair still looks good and doesn’t get heavy or greasy. I love how this makes my hair look healthy and strong.  This feels like there are silicons in the formula. According to the line the key ingredients are:

  • Iris Royal Complexe®: Iris Rhizome Extract, protects against oxidation/ Royal Jelly, replenishes dry hair on the surfaceDiscipline-Enhancing Polymer: Tames rebellious split-ends and conditions dry ends. Smoothing Agent: Reduces friction between fibers and restores softness

I bought both products directly from the Kerastase website (they are having a few holiday discount items right now).

My other success story is Kerastase’s Elixir Ultime Moringa Immortel ($56).  This is my favorite hair oil du jour–it doesn’t feel oily in my hair at all, and looks wonderful. It adds bounce and shine, breathing some life and health into my hair. In combination with some Oribe products that I’ve been using for the past few months, these have really been game changers for me.

Keratase hair success6 copy

This hair oil comes with a nicely-controllable pump. I am not scientific in my application technique. I just scrunch some into my ends. They’ve never looked weighed down, and this does smell really nice and fresh.

Keratase hair success7 copy

According to the company, this includes:

Vitamin A and C and Immortal Moringa: Highly concentrated in calcium, iron and magnesium, key ingredients for damaged hair
Maize Oil: Delivers emollient and anti-oxidant active ingredients for ultimate shine
Pracaxi Oil: Brings shine, nourishment and deep conditioning to the hair
Camellia Oil: Helps smooth the hair fiber, resulting in incredible shine
Argan Oil: Helps restore strength to the hair and protects it from external aggressors

Keratase hair success8 copyAlso, I can over-staturate my hair with the Elixir Ultime Moringa Immortel for a Sunday morning leave-in treatment. I’m loving the results from both products so much.

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Sep 252014
 

Oribe Signature and Supershine08I started going gray in my early 20’s, and I began having it colored soon after. By this point in my life my hair needs TLC almost constantly. Although I’d love to get away with inexpensive hair products, I’ve embraced the need to use premium products to tame its tendency toward coarseness and its need for constant moisture.

Oribe Signature and Supershine12Every time I try something from Oribe, I fall more and more in love with the line. The scents are complex and beautiful, but the real payoff are the incredible results. Today, I opened a new set of Oribe Signature Shampoo ($36) and Signature Conditioner ($39).  Even a single use of this duo makes my hair soft, manageable and shiny.

Oribe Signature and Supershine11

 

The shampoo uses a covered flip top. No messing with separate caps in the shower.

Oribe signature shampoo

It’s surprising that my hair doesn’t seem to need any styling products after using this duo.

Oribe Signature and Supershine10The conditioner uses a flip-top cap.

Oribe Signature and Supershine14This gives me “celebrity level” hair, if I can create a phrase. I actually bought the Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream ($49) to go with the set, but my hair didn’t seem to need it today after using the Signature Shampoo and Conditioner.  I’ll have to report on this one later.Oribe Signature and Supershine05Overall, another successful experience with Oribe. Bot  Oribe Signature Shampoo ($36) and Signature Conditioner ($39) are available at Barneys (free ship with all orders).

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Jun 262014
 

Hum runway ready01 As I was running through a Sephora a few weeks ago grabbing some items, I noticed the HUM Nutrition Supplements that looked fun and friendly. Taking care of ourselves means eating right, but sometimes I need a little something to help my hair and nails to look their best. Because I really do agree with the line’s tag “Beauty Starts from Within,” I agreed to try out the HUM Runway Ready set ($36/30 pack). On my way to Colorado, I took a roughly two-week supply in my bag, which proved to be a good decision. Hum runway ready07 These daily envelopes each contain a mix of HUM’s Red Carpet and Killer Nails formulas. Each day during my trip, I found these very easy to integrate into my very packed days. I’d have one pre-measured envelope with a glass of Emergen C.  Easy peasy! Hum runway ready08 Although the line recommends that these be taken with food, I slipped up some days without any side effects (oops!). Anyway, the pills were very small and easy to swallow, and I had the side benefit of knowing that I was adding a little “beauty from the inside” once a day.  Click to enlarge: Hum ingredients If you don’t like the envelope format, these supplements are available in standard bottles, as well as other offerings to address a variety of beauty concerns, including firmer skin, hydration and omega-3 for overall health. Hum runway ready09Overall, I was impressed with the ease of use and convenience of the line. Definitely worth a look.

Hum runway ready02This was sent 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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Apr 132014
 

Nelson J Argan Oil Hair1

I was sent this set of Nelson j. Beverly Hills Argan Oil 7 Shampoo and Argan Oil 7 Moisture Healing Mask ($22/$20 respectively). According to his website, Nelson j. is a stylist to the stars who believes in natural hair care products that deliver. Both are wonderful for my colored hair, leaving it feeling soft and healthy. Because I color my hair, and because the water in the region where I live is not very good (despite the care and feeding of a water softener), I’m constantly battling the War on Frizz.

Nelson J Argan Oil Hair2

The Nelson j. Argan Oil 7 Shampoo is an argan and coconut creamy liquid, that cleans, protects color, moisturizes and enhances shine. I actually love using it–it does leave my hair de-frizzed, shiny, soft and there is zero color fading. It feels great, and makes my hair feel great too. The cleansing is thorough, but my hair doesn’t feel stripped. For me, this was a big win.

Nelson J Argan Oil Hair3

I also loved the Argan Oil 7 Moisture Healing Mask. I used the coconut scented version, which was really pleasantly scented. The texture is a cream, which does not require much to work. When used with the shampoo, I got really good results–soft, shiny hair. What more can I ask?

Overall, this is a really nice combination. I liked this more than some other shampoos that I’ve tried in this same (and lower) price range. If you see these nearby, they are worth a look.

Ingredients for shampoo:  Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol (Derived from Coconut), Dimethicone (Derived from Volcano Rock), Decyl Glucoside (Derived from Sugar), Argania Spinosa Seed Oil, Glycerin (Veg and Coconut Oils), Stearalkonium Chloride (Plants Derived), Behentrimonium Methosulfate (Rapseed Oil), Orange Oil, Pepper Mint, Cetearyl Alcohol (Derived Coconut), Cetearyl Alcohol (Derived Coconut), Dicetyl Phosphate (Derived from Coconut), Glyceryl Stearate (Derived from Rapseed Oil), PEG-100 Stearate (Derived from Palm Oil), Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol (Plants Derived), Beads, Hydroxyethylcellulose (Plants Derived), Phenoxyethanol (Plants Derived), Beads, Hydroxyethylcellulose (Plants Derived), Phenoxyethanol (Plants Derived), Ethylhexylglycerin (Vegetable Derived).

Ingredients for Moisture Healing Mask: Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol (Derived from Coconut), Amodimethicone (Derived from Volcano Rock), Cetrimonium Bromide, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Butter, Argania Spinosa Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Cyclopentasiloxane (Derived from Volcano Rock), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Ethylhexyl Stearate (Plants Oil), Tocepheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Citrus Acid, Jojoba Crystal, Dimethicone, Scent, Phenoxyethanol (Plants Derived), Ethylhexylglycerin (Vegetable Derived), Yellow 11 and Red 17.

These items were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Apr 092014
 

Here’s a quick review of the top three things that I’m obsessing about right now….

First, remember that Sephora 15% off discount for beauty insiders ends on Thursday, April 10, 2014. This is a great time to try new things, or to stock up on staples like hair care, skin products, and tools.

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This time around, my “fun” item that went into my cart is this Bite Beauty Deconstructed Rose Lip Gloss set ($49.00 before discount). Although these glosses aren’t full size, there are twelve (12) at a fairly generous 0.05 ounce size. If you want to start seeing the world through rose-colored glosses, here’s your set.

Decontructed Lip colors

Second, I tried the Wayne Goss concealer trick, and it really works for me. I thought I’d highlight it for you, because my under eye concealer is outlasting some of my foundations these days. That’s a beauty first.

To do this method, I’ve been using UD Anti-Aging Primer Potion ($24), although others will work too (so long as they aren’t too drying).

UD Primer Potion Anti-Aging1

Third, “the higher the hair….” has been my motto lately. There’s something so fun about building volume, volume, volume.  I’m still addicted to my T3 Voluminous Hot Roller set (don’t knock ’em till you’ve tried ’em), and these are 15% off right now at Sephora through April 10th for insiders. For an even quicker way to add a spritz and a tiny tease, Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray ($21 for small size) does the trick.

oribe

This beautifully presented spray is a pleasure to use, and gives me the mane that makes me feel ready to meet my day.

oribe dry texturizing

What are you obsessed with right now?

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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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Nov 132013
 

T3 Roller03

The T3 Bodywaver 1.75″ Professional Curling Iron ($149.00) caught my eye during a recent trip to Sephora (the T3 Bodywaver is also available at Nordstrom). First off, it looks like a cross between a Dyson fan and Lady Gaga’s ‘copter dress. Second, I love T3 products because they are gentle to my colored hair. Third, although I love my T3 rollers to add volume and shine, sometimes I want some even more packable and quicker for those days when I’m running really short on time. The T3 Bodywaver seemed to have all the answers.

T3 Roller04

As the name implies, this hair tool is meant to add body to hair.  With the large 1.75″ barrel, it is not designed to provide a defined curl. Rather, this gives soft, defined, polished waves. The bottom of the box illustrates:

T3 Roller05

Click to enlarge to read a little bit about the ceramic design, designed to add shine:

T3 Roller06

So here is the T3 Bodywaver in all of its white, modern designed glory:

T3 Roller07

We really weren’t sure how to approach this one, but I think we’ve figured it out now. So let’s walk through it–as you’d expect, it has a large, ceramic hollow barrel and blade to hold the hair in place as you twirl it around:

T3 Roller10

The middle and other end has stands to keep the hot barrel away from your counter.

T3 Roller08

The silver filigree ring is a part of the heat stand system.

T3 Roller09

At the bottom is a swivel cord and a ring that can be turned to regulate the temperature from 280-410 degrees Fahrenheit (137-210 degrees centigrade). The lower temperatures are less damaging, the higher temperatures give a stronger, faster effect.

T3 Roller11

The T3 Bodywaver has a 1-hour auto-shutoff.  There is a little set of lights to inform you of your temperature settings (translated to degree ranges in the accompanying booklet).

T3 Roller close ups3

The heat stand in the front (in action):

T3 Roller close ups1

Although Liz has years of experience with straighteners, the T3 Bodywaver was her first experience with a round curling-iron type product. I think she did well!  Here is Liz before our experiment, with her air-dried hair.

T3 Roller close ups liz1

After treating her hair with Alterna Caviar CC Cream for Hair 10-in-1 Complete Correction ($25) to add heat protection, she used the T3 Bodywaver on a very low heat setting.

T3 Roller close ups liz3

For a first time user, Liz was pleased with the results. I’ve been using the T3 Bodywaver for the past few days, and I agree. I don’t like a tight curl, and I do like body and shine. I find that the T3 Bodywaver tames my flyway ends, helps the hair cuticle lie flat so my hair appears shinier, and it adds volume and life. I also like the temperature control and auto-shutoff feature. Although I still love my T3 rollers, I don’t always have time for them–this T3 Bodywaver heats up in about 30 seconds and I can get my hair done in under 5 minutes. If you are looking for something to add some polish on busy mornings, the T3 Bodywaver is worth a look.

Available at Sephora and Nordstrom.

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

 

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Jun 072013
 

Oribe Volumista1

Oribe Volumista ($38) Mist for Volume is, as the name suggests, is a treatment spray used to give hair some oomph. Beautifully packaged in a tasteful paper box that whispers “this smells nice” (and it does, it does), this is a quick and easy way to give yourself some pouf. Not being talented with round brush twirling or major rollers. I just spray mostly into my roots, dry my hair upside down using a blow drying, and voila, I’ve got some all-day volume.

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Nov 072012
 

I’ve been living out of suitcases for a while now, trying to balance my beauty goods on the corner of tiny bathroom ledges and stock up on travel sized luxuries. I thought I’d do a quick “Loving Right Now” for a few items that are making life on the road a little easier. I’m really looking forward to the end of the project in a few weeks so that I can cocoon at home and spread out.

1. Travel sized Caudalie Divine Oil ($18/Sephora) and L’Occitane Eau Essentielle Immortelle  mini-spray ($13ish). The full review of this mini-travel Caudalie Divine Oil is here, one of my discoveries in Paris this summer. How delightful that our local Sephora stores carry this wonderful, moisturizing oil in a travel size. I keep one in my desk at work as well, to moisturize my hands and nails throughout the day.

I occasionally stop by any nearby L’Occitane boutique and ask them whether they have any tiny sprays.  Usually, they have a stock of them in the back, former limited editions that haven’t sold out yet. These are wonderful for bringing on flights to add moisture mid-flight. The types of waters and toners varies by season, so do ask. These little in-flight luxuries make those delays much nicer. By the way, this Eau Essentielle Immortelle is a wonderfully moisturizing spray for the dry winter air.

 2. Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Moisturizing Lather Shampoo and Paul Mitchell Wild Ginger Keratin Intensive Treatment (roughly $20 each on Amazon.com and salons). I know, Paul Mitchell–it’s been years since I’ve thought anything in the line was worth exploring. Hear me out. 

My salon gave me a Wild Ginger treatment, which is a professional treatment. My hair was remarkably softer and smoother, and the stylist suggested that I maintain the look with the Wild Ginger Shampoo and Keratin Intensive Treatment. They are fabulous! They really leave my hair much more moisturized, softer and smoother than my more expensive home cleansers and treatments. They smell gingery too–very pleasant! Even though it was weeks since my in-salon treatment, I found these two products were worth checking out.

3. Perricone MD Formula 15 Serum  ($125). The original review for this product is here. That same evening that I published the review of the bottle sent by Perricone MD without charge to me, my bottle took a dive off of my tiny hotel bathroom ledge. Hysteria ensued. Now I’ve purchased my own. Awesome treatment for tightening, lifting, and generally youth-ifying. I love this and wish they made it in a great big bucket.  A plastic one.

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Jun 142012
 

I’ve been hearing some buzz about Serge Normant hair care, including the Serge Normat Meta Revive Volumizing Dry Shampoo ($13/2.0). Recently, Neiman Marcus began carrying the line and with a recent free ship code I thought it might be fun to give the travel size a spin.

This Serge Normant Dry Shampoo is an aerosol spray that has a nice unisex scent. It has a powdery, woodsy scent that has a touch of a sophistication that places it above some of the shrill florals that sometimes waft out of hair care products. It applies relatively clear–I found that it did not take a lot of work to get rid of any visual residue after the spray.

Unfortunately, this was not a match made in heaven for me. Although it gave my hair shine and volume, it left behind a stickiness and unmanageability. It was not the sort of stickiness that I was able to brush out, and I wasn’t able to restore my hair to a more manageable softness until the next shampoo.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure I’ll be using this one up. I may offer it to my hair stylist so that she can try it out–perhaps a pro would have better luck? In the meantime, I’ll be sticking with my Oscar Blandi and Kenra choices  (previously discussed here) and keep you posted on my dry shampoo journey.

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