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.

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 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.

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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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