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.

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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.

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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:

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

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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).

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 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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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:

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

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

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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:

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

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

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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.

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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).

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The heat stand in the front (in action):

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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.

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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.

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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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