Topic: Hair

5 Fab Products for Curly, Kinky Hair

Published in: Guest Post, Hair


My haircare must-haves

When it comes to haircare, I have NO LOYALTY.  I will switch things up in a minute because I usually don’t feel like there’s anything that’s all that unique.  But, despite my persistent product junkie-ism, I find myself always coming back to these five products.

1. Oribe Shampoo For Moisture and Control ($45)

Ok…so this is really expensive ($45!). It’s probably the most expensive hair product I’ve ever used. I tend to go for cheaper hair shampoos and conditioners because of how thick my hair is, and because I go through products super quickly.

Despite wanting to hate this product and my hope that I’d never want to re-purchase it, I have to admit that it’s the ONLY shampoo I’ve ever tried that actually feels moisturizing.

Ironically, as a rule, I mostly only buy “moisturizing” shampoos, but they all leave my hair feeling the same as it ever was. But this shampoo, my goodness, is incredibly moisturizing. It also lathers up into nice, big, refreshing suds. If you’re looking for a haircare splurge, this is it. By the way, the conditioner is great too.

2. Giovanni Direct Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner ($9)

I’ve tried so many different leave-in conditioners, but I’ve NEVER found one quite like this one. The formula has the perfect consistency (not too thick or thin), it’s an affordable $9, and it just works. I am 100% committed (I actually buy it in bulk on Amazon).

I slather it on my hair when it’s soaking wet in the shower, then comb it through with a wide-tooth comb. It coats and provides lasting moisture, but it doesn’t leave behind a thick residue. Whether I’m going to slick my hair into a bun or add some gel for a wash & go, this is always the first thing on my hair after I wash it.

3. Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Wrap Set Mousse ($6.89)

This little miracle product is the secret to all of my twist-out styles! Here are some pics of the hair styles I do with it:

kat von d shade and light palette

Thanks to ORS Olive Oil Mousse! (Details on this look in this post)


Another look achieved with the help of ORS Olive Oil Mousse (Details on this all-pink makeup look in this post)

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With John Frieda Luxurious Volume Perfectly Full Mousse and Forever Full Hairspray, a Blowout at Home Is Easy and Affordable!

Published in: Guest Post, Hair

hairspray, john frieda

These products may make you feel blazin’ hot, but don’t handle them near an open flame! The John Frieda Luxurious Volume Perfectly Full Mousse ($6.99, left) and Forever Full Hairspray ($6.99, right)

If you live in the NYC area or, well, any area that has a few hair salons, you’re probably familiar with the concept of a blowout. Blowout salons are VERY popular around these parts, and for good reason. Your hair looks fabulous afterward! — and the style lasts for days.

But blowouts get expensive after a while, which is why I only get them when I get my hair cut/colored.

What’s a thin-haired girl to do?

When I wash my hair, I don’t blow dry it often because of its texture, but sometimes I still crave a finished, full hair look.

When I do improv and give myself a “blowout” at home, here are the products I use to help get my baby fine hair looking voluminous and shiny.

Here’s my hair right after a wash…

wet hair, thin hair,

Fresh out of the shower, my thin hair is already almost dry.

Now, I don’t do my home blowouts like many people do because I don’t use a round brush. Because round brushes cause more knots in my hair (yes, it’s that cranky). Instead I use a comb and my hands.

Lately I’ve been washing my hair with Loreal Everpure Volume Shampoo. It’s color-safe and has lovely notes of rosemary and juniper, and I don’t find it to be stripping at all.

Next is the actual drying, and I always make sure to spray a heat protectant in my hair before I start, as well as a little bit of Dove Serum in Oil.

Flipping my head upside-down, I dry my hair until it’s about 80% dry, then turn to part one of this duo…

I wasn’t impressed by earlier iterations of this line, but these I like. Mousse is always SUPER tricky for me, it either weighs my hair down to the point that I need to wash my hair again the next day, or it makes my haircrunchy, but the Perfectly Full and Forever Full formulas from the Luxurious Volume line have been doing a great job for me lately.

mousse, john frieda, luxurious volume,

I tried very hard to get this in the shape of a meringue, which is what mousse always reminds me of…

As far as fragrance goes, well…it smells like mousse. Less like hairspray (not as heavy on the chemicals), and more like a light mix of clean and floral.

The product itself feels very light and almost a little too watery, so be careful because it might just melt in your hands.

After scrunching a bit into my hair, especially at the crown of my head, I finish by blowdrying on low with the diffuser attachment, and to avoid knots, I continuously comb/finger-comb my hair while I’m drying.

I’ve been OBSESSED with this comb right here, and I was devastated when mine broke a few days ago. Even more tragically, my Target hasn’t been stocking it anymore. 🙁 Thank goodness for Amazon!

And here’s what my hair looks like when I’m done…

thin hair, luxurious volume,

A decent bit of volume for a thin-haired gal!

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Revisiting Old Friends With Herbal Essences Naked Clean and Refresh Shampoo and Conditioner

Published in: Guest Post, Hair, Herbal Essences

Herbal Essences Naked Clean and Refresh Shampoo and Conditioner

Herbal Essences Naked Clean and Refresh Shampoo and Conditioner ($4.99)

As I sit writing this, I’m riding the Amtrak 69 train from NYC toward my hometown of Moriah, New York. I haven’t been home in a while, and it’s my grandmother’s birthday this weekend, so a lot of my cousins who I haven’t seen in a long while are going to be in town.

Making the trip by myself can be tiresome, but the scenery is nice. The Adirondack train runs daily from New York City to Montreal (and vice versa), so it’s a convenient, albeit long, trip (about as long as driving would take with stops to rest).

This week, in the spirit of visiting old friends and family, I also decided to revisit a shampoo I’ve tried before, but not since they updated the packaging and, I assume, reformulated it.

Now it’s called Herbal Essences Naked Clean and Refresh Shampoo ($4.99), but I think it used to be called Herbal Essences Naked Volume when it first came out. I remember being less than thrilled about the original version.

When I tried it back then, I was looking for something affordable that would cleanse my hair well and didn’t contain parabens and all that. The Herbal Essences Naked line was an affordable option.

While the Naked Clean and Refresh line (there’s also a $4.99 conditioner) isn’t marketed as “cleansing,” the combo gets the job done.

My hair is ultra-thin and fine, so experimenting with new shampoos and conditioners is always perilous. I don’t wash my hair often (maybe twice a week), but when I do, I typically alternate between a cleansing shampoo (for when my hair is super greasy or full of dry shampoo) and Clairol Shimmer Lights Conditioning Shampoo, because I’m not about that brassy life. And some days I’ll use a combination of both.

The (new?) formula

Herbal Essences Naked Clean and Refresh Shampoo and Conditioner

Herbal Essences Naked Clean and Refresh Shampoo definitely doesn’t lack in lather potential. If you’re a dime-sized amount user (short hair), you should get a good lather, but it shouldn’t be too much. I use about a quarter-sized amount for my hair and get a lot of nice suds.

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5 Hair and Skin Care Products I Currently Can’t Live Without

Published in: Guest Post, Hair, Skin Care

Best Hair and Skin Care Products

Dove Advanced Regenerative Nourishment Serum-in-Oil ($5.99), Ponds Wet Cleansing Towelettes in Evening Soothe ($5.49), Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Cleanser ($9.99), KMS California Stay Dry Xtreme Hairspray ($19.50), and Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mud Mask ($15.99)

I spent a few lonely days this month keeping myself occupied while my boyfriend was out of the country for work. While he was away, I tested some new products and, of course, I had my cats and friends for company, and not to mention you lovely readers!

I thought it was high time to share some of the hair and skin care products I’ve been absolutely loving lately, so here they are. A lot of these are things I didn’t necessarily expect to like, but now I’m singing their praises.

1. Dove Advanced Regenerative Nourishment Serum-in-Oil

When Dove Advanced Regenerative Nourishment Serum-in-Oil ($5.99) caught my eye, I was interested…but I wasn’t convinced I actually needed it. I only wash my thin, often flat hair once or twice a week to avoid excess oil, so adding more oil to my hair wasn’t something I was inclined to do. But it has actually helped.

The pump dispenses the perfect amount for my hair!

One pump dispenses a perfect amount!

Normally I use about one pump, and then I flip my hair upsidedown and massage that through my ends — but only my ends, and maybe to around the middle of the length of my hair, but never to the roots.

That’s been the key to not having the oil increase the oil already atop my head.

My ends do tend to get a little brittle at times, and Dove Advanced Regenerative Nourishment Serum uses a mixture of palm, coconut, sweet almond, and sunflower seed oils. Oddly enough, it actually does leave my ends feeling light and fluffy.

2. KMS California Dry XTreme Hairspray

I don’t have a ride-or-die hairspray, so I usually bounce from brand to brand. KMS wasn’t a brand I’d previously heard of before, but now thanks to KMS California Dry XTreme Hairspray ($19.50) it’s one I will definitely repurchase from.

Dove Advanced Series Regenerative Nourishing Serum-in-Oil and KMS Dry Xtreme hairspray.

Dove Advanced Series Regenerative Nourishing Serum-in-Oil and KMS Dry Xtreme hairspray

This hairspray tames my flyaways and still leaves me able to run my fingers through my hair at the end of the day. Seriously, there’s nothing more annoying than trying to brush your hair or run your fingers through your hair quickly and actually pulling out strands. 🙁

3. Ponds Evening Soothe Cleansing Towelettes

When my boyfriend was out of town, I spent a lot of time with friends, and that often involved being out late. Several of my friends are leaving the city after graduate school, so I took the week to spend time with people I haven’t seen in a while. Getting back to my apartment at 2 a.m., though, didn’t leave a lot of time for skin cleansing.

Front and center, Ponds Evening Soothe Cleansing Towelettes

Front and center: Ponds Evening Soothe Cleansing Towelettes

I mentioned liking the original scent Ponds cleansing towelettes in my post about wearing makeup at the gym, and the Evening Soothe ones ($5.49) are just as great when your skin needs a quick cleansing.

Like the regular ones, they aren’t the best at taking off my makeup, but as far as getting off that grimy feeling from the subway and the city in general, they’re top notch.

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If You’re Over 30, It Might Be Time to Get to Know Living Proof Timeless [SPONSORED]

Published in: Hair, Living Proof, Sponsored Post, Ulta

living proof timeless

In partnering with Ulta Beauty, I’ve received product samples and/or compensation for my time and effort in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #sponsored @ultabeauty

My thirtieth birthday heralded some pretty big life changes. Like, I met my kitty soulmate (hey, that’s a huge deal, OK?), took the plunge to pursue my lifelong dream of freelance writing (this was shortly before I started the blog), and I finally got hitched to El Hub (we’d been dating a while).

Big things also started happening in my beauty-related life. For instance, my skin underwent some crazy-@ss changes. After years of oily skin, my epidermis turned combination oily-dry, and then there was that awful period of hormonal acne along my jawline and chin.

Oh, and my hair didn’t make it through unscathed. Two words: the grays.

They’d been around since I was a teenager — a few occasional gray hairs tucked away, usually on the back of my head (everyone in my family goes gray early) — but around the time I turned 30, all hell broke loose. I started seeing gray hairs where I’d never seen them before, like around my bangs and on the top of my head. Suddenly, going to the salon for a touch of color stopped being something I did just for fun when I got restless or felt like a change. It became part of regular maintenance, like going to the dentist.

And that’s not all. I also started noticing changes in the texture of my hair. “What are these random wiry Chinese noodle-like strands coming out of my head?”

Oh, that’s my hurr!

Turns out I wasn’t alone in this. Many women (and dudes) experience changes in their hair around the age of 30. It’s something that the products in Living Proof’s new Timeless collection are designed to address. They’re made to help hair cope with the age-related changes that often happen to your hair in your 30s and up, protecting it from breakage, while keeping hair looking voluminous, shiny, smooth and rich in color.

The new four-piece Living Proof Timeless line is available now exclusively at Ulta Beauty and includes the Timeless Pre-Shampoo Treatment ($26), Timeless Shampoo ($28), Timeless Conditioner ($28) and Timeless Plumping Mousse ($28).

All of them are sulfate-free, silicone-free and color safe, and they also contain UV protectors to extend the life of your hair color and protect your hair against damage from heat styling and the sun.

They’re all designed to work together as part of the system…but, of course, you can cherry pick and just use your faves. I’ve been using the whole kit and caboodle for maximum effect, and it’s been about about two weeks. So far, my long, color-treated hair is feelin’ it.

My favorite member of the Timeless fam has to be the Pre-Shampoo Treatment. I was a little wary of it at first because I’d never used a pre-shampoo treatment before and didn’t know what to expect. Mostly, I thought it would be an unnecessary step, but yeah, now that I’ve used this one, I see the point.

living proof pre shampoo

Living Proof Pre-Shampoo

Have you ever used a pre-shampoo before? Basically, they’re moisturizing treatments, like hair masks, oils and butters, that you apply to your hair while it’s wet or dry before you hop into the bath or shower to shampoo and/or condition. The extra step adds shine, and it’s also supposed to make the Timeless shampoo and conditioner work better.
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