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I Try Before You Buy: Oils, From Top to Toe

15 Jun

Almost didn’t get the toes in — and it’s a bit of a push — but ‘top to middle’ just wasn’t doing it for me.

MATRIX Oil Wonders: Micro-Oil Shampoo & Conditioner, €12.50/each
****
I wasn’t sure that this was working for me, blonde {‘blonde’} that I am, and when I initially tried these, as argan oil always dulls down my fresh highlights. As my hair has evened out, however, this combo is perfect: for less than €30, you get salon-shiny hair and extreme manageability. Since my keratin treatment has run out, I am all about any S&C that can calm down the flyaways and the half-arsed waving that my hair does. Love these, but won’t be using them on newly ‘did’ hair, because of that pesky but beneficial argan oil.

SHU UEMURA Art of Hair Cleansing Oil Shampoo, €40
****
It took me a while to get used to the non-sudsy element involved in using this class of oil, but oh boy, this is good. I’ve used the Gentle Balancing Cleanser, and can’t see that this will any less effective: for those who suffer from dry hair and scalp, this promises to bring balance, and the right kind of moisture, to your locks. It’s infused with Neroli essential oil, which is such a useful and versatile oil and is the key ingredient that’s going to get to work on your scalp. One star off because a conditioner would be a nice accompaniment — IDK, my hair is just too tangly to do without one, despite this line making for such silky tresses…

CLINIQUE Turnaround Revitalizing Treatment Oil, €39
*****
I’m using this at nighttime, and finding it to be terrific, brightening my complexion and adding loads of hydration — which is exactly what it promises to do. It absorbs quickly, so my pillow cases are safe, and I feel better every morning after the night before I used this: looking in the mirror first thing is actually quite fun as I notice improvement every time.

I TRY OILS

No7 Youthful Replenishing Facial Oil, €30.50
***
This is a little bit too oily for daytime, if you’re me and never give yourself enough minutes in the morning to allow something to fully absorb. So: good news in that this is so rich that it does take time to sink in, but bad news if you need to hit the ground running. I’ll use this at night, or on lazy days — oh, and a little bit truly goes a long way, half a drop does the business. Great value!

L’OCCITANE Immortelle Oil Make-up Remover, €26
****
Love a good oil as a makeup remover — there really is nothing like it. This has a gorgeous scent and it is very effective in its job. I find I prefer to use it in the morning, to wake up my skin and to remove the foundation that inevitably did not come off despite my relentless cleansing campaign. Would that be a thing of the past if I used this at night? Not so much: there’s nothing like the spray of the shower and good going over with my Clinique Sonic to do the job properly. Again, a little of this goes a long way, so it’s well worth the price tag.

LACURA Suncare Oil Spray, €3.99
**
This is where I got the toes in, which is a push because I don’t think my toes have seen the sun for about six years. Aldi’s spray has only got 15 SPF/UVB, which seems so 90s, but the texture of it perfect: silky, not sticky, just like it says on the bottle. There’s a top-note of alcohol (the rubbing kind, sadly) but it dries down to a delicious, tropical coconutty fragrance. Sure, at that price you can reapply with abandon, and might only need two for your hols, if you’re lucky with the weather.

JO MALONE Velvet Rose & Oud Dry Body Oil, €62
***
The scent is gorgeous: not too rosey, not too masculine, but the combination of the oud and the rose is rich and sexy. The spray bottle is unwieldy, and as many ways as I tried to get the most out of an application — whether by spraying all over myself without rubbing it in until I was done, or spraying into one hand and applying as I went along —  slippy hands made it hard work. The staying power makes it worth the struggle. #FirstWorldProblems.

***

Beautyfull News: Elvive, Nuxe, Skinician, He-Shi and Image Skincare

1 May

Beatuyfull new things that are worth knowing about…

BEAUTYFULL NEWS 28 04

L’ORÉAL PARIS ELVIVE Nutri-Gloss Luminiser Miracle Shine Booster, €14.99
Elvive is one of my fave budget brands, and this is a pre-blow dry treatment that sprays in and stays in, and imparts high shine. There is a suite of products that go with this {shampoo and conditioner, 250mls, €5.84}, and depending upon the texture of your hair, you can spritz a bit of it on your dry hair, too. I’m finding the latter to be working well, in my case, by YMMV. It smells gorge. Available at your local pharmacy.

NUXE PARIS Prodigieux Huile de Douche, €12
Speaking of gorge-smelling things: huile de douche, lads! Between this, the body oil which I could not love more if it was my own child, and the perfume, this amazing frgrance now is fully inducted into the layering corps. Drumming my finger on my desk waiting for the shampoo and conditioner…! Available at Arnotts and selected pharmacies.

SKINICIAN Pro-Radiance Enzyme Peel, €31.50
I’ve been acquainted with the Skinician line for a while, and haven’t really become BFFs with it. There was a serum that I tried that I liked well enough, and there’s a cleanser that I like too, that foams up on contact and does a good job. I have high hopes for anything that has ‘radiance’ in the name, so am looking forward to giving it a go. Available in Harvey Nichols and select salons.

HE-SHI Overnight Ageless Tanning Balm, €28
As a fan of the brand, both the self-tanning products and the salon spray tan, I have a lot of time for this. Applied beforebed, this gradually tans your face whilst also giving it a lovely anti-ageing balm. There is hyaluronic acid in it! TheÈ whole blend is eco-friendly, too, created using sustainable methods and full of plant-based ingredients. I’m feeling a bit ambiv about tanning on my face this year — I’m feeling like a flat tan is too ageing — but this might convince me otherwise. Available in selected salons, Harvey Nichols, and McCauley Pharmacies.

IMAGE SKINCARE Intense Brightening Eye Crème, €63.50
The American brand has been residing on our shores from years, but I’ve only had tiny little samples of their work to try in the past. Not terribly helpful when one is getting to grips with a product! Happily, founders Janna and Dr Marc Ronert were in town recently, and generously produced full-sized samples for us journos and bloggers. I’ve been using this eye cream and adore it even after less than a fortnight. I’m using it mainly before bed, and am becoming rather more delighted every morning…

I Used It All Up: Schwarzkopf Professional BlondMe Keratin Restore Blonde Mask – All Blondes

20 Apr

Even as I was taking the photo, I thought, “Maybe I can get one more go out of this?”

BLONDE ME IUIAU

What I loved about this was the keratin mentioned on the label, and the keratin-esque effect it did in fact have on my hair. Now, there’s nothing like a proper keratin hair treatment, like the ones I’ve enjoyed from Queen Salon in Dublin, but this is pretty darned close. My hair felt silkier and stronger when I used this — especially when I used this because I had a non-sulfate shampoo whose conditioner was complete pants. Which is another post in the making: why is non-sulfate conditioner either non-existent or totally rubbish?

It felt like a waste to just use it a straightforward conditioner rather than as an intensive mask, but I never regretted it — who would ever regret a great hair day? {And, naturally, it is super fantastic when used for deep conditioning. I am really going to miss this one.}

***
Schwarzkopf Professional BlondMe Keratin Restore Blonde Mask – All Blondes, €19.39
***
Brunettes: your revenge is imminent. I’ve got a review on deck of a superb shampoo & conditioner combo that is not nice to blondes…
***

FOTYesterday + The Hair

10 Mar

FOTD 09 03Highlights — not just on The Hair — include:

> essence Long-lasting Lipstick {€2.89} in Come Naturally: really emollient, loving the dark nude, feels like a balm.

> Foundation via Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Perfectly Satin {€38}, which has not let me down in the month or so that I’ve been trialing it. It’s matte, but not so matte that you look like you should be displayed in Madame Tussaud’s — a lovely, natural glow is allowed to illuminate your skin without your face ever looking greasy.

> Sadly a function of the iPhone, the No7 eyeshadow is not showing up as well as it ought. This Mini Palette {€14.25} is fabbbbbbilis, the shadows are light in weight, but deep in pigment. It felt so light, even on the brush, that I loaded it up too much the first time out, and have since pulled back a little.

> Gave The Hair a little treat before shampooing: BC Oil Miracle Barbary Fig Oil {€27} from Schwarzkopf Professional. Soaked it into the lengths and ends and left it for… well over an hour I’m sure, since I was hard at work doing keyboardy stuff. Washed it out with the matching Fig Oil & Keratin Restorative Shampoo. Silky!

***

I {Almost} Used It All Up: Kiehl’s Magic Elixir

3 Feb

Gahhhhhhhh!

IUIAAU KIEHL'S

It’s not that I wanted to be done with this, because I love ittttt — but that’s not much of a dose, is it?

A couple of years ago, scalps were the new black, and it makes sense: scalps are skin, and even if you shampoo, you’re still not really taking specific care of that specific part of your body.

Now, many may holler, ‘This is ridic! Is there not a square inch of ourselves that goes without its own special product?!’ Me, I don’t care, I love product {obvs}, so was happy enough to take yet another step onboard.

I loved this on days when I had the time to drench my roots and leave it. Nothing like a good hair treatment to make one feel virtuous. And such treatments are pretty low maintenance: just lash it on and forget about it until it’s time to shower.

After using this truly Magic Elixir, my hair was silky, and my highlights looked like they’d gotten top up. What’s not to like?

That little tiny bit in the bottle, that’s what’s not to like…

***

€28.50/£25/$20

***

Plus! Avocado oils! So good for us internally and here, externally!

***

Two Hundred Days of Sexy Hair: Wella SP Luxe Oil

29 Sep

THE LUXE OIL ITSELFI cannot even begin to tell you how I had been yearning to try this stuff. I’d gone through a small can of Luxe Light Oil Spray as they say, for a short cut. I loved it, and used it as a finishing gloss, but I wanted something that was going to really get in there and keratin-ised my hair.

When I had my colour done at Mane Salon, Andrew had used some of the Luxe Oil on my locks, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Among other things, of course, but still. I think it was the word ‘elixir’ on the label. Don’t you just love the word elixir? Combined with ‘luxe’ and ‘reconstructive’, it sounds delicious and sexy and strong, all at once.

It can’t be said often enough: if it costs more, you use less. I know that you can bop into the chemists and get some hair styling product that is significantly less costly than €29.00, but srsly: you need like the barest breath of this on the hair, an eighth of a pump — you need to dispense the slightest rumour of this glorious elixir, and you will have more than enough coverage.

I use even less than the above prescription and it is sufficient unto the hair itself. Oddly, even though it feels so sleek that it might turn up greasy the next morning, I do get second day hair out of it — with the help, of course, of dry shampoo. HEY WELLA! How about some dry shampoo in this formula? I would die.

So, the littlest bit goes the longest way for the guts of two days. If you are barely using a ml of the 100mls on tap, you could have Two Hundred Days of Sexy Hair. Imagine that!

***

 

Evolution Keratin and IRS: A Match Made in Hair Heaven

26 May

On Tuesday, 25 February, I went back to Queen Salon in Aungier Street to avail of another Intense Revival System treatment. I wrote about it here, and had been pleased to have gotten more than the predicted four weeks of straightness out of that session. This time, I was determined to make it last even longer, with the help of Evolution Keratin products, which range from Shampoo and Conditioner to styling cream.

Here we are on Day One.
FIRST DAY

The first few days pass in giddy delight: The Hair is straight without being flat, and it dries in a finger snap. The shine! The shine is spectac, as whatever the IRS does to de-wave the hair also makes my highlights pop. Other benefits include repair to damaged follicles, UVA/UVB protection, and strengthening of hair weakened by chemical processing.

WEEK 2

eVOLUTION FAVES

eVolution Keratin Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner, and Blowout Treatment

Week Two! Looking good, thanks to the products pictured here. I mainly hate sulfate-free shampoos, which is silly, I know, because they are so much better for your hair. I’ve said it before: I just don’t feel like The Hair is clean if there’s not an abundance of suds. Not the case here! This feels really effective, and the conditioner is excellent as well. Sometimes the conditioner half of a sulfate-free duo can be utter rubbish, in that I have to use nearly three times as much as with a regular concoction. Not so with this stuff.

I especially liked the Blowout Treatment: I’ve been enamoured of oils for years now, it seems, and this cream has me kind of converted back to more old school stylin’. Two pumps will do ya; I will say that one needed to do rather a lot of pumping to get the flow going, as it were. I don’t know it that’s a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just a thing.

All the products are loaded up with Argan Oil. I have been wary of Argan Oil in the past, as it tends to dull down blondeness, but I didn’t have any issue with that in this instance.

WEEK 5
We are at Week Five. This is when it all started to go to pieces the last time. You can see some of the thickness coming back, but it still looks pretty sleek.

WEEK 8.
Week Eight, and I didn’t use the magical Evolution brew — can you tell? Of course you can.

WEEK 11!
Week Eleven! Seriously! That would have made it… the first week in May. So very pleased.

I have to say, just yesterday, when I was wringing my hair out prior to blasting it dry, I realised that I was wringing my hair out, and had a sad. The IRS is all gone now, and I can really feel it. Hmmm, must give the shampoo and conditioner a go, and see how well they do on their own…
JUST THE PRODUCTS
They do pretty darn well. Seems like I’ve got straight hair on tap!

***

I got my Intense Revival System treatment at Queen Salon, Aungier Street, Dublin 2.
€55 including blow dry
http://www.queen.ie

Evolution Keratin products are available from the salons that offer the IRS. See http://www.evolutionkeratin-eu.com and @EvoProof for more info.

***

BaByliss Perfect Curl: Is It Worth the Effort?

19 May

I have been gasping to get my hands on one o’ these yokes for ages. The BaByliss Perfect Curl has been an absolute unicorn in my life. Given my column in The Herald, and my assiduous blogging in this corner of the internet, it proved to be impossible to secure a sample of this implement from the brand’s public relations representatives. So, off to the googles I went, and came upon a site that was selling them for an incredibly good price* {hint: ‘cheap babyliss curl’} and it was in my hot little hands in about ten days.

How badly do I want curly hair? That desire was tested in the extreme.

I took this selfie at 15:04, GMT, Sunday, 18 May, 2014.
01 STRAIGHT UP
I plugged ‘er in, and waited while she juiced herself up. I kept my specs on, as I needed to read the directions.

THE IMPLEMENT

The BaByliss Perfect Curl


They were pretty straightforward:
> Always have the gray dot that appears on the one side of the implement pointed towards your head. This has something to do with heat, and not burning yourself.
> Choose how long you want your dry, clean, well-brushed hair to cook {12, 10, 8 seconds; there is also a 0 in that section, which makes absolutely no sense to me.}
> Choose which direction in which you want the hair to curl {Left, right, auto}{Chose auto, seriously, why make this any more complicated?}
> Take a 3mm-wide hank of hair, lay it into it in the maw of the implement and clasp it closed.
> When it beeps four times: release, emit curl.

Oh, yeah, and clip your hair into smaller hanks.
02 CLIPPIN
Because if you’re me, you’ll start out with the best intentions and then get bored stupid, and begin grabbing bits of hair, rhymelessly and reasonlessly, just to get it over with.

I began, after a few false starts — to the point where I’d cocked it up so badly that I had to turn the implement off, and turn it on again.

What happens is: if you’ve put too much hair in the thing, it kinda groans as it tries to pull all that hair into itself. It will also beep four times and then make no noise at all, so you know that you’ve done it wrong. I did it wrong several times, and once you stop squeezing it closed, you hair basically falls out of it.

No hair was harmed in the making of this post.
03 HALFWAY
Holy God, this is only halfway, and I want to kill someone.

When you do it right, the implement merrily curls up the hair with a happy curling sound, and then beeps in an intermittent fashion, and then beeps four times in quick succession, and then you have your curl.

Things I learned at this stage:
> If you think you’ve brushed your hair properly, brush it again. The tangles that lurk, even when you think you’ve done a thorough job of it!
> Take the smallest hank of hair you’ve ever held in your hand, in the whole of your life — then divide it in half. And divide it again. This is the amount of hair that will be successfully be drawn into the maw.
> Use clips. I would have been lost without these:
05 CLIPS

Is it worth it?
04 OH!
I think so…
06 FULL EFFECT
I think that once I get a hair cut, it’ll look less straggly at the ends? But those poor ends were the initial tresses that got the brunt of my inability to do it right; had I not had more than enough of curling, I would have gone over them again.

I officially powered down at 15.44. So with mistakes, and turning off and back on: the guts of 40 minutes to do this head.

The head felt awfully top heavy, so I finger-combed a bit.
OH THAT'S CURLY
Okay, I think I do like it. It seems really dry and flyaway, though — and this is second day hair, as well. Maybe next time, so that it takes even longer, I’ll use a styling spray on each miniscule lock of hair.

***
THE NEXT DAY. Now: I did all the curling yesterday, and never left the house, so there was no environmental wear and tear. I blasted the roots with dry shampoo and twisted it up into a knot, and slept. I combed it out lightly, and thus:
NEXT DAY
I haven’t used hair spray in about a decade, but think that if I was going out and intending to keep this hair looking good, I’d have to use some class of holding product.

I also feel like I’m always fiddling with it, making sure it is okay and wavy and fluffy and voluminous.

Verdict? High maintenance; wouldn’t do it everyday; but totally worth it.

***

*Thanks to lovelygirliebits for the heads up {ha, ha,} re: the benefits of googling this object.

***

Garnier Ultimate Blends: What’s Your Antidote?

31 Mar

Argh, which is not as good as ‘what’s your poison?’ but I’m going to go with it. The recent launch of Garnier Ultimate Blends haircare line saw each of their distinctive elements translated into mocktails, as shown below.
01 ALLL THE DRINKS
Just as well that they were mock, as the fruity/nutty blends went down very, very easily. Below, The One With the Coconut, which I inhaled before you could say ‘Where’s the little umbrella!?!’
02 THE ONE WITH THE COCONUT
Here’s the one with the coconut, which was especially delicious. This matched up with The Sleek Restorer, the shampoo, conditioner and treatment for those among us who suffer from dry, frizzy hair. It’s got coconut oil in it, hence the mocktail, as well as cocoa butter, which is just as well it wasn’t an ingredient, at least in the drink.

There is something for every hair issue, way beyond the usual dry-normal-greasy troika. In addition to The Sleek Restorer, you may avail of:

>The Marvellous Transformer
with Argan and Camellia Oils for dry, lifeless hair
>The Silky Smoother
with Vanilla Milk and Papaya for mid-long hair with split ends
>The Colour Illuminator
with Moroccan Argan Oil and North American Cranberry for coloured hair
>The Nourishing Repairer
with European Avocado Oil and African Shea Butter for very dry, damaged hair
> The Shine Revitaliser
with Chinese Green Tea and Mediterranean Lemon for normal hair

We all got a fluff-up from the stylists…
03 STYLIN
04 FRONTWAYS

…and were sent on our way with some of the flavours to test. I’ve used The Silky Smoother and the Colour Illuminator. Both smell delish, and despite this being a value range, a little bit of everything goes a long way. The first time I used the Silky, it took me about half an hour to rinse out the suds, simply because I used way too much.

Both dry to a blinding shine — truth — but I’ve found that the Colour Illuminator gives better second day hair. The line comes with a 7 in 1 Dry Shampoo, which didn’t work for me, so I couldn’t use it to extend my coiff. The brunettes at the launch were thrilled because it doesn’t turn your hair white; I found it wasn’t dry enough on contact, and that my hair flopped after about an hour. I love the 1 Minute Treatments, though, and have found them to be very moisturising, and again: they smell fantastic and therefore: spendy.

But! See the prices below: the value is enormous, and the line extends to hair oils as well. Because I am spoiled, I can be a bit leery of using economy brands, especially on the highlights, as cheaper products can be pretty harsh. These felt great, and gave an posh finish, as fancy as any of the higher priced brands I’ve tried. They do seem to be erring on the side of dry hair, probably a result of all the heat we have been applying over the last number of years, but I wonder at the lack of a greasy hair formula. I suppose the dry shampoo is there for that, but I’d want something that goes — ha, ha — directly to the root of the problem in the cleansing process…

***

Garnier Ultimate Blends:
Shampoos and conditioners: €3.99
One minute treatments: €6.99
7 in 1 Dry Shampoo: €5.49
Hair oils: €10.99

***

KEVIN.MURPHY is Australian For ‘G’Day Hair’

25 Mar

Have you seen Preen? It has installed its stylish salon self on Dame Street, slap bang in the middle of everything, and amongst its many appealing aspects, such as…

00 STYLISH SERVICE

Stylish service

… really pretty presentation of one’s cappucino and eensy cupcake…

02 STYLISH WASH

Stylish shampooing

… one of the most chilled shampoo rooms I’ve ever encountered, one that not only has massage chairs, but also wafts the scent of relaxing essential oils throughout…

01 STYLISH DISPLAY

Stylish display

… a design ethic that even embraces the way things are put on shelves…

03 STYLISH S&C

Style in bottles


… and the actual product that’s actually on the shelves. I would have been drawn to KEVIN.MURPHY simply down to the rectangular bottles — shallow packaging design groupie that I am — but what’s in it is as good as it looks, in style and substance.

What’s not in the Antipodean product is good, too. No parabens! No sulphates! Me, I love a good sulphate even though they are bad. I am of the mindset that suds = clean, and it’s correct as far as the dirt goes, but those foaming sulphates strip the natural oils out of the hair, the ones that keep your locks from drying out, and your scalp from getting all flaky. When I do use a sulphate-free shampoo, I always feel like my hair is still dirty even after the repeat after the rinse, and I go for a third round. Not an efficient use of time or product!

KEVIN won me over simply because I do feel like my hair is clean, despite the lack of bubbles. The first wash is fine, but the second really does the job, and I can feel the cleanliness. The conditioning rinse is fab, and I don’t think I’m using any more than I would of a sulphate-laden sort.

It is as though the products pictured have been tailor-made for my blonde, fine hair; you can check out the brand’s website for more information regarding your own type of tress. There’s some fab looking styling stuff as well!

Oh, and the result, thanks to my stylist Merilee?
04 STYLISH BLOW DRY

***

Preen Dublin is located at 52 Dame Street, right near the junction of Georges Street, but opposite, if ya get me. See preendublin.ie for prices, and ring 01 670 8080 for an appointment.

KEVIN.MURPHY: BLONDE.ANGEL.WASH is €25 and ANGEL.RINSE is €24.

***

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