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Gift Guide 2015: Happy Holiday Hair

17 Dec

Good hair makes the season bright.

AVEDA
A Gift Of Pure Moisture For Hair €52
AVEDA A Gift of Pure Moisture for Hair
I don’t know: have you ever bought yourself a nice brush? Now that I think about it, I don’t have a notion where any of my hair brushes have come from… which is a little weird/unsanitary. So, it follows that if you haven’t ever splurged on a quality hair grooming implement, then someone you know and love may not have either. This could suit a dude, too, and the addition of a full-sized sample of Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil makes this a clever, useful gift.

It’s a special choice in another way. Aveda have teamed up with Himalayan Bio-Trade Limited and employed people of Nepal to create the hand-crafted Lotka Bark Paper in which all the brand’s Christmas gifts are wrapped. 5,500 people have been employed to make more than 2,000,000 sheets of paper, allowing families to sustain themselves and send their children to school.

There are nine more gifts in the range with prices covering the gamut from €20-60, and all benefit those Nepalese crafts people. #LoveForNepal

SCHWARZKOPF PROFESSIONAL
BC Time Restore Gift Bag €33.50
TIME RESTORE gift
I have been acquainting myself with many of the the products in Schwarzkopf’s Professional line, and I can heartily recommend not only the BC Time Restore gift bag as shown — the Q10 Plus Treatment is especially excellent, even if not paired with the shampoo, which is also fab. There’s a gift bag for those who need a BC Moisture Kick, those who are a bit hard on their locks and could use a BC Repair Rescue and another fave combo of mine, BC Colour Freeze. This last really is super for colour treated hair, giving it a blast of shine and lifting it when it feels like it’s going a bit dull.

GHD
Deluxe Dry & Style Gift Set €245
GHD DELUXE
I’ve been using hair straighteners for ages, but I have seen the ghd light: this heats up in a finger snap, straightens the bejayziz out of my fine, sometimes-flyaway hair, and I never feel like I am overdoing it or stressing my tresses. I just love it. They are not cheap, but in combination with the air® hair dryer this is one impressive deal. I gotta say, using the air® is a professional experience even for me, who blasts her hair dry every single time. How much does a loved one want a great hair year? How much do you? This is The Big Gift for sure — but I swear, you’ll never look back.

KÉRASTASE
Elixir Ultime Serum Solide €28.95
KERASTASE elixir ultimeSmall but mighty, this is 18 grammes of beautifully scented hair goodness. A tiny amount scraped off with a fingernail and rubbed between the palms creates a fluid imbued with 15 oils that add shine and a rich, woodsy scent. You won’t smell like a pine tree, no matter how seasonally appropriate! It’s more like a floriental, and it will inspire anyone you hug to come back for more. If you use too much you’ll get a predictably heavy result — experiment to determine the correct amount. I mean, you know, counsel your giftee to do so. It’s not like you’re out shopping for yourself, right?

***

I Try Before You Buy: Lush Tangled Hot Oil Treatment

10 Dec

Hmmm. I wasn’t sure that Lush’s venture into deep conditioning hair care was gonna work — way to keep an open mind! I do like the brand’s Jumping Juniper Shampoo Bar {and while I was checking, I see that there’s a Karma-scented bar, must try!} but also remember a foray into a solid conditioner that did not work.

Our friends at Lush are never afraid to take a risk on innovation, so holding fast to my own courage, I went for it.

Hot oil on a stick?
01 treat on a stick

The instructions said to go boil the kettle, get a suitable container, and prepare to swish. Okay!
02 in the mug

The swishing began. Adding enough to cover the solid… stuff, I swished and swished, keeping in mind that it was suggested that increments of hot water be added. A timeframe of five minutes was offered; as an impatient person, five minutes of swishing felt like five hours. Due to this impatience, I definitely jumped the gun; I applied some, and then realised that I could in fact get more out of it. Given how much hair I have, I immediately thought I’d ruined the whole undertaking. I added more water, swished a bit, created more, but less creamy, product — I make these mistakes so you don’t have to. Be patient! This process really does work!
03 mixing it up

Even with my inability to do what the packaging told me to do, there was plenty of this to go round. Having learned my lesson, I waited the requisite 20 minutes.
04 doing its job

TANGLED LUSH
Woweeeee: shiny! Also: soft, beautifully scented with ylang ylang and rosewood, silky, touchable — an amazing result. I wanted to do it all over again — with less impatient swishing — as soon as possible. There’s also one called Damaged, chock full of almond, avocado and extra virgin olive oils, if your hair has got the wintery weather blues. Take a chance on either one — it’s worth it.

***

€8.95/£6.20

Bank Holiday Spa Staycation: All the Stuff I Never Have Time To Do

4 Aug

BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND… or rather, some of the stuff I never have time to do. It’s mainly those oils that get short shrift in the regime, which is a pity because I loooove oils and I love the deep moisturising kind of thing that they produce.

Let’s start from the left, though, just to keep everything organised.

The Clinique Sonic {which I pronounce in my head as ‘Sonique’, surely a missed opportunity for the marketing heads} has launched a Massage Treatment Applicator {€25} to go with their new Sculptwear Contouring Massage Cream Mask {€48} and I think it is just terrific. This new applicator, which is metal and was developed by dermatologists, feels like it is doing the work of those sorts of facials that inject serum into the skin. This wouldn’t have exactly that function, but using the Sonic to make sure that you’re getting the fullest benefit of the mask is a no-brainer: it gets the product deeper into your skin than your fingers can do.

The scent is gorgeous  and my skin looked fresh and vibrant, but the 50ml tub feels a little tiny, as I felt I used a little more product than I would under normal, non-vibrating-applicator circumstances, but that’s my only criticism < which, in fairness, isn’t negligible, but given the result, I think I can cope.

I am sucker for a cult product, and La Roche-Posay’s Serozinc {€10} certainly qualifies, with the number of women who have had to stock up on this whilst abroad can attest. I don’t suffer from blemish-prone skin, but I do like the odd pore-tightening {TWSS} and this toner promises to do just that. I found myself giving myself the odd spray every time I passed, and the refreshment was of the highest order. I’ve never really gotten into the ‘spray spring water on your face’ thing that has been made famous by other French spas — and the weather certainly hasn’t been roasting enough to encourage that practice — but I am so lazy with toning that I’m hoping I get into the habit with this. Dat price, tho: best value for a toner of any stripe.

I loved the results I got from label.m‘s Brightening Blonde range, and I have to say it may be replaced in my affections by their Honey & Oat line. The shampoo {€14.97} and conditioner {€18.64} are the bomb, although I do find that the conditioner doesn’t do the best job of making my tangle-y tresses easier to untangle. Luckily, the Treatment Mask does a better job, and I did a good job using it — I left it on for a good long while in the shower, and my hair felt like silk when I dried it. LABEL M HAIRLooked like it too, without any styling: just a good blast dry and brushing, and my highlights look rejuvenated as well. I’ll have to be using more of the conditioner than I’d like, perhaps, but I am very happy with this trio. And smelling like a delicious autumnal bowl of porridge is no bad thing, either.

Onto the oils! There’s nothing like applying a scented oil to a damp bod, but who has time for this in the normal run of a week? Not me, so I took advantage of allll the time at my disposal and lashed on Neom‘s new 3-in-1 Face, Body & Hair Oil {€43 RRP}. I tried the Daily Boost version, that comes infused with Wild Mint & Mandarin: On wet skin, a little goes a long way, and two days later, my pelt still feels nice and silky. I am wary of things that say they can go all over you, and haven’t been brave enough to try it on the hair, or the face, TBH.

I was more than happy to use No7‘s Youthful Replenishing Oil on my visage, obvs, and put this on fresh out of the shower as well. Loaded with rosehip and jojoba, and Vitamins C, E and A, I put some on before bed too, which I am sure is something that a beauty expert might caution against — one may get too much of a good thing, mightn’t one? — but I didn’t care. My face didn’t fall off, so.

Vichy Laboratoires have revamped their Pureté Thermale range, and I liked the look of the One Step Cleanser {€14.99} — although, again, not sure that using it to remove eye make up, the third element in the 3 in 1, would be something that I’d attempt. I hate creamy cleaners on my eyes. Otherwise, I found this very effective, even though I only used it once at the beginning of this whole process. It’s kind of scary how, even when you think you’ve done everything to cleanse your skin, there’s still pesky bits of foundation stuck in your pores. This did a good job of getting the leftovers off, and I’ll be bringing it into my usual schedule.

But now, it is the dreaded post-Bank Holiday Tuesday… once more into the breach, my friends!

***

You can find label.m on http://www.lookfantastic.com or on http://www.kaos.ie.

***

 

 

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.

***

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