Showing posts with label hair styling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hair styling. Show all posts

Thursday, 10 March 2016

BUY THIS NOW: Fudge Urban Iced Coconut Cocktail Hairspray

Ever since I got a Bettie Page style retro fringe, my mornings have had an extra getting-ready step in them:  re-blow dry the fringe, poke it into shape, and spray the shit out of it with hairspray.  This last part is essential to avoiding a) weird gaps b) my hair flying upwards in a mild breeze and c) my beautiful fringe going wavy if I get a bit hot, but seriously, half the time I end up with the horrible smell of hairspray in my nose for at least two hours after I apply it.

NO MORE, my friends, NO MORE.  Because I have discovered this Fudge Urban Iced Coconut Cocktail hairspray, and it smells of COCONUTS and PINA COLADAS and HOLIDAYS and FUN and not horrible early mornings.

Seriously, I can't tell you how lovely it is to have the scent of coconut wafting into my nose compared to the scent of regular hairspray.

Anyway - as a hairspray, it's also pretty good, if a little omgintense.  A bit of this and my fringe isn't going anywhere - it's set into a perfect retro fringe-helmet, which even the gustiest of winds won't disturb.  Particularly impressive given the relatively inexpensive £5.29 price tag - I was expecting it to cost more, and I probably would pay more for it.  Fudge Urban also do a slightly less hardcore Iced Raspberry & Vanilla hairspray, which I'll probably buy soon, and with the combination of these two, my life is forever changed, and shall never reek unattractively of hairspray again.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Quick Pick: got2b Oil-licious Dry Oil Mist

I've never actually tried any of Schwarzkopf sub-brand got2b's hair products - I'm ashamed to admit I go straight to the more expensive salon brands when I'm looking for a new styling product.  When my hairdresser used it as a finishing product the other day, though, I knew I had to investigate further.

Oil-licious Dry Oil Mist promises to tame flyaways and add shine.  Over the past few weeks I've been using it as a finishing spray to tame my slightly fuzzy ends, and to smooth down frizz, as I'd normally use a regular hair oil.  Instead of distributing a few drops of hair oil through the ends of my hair with my hands, I've been giving my hair a quick spritz with Oil-licious Dry Oil Mist instead.  It works - my hair's left soft, very shiny and a little smoother, and I think it's helping my ends to stay smoother for longer.

What I particularly like is that the mist format is much less error prone than using a neat hair oil.  I sometimes go a bit overboard on oil, ending up having to wash my hair much sooner than usual, but the fine mist format of this product makes it much harder to overload the hair, particularly if you apply it in short bursts.  It's easier to avoid roots, too.  Just bear in mind that despite the claims of argan oil on the packaging, it uses a lot of silicone to give you that smooth, silky feeling.

At just £4.19, it's a cheap and cheerful and very effective way to finish your style.  Find it at Boots.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Surprisingly Good: L'Oreal Elvive Rich Nourishing Leave-In Cream

I took Elvive's Extraordinary Oil-in-Cream Rich Nourishing Leave-In Cream (phew) to the USA with me a few weeks back, risking that it'd be a good enough multi-tasker to be a leave in styling product on wet hair and an emergency frizz-tamer on dry hair.

I was pleasantly surprised - despite being a thick, slippy cream, it's light enough that you can apply a dab to dry hair and smooth down flyaways or serious frizz, with the hair looking well hydrated and sleek rather than fuzzy afterwards.  I also tried a squidge distributed through the midlengths and ends just after washing and conditioning, and rather fabulously, my hair dried into soft waves and curls with a lot less fuzz than usual.

Beware - using too much will leave your hair looking a bit overladen, but starting with a small dab and working up will help control frizz, add moisture and generally leave your hair looking much smoother.  Despite using it pretty constantly for two weeks, I didn't get any build up, either - it washes away nicely even with sulphate-free shampoo.  All this for only £6.99!  Bargain, particularly given that the product I used to use for between-wash moisturising, Phyto 7, costs £15.50 for a tube a third of the size.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Color Wow Pop & Lock Crystallite Shellac

I'm genuinely a little bit confused by Color Wow's Pop & Lock Crystallite Shellac.  It's described as a new breed of styling product, and the instructions simply advise you to apply to wet or dry hair and style as usual.  Supposedly, the shellac-like formula seals in colour and moisture and locks out dryness.

My first experiment with it saw me apply it to damp hair and then use my Babyliss Big Hair for a smooth blow dry.  My hair, which is bleached and extremely colour processed, turned out smooth and shiny, but felt a little dry and lacking in moisture in the ends, particularly compared to when I use a blowdry cream like Bumble & Bumble's Blow Dry Straight.

My second experiment involved using a couple of pumps along the mid-lengths and ends of my dry, styled hair as a finishing product.  The results were better - I got great definition, my ends were smooth without a trace of fuzz, and my hair was amazingly shiny.  Crystallite Shellac contains mica for sparkle, which you can see in the bottle and on your hands, but unfortunately (thankfully?) doesn't come across on the hair at all.

Overall, then, I suspect this product may be a better match for someone whose hair is less frazzled from colour than mine is, particularly if you want to use it as a dual purpose wet and dry styler.  If you're looking for a super shiny, definition giving finishing product, it's definitely worth a try, regardless of the condition of your hair - an added bonus is that it feels a lot lighter than an oil or a serum.  Find it at Feel Unique where it costs £14 - not a bad price at all given that a couple of pumps is all I needed on my mid-length, thick hair.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Quick Pick: Jo Hansford Voluminous Spray

I don't usually go for volumising products on my hair - it's thick, fluffy texture means that I generally want to reduce the volume rather than increase it.  A few haircuts ago, though, my hairdresser took a good chunk of weight out of the midlengths, leaving it much less fluffy than usual, and in need of a boost at the roots.  Luckily, I received this new Voluminous Spray from colour maestro Jo Hansford, and since then, it's been a regular part of my hair styling routine.

Voluminous Spray is a super lightweight mist with a delicate fragrance.  It's designed to give volume and body to fine or limp hair, whilst also protecting the hair from heat.  This is a good point - my usual combination of blowdry creams protects my lengths, but I never put them on my roots, which means my roots were sort of unprotected until I started using this product.

Anyway, spritzed into the roots before blow drying, I definitely notice that my hair has lots more volume - if I really emphasise volume by drying my hair in the opposite direction to the way it lays flat, I get some serious bouffe.  Added to my normal styling regime, it's a more subtle effect (thankfully).  I'm most impressed by the lasting power - my hair stays full all day, and in the morning a bit of a shake through with my fingers at the roots reinvigorates the volume.

In summary, then, I'm seriously impressed, and will probably repurchase once the bottle is finished - although I suspect it'll be a long time coming, as the six or seven spritzes I use barely makes a dent in the amount of liquid in the bottle.  Find it now at Jo Hansford's website, where it costs a spendy but not exorbitant £18.50.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Friday, 2 January 2015

KMS Curl Up Perfecting Lotion and Leave-In Conditioner

There are a myriad of products for curly hair on the market.  Most claim to define and moisturise curls - and these two new products from KMS, part of their Curl Up range, claim the same thing - moisturised, defined curls which aren't crispy and retain movement and bounce.

The Perfecting Lotion provides definition and also claims to allow re-definition during the day with a bit of scrunching.  The formula is a fairly thin but still rich and slippy liquid which distributes evenly throughout the hair.  My normal curl routine is to apply product and then scrunch gently before leaving my hair alone to encourage curls.  I found that the Perfecting Lotion did reduce frizz, but didn't really encourage my curl very much - the end result was more wavy than curly.  I suspect that this is partially down to the lack of ingredients which pull up the curl and set it in place - this definitely avoids crunch, but means the curl enhancement isn't quite as impressive as other products which do leave a bit of residue behind.

On the other hand, the Leave-In Conditioner delivers brilliantly on its promises - which are to simply add moisture and reduce frizz without weighing the hair down.  The light feeling cream is also silky in texture, and the ends of my hair were definitely less fuzzy after use.  Avoid applying on the root area unless your hair is super dry, though - this stuff may feel light, but it's very moisturising, and over application will leave your hair feeling a bit overcoated.

Unfortunately neither of these products rocked my curls - but I will continue to use the leave in conditioner for well moisturised, less fuzzy hair.

Disclosure: PR samples

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Monday, 29 December 2014

A year in review: 2014's Killer Products

2014 has been a great year for beauty.  We've seen millions of variations on tubby pencils, micellar waters continue to be a big thing on the high street as well as from high end brands, and cleansing conditioners became king.

Over the year, I've declared a few truly excellent products BUY THIS NOW items, which conveniently makes it much easier for me to compile a review of them, and to reflect on whether they're still favourites.

The first stand out of the year, and the only nail polish to truly knock my socks off, was the rather beautiful Into the Night by Girlie Bits, an indie brand which makes the most stunning holographic and duochrome polishes.  I still wear it, and I still stare at my nails when I do.

On the hair side, I fell firmly in love with L'Oreal Elvive's Fibrology hair care, which promises and delivers thicker feeling hair.  I don't use the shampoo (it contains the dreaded colour-dulling sulphates) but the conditioner, serum and mask have all earned permanent places in my bathroom.  Perhaps the highest praise is that my husband uses them too, and chooses to repurchase the shampoo every time he runs out.

More recently, I tried out Bumble and Bumble's Blow Dry creams, and found that they really do help you get a smooth blow dry with minimal effort.  You only need a little bit, they make the hair super shiny, and they smell neutral to boot.  I'll be repurchasing the original Straight version when my sample is finished.

Macadamia's Flawless Cleansing Conditioner was one of the first widely available cleansing conditioners, and it's lightweight yet still nourishing formula cleans the hair beautifully, reduces blow dry time, and leaves the hair smooth and shiny.  Lovely it is, but it's perhaps telling that I've not repurchased it.

One product I completely failed to write about, but absolutely adore, is the Babyliss Big Hair.  The first couple of times I used it I managed to tangle my hair up rather impressively, but with a little practice this rotating brush has become my favourite way to style my hair.  Used on damp hair, it gives a shiny, bouncy blow dry which almost looks like a professional has done it.

These recently released Bourjois Mega Liner and Volume 1 Seconde mascara are still getting used virtually every day.  Intense black pigment, easy to use packaging and very reasonable pricing make this eye pairing a winner.

On the other end of the price scale, I found my Holy Grail waterproof mascara.  Clarins Truly Waterproof mascara stays put, wears like iron, and gives a very defined, voluminous look.  I've been through three repurchases since my sample ran out earlier this year.

Eyeshadow wise, there have been a lot of beautiful palettes I've fallen in love with this year, but this small, super-cheap palette from Makeup Revolution combines flattering shades, good pigmentation and excellent blendability with a teeny tiny price.

I'd heard of Amazing Concealer before, but hadn't quite appreciated the power of the tiny tube until I tried it.  The pigmentation is intense, and you only need the tiniest bit to erase dark circles and blemishes.  It's economical too - my tiny sample tube is still going strong.

Unsurprisingly, I found a handful of really good lip products this year.  My absolute favourite is this Sephora Give Me More Lip sampler, which contains seventeen products in mini sizes and a variety of shades and formats.  I still carry around a number of products from it at all times, and I really love the cute little lipsticks as well as the huge variety I got to try out from a single set.

Kiko's Unlimited Stylo lipsticks were a revelation in long-lasting matte at a budget price - at least 8 hours of wear combined with intense pigmentation made these gorgeous lipsticks an absolute winner for me.  Hibiscus Red, a pink-toned red, still lives in my makeup bag, and I get it out every time I want a power matte red which will last with no maintenance.

At the other end of the price scale, there's no doubt that Estee Lauder's Pure Color Sculpting Lipsticks are expensive at £24 a pop, but they're so beautiful.  Creamy in texture and with incredible pigmentation and impressive wear, they're luxurious, functional, and come in a very wide array of colours.

When Bourjois entered the fray with a matte liquid lipstick, the world sat up and took notice.  Rouge Edition Velvet are a range of easy to apply, beautifully soft matte liquid lipsticks which last well and are very easy on the wallet.  My favourite shade, Frambourjoise, has earned me many a compliment this year.

So that's it!  The cream of the products I've tried this year.  What have been your favourites?  Let me know in the comments!

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Friday, 12 December 2014

BUY THIS NOW: Bumble & Bumble Blow Dry in All-Style, Straight and Repair

My friends, I'm shit at blow drying my hair.  You see, I have rather a lot of it, and I get bored quite quickly, and so I usually end up just blasting it dry and ending up with a red/pink lion's mane.  Recently I bought a Babyliss Big Hair, which has helped quite a bit, but I still get bored, and sometimes it still turns out a bit fuzzy, thanks to my hair's natural inclination to be 80s big and fluffy.

When I received these new Blow Dry creams from Bumble & Bumble I wasn't really expecting a lot.  I've got a fair few blow dry creams already, and they don't really make a difference to my hair.  At £23, they're not cheap, but wow - these do make a difference to my hair.  All-Style is designed for thinner or more oily hair, and it's not quite heavy duty enough to deal with my colour-treated fuzz, but the original Straight version and the new, seriously hydrating Repair version are veritable blow dry genius.

A small squidge smoothed through the hair magically coats it, protecting it from heat, and encouraging it to dry faster and dry smoother.  With a hair dryer and a paddle brush, I can dry it absolutely straight - straight enough that my colleagues notice I've straightened it.  With my Big Hair, I can get a smooth, bouncy, curly-ended blow dry which actually looks as if someone skilled did it.

And I swear it takes less time to dry my hair with this stuff than without.
And my hair lasts so much longer than normal in it's shiny blow dried state, rather than returning quickly to curly fuzz.


These creams are going to remain a big part of my hair styling routine until they run out, and then I will buy a new tube of the Repair variety, which really quenches my dry ends.  If you struggle to blow dry your hair, these creams are absolutely, definitely, completely worth trying.

Disclosure: PR samples

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie

In another episode of "Things I Bought In America Recently", here's Shea Moisture's Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, a potently moisturising blend designed to define curls, tame frizz, and make your hair smell amazing.

I chose to pick up this bumper-sized tub because of my overwhelmingly positive experience with some other products from the Shea Moisture range - specifically the Frizz-Free Curl Mousse - and I wondered how my hair would like the much heavier Smoothie.  The Smoothie is definitely one for dry, rebellious curly hair - the Curl Mousse is light enough to use on less demanding hair.  At first, I found myself using far too much Smoothie, and ending up with hair which felt almost greasy on the ends from over-moisturising - a rare experience indeed.

Anyway, for my dry, colour-treated curly hair, a tiny dab distributed through the mid-lengths and ends adds plenty of moisture, and defines my curls somewhat into very loose ringlets.  The Curl Mousse encourages a slightly tighter, although still not too tight, ringlet - neither product causes the hair to spring up shorter.

Whilst I'm enjoying using the Smoothie, I don't think I'd buy it again - I think it's better suited to incredibly dry and rebellious hair which needs weighing down.  My hair is dry, but not that dry, and additional weight tends to make it look lank.  If you're constantly fighting dryness and frizz, the Curl Enhancing Smoothie is definitely worth a try.

I paid around $12 at Walgreens in the States, but you can find it online in the UK for £12.99 - not a massive markup, comparatively, but still a lot more expensive than bribing someone to bring a tub home for you, if you're desperate to try it.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Michael Van Clarke 3 More Inches Styling Products

Looking back over some old photos in my camera, I realised I'd not written about Michael Van Clarke's 3 More Inches styling products.  If you read my post about the haircare system, you'll know that the aim of the products is to keep the hair healthy over the long term so it doesn't need to be chopped off - hence, 3 More Inches.  The styling products are additive to that - they help you style your hair (obviously) whilst adding more health-giving goodness into the mix.

Sounds a bit vague, yes, but over the past six months I've found myself reaching for these more often than their non-3 More Inches counterparts.  The Volumising Mousse, £12.50, adds volume and curl definition without crispiness, the Holding Spray, £12.50, doesn't leave my hair feeling stiff, and the Thickening Blow Dry spray, £17.50, really does add thickness, whilst also leaving my hair bouncy and soft.

The only one I'm not convinced about is the Finishing Feed wax, £23.50.  It's a heavy wax, fairly solid in texture, and I really struggled to scrape out enough with my nails to tame my hair, before I got bored.  The wax itself is creamy and thick, but it's just bloody difficult to get out of the tub.

If I had to pick one product to re-purchase, it'd be the Thickening Blow Dry spray, for its heat protecting, nourishing, thickness-giving formula.  It's also not wildly expensive for a brand which positions itself as pretty high end.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Quick Pick: Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray and Styling Creme

My local Boots recently got a Bumble and Bumble stand.  As well as tons of lovely looking hair products, it also boasts a lovely lady who explains and recommends B&B products, and will give you a demo at the built-in hair station.  Brilliant, eh?

I wandered over a short while ago looking for some new products to give me VOLUME.  In capitals.  Because my hair still hasn't fully grown back from the contraceptive implant debacle.  I was recommended these two products, because apparently used in tandem with heat, they give plenty of volume and enough hold to keep it in the hair.

I took home two small 50ml bottles to try them out, and I'm impressed enough that I'm going to buy the full size versions.  I apply small amount of Styling Creme through the midlengths and ends, and a good spritz of Thickening Hairspray through the roots before blow drying - and the result is full, bouncy hair which keeps its bounce pretty well between washes.

In fact, if I blow dry my hair upside down with this stuff, I get so much volume that I end up looking like a LION.  A redhead lion, admittedly, but still, damn impressive.

Find the little sizes of Styling Creme and Thickening Hairspray at Boots now, where they'll set you back £6.50 and £7 respectively.

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating our copyright.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

BUY THIS NOW: Macadamia No Tangle Pre Styler

This unassuming green bottle is my new favourite hair product.  It's from the Macadamia range, which uses macadamia and argan oils to rejuvenate the hair and maintain a glossy, swishy mane.  Branded the No Tangle Pre Styler, it claims to moisturise the hair and eliminate tangles whilst aiding the styling process.

And bloody hell, it does all this and more.

You spray it generously over the hair before blow drying, and indeed, the light silky oil helps to eliminate tangles and make combing a breeze.  I was worried that generously applying an oil based product would result in greasiness, but it's actually a very light product which doesn't weigh the hair down or make it oily.

After blowdrying, my hair is amazingly soft, silky, bouncy and shiny.  I rarely put a lot of effort into blowdries; more often than not I aim for something not too frizzy with a bit of volume.  This stuff, though, boosts my low-effort blowdry so my hair ends up perfectly smooth afterwards.  Truly impressive stuff.

A small 100ml bottle costs a mere £8, with the larger 250ml bottle costing around £16.  A price well worth paying - and once I'm through the small bottle I bought to test this product out, I'll definitely be buying a larger bottle.

You'll find Macadamia's No Tangle Pre Styler at BeautyBay now.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Review: Remington Keratin Therapy Pro Volume Styler

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Remington Keratin Therapy Pro Volume styler brush thing, and I absolutely adore it.  It is a simple styling brush with a keratin treated ceramic barrel, and it's so easy to use even someone with no hair styling skill (like me) can get smooth hair with great volume.

It boasts two heat settings; 120 degrees, and 180 degrees, and it takes a couple of minutes to get to maximum temperature.  The black switch you can see just above the power light tunes down the tension in the brush head, allowing it to spin around easily, which helps to get it out of the hair if you've wound the hair tightly round the barrel to create curls or volume.

I've really been enjoying using this tool and will continue to do so because it's just so easy!  I don't really like the poker-straight straightening iron look but I did like how low-effort it was to achieve - the Pro Volume styler makes bouncy, flicky hair just as easy as straightening.  I just take small to medium sections of hair, brush them through quickly, and then wrap the strand around the barrel, holding it either horizontally for gentle curls or vertically for bouncy smoothness.  

Hair is left incredibly shiny and smooth after use, and since I've started using it more than one eagle-eyed friend has said that it looks like it's been blow dried by a professional.  Impressive stuff.

At just £27.99, this little styling tool is a bargain, and I will happily recommend it to everyone I know.  Find it at Boots, and other high street electrical retailers.

Disclosure: PR sample

Monday, 17 September 2012

Review - GHD Air hairdryer

GHD straighteners are the stuff of legend, and although I've not tried them myself, I have it on good authority that they were pretty much game-changers for the entire straightener market. Now GHD has released its first retail-market hairdryer, the Air, costing £99. As with the straighteners, it's an asking price way above market norms. Which begs the question - will the GHD Air also be a cult product, or is it simply overpriced?

I've been testing out the GHD Air over the last couple of weeks, and having used them nearly every day during that time, I now feel qualified to give an opinion. But first, let's go over the product features and appearance...

Inside that excitingly luxe-looking black box are the hairdryer, a brief (and quite perfunctory) instruction manual, and two nozzles for directing the dryer's airflow.

The dryer itself is a handsome beast. It's matte black and very sleek, with a long cord (no hovering by the plug socket while drying). It's medium-weight - heavier than my usual dryer, but not the kind of thing that's going to build your right arm muscles up Popeye-style either. The air inlet grille is especially pretty, with cut-out patterns and a GHD logo. Really nice design touch.

The nozzles are also sturdy and high-quality, and they clip securely onto the nose of the dryer - possibly a little too securely for me, as I had trouble getting them off again when I tried both on in sequence.

The back of the dryer's neck has two rocker switches which allow you to control speed and heat. There's a cold shot function included on the temperature rocker, and there's also a cold shot short-cut button on the front of the neck which you can trigger with your finger while drying to give a short blast of cold air. So far so standard on the buttons front - I think I was maybe expecting a more advanced set of drying modes and control options.

In use, the dryer is very very powerful - it packs a 2100 watt motor and can blow pretty damn hard. It doesn't get too hot - relying instead on its speed and power to dry hair in a very short space of time. It dries very fast, and using the nozzles provided, you can get quite a good sleek blowdry with it.

It also has ionic technology - negatively charged electrons are fired at your hair to neutralise static. This isn't particularly new, but if you are prone to static, it's sure to be welcome.

But... I have to be honest. This is a very good hairdryer, but it's not a game-changer. For me at least, with my long fine hair, the time saved on drying isn't enough to make it worth the high price tag. In fact the blast-worthy jet of air can make my hair look kind of flat.

For people with very thick hair, saving on drying time may make this dryer a serious consideration. But the hard fact is that there are powerful salon-style dryers on the market that cost half the price.

Verdict: Good, but just not worth the money.

The Air GHD hairdryer is £99 from GHD

*Disclosure - PR sample
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