Now Trending: Luxury Hair Goods

One thing I tend to tell people when I get into discussions over careers and such is that if I could “do it” all over again (meaning go back to school and choose another path of study), I’d major in journalism or communications and push for a career in fashion and beauty journalism.  I’d specifically pursue a career in writing for print magazines, but of course, digital magazines and blogs aren’t exactly inadequate these days either.  It’s funny, because most folks know that I love to do makeup and play with hair, but what I actually love most is just talking about it and researching it.  I have an incredibly talented hair stylist friend that recently returned from doing her first rounds at New York Fashion Week, and it sounded like it was as crazy as I’d imagined it would be.  But the thing is, she’s made for this kind of craft and can completely hack it in that kind of hectic environment that demands talent and skill.  Now, while it would be a dream of mine to attend any Fashion Week in any part of the globe, I can’t actually say that I’d want to do makeup or hair for it.  I love doing makeup, but I think what I’d rather do is get all the details on what the makeup artists did, take a couple photos, and then write about it.  I’ve been reading IntoTheGloss for years (way back when it was a well-kept secret of die-hards!), and Emily’s blog has perfectly captured my dream job- playing with beauty, with the ultimate goal of writing about it.

Now, a huge part of my love for beauty discussion revolves around product knowledge.  I tend to be known among friends as a sort of research guru that’s familiar with almost any product out there.  Like, any product.  Whether it’s hair, makeup, skin, perfume, or nails, I know about it.  I’d say it’s about a 98% guarantee.  Whether it’s from reading countless magazines, perusing countless reviews on MakeupAlley, or from one of my countless trips through a department store or drugstore beauty section, I have developed a vastly extensive comprehension of the stuff that’s out there.  I sometimes even know about products before salon stylists are familiar with them and then have to deal with the reality that I can’t buy them for at least another month or so.  The worst.

However, the downside of having this love for product is the inability to be satisfied with something that works.  I may manage to land on a blush that looks very pretty, but I can’t stick with just one.  Why would I ever do that?!  And hair conditioner has to be the worst- I don’t know when I’ve ever purchased the same conditioner twice, no matter how great the first bottle may have been.  I always seem to think that I might, just might be able to find one that works even better.  So, I’m terrible at being a brand loyalist, but I’m great at trying something new (for the most part).

So, here’s my latest batch of hair products that I’ve been giving a go.  Rest assured that I only paid full-price for one of these babies with my own money.  Each were purchased with giftcards or were given as swag!

products

I’ll address the Bumble and bumble Cityswept Finish first.  This full-size bottle was given to me for free at a party that I recently attended as a reward for receiving 500 points at Sephora.  The party was held at Vogue Salon in Newport Beach, and each guest was given a dry hair consultation with one of the stylists.  I was in and out of the chair in probably less than seven minutes, but somehow she managed to get four products on to my locks and curl all of my hair with a flat iron.  You can imagine my split-end hypochondria kicking into overdrive; I was clinching the chair with white knuckles.  However, the results were quite fun albeit VOLUMINOUS.

cityswept

Now, the Cityswept is difficult to define.  It’s “a supple hold finishing spray to create lived-in “street-styled” looks with separation and sheen”.  Because Manrepeller is so in right now.  It’s true, though.  The shiny, voluminous, perfectly coiffed blowout isn’t really the trend these days.  Kate Middleton’s hair is timeless, but it isn’t “of the moment” (not that Princess Honeybadger Kate really needs to give a damn).  Things are looking a little more Kurt Cobain than Kate Beckinsale when it comes to current hair trends, and Cityswept is meant to accommodate that.  I haven’t played around with it much myself, but the stylist advised to spray it in your hands and sort of scrunch it into your hair for separation and “chunkiness”.  Just think second- or third-day hair and you get the idea.

On to the Fekkai, which I purchased with an Ulta giftcard.  Thanks to my hair hypochondria, I think that my hair is always damaged.  Not just dry, but damaged.  I’m constantly looking for quick sources of protein and moisture for my scalp (which is just sad because I hardly ever drink water).  The Frederic Fekkai PrX Reparatives Intensive Fortifying Mask is meant as a hard-core recovery mask with keratin and silk proteins, and it smells like vanilla and feel like the thickest, butteriest sludge you’d ever find at Bath and Body Works.  It leaves your hair feeling very slippery and moist, and I can run a comb right through it post-treatment, but I actually have detected a bit more breakage than usual in my hair lately.  It may be because I use the mask twice a week and, combined with another keratin spray and protein-rich treatment I’ve been using, I’ve actually got too much protein action going on with my hair.  Did you know such a thing could happen?!  My friend (and some extra research!) has informed me that you need the right balance of protein and moisture to keep locks healthy and growing, and too much protein can actually cause more breakage in the long run.  So, I may need to lay off the protein-rich mask and stick with just once a week, while focusing more on moisture replenishment for the next month.

The Serge Normant Meta Silk Shampoo was a fun find.  I found it at Costco!  I’ve mostly known Serge as Julia Roberts’ hairstylist, and his hair line is something I’ve only seen sold at NKSpace at Bloomingdale’s.  His products are typically over twenty bucks each, but I found his shampoo at Costco for something like fourteen!  It’s sulfate free, great for color, smells luxurious, and is loaded with all kinds of interesting, natural ingredients.  Unless I get antsy as usual with hair products, I hope to purchase this again.

As far as beauty splurges go, a fancy beach wave spray has to be the silliest for me.  Especially considering the fact that I have natural waves.  Dumb.  However, what has sold me on any Oribe product, including his Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray, is the scent.  Oribe’s stuff (and this being the man who regularly styles red carpet folk including Jennifer Lopez) smells like luxury.  It’s the scent of your night out to a fancy dinner in your best garb, wearing your priciest perfume (or cologne in you’re a dude, and guys- I think you should spray your hair with this stuff).  I seriously picture myself in leather pants with a cozy sweater, sipping a glass of Cabernet in a giant, buttery-soft leather chair with a cashmere blanket on an outdoor patio when my hair has been misted with Après Beach.  It’s just that kind of experience.  Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray also comes with a similarly magnificent scent.  I do a lot of hair flipping when I use these products because I just can’t stop smelling myself!  Oh, and the wave creation ain’t so bad either.  The product is truly amazing for those I’ve-got-bedhead-and-I-need-to-be-intentional-about-it days.  Le freak so chic.

Lastly, we come to what may be a culprit of my recent split-end resurgence.  I purchased Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Photo Age Defense at the suggestion of Maria Menounos and once I’d acquired a Sephora giftcard.  I’d been looking for a true treatment product that didn’t just temporarily smooth hair and “conceal” split ends.   I wanted something that actually defended and repaired.  While I have stretched out my time between hair trims enormously (one quick trim over the past six months) and was seeing a difference during the first couple months, I think the combination of a few protein-heavy products has backfired as I mentioned earlier.  One of the main ingredients in Caviar is hydrolyzed soy protein, and so I’m thinking I’ll use this after every other wash as opposed to every one.  On every other wash, I’m trying my best to just get out of the shower after conditioning and not put anything else in my hair.  I want it to rebuild on its own, naturally.

Now, seriously- I want to know what you use.  Really.  What have you splurged on?  What’s the one treatment (hair or skin, anything!) that you won’t compromise on?  You’ve had enough of me yammering on and on- I want to hear from you.  So I can write about it.  Oh, and for more fun bits on hair and the like, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Pinterest; the handle is mcrish.  xo, MR

 

How to wash your hair like a crazy obsessive person.

Over the years, as I’ve become more and more conscious of how precious healthy hair is, I’ve developed some … what shall we call this … neuroticisms when it comes to my hair.  Those who’ve touched my hair and had the pleasure(?) of working with it know that I am what I like to call a hair hypochondriac.  If there were ever such a thing, I AM IT.  I always think my hair’s damaged.  I always think it’s falling out.  I always want it to be two inches longer than it is, but I can’t bear the idea of damaged ends and so I give in and go in for a trim anyhow.  And then I always think that too much is being trimmed off and now a whole foot of hair has been lopped away (and yes, you wouldn’t believe the things my brain sees that aren’t actually there).  I always ask my friends trained in cosmetology to feel it and tell me if it feels “porous”.  I always look at my coworkers’ and friends’ hair to see if their ends look less healthy than mine (and yes, I literally stare at the ends of your hair when I’m checking you out … sorry if you thought it was a more exciting part of your body).  I always have this idea of what my hair should look like, and as my friend pointed out to me just a couple weeks ago, I think I’m always a little dissatisfied because my face doesn’t match the hair inspiration pictures I always refer to (as opposed to just the hair).

Sometimes it’s a fun game I play with myself, to see just how healthy and how long I can get my hair to be.  But at other times, it’s nothing short of a neurotic fixation that causes anxiety and an endless amount of comparison.  Which, of course, will truly make my hair fall out.  But for now, I felt it may be fascinating to at least let you in on my … hair cleansing routine.

First, start with what you’d expect:  a good wash and condition.  And of course, it has been at least three days since the last wash and condition (right????).  Use a shampoo with as few sulfates as possible, and as many natural ingredients as possible (read: ingredients that you can understand, pronounce easily, and aren’t chemical-synthetic compounds).  I happen to rotate between two shampoos and two conditioners.  Be sure that once you’re in the shower, you wash your hair first so that you can immediately move on to conditioner (as Matt Damon discusses in The Informant!).  Remember not to worry about conditioning your roots; just cover your hair from mid-shaft downward to the ends.  Put your hair up in a clip so you can go about the rest of your showering business without accidentally rinsing out the conditioner, and so that any steam and heat help along the conditioning process (but do remember that it’s best to shower in tepid or even cold water if possible, as it’s better for your endocrine system and less harsh on your strands).

Once you’ve rinsed out your conditioner, blot your hair with your towel to gently dry it (and do not wring it or throw it up in a turban-style towel, as this promotes breakage in your hair’s wet, weak state).  Then, using a wide-tooth comb, detangle slowly by running the comb through your hair, with assistance from a detangling spray if you so choose. And after that, you wait.  You do some Netflix time, make some tea, let it air-dry and lay not a watt of heat to your head.  And ideally, you do not touch it with your fingers either as that promotes frizz.

Perhaps when your hair is 60% dry, you apply some kind of repairing or smoothing product, concentrating specifically on the ends.  This may be an oil, a serum, a cream, or who knows what at this point.  If your product is heat-activated, perhaps you’ll apply just a bit of warmth from a blow-dryer to produce it’s most effective results.

before

Whew!  Talk about “before”.  This is how my hair dries naturally after doing just the aforementioned.  I suppose it’s “wavy”, but it’s a little wonky, you know?  Could be worse, but not the most flattering.

After your hair is almost totally dry, see what sections need help from a curling iron or flat iron.  If you’re satisfied (because perhaps your hair is curly), then you’re done!  If not, then fix whatever kinks or create whatever waves as you see fit.  I use a 1.25′ Hot Tool Professional Ceramic + Titanium spring curling iron.  I just wrap sections around the rod and skip the clamp all together.  If I think any section of hair can forego the heat treatment, I leave it be.    What comes next all depends on my mood, quite honestly.  It’s usually a tad of Frederic Fekkai’s Glossing Creme to impart just a touch of shine and to shut down any tameable frizzies, but I usually finish by flipping my head upside-down and sort of mussing up the roots for a bit of volume and to avoid looking too neat.  A bit of dry shampoo to the roots perfects the look on day two and day three of a wash (and by day four, it’s probably up in a bun and perhaps covered in oils, treating it for the next wash).

after

Sooooo much better.  And let this be a lesson: don’t get too discouraged by how your skin looks if you’re standing in horrible bathroom lighting.  Look for some natural light for a real assessment.  And that whole makeup thing always helps, too.

So anyhow, this is what I do.  Sometimes whatever particular combination of products I’ll use will just produce a really great response from my hair, and I’ll have a great hair week.  I have to take into account what I’ve eaten too, or if I’ve worked out.  Other times, my hair will get oily quickly, or my scalp will itch.  The weather is even a factor at times.  My point is, no matter what I do to try and control my hair’s condition and growth, it just tends to operate like the rest of our bodies do- sometimes it needs a little of this, and sometimes a little of that.  Rarely will it always need the same exact same things forever.  And it’s not always going to do what I tell it to do.  So with that said, I’ll just keep up with my bi-weekly washes (and they really are some of the best parts of my week), keep eating my salmon and berries, and … oh yeah … sleep with it up in a scrunchy and on a satin pillowcase.  Less damage that way.  xo, MR

P.S. And the following is a list of my absolute favorite products that I use for my routine (and again, I alternate my use of the shampoos and conditioners, and I don’t use all the treatment/styling products at the same time):

Rahua Shampoo

Davines Momo conditioner

Aveda Color Conserve shampoo and conditioner

Davines Oi

Alterna Caviar Photo-Age Defense (YES MARIA I BIT THE BULLET SHUT UP.)

Bumble&bumble Prep.

Weleda Rosemary hair oil

Frederic Fekkai Glossing Cream