Shine On, Sugar!

I’m pretty picky about my hair. There is a particular way it should feel, lay, and behave and I just won’t accept anything less than perfect from it. While I have a whole arsenal of products that I use to keep it on point, the two most important of them are shampoo and conditioner. They form the base of my product pyramid, and if my base is off there’s no hope of a good hair day. I was recently in need of a new shampoo and conditioning system. Summer comes with humidity and sweat which make my hair flat and frizzy – not a good look. So I ventured into my local Ulta looking for a product that would add both volume and shine without adding to the mess. I ended up picking out Matrix’s Biolage Sugar Shine Shampoo & Conditioner. The silicone free system claimed to give 48 hours of shine with deep cleaning and softening. I’ve been using it for about a month now and have to say, it ain’t bad. It’s not the best shampoo I’ve ever used, or one I’ll repurchase in the future, but it did well enough. The shampoo was excellent and my hair could go a day or two between washing while still looking healthy and shiny. The conditioner however lacked oomph. My hair became dry after a while and was very hard to comb out while wet. So, while I wouldn’t say the system was a total flop, it wasn’t worth a full on hair flip 😉

Do you have any recommendations for products I could try instead? I’d love to hear them! Leave me a comment with all the details!

Are you ready to play?

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I recently was taken off the waitlist for Sephora’s monthly subscription box. Play! by Sephora consists of 5 sample sized products sent monthly along with a fragrance bonus and a cosmetic bag. Oh, and it’s only $10/month.

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I have to say that other boxes have fallen short for me, but Play absolutely exceeded my expectations. Everything included was something I wanted to use, and they were all from brands I was interested in. The May 2016 box was their The Forces of Nature themed box, and included a gift card for 50 extra Beauty Insider Points, a free beauty consultation, and a booklet describing each of the products. They also emailed me a video that ran through all the products so that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into.

So now for the product rundown:

atelier cologne

Up first is Atelier Cologne’s Orange Sanguine perfume. I ended up purchasing this fragrance because it is so damn delicious. With a bursting mix of blood orange and geranium it deserves its own post, so I won’t say too much about it here other than IT’S AMAZING!

tarte

The one dud of a product was Tarte’s Tartiest Lip Crayon in Latergram. I REALLY REALLY wanted to like this lip pencil, as Tarte is one of my favorite brands. Unfortunately, I found that while the color and packaging were beautiful the formula needed some help. It was hard to apply and the crayon kept breaking. Overall this product – with Vitamin E and mineral pigments – was a great idea that unfortunately missed the mark when it came to execution.

bite

There was however a lip product that excelled. Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Kimchi blew me away. With coconut and pomegranate oils this lipstick is every bit as moisturizing as it is bright. It’s a zinger of a pink that made me want to pucker up and take more than a few selfies. My favorite thing is that Bite Beauty uses food grade ingredients in all of its lipsticks, so I never have to worry about ingesting icky chemicals.

origins

One product that I had been curious to try was Origins’ Maskimizer. This innovative priming mist helps to prep skin to absorb the intensive ingredients in face masks. Thankfully, Sephora included samples of my favorite Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask and the delicious smelling Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask. I used these one after the other with the prep mist and my skin was left clear, soft and radiant.

korres facial

Another mask that was included in the mix is Korres’ Wild Rose Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial. I have been wanting to try Korres products for years now, but it’s only been recently that they’ve been back in stock as Sephora. Based in Athens, this brand partners with local farmers to make use of unique natural ingredients native to Greece. This soothing mask is applied after your normal evening skincare routine and then slept in overnight. Rose oil is one of the best ingredients for your skin, and the only oil I allow to touch my face. I definitely noticed happier skin the morning I woke up after using this and its mild scent gave me the sweetest dreams.

briogeo

The final product of the bunch was Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask. While this brand is most widely known for their co-washes, this treatment was one of the best conditioning masks I’ve ever used. It smells wonderful, and the combination of argan and avocado oils left my hair smooth, shiny, and bouncy – just the way I like it!

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All in all I definitely recommend Play! by Sephora, and will keep you up to date on future boxes. I highly recommend you get on the wait list now if you’re interested in signing up. It took me a few months to be selected, but I’m sure glad I took the plunge.

Have any questions? Know of any other subscription boxes I should check out? Let me know by clicking on the comments link above and writing me a note!

A Fresh Cut

I love Living Proof products. Like, LOVE them. They’re the best around, and often revolutionary. Somehow living proof always manages to concoct something that blows away everything else on the market. They’ve done it again with their new Fresh Cut Split End Mender. As part of their PHD (Perfect Hair Day) line this weightless cream is applied before styling and works to repair and prevent split ends, leaving your hair looking freshly cut every single day. I started using it when I got my last hair cut last February and I still don’t need to go back to the salon. At the end of the day, this is completely worth the investment and I highly recommend it.

No Frizz

My hair texture is difficult. It’s not wavy, curly, or straight. It falls somewhere in the middle of all of those. It’s been more colors than I can count, and I’m currently in the process of growing out a long bob that was intensely highlighted. All that is to say it’s straight because I use a flatiron every morning, is highly damaged and more or less ombre, and difficult to control. If I just let it be, I end up looking like a renegade mouse that is a bit of a hot mess. Clearly, that won’t do.

I’ve searched high and low for the right products to tame my mane. Some work great but are way too expensive (like this Kerastase duo) and others just don’t give me the results I’m looking for. Shampoos for damaged hair make mine too soft, leaving it hard to control when I’m attempting up-dos. Moisturizing shampoos work a bit better, but leave me greasy at the end of the day. The best shampoo I’ve ever used was Bed Head’s Superstar, but it unfortunately has been discontinued. So, I was in a bit of a bind when it came time to buy a new set of shampoo and conditioner.

I decided to turn to Living Proof, mainly because Jennifer Aniston seems to have similar hair to me. I really enjoyed her PHD line, but thought I’d give another a try since my hair tends to get really dry in summer and I wanted something more specialized. That’s why I selected her No Frizz line. I purchased the shampoo and conditioner from my local Ulta and headed home to suds up. I was a bit hesitant (meaning terrified) to see the results. Typically I associate anti-frizz products with really curly hair, not my somewhat wavy mess. I don’t really have an issue with frizz per say, but I do get staticky like there’s no tomorrow. All of this is to say, I really didn’t want my hair to end up an oily mess.

Much to my surprise this set worked like a dream. My hair stayed both sleek AND clean for a full two days – which is unheard of for me. It even withstood the start of summer humidity that has recently been pervading Charleston’s atmosphere. It even helped repair the damage caused by bleach and hot tools, leaving me with sleek, silky, and manageable strands that even Ms. Aniston would envy. Looks like I found a winner!

What are your struggles with your hair? Are there any questions about hair care or products that you’re hoping I can answer? Leave a comment to let me know!

A Magic Wand

Every girl needs some magic, especially on a less than stelar hair day. That’s why every woman keeps a curling wand on hand. My go to for soft lasting curls and French girl chic bedhead is the Remington T-Studio Ceramic Pearl Professional Curling Wand. Its pearl infused ceramic barrel leaves my hair soft and shiny. The fact that it heats up to 410 degrees ensures your style will last all day long, and the pale pink color ensures that your dressing table will look equally as beautiful. Simply wrap a one-inch section of hair around the wand, wait for 20-30 seconds and release. It so simple, you literally can’t mess it up.

Hair In Action

My hair goes through a lot. On a daily basis it’s washed, blown dry, straightened, pulled into a ponytail or bun, styled, and God knows what else. It does a lot, which is why it deserves a little TLC on the reg. That’s when I turn to my favorite leave-in treatment. Verb’s Leave-In Mist is one of the best leave in conditioners I’ve ever tried. It detangles, moisturizes, and adds shine. Best of all, it doesn’t weigh my hair down or feel like I’ve used product. I spray a bit on after I get out of the shower and before I blow dry. It keeps my hair protected, detangled and ready for whatever lies ahead.

What’s your favorite leave in treatment? Let me know in the comments.

Better Bed Head

What’s the key to supermodel hair? A weekly hair mask of course! There are quite a few options out there – from kitchen cabinet products to special in-salon treatments. All of these have their perks, but I personally like a more middle-of-the-road option. My current treatment of choice is TIGI’s Bed Head Urban Antidotes Re-Energize Treatment Mask. It smells like a piña colada, de-frizzes and strengthens, and also leaves your hair ridiculously shiny. So slather it on, sit back in a bubble bath and wait 15 minutes to have soft, shiny, irresistible hair.