Fashion: Stay ahead with perfect hair-care product
Finding the perfect hair-care product can be tricky due to the vast choice, says Sarah Caden, but here are five standouts
There's something of a quest mentality in a lot of us when it comes to hair care and styling. The hunt for the perfect hair product is often worse – or better, according to how much you enjoy the hunt – than the quest for the Holy Grail of foundation or the miraculous moisturiser. This is because hair becomes tangibly tired of the same products with prolonged use. Which means, obviously, that you have to start all over again in the search.
In terms of styling products, so many new ones arrive on the market all the time. This is a sign of the phenomenal demand for newness and novelty, obviously, but it's also down to the fact that fewer people are splashing out on salon blow-drys these days.
Protection from the heat of straighteners, rollers and hairdryers is what a lot of us need from a styling product, while blondes demand shine as well as smoothness. There is also a growing cohort that aspires to a carefully crafted mussed-up look.
There's something for everyone on the search, and something new all the time, too. Phew.
Kerastase Elixir Ultime Beautifying Oil Cream, €34.50, for stockists, tel: (01) 604-5935
This cream, which is infused with the best-selling Elixir Ultime oil, can be used as a heavy-duty pre-shampoo treatment or as a post-shampoo leave-in conditioner, but it is as a styling product that it excels. Massage a little of it into damp hair and use any heat styler you like without fear of frizz or frying. "This gives amazeballs shine," said one panellist. "It smells beautiful, and both my shine and my style held all day."
BEST RICH OIL
Alfaparf Absolute Oil, €19.90, for stockists, tel: (045) 856-490
This thick and rich oil is high in prickly pear oil, which has great moisturising properties. You can use it ahead of washing on dry hair, for a deep condition, or on damp hair as a product to protect your hair during heat styling. "My only complaint is that you have to pour this into your palm and it can get a bit messy," said one panellist. "Aside from that, though, it's effective and luxurious, with a honey-ish smell."
BEST MUSSED-UP MANE
L'Oreal Professionnel Wild Stylers Next Day Hair, €17.85, for stockists, tel: (0044845) 600-0122
As the name suggests, this fine-mist spray is designed to create a matte, tousled, morning-after look. That is, like you just rolled out of bed after a very good time and are quite proud of the fact. This got a good response from an older and a younger panellist, who went easy and crazy, respectively, for a generation-appropriate look. "This is great for volume that doesn't look like a fuddy-duddy smooth blow-dry," said a panellist.
BEST DRY-OIL DREAM
Pantene Dry Oil with Vitamin E Repair and Protect, €8.99, available nationwide
There are two varieties of this oil – this and an argan-oil-based one – and both bestow shine and softness, while this one is a little lighter. These affordable oils have two major things going for them. The first is their price, the second is that they are dry oils, which is a major plus for anyone with fine or oily hair. Also, one pump is enough for medium-length hair. "A good-value experiment for the oil-averse like me," one panellist said. "I like the results."
BEST BIT OF BODY
Redken Thickening Lotion 06, €14.60, for stockists, tel: (01) 604-5935
There are a lot of products around that give body to hair, but a lot of them give texture, too, where some of us want volume and shine instead of a mussed-up, bed-head look. This can do both, according to how you use it. It's great for the root lift so desired by older women, as a bit of lift can make thin hair look fuller. "Great as a pre-styler in damp hair, but also great for reinjecting oomph into wilting, end-of-the-day dry hair as well," said one panellist.
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Sunday Indo Life Magazine