Monday, 29 August 2011

Product Review: Redken Extreme Conditioner

This is the counterpart to the Extreme shampoo, but it really is somewhat different from many of the conditioners that Redken carries. For one thing, there's no all. Which is extremely surprising. Instead it's replaced by a high concentration of glycerin which makes hair really easy to detangle in the shower, but unfortunately rinses off rather than continuously conditioning like silicone. They hype the amount of protein in here, but really it's at the end of the ingredient list, which should tell you everything. Most people will still find that their hair feels and looks really repaired, the behentrimonium chloride and cetearyl alcohol provide that, but they provide very little protection against future damage unless the user never heat styles or colors their hair, which is off course, exceedingly rare. This is why the lack of silicones might be detrimental to the health of hair, there are very few people who never heat style.

For those who love to co-wash, don't like using silicones, don't heat style and don't color, well here's your holy grail conditioner. In fact it has the versatility of also being a great leave in (high glycerin content conditioners really help a lot of hair types if they're used as leave ins). The particular reason it would also function well as a co-wash is partially the lack of silicones but also the high concentration of cetearyl alcohol, which functions well as an emollient. The more pertinent function in this case would be the emulsifying function, which means it's a surface active agent which means it helps rinse dirt off the hair shaft. It's the second ingredient on the list which means you can count on hair that feel really clean.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Product Review: Redken Extreme Shampoo

Here is a lovely example where the marketing lingo surrounding products can prevent you from getting the best possible product: this shampoo, even though it's marketed as an ultra gentle anti-drying shampoo for super damaged hair, is actually harsher and more drying than the color protection shampoo in the same line. So even those who don't color, would likely experience better results with the Color Extend product. Ironic isn't it? The product's ingredients are almost identical (usually the case), but using it completely shows the difference in concentration. Both are relatively sudsy, rinse nice and clean, and don't leave the hair feeling like straw post-use. However, the straw feeling is more present with the use of the Extreme shampoo, along with slightly more suds. Which is all the explanation required, really.

I personally like the scent of this one a little bit better, it's a bit of a warmer, more dessert like smell. But both are fairly light considering they're hair products and neither lingers on the hair, so it hardly matters in the long run. However there are a lot of people for whom the pleasurable experience of washing their hair absolutely must be capped off with a scent they like, which is why 99.9% of hair products on the market are scented. If you are one of those, and if you like products with light, somewhat floral, somewhat citrusy, somewhat vanilla like, you will most likely love this.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Product Review: Ouidad Botanical Boost Moisture Spray

This is probably one of the lightest leave in conditioning spray on the planet, fantastic for those with the very finest hair types that can't get away with using and rinse off conditioners. So why would I, with thick, curly, impossible to weigh down hair use this? Oh, dear grasshopper, so many products are so much more multi-functional than you think. I initially bought it to use as a cutting lotion for when I thin my hair (yes, I have thinning shears and I regularly thin out the bulk, otherwise I would look like a yeti) for which it worked fantastically well. Just plain water can't do it for tangles like these, so in order for me to be able to get a fine-toothed comb across my entire head, on top of providing glide for the thinning shears is a great thing. 

On a whim, on a desparate day, I also took its indication for curly hair seriously (any hair type can use almost any product, buying curl specific products limits you so immensely when you could potentially find the most effective product of your life in a line for color treated hair or fine hair, or whatnot) and boy was I glad I did that. This is now my favorite second day refreshing spray. I wash my hair once or twice a week, so by day 2 or 3, it can look extremely rumpled, rough and frizzy. Adding this helps slightly re-wet it, returning some of the bouncy curl formation, while negating some frizz. After spritzing in generous amounts, I add some coconut or palm oils to the dryest parts, silicone-based leave in serums throughout and I'm out, looking like I've just washed my hair. The reason I like this better as a second day spray than anything I've used before, is the ultra fresh, mildly floral-watery scent. It literally makes me smell like I've washed my hair in a mountain spring. Nothing better than extra water, moisture and a freshly laundered smell.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Product Review: Redken Color Extend Conditioner

It's good that they have liters available of this stuff, because I could definitely see myself using it as a daily co-wash (you know, when I win the lottery). For those with curls looking to co-wash, this is a great option due to a moderate amount of silicones, a high amount and variety of emulsifiers (which usually aid in better rinsing) and a fabulous detangling ability. For those who hate any film left on the hair, well sorry but this ain't it. It definitely adds a soft, substantive conditioned feel to hair (ends in particular) which increases touchability and shine. In terms of its color protecting abilities, well silicones are the best color preservers and they are here but in lower concentrations than in most products. Depending on what the rest of the routine is like (color would still be well preserved if you were using a high-cone styling routine) this would still be ok. It's real value is in detangling and defrizzing hair.

Girls with fine hair might like it, due to the moderate silicone content and higher quat conditioning agent concentration. However, there's still a heavy amount of thickening ingredients in here, which don't thicken hair but they do thicken the product's viscosity, which depending on how fine the hair is and how much of it is used, might be problematic to some. If you do have fine hair and are considering using this, I have the same reccomendation as I do with trying any conditioners: put the most near the ends, negligible amounts near the roots and start with less, so you can build to more if necessary. This particular product really works well with the start with less philosophy, even a small amounts slips through hair incredibly well. This can help you preserve volume and precious dollar bills (Redken might not be the most expensive salon brand, but if you're using a lot, it can still feel that way to the pocket book). As for the scent? Same as the accompanying shampoo, much more appealing than most Redken products, due to the semi fruity light floral feel.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Product Review: Redken Color Extend Shampoo

Redken frequently reformulates their products while neglecting to sufficiently inform their retail outlets, but that's ok because its one of my favorite product lines and I stay on top of things for you all. You're welcome. 
This shampoo has been recently reformulated, along with the accompanying conditioner which I'm reviewing tomorow. The foam is a dense, thick and creamy feeling, it rinses incredibly easily and the integrity of fairly healthy hair seems the same. The smell is a slightly perceptible citrus/floral, which I personally enjoy in hair products, and so do a lot of women. If you've been deterred by the scent of other Redken products due to their slightly chemical smell, this one is very very different from the rest, so don't let it stop you from potentially trying a fantastic product.

I did slightly cover some of the controvery regarding sulfates, surfactants and color protecting shampoos in the ingredients. An in depth explanation would take 5 hours to write and just as much to read so I will spare you the extensive scientific information. All I will say is this: Color deposited into hair, must get past the cuticle layer to be called permanent or semi-permanent. The cuticle must be lifted, and therefore hair incurs some degree of damage. The way that shampoo works, is also by providing a somewhat basic environment and lifting the cuticle layer, in addition to de-fatting the hair shaft. If it foams, it's lifting the cuticle layer. The more it foams, the more its lifting. And color fade occurs when cuticle layers are lifted. This is why judicious conditioning, avoidance of over-shampooing and gentle treatment of ends is important for maintaining color integrity. This particular shampoo is far gentler than the majority of high foam shampoos, therefore a decent option for keeping color. The ideal situation would be washing only with conditioner, but the vast majority of people are incredibly uncomfortable with that. Therefore, this option is on the table.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Product Review: Orofluido Beauty Elixir Hair Oil

How many of these hair oil products will I review? Until I try them all I guess. So let's compare this one to Moroccan Oil, which is the best known product of this variety. The texture is a bit thicker and heavier than MO, which for those of us who need maximum conditioning is a good thing. This is due to the higher molecular weight of the silicones used in the product. The smell is a warm sandalwood-vanilla type thing, which is right up my alley personally, so I love using it. The packaging is a glass bottle which doesn't have a pump like MO (annoying), but it is approx. 5-10 dollars less than MO depending where you buy, on top of including three sample/travel size vials in the package (which is infinitely helpful to carry in the purse). So my vote is with Orofluido, but those that can't handle anything heavier than MO probably shouldn't bother. 

As most girls with curly, damaged, fried, thick or dry hair know, our hair absolutely loves moisture. Those who don't fall for the "natural beauty" hype also realize that there are very few things which can trap moisture in the hair shaft and prevent the entrance of atmospheric moisture (ie humidity/frizz) like silicones. Although I would love to spend an hour writing a long entry debunking all the silicone myths out there, that's a task for another day and another time. I will say though, that nothing prevent split ends, heat damage and mechanical/friction damage like a good coating of silicones. There's a reason they revolutionized the haircare industry when they first started being used.