Friday, March 19, 2010

Catwalk Your Highness Thickening Gel Creme Review

Oh my Westopher, I know how you've been mourning the loss of the classic Catwalk products... even though I absolutely hated their packaging. I mean really, they just used the Bed Head font, and the bottles looked so plain.

They went from this:

To this:

Don't you all think it looks WAY better? But, I mourn with you, as they no longer make Fast-Fixx, one of my favorite leave-in conditioners/de-tanglers. It was also one of my first reviews ever. Thankfully I got a Biggie size of it last summer, so I still have about a half a bottle (plus ya know... all my other stuff), but still... it won't last forever. Then once it's gone, it's gone... up in hair product heaven. I suppose if I really wanted, I could get more online, but buying hair products online scares me. Plus, I don't know if I could pay retail for it... I'm so spoiled now.

But alas, there's hope! A light at the end of the tunnel! An end to my melodrama! It's called: Your Highness. Isn't that what you like to be called in bed? LOL, kidding! Anyway, aside from the gorgeous and well needed new packaging, the products are a hit! Today I'm reviewing the Thickening Gel Creme For Luminescent Fuller Hair. The new Catwalk has been divided into three categories: Prep It (Elevating Shampoo + Nourishing Conditioner), Work It (Thickening Gel Creme + Root Boost), Perfect It (Firm Hold Hairspray + Weightless Shine Spray).

I've been using the Thickening Gel Creme for a while, and I've come to adore it. By itself, it gives a nice touch of volume with a healthy shine, and combined with other products it can really make some massive hair! Since my hair is so thick already, I usually find volumizing products to be kind of drying and feel like I have a case of Product OD - not the case with this. It conditions and adds body without making your hair feel like straw... know what I mean?

Also something I've decided to start doing is giving you all the full ingredient list, and then de-fluffing it by taking out the ingredients that have little to no effect on the product (botanical extracts, fragrances, preservatives, etc) and explaining what really makes the product work. So, here's the full ingredient list:

Water, PEG-17 Dimethicone, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, VP/DMAPA Acrylates Copolymer, Methyl Gluceth-20, Fragrance, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Methylparaben, Panthenol, Linalool, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Methylisothiazolinone, Limonene, Citric Acid, Sunflower Seed Oil, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Jasmine Flower Extract, Viola Odorata (Sweet Violet) Leaf Extract, Lavender Flower/Leaf Stem Extract, Wisteria Floribunda (Japanese Wisteria) Extract, CI 60730 (Ext. Violet 2), CI 17200 (Red 33).

The de-fluffed ingredient list:

PEG-17 Dimethicone, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, VP/DMAPA Acrylates Copolymer, Methyl Gluceth-20, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol.

PEG-17 Dimethicone is part of a group of polymers that come from polyoxyethylene + dimethicone. Specifically, it's used as a conditioning agent. PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil and Hydrolyzed Soy Protein are emulsifiers, basically they help the other ingredients get along and mix well. VP/DMAPA Acrylates Copolymer is a film former that gives a slight hold. Methyl Gluceth-20 is made from glucose and methyl alcohol. It's a very effective humectant; it's also used as a foaming agent + an emollient. Hydroxyethylecellulose is a thickening/gelling agent. Panthenol (vitamin B5) works to strengthen the hair shaft, condition, and add volume and shine. Glycerin and Propylene Glycol are humectants used to add moisture to hair and lock it in.

I've used this in a lot of different ways... like if I want a just little bounce to my hair I'll use about two pumps of this and add a couple S-Factor Dream Drops to it in damp hair (I mix Dream Drops in like, everything lol), then blowdry. My hair feels full and looks really smooth + shiny. Or If I wanna wear my hair natural and let it air dry, I'll use a pump of this and my KMS HairStay Style Boost or Sebastian Volupt Spray (both of which I'm reviewing next) or even Rusk Thick, or Bed Head Superstar Blowdry Lotion. You could even try mixing this with a straightening product (like Bed Head Control Freak) or with a curling product (like Catwalk's new Curlesque collection). I think this product is made to be used with other products, but it's useful by itself too!

So Wes, I know how hard it is to move on when you've found something you love, I've been there many, many times. Fortunately, I still see places with the old Catwalk products all the time - you better stock up! The new Catwalk is here to stay, embrace it! You might even like it. If not, there's 5 other TIGI brands out there... I suggest S-Factor - it is my haircare holy grail right now.

Catwalk Your Highness Thickening Gel Creme comes in a 215 ml / 7.27 fl. oz bottle, and retails for around $15-$18.

Have a good weekend everyone! Enjoy Spring, and take care of your hair! ...read more ⇒

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bed Head Superficial Review+

Hi guys! Today I'm reviewing one of (in my opinion) the best products TIGI makes, Bed Head Superficial Smoothing Liquid For Shiny, Silky hair. I've been on a lot of sites that have reviewed this and it's clear that this is one of those products that some people absolutely love, and some people absolutely despise. I am one of the people who loooove it, BUT only on certain types of hair. Unfortunately there are some hair types that just cannot handle this product, because it's just so super-concentrated - even a little bit can weigh down their hair and make it look flat + dirty. Textbook cases of accidental Product OD. So I'm dedicating this post to anyone with a thick, coarse, unruly mane of hair trying to make it look sleek and healthy with a ton of shine - keep reading!

I actually got this product back in the summer, July I think. It was in this Haul post, actually. I had always seen it on the shelves, and it looked interesting, (especially the metallic letters... oooh shiny...) and it smelled really good, plus I love products that smooth hair, so I gave it a shot. As soon as I started using it on people, I knew that it was seriously strong stuff, and through trial + error figured out which types of hair would respond well to this. This is made specifically for very dry, very coarse hair - and definitely NOT for people with fine hair. I can't stress that enough. No matter how much hair you have in terms of density, this product is just way too strong for fine hair... and even a few people with normal hair might think it's a bit much. Be warned: If you are anti-cone, this product is not for you - it's got a ton.

Before I move on the ingredients, I really want to clarify the differences between different hair types.
  • When talking about hair texture, people typically either have coarse, normal, or fine hair. Depending on your genetics, it is possible to be somewhere between the spectrum - like having normal/coarse hair or fine/normal hair. It's also possible to have hair that is especially coarse or fine, again depending on your genes. Hair texture could also refer to whether your hair is straight, wavy, curly, or kinky/overcurly. The same rules apply here too - you can have hair that's super straight naturally, but it can be quite coarse. Or you can have hair that's kinda wavy, or kinda straight, or kinda kinky depending on what day it is - lol! Some people just have the kind of hair that changes all the time.
  • Sometimes people get confused when - after they tell me that they have thick hair - I ask what the texture is like. Some people don't understand that they're two different things, and I understand cos it is a bit confusing at first. In terms of hair density, when you say your hair is "thick" you're just saying you have a lot of hair, you're not describing your hair texture. You can have really thick, massive hair, but the actual texture of your hair might be very fine. I see it allll the time. Contrariwise, you could actually have thin hair, but the texture might be coarse. And like hair texture, you could fall somewhere in the middle - like if your hair is pretty normal in texture but a bit denser than the average person, and so on... Hair is tricky like that. Again, it's in your genes - blame your folks.
  • There are other factors that affect your hair type + texture: your environment, diet/lifestyle, mechanical damage, heat styling tools, chemical damage, hard water, I mean there are all sorts of things that make your hair the way it is. Knowing your actual hair type and texture is the key when it comes to buying products. Everyone's hair is unique, but everyone is beautiful.
Haha without even thinking I turned half of this post into a mini Cosmetic Chemistry Tidbits! I should do another one of those soon... ideas anyone? Anyhow, I think I talked about everything I wanted to, now back to the review! As for the ingredients, after taking out all the fluff, we're left with: Cyclopentasiloxane, Phenylpropyldimethylsiloxysilicate, Dimethiconol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone, Ethyl Macadamiate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Panthenol, Caprylyl Methicone, Bis-Phenylpropyl Dimethicone.

Cyclopentasiloxane is a type of silicone that is used to protect hair against breakage, and to break up other silicones... good thing cos this product is chock full of them. Phenylpropyldimethylsiloxysilicate is a film former that adds a ton of long-lasting shine. It's very similar to Phenyl Trimethicone, but it's a liquid instead of a film former, and it doesn't last as long. Dimethiconol comes from silica; it adds shine and conditions hair. C13-14 Isoparaffin is a thickening agent derived from petroleum. Dimethicone is a silicone that conditions hair well and repels moisture. Ethyl Macadamiate = ethyl alcohol + macadamia seed oil. It's used to increase spreadability, and it seems like it may replace cyclomethicone and dimethicone in cosmetics one day. C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate is a thickener and an emollient. Panthenol (vitamin B5) is used to strengthen the hair shaft, while adding shine + body. Caprylyl Methicone is a carrier for other ingredients and improves the spreadability of a product. Bis-Phenylpropyl Dimethicone is a silicone derivative that enhances shine and adds a silky feel to hair.

See why I don't like this for fine hair? It's just too concentrated and way too strong. But a few sprays of this in coarse hair before blowdrying makes it feel like heaveeennnn. Super shiny, glossy, healthy looking hair. And this is to be used in wet hair only! Usually you wanna towel dry your hair a bit before putting product in - not with this. Just dry it a little so it's not dripping wet, then spray it a few times, focusing on the middle + ends of your hair (don't spray it near your roots), then comb it through and blowdry. Trust me, you will love it. And because it's so concentrated and you need to use so little, one bottle will last you a very long time.

Bed Head Superficial Smoothing Liquid comes in a 100 ml / 3.38 fl oz. bottle, and retails for about $25.

Another review done! I have some big things coming soon, and plenty more reviews so keep reading! Take care of your hair, no matter what type it is! ...read more ⇒

Friday, March 12, 2010

Vavoom Shape Maker Extra-Hold Shaping Spray Review

Hello all! Yay the weekend's here! I don't know about you guys, but the weather in Chicago has been pretty good the last few days! Nice temps (for winter), the sun's been out, and the snow is melting! But it's also been raining, which means... humidity. Ahh! My hair! Make it go away! Hahaha just kidding, but I know for some of you it's no joke + humidity is the devil. I have felt the wrath of humidity before, but it's not a big hassle for me cos I was thankfully blessed with good hair. I just wish my skin was as good as my hair is LOL!

But enough of my ranting, on to the review! Now, I've really wanted to try Vavoom by Matrix for a while, but I would always talk myself out of it (as usual). It was always one of those "I'll get it next time" brands... usually next time never comes... but this time it did! I got this in a set with two other products (see my last Haul), and the first time I used it I. Was. Amazed. Normally I HATE putting hairspray in my hair, it just makes my hair feel dry + sticky. I like to run my hands through my hair without feeling a bunch of product residue. I really don't get that feeling with this hairspray. I won't lie and say that I don't feel it in my hair, cos I do - but I just don't get that heavy hairspray feeling like with most others. I can actually touch my hair, run my hands through it, even re-work it if I want - which is actually one of this product's claims, so good job! Let's get to the ingredients...

After de-fluffing, we're left with: Alcohol Denat., Hydrofluorocarbon 152A, VA/Vinyl Butyl Benzoate/Crotonates Copolymer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Bis-Peg/Ppg-14/14 Dimethicone, Benzyl Salicylate, Cyclopentasiloxane.

These ingredients look complicated, but it's just the names. Denatured Alcohol (Alcohol Denat.) is used to give a product hold, and can be drying at times. Thankfully, this isn't one of those times. Hydrofluorocarbon 152A is a propellant used in aerosols - it's what shoots the product of the can. VA/Vinyl Butyl Benzoate/Crotonates Copolymer is a film former commonly seen in hairspray. Aminomethyl Propanol is used to balance the pH. Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate is a UV blocker. It prevents the product (and your hair) from the sun's harmful rays. Bis-Peg/Ppg-14/14 Dimethicone + Cyclopentasiloxane are silicone conditioning agents, which helps the product be more "workable" and less stiff + hard. Benzyl Salicylate is a synthetic fragrance, but it's also a UV absorber - so I won't count it as fluff.

One thing I really love about this product is that it's one of the driest hairsprays I've ever used - meaning it sprays on very dry and not wet feeling like some others. Ugh, I've used some hairsprays that spray so wet, it's like I'm using syrup in an aerosol can! Also, the spray nozzle is great because it requires a very light touch, so you don't have to worry about pressing too hard and spraying too much... or breaking the nozzle as I tend to do. As for the fragrance, it has a kind of sweet, almost floral scent. It's definitely a hairspray scent. I don't hate it, and it doesn't smell bad - but I don't love it. Well, as long as it doesn't give me a headache or make me gag, it's all good.

Who would I recommend this to? Honestly, everyone. This is an extremely versatile hairspray that I believe can be used on all types of hair, from baby fine to the thickest mane. It can be layered for a very strong hold (if you're doing an updo or you just prefer a firm hold), or you can lightly spray it to keep your hair in place but still soft and touchable. Either way, this stuff rocks and I'll definitely be buying another one when I run out.

Vavoom Shape Maker Extra Hold Shaping Spray comes in a 11 oz / 312 g can, and retails for around $15.

Another review done! I hope you all have a great weekend, and always remember to take care of your hair! =] ...read more ⇒

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion Review+

This is a first for The ART and SCIENCE of [beauty] - this is... my first skincare post! Woo hoo! I've decided to put this particular post in a brand new category:
[ Review+ ]
which is a review, plus a bonus - whether it's a coupon code, a contest, or a giveaway! This post contains a coupon code that Skin MD Natural made just for my blog + my readers! Details will be at the end of the post.

Note: I don't normally post about skincare products, because to me - skincare is a very personal thing. Another reason is because I'm a hairstylist at heart, not an esthetician, so I don't feel too comfortable giving skincare advice when I don't have the knowledge + education to back it up. However, I will do reviews from time to time if I feel like the product will benefit many of my readers, which I think this product will! ;]

Back in December, I was contacted by a rep from Skin MD Natural asking if I was interested in trying their Shielding Lotion. So, even though my blog is mainly about haircare - I looked at the website + read what other blogs had thought about it. Since everyone was raving about it I knew I had to give it a shot. So they sent me a bottle to try out, and after one week - I was HOOKED. Now honestly, I normally haattteee putting lotion on my face, so I kind of had to force myself to use this. Ugh, it's just... every other product I've tried just left my face feeling coated + heavy, and just NOT moisturized. Needless to say, I was pretty fed up when it came to moisturizers. My ranting aside, this product is FREAKIN' AWESOME! I seriously will not put any other lotion on my face, or body for that matter. It just absorbs right into my skin minutes after applying, I feel soft and smooth all day, and my face doesn't feel coated or get shiny at all. I want this in like, a gallon size LOL! I don't think there's a person in the world who wouldn't love this product.

Let me tell you a bit about Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion: It is paraben free, hypoallergenic (meaning no artificial fragrance or color), and not tested on animals nor do they use animal products. This is good stuff! Of course a review by me wouldn't be complete without breaking t down for you, so here are the main ingredients:

Water, Aloe Vera, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Tocopheryl Acetate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, 1,2 Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol.

Aloe Vera is very useful in skincare products, especially anti-aging products + products to treat sunburn, because it's extremely effective at moisturizing, protecting skin, delivering oxygen, and has anti-inflammatory properties as well. Cyclopentasiloxane is a type of silicone mainly used to thin out other silicones. It conditions and adds moisture to skin + hair. Dimethicone (a heavier silicone) is an emollient that locks in moisture while keeping excess out. It also improves the spreadability of a product, and leaves skin feeling smooth and soft. Methyl Gluceth-20 is a humectant and emollient that's made from methyl alcohol and glucose. It leaves skin feeling soft and smooth. Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E) is, like I said in my last post "a naturally occuring anti-oxidant that moisturizes and conditions hair, and is especially beneficial in skincare products because it is an anti-inflammatory, and it adds moisture, reduces fine lines + smooths out rough skin." I couldn't say it any better, lol! Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer is a film-former that helps thicken and stabilize a product, and basically makes it feel nicer to use. 1,2 Hexanediol and Caprylyl Glycol together form an extremely effective humectant, making your skin feel soft and healthy. Butylene Glycol is a humectant + a solvent used to decrease the viscosity of (thin out) the product.

So, of course after I typed out that whole thing I went on their website and found that they have their ingredients clearly stated and defined for anyone to see. I really didn't expect that cos most cosmetic companies are so shady about their ingredients - it's rare for a company to do that, and I'm glad they do! They're totally up front about everything they put in their Shielding Lotion, which makes me like them even more! If you'd like even more details about the ingredients, here is the page: http://bit.ly/aIQ9ME

And now for the bonus! Skin MD Natural has created a coupon code JUST for my blog! Isn't that awesome?! I feel so special. =]

Visit www.skinmdnatural.com and use the coupon code HSB for 20% off your entire order! The code is good until 4/6/10 so take advantage of this GREAT deal while it lasts! A 4 oz. bottle (1-2 month supply, though mine's lasted longer) of Shielding Lotion is $18 minus 20% off is only $14.40! They do have another version of Shielding Lotion with SPF 15 for $25 and with the 20% off coupon code that brings it down to $20! Woo hoo!!!

Wow, my first skincare post! I wonder how many more I'll get to do... You'll have to stick around and find out! Until next time, take care of your hair (and skin)! XOXO ...read more ⇒

Thursday, March 4, 2010

S-Factor Flat Iron Shine Spray Review

Hello everybody! How was your week? I don't know about you guys, but I am SO excited about Alice in Wonderland coming out! Me and my best friend are seeing it this Saturday in IMAX! I can't wait! Are you seeing it?! If you do, let me know what you think of it!

Alice aside, today I'm reviewing one of the best products in the S-Factor line: S-Factor Flat Iron Shine Spray. This is serious stuff, it will make your hair look and feel amazing...almost like glass! The label reads: "A scientific blend of ingredients that gives UV protection, Thermal shield, Lustrous shine, [and a] Soft, healthy finish."

Let's see if the ingredients back up the claims. After taking out all the fluff we're left with: Cyclopentasiloxane, Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Diisopropyl Adipate, Diisopropyl Sebacate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate.

I caution people who have fragrance allergies as this product is heavily scented and may cause you to have an unpleasant reaction.

Just wanted to put that out there! Moving on, Cyclopentasiloxane, Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Diisopropyl Adipate are all emollients. Cyclopentasiloxane is a type of silicone emollient that works great to strengthen hair by making it less susceptible to breakage. Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate helps to help soften hair + skin, making it softer and more pliable. Diisopropyl Adipate is a film-former, and helps lubricate + condition dry hair. Retinyl Palmitate is vitamin A, and it enhances the appearance of hair by adding shine and body, making damaged hair feel like a virgin again! ;] Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E) is a naturally occuring anti-oxidant that moisturizes and conditions hair, and is especially beneficial in skincare products because it is an anti-inflammatory, and it adds moisture, reduces fine lines + smooths out rough skin. Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate reflects UV rays, protecting your hair from the harsh sun. It's especially important for people with color treated hair to use hair products that have UV protection, because UV rays will fade your hair color - making it look dull and not pretty... and we don't want that!

There are a couple ways to effectively use this product. The obvious one is to use it before using your flat iron, but it's also effective when used in wet hair. It buffers the heat from your blowdryer - anddd because it also protects your hair from your iron, it prevents Product OD. That's a term I use whenever someone overdoses on hair product, and it ends up looking dirtier than before they washed it - LOL! However, people with baby fine hair may not love this product, cos it is a bit heavy. I would definitely recommend this to people with thick, coarse hair. Whatever your hair type, remember that as with most hair products - less is more. This can potentially make your hair look too shiny (I hate to say greasy/oily/stuff like that). Tip: Flat iron sprays are meant to be used mostly on the middle of your hair to the ends.

Also, something that kind of irks me is that the cap comes off very easily and it's kind of annoying. Not that great when traveling... but I like the product, so I can deal.

S-Factor Flat Iron Shine Spray comes in a 125 ml / 4.23 fl oz. bottle and retails for $25-$28 in stores, but on TIGIstore.com it's part of a "Get The Look" kit with two other products for only $29.95 (normal retail value for all three is $83) which is a SICK deal if you ask me! I'm definitely getting in on that! Here's the link if you wanna check it out: http://bit.ly/bT5pQk

Another day, another review! I have big things planned pretty soon, including CONTESTS! Stick around, you might win something. ;] Take care of your hair! XOXO ...read more ⇒