Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Your Guide to Heat Protectants

I have written this article a few times before, but I feel once in a while I need to create a new one because as new products some out and as technology evolves my recommendations for heat protectants changes. It is SO important that we use heat protection when we flat iron, curl or blow dry our hair. No excuses. Heat Protection will help to ensure our color stays vibrant, our ends don't dry out and that our hair stays healthy. But there are so many on the market, and it's hard to know which ones to get and when to use them. So here is my guide to heat protectants, when to use them and what I recommend. You can also click on any of the product names to learn more about them and where to purchase them.

Blow Drying Hair

When you blow dry the hair you need a heat protectant that can act as a wind breaker and not only protect your hair form heat, but from the pressure and force of the dryer. Here are a few of my favorites. And Pro Tip - unless you are diffusing curly hair, dry your hair about half way with a towel or dryer before applying the heat protectant. Otherwise it penetrates the water on your hair and evaporates off with it.

FOR CULRY HAIR I love the Matrix Style Link Curvy Queen Blowout Cream (pictured on the left). It helps your curls to form fully and last with a diffuser. You can pick that up here. I also love how it tames frizz without weighing the hair down a ton. If you have very frizzy kinky curls, you may want to opt for the suggestion I have for coarse and thick hair.

FOR FINE HAIR OR OILY HAIR I like the Tigi Bed Head Small Talk or the Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer Spray (pictured on the right). They are both super light weight. The Small Talk smells like candy and the Pillow Proof has more of a honey scent. The TIGI product helps to hydrate as well as protect and add volume and fullness to your look. The  Redken spray is weightless and protects your hair, but doesn't do much for hydration of fullness. Both are great options, but if your hair is plenty full, or has major frizz issues, then the Primer spray would probably be better than the small talk cream. If you want no shine at all try the Wella EIMI Perfect Me Beauty Balm. It's hydrating, lightweight and matte.

FOR COARSE OR THICK HAIR I love the Matrix Style Link Skinny Queen. It's super hydrating and truly cuts down on your blow dry time. It makes your hair feel healthier and softer. I seriously am obsessed with it. It's my go to product for people with that ultra-dry porous texture that is commonly found in African cultures or in islanders. Otherwise I also like the Hot Sexy Hair Prep Me Blowout Cream (pictured on the left). It's also hydrating and has some weight to it. The Hot Sexy Hair is a little lighter weight than the Skinny Queen, which is necessary for many.

Using Styling Tools

When you are curling or flat ironing your hair, that is when it is most important that you use a good heat protectant. Styling tools (curling wands, flat irons, curling irons, etc) can be super harmful for your hair because you are putting direct heat on them! Make sure you are using a high quality hot tool, just like with cooking pans, the types of metal you use can effect the things on their surface differently. You can read my guide to hot tools here.

FOR FINE HAIR I love the lightweight, yet effective, Hot Sexy Hair Protect Me. It comes out of a pressurized can in a fine mist, it doesn't weigh your hair down and it smells amazing. It protects up to 450 degrees of heat and is seriously worth every single penny. I also like the  Biosilk Silk Therapy Thermal Shield. It comes out of a classic spray bottle with a pump nozzle, and it is very light weight. Just make sure you brush through your hair after applying it to prevent clumps of concentrated product. Another fan favorite of mine is the Wella EIMI Thermal Image (pictured on the right). It smells delicious, is weightless and so easy to use. It protects from up to 438 degrees of heat.
FOR COARSE HAIR OR THICK HAIR I like the Biolage RAW Heat Styling Primer. It is a cream, so it's hydrating. It has 98% natural ingredients, it's silicone free, paraben free and vegan. It also protects up toTIGI S Factor Flat Iron Shine Spray (pictured on the left). This stuff smells like an orange creamsicle. It is amazing! It adds a lot of shine to the hair and keeps it looking healthy. If you don't want any added shine, you may want to skip this one.
450 degrees. I adore the

FOR HAIR THAT WON'T HOLD CURL I recommend a few products that are very similar. They are all classic sprays, they all have a little starch in them. This acts as a primer to help hold the style you give your hair and will reinforce hairspray. My hair holds a curl very well, but I often still use these kinds of heat protectants so that I can skip the hairspray entirely. The Kenra Thermal Styling Spray is probably the most gentle of all of these (because it's starchy quality isn't as strong). Then I like the Redken Iron Shape (pictured on the right), Hot Sexy Hair Support Me and the most high hold of them all is the Redken Hot Sets. You really can't go wrong with any of these products.

For Everyday Protection

In your normal day to day life, your hair goes through a lot. Dirt and pollutants in the air can adversely affect your hair. On top that the sun's rays have a major impact on your hair, just like it does with your skin. You ever noticed how your blondes may begin to yellow over time? Or how your beautiful warm browns and red tones dull after a while? The sun plays a major part in that. But fear not! Just like you can purchase sun block for your skin, you can purchase it for your hair too! I have two that I adore.

FOR FINE HAIR I love the TIGI Bed Head Beach Bound Spray. It smells incredible, it is completely light weight and will protect your color from fading and your cuticle from damage inflicted by UVA and UVB rays. 

FOR COARSE HAIR I love the Unique One spray (pictured on the left in the fragrance Original). This spray in incredible and can be found at your local salon. It is actually made by Revlond, but is a multi benefit treatment spray. It hydrates, smooths, repairs and conditions the hair all while blocking UVA and UVB rays. It comes in four fragrances and I know you'll be hooked. It is the best selling product at all of the salons I have worked at that carry it.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

REVIEW: TIGI Bed Head Up Front Pomade

Packaging - 4 (very good)
Scent - 5 (excellent)
Hold - 4 (very good)
Shine - 4 (very good)
Texture - 3 (average)

This is a men's styling product that is clear and has no added colors. It smells manly but isn't to strong. It holds pretty well and is still flexible and modifiable throughout the day. It does add shine (which isn't my personal favorite look) but it adds shine without getting hard or looking wet, which I appreciate. It does tend to feel sticky however on your hands, but once in your hair is very workable and doesn't clump up.

Friday, December 7, 2018

REVIEW: Caudalie Make-up Remover Cleansing Water

Packaging - 3 (average)
Scent - 2 (not good)
Tear Free - 2 (not good)
Sensitive - 0 (horrible)
Longevity - 1 (bad)

I was not a fan of this makeup remover by any means. First it has a strong alcohol scent. You can tell it has alcohol in it because the fumes tend to burn or sting your eyes a little, and it dries your skin out a ton. It is not a good product for people with sensitive skin at all. You also have to use kind of a lot of it because the formula isn't thick at all. So to wash my whole face I used quite a bit. I use every product 3 times before I review it and this product made me break out all three times. It's definitely not a hit in my opinion.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Christmas Gift Guide!

Purchasing Christmas gifts can be stressful! We want to show everyone we care, but our bank accounts don't always support that desire. Plus if you have a big family (like me) then you know the struggles of finding fun and useful gifts for all of your nieces and nephews, cousins and sisters, without breaking the bank. Coworker gifts and teacher gifts can add up fast too! So let this guide help you out! These items will help you to gift gorgeously this holiday season to every aunt, coworker and friend without breaking the bank. What are your favorite beauty steals out there right now? Let me know in the comments!

Ulta has a killer 5 for $10 sale going on with their Sweet and Shimmer collection. There are over 70 things to choose from ranging from makeup, brushes, bath salts, lotions, nail polish, hairbrushes and more! They have festive fragrances such as Salted Caramel, Winter Citrus and Sugar Plum. You can click here to see all the options. This is perfect for stocking stuffers, gift bags for coworkers, and gifts for your friends. On the website these items have prices varying from $4-$8 but once five are added to your cart the total will be $10.

Another Ulta find is the Luscious Lips and Lashes Set! This set rings in at $20 an features ten trial sized items that you can purchase at retail prices of $6-12 each individually! It's a great deal! You can purchase this set for a sister who is learning more about high quality products and experimenting with their look, or to your friend who is always on the go and could use a little travel friendly product, or you can break up the set and use them as stocking stuffers or include them in gift bags. Click here to see this deal online now. 

A steal from Sephora has this stunning eye shadow palette from major beauty brand Becca Cosmetics on sale for only $28! This palette is sure to please your bestie with 10 versatile and neutral shades, along with a bold gold and a deep shimmering midnight blue. These pigmented and silky eye shadows are perfect for everyday looks or creating the perfect instagram worthy glam. You can get it here.

These are my new favorite things! If you have tried any other nail wraps before, you have to try these! Jamberry, Color Street, Incoco, Coconut, Sally Hansens, they all make wraps and these are the best I swear! These wraps are made from 100% real nail polish. They are toxin free and come in over 75 cute designs and patterns. You press them on (almost like a sticker) but you take them off with a little nail polish remover like you would a classic polish. There is no heat required during application and it does no damage to your nails. There is also no dry time! This means you can apply your nails and then pick up your baby, rock a board meeting or hit the gym without worrying about messing up your new manicure. It takes less than ten minutes to do a full set and they are so affordable! They are only $7 per set, or you can do buy 3 get 1 free, which makes them only $5.25 each. This makes them easy to purchase and gift out to coworkers and friends for the holidays.  You can get yours here! Pictured above from left to right are Coral Shore, Suited Affair, Enchanted Mermaid, It's like Magic, and 5th Avenue.

Dr Teals makes some of the best body and bath products out there. They don't offer much, but what they do have is dynamite. All of their products are infused with high quality essential oils and ingredients, and are gentle on the skin. They make Epsom salt bath soaks, body wash and bubble bath. Some of the fragrances you'll find Lavender, Deep Marine Sea Kelp, Pink Himalayan (pictured above), Eucalyptus and more.  Right now these are all on sale at Ulta Beauty for $5 each. You can find yours here.

Another great set is the Sephora Collection Mini Cream Lip Stain collection. This 4 piece set is only $8! For that price you don't have to break it up, but you know you can! These lip stains come in a variety of colors and are perfect for your niece, coworker or in laws. You can get yours here.

Last but not least are the Tony Moly Sheet Masks from Ulta. I love these sheet masks, and this set is perfection! It comes with 5 Calming Sheet masks, decorated with cute winter creatures and sayings such as "Thank You" and "Love You" on them. This set was meant to be purchased and used as 5 separate gifts. Not only is it another ideal stocking stuffer, but it's also great for a December girls night or in a pampering gift basket. It's also perfect to use as a gift to accompany a gift card to a salon, spa or beauty store.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

REVIEW: TIGI Bed Head Small Talk

 Packaging - 4 (very good)
Scent - 5 (excellent)
Volume - 3 (average)
Heat Protection - 5 (excellent)
Lightweight - 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)
Hydration - 5 (excellent)

This is one of my all time favorite leave in conditioners for fine hair. I am not a fan of the packaging. It looks cheap to me and the round shape make it take more room to store than it needs to, plus you can't store it upside down. But it's functional and I like the purple color. The scent is fantastic. I get more comments on the fragrance of this product than any other. It smells like grape soda, but isn't insanely strong. It also protects your hair form the heat of a blow dryer.

As for performance it is supposed to make your hair look thicker and fuller. I think it does, but not in a teased, root lifting mouse kind of way. It's a subtle fullness. It is insanely lightweight. So it's nice because if you have ultra fine hair you can't have any extra weight on your ends or your hair ends up flat and stringy looking. This one will leave your hair feeling light and bouncy. I also love the way it hydrates your hair and smooths it too. You can put it on damp hair to blow dry or on dry hair to smooth flyaways and hydrate ends. Only use a dime sized amount though because a little goes a very long way. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

REVIEW: Function of Beauty Shampoo and Conditioner

Packaging - 3 (average) 
Scent - 4 (very good) 
Process - 5 (excellent) 
Effectiveness - 2 (not very good) 
Value - 3 (average)

I was so hyped to try Function of Beauty. It is a personalized shampoo and conditioner, and the only reviews I have found are from people who have been paid or sent free product to promote them. I wanted to try them for myself. Unbiased, unpaid, real. I am going to walk through the whole process and results for you. 

So you start by going onto the website, creating a profile and making your own formula. I like the process itself. It was easy to do, took maybe ten minutes and they asked all the relevant questions. Allergies, sensitivities, hair goals, hair type, etc. They also let you pick your product color (which can be different for your shampoo than your conditioner) and if its pearlized or matte. You also get to choose your fragrance between 4 options (peach, pineapple, floral and eucalyptus) as well as three exclusive scents for those who are yearly subscribers (bubblegum, cedar wood and ocean options) and then there is also a fragrance free choice. You also get to choose on a scale of 1-3 how strong you want the fragrance. So I would have given the fragrance a 3, because I chose peach on the most subtle choice. I like a little fragrance, but not to much. It was SO STRONG. I kept thinking "what would this have been like if I had chosen medium or strong?" BUT the options and the fact that the peach did smell very fresh was worth the extra point to me. 

So then they sent me my shampoo and conditioner. I chose a shampoo and conditioner that were supposed to hydrate and heal my hair, while allowing for volume and movement. The actual packaging was not my favorite. I got both the small travel sizes and the full sizes. The travel sized were in these funky silicone plastic bottles that were super easy to squeeze, but the lids came off a lot, and they weren't easy to put back on. And the product clung to the soft silicone sides. The larger sizes were a clear plastic, they weren't particular easy to squeeze, they were very sturdy. BUT the lids are SO TINY, so you can not store this upside down at all, and this stuff is THICK. So it doesn't come out easily. You have to wait forever for a little to drip on your hands. The lids is metal, it's slippery and has no grip, and it is also made of a material that can rust (not wise for shower products). 

For the actual effectiveness my hair was dry and brittle and my split ends were out of control by the end of 3 weeks of continuous use. I was not a fan at all. There ARE shampoos and conditioners out there that are light weight and hydrating at the same time. So this is possible. With that being said I can adjust the products next shipment until I get it right, but I feel like it's to expensive for that. If you pick up a high ends shampoo and conditioner at Ulta or your local salon you can probably return it if it isn't the right fit, with Function of Beauty you are out of luck until next month. And this stuff is SO expensive. They have a "free returns" policy, but when I forgot to cancel my autoship for the next month they told me that I would have to cancel for the next month and get this one because of the customized nature of the product, and that I would not be able to cancel for this month. So I'm not sure what the "free returns" thing they advertise means. 

The cost is not bad though comparatively. An 8 ounce shampoo and 8 ounce conditioner rings in at $36, and the 16 ounce ones are $49. I do like that they have options for A large conditioner and small shampoo set (since many of us use more of one than the other). But these range from $2.25-$1.53 per ounce. Living Proof (my favorite brand) ranges from $3.25-$2.45. Redken ranges from $1.73-$.93. I would say Function of Beauty isn't quite Living Proof quality or convenience, but it is more on par with Redken. The price is a little to high end for what I got. However what I got is not everyone's experience. I am sure some people nail their formula first try and love it. This is just my experience.  

Let me know if you've tried it and what you think!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Rarity Nails vs. Color Street

Honestly, this is one of the hardest battles I have ever done because these two products are almost identical. I do have a favorite, but I really tried to be objective and compare these one at a time in the way I would other brands. In fact I went through and broke down every single area I did during my last brand battle for two nail strip companies. I am going to go through some different factors and dole out the winners for each one and then explain the reasoning. You may want to read my comparison between Color Street and Jamberry, which was done similarly. At the end I will announce the winner of this brand battle. For those of you who don't know, both Color Street and Rarity Nails are 100% Nail Polish Strips that sold by direct sales consultants.

Variety goes to Color Street. Color Street is a little over a year old now and has 136 designs. Rarity Nails on the other hand is only 4 months old and has 80 options. I remember when Color Street was at that stage and they had around 60. I have to go off of current numbers but something tells me that in a few months Rarity Nails will have pulled ahead here.

If you know me then you know I care about ingredients very much! Rarity Nails and Color Street are both free of Parabens, Formaldehyde, DBP, Toluene, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, and Xylene! Woo! But Rarity Nails beat out Color Street by also being free of Triphenyl phosphate. However I will admit that of all the "toxic" ingredients often found in nail polish, this one is the least worrisome to me. It is used to improve flexibility as well as being a fire retardant. However in a study TPHP was linked to endocrine disruption, and although scientists insist that the amount in nail polish is not harmful, it is always good to be safe.

These two products are easy to use, to remove and they don't require any special glues ore removers. Both are gentle on the nails and honestly, it's a tie as to which brand is better for nail health. Both work wonderfully.

To me Rarity Nails is the hands down winner of this category. They are a little thicker, they stretch better and they don't chip as easily. Even the packaging is less likely to tear and easier to re-seal.When I use Color Street I do tend to tear the nail strips and I often end up tearing them so that they don't evenly cover my nail anymore. I know that is user error in a lot of ways, but the strips are simply flimsier. I don't have that issue with Rarity Nails because they are more durable. 

This one was to close to call. Color Street and Rarity Nails are used the same way and take the same amount of time to apply.

Once again they are used the same way. I wouldn't say that one is easier to apply than the other. I am mostly adding these so that people can see how similar they truly are, as well as because these are areas I have compared other brands in before.

Both Color Street and Rarity Nails are 100% nail polish, but because Rarity Nails are a little thicker, they are also a little harder to remove. Color Street's are absurdly easy to remove. You can use nail polish remover or acetone, wet down a cotton pad and just wipe it right off. With Rarity Nails I did have to use Acetone, polish remover wasn't cutting it. And I definitely had to let the pad sit on my nails for a minute or two. There was no damage or scraping on either side, and neither were hard or time consuming, but in comparison Color Street is the obvious winner here.

Inclusiveness is a weird way of me saying, what all comes with the nails strips? Do I need extra parts? So in the package of Color Street Nail Strips you get 16 polish strips, 2 alcohol wipes and 1 mini nail file. In the Rarity Nails Package you get 18 polish strips, 1 alcohol wipe, 1 mini nail file and 1 double ended orange wood stick. 

So first of all the nail files that come in the Color Street ones are garbage in my opinion. I gave always used my own because I feel like they don't do anything. The Rarity Nails nail files are a little larger and sturdier. I can use one file for multiple applications. The alcohol wipes are very different too. The Color Street ones are branded with the logo and come with two, while rarity nails uses generic medical looking ones, and it only comes with one. However I feel the color street ones are smaller and dryer than the ones that Rarity Nails have.I have to use one wipe on each hand with color street, and can use the same on both with Rarity Nails.

Then you have the orange wood stick. You guys, this is genius. You really have to push back your cuticle to use these properly or they will look grown out day one. The Color Street doesn't come with anything for that but Rarity Nails includes a pretty nice mini orange wood stick that is double ended! One end is the classic cuticle pusher. The other end is a pointed tip and it works great for pressing down on the edges of your nails firmly and securing them. Rarity Nails has Color Street beat here handily.

Last but not least is value. This is a big one and the major difference between the two honestly. Color Street only has 16 strips per pack, while Rarity Nails has 18. But Rarity Nails are also half the price of Color Street. Color Street ranges from $11 for their solid colors and $13 for their designs, with $14 being the rate for their french manicures. Rarity Nails is $7 across the board. Both offer buy three get one free deals year round. Now before you say that that must mean Rarity Nails aren't as high quality, you are wrong. Color Street is owned by Incoco, which is a polish strip brand that also sells at $7.99. Incoco and Color Street are practically identical. So you are paying a premium for the Color Street name.

and the winner is.....

So here is the deal, I am still a fan of color street, I still own a bunch of their product and I like their wraps a lot. BUT because of the high prices I am leaning towards Rarity Nails and will pick them up more often! If you are already a Color Street fan, you may want to try Rarity Nails too! The designs are totally different and you  may end up finding some you are in love with. If you have wanted to try color street but can't afford them, these are a great alternative.

Full disclosure guys, I am going to post an affiliate link and will be getting kickbacks of purchases made through the links to Rarity Nails on this page. Hopefully you don't stone me for it, but I am always transparent with you. You should consider getting onto social media and seeing if you have a friend or family member you could support first, but if not I'd love for you to support me. You can pick up some Rarity Nails for yourself by clicking here. 

You can pick up Color Street Nails here.