I have a confession: this past March, I got a hair smoothing treatment that seriously damaged my hair. I’ve been trying to stay away from chemical-laden keratin treatments so I tried an amino-acid based one. I thought, worst-case, it wouldn’t do much. And it didn’t, in the way of smoothing or humidity-blocking. But it did break my hair.
Can I just say, I’ve never.
My hair has always been dependably tough. I use a lot of heat, I color it regularly. I live through dry New York City winters and hard tap water. I’ve aged, but my hair has always been strong. So having a head of brittle, broken hair has been a little soul crushing.
Since spring, it’s been Operation Hair Rehab. The regime has consisted of washing my hair just twice a week and using a hair mask every time. I also lowered the temp on my hair wand and spaced out my color a little more.
Over the last three months, I’ve tried over a dozen hair masks and I can tell you this with absolute certainty: this Shu Uemura wins HANDS DOWN. After just one use, my hair felt almost completely restored. It defied my expectations, which were high anyway given my love and loyalty to the brand. (I’m addicted to their time-saving blow dry oil.)
How It Works: The unique formula binds the hair cuticle and cortex together, making the hair whole again, able to fend off further damage.
What You See Immediately: Smooth, silky hair that looks and feels healthy.
What You See Over Time: Healed hair with strength and renewed life, able to take environmental and chemical beatings, if you must.
Key Ingredients: Japanese Lotus flower:noted for its ability to bloom in even the most hostile environments. It has been used for centuries for its moisturizing and softening properties. Ceramides: lipids naturally present in the hair, providing the hair with impermeability, protection and resistance.
This remarkable treatment actually works on all hair types because of its mechanism. It also smells really good. The best part? It only takes ten minutes!
I honestly had no idea what to make of this product when it showed up. I was a little wary of spraying oil on my wet hair, but when the gilded bottle says “Shu Uemura,” I trust.
And it works.
Like, really works. My hair felt like a had just gotten a keratin treatment and my blowdrying time was significantly cut down. No greasiness, just beautiful soft texture the brand refers to as “slip.” Featuring the same gliding agents as makeup foundation, the unique formula applies with a gentle, super-fine mist (like my favorite hairspray from Shu Uemura.) Add your blowdryer and voilà—smooth, sleek and shiny hair in record time. (2x faster, according to the brand’s study.)
The key ingredient that powers this, my new favorite hair product, is black cumin oil. Apparently, this was the oil of the pharaohs. One of natures most powerful antioxidants, it contains a nice balance of omega oils that really get deep down into the hair, lending the sleek finish.
Ok, history lesson over. But you can buy the product here.
I love some unexpected sparkle added to an otherwise quiet hairstyle.
A little glitz in the form of a barrette, headband or hair pin is an easy way to elevate your ‘do. Whether you wear your hair up or down, straight or wavy, braided or in a bun, just nestle one of these easy pieces in wherever it feels right.
Some of my favorites are this small, sparkly hair clip, this understated but gilded bobby pin pack from Henri Bendel, this on-trend leaf and floral back headband from Asos, this crystal pony tail holder and this gold one. I also got this faux-fur pompom pony tail holder for my daughter (that I’ll likely borrow). This gorgeous, delicate hair slide could *almost* convince me to wear my hair back, but this tiny, equally spectacular clip better suits my long and loose go-to style. I also love this delicate pearl leaf headband.
Wow. There are so many amazing gift sets this season, I decided to make two lists because I had such a tough time narrowing it down.
Here my luxury beauty picks. (Watch out for my under $50 list next.)
Violet Gray Bedside Table Set, $185
La Mer, Dior, By Terry—this lovely curated set of lip, hand and nail creams are the ultimate evening luxury.
Tom Ford 2 Piece Lip, 2 Piece Nail Box, $174
Timeless shades from one of my favorite luxury lines. The packaging, the products—it just doesn’t get any better than Tom Ford.
Kevyn Aucoin Travel Brush Set, $285
Five double-ended brushes from the makeup master. Easy to store and travel-friendly. I still have Aucoin brushes in my kit from ten years ago. A worthy investment.
illuminage Seeing Beauty Deluxe Set, $99
I love products that work overnight. This super-soft mask and pillowcase set is infused with copper ion technology that delivers the powerful mineral to help the skin renew itself and diminish wrinkle. It’s like beauty sleep insurance— and I hope my husband is reading this because I want this!
LightStim for Wrinkles $249
If I could invest in one high-tech tool, this LED powered, FDA-studied skin tightener would be it.
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones, $110
The easiest, most beautiful way to subtly contour and highlight. I love love LOVE this compact and swear by the fool-proof brush.
simplehuman 5″ Sensor Makeup Mirror with Travel Case, $130
You’ll never have to worry about bad lighting again with this genius little-but-big-enough mirror that simulates natural light. It’s also cordless and adjustable. Perfect to take on the road or to keep in an office drawer.
DryBar Dirty Martini Kit, $149
This is a perfect wave-making iron, conveniently packaged with DryBar’s signature products that smell amazing. Perfect for any woman who wants but thinks she can’t give herself tousled tresses.
Giorgio Armani Luxe is More Oversized Palette, $140
Ten gorgeous eyeshadows, two blendable cream foundations to perfect and contour. This is one of the most gorgeous nude palettes I’ve seen. It really works on a range of skin tones. Snag it while you can.
Rodin Luxury Body Oil, $130
The most luxurious blend of essential oils, it’s no wonder this oil is a perennial celeb and beauty editor favorite.
When I was a teenager in Miami, my hair care consisted of drugstore brands like Aussie and Herbal Essence. I can still conjure the scent of those products. It’s practically Pavlovian: I get a whiff even remotely reminiscent of “botanical bliss” and I’m back to giant, crunchy diffused hair with stick straight bangs.
Once, however, I was bestowed the luxury of a giant tub of Terax Crema. Back then, it was the holy grail of smooth, expensive-looking hair. The scent was more subtle but the results were obsession-worthy.
So when I was recently sent samples of Terax’s newly formulated original, with sleek new packaging and infused with keratin, I was beyond excited to be reunited with my old hair care brand crush.
It didn’t disappoint. I am in love with this conditioner. Armed with “smart” keratin technology, it deposits the healing protein where you need it most. And because of this super duper technology, it doesn’t wash out as easily as other brands do. If your hair is chemically treated or damaged, I think you’ll love it and see softer, shinier hair after your first wash.
Every once in a while, there is a really exciting new breakthrough in the hair tool category. (For me, the last one was the clipless curling iron.) Now, hands down, celebrity hair stylist Harry Josh has won the prize for innovating a seriously impressive blow dryer that takes drying your own hair to the next level. Blowing air at 80mph, it is the most powerful dryer in its class. It smooths hair like no other with it’s (optional) ionic power and, at the same time, has been designed to be incredibly efficient, reducing energy use by 70%. It’s literally and figuratively green.
My long, coarse hair typically takes me thirty minutes to blow dry. That’s not counting the ten to fifteen additional minutes I spend smoothing and touching up. Drying my hair with the Harry Josh blower took half the time. And my hair looked like smooth, “day two” hair. The dryer is not only a miracle worker on hair like mine, it does a wonderful job adding body to finer hair when the ionic option is turned off.
-It has a smaller profile than most dryers.
-It’s delightfully quiet.
-It has a super-long 9-foot cord that I love.
-Two nozzle attachments are included: one for body, one for smoothing.
-The motor is purported to last 2000 hours. (I’m not good at math, but I think this blower might outlast me.)
The dryer launched last fall for $300, but it’s currently on sale for $250—with free shipping and a complimentary hair serum with every order, through Josh’ exclusive retailer, HairEnvy.com.