Sometimes there are beauty collections that are simply too cute to handle and the Shu Uemura x Super Mario Brothers Collection for holiday is one of them. Many years ago I used to use and buy a lot from Shu Uemura. It was hard to find in the US so I first discovered the items in Asia and UK during my college days. They eventually launched in a few stores like Sephora and Neiman Marcus. When I lived in California I’d sometimes make a long drive from San Diego to their boutique at South Coast Plaza. Unfortunately they decided to pull the brand from all retail stores and they kept it online only. I hope they will bring it back to more places someday! The holiday collection is super cute and speaks to the young at heart.
Color items and makeup come in limited-edition packaging:
Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte in M PK375 ($30) is the first matte lipstick I’ve tried from Shu Uemura and wow is the formula impressive. I’m not a fan of matte lips in general but this formula is smooth and manages to look velvety without that dried up look. Pigment is opaque and smooth, there’s no tugging and lasting power is really phenomenal. It stays put adhering well to the lips. It also leaves a slight stain on the lips so if as it fades or transfers the color pretty much stays put. PK375 is a pinkish berry color.
Rouge Unlimited Sheer Shine in Saved Peach ($30) is one of those sheer glossy peachy colors in the tube but on my lips it turns more pinkish. This has a soft glossy finish with a cushiony feel. Lasting power isn’t as good as the matte but it does feel nice and hydrating on the lips. It has quite a bit of slip and while it looks pretty I’m not the biggest fan of the formula.
Tint in Balm in Fire of Flower ($30) is a lush pigmented balm. The formula is so good with this one and even though the color is a lot brighter than what I normally wear, I think it’s worth checking out if you are in the market for a brighter red. Lasting power with this is also very good, especially for a balm. I definitely plan on checking out the other colors in the regular line.
Drawing Pencil in Matte Black ($24) is a classic rich opaque smooth black eyeliner. It has a soft matte finish and on my eyes it lasted all day without smudging (even in humidity).
The hair care line Shu Uemura Art of Hair is carried on it’s own website, separate from the makeup and skincare items. Each holiday season they usually repromote classics with the holiday packaging so in the event you don’t like the designs you can always buy them with the standard bottles.
Cleansing Oil Shampoo ($57) is a classic shampoo I’ve used up entirely multiple times. With my hair type it’s best as a clarifying one to two times a week kind of formula. I always combine it with the corresponding conditioner and the two together are really good for soft clean hair.
Cleansing Oil Conditioner ($58) is the coordinating conditioner for the Cleansing Oil Shampoo. I actually like this formula a lot better than the shampoo and use this one with other brands of shampoo. I’m one who washes my hair daily. Back in California I didn’t condition it every day because I didn’t need to. In Florida the water is different and while the weather is hot and makes me prone to sweat more, the water dries out my skin and hair (even with filters). I’ve found I need some kind of conditioner daily and this one is definitely a favorite because it’s light enough to add moisture but not so heavy and rich that it makes my scalp oily.
Essence Absolue ($69) is one of their best-sellers and for good reason. It’s a lightweight oil that can be used in a number of ways. I apply it to freshly washed and towel dried hair and it works as a detangler. I also use it pre-heat styling and as a finisher on the ends. It’s consistently in my top picks for hair oils because of the lightweight texture, beautiful scent and great shine it gives my hair without weighing it down. I absolutely love that it comes with a pump dispenser.
Master Wax ($39) is another classic from Shu Uemura but this was the first time I’ve ever used a wax. I had to do some research on how to use and apply it because I usually associate a hair wax with a men’s grooming kind of product. It has a nice lightweight scent but feels thick like a gooey pomade. Instructions say you can use on damp or dry hair – I tried both. A little goes a very long way. With my hair styling I usually do the same thing every day. I just like it down and free flowing unless I’m working out and then tie it up. I rarely use hair spray as it gives my hair that crunchy feel. This wax seems like it would be the perfect styling product if you style your hair and need it to stay in place or get that piecey look all day without stiffness. For the most part I’ve had longer hair, at least slightly past the shoulders. There have been times I cut my hair shorter and found it extremely difficult to maintain and style. Shorter hair means there’s less weight and I found my hair kinda flew around in ways I couldn’t manage. Had I known about hair wax back then I think it would have been a styling savior. For now since I’m very minimal with my hair styling I prefer the Essence Absolue or softer creams.
Beauty, skincare and makeup items are available online at Shu Uemura and Shu Uemura Canada. The team has offered Beauty Look Book readers a special offer for orders. With code BLBXSHU online you will receive 5 free deluxe samples and free shipping on orders $50+. Samples include: a mini laque supreme sample rd01, maxi:hydrability essence-in cream 13 ml, sakura-rose-petal-mask 13 ml, ultime8 sublime cleansing oil 15 ml and nutri:nectar sample 15 ml.
That wraps up my look at some of the holiday pieces from the Shu Uemura x Super Mario Collection! Have you tried anything from Shu Uemura recently? What are your favorites? I’m still working on my skincare routine but I’ll say for now that their Sakura Rose Petal Mask is one of my latest obsessions for hydration and soothing.
Holiday collection items and promo code provided courtesy of the Shu Uemura team.
I’m excited to share a review of the new Harry Josh Ultra Light Pro Dryer ($349) which launches exclusively at Dermstore this week. For those who aren’t familiar with the line, Harry Josh is a celebrity stylist who has created a line of hair tools called Harry Josh Pro Tools. His products have a signature soft mint green color which I think is fun and unique. I was sent one to test out and this is my first time using anything from his line. Since I’ve already tried and fallen in love with a number of other great hair dryers including the t3 PROi, ghd Air and DryBar (reviewed here) I did not think this one could be better than what I’ve tested but it is.
For as long as I can remember I’ve blow dried my hair on a regular basis because I find it essential to tame my thick unruly hair with a slight natural wave. If you’ve read some of my packing posts you know that even though I’m a carry on traveler for the most part I still insist on bringing my own hair dryer with me. The two main inconveniences include the fact that they take up a lot of space and also it weighs down the luggage. The Harry Josh Ultra Light Pro Dryer is smaller than the average dryer and extremely light weight under 1 pound. A lot of dryers are design to be “lightweight” but this one is noticeably lighter but still feels like it has substance. It’s easy to hold in the hand for an extended period and easy to maneuver.
Even though it is compact, it has a very powerful motor with a speed of 94 mph which makes for super fast drying time. I set my stopwatch to time my hair drying process with this one on 12 different occasions of using this and each time I was able to get completely dried hair in under 6 minutes (usually around 5 minutes and 46 second mark). Most of the dryers I own take around 7 to 10 minutes for me to get completely dried hair.
My drying process includes a quick rough dry all over. Then I section it by parting my hair or by using clips. If I don’t have clips I simply flip over sections and part my hair to separate it.
For brushes I still use a CHI Turbo Small Paddle Brush to do most of my brushing or drying. Then I finish with a bristle brush to smooth everything out. I tried the Harry Josh Pro Round Brush (made of boar and nylon bristles, made in China) and it was surprisingly easy to use and very effective in smoothing out flyaways. I say surprising because even though I know boar/nylon bristle brushes are the best for smoothing out hair I find them difficult for me to use in general just because of my hair type.
I’m not the most savvy when it comes to hair dryer technology, but I do know that I see a difference in results with regards to smoothness, shine and the frizz factor. All three that I had previously reviewed provide excellent results: smooth, sleek, frizz-free finish. The Harry Josh Ultra Light Pro Dryer also delivers with ion technology and has two ion settings: off will deliver full voluminous style, on will give a smooth sleek finish. I tried both settings and feel that there is actually a visible difference with the two settings as the booklet describes.
For the settings, there are:
3 temperature control settings
2 ion settings (as mentioned above)
2 settings for speed/air flow
1 cool shot button
2 removable nozzles
removable air filter
9 foot extension cord
For other features it’s relatively less noisy than other dryers but not 100% silent. It is described as being energy efficient with the dual filtration system. The tool is made in France and with the power and settings I was particularly impressed at how fast it dried my hair without making my head feel super hot from the heat like it does with most other dryers.
Size comparison to the T3 PROi (c/o, previously reviewed here):
I didn’t want to fall in love with this pricey hair dryer but I have. As with everything I test regardless of whether it’s a press sample or something I purchased on my own I do assess it for the price point to see if I think it’s worth it and in this case I think it is. Still it is very spendy and you can definitely find great hair dryers for less. This one wins for me on dry time, size, weight and performance. It’s truly exceptional in every way and among the best ones that I’ve tried. If there is one thing I think it’s missing it’s a dust bag or something to carry it in for travel – but that being said most of the dryers I’ve seen don’t come with one either. Performance-wise I still think the t3 PROi and ghd Air are also very good ones. The main difference for me is the weight and dry time.
A lot of you have asked me over the past year if I’ve tried the Dyson Hair Dryer and I have not. However this season there’s a Dyson Blown-A Ouai set available which might push me over the edge to try it out. Let me know if you’ve tried it and what your thoughts are or if you would like to see a review.
Bottom line the Harry Josh Ultra Light Pro Dryer gets a huge thumbs up for me. You can find it exclusively at Dermstore. Have you tried anything from Harry Josh yet? If not what’s your current favorite hair dryer? I’d love to hear what you use!
Harry Josh Ultra Light Pro Dryer and Round Brush sent by Dermstore without charge for review. Other press samples featured indicated with c/o.
I have an updated hair care routine for summer to share today. Since moving to Florida I’ve been struggling for months to find a good shampoo + conditioner combo. The water here is so different from California and even with a filter in the home, many shampoos and conditioners simply don’t rinse or lather the same. I’ve tried a lot of my tried and true favorites alongside probably at least 15 other formulas and it’s been a real challenge to find something that works. Also with the heat, humidity, chlorine and salt my hair behaves differently. It gets dried out easily but the humidity also means sweat and oils surface so it feels like everything is just a hot mess. For a quick recap on my hair – I have long thick frizz-prone hair. It’s never been colored or highlighted (at least not yet). Many of the styling product favorites remain the same. My current favorites right now listed below.
Shampoo, Conditioners and Rinses
Molton Brown Inspiring Basil and Vetiver Shampoo and Conditioner ($30 each for 10 fl oz) is part of a limited-edition collection Molton Brown created for the Seabourn cruise line. This is my current holy grail duo. I’ve tried at least a dozen other brands and formulas over the past months and nothing compares to this duo for a good wash. It cleanses and leaves the hair feeling super soft and naturally shiny. It has a very soothing soft natural scent. I’m a bit upset it’s limited-edition as I’d love to keep repurchasing this for like FOREVER. I’m stocking up so I’ll be able to have this for a while. The entire Molton Brown x Seabourn Collection is amazing. I highly recommend you check it out.
Oribe Cleansing Creme for Moisture Control ($46 for 8.5 oz) isn’t shown because I’ve run out twice since moving to Florida. It was a favorite in California and is still a favorite here in Florida. I use this about 2 to 4x a week switching it out for regular shampoo/conditioner. It’s perfect to restore dry hair to a more natural balanced state.
Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo ($22 to $44) is something I keep in purse occasionally in the smaller size as a refresher. I wash my hair everyday, sometimes twice a day – it’s something I’ve always done and with the summer humidity I think it’s an absolute must. I tend to use dry shampoo as a refresher to absorb oil if I’ve been out for a while and don’t have time to go home to wash it (ie mid-day). There’s really nothing that will fix extreme humidity or wet hair from being rained on, but I find this is a pretty good fix to refresh hair. Back in San Diego there were occasions I did skip a day of washing here and there. This is my go-to for a dry shampoo. It doesn’t have a white cast and as someone with dark hair I really hate any that make my hair look dusty, ashy or grey.
MarulaOil Rare Oil Style Extending Primer ($30 for 130 ml) this is a primer spray that’s designed to extend the life of your hair styling. It smooths and primes the hair for heat styling. On me it works to detangle wet hair. I like the way it smells and it keeps hair looking smooth and frizz free all day even with humidity.
Christophe Robin Hydrating Leave-In Mist with Aloe Vera ($39 for 150 ml) is a light detangling spray with the most amazing natural soothing scent. It really does work well as a detangler. I have a slight preference for this over the MarulaOil one although they have a similar effect.
Oils and Creams
Shu Uemura Art of Hair Blow Dry Beautifier Thermo BB Serum ($39 for 150 ml) is another favorite right now. I reviewed this back in June alongside the BB Cream. Both are really good lightweight primers for heat styling or air drying. They help keep shape but in a natural looking way. If you’re familiar with Shu Uemura Art of Hair these both have a similar effect to the Satin Design Polishing Milk but have a lighter finish/feel. If you’re more of a spray person I’d recommend the Wonder Worker. You really can’t go wrong with any of them – they’ve all performed extremely well for me as multi-tasking preheat or post styling treatments. Right now I like the BB Serum the best.
Moroccanoil Treatment Light ($15 to $44 depending on size) is one of those versatile multi-taskers that great for anything. I can use this as a a styling or finishing product. I love both the regular and light version but for summer I’ve been loving this light one to add a natural shine. I can add it to clean towel-dried hair and just let it air dry. For heat treatment it helps protect the ends and keeps it looking nice and shiny.
Verb Ghost Oil ($14 for 2 oz) is another great lightweight oil. It smells fresh and light and won’t weigh down the hair. It comes with a pump (huge plus for me) and gives the hair a fluid soft sheen.
Ouai Rose Hair and Body Oil (miniature shown from Morning After Kit here and here, full size here) is something I reviewed a few months ago. I still love this for both body and hair. I like this on damp hair or on ends to add a bit of shine with a nice scent.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis Hair Mist ($65 for 70 ml) is a beautiful hair perfume. After all these years of hair mists I still haven’t tried many as I’d rather just spray perfume in my hair. This has completely changed my outlook. This one is light and soft and alcohol-free. It’s a soft floral with a bit of citrus and musk and mists the hair in a fine veil of scent. Lasting power is quite good on me – I was able to smell it even in late afternoon.
In terms of styling tools, I still haven’t found a brush that I 100% love for function and looks. Right now I use a CHI Turbo Paddle Brush which I’ve had for years and is pretty worn down. If you have any ones you love let me know in the comments. For blow dryers my go-to’s are in this post and you can also see my hair type there as well.
That wraps up my summer hair care loves! What are your current favorites right now? If you can share your hair type as well that would be super helpful 🙂 If you live in Florida or have traveled here for an extended time I’d love to hear what you’ve used or use while here!
Press samples include the Shu Uemura BB Serum, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Hair Mist, Christophe Robin Volumizing Paste, Christophe Robin Leave-In Mist, Molton Brown Seabourn Collection.
Today I’m rounding up my top picks in skincare and haircare for the year. I discovered a lot of great items for my sensitive skin – it was a challenge to narrow it down to such an edited list. I used up quite a bit over the course of the year – to do a post listing all the items I used and repurchased in the last 12 months would be quite extensive. Part of me wanted to do a favorites roundup for every category, perhaps I’ll do one in the new year, but for now here’s are my top picks:
Shu Uemura Wonder Worker (review here) is another favorite pre-heat treatment to smooth and detangle hair, you can still find it in the Limited-Edition Murakami packaging at Barneys
Face Cleanser and Toner
Bioderma Sensibio Tonic Lotion is a toner I discovered a few months ago, it’s gentle and perfect for sensitive skin to balance and soothe, it’s available in two sizes and I bought the full size as well – wish I had discovered it sooner! Now I don’t have to spend $90 to replenish my La Mer The Tonic because I’ve found a great alternative
Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser (review here) is a mud to foam cleanser, it’s the best clarifying one that helps absorb excess oil, reduce redness, and prevent breakouts, in the summer I use this daily in the evenings or post-workout, during non-hot months I use this 2-3x per week
Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash (reviewed here) is the cleanser I reach for the most and have repurchased the most, best gentle everyday cleanser I’ve tried that doesn’t dry out the skin but still leaves it clean, I’ve tried all of her cleansers and they are all great (yes ALL of them) but this one is the best for me for daily use (my brother loves this one as well), she just launched an EradiKate Cleanser and I rarely say this these days but this is something I absolutely feel the NEED TO TRY, it’s in my shopping cart right now
Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment (reviewed here) a stronger option but draws out all excess oil and helps clear up the skin, if you have broken skin or extremely sensitive skin, I’d recommend using this as a spot treatment or patch test first
Tatcha Pore Perfecting Water Gel Moisturizer (reviewed here) is the best gel moisturizer I’ve used, I usually don’t like gels because they’re often not compatible with foundation, this one works for me with the foundations I use while minimizing pores and smoothing the skin
Night Treatments – as someone who has extra sensitive skin, I cannot use most creams with any Vitamin C or Retinol without peeling or redness, Kate Somerville is one of the best lines for me in terms of night treatments
Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover (reviewed here) is the key product I use to keep my cuticles looking groomed and healthy, I know an updated hand and nail care post is long overdue – I’ll do a 2017 version in the new year
Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade (also featured here and here) one of the best nourishing treatments, it’s so good I bought a second one to keep in my purse and one to keep at home
Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment is the best pimple treatment, the key is to use it the minute you feel something start to surface and don’t use it on open wounds or broken skin, my husband uses this and it makes me giggle when we have matching pink spots on our faces at night because it looks so ridiculous, but it works!
Lavanila Deodorant is the only deodorant I’ve used for the past two years, I don’t sweat a lot so I can’t report on that aspect, but I love that it’s natural, keeps odor away and lasts all day long for me, I’ve tried around 4 different scents by now and all of them were great, the travel-sized ones are perfect to throw in the purse or to travel with
In the upcoming year I plan to be more diligent about testing and using eye creams. I’ve gone through a few this year but did not use them on a regular basis (mainly because I was lazy). I know with the eyes, wrinkle prevention and sun protection are key so I need to stop procrastinating and start acting now! If you have any recommendations for someone who is 35 years old (me) let me know in the comments and I will be forever grateful.
I hope you enjoyed this roundup! I feel as though I left out quite a few good discoveries but tried to keep the list to under 30 products so I wouldn’t end up regurgitating the entire year of blog posts for hair care and skin care.
What were your 2016 favorites in skincare and hair care?
Many of you have asked how I maintain my hair for that smooth and healthy shine so today I’m sharing some thoughts on hair oils and dryers I’ve put to the test. I’m always trying new things in hair care as I have thick and unruly hair that requires heat styling and product to smooth out the frizz. Over the years I have tried dozens of creams, sprays and oils over the years and my favorite items are the multi-tasking ones. In my experience creams are best for adding a bit more texture and shine, sprays are great to evenly disperse product through the hair and comb through, oils are a good in-between kind of option. Finding the right hair dryer can be tricky and take time. It took me a long time before I was willing to spend over $100 on one but doing so was life changing and worth every single penny. Even though a high price tag can be off putting, I would say don’t let the price tag scare you. There are a number of hair dryers that do make it possible to get a perfect salon quality blowout at home. Today I’ve teamed up with Sephora to share thoughts on three new-to-me hair oils and how they compare to some others I’ve tried. I was also able to put two hair dryers to the test and have a pros and cons list on each.
Up first is a look at some of the oils. Smell is extremely important to me as I have a sensitive nose and usually prefer something that isn’t too strong so it won’t interfere with my perfume of the day. In terms of texture I like oils that have more of a lightweight finish so it won’t weigh down my hair as the day progresses. Moroccanoil Treatment has been a long-time staple because it’s versatile and works every time without fail to help detangle and tame flyaways. I love the argan oil scent and it’s one that I can use without having to worry about it weighing my hair down. Thoughts comparing six different oils below.
Notes on each from left to right. Each brand describes the oils as multi-tasking oils and suitable for all hair types. I do find most of these versatile. Thoughts on each one below:
Ouai Hair Oil ($23 for 1.7 oz) is a lightweight oil designed to control frizz, nourish hair and protect hair from color fading. It is indeed a luxurious rich oil but comes with a floral scent that I’m not a huge fan of. It’s not a deal breaker for me but if it had a different scent I would reach for it more frequently. The best part of the oil is the packaging. It comes in a pretty package and the pump is well designed to dispense just the right amount of product.
Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil ($38 for 3.4 oz) is described as a fast-absorbing oil and is designed for coarse hair. You can scroll down to the bottom of this post to see what my hair looks like with one drop. It’s described as a nourishing oil and for my hair it did add a nice healthy shine. It has that signature fresh scent all living proof hair products have but is light and doesn’t overwhelm you. Texture was easy to work through the hair – Living Proof has something they call OFPMA technology incorporated into this to block frizz and lower surface tension to help formula spread evenly. It does exactly what it claims without making the hair feel heavy. I did need to add one more pump after drying on the ends to help seal and smooth split ends.
Moroccanoil Treatment ($34 for 1.7 oz) is a classic I would say everyone should try, if you have thicker, dry or coarse hair. The only downside is that these do not come with a pump which would make application easier. After using this pre-heat treatment the hair is easier to manage as it acts as a detangler and hair is soft and shiny. It does work to strengthen the hair as well.
Moroccanoil Treatment Light ($34 for 1.7 oz) is similar to the regular one, if you have fine hair or oily hair, this will probably be the better option for you. For my thick hair this works just as well but has a noticeably lighter texture and finish. When I use this hair is light and fluffy but frizz-free. Both the oils cut down drying time with a dryer.
Madame C.J. Walker Beauty Culture Scent and Shine Coconut Oil ($26 for 1.7 oz) is a strongly scented oil that smells of sweet coconut and vanilla. I am normally not a fan of sweet scents for the hair but if you look at the reviews on Sephora there are a lot of other women who love it. This one has a thinner texture and absorbs quickly into the hair. For those with curly hair it’s supposed to maintain your curls but since I style my hair straight I can’t report on that aspect. As a finishing product it makes the hair ends look super healthy. If you like vanilla scents I think you will love this. For me it’s too strong to wear throughout the hair but I can apply it on the ends as a finishing product.
Verb Ghost Oil ($14 for 2 oz or $18 for this duo set) is one I bought a few weeks ago because I was researching hair products online and this looked really interesting to me. It’s a clear restorative oil with a moringa oil blend which is great for dry or damaged hair. It smells amazing – it’s hard to describe but I would describe it as fresh and lightweight. It is one of the best lightweight oils I’ve tried that really almost disappears into the hair as it absorbs quickly and blends nicely into the strands. It does what it claims: removes frizz, smooths hair and adds shine.
Next are three dryers from T3, ghd and Drybar. When it comes to dryers aside from overall performance I’m also concerned about noise level and weight. Since I have thick hair I sometimes dry my hair in sections or layers from the bottom to the top which takes extra time. Finding a dryer that isn’t too heavy is important so it doesn’t weigh down my arm. The noise level is something I take for granted until I use one in a hotel on a trip and realize how loud the motors are.
T3 PROi Professional Hair Dryer ($350) is the most expensive hair dryer I own and I’ve had for over a year now. It was in my top 2 dryers for giving my hair a salon quality blow out. It has a Tourmaline and Ceramic electric ionizer designed to emit negative ions and infrared heat to help seal ends and eliminate frizz. There are two nozzles with a wide and narrow tip that allow you to concentrate air in different ways. It truly does work to give you an amazingly smooth blowout. There are three heat setting options, a cool shot button and two speed settings which is great for those who want more control. The aesthetics and design are amazing. This is the prettiest dryer I own. I’ve tried a number of other T3 dryers and found them just ok but the PROi works a lot better than the rest. Even though it’s on the large side it isn’t too heavy. The noise level is low which makes it pleasant to use.
Two downsides include the size and dry time. This is a full size dryer which means it will take up a lot of counter or drawer space. It also means it’s not travel-friendly. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker but as someone who prefers tools that are more compact this is larger than I would like. Still it performs well and I’ve found space to store it. The other downside is dry time but I will say there is a trick to using this one. Most of the complaints I’ve seen online is that for the price this should cut down dry time but many have reported it does not. It has a powerful motor which does emit a lot of concentrated air but if you blow dry your hair from the time it is completely wet it will take extra time. The trick to cutting down dry time is to make sure your hair is towel dried and to rough the hair first. This may seem like an extra step but it will only take a few minutes and getting it roughly dried to about 80% as they recommend makes a huge difference for the remainder of the drying process. After rough drying divide the hair into sections and dry them with either of the nozzles. I’ve used this a number of ways and will say that I usually don’t mind how long it takes to dry my hair as long as the results are good. This one gives smooth frizz-free full looking hair every time.
ghd Air Professional Performance Hair Dryer ($199) is new to me and quite impressive. It’s smaller and more lightweight than the T3 but is the motor has a smoother quieter sound and yet emits a stronger feeling air stream by comparison. This one truly cuts hair drying time up to 2x faster like it claims. It has ionic technology to keep hair free from frizz and give a smooth finish. There are two heat settings plus a cool option, a cool shot button and two speed settings. The nozzle tips are skinnier which help force air into a more concentrated flow. Dry time is at most 10 minutes but I was able to cut it to down to 7 minutes from towel dried to completely dry. I can’t think of any cons with this one although the nozzles can be a bit hard to remove. Once they are on they are locked in pretty tight – but the upside is that they don’t move around easily if you run your hair through a stiffer brush.
Drybar Baby Buttercup Blow Dryer ($135) is one of the cutest hair tools I’ve seen. My husband actually bought me the full size Buttercup Dryer quite a few years ago and I liked it a lot but it took forever to get my hair dry with it. I’ve mentioned that long dry time isn’t a deal breaker but sometimes having something that gets the job done 2-3 minutes faster makes a huge difference. I was eager to see how the Baby Buttercup compared and think it’s better than the full size. It does have a louder motor compared to the T3 PROi or ghd air professional but it’s not too loud that it bothers me. Since this one is smaller and more compact they’ve combined the heat and speed settings into the same button. It’s a powerful one even though it’s small and dry time is pretty quick with this. I love that it folds into a compact size and comes with it’s own drawstring bag that says “I’m Full of Hot Air” which is perfect for travel. Performance-wise it’s a lot better than the T3 Featherweight Compact Folding Dryer which I bought a couple years ago but I know a lot of others really like that one. The Drybar Baby Buttercup has better drying power, cuts the drying time, doesn’t dry out the hair and gives a nice smooth blowout. The only downside is since it’s small the options for heat and speed are limited but that’s expected with the compact design. It gets the job done and is one I’ll be taking with me on my trip this upcoming week.
Blow out how-to before and after with the Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil and ghd Air Professional Performance Dryer. Total time from towel-dried hair to a completely smooth blowout was around 8 minutes. For oils I usually apply 1 to 2 pumps from ends and work my way up. Note there are a number of ways to blow dry your hair. I often use clips to divide and section my hair but sometimes parting it without clips works too.
Wet hair and work oil from ends all the way throughout hair
Rough dry everything from the ends
Move the dryer to the roots and rough dry some more for a more textured layered look
Run a brush and dry in sections, I use a vent brush as most round brushes cause my hair to become static or frizzy
Use the cool shot to blow through everything to set
Finished blow out look, ends still need a bit of product to smooth but I wanted to show you how my hair looks right after drying with the blow dryer with a little bit of brushing
In terms of the three dryers I featured it’s hard to pick a favorite as they each have their own benefits. The T3 PROi performs well and gives amazing results but dry time can be longer than what you may want. The ghd Air Professional is one of the most powerful yet compact dryers I’ve tried and truly cuts down dry time while giving smooth looking hair. The Drybar Baby Buttercup is great for those who don’t need a lot of options for heat/speed and want something compact or travel a lot. If I could only have 1, I would say the ghd is what I’d gravitate towards for dry time although I really like the larger size of the T3 nozzles.
For oils I think finding the right one depends on your hair density, hair length and whether or not you color your hair. My personal favorites are still the Moroccanoil regular and light, but I’ve been really impressed with the ones from Living Proof and Verb.
I hope you found this review helpful! For haircare junkies there’s nothing quite that feeling of finding a great new styling tool. Having great looking hair can do wonders in confidence boosting and there are lots of products that can help. My hair when air dried is a disaster and most people think I have naturally good hair – it’s not the case. With the help of product and good heat styling tools my hair looks smooth and shiny. There are tons of options to choose from at Sephora and for the holiday there are lots of great value sets which will allow you to test things out at a more affordable price. If you have a favorite hair oil or dryer let me know in the comments. To this day I’m still trying to find the perfect brush for blow drying. If you have a favorite please let me know in the comments 🙂
This post was sponsored by Sephora. As always all opinions my own.
I have my first holiday gift guide of the year today featuring some great discovery gift sets. Birchbox and Sephora each have their own curated box sets with hand-picked items. They’re often grouped and boxed by themes such as dry shampoos, berry lips, nude lips, sunscreen, skincare etc. They’ve basically taken their best sellers and packed them into sampler boxes with minis at a value price. I love these for myself because it allows me to try a lot of items without having to buy the individual full sizes I’m unsure about. Each store has their own exclusive selection which makes them unique.
There are tons of boxes and kits to choose from. Many are pretty affordable and tons at the $25 price point. This year I shopped sets early as I know there’s a good chance the value sets of them will sell out early. My friends this year are all about hair styling and highlighters. It seems like every single female friend I have doesn’t have time to wash and dry their hair on a daily basis. The good thing this year is that there are TONS of dry shampoo sets and holiday styling sets for all hair types. Highlighters are also as popular among my friends as they are on Instagram lol. Sets are great because even though I think I can find the perfect highlighter or dry shampoo for my close friends we all have different tastes and preferences.
Up first are some of the Birchbox Kits. Birchbox is known for their monthly subscription boxes and for the longest time I thought that was all that they offered. Not true. The Birchbox Collection has an entire shop of discovery kits, limited-edition box sets, and much more. If you visit their store you’ll see their products grouped by product type and then brand. An entire wall will be dedicated to suncare and they’ll split it by types of sunscreens. Their value sets are really cute and well put together. You can also buy individual full-sized items as well.
Up first is The Dry Shampoo Starter Kit for $32 ($74 value) you get an amika (Fort)Tress Shower Cap, amika Perk Up Dry-Shampoo, R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo (one of my favorites), Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo, Living proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk.
To date the R+Co had been my favorite but has been replaced with the Oribe Dry Shampoo that just launched a couple months ago. Neither leave my hair looking dusty or matte and there is no white residue. One of my friends swears by the Living Proof one which I tried. It left my hair looking too matte. As this set is a gift I won’t be reviewing the other items but thought you would like a peek at this one.
Next is the one I’m just beyond obsessed with. In my What’s In My Bag post I mentioned this Birchbox + Oribe Styling Kit. It has five minis of Oribe – cute beyond words!! I ordered two of these, one for me, one for a friend. I suspect I will be ordering a few more as you just can’t go wrong with Oribe. It’s priced at $35, each bottle is tiny but if you’ve never tried Oribe before this is a great way to try out the line without having to buy individual bottles which are around $20 each for the minis.
One kit I received as a press sample was the Complete SPF Kit. When I visited the Birchbox Soho Store over the summer I was just blown away by the presentation and display of the store. If you’re in NYC definitely make a stop there. The bottom floor is for men’s grooming and skincare so bring your boyfriend, husband, brother or male friends with you. They can build their own Birchbox too!
This one is priced at $18 – you get mini sample sizes of Supergoop! Advanced SPF 37 Anti-Aging Eye Cream, MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50, Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day SPF 30 UV Sun Fluid, Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50, COOLA Face SPF 30 Unscented, COOLA Daydream SPF 30 Mineral Makeup Primer. I have yet to try all of these but I’ve tried both the Coola ones and find them suitable for my sensitive skin.
Next are the Sephora Favorites. I think one could seriously get carried away with the sets because they have SO MANY good things in them! One of the complaints my friends have about makeup is that the size of some things are just too big and it take them forever to use something up. Minis are popular among friends who like to rotate items frequently because you can use them up faster.
Up first is the Sephora Favorites Scouted by Sephora set which is $24 for five minis. This one features 5 up-and-coming brands at Sephora. I received this one as a gift and haven’t had a chance to try the items yet, but have been really curious about Milk Makeup so I’m eager to try the mascara. It has a Bésame Cosmetics Red Matchbook, GrandeLIPS Hydrating Plumper, Makeup Eraser Mini in Pink, MILK MAKEUP Ubame Mascara, Wander Beauty Lip and Cheek Mini in Pink City.
Next is the Sephora Favorites Glow for It. This one sold out online but I spotted it in store and picked up two. It’s since been restocked online and I can see why it’s been a popular one. For $30 you get minis of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid in Moonstone, Benefit Watt’s Up, Cover FX Custom Infusion Drops in C+ Lemongrass – Radiance, Hourglass Ambient® Strobe Lighting Powder in Incandescent Strobe Light, MILK MAKEUP Sunshine Oil and a full size Lancôme Glow Subtil Silky Crème Highlighter in Glowing Lights 06. The Lancome blush itself is $30 so the set is a steal.
I already have 3 of the items in the full size (Hourglass Strobe Powders swatched here) but almost want one for myself.
Another one is the Sephora Favorites Hair Rescue Masks on the Go ($25). This one is listed as being an $85 value. It has quite a lot of product to sample – to date I’ve tried three of the items from Ouai, Phyto and Christophe Robin and all three are great. This one has Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Balm-to-Oil Pre-Shampoo Masque, Phyto Phytokératine Extrême Exceptional Mask, Gloss Moderne High-Gloss Masque, Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil
, Living Proof Perfect Hair Day® Night Cap Overnight Perfector, Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask, Ouai Treatment Masque, VERB Hydrating Mask, and two packet sets of Rita Hazan Weekly Remedy Treatment For Deep Hydration & Superior Shine Treatment Step 1 & 2.
I wish I had this set last year when I was traveling for a month. It would have been perfect as it has packets small enough to pack in a carry on. One of my friends is obsessed with masks – skincare and haircare. She is going to freak out when she gets this one.
Last but not least is the Sephora Favorites Ready, Set, Style! This one was a bit pricier at $29 but the sizes of each spray was pretty impressive. You get five sprays for hair refreshers, volumizers and texturizers. It includes Bumble and Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish, Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo, IGK Down and Out Dirty Spray, Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray, Living Proof Flex Shaping Hairspray.
That wraps up my first holiday gift guide. I hope these give you a better idea of what the sets look like compared to stock photos although I do think that both Birchbox and Sephora do a really good job at giving us accurate stock images on their websites.
The Sephora VIB Rouge 20% off sale starts tomorrow November 4th and runs through November 7th. If you’re shopping online use code 20ROUGE. I received an early code from a Sephora employee so was able to shop the sale early. I’ll have my Sephora shopping recommendations roundup up later this afternoon for those who are trying to research early.
For now I hope this sets post give you some ideas for affordable gift options. The ones I featured are all very reasonable in price ranging from $18 to $35 which won’t break the bank if you buy multiples. They’re great for holiday gifts or to treat yourself. I’m seriously tempted to keep a few of these for myself – I may order one or two more once the Sephora sale starts.
The Birchbox Complete SPF Kit and Scouted By Sephora Set gifted as press samples. Remainder featured purchased by me.
When it comes to hair care creams, serums or oils I have to say that I’m just simply overwhelmed with all the options on the market. However there are so many different hair types and there is so much you can do with styling it does make sense why there are so many options. I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to styling my hair. I either blow dry and straighten or just let it air dry. For me I like to keep my hair on the medium to long side because it’s easiest for me to manage and also tie up in a pony tail or bun. I have medium to thick hair that is prone to frizz. It’s never been color treated although I have always been curious about the process and have been wanting to try it for a long time. My friends who have usually tell me not to though. They say once you start it’s a process you can’t really just say you’ll take a break from and that it requires a lot of maintenance.
Back to the styling. My hair is usually heat treated with a blow dryer and often a flat iron. My two favorites are the T3 PROi (c/o) and HAI Convertible Ceramic Flat Iron. I don’t mind air drying my hair on days where I’m not in a rush but I really don’t like having wet hair for an extended period of time and in the past air drying usually meant it would dry to an unflattering frizz. I would say that my main concerns for styling are controlling the frizz and flyaways without having something that will weigh down the hair or look greasy as the day progresses. Since I heat treat it frequently, finding something to protect or smooth it is also important.
Quick repost from previous articles on what my hair looks like, it varies in length depending how long it’s been in between cuts.
I’ve had a few go-to’s I would call staples but this year I’ve acquired a number of new to me products, some press samples for review and some based on recommendations from people who said “this product is simply the best.” This post has been months in the making. I’ve split the styling products by category and if you’re looking for something new or have been interested in any of these I hope this post helps you. Sometimes I’ll be in a Sephora store standing in front of the hair care section like a deer in headlights. This is going to be a long one and if you’re wondering what I plan on doing with all of these, I’m passing a good portion along to friends.
Up first are some items I am always happy to test out and try which includes blow dry treatments, primers and smoothers. I really believe adding a treatment before heat helps tremendously in detangling the hair and giving a good smooth finish.
Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer (c/o, available at Space NK) is a pre-heat styler to condition, smooth and protect hair from heat breakage. I’ve used this one for years in the minis that you find with GWPs. It’s one of the best heat primers and smoothers I’ve used. It spritzes product evenly through the hair and doesn’t weigh it down. It is on the sweet smelling side like a mix of fruit and vanilla which is very strong when you spray it. The good thing is it does fade after your blow dry is finished. Leaves hair feeling silky, smooth and healthy looking.
Moroccanoil Blow Dry Concentrate (c/o, available at Morocccanoil and Nordstrom) is a new concentrate that can be used pre and post heat styling. For me it had a similar consistency and texture to the regular Moroccanoil but this new one comes with a pump dispenser which is genius. It comes in a glass bottle and works to smooth hair and add shine. As a huge fan of Moroccanoil I give this one a thumbs up.
Shu Uemura Art of Hair Wonder Worker Air Dry/Blow Dry Perfector (available at Shu Uemura Art of Hair and Barneys New York) has had so many rave reviews and I had to try it out. It was a bit hard for me to find in stores near me so I ordered it online. It works to prevent frizz and smooth hair. It is scented almost like a Byredo Gypsy Water kind of vibe but a lot lighter and sheerer. Their website claims that it instantly hydrates, detangles, smoothes, conditions, boosts radiance, tames frizz, and add silkiness. It does all of them. For my hair I still need to add a finishing product on ends for shine. Other than that it’s awesome.
Shu Uemura Art of Hair Satin Design Polishing Milk (available at Shu Uemura Art of Hair and Barneys New York) is another one that many love. I was torn between Satin Design and Wonder Worker so I ordered both to see what the difference. The Satin Design can also be used as a blow dry pre-treatment. Main difference is texture and consistency. This one is more like a fluid cream versus spray. It’s easy to work through the hair. Leaves hair feeling soft. Doesn’t leave hair greasy and holds up well in hot weather but it is thicker in consistency compared to the spray of Wonder Worker.
R+Co Park Ave Blow Out Balm (available at Birchbox) is amazing. I bought this in store at Space NK but it’s not listed on their website anymore. I love the way this smells and R+Co packaging is always so creative. It has a smooth fluid texture with a bit of thickness like a smooth cream.
What do you do when all the blow-dry products you’ve tried are amazing and have limited bathroom and storage space? Since I blow dry my hair very frequently and go through product fast, I can justify keeping all of these. I would say my recommendation for you would be based on your preference for consistency and packaging – do you like a spray, cream, pump or tube? If I were forced to pick one I would say kill me now. Just kidding – I have to give it a three way tie between the Shu Uemura Wonder Worker, Moroccanoil Blow Dry Concentrate and Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Primer.
Next are beachy wave sprays or what some call surf sprays. I never thought beachy wave sprays were any good because some I’ve tried in the past left my hair crunchy feeling. I do know the point of a beachy spray is to give it that tousled slightly messy undone beach look, but having hair that feels soft is still essential for me.
Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray (c/o, available at Space NK) is the best surf spray I’ve tried. I love the entire Surf Line and this spray gives that sea salt beachy kind of look with texture and volume. With heat treatment it does give that windswept look like it claims. I love the way the line smells which is rare for me when it comes to beach/salt sprays. It smells lightweight fresh and what I’d think of as soft and beachy.
Oribe Apres Beach Spray (available at Birchbox and Space NK) has been my go-to beach spray for years. I spray it on my hair and let it air dry and hair dries to a soft natural wave without any frizz. The only downside is the price – Oribe is very pricey and with aerosols I feel like you get less bang for your buck. This one gets used up quickly by me, but I know the point of product is to be used.
Ouai Wave Spray (c/o, available at Birchbox and Space NK) is a decent spray similar to the others in the sense it’s a mist that adds texture and a natural wave. It does hold the hair in place to give it that undone look. It also has the same floral scent as the Finishing Creme, which I’ll say again isn’t bad, just something I’m not a huge fan of. Performance wise it works. Scent wise, I prefer the Oribe or Bumble products. This one has a slightly heavier feel on my hair.
Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion (c/o, available at Space NK) is now tied with the Oribe Apres Beach spray for me. I love that you shake it up to mix contents of oil and salt. It gives a softer feel to the hair compared to the Surf Spray which I really really love. The oil adds a very natural sheen. A little can go a long way. I hands down recommend this. Works well to air dry the hair to a natural finish and look.
Top two favorites are the Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion and Oribe Apres Beach Spray.
Up next are hair oils and serums. Most of these can be multi-use products to use as a pre-heat treatment and also finishing product. I usually don’t like oils because I find they are easy to overdo and once you apply too much, it’s not like a blush that you can tone down. For me if there’s too much oil I simply just have to rewash my hair or put it up in a pony tail and hope that it helps cover a bad hair look.
Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil (c/o, available at Space NK) is described as a lightweight oil to add shine. Reviews are mixed and I’m in the batch that finds this too heavy and greasy looking. I will say that a little goes a very long way so the quick fix is to simply use less. If you have very dry hair or have days your hair just looks like it’s had too much heat styling this is a great fix. For me it’s best as a once in a while treatment because it is very rich. For everyday it’s too much for me and easy to overdo. If you can manage how much you dispense and apply it’s very good to restore the hair’s shine and gives it a heathly look.
Ouai Hair Oil (c/o, available at Space NK) is a lightweight oil to tame frizz and seal ends. If the scent of most Ouai products didn’t have that floral scent I think I would be more inclined to use them more frequently. It’s a great lightweight oil so if you’re one who has been wanting an oil that is truly lightweight but adds shine, this performs well. I like the packaging and the dispenser works well. The bottle is sized perfectly to fit easily into my hand and for that I give the line a huge thumbs up on all their styling products.
Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil (c/o, available at Shu Uemura Art of Hair) is in my top two for hair oils because of the lightweight texture and almost-camellia like scent. I can use this as a finishing product after styling and sometimes put it on at night as an overnight treatment. Lots of love for this one and no complaints. The one I have is part of a limited-edition collaboration hence the packaging, but you can buy it in the regular clear packaging.
Moroccanoil Moroccanoil (available at Nordstrom) is the other oil in my top two. It’s a classic and I am beyond obsessed with the way it smells. I’ve gifted lots to friends and family and they all love this regardless of hair type.
Kerastase Elixir Ultime (available at Kerastase) has high ratings and raves which is why I ordered it. For me it’s excellent but also has a slight floral powdery scent that actually fades after a few minutes so it’s not a huge problem. For me it was not life changing but it’s a solid oil you can use before styling, on wet or dry hair, after styling. It’s multi-purpose and comes in a sturdy glass jar with a pump. People who’ve bought it seem to really love it. I have no complaints about it, it’s just on my favorites list.
Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil (available at Space NK) is another long-time love. I feel like this is a good oil to add natural shine and make the hair look healthy. It comes in close third behind Moroccanoil and Shu Uemura. I’ve never been let down by anything Oribe and think it’s very good.
Finishing creams and serums can perform similar to the oils listed above in the sense they add shine, give texture or smooth the hair.
Gloss Moderne High-Gloss Serum (c/o, available at Sephora) is one I received from SpaceNK but it’s no longer listed on their website. Out of all the products I tested this is one of the few where my reaction was “I don’t like it.” The words “gloss” and “serum” made me think this would be a clear product. It’s a beige cream. It’s also very sweet smelling like a vanilla cake which I’m not a fan of. Texture was thick and felt sticky. It did work well to add shine and once on the hair it did not leave my hair feeling sticky. Scent is important to me and this one I just did not like. If you’re a vanilla fan though you will probably like it.
Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream (available at Birchbox and Space NK) was previously in my Top 2 shine creams tied with Drybar’s Chaser. I still love this one for soft shine and moisture. If you have super dry hair or ends that need some love this is a great one. I love the way it smells. It adds shine and makes hair look soft and healthy with a sheen. Doesn’t get greasy or feel heavy.
Oribe Creme for Style (c/o, available at Space NK) is new to me but not a new product. This has replaced the Supershine Cream as my favorite cream. I like this one because it adds more texture and has a softer looking finish. If you like shine stick with the Supershine. If you feel like you want a softer yet textured look, the Creme for Style is it.
Drybar The Chaser (available at Sephora) has been such a long-time favorite I’ve lost count of how many tubes I’ve gone through. I’ve used this pre-heat styling and post styling. My husband has taken several of my tubes and claimed them as his own putting them in his drawers on his side of the bathroom. It adds just the right amount of shine while taming flyaways. LOVE.
Ouai Finishing Creme (c/o, available at Birchbox and Space NK) is a lightweight finishing cream to give what they call a “lived-in” look. It does exactly what it claims. I prefer something that looks a bit more polished so this one isn’t really for me. It also has a floral scent that is super feminine. I’m not a huge fan of the scent but it isn’t unpleasant.
Bottom line is I stand my point of view that everyone needs a little Oribe in their life, although the Drybar Chaser has never let me down.
These aren’t really styling products but more treatment masks.
Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt (c/o, available at Net-A-Porter and Sephora) is something I tried late last year. I’ve gone through two tubs already. Earlier this year I had the privilege of meeting Christophe Robin in person to learn more about his line and hair care philosophy. It was a joy to meet him and chat with him about hair care. I’ll say up front the Cleansing Salt is probably best suited for those with thick hair like me. I use it once a week as a purifying treatment to rebalance and cleanse the scalp and hair. I use in place of shampoo on the days I use it. For color-treated hair it helps to soothe scalp irritation caused from chemicals. Leaves the hair and scalp feeling squeaky clean. He did suggest after a look at my hair that I follow with a rinse out conditioner since I have normal hair. I do follow occasionally with a conditioner on the ends.
Christophe Robin Cleansing Mask with Lemon (c/o, available at Net-A-Porter and Sephora) is another cleansing mask. It’s softer in finish and a bit less stripping than salt scrub. It has lemon and is suitable for color-treated hair. The trick to using this is for me to apply on dry hair/scalp. Let it sit for a few minutes and slowly add water to emulsify into a foam. Rinse and hair is left clean and soft and moisturized. I’m almost done with a tub and need to replace very soon.
Ouai Treatment Masque (available at Space NK) is one I reviewed before in my shampoo/conditioner post. I didn’t really like the packaging design of these but after using them more frequently I have found I can look past it because this is one of the best restoring masks for the hair I’ve tried.
Last but not least, for texture and volume:
Edward Bess Black Sea Hair Hero (c/o, available at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and QVC) is the best all around do-it-all hair product for me. I use it pre-heat stying or after to add shine and texture to ends. It’s the best smelling hair product I’ve ever tried which is hard to describe but fresh. My brother helped me shoot this a couple years ago (time flies!) and to this day it’s still a go-to. The bottle is huge and a little goes a long way.
Ouai Dry Shampoo (c/o available at Birchbox and Space NK) I rarely use dry shampoo. I’ve tried a number of brands and at the end of the day I think the concept is a bit gross. I wash my hair daily and I know some do not have the time to wash and dry it daily or find it is too stripping for the hair, but for me washing daily is a must. Still there are occasions where I’m just dead tired or didn’t wake up early enough to wash and dry my hair. The Ouai Dry Shampoo is the best one I’ve tried. It doesn’t leave a white film or cast on the hair and absorbs oil.
Bumble and Bumble Surf Foam Spray (c/o, available at Space NK) is the best volumizing product I’ve tried. I’ve mentioned before even though I have thick hair, finding a product that will actually add volume has been almost impossible for me. Most just don’t add any volume. This one adds noticeable volume. It’s a blow dry mousse and works. Leaves the hair thick and volumized all the way through.
Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray (available at Birchbox and Space NK) is hands down one of the best texturizers I’ve tried. I love the way it smells and adds volume. I use it as a dry shampoo occasionally to give a lift to roots.
Shu Uemura Ample Angora Volumizing Light Foam (available at Shu Uemura Art of Hair) is another winner for the volumizing category. Perhaps it’s really only the foam kinds of products that work on thicker hair to really add volume. It’s a bit more lightweight compared to the Bumble and Bumble product so there’s a bit less volume with the Shu Uemura one. It smells great, volumizes, combs through hair easily and isn’t sticky.
Christophe Robin Instant Volumizing Hair Mist with Rose Water (c/o, available at Net-A-Porter and Sephora) is one of the best smelling hair sprays I’ve tried. I’ve mentioned I do not like the florals from Ouai, this Christophe Robin has rosewater so it smells like roses but it’s the good kind of rose. On my thick hair it doesn’t add a ton of volume but it smooths everything out and leaves the hair looking and smelling amazing.
In sum, I tested about 30 hair styling products. With the exception of the tried and true favorites like the Drybar Chaser, Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray and Edward Bess Hair Hero, the remaining new to me items have been tested for several months. Summer humidity is relatively mild in Southern California so I can’t comment on how these hold up in extremely hot or humid weather. While traveling last summer through Europe and also earlier this year in New York, I barely used any styling product – it was so hot my hair air dried very quickly and it felt too hot to wear any serums or creams. After extensive testing, my top picks would include the following:
Best finishing product: Oribe Creme for Style and Edward Bess Hair Hero
Best oil: Moroccanoil and Shu Uemura Essence Absolue
Best heat pre-treatments for blow drying: Shu Uemura Wonder Worker, Moroccanoil Blow Dry Concentrate and Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Primer
Best volumizer: Bumble and Bumble Surf Foam Spray and Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ample Angora
Best beachy spray or air-dry sprays: Oribe Apres Beach Spray and Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion
Best lightweight shine products: Oribe Supershine and Moroccanoil
Note if you have fine, color treated or even thicker or curly hair, some of the ones that worked for me may not work for you. As always I’d love to hear about your favorites regardless of hair type! Please share in the comments 🙂 I’m pretty stocked up on hair care for the moment but it’s something I tend to use up relatively fast.
Don’t forget that Space NK is having their Autumn Beauty Edit (huge GWP with any $250+ purchase), Barneys New York Love Yourself is going on (GWP bag with any $200+ purchase) and also next week Bergdorf Goodman will have their Rewarding Beauty event so if you have things on your list you may want to group your purchases to take advantage of the events this month. Also not on sale or part of any events, but Net-A-Porter has a Christophe Robin Essentials Travel Size Set which is nice if you want to try out items before splurging on the full size.
If you have any questions let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them. I’m not an expert with styling in any sense and I know some of you are probably better versed when it comes to hair care. For those who are like me I hope this post helps from the perspective of a beauty junkie who really doesn’t know much about hair care products.