Product Review: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) 5-in-1 Styling Treatment

I know that it’s been a while since I last blogged. Life got a little cray cray. But, the even though I didn’t get any time to blog, I’ve been able to try and test out a bunch of different products (yay!) during the last month and a half. And one of them, per this blog post, I REALLY recommend adding to your haircare arsenal just in time for Valentine’s Day! I have been trying the Living Proof brand for a while, and while I’m not completely yet sold on their shampoo and conditioner (let’s just say my love for TRESemmé and Shea Moisture is really hard to overthrow), I am in love with their amazing 5-in-1 styling treatment “Perfect Hair Day”. I’ll admit that skincare and makeup are my forte, and that means that haircare and styling falls a bit lower down the totem pole in priority for me in my daily routine. I’m always up for trying a product that tackles multiple functions at once, and allows me to save a bit of time in getting ready.

Over the years, I’ve also learned to go with the flow and let my hair do what it wants. I have very straight, thick auburn hair – it reacts best to being kept in a longer style, no bangs, and being washed every other day. About twice a week I either curl it with a larger barrel curling iron or flat iron it straight, so I try to keep heat styling to a minimum overall between washes. In addition, I color it every 8 weeks, so I notice that it gets dried out easily. That being said, I wanted a product that could treat and help with all of those factors. Enter the Perfect Hair Day!

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Let’s talk about what makes this product awesome:

  1. It handles 5 common, and essential, hair styling concerns: it volumizes, smooths, adds hydration, strengthens, and gives an overall finishing polish/shine. Score! I love the fact that I can use just 1 product, but achieve all of these benefits.
  2. It doesn’t weigh hair down, is silicone-free, and creates great volume and texture. Having straight hair, I definitely notice when a product causes buildup or makes my hair feel limp and dull the next day. Silicone can cause build-up on hair, especially from products that are left on hair strands all day. I love the fact that this product does all of the things it says it does (see item #1), but you can go into the next day using dry shampoo to refresh, and it still gives you the benefits you had the day before. I also like that it adds shine, but doesn’t make hair slippery.
  3. It’s super concentrated and a good value despite the $28 price tag for 4 ounces. It’s a cream formula, and you apply it to clean, damp hair. I shampoo and condition, like usual, and then apply about a nickel-sized amount all throughout my hair before blow drying.
  4. It delivers results! As one of the brand’s co-founders, Jennifer Aniston is one of my style icons, and my hair is actually very similar to hers in style and texture. I can see why she used to endorse this brand. My hair holds it’s style better, has had zero static or flyaways in this harsh winter weather, and has been healthier between colorings. She always looks amazing, including her low-key but polished hairstyle.

My only challenge to Living Proof is to change the packaging of this product – I think a tube would be a much better package, since the current cap gets clogged a bit. But this has now officially replaced my other serums and styling products that I used to layer. If I want a lot of added shine, I’ll use my Biosilk Original Silk Therapy on top of this, but I’ve found that I’m just not reaching for it as much as before. Other than my dry shampoo and hairspray, the Perfect Hair Day (PhD) 5-in-1 is my new go-to daily staple! Give it a try and see how it makes a difference with your hair.

Beauty Topic: Saving money in 2018 & top picks to stay on budget

It’s the start of a new year, and many of us make resolutions to improve our lives. Mine this year is to save more money. I want to travel more, and pay down debt, so in order to do that, I need to look at my overall lifestyle. If you Google “how long does it take to develop a habit”, there are few studies that come back with a variety of time ranges – anywhere from 21 days to 66 days is the average. But one thing that I think that can help in achieving a new goal, or fulfilling a resolution, is to think about the various factors that contribute to it overall. To achieve my resolution of saving money, I thought about the amount that I spend on beauty products in a given year and how I shop. Within the beauty industry, there’s a ton of marketing and advertising to drive the message home that you NEED to have prestige beauty products. But in reality, is that really the case? In a PeopleStyle.com study from March 2017, they determined that the average woman will spend $15,000 in her lifetime on beauty products. This doesn’t apply to services like hair cuts or pedicures, but just beauty products alone. I’m here to say “no” – you don’t need to spend a ton to look great and take proper care of your skin, hair, body and nails. Especially in this day and age, there are so many great brands that are delivering high-performance products that provide you with multiple options to spend exactly the amount you are comfortable with, without having to sacrifice quality or style. If you absolutely love a prestige beauty product (like perfume, foundation or lipstick), you can also look at splurging where it matters most to you, but then saving money in other beauty categories to make up the difference. Let’s take a look at some of these brands, products that deliver, and my top picks to help you spend less this year on beauty:

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Clockwise from the top:

  1. Trader Joe’s beauty: from skincare to body care, their formulas rival top dollar brands’ ingredients and performance, but cost a fraction of the price. The Nourish All-In-One Facial Cleanser is great for both men and women, and helps to combat acne while also being anti-aging. Their Enrich Moisturizing Face Lotion SPF 15 is a great dupe for the Olay Complete SPF 15 lotion, and is safe for sensitive skin. If you love lavender, their Spa Lavender Hand & Body Lotion is naturally scented and soothes skin. I usually keep these stocked, as my entire family loves to use these products daily.
  2. e.l.f. Cosmetics: this brand was started years ago to provide quality beauty products for very low costs. I hate to call them “cheap” because it has such a bad connotation. What they do is remove the hype and high-cost markup that is found in prestige beauty brands, but still deliver on-trend and classic colors that perform. In addition to their Mineral Mascara (amazing!!), one of my favorite e.l.f. products is their “Tickled Pink” Blush, which is a direct dupe of the iconic NARS “Orgasm” blush. For $3, you can’t go wrong to give this a try and see for yourself.
  3. Simple skincare: available at almost all drugstores, this brand is focused on quality care for sensitive skin. I LOVE their Micellar Water, which gently removes all makeup, dirt, and oil as an essential pre-cleanse step in your nightly routine. This award-winning product rivals some of the most expensive French formulas on the market. I’ve often gone into a Walgreens or Target when traveling to pick up skincare products by Simple, especially if I realized I left an essential at home.
  4. LORAC makeup kits: yes, this prestige brand holds a special place in my heart. It’s founder, Carol Shaw, is an icon in my book. But what I also LOVE about this brand is that they often package their best selling products in kits or gifts at an incredible value! For example, a single LORAC Alter-Ego lip gloss is around $17 each. During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I got this amazing Mod Goddess Alter-Ego lip gloss collection from ULTA on sale for less than the $26 sticker price! It’s a beautiful 6 piece set of high-performance lip gloss at a steal (worth $102). If you’ve never tried LORAC’s lip gloss, I highly recommend them – the color payoff is incredible, and the long-wearing formula deeply moisturizes. Makeup kits from prestige brands are a great way to save while shopping your favorites.
  5. L’Oreal mascaras: in truth, L’Oreal is one of the largest beauty companies in the world, and owns a large percentage of many beauty brands on the market. But one of their best performing values is the Voluminous Carbon Black mascara. If you want dramatic, long and full lashes, this is a go-to mascara for less than $10. Extra bonus, you can usually use coupons when purchasing or find a BOGO deal as well! Mascara needs to be changed out every 3 months to avoid eye infections, and there’s really no reason to spend more than you have to!
  6. EOS lip balm: while their classic round spheres are immediately recognized, I prefer the stick version of these awesome lip balms. I bought a few twin packs, as I keep one in my gym bag, desk drawer, night stand, and purse. Packed with organic ingredients and natural butters, they are a much healthier alternative to the petroleum-based lip balms and cost an average of $4 for a twin pack. I freak out if I can’t find my lip balm, so these packs make it easy to stock up and keep in convenient places.
  7. TRESemmé shampoo and hairspray: oh, how I love TRESemmé! One of my former coworkers once commented that she wished to be able to afford “fancy shampoo” someday. Why? There’s TRESemmé! I use their Extra Firm Control hairspray daily, and I’ll switch back and forth at times between their shampoos and other brands. They recently launched the Repair & Protect 7 shampoo, which is fantastic for color and chemically-treated or heat-styled hair. Shampoo goes down the drain, literally. So, I’m much more apt to switch up shampoos when needed, based on how much I want to spend. If your hair needs some serious repair, while maintaining color, give this one a try!
  8. Dove Sensitive Skin soap: this truly is a family-friendly, daily beauty product, and can be used from head to toe. It’s also incredibly budget conscious, and you can buy it in bulk at Costco, or multi-packs at Target. There are no synthetic fragrances to irritate sensitive skin, and it keeps skin healthy by cleansing without stripping moisture. Plus, it makes a really great shaving lather for legs!
  9. SheaMoisture skincare, hair and body care: this brand is fantastic! Not only for it’s social consciousness, but also it’s variety of quality, high-performing natural products. This brand is available at both ULTA and drugstores, and offers great solutions for beauty challenges, such as problem skin, dry hair, and anti-aging. If you want to take better care of your skin this year, and perform home facials more often, I suggest their African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask. Priced around $15 for a generously-sized jar, this mask deeply cleanses, soothes, brightens and unclogs skin, while being safe for those with sensitivities. Tip: Once a week in the morning, smooth this on your face, and then jump in the shower. The steam activates the charcoal in the mask, and allows it to work even better. As you wash your hair and body in the shower, let the mask sit for a few minutes to get spa-quality facial in a few minutes! Rinse and finish your shower as usual.

As you use up products in your daily routines, and want to cut back on costs, think about where you may be able to save while still maintaining your personal style and quality. Plus, all of the brands I mention above are raved about by beauty editors and magazines alike – the proof is in their performance, and you’ll see a savings!

© 2018 28daysbeauty

Product Review: L’Oreal Paris Root Cover Up

There are about 6 times in my life thus far that I can say a beauty product made time literally stand still for me, as I had an “OMG I NEED this!!” reaction after trying it. I can now add #7 to that list…L’Oreal Paris Root Cover Up was a game changer for me during the last 2 weeks prior to my next haircut and color. I usually push my limit for time in between appointments, with getting all-over color every 8 weeks. Depending on how fast my hair grows, my roots can look pretty darn gross around week 6 or 7. The other fun factor for me this last round was that I was traveling to Las Vegas for a weekend getaway before I was able to get in for my appointment. And let’s face it – getting dolled up for great dinners and shows does NOT do you any justice if your gray roots are showing. And lucky me, my roots were going strong in their au naturel glory. So, I saw this the last time I was at ULTA, and decided to give it whirl to help save my style during vacation.

Based on the color range and use instructions on the back, the shade I selected was Light Golden Brown for my hair color. The bottle size is perfect for travel, per TSA guidelines. And, more importantly, the application method looked super easy – basically, it’s point and spray to apply.

The formula is peroxide-free, ammonia-free, and does not have any synthetic dyes. Plus, the color lasts between shampoos! Here’s a few tips that I found worked best for application and styling:

  • Wash and condition hair as normal, and towel-dry.
  • Apply a heat or hydrating style treatment, then air or blow-dry.
  • Once hair is dry, style as needed with heat.
  • Section the top layers of hair at the crown, and spray directly at the roots – about 6 inches away. I use my other hand to shield my forehead as needed.
  • Color will dry down after about 1 minute, but I found you can still move and separate hair during this time to apply where needed – it’s not sticky.
  • After application, I then brush lightly and style as I want, and apply hairspray. I found that this also “locks” the color into place.

I was amazed at how naturally the spray color blended into my hair, and immediately covered my roots. My hair looked so much better, considering I had almost 8 weeks of out-growth at the top of my head. The other plus is that I didn’t see any color transfer onto my pillowcases – I was able to maintain my washing every other day routine, without fear of color fading or staining the bed linens.

This product retails just over $10, and is super concentrated. I found that a little goes a long way, and much was easier to apply than a brush-on powder or a mascara wand-like liquid formula. Also, it doesn’t add any weight or dry stiffly – it moves with your own hair. I’m keeping a bottle stocked in my bathroom, and the size easily fits into any gym bag or carry-on for travel. This is truly one of the best beauty-emergency or fix-it products that I’ve come across in a long time!

© 2017 28daysbeauty

Product Review: Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo and Conditioner

Get ready friends – I’ve spent the last 2 months trying a bunch of new products, and I’m excited to share them with you. You guys already know my love for Shea Moisture, and so when I started running low on shampoo and conditioner, I decided to try their Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore line. I color my hair every 8 weeks (damn you, gray hairs!), and have shoulder-length thick, straight, auburn hair. Even though I use Framesi color, which is a gentle brand, I still want to ensure that I keep my hair strong, hydrated, and prevent fading of the color. I’d had my eye on this particular product combination from Shea Moisture, as it not only is a brand I trust, but combines some well-known natural hair remedies in a powerful blend of ingredients.

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The formula in both the shampoo and conditioner combines Shea Butter and Apple Cider Vinegar to deeply hydrate, add shine, and balance the scalp’s natural pH levels. Apple Cider Vinegar has been recommended for ages as a great strengthening and conditioning treatment for hair. Castor oil has been used for hundreds of years as a remedy for promoting hair growth and pH balance, as well as hydration due to its high content of fatty acids. When chemically treating your hair, you need to be conscious of affecting the scalp’s sensitivity, as color processing can dry out follicles and disrupt the scalp’s moisture. This shampoo also removes residue and build up – I love this because I wash my hair every 2-3 days, and I use dry shampoo and styling products in-between washes. I noticed that my hair felt cleaner between washes when using this shampoo and conditioner combination. Other aspects I love about this formula is that it promotes growth, and repairs damage to hair. In addition, they are sulfate and paraben-free, with no mineral oil or animal testing. When using, the shampoo produces a ton of suds, and the conditioner is creamy yet lightweight. My hair has volume, but also feels hydrated and under control. I’ve also noticed that my hair has been holding color well, other than the natural grow out of my roots. I like the scent too – it’s a blend of essential oils, isn’t overpowering, and is appropriate for both men and women. I recommend looking at the ingredient blend to determine any potential allergies you may have before using – the line is naturally based, so if you are allergic to any botanical sources, then it’s wise to read before using to determine any potential reactions. I usually alternate between brands for my shampoo and conditioner when I’m ready to restock, but this brand’s line will definitely be a routine go-to on my shopping list.

If you are someone who has drier or coarse hair, or routinely colors or chemically processes your hair, then I suggest checking out this line from Shea Moisture. The price is great for a natural line, and more importantly, delivers results. Another awesome product line from Shea Moisture!

© 28daysbeauty 2017

Product Review: Function of Beauty custom shampoo & conditioner

I’ve been busy at work in the last few weeks trying some new products, and I’m happy to start back up again with blog posts, as I have a lot to talk about. Plus, I’m really happy to report that many of these new products that I’ll be reviewing are from indie brands, which I’ll admit I have a soft spot for. I love entrepreneurial spirit, especially within the beauty industry. They say that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, and I truly believe that is one the best approaches to use in figuring out how to make beauty products work better. One of the brands that recently caught my attention uses this approach – Function of Beauty was started by two MIT grads and a chemist, and their inspiration to develop a haircare line that addresses multiple concerns within customized formulas was based on the lack of multi-tasking products available in haircare. I’m sure you’ve seen their ads all over social media. Their process is really simple but intuitive – you take a quiz, describe your haircare goals, and then your customized formula is shipped to you within a few days! Here’s how this customized formula approach delivered results for me:

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First off, the brand boasts some pretty awesome attributes: sulfate free, cruelty free, paraben free, toxin free, and made in the USA. Top it all off with you being able to control the formula to address exactly what you want in your ideal haircare. To me, all of those qualities appealed to me, especially since I wasn’t really loving my current haircare routine. And with summer starting, I felt it would be ideal to make a seasonal product switch and try it out.

When starting the quiz online, make sure to give yourself a few minutes to concentrate and determine what you want from your haircare. After answering a few questions that describe my hair type, I was faced with identifying five hair goals that I wanted to achieve – I found that it was easier to focus on what I didn’t like about my current haircare, as it narrowed down my answers more quickly. The last portion was more of the “fun” part, in which I could choose scent and color, and then name my formula. I actually chose to forgo any dyes in my formula (which you’ll see in my photo above), as I’ve always been sensitive to coloring and I didn’t want to take a chance on irritating my scalp. There is no choice for “unscented”, but I did choose the lightest amount of scent to add, and stuck with an easy essential oil blend for fragrance – grapefruit hibiscus. After I answered all of these questions, I chose my final sizes (I selected 8oz as my initial sizes to try) and was ready to checkout. I did have a $5 credit for my order, so my order came to just over $30 for both shampoo and conditioner. To me, this was worth the price since I’ve spent way more than that on salon-recommended products in the past.

When the box arrived a few days later, it included everything that you see in the photo above. The packaging is very clean, and the white font on the bottles is a bit hard to read with dye-free product. Pumps came with the bottles, and thought that was a really nice touch to include.

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What was also pretty awesome was that they included a customized printout that confirmed what I ordered, and listed the ingredients that directly address what my hair goals are. I tried the products the next morning, and was immediately impressed by how silky and sudsy the shampoo was. I am not a fan of the no-poo movement, and I’ll admit that I love suds. This shampoo didn’t disappoint, and the fragrance was a nice combination of citrus and sweet. I was surprised by how light the conditioner felt going on, but I could tell my hair felt hydrated when rinsing out. The proof ultimately was in the next steps of blow-drying and styling – I was seeing the first hints of volume that I wanted, and that I hadn’t been getting from the previous haircare I was using. What I noticed over the next several weeks is that my hair felt cleaner in between washes, and that I didn’t need to use as much dry shampoo. I usually wash my hair every other day or on the third day, and my hair was looking and feeling great! I did notice that my hair felt a little bit limp a few days in a row, but that was also when humidity came full force into our forecast. So, it may be coincidence, or it is possible that my formula has a bit too much hydration within it. When I’m done with this initial order, I will actually be trying another brand of shampoo and conditioner to compare these against. But my curiosity is piqued to keep tweaking my custom formula with Function of Beauty to see if I can find my ultimate unicorn of haircare. If you are interested in trying out your own combo, here’s my referral link: https://functionofbeauty.com/?ref=58be3cb40faf5

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I recommend giving this brand a try – to me, the concept of customized haircare is great, especially since hair can be such a finicky thing that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t always work. If they are able to eventually include dandruff-control, or scalp-specific treatments, then I think this brand will be even more appealing to more people.

© 2017 28daysbeauty

 

Beauty Topic: Dry Shampoo

Summer is a fantastic season to try dry shampoo, if you haven’t before. Humid, hot weather can cause you to possibly take two showers in a day, but you could save yourself a step with your hair if you use dry shampoo to freshen up your style.  Dry shampoo removes excess oil and sweat, adds volume, and refreshes hair with a clean scent.

But not all dry shampoos are created equally – some can create a dry, chalky feeling that ends up making your hair feel unmanageable or dirtier. My hair is stick straight, and somewhat thick. But I often go every other day between washes and use dry shampoo – this prolongs my color, and saves me time. But I’ve had both good luck and bad luck with dry shampoos – here are my two recommendations that I often use, since I’ve had great results from them every time and season.

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my two favorite dry shampoos

1) Kardashian Beauty Take 2 Dry Shampoo: ok, I’ll be honest – at first, I really didn’t want to like it. But wow, the formula is great! Black seed oil is used to help condition hair, and it makes your hair feel both clean and soft. Plus, the scent isn’t too overpowering. The price is very reasonable, and I’ve found you don’t need too much to get great results.

2) amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo: I was introduced to this product via Birchbox, and I loved it instantly. It has a great blend of antioxidants that help hair be healthy, and refreshes quickly. And the scent is light, which is a plus. It’s a little on the pricey side, but it’s been a great product to use, especially in humidity.

One tip about dry shampoo is to not think of it as REPLACING your shampoo. Dry shampoo is a temporary fix, and is actually not a new fad in hair care. People used to use corn starch powder to freshen hair, but sprinkling a bottle of corn starch over your head can get messy. The newer formulas are more sheer, and more hydrating. Your hair and scalp benefit from actual shampooing and conditioning – one tell tale sign of using too much dry shampoo is to get small breakouts or in-grown hairs on your scalp. Using a boar-bristle brush with dry shampoo also helps brush out dead skin cells, oils and other loose hairs – this will help keep your scalp and hair healthy. 

© 28daysbeauty

Beauty Topic: Quick Tips for Leave-in Conditioners

If you’ve been a Birchbox subscriber, or ordered beauty products from major retailers, you probably have a lot of travel-sized sample bottles from various brands arriving on your doorstep. One sample item that has piled up for me happens to be leave-in hair conditioners and detanglers – and it occurred to me that it’s actually a very relevant topic in the midst of winter. Admittedly, these products aren’t widely used by a lot of people, so these are very commonly distributed as sample products in order to allow people to give them a try in their daily routines. Leave-in conditioners or shine sprays are actually very convenient to have on hand in your purse or gym bag on a daily basis – here’s a few reasons why:

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some of the various leave-in conditioners, detanglers and shine spray sample bottles to choose from
  1. Most modern formulas are multi-tasking, meaning that they will condition the hair, act as a heat protectant, and add shine. You can save room in your gym bag by using one of these small bottles in winter instead of carrying separate styling products for various uses, and the extra conditioning is great for all hair types during the cold weather.
  2. Control static during the day – this is one of the best kept secret uses. Ever experience a cold walk in from the parking lot to your office, only to realize that you went right into a meeting with your hair standing on end from the static electricity of a climate-controlled room? Combat this with having one of these small bottles in your purse, of which you can easily spritz some product on or run through your hair anytime. This also helps flyaways, and it won’t ruin your style. Especially with the lightweight formulas on the market now, you can maintain the volume or texture of your hairstyle, but still add shine and moisture. The humectants and essential oils in these products tame static, unlike drying alcohols from hairspray. Dry conditioners are also a great item to use to combat static.
  3. Spray into hands and then apply to targeted areas. This is one of my favorite ways to apply these types of product, since you can control product distribution and concentration on problem areas of your hair. My ends get dry first from heat styling and regular coloring of my hair, so I can easily spray the product into my palms and then work through the ponytail part of my strands to address the areas in most need. In a pinch, I’ve also used these to rescue dry cuticles – many of the conditioners and essential oils mimic lightweight lotions.

I had to laugh at myself when I realized how many of these little bottles of leave-in conditioner I have around my house, but I do find that I use them often. It’s also a time saver if you’re ever in a pinch, and only have time to suds up from head to toe in the shower – you can spritz these on right before blow-drying your hair, and it works double duty as a conditioner and heat protectant. If you have any favorites out there that you want to share, please let me know!

© 28daysbeauty 2016