Real Girl Beauty

For every girl who's imagined herself as Lucky Magazine's "Lucky Girl." Or who's conquered her addiction to the bitchier-than-thou forums. Or who reacts every day to her Daily Candy email with the same: "Who can afford that?" Here are some heartfelt health and beauty tips from one Real Girl to another.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What You Want: Part 3

I love a good transit strike ending, don’t get me wrong. But what a train tease to tell us: Look! Trains will run again! We promise! Only to have the news follow up an hour later with: “But not tonight, PSYCH!”

For the past few days, I’ve been amusing myself during my 2.5 mile walks to and from work by making up new and catchy songs. Great little ditties like, “Watch Where You’re Going, Roller Blader,” and my personal favorite, “Get Your Friggin’ Bike Off The Sidewalk, Dickwad.” Fun times.

I thought after hours in the cold, my hair would feel coarse and unruly, a regular mop to be beholden. But…ya know what? It’s actually not so bad. That wouldn’t be because of my new HEAT PROTECTANT now would it…?

Let’s talk about heat, bay-be. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the shine things and the gloss things that may be. Let’s talk about heat. Let’s talk about heat. (Ladies? ALL THE LADIES!)

Okay. So before I talk about why my new favorite heat protectant might not be the best one on the market (even though I love it so much that I nuzzle it daily), let me first introduce you to my new cuddle partner: Kiehl’s Heat-Protective Silk-Straightening Cream.

There I was at Kiehl’s, moaning over the loss of my beloved, discontinued Hair Thickening Lotion (damn you, Kiehl’s. Damnnnnnnn you), and asking the Nice Kiehl’s Lady what I might use in its stead. She looked me up and down and recommended the “Silk-Straightening Cream.” I made a face that loosely translates to “Are you blind, woman? Straight? Me? NOT. I mean, yes, I am straight. Not that there’s anything wrong with…But my hair! Totally not straight. It LOVES to kiss women. Erm, I mean curl up. It loves to curl up. With other hair. Not with…”

Thankfully, Nice Kiehl’s Lady (whom my hair, by the way, was strangely attracted to) interrupted my look with a quick, “Oh, it’s not really a straightener. Only when you blow dry. It just tames frizz and protects your hair from heat!”

Well I think I might just have to throw a party about that one.

After a couple weeks of sampling (Kiehl's is all about samples, so don't be shy), I am happy to say that my hair loves Kiehl’s new heat protectant straightener. I have, of course, not gone the blowing-straight route but rather the drying-while-scrunching-to-get-pretty-spirals route. I take a modest amount of the cream (go easy!) and scrunch it into my waves to tame their frizz. When I then scrunch and blow dry, I don’t feel the same coarseness afterwards that I used to, and I’m happy to say that I will be adding this new product to my regimen.

HOWEVER. This heat protectant may not be the one for you. If you have fine hair to medium/normal hair and you don’t blow dry all the time, then this may be your perfect de-frizzer. (For truly fine hair, use just a drop of product.) It’s less greasy than a serum or gloss drops, and yet it tames nicely.

But for girls who really go for blow-outs, with the brush and the drying or the ceramic hair irons—you need something more. What my new fave lacks, alas, is the best heat protectant ingredient out there: silicones.

Silicones come with pluses and minuses, so let’s take a moment to break it down. No other ingredient will give you as much shine, de-frizzing, and heat protection. Silicones (which come in any number of variations on ingredients lists) are must-haves for women with normal-to-thick/coarse hair who blow dry, iron, or straighten often. However (why is there always a however?), many products with silicones don’t have enough to truly protect your hair, and the products that do have enough? Can make it look greasy if you use too much. So there you are. The silicon scale. Reach the perfect middle and you get the best ingredient out there. Go too low and you get false confidence. Too high and you get ickiness. Ah, what a tricky path we tread.

The most silicone-packed hair products will be serums. These are the ones for the straighteners out there, but remember not to tip the scale and apply too much. Clearly, I wouldn’t be La Real Girl if I didn’t shove some options in your face. So, here. (Has transit strike made Real Girl grumpy? Nahhhh.)

philosophy curly head silicone hair serum
BioSilk Silk Therapy
Phyto Phytolisse Ultra Shine Smoothing Serum

But worry not if you don’t wish to go down the serum path. There be other options.

Sebastian Potion 9 (famous and world-beloved!)
Frederic Fekkai Glossing Cream
Joico Straight Edge Heat-Activated Curl Straightener (which can also keep wavy hair wavy, by the way!)
Matrix Biolage Smoothing Shine Milk (An appropriately light option for fine hair.)
Neutrogena Triple Moisture Sheer Hydration Leave-in Foam (This one people either love or hate, go figure.)
Sebastian Laminates Crema Styler, Anti-Frizz Control (Best for thick, dry hair)
Tigi Bed Head, Superstar Thermal Blow-Dry Hair Lotion

A word here, my lovelies, about application. One thing that bugs me about hair reporting (besides the fact that CNN doesn't have a hair correspondent yet) is the over-used phrase “root to tip.” NOT EVERY HAIR PRODUCT should be applied root to tip. Silicone products? Like leave-in conditioners and most gels: Tip to root. Start low and work your way up because too much product at the top will weigh your roots down and make ‘em greasy, which is (as we beauty correspondents say) yucky.

For now, I’m going to stick with my Kiehl’s Silk-Straightening Cream, but when I discover which of these silicone products most rocks the hair house, I will be sure to report my findings.

In the mean-time, let’s hear from you all! What do you use (serums, creams, gels, sprays) to tame your frizz and protect your hair from heat? Report away and let’s show CNN a thing or two, shall we?

(Q Train tomorrow morning? Pleeeeeeeeease? I’ll wear my best lip gloss!)


P.S. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! Have a super one, and if you get (or give!) delicious beauty goodies, please share and let us live vicariously.