Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Demystifying Styling Products: My Favorites

You leave the salon with a new cut and feel almost sure you can tackle replicating your stylist’s skills by wielding your new curling iron in a Jedi fashion. The next morning, you get up for work, slather gel through your locks and achieve a style you feel comfortable walking into work wearing. Half way through the day, your hair is as droopy as a hound dog. What happened?

For every style, just as for every hair type, there are an arsenal of products. Choosing which to use makes all the difference in your ability to style your hair and the likelihood it will last all day.

Medium or Thick Hair

If you find your locks require a lion tamer’s touch, you’ll need a product with some strength. For hold, apply a gel near the root area--Nioxin's Smoothing Reflectives Styling Gel provides excellent no-flake, gentle hold--particularly around the face. During styling, a dry working spray (an aerosol that does not have too strong a hold, such as Sebastian Shaper) will help you as you shape it into your desired style. If you like, you can follow it up with a finishing spray, one that has a stronger hold to last longer, such as Sebastain Shaper Plus or the heavy-duty 25 by Redken.

When you want your wavy or curly hair to be styled straight, you have more of a challenge. First you’ll need a product to help your hair repel frizz-inducing moisture. Graham Webb's Stick Straight is an excellent product that adds shine while keeping hair smooth. After blowing straight and/or using a flat iron, consider adding an additional shine product, such as a liquid silicone or a shine aerosol if needed. Beyond Shine by Aquage is one of the best on the market.

If you find fuzzies decorating the top of your head after straightening, mist your hands with an aerosol spray and smooth over the very top of your hair.

For wavy or curly hair worn in a more natural way, try a sculpting foam, such as Paul Mitchell’s Extra Body Styling Foam, applied when your hair is wet. It will cut down on frizz, add a little shine, and keep the hair managed. If more shine is desired, just add a a touch of Beyond Shine. The only time gel should be applied all over is for hair that is very curly and thick. In this case, steer clear of gel with a great deal of hold unless you want a stiff curly helmet.

Fine or Thin Hair

Fine hair presents its own problems. If your hair’s limpness is aggravated by gels or heavy hairsprays, consider using a styling foam. Added to hair before blow drying, foam (mousse) will increase volume without smothering tresses, and is particularly wonderful for wavy or curly hair. Again, Paul Mitchell's Extra-Body Sculpting Foam is the best.

If you want to straighten fine, wavy or curly hair, Nioxin makes Smoothly Defined to keep your hair frizz free without gluing delicate tendrils to your scalp. For extra shine, use Aquage’s weightless shine agent, Beyond Shine. Yes, I know I'm harping on this one, but of all the shine products with which I've smothered my frizzy mane, it's tops! It won’t weigh you down like shine gels or shine liquids will.

For hair that needs a boost, a root lifter or weightless gel used just at the root area is most appropriate, followed by a light-weight aerosol hairspray, such as the ones made by Sebastian (Shaper, Shaper Plus). Nioxin’s line of products is specially designed for fine and thinning hair, including a gel that adds muscle without strangle-holding and a super light, but sturdy, hairspray. Please resist Paul Mitchell’s hairspray line as it can weigh down fine hair and create buildup that can lead to tangling and breakage. If this occurs, try a chelating shampoo (Nioxin’s Bionutrient Cleanser* will work) and then invest in a home or salon conditioning treatment to soften the hair a d further remove the built up spray.

* Visit to take “Assess my Needs” for the shampoo and conditioning combination that will work best for your hair.

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