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Toni&Guy Casual Sea Salt Texturising Spray

So, this is the sea salt texturising spray that I got in my Glossybox. It's supposed to give your hair more volume and texture, in a coarse sort of way -- as if you've spent the day at the beach with sea water and sand and such -- and also allow you to easily create a sort of naturally wavy hairstyle.

Instructions on the bottle. Pretty simple, right? Spray into dry hair, finger comb, let dry, and you're done. Let's go ahead and try that.

My hair before...

...and after. Yeah, so, um. It looks nearly the same as before, except, well, messier. And not in the nonchalant "I'm a cool surfer girl" messy kind of way, either. Just in the "I cycled through a rainstorm and didn't bother to comb my hair once after it'd dried" kind of way. Also, it has virtually no extra volume, and definitely didn't spontaneously develop any curls or waves.

Even though I'd pretty much done exactly as the bottle instructed, I figured I had to be doing something wrong. I looked up a couple tutorials online, and most of them recommended a rather different approach: apply to damp/towel-dry hair rather than completely dry; apply enough of the spray so that it gets quite damp again; and then twist into tight buns and let it dry that way, or you probably still won't get any curls/waves if your hair is naturally straight. Huh.

So I decided to try that approach the next morning. I allowed my hair to air-dry for half an hour or so after showering, then applied the sea salt spray quite generously, sectioned my hair, and twisted each section up into a little bun. Now, my hair takes 2-3 hours to air-dry even when it's just hanging there loosely (there's a reason I blow-dry it every morning), and tied into a braid or bun it can literally take ALL DAY to dry, or even still be slightly damp by the time I go to bed. So, rather than letting it dry in the buns completely, I took them out after an hour and a half or so, though I did leave my hair hanging down in the "twist" shapes that I'd created until it was completely dry (which probably took about four hours in total). At that point, I just sort of shook it out/finger combed my hair a little, without actually combing it. This was the end result:

So, this time around it actually did get fairly curly/wavy. However... I don't really feel like the effect is any stronger than I would have achieved if I had just put my wet-from-shower hair up in those tight twisty buns and let it dry. Yeah. Um. Maybe it's just me or my hair type or whatever, but I'm really kind of failing to see the added value of the sea salt spray. Especially at a price of €13 per bottle that would last you maybe 5-6 uses if your hair is as long as mine.


Gliss Kur Hair Repair Ultimate Volume Direct Care Mousse

Wow, that's quite the name, isn't it. The purpose of this mousse is twofold: to add volume, as well as to care for dry and/or damaged hair. Now, I don't use any chemical dyes, curling or straightening irons on my hair, but I do blow-dry it almost daily, so it still tends to be slightly dry, especially in the lengths. And, well, I think I've mentioned before in blog posts how straight and sleek my hair tends to be, so a little extra volume couldn't hurt.

This is my hair in its normal state. I think I'd already briefly had it up in a pony tail that day, hence the slight kinks, haha. But anyway, you can see how it falls pretty flat alongside my face and all that.

This is my hair after washing it, applying the new Gliss Kur mousse, and then blow-drying it. Umm... yeah. Not exactly huge poofy volume, or anything. In fact, in this picture you can really see any difference whatsoever. IRL, it did look a bit nicer than usual, like I was just having a good hair day. Nice and shiny, not at all dry looking, and just "naturally" draping itself the way it's supposed to, instead of sleekly kind of going all over the place. But even then, no apparent extra volume.

Kind of odd considering I expected that to be the main effect, what with it being a mousse type product and all. I guess they were just really focusing on the "ultimate care" part? I'd rather use a conditioner or hair mask for that, though, and have my volumising mousse give me some actual volume. :P Or it simply doesn't work with my hair type, which is another possibility considering its natural sleekness. Either way, I suppose I won't be using this again a whole lot.


Kérastase Cristalliste shampoo

I feel like I'm starting to be a bit repetitive with these reviews of the products from my Glossybox. Did I like this product? Yes. Did the product do what it was supposed to? Yes. Did it do that so much better than a (cheaper) drugstore product that I would go out and buy it myself? No. That was true for the H2O+ body butter as well as the YSL mascara, and it holds true for this shampoo as well.

Sorry, spoilers. Let's start at the beginning, shall we? This is the Cristalliste shampoo for long and fine hair, by Kérastase. It is supposed to give you free-flowing, lightweight hair, according to the package. When I looked at the ingredient list, I noticed it didn't contain any SLS or SLES, which are fairly harsh cleaners that can leave your scalp or hair feeling dry, so that's nice.

I wash my hair every day, and normally use a shampoo first followed by a conditioner, whenever I do so. However, I didn't have the accompanying conditioner that goes with this shampoo (I'm assuming there is one, anyway :P) and I didn't want to ruin the results by using my own cheap drugstore conditioner after using this, so I tested it in a couple different ways on consecutive days. The first time, I just used this shampoo, without using any conditioner afterwards. My hair was a fair bit lighter and more voluminous once it dried, but it was also quite fluffy and static-y. So, the next day, I used this shampoo, still without any conditioner while in the shower, but then I applied a little bit of leave-in conditioner to the lengths once it was towel-dry. This reduced the dry fluffiness, but already diminished the added volume as well.

On the third day, I just used my normal conditioner (Andrelon Volume & Care) after washing my hair with this shampoo. This time, my hair looked and behaved (in terms of lightness) pretty much exactly the same as if I'd used my own shampoo. Finally, on the fourth day, I used this shampoo to wash out a coconut oil hair mask (I should maybe do a post on that some time...), without using any conditioner afterwards, which is what I normally do when using that hair treatment as well. Um. This was a minor disaster; my hair looked super greasy as soon as it dried after a nice fresh wash! Now, the coconut mask is obviously very oily, but my other shampoos never have any trouble washing it all out; this one clearly couldn't manage the task. I suppose it might have something to do with the lack of SLS?

I find it a bit hard to give a definitive judgement about this shampoo, since I'm assuming the line does have its own conditioner that you would normally use with this. If said conditioner is capable of smoothing down the hair while maintaining the light airyness, then this product line does have some benefits, since I don't remember ever using a shampoo before that managed to give my (normally very sleek and straight) hair this much extra volume. However, as much as I liked the extra volume, without any conditioner this shampoo is simply unusable for me, as it makes my hair way too dry and frizzy -- and when using my own conditioner, the added volume is pretty much gone instantly, meaning I might just as well have used my own shampoo, which is about six times as cheap. In that case, I'm not seeing any revolutionary improvements, basically making this another no-buy for me.

Filed under: Beauty: Hair 5 Comments

Dyeing hair with henna

Every couple of months I dye my hair using henna. I've bleached and dyed my hair to death from about age 15 to 20, but for about the past three years now, I haven't used chemical dye at all. Unlike chemical dyes and especially bleach, henna doesn't contain any ammonia, peroxide or other harsh chemicals, just natural plant extracts, and is actually good for your hair, rather than damaging. Your hair feels really soft and strong, afterwards, and has an amazing shine to it, too.

There are downsides, as well; the coverage isn't that great on grey hair, there's the smell, and the process is messy. Very messy. But, in my opinion, the pros definitely outweigh the cons, here. So, since I was going to re-dye my hair today, anyway, I figured I might as well walk you through it. If you want to try out dyeing your hair with henna yourself, you'll need the following:

  • a packet of henna powder, in the colour of your choosing*
  • a non-metallic bowl
  • a non-metallic stirring utensil (I'm using an old chopstick)
  • plastic or latex gloves
  • an old towel or washcloth
  • a comb
  • a roll of cling film (not pictured)

In addition to the latex gloves, you'll want to take some other precautions as well; wear old clothes that you don't mind getting stains on, and if you have some kind of mat or carpet in your bathroom, you'll want to take that out or cover it up with an old newspaper or something. (If your bathroom floor is just tiles, it should come off of that pretty easily and you don't have to worry about covering it up.)

*Side note: henna technically exists in just the one colour: red. However, by mixing the extract from the lawsonia plant with others (for instance, chamomile or indigofera), a range of colours from strawberry blonde to black is created, and all of these tend to be referred to as "henna". Also note that, due to the absence of bleaching chemicals, henna can only be used to darken your hair (or dye it as light as your current hair colour, at the most), not lighten it.

So, this is my "before" picture. It's been a couple of months since I last did this, so my hair is a mixture of shades from faded red to brown, with over an inch of roots (though you can't really tell from this angle, I guess).

Start by dumping the package of henna powder into a bowl. Don't be alarmed if the powder is pretty bright green, rather than red or brown like you might have been expecting; this is perfectly normal. Though, if you currently have bleached hair, this is why you don't want to be using henna: your hair may end up having a colour much like that powder. If you have natural hair, you'll be fine, and if your hair has only been dyed before, not bleached, you should be okay as well (especially if it's been a while), though you'll probably want to do a strand test first to make sure. Now, add boiling water, about 1/3 cup at a time, stirring after each addition, until you get a texture you think you can work with: not too thick, but not too runny either. If it looks like mud and smells like overcooked spinach (and/or wet hay), you're doing it right. Hey, I did warn you about the smell, up there.

Part your hair so you'll have a smallish section to work with. I combed most of my hair to one side, until only a thin layer was left on the other side of the parting. Now, grab a small handful of mud the henna mixture, and work it into this segment of hair, from root to tip. I did actually take a picture of what that looked like, but it turned out super blurry... and then I stopped taking pictures for a while, because cleaning my hands/gloves so I could safely use the camera became too much of a hassle. So, you'll have to make do with a verbal description. :P

Once that first segment of hair is properly coated with dye, grab your comb again and make a new parting, a little further "up" (towards the centre of your head), pulling down a new section of clean hair. Coat that bit with the henna mixture as well, and keep going like that until you reach the centre. At that point, it's easier to flip the other half of remaining, clean hair on top of the dyed half, pull down one layer over your ear, and then dye the hair section by section again until you come up to the centre from that side, as well.

At that point, you should be looking something like this. Two thick "pigtails" of hair that feel very much like they're soaked in mud, indeed, at this point, and a small remaining section of clean hair at the back of your head. Time to tackle that last bit. Since the mixture is indeed much like mud in terms of texture -- grainy rather than being perfectly smooth, like commercial chemical dye mixes -- little clumps of "sand" constantly fall off while you work. By this time your sink (assuming you're standing in front of/half over one) will probably be covered in them. Now, doing that last bit at the back ensures that your bathroom floor gets some attention, too. ;)

Anyway, doing the section at the back is pretty tricky on your own, since you can't really see what you're doing. Get a friend to help you, if you can; if not, just rub it in there as well as possible. I don't really have awesome tips or tricks for this bit, and often end up missing little parts myself. ;)

Once you've finished coating every section of hair with henna, you'll probably have just a little bit left (roughly the amount you used per section). This is actually quite convenient, because you can now use that leftover mixture as a sort of hair gel, to stick the lengths of your hair on top of your head. Since I have pretty long hair, I just rolled it up into a sort of crude bun, and then used my last bit of henna to glue it in place. This way, you don't have an awkward, staining tail of hair down your back.

Now grab your cling film and wrap it around your head a couple of times. This way you can move on to do other things, without having to worry about leaving a trail of sandy clumps of henna wherever you go. This is convenient, since the henna needs to be in there for quite some time: one to four hours. Actually, it won't even hurt to leave it in there for more than four hours, since henna is only nourishing instead of damaging anyway, so feel free to apply it in the evening and just sleep in it all night. I did that last time. Note that eventually, a little bit of dye will start to seep out from underneath your little cling film hat, so you'll want to cover your pillow in an old towel if you're doing this.

Now, it's clean-up time! First, as soon as you finish wrapping up your hair in the cling film, make sure to clean off any henna that got onto your skin; otherwise it will leave a stain that lasts for days. That's what that aforementioned old towel was for. Also, you've hopefully been using it in between as well, to clean off any large clumps of henna that got on your face/arms/etc, instead of leaving them until now. :P But now's the time to do a thorough check and clean any remaining bits. Take care to clean behind your ears as well, since quite a bit of the mixture tends to accumulate there, in my experience. Once that's done, clean up your bathroom as well, since it's probably looking a right mess by now. And then we wait!

When your hair has been soaking in the mixture long enough (I left it in for about two hours, this time), hop into the shower and rinse out your hair. (Oh. Uh. Take off the plastic wrap, first, obviously.) Once your hair stops feeling like there's a ton of sand in it, and the water runs mostly clear, grab your favourite shampoo and wash it. You may want to use a little more shampoo than usual. Rinse until the water runs completely clear, and then just condition, dry, style it etc. as you normally do, and you're done! I'm not sure how well you can tell just from looking at the photos, but my hair is incredibly soft and shiny right now. <3

Filed under: Beauty: Hair 13 Comments

Big hair

As you can see in most of my FotD pictures, I have very straight, sleek hair. In fact, various people have asked me whether I flat iron my hair on a regular basis; but no, it really is that straight naturally. And just like how many people with naturally curly hair would like their hair to be more straight, I wouldn't mind my hair being a little wavier, or at least have a bit more volume. Today, I decided to have some fun with a curling iron.

Whoo, big hair! My camera does this thing where the perspective gets kinda warped when taking close-range pictures (ie., of yourself...) so it looked even bigger in real life. Almost over-the-top big, very full and wavy and curly. I achieved this by first applying two big dollops of volumizing mousse  to my freshly-washed, nearly dry hair, then blow-drying it until it was completely dry. Next, I took a 3/4" or so curling iron and curled it, doing only a 1" wide, one-layer thick section or hair at a time. Yeah, it took a while. By "while" I mean like... 30-45 minutes. :P But hey, it actually had some result... curls! For some reason my hair normally doesn't really "take" the curl from even a hot iron at all... as soon as it slides off the iron, it's nearly-straight again. But using the mousse first gave it a bit of a coarser texture, which I think helped. I sprayed quite a bit of hair spray throughout all layers to make sure the lovely curls would stay put...

...and this is what it looked like, just two hours later. See, there's a reason I don't normally bother to curl my hair even though I sometimes get fed up with its straightness, and this is it. I haven't brushed it or been outside in the wind or anything, I'd just been sitting still at the computer during those two hours, doing homework. And yeah, it's still kinda wavy, a bit more voluminous than usual, but nowhere near party-style big curly hair. Not quite worth the trouble of spending almost an hour styling it...

I do think it actually looks slightly more natural in the second photo than its actual natural look. Since the way it naturally looks is flat-iron-straight, and most people's hair has at least a bit of a wave to it, I guess this actually looks more "normal". Which means I basically spent an hour to have my hair look normal. Go figure ;)

Filed under: Beauty: Hair 2 Comments