Holiday Hair Saviors

Staff Writer

Let’s face it, getting hair to transform into thick, luscious, shiny locks is at best a combination of good genes and good hair care and at worst a skilled extension job that will from-russia-10fool everyone into thinking that maybe you were born with it. The Holiday Season has fully descended upon us, and that means many opportunities to put your hair on display and pray that it acts like it has some sense just this once.

If you’re like us, you’ve got an enviable collection of hair products that promise to transform you into a vintage Hollywood icon, but what they actually do is deposit a bunch of silicone and synthetic fragrances onto your scalp, and leave your hair mediocre and hardly tamed. There is no shortage of hair care products on the market that make outrageous claims and deliver marginal results. Well, if we may be so bold, consider your quest for the perfect coif a done deal.

This collection of life changing hair masks comes courtesy of Natura Siberica, an organic Russian brand that specializes in harnessing the power of nature to transform your hair. Sound familiar? We thought so too… until we actually used these masks. Each massive jar of thick cream goes beyond simply coating the hair shaft (and potentially weighing it down) to truly nourish each strand. Each of these masks are full of specific ingredients designed to do specific things, but regardless of hair type it’s hard to find a bad one in the bunch.

The same can be said in general for the entire company. There is an actual effort to make products and perform as well as they claim. There is some discrepancy with the shampoos (we found a few to be a little harsh) but  overall a vast majority of the collection perform as expected if not better. The body selection isn’t too shabby either.

Unless you’re fluent in Russian, we recommend getting whatever you can find from Amazon (do due diligence regarding sellers), and the rest from Fresh Spa. The latter will cost you a pretty penny in shipping and the wait time averages about 65 days, but we’re convinced it’s worth the wait. So if time is of the essence, Amazon is your best bet. No matter what you choose, Natura Siberia is on a quest to earn your business for life. You’ll know it’s true from the first scoop of a mask, to the inevitable panic that sets in once you realize you’re about to run out.

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She SAID: Giving Beauty

An increasing number of beauty consumers want to do more than just look good; they also want to ‘feel good’ about what they’re wearing. Companies are taking note with contributions and a conscious message to make the world a little better, one product at a time.

Heroes Beauty wants add a little color to the world and improve the lives of veterans at the same time. The startup brand proudly donates 5% of annual profits to charities that specialize in veteran outreach.

Green People goes even further. The company, which specializes in organic skin and hair care, donates 10% of the company’s net profit to Marine Conservation Society, Penny Brohn Cancer Care, and Chestnut Tree House.

Chantecaille continues its tradition of highlighting environmental organizations and charities. This year, the limited edition ‘Lion Collection’ highlights the majestic beauty of the big cats… and raises awareness for The Lion Guardians. The conservation group is based in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park

We SAID: Stripdown

Staff Writer

Any good esthetician will tell you that the key basics to good skin lie in three steps: Cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize. How you get there is as individual as age, skin type, climate, time of year, and a host of other variables that for most of us… means lots and lots and LOTS of trial and error. This is especially true for exfoliation. stripdown

Those who are still big fans of physical exfoliation may find some satisfaction with Skin Authority Bamboo Ginseng Scrub. The brand quickly found a cozy spot in the heart of skin care professionals because of its no-nonsense approach to skin care. Simple packaging and clear ingredients shy away outrageous claims and focus instead on the hole grail goal of any given consumer: results. Loofah and Oats help slough away those dreaded dead skin cells and pave the way for feel good ingredients like ginseng, bamboo and chamomile. Directions specify using all over the body, but we couldn’t find any indication that it couldn’t be used on the face so… happy scrubbing!

Exfoliating pads are the new norm, but there’s nothing quite like Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine. The double sided pads are soaked with a combination of grapes, berries and two types of acid that promise to renew your face with a single swipe. Recommended use is several times a week, but we found it gentle enough for nearly nightly use. Neogen is the one of the latest companies to join the influx of K-Beauty in the united states. Cosmetics behemoth Sephora has already picked up selected items from the brand, and there have already been public calls to expand the product range.

One of the most unusual exfoliation experiences comes courtesy of Koh Gen Doh, which blended caffeine, rosemary, sage and Japan Hot Spring Water to create the Soft Gommage Spa Gel. Applied to dry skin, this gel beads into rubbery particles and claims to do away with dead skin cells, stimulate circulation and encourage cell renewal.

Our top picks aside, there’s no shortage of products that promise to shed the outermost layer of dead skin cells and reveal fresh new skin. Experts agree that no matter which formulation you choose, the best approach is to start slow and upgrade the strength of exfoliation as you build tolerance.

We SAID: OCC Summer Capsule

Staff Writer

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics salutes the Summer with a capsule collection worthy of the season. The cozy ensemble features Lip Tar, Nail Polish, and Lip Pencil in three bestselling colors, including the covet worthy neon-fuchsia shade of Anime.

occ summer capsule

The capsule collection launched today…

Get it while it’s hot!

She SAID: Curly Cue

Shahada Karim

We have officially stepped away from the need to straighten every hair within an inch of its life, and an increasing number of people are letting their curly flag fly. The challenge is to keep the curls as just that, without them devolving into frizz. The coming Summer curly cue 1 means high temperatures and humidity, but the latest crop of curl enhancers are more than up for the challenge.

Madame CJ Walker Coconut Oil is for the days when you just want your curls to do what they do, but stay hydrated and defined. This lightweight spray formula uses a universal age-old hair fix to keep frizz at bay without forcing curly cue 2curls to go crunchy and freeze into a specific style. One of the most attractive features is that it can be used on wet or dry hair, and works on a wide range of lengths and textures.

Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil turns to technology to create a formula that acts and behaves like oil without the side effects. The buildable formula forms a barrier between hair and humidity, effectively blocking frizz on even the most coarse hair types. It can also be used on wet or dry air. And curly cue 3although it’s mostly chemical, you can spot a few favorites like Moringa and Jojoba oils in the ingredient list.

Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive Heavy Cream goes back to basics to tackle hair that laughs at all products and just does whatever it wants. Specially formulated for thick unruly hair, the formula blends old world ingredients like Brahmi and Amla Oils to nourish the scalp and condition hair. It also contains MSM Sulfur, which has been proven to encourage hair growth. This is a solid case of ‘less is more’: the combination is so potent that there’s no need to pile it on.  A fully emulsified finger-full will easily distribute on the scalp and through hair and work to control frizz and define curls until you wash it out.

She SAID: Unmasked

Terri Kennerson

With Spring in full bloom and Summer not far behind, now is the best time to put in the work for the best possible reveal of fresh uniform skin in the coming months. If going to an expert and going down for a deep peel isn’t your thing, there are plenty of masks on the SEVEN VEILS MASKmarket that promise to work over time to unveil a fresh, plumper, younger looking you.

Normal/Oily/Combination: Habibi Seven Veils Exfoliating Mask works both as a purifying mask and a physical scrub. Forget the harsh apricot or walnut kernels of scrubs past; this one uses jojoba beads that melt as you move them over your skin. The formula is full of brighteners like Fullers Earth and turmeric, and deep hydrators like organic honey and ginseng oil. It can be used immediately as a scrub, or left on for 10-15 minutes to dry as a mask.citrus mask

Normal/Dry: Blithe Patting Splash Mask in Yellow Citrus & Honey is for anyone who doesn’t have the time or patience to wait for a mask to work its magic. If you’ve got 15 seconds, you’ve got the time to reveal new skin. The secret is Lactic Acid, which breaks up the proteins that bind dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. Blithe is the bouncy masklatest addition to the ever growing K-Beauty trend, and continues the message of youthful skin that looks genetic and completely effortless.

All: First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Bouncy Mask uses rose bud extract and Vitamin C to plump and firm the skin. The gel texture is light and agreeable for most skin types. 10 minutes on, wipe off with a warm damp washcloth, and you’re good to go. It may not fool people into thinking that you’ve had 10 hours of sleep in a  hammock on the beach, but it’s pretty darn close.