K18 Hair Mask Review

K18, formerly known as KhairPep and one of the latest products in hair bonding technology, is a reparative leave-in treatment that claims to reverse hair damage from lightening and chemical services, mechanical damage and heat, bringing hair back to its youthful state.

There are two lines of K18, one for professional use and one for home use. The in-salon service includes a mist that is applied before color service and the mask after the service. The same mask in a smaller size is for home use.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua) (Eau), Alcohol Denat., Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dicaprylyl Ether, Cetyl Esters, Behentrimonium Chloride, Polysorbate 20,sh-Oligopeptide-78 (K18Peptide™), Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, Isopropyl Alcohol, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Fragrance (Parfum), Geraniol, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Alcohol

The K18 hair mask is not a protein or conditioning treatment, but does contain small amounts of protein and behentrimonium chloride that has conditioning and smoothing properties. From the K18 website, “the K18Peptide shuttles amino acids (the building blocks of hair) into the inner structure of the hair. Once inside the hair cortex, the unique amino-acid chain goes directly to the broken disulfide bonds to replace the lost amino acids, regenerating the bond and restoring ultimate strength, resilience and softness.” This contains denatured alcohol, benzyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol that allows the product to penetrate deeper into the hair.

Directions: Before the first use, wash with a clarifying shampoo. Shampoo hair; do not condition. Towel dry hair. Start with one pump and add more as needed depending on length and thickness. Work evenly through hair from roots to ends. Let sit 4 minutes. Do not rinse. Add styling products if desired and style as usual. Use for 4 to 6 consecutive washes and then every 3 to 4 washes for maintenance.

For about a month before I started using the K18 hair mask, my hair had been breaking, very small pieces from the front hairline (while combing or even just fluffing it up) and long pieces from the back hairline. The breakage from the back was similar to when I had blonde hair and when finger combing conditioner (or using “prayer hands”) through the hair, I was left with almost a handful of thick strings of hair such that I would get rather nervous on wash day and as a result my hair feels shorter and thinner at the ends when putting it in a ponytail. My hair does not seem to break off when combing before washing (other than the very small pieces), only while conditioning. I got the K18 mask hoping this would be a solution. I should mention too that it has been just over 2 years since I have had a haircut and hair that has not been cut for so long can split and break.

I have thin hair that has not been colored or cut in 2 years and I rarely use heat. I used the K18 mask for six consecutive washes, using a clarifying shampoo the first wash. I towel dried the hair, parted my hair in two sections and used one pump on each section, let it sit for 4 minutes, applied a leave-conditioner (I still use this one) and air dried as usual.

The K18 hair mask is 75 USD/89 CAD for 50 mL. I got my mask from coastalbeauty.ca at 75 CAD. One pump is 1 mL, so I get 25 uses applying two pumps each use.

K18 is a medium-thick cream that has a sort of fake fruity scent like other salon products. While shampooing, my hair does not get too tangled and it is thin, so applying the K18 mask worked relatively well to detangle. When I was figuring out how many pumps to use, I first used one too many and my hair felt heavy and sticky after air drying. Using two pumps was better; the hair had movement, no residue and more body than usual (perhaps because conditioner is not used).

Above shows before using K18, after six consecutive K18 uses and after normal shampooing and conditioning. I noticed a difference in the feeling of my hair by about the fourth consecutive use. My hair is usually quite frizzy and feels a bit rough and dry and after the strands of hair felt much smoother and the ends felt less dry.

Comparing Olaplex No. 8 and K18, I do not see too much difference in the hair; it looks smoother and less frizzy. After K18, my hair feels much smoother than the Olaplex Intense Moisture Mask that provides a similar function (I have used the No. 3 and No. 8; not sure which would be more comparable) to repair, strengthen and smooth damaged hair. I will note that when I went blonde, my hairdresser used Olaplex during the service and a while later I used the Olaplex No. 3 hoping to repair some damage; my hair could not be saved (not to say Olaplex does not work of course). From the Luxe Color Lounge website, “K18 is great if you are dealing with damage from heat styling, while Olaplex is more for bleached hair.  The Olaplex method uses fake bonds, and you can reach a point where you are using it so often that your hair becomes so strong that it breaks. Because Olaplex is not a natural protein, when you stop using it, your hair can no longer hold on to it, therefore it falls out reverting your hair back to its previous structure.” With K18, however, as I have seen on Instagram, hairdressers are using it during lightening and color services and seeing much improvement in the quality and strength of the hair. From the K18 website, with one salon treatment using the mist and mask as part of the bleaching service, hair is restored to 91% its original strength and 94% its original elasticity. K18 apparently rebuilds keratin bonds permanently, and is not a rinse-out treatment like Olaplex.

Since K18 claims that the mask restores hair to a youthful state, I wanted to compare from 2018 when my hair was the healthiest it felt and looked in a long while. Not sure it is quite a fair comparison as in my case, hair, lifestyle and stress have changed over time; I have more greys, my hair is drier and frizzier, diet and exercise habits are not where they should be compared to 3 years ago and stress has greatly increased over the last months to year.

As for the breakage of long pieces of hair, while finger combing the K18 mask through, I had hair fall, however, not the breakage I was getting while conditioning my hair. After the 6 uses of K18, I shampooed and conditioned my hair as normal and was quite worried, however, I just got my typical hair fall and was not pulling out broken hair. K18 stopped my hair breakage?! I continued with the my normal wash routine four times (still no broken hair) and then used the K18 mask. This time while finger combing the mask through, I pulled out strands of broken hair; not as much as before using the mask.

I think the K18 Molecular Repair Hair Mask is good; I kind of expected my hair to look better though. It does not really look much different, but feels really smooth; K18 seemed to repair my hair so there was no breakage for a few washes and then less breakage than I was getting previously. For the tiny pieces that were breaking, instead of seeing six pieces after combing my hair, I was getting 1 or 2. I will hopefully get my hair cut soon and have enough of the K18 mask to provide an update here. When I get my hair lightened/colored (likely not for a while), I will be looking for a salon that uses K18 and will update again.

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Amaterasu Liquid Brow Liner

Amaterasu Beauty is a Canadian indie cosmetics brand, formulating eye pencils, brow pencils, mascara and face powder that are made in Japan. The liquid brow liner claims to be easy to use, waterproof, smudge-proof, sweat-proof and to last 24 hours in all conditions (hot weather, intense workout). The pencil has a microfiber brush to fill, shape and define brows and goes on sheer, but is easily buildable to a more opaque look.

Ingredients: Aqua, Butylene Glycol, Acrylates Copolymer, 1,2-Hexanediol, Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, Alcohol, Aminomethyl Propanol, Phenoxyethanol. May Contain (±): CI 17200, CI 19140, CI 42090. Paraben and Phthalate Free

Directions: Store pencil on its side for optimum ink flow. Blot oil and/or powder eyebrow area before applying. Shake before use. Apply using short strokes and reapply to desired opacity. For a more dramatic brow, let dry for a few seconds between applications and layer.

The brow liners come in four colors; brunette (cool color for black/dark brown hair), cocoa (medium brown/warm dark brown hair), chestnut (auburn/honey brown/strawberry blonde hair) and taupe (cool tone for ashy blonde/gray hair). A color was difficult to choose based on the swatches on the website; all the colors look like shades of gray to me. I ordered brunette as I have very dark brown hair; this turned out to be maybe slightly too cool for me and I think I will try the cocoa next time, maybe layering with the brunette.

Above is the color brunette (my camera shows the color much warmer than it actually is) applied with a very light hand to get hair-like strokes. The color is very sheer and bleeds a little on the skin, so I find it a bit difficult to get hair width strokes, particularly since it needs to be layered (I am also not great at applying makeup). The tip of the pen is quite flexible as well.

I have thin brows after years of over-tweezing that are sparse at the inner and outer edges and lack definition. Before applying the liquid brow liner, I powdered the eyebrow area using Shiseido Synchro Skin Loose Powder and used two to three layers of the brow liner, applying lightly using short strokes.

Above are before and after 12 hours in warm weather and after a medium intensity workout. I have oily skin (as seen in the 12-hour photo) and have a bad habit of frequently touching my face. This is by far the easiest brow liner to use; I am not too sure why this is, but I think the brows turned out really well considering I rarely wear makeup and am not too good at applying. There was a bit of fade at 12 hours, however, no smudging and the brows still looked quite good. I have more confidence and look a little younger when I wear this brow liner. Since the color is sheer and can be layered, the brows are customizable for a natural or more dramatic look and I usually wear the brow liner with no other makeup on my face. However, since the color is sheer and needs to be layered for darker brows, getting hair-like strokes is difficult.

As above, one thing I noticed is that every time I apply, little microfibers come loose at the tip of the pen.

Liquid brow liners often have an issue drying out after a couple months. This liquid brow liner has been opened for 6 months thus far and still looks and feels the same with no drying.

The Amaterasu Liquid Brow Liner is great and easy to use. This is a favorite and I will continue to purchase.

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Lano Everywhere Multi-Cream Allover

Everywhere Multi-Cream Allover by Lano is a rich, versatile cream that can be used on hands, cuticles, feet, lips, anywhere on the body, as a day cream, night cream and a baby cream. This cream claims to nourish and hydrate the skin while giving a silky feeling.

Ingredients: Water*, Lanolin*, Cetearyl Alcohol*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride*, Glyceryl Stearate*, Butrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond ) Oil*, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Glycerin*, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate*, Cetearyl Glucoside*, Cetearyl Olivate*, Sorbitan Olivate*, Carrageenan*, Benzyl Alcohol, Fragrance (natural)*, Tocopherol (Vitamin E)*, Milk*, Ascorbic Acid, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil*, Citric Acid, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract*, Beta-Carotene (Ci 75130)*. *Naturally Derived.

The star ingredient is lanolin, a moisturizing oil found in sheep’s wool; Lano sources from Australian sheep farmers. Lanolin is an emollient, softening and soothing the skin, and an occlusive, preventing moisture loss. Lanolin is commonly used as a nipple cream when breastfeeding. This multi-cream also contains a number of plant oils and moisturizing and humectant ingredients.

Directions: Apply to dry areas as needed.

I got the multi-cream to use on my hands, but tried it on my under-eyes, lips, face and arm. This is a rich cream that has a light lotion scent. It applies smoothly at first, then sticky and tugs on the skin, then a tacky feeling is left for a few minutes and I preferred to use this on my hands at night for this reason. Once absorbed a bit, a silky layer is left on the skin. It is not greasy. The lotion felt nice on my lips; I do not think there was really any further improvement compared to my usual lip balm. However, I think this would be really nice as a base lip treatment in the winter. The multi-cream is quite heavy for use under the eyes, so just a tiny amount is needed. Applying the cream tugs on the skin, so patting in works better. This was not too bad on the face (I applied to my cheeks only as I have oily skin), but heavier than I would like and a bit tacky, though again, this would be good in cold weather on small dry patches. It applies to large areas much easier when the skin is damp, but still has the tacky, friction feeling.

Above, my hands had been very dry with cracked knuckles and I used the Lano cream for a week in the evening. There are still a couple of dry areas and peeling skin on my thumb in the after photo, but they look much improved and are no longer painful and cracked. My skin felt softer and more nourished. Having said that, I got better results from Working Hands but if looking for a more “natural” lotion, the Lano cream is not bad.

Lano Everywhere Multi-Cream is okay; it improved very dry hands, however, the skin gets pulled when applying and it remains tacky for about 10 minutes, after which a silky layer is left on the skin. I prefer other lotions for face and body, but I think this cream will be nourishing and hydrating on smaller dry areas in cold weather.

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Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil Review

The Gentle Cleansing Oil Makeup Remover by Sulwhasoo is a lightweight oil for all skin types that claims to remove waterproof makeup and impurities without leaving residue while keeping the skin balanced. This is to be used as the first step in a double cleanse routine.

Ingredients: C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Peg-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Peg-8 Isostearate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Fragrance / Parfum, Dextrin Palmitate, Limonene, Glyceryl Behenate/Eicosadioate, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Squalane, Linalool, Water / Aqua / Eau, Butylene Glycol, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Pinus Koraiensis Seed Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-Yuen Seed Extract, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Castanea Crenata (Chestnut) Shell Extract, Spirodela Polyrhiza Extract, Prunus Mume Seed Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Seed Extract

Directions: Massage two pumps onto dry skin, gliding fingertips over the nose, forehead, cheeks and chin until makeup and oil are dissolved. Emulsify with lukewarm water and rinse until clean. Follow with a cleanser. Directions on the box state to avoid direct eye contact.

I have oily/combination and dehydrated skin and have used this nightly for about a month, using two pumps for the face and neck. The cleanser has a nice herbal scent. It glides very smoothly across the skin and removes sunscreen, foundation, eye makeup and oils quite easily. After rinsing, the skin feels clean and soft with no residue left. The oil is not drying, like some cleansing oils, and over time I have noticed that my skin has gotten softer and smoother. I had not used a cleansing oil for a couple months previous and using the Sulwhasoo oil, the T-zone area looks cleaner and less congested than usual.

Interestingly, the directions do not mention using this on eye makeup and the box states to avoid contact with the eyes. I used this on mascara and eyeliner anyhow. The oil does sting the eyes a lot and makes the vision blurry, but takes off eye makeup really well. So long as I close my eyes pretty tight, cleanse with the oil, rinse and use my second cleanser without opening my eye, I can avoid the stinging.

Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil Makeup Remover feels really nice on the skin, removes makeup and sunscreen well and helps the skin feel soft and clean, but stings the eyes. I really like this cleansing oil (it has become a new favorite) and will repurchase, despite the potential irritation to the eyes.

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dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse Review

DpHUE’s Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse is a hair cleanser that is said to take the place of shampoo and conditioner to give the hair a break from harsher, stripping shampoos or as a quick wash after a workout or any time. This can be used safely daily and claims to gently cleanse without stripping the hair oils, seal the hair cuticle, add shine and reduce frizz, soothe and calm the scalp, lock in color and triple the strength of the hair.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Acetic Acid (Apple Cider Vinegar), Cetrimonium Chloride, Silicone Quaternium-8, Rapeseedamidopropyl Ethyldimonium Ethosulfate, Glycerin, Polyacrylamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Spathodea Campanulata Flower Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Leaf Extract, Linoleamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate Dimethicone, Quaternium-96, Polyquaternium-55, Dipropylene Glycol, Propanediol, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Butylene Glycol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate

Silicone Quaternium-8 is a conditioning ingredient that is water soluble (rinses out with just water or normal shampoo). Polyacrylamidopropyltrimonium Chloride and Linoleamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate Dimethicone are conditioning ingredients. Rapeseedamidopropyl Ethyldimonium Ethosulfate reduces static.

Directions: Section wet hair and gently squeeze about 2 tablespoons of product on to the scalp in the hair sections; massage in and pull through the lengths of the hair. Leave on 1 to 3 minutes and rinse well.

I have fine hair, oily scalp and dry lengths and ends and wash my hair every 3 days.

This is how my hair looks normally after shampooing and conditioning, then air dried (after using the Aquis hair turban).

The vinegar rinse feels like it cleanses most of the oils from the hair, better than just using diluted apple cider vinegar, however, on air drying, my hair did not really feel clean beyond being less oily (my roots still had buildup and I do not use any styling products) and was frizzier and drier (even closer to the scalp) than when using a shampoo and conditioner. I also used this product followed by conditioner, which of course, worked better for dryness and frizz. Using the vinegar rinse, I could go 2 days before washing again, but my hair really did not feel nice and almost felt a bit sticky. I used the product daily for a few days after doing a clarifying shampoo and hair mask, thinking maybe my hair had buildup already, and my hair still had a sticky, dry feeling after using the rinse and my scalp was getting itchy (though claims to soothe and calm the scalp).

I have recently used a cleansing conditioner for use between shampoos from Snob Girls that I like much better in terms of being gentle on the hair and helping dryness and frizz.

This smells quite strongly of apple cider vinegar, but once rinsed, there is no vinegar smell.

I would not repurchase dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse.

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