Zeolite is a microporous aluminosilicate mineral and absorbs oil and dirt, as does diatomaceous earth. Isohexadecane has a powder-like finish and improves texture of a formula. Isopropyl Myristate is a texture enhancer and an emollient. Ceteareth-25 is an emollient and helps makes the hair look shiny. Propylene Carbonate is a solvent and can also decrease the viscosity of a product. Stearalkonium Hectorite is a clay.
Directions: Work a small amount of product onto fingertips and apply at the roots and through mid-lengths. Can be used on damp or dry hair.
Redken Dry Shampoo Paste is not scented and does not leave any white residue on the hair. I use about a pea size for the roots and bangs, warming and spreading it on my fingertips first until it feels a bit powdery. While the paste leaves leaves a textured residue on the hair, it it not gritty or sticky. I can still run my fingers and a comb through the hair, though there will be residue left on my fingers.
I have an oily scalp and wash my hair every 3 days. I have used this paste since I first got bangs a couple years ago. The bangs get oily quite quickly and this paste absorbs oil and gives the bangs some weight and texture. Redken Dry Shampoo Paste gives volume and texture to my otherwise flat roots. The before photo above shows my third day hair that is quite oily. After applying the paste to the bangs and roots, I am able to extend wash day by two days.
After flat-ironing, I use a bit of the paste to add texture on the lengths, some hold on the ends of my hair and oil absorption at the roots; flat-ironing makes hair look greasier faster since the oil is able to travel down the hair easier. The paste is great for up-dos and braids and holding bobby pins and hair elastics in place. I have not tried this on damp hair.
The Redken Dry Shampoo Paste 05 is a favorite and I will continue to repurchase. For a dry shampoo that does not leave texture on the hair, I use this one by Living Proof.
The eye cream is formulated with a slow-release vitamin A derivative to support natural collagen production while being gentle for use around the eye. It is formulated with 3% Vitalease, a stabilized retinoid compound that equates to 0.09% retinol. The eye cream contains some moisturizing/emollient ingredients; shea butter, olive lipids and glycerin, sunflower seed oil.
Directions: To be used in the evening on cleansed skin. Apply small amount on fingertip and pat around contour of the eye. Follow with a moisturizer. The eye cream can also be used for lines around the mouth (do not apply on lips).
This is a light yellow, light-weight cream that has no scent. It spreads around the eye area well with no tugging and absorbs quickly, leaving a smooth feeling.
As above, I have deeper creases and fine lines around my eye. I did not expect this eye cream to help with the deep creases, but I was hoping for improvement in the fine lines closer to the orbital bone at the bottom and outer eye areas and I did not see much, if any, improvement after 6 months of use. I found this cream to be relatively hydrating, but generally applied a bit of my face moisturizer over the eye cream. While the eye cream does not mention improving dark circles or puffiness, some reviews on Sephora have indicated this to be the case (I did not notice this and did not expect to).
I did not experience any dryness or irritation while using the eye cream and started out using every evening. If dryness or irritation occurs, this can be used a couple times a week, working up to every evening.
The Inkey List Retinol Eye Cream claims to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while supporting natural collagen production. I did not notice really any improvement around the eye area and would not repurchase based on that, however, being reasonably priced, might consider repurchasing for the collagen support benefit and using it under a more robust eye cream. I have recently moved on to the Rufolia Periorbital Eyemulsion by The Ayurveda Experience.
I recently purchased a few hair products from Snobgirls, a Canadian professional line of products specifically for color-treated hair with their “100% free series,” banning over 40 harsh ingredients commonly found in skin care and hair care products. Each product contains their TruColour Guard antifading system. One of the hair oils I got are the Curalign Ultra-Smoothing Control Hair Oil Capsules, a leave-in treatment for dry, unruly, frizzy and/or coarse hair. These oil capsules are said to provide weightless control, tame frizz, smooth hair, provide protection from heat and UV light, soothe irritated, dry or itchy scalp, preserve and prolong color, diminish drying time by 55%, help hot tools glide through the hair, add shine, keep moisture in and humidity out and provide lasting results until the next shampoo.
Directions: Twist or cut open stem of capsule. Rub into palms to activate. Glide through clean, towel-dried hair and/or scalp. Do not rinse. Blow dry hair straight and follow with flat iron if desired. To be used after each shampoo and condition. To add shine or control static, apply one drop to dry hair.
The hair oil contains a few silicones, vitamins, amino acids, hyaluronic acid, plant extracts and oils and proteins.
I have thin, frizzy and dry hair and have used the Curalign hair oil capsules a few times when doing a quick blow dry and flat iron on the hair.
The capsules themselves do not smell good, however, the oil has a slight perfume type fragrance that I cannot smell once applied to the hair. The oil is quite thick, the capsule contains a lot of oil and it seems like it would be heavy, but I used a whole capsule on my collarbone length hair and my hair was not weighed down or greasy and had no residue or stickiness. I also added one drop after flat ironing to smooth some flyaways and static. Using more than a drop or two on dry hair would for sure weigh the hair down and it would feel oily. Rubbing some of the oil onto my hand made my skin feel so smooth and this feeling lasted until I washed my hands.
For each of the above photos, I added the respective oils to the hair when damp, blow dried and then did a quick flat iron (still using this one). These are perhaps not the most accurate for the look of the hair because I used minimal heat and large sections to minimize heat damage; I am getting my hair colored next month and want it to be as healthy as possible (I am so looking forward to covering all this grey hair). The Curalign oil provided the best results in terms of smoothing and straightening the hair and adding shine and a sleek feel. The next day my hair was still straight, felt very smooth and had no poof (I usually get poof on my flat ironed second day hair).
The Snobgirls Curalign Ultra-Smoothing Control Hair Oil Capsules add shine and give the hair a smooth, sleek feel without adding heaviness or residue and I will continue to use this when blow drying and flat ironing the hair.
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.
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.
Update (January 3, 2022): I finally got my hair cut at the beginning of November and have used K18 a couple times since then. I have not noticed further improvement in using the K18 mask, but my hair really needed a cut; I have had no further breakage and my hair looks and feels much better (update to my hair story here). I will be getting my hair lightened and colored (a balayage and/or color melt) in about 3 weeks. The salon I am going to does not use K18, but I will use my hair mask at home and update at that time.
Update (February 21, 2022): My regular hairdresser no longer works weekends nor later in the evenings, so I am currently looking for a new salon; a color/K18 update will likely be posted in the summer.
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.