Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

By Leili, Hair Care Contributor

Leili is a 19-year old New Yorker who is obsessed with beauty, chocolate, and celebrity of the trashiest kind. Her drawers look like the stockroom of a hair salon! She’s currently enrolled in her second year of college but still trying to decide on her major. When she’s not worrying about that, she’s either at home with a good book, baking scrumptious goodies for her family, or exploring new restaurants with her friends. Check out her blog, Materialistic Musings!


Leili’s Must-Have Hair Products for Oily Hair

Asking me to pick my must-have hair items is a bit like Sophie’s Choice for product junkies like me, but I finally succeeded in narrowing my list down to my absolute Holy Grail products. Just about everything here is tried and true—things that I have been repurchasing for ages and have stood the test of time. In some small way, they’re almost taken for granted because I use them so consistently that I no longer get excited over the results, but without them, my hair would be a mess of epic proportions.

Batiste Blush Dry Shampoo ($7.99) | I, like so many people, have come to be extremely reliant on dry shampoo—no wonder this stuff’s been around since the ‘70s. I don’t think I’ve gone a week without spraying a bit into my roots since I’ve started using this product. As someone with almost unbelievably oily hair, I use a quick blast of this between shampoos to freshen up, or to add some volume when my crown looks particularly flat. These days, with midterms basically robbing me of any showering time, I rely on dry shampoo more than usual so people won’t know I’m not exactly clean. (And let’s fact it, showering is really something you do for other people!) I’ve tried (and am still trying) all sorts of dry shampoos, but this is the one I always come back to. The only other one that might match the Batiste is the famous Klorane with Oat Milk. But although Klorane’s powder is slightly, slightly finer, I prefer how the Batiste ones are scented—Blush is the prettiest almost perfume-like floral. Besides, considering how often I use dry shampoo, Batiste is $10 cheaper.

Alterna Anti-Aging Caviar Working Hair Spray ($28.00) | As much as I love perfectly styled hair, I have bizarre issues with how it feels and hate the stiffness any product with real hold creates. I’ve tried a lot of hairsprays and while I liked the L’Oreal Elnett for a while, even that was crunchy and didn’t quite “disappear at the stroke of a brush.”  A hair stylist used this on me a couple of years ago to set my curly prom up-do, and two days later my curls looked only mildly rumpled and were smooth and soft to the touch. Not only is a can of this absolutely huge, the product itself is a lovely dry mist that never leaves your hair feeling sticky or clumped together—I’ve never used anything like it. The aerosol spray in particular has also been really thoughtfully designed because you get a nice wide range of spray that comes out in a very fine mist. (This might be a bit of a problem for anyone wanting to spray a narrow area, but works fantastically for larger sections or over the entire ‘do). It is very definitely a workable, flexible spray perfect for maintaining a style worn over a few days or just for anyone who doesn’t like stiff hair. Best of all, this hairspray is paraben, gluten, synthetic color, DEA, TEA, mineral oil, PABA, paraffin and animal testing free! What’s not to love?

Check out more of Leili’s must-haves! 

Bumble and Bumble Straight Blow Dry ($28.00) | Bumble and Bumble launched this product along with their “straight” shampoo and conditioner, and although I haven’t used this as long as the other items, it’s earned itself a firmly established place in my everyday hair routine. My natural hair is wavy and frizzy, so I like to blow dry it with a round brush to smooth out the kinks but still leave some movement and a bit of wave. I’ve tried a lot of blow drying and styling creams, but nothing turned my frizzy mess into smooth locks as quickly as this does. This also cut down on my drying time overall, not only getting the styling done faster, but it helped to get rid of the moisture in my hair very quickly. Usually it takes me almost half an hour to do my DIY blowout, section by section, but when I use this it barely takes 20 minutes. But what really earned this product a spot on my list is how well it holds the straight style. By day two of my blowout, normally the waves and frizzes start popping up, but something in this product maintains the look remarkably well—as though it’s laced with hairspray or whatever chemical John Frieda 3-Day Straight uses. This cream would be especially helpful to people with very curly hair looking to smooth it as much as they can with a hair dryer before the deadly flat irons come out. And for people with finer or straighter hair, with this and a paddle brush, it’s a cinch to get hair that looks like you’ve straightened it without even having to plug in the GHD!

Bed Head Ego Boost Split End Mender ($15.50) | The ends of your hair are always the driest and most damaged, and for anyone trying to grow their mane out, it’s very important that they stay healthy. I’ve been using this product for over 3 years now and have yet to find anything that could take its place. Not quite hydrating enough to be a leave-in conditioner, this mender is a sort of gel that locks in moisture for my ends. I actually think the name of this product is quite misleading as it doesn’t actually mend split ends, but it does add a great dose of moisture to those fragile tips. This is actually my preventative hair product to help prolong the health of my hair and avoid split ends, more than anything else. Comparatively, Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship is heavy and tacky feeling and Joico K-Pak’s Split End Mender is really to help split hairs look healthy without actually making them so. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to take better care of your hair, a few pumps of this out of the shower really adds a look of health to those parched ends and can even help delay trims at the salon!

Redken All Soft Conditioner ($15.99) | Ever since I discovered this conditioner, I’ve done disgraceful things to keep a tub of it in my shower at all times, even in my very poorest of poor college student days. I’ve never seen a conditioner as gloriously thick as this one is—the product comes out a paste and could honestly rival some deep conditioning masks. It feels absolutely sinfully luxurious and such a treat for dry or damaged locks every time I slather it on. Just like its name would suggest, it leaves my hair unbelievably soft and incredibly shiny, giving my usually lackluster mane this fantastic look of health. This is absolutely one of those use-it-and-you-won’t-be-able-to-stop-touching-your-hair products, and short of people with fine hair, there isn’t anyone I wouldn’t recommend this to. I’ve never liked the chemical, slightly noxious smell, but hair care products could smell worse (Ojon!), and for the results I get, I would put up with a far worse scent.

Now you might have noticed that my short list of must-haves doesn’t contain a deep treatment mask, leave-in oils/creams or volumizing mousses. I test these types of products out all the time and have handfuls of each category that I certainly like and use, but none of them in particular stands out and therefore cannot qualify as a must-have. Of course, if anyone would like me to, I’d be happy to write a post on the masks, oils/creams or mousses that I like but can’t really rank or discern significant differences between.






Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

36 thoughts on “Leili’s Must-Have Hair Products

  1. Bellide

    Batiste Dry is so expensive in the States? Uh oh!

    You really should give your hair a break! It is probably so oily in the roots and dry/brittle at the ends because you style it too much and use a huge variety of products not suitable for your hair.

    • Leili

      Unfortunately, my hair has always been this oily at the roots. The only time I can remember it being fairly manageable was when I washed my hair every day (I’m an every other day shampooer now) but that left the lengths of my hair even drier.

      Ha, I should stock up on Batiste next time I’m in the UK!

      • Logan

        I have to wash my hair daily and my ends were a bit fizzled from dying my hair but I started conditioning more (Pantene has an flat hair conditioner and I took that and watered it down *yay, makes the conditioner last way long!* and I use it daily on the ends and a bit near my bangs. A leave in spray conditioner isn’t too bad I just prefer this method for now. I use dry shampoo when I wake up and my roots look a little oily. If I don’t touch my hair too much through the day it looks ok but if I run my hands through it, it gets even more oily really quickly (it stimulates the oil glands in your scalp). I’d suggest trying Suave’s new dry shampoo it’s only about 2 to 3 dollars and works really well. I’ve been putting in mousse more as well and I think thats helped it not look as oily as quickly.

  2. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Tindi Gurtinder

    Awesome post!!
    I love dry shampoo too, talk about a life saver for your hair in need!

    • Leili

      Can’t possibly be without it! I don’t know exactly how many cans I’ve gone through, but by now it’s probably up in the twenties!

  3. Dame Elizabeth

    Great post – I use batiste dry shampoo and redken all soft, and I agree with you on both, absolute must-haves.

    I would be interested to know your thoughts on Kerastase products though; I use their range for coloured hair, the pink packaging, and when I say I use their range I mean everything: spray, leave-in oil, deep conditioning treatment, leave-in cream etc etc. (I have long blonde hair, hence high-maintenance)
    But I’m wondering if I’m missing out on one really great product not in this range?

    • Leili

      I’ve only tried a small handful of Kerastase products, mostly from the Nutritive line–the Oleo-Relax smoothing serum, Sublimateur Jour leave-in cream, Lait Vital conditioner, and the Micro-Voile Protecteur spray.

      I liked just about all of them, but I don”t think there are any stand-out products amongst the ones that I tried. The serum is really nice, but it’s nothing Biosilk or something similar couldn’t do, and the conditioner is meant for fine hair so unfortunately it isn’t nearly hydrating enough for me. The leave-in cream is currently in my rotation of leave in conditioners, and while I like it for smoothing my hair and adding shine, I don’t know how much moisture it adds. I think it’s more of a styling cream to use before a blow dry, or, even better, as a finishing cream.

      The only one I was kind of mehhh on is the sun protectant spray. I used it a lot this past summer and didn’t notice a difference, and it leaves a sort of sticky, uncomfortable feeling if you spray just a little too much.

      Nectar Thermique is on my list of blow dry creams to try next, but other than that, I don’t know that I’ll really be experimenting much more with Kerastase.

      But if there are any products from the line you think I should try, just let me know!

      • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Carolina Carolina

        I’ve been using Ciment Thermique or Nectar Thermique for years now. They are great for protecting hair from heat, but I wouldn’t use them solely for a blow out. I use the heat protector, roughly dry my hair, then add a drop of the oleo-relax serum all over, do the blow out, and then finalize with another drop of serum on the tips.

  4. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Joanna Joanna

    Thanks for the tips!

    What does the Alterna hairspray smell like?

  5. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Anna Anna Griffith

    wow bastile is so expensive in america, in the uk its only about £3 !!

  6. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of AS AS

    A lot of people with thick hair could go entirely without washing or styling it ever and still have dry ends – the oils dissipate and the hair shaft is too thick or coarse for the oil from the scalp to travel down to the ends. It’s not due to abuse, it is just the nature of the hair. Also, if you think about how clothing gets brittle and tears as it gets older and worn, the same goes for long hair – the ends are damaged due to friction from movement, as the longest hairs could be 4-6 years old or more – can you imagine what your clothes would look like if you wore them every day for 6 years?

    • Leili

      Great point!

      I guess sometimes we’re so concerned with what heat damage and coloring does to our hair that we forget about the little things.

      This is a bit random, but The Beauty Department has a terrific post on damaged locks with some really cool/kinda gross pictures of abused hair under microscopes. Just in case you’re interested, here’s the link:

      http://thebeautydepartment.com/2011/07/technically-speaking/

  7. Cords

    I absolutely hate HATE Batiste dry shampoo. UGH i have seriously oily hair and I would rather shave my head than attempt to use Batiste to get myself through the day. It makes my hair greasier when i use it.
    Love Ego Boost though. But id reccomend 6 weekly trimming to deal with split ends as opposed to buying a product to stick them together with

    • Cords

      Also that Batiste is about the same price in the states as america. Thats a big can. a Fiver is a good price if you use it, but i find it too expensive because of how bad it is imo

      • Cords

        *As it is in Ireland.

      • Leili

        The picture’s probably misleading–the can does look a little giant-like!

        That’s only the 5 oz can. I’ve never seen a larger size in North America (actually I don’t even know if they do a larger size) but the mini ones are great for travel!

    • Leili

      Really?!
      I can honestly say that I’ve never heard that before–but makeup and beauty products are so subjective, right?

      Is there a dry shampoo that you really love, though, just out of curiosity?

  8. Chelsea

    I have–and love–Batiste Blush Dry Shampoo. It smells a lot like Michael Kors eponymous perfume (tuberose and gardenia), for $40 less!

    • Leili

      Ah, that’s the perfume it’s supposed to smell like!

      Thank you, the scent is very familiar but I could never put my finger on it!

  9. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Cathy Angelcat47

    I absolutely love your writing style,Leili,and your reviews are so in depth!!Maybe you should major in Journalism.I have thick,curly hair and my favorite “dry” shampoo is Tres Semme Waterless Shampoo.It’s actually a foam;it smells great and leaves my hair bouncy and fresh.

    • Leili

      Thank you so much!

      I’m thinking about journalism as a major, actually, but I try not to think about my future too much because it always results it one big anxiety-ridden headache! =)

      I’ve always been curious about the tresemme dry (or foam) shampoo for curly hair, thanks for bringing it up! The one for straight hair is god-awful (actually made my hair look dirtier than it originally was) but I really think the one for curly hair is an innovative idea you don’t really see on the market.

      If you really like it, though, maybe I can start recommending it to some of my curly-haired friends!

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Quinctia Quinctia

      I just tried that one! It’s good if you just want to reduce the look of oiliness without the added volume that the dry stuff gives you. (At least that’s how it is for me, Suave Dry Shampoo works great, but can give me way too much “poof” on some days.)

      I don’t have much to compare it to, as I’ve only used Suave, but it seems the product scent’s a little stronger with the Tresemme, too.

  10. Emma

    Thank you so much for this post! My hair is very oily at the roots and extremely dry at the ends too. I know a lot about how to take care of my skin and makeup, but I draw a blank at hair. Thanks for sharing your HG products, I’m excited to try them all at some point! I can’t wait to see more posts from you!

    • Leili

      Glad I could help you out, Emma!

      The main reason I was so excited to be a Temptalia contributor is the feedback I would be getting, so thank you all so much for your comments! I really appreciate your support of my first post and can’t wait to write more!

  11. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Alice Alice

    Thank you for your tips! I have read so many great reviews about Baptiste dry shampoo, it’s a shame they don’t sell it on my country. But I think I will definitely try Bed Head Ego Boost Split End Mender.

    • Leili

      Oh, no!

      The one annoying thing about Batiste is that it can be really hard to find. Either it’s not available in a particular country, or it is, but it’s hard to track down. (I’m sure the UK is an exception to both of those). Hopefully you can get your hands on a dry shampoo that works just as well!

      I probably forgot to mention this, but Ego Boost can go into damp or dry hair, which I always appreciate in a product. Obviously you can use it however you like, but I find it works best in wet/damp hair.

      • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Alice Alice

        Thank you for your advise! I will definitely use it in damp hair, since I don’t really like to add products to my hair when it’s dry.
        The only dry shampoo I’ve seen around is the Klorane one, but the price is ridiculous. I think I’ll just order Baptiste when some uk site offers free shipping.

  12. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Carolina Carolina

    Really great post. Will try out a few of the products mentioned for sure. :)

  13. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Laura Laura

    Redken now makes an argan oil in their All Soft line – it’s lovely! I’ve been using it on days when I blow dry and it makes a nice difference to my hair.

    • Leili

      Yes, I’ve seen it, but haven’t gotten around to trying it–still working through my current stash of hair oils!

      From what I recall though, it’s reasonably priced compared to other oils on the market so I might be picking that up soon!

  14. Delina

    I just bought the Redken All Soft shampoo and conditioner and absolutely LOVE LOVE it! I have thick, somewhat course hair and it makes my hair the softest ever. I am so hooked and will be buying the jumbo size next time!

    • Leili

      Isn’t it amazing?!

      Have you also noticed how the build-up of product around the cap is flecked with glitter? That’s probably what makes your hair so shiny, plus it’s fun to look at in the shower, ha!

      Normally the jumbo bottle is $30, but you can catch it on sale sometimes if you look around. ULTA, for instance, had a whole big haircare sale earlier this year, and I got my bottle for $20.