Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

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!


The Products That Changed the Life of my Hair

I’m not someone who takes the term “life-changer” lightly, which is why my post references so few things. There are certainly products I love (with a particular emphasis on hair oils and deep conditioning treatments) but for me to claim that something has changed my life, it has to be truly spectacular like what you’ll see here. But don’t take my word for it—try them out for yourself!

Just to recap, my hair is long, extremely oily at the roots, dry at the ends, and reasonably thick and wavy though I don’t have much of it!

Check out four life-changing hair products for long, thick hair! 

I’m pretty certain that everyone loves a fabulous blowout, but many people struggle with achieving it at home. I’m terribly uncoordinated, so trying to wrangle my half-dried hair with a blow dryer and a round brush at 6AM doesn’t usually end up well. The genius behind Hair Dryers with Brush Head Attachment (roughly $30, depending what you buy) is that they take all the fuss and confusion of working with both hands out of a blow dry. I struggle with a lot of flatness at the crown of my hea, and getting volume there with a round brush is my biggest hair challenge that I can’t seem to overcome.

With one of these, however, the maneuvering becomes incredibly simple.  With a little mousse through my roots, I can actually get that lift at my crown that I so desperately crave. They do come in round heads, which are better for curling the ends, but obviously don’t straighten as well. (They are absolutely genius, though, for those of you with reasonably maneuverable hair who wear bobs!) I only saw these in Asia up until recently, and while I was terribly disappointed with a Conair I tried, I’m still testing readily available brush-head blow dryers (though the Asian ones are still my favorite) to find a local favorite.

Brushing your hair (with boar bristles)! Hair stylists have been telling me to brush my hair for years, and it was advice that I promptly and perpetually ignored. As someone with wavy hair, it didn’t make any sense to brush and break up the natural texture of my tresses into a poofy mess. When I did absolutely have to brush my hair, I only did it from the ear-down, which, as any hair stylist will tell you, basically defeats the purpose and reason behind hair brushing. Brushing helps to stimulate your scalp and distribute the natural oils that collect at the roots all through your hair, thus promoting its health. While the Mason Pearson may be the revered hair brush of experts and people with hundreds of dollars to spare, I selected the much cheaper Denman Grooming Brush with Natural Bristles and Nylon Pins ($15.99) with a mix of nylon and boar bristles. The latter of the bristles are actually the best for this sort of job, but they’re not stiff enough to go all the way through my thick hair, which is where the nylon comes in.

I keep a separate, super cheap Conair brush on hand for going through my hair before curling or straightening, but the Denman one is kept specifically for healthy brushing. Instead of raking it through my hair during the day, though, I wait until I’m about to shower or get my hair wet. This is kind of gross, but as an every other day shampoo girl, by the time I’m ready to wash my hair, it’s already plenty greasy, which is optimal time for brushing! Running my Denman through pre-shampoo hair makes me look like I’ve gone and oiled my whole head, but you can actually feel how much oil spreads into your dry locks. Clearly, all those hair experts know what they’re talking about!

While the short-term results of brushing are great (less shedding around the house and in the shower, and conditioner is a cinch to run through your hair), it’s the long-term results that are truly life-changing. In the year or so that I’ve been brushing my hair this way, I’ve noticed a huge difference in the overall health and look of my hair. My tips and notoriously dry under layers have more moisture to them, and my locks are shinier and feel much stronger. Normally, the winter season requires me to use a deep conditioning mask every week as my hair gets very dry, but as long as I keep brushing, all those treatments become less necessary (I still use them, of course, but far less frequently). That $15 brush just might be the best thing I’ve bought all year!

I used to throw hot rollers under the “grandma” category of beauty, along with the perpetual need for bobby pins and using lipstick as blush. But ever since I started using them a few months ago, I now roll my hair more than any other elderly woman in my family.  As much as I love curling my hair, I am never happy with how the pieces around my face come out. They’re perfect curls, as are the rest of my styled mane, but they don’t sit properly against the head and the overall effect is unnatural—I don’t think I’ve ever curled my hair without pinning the front pieces back. After hearing so many good things about the volume hot rollers create, I picked up this small set of five Hot rollers—Babyliss Pro Ceramic 5 Jumbo Roller Hairsetter ($24.99).

Some people like to buy a bigger set and roll their whole head, but I find that a curling iron gives me more longevity so I just use the five for the pieces that frame my face. The first time I tried them didn’t exactly go well, with lots of finger-burning, sweating, and swearing, but I somehow got them up and clipped, and 20 minutes later, took them out to find exactly what I was looking for. These jumbo rollers tend to provide more of a dense, rich wave than an exact curl, and the effect is incredibly flattering and natural. It’s not quite Victoria Secret’s model hair, but they provide plenty of volume and work great on both the layered and lengthy sides of my hair. My roller-waves last all day, and into part of the next, but they don’t quite hold up the way curling-iron curls do. Everyone’s hair is different but that’s still something to keep in mind. The best sign that this hairdo totally works? The rollers-in-the-front, curling-iron-everywhere-else look garners compliments every time.

I know I talked a lot about Batiste Dry Shampoo in Fresh ($7.99) in my previous “Must Have Hair Products” post, but no list of life-changers is complete without my beloved Batiste. This tends to set the standard for a life-changer for me, as dry shampoo has not only changed my hair, it’s actually changed my lifestyle. Nothing allows me to preserve blowouts, the health of my scalp and as many hours of sleep as possible like this product. Between the time it saves, volume it creates, and exorbitant amount of grease it can absorb, I’d swear this product was tailor made for me. I showed Blush in my last post, calling it my favorite scent, but I’ve since discovered their new one in Fresh, and it has quickly become my new favorite. It’s the perfect blend of floral, citrus and clean laundry that completely blows Blush out of the water. (I actually think Fresh smells a lot like the Hello Kitty perfume available at Sephora, if you’ve ever sniffed that.) I haven’t yet seen Fresh available in the miniature size, but I’m looking—I won’t even let my purse go without dry shampoo!

 

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23 thoughts on “The Products That Changed the Life of my Hair

  1. Dame Elizabeth

    Great advice, I’m off to check out the Denman brush now – always wanted a Mason Pearson one too but I cannot justify the price!

    I also took your advice about the Ego Boost serum, and I like it a lot so far! So thanks so much for your recommendations, I’ve found them very useful.

  2. Annie

    Thanks for the tips! The hair brush you use sounds interesting so I may have to look into that. I also use Batiste and can totally speak to its brilliance! I love sleeping in a little bit and knowing my hair won’t look like a greasy mess. Thanks again!

  3. Kary

    This was soo much fun! Thanks so much for your tips! Now I’m on the hunt for the perfect brush with boar bristles !

  4. Giselle

    I agree about Batiste. It was the first dry shampoo i ever used and i think its the best one out there. I love that i only need to actually wash my hair maybe once or twice a week

  5. I have had my hair brush for about 10 years now. It’s not Mason Pearson, but a similar brand!, and it is amazing!

  6. Deborah

    Hi,

    Just wanted you to know that the BabyBliss rollers are no longer available on folica.com. No reason given. Just that product no longer available.

  7. ChicFairy

    Hi, could u please show an example of “Hair Dryers with Brush Head Attachment”? thanks!

  8. I really want to try one of those brushes! Thanks for recommending an affordable alternative to the Mason Pearson ones. I’ll definitely need to check this out because I tend to have dry hair and only wash every other day too.

  9. Annisa

    I have a similar hair type to yours, well, at least the “extremely oily at the roots” and the “don’t have much of it” part. Do you use any hair care products or vitamins that encourage hair growth?

    I agree with the importance of using boar bristled brushes. I don’t know where to find Mason Pearson brushes where I live (Singapore) but I use a cheaper alternative: Kent brushes.

    Thanks for the post!

  10. Rachel

    Hot rollers! I grew up with them and somehow never made the “old lady” connection. Yes, there’s usually some finger burning involved with learning how to use them. When I first started using them, rather than having my mom do my whole head I think I dropped a roller in the sink every time I picked one up. However, all that’s worth it. It’s super easy to roll them and then finish my make-up routine, eat breakfast and let them down before I have to leave and end up with pretty great hair.

    One minor thing, I think it’s time for me to get a uniformly sized set (maybe 1 1/4″).

  11. Avatar of Aimey Aimey

    I really enjoyed this post. I found it very helpful as every point touched were those that actively impact my hair lifestyle at the moment! I’m interested in what you say, mostly because I’ve actually already researched a bit of the products you’ve mentioned. I’ve actually put on my shopping list at least once each of the items you mentioned! Thanks again for the reinforcement!

  12. Sunshine

    Hi there! I loved reading your post :-) Have you ever tried the Batiste dry shampoo in XXL volume? It gives my flat, fine, oily hair DYNASTY volume in five seconds, and lasts until you next wash your hair!!! I seriously recommend any dry shampoo lover to try it, it’s so good, it really has CHANGED MY LIFE! Now, I would never be without it again.

  13. Silly question… how do you keep your natural bristle hair brush clean? I have one but it seems to be a magnet for dust and dirt, and I don’t know what to do to clean it really thoroughly, so I just stopped using it!

  14. Frenchie

    Great advice about the boar bristle brush! Been using boar for years when I found out about how it redistributes hair oil; just means less conditioners I need to add later on.

    Going to check out the dry shampoo at some point. So many people swear by it!

    I also tried Ego Boost at your behest and I.LOVE.IT. Truly a life saver for my ends which get so much abuse. Thank you! I never would’ve picked it up if you hadn’t raved about it.

  15. Kelly

    Do you have any suggestions for a vegan/cruelty-free brush?

  16. Alexandra Aimee

    It would be super helpful if you could link to an example of the blow dryer with a brush attachment so we can see what you are talking about :)

  17. Vilkas

    I’ll second the “brush your hair”. I have wavy, out-of-control, frizzy, thick hair and brushing it keeps it less frizzy and gives me shampoo ad hair. I use a no-brand boar bristle and nylon on a rubber bed combo from ulta. Fresh out of the shower, i use a denman all bristle.

  18. Catherine

    I need to try all of these products! I have the same hair and the same issues you used to.

  19. Avatar of Cristal Cristal

    I need one of those brushes, the one I have is freakin old! lol

    Thanks for the tips! :D

  20. Ashley Seme

    I enjoyed this article,thank you! Could you provide any examples or more info about a blowdryer with brush attachments? All I can think if is the “Instyler”, but that’s not even a blowdryer, I believe it’s just a heated, rotating brush…thanks again!