I swear I'm low-maintenance: hair products

This is the first in what I’m thinking will be an occasional beauty & fashion series. In the last year or so, I have started to become a little more “fashiony,” as they say in Lucky Magazine. Thanks to heavy-duty acne treatments in college, a bit of post-college real-life weight loss, working in a position where I consider it part of my job to project a certain image (an explanation for another day), and having a little more money to splash around on clothes & whatnot, I’ve started playing around with beauty products and trying to build up my wardrobe. (And that whole thing where you finally figure out what you’re doing with your life and draw a ton of confidence from that knowledge, that helped too.)

In the last two months, I’ve picked up a couple of copies of Lucky Magazine, from which I have so far gotten a lot of recommendations and ideas. The fashion spreads are more realistic, and they do a decent job of balancing expensive clothes with the places I shop (Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Target, etc.) There is next to no couture, which is fantastic as far as I’m concerned. And the photography is more like catalog photography than fashion magazine photography — you can see the outfits.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to share my impressions of new products and what I’m trying to do with my wardrobe. Both to get feedback from the people who I can no longer drag shopping with me, and to just put the word out there – you can never have too many product reviews on the web!

Today on the low-maintenance woman, recent hair products.

Earlier this spring/summer I bought a bottle of Herbal Essences Set Me Up Extra Hold Spray Gel. This was after a haircut where the stylist used spray gel to style my hair. Since the only hair product I had at the time was pomade, which was not going to do anything to give my hair more lift or volume, I figured I should try some spray gel.

This failed my dealbreaker hair product test: it felt like their was product in my hair. Otherwise it was fine — smelled like hair product trying not to smell like hair product, and the spray top worked well. (Though it occurs to me that it’s the kind of thing that might clog if not used frequently.) I think I could have returned this to Rite Aid for a refund after I decided I didn’t like it, but I slowly abandoned it and didn’t think of it until it’d been sitting around for what seemed like too long.

In July, I read a review in Lucky for a new hair product: John Frieda Luxurious Volume Lavish Lift Root Booster. This is some kind of crazy hairspray or spray gel that “boosts volumes in all 3 dimensions.” They define this as increasing fullness at the roots, thickening individual strands, and increasing lift.

While I can’t say if it works in all three dimensions, I’m very happy with this product. A few spritzes, mostly around the roots, and I quickly blowdry upside-down, and I’m good to go. On days when I do this and don’t jam a giant sunhat on my head for the 30-minute walk to work, it seems to hang on pretty well for the early part of the day. My hair definitely flattens out over the course of the day, but that’s to be expected. And this passes my dealbreaker test with flying colors — I can run my hands through my hair all day (which, um, I kind of do, not like I’m, like, some kind of, like, valley girl or something. My hair is soft, I can’t help myself.) This is new, so I had to look a bit before I eventually found it at Target. (With a coupon attached to the bottle, if that’s any incentive.) I really, really like it. NB: This does not travel well at high altitudes in the original bottle when it is almost full. Not even a ziploc bag will save the lining of your luggage (but the way you packed will save your clothes from being covered in root booster).

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