Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Review | Kérastase Elixir Ultime for Damaged Hair

The product I was most excited about in the goodie bag from last week's Hair Rehab London event was this Kérastase Elixir Ultime For Damaged Hair (£14.20/50ml)* 

It's a non-greasy multi-use oil which can be applied prior to shampooing or as a finishing touch after blowdrying. I've got a lot of similar products to this oil amongst my hair stash, though I've never actually purchased anything by this brand before. I have a vague memory of being left with very soft hair after a stylist at Headmasters applied a few drops of the original Kérastase Elixir Ultime when I road tested the Steampod for Black Beauty & Hair magazine way back in 2012. Fortunately this version for dry hair has been having the same effect. I've recently been wearing my hair straight and this oil gives my naturally dull hair a beautiful shine whilst taming those pesky flyaways. My hair feels so smooth after applying this oil that I have to resist the urge to run my fingers through it. 

There are some great oils included in this product, namely Argan and Camellia Oil, in the concentration you'd expect from a quality salon brand like Kérastase. It's worth stating though I have products which match this oil in terms of quality which are half of the cost of this product. The first two (and main) ingredients in this product are silicones, which will be a disappointment to some. I'm pretty sure it's these ingredients which allow my hair to feel so soft and shiny after applying just a small amount though. This product has also helped keep my hair fairly tamed after such a wet and miserable week too!

I usually like quite heavily scented products, though the smell of this product is reminiscent of baby wipes, which I'm not a fan of. Thankfully the smell is quite faint and I don't notice the scent once it's on my hair.

A final note is this particular size (50ml) is so handy for carrying around in my handbag, should I need to add a bit of shine or softness to my hair on-the-go. It's cabin-friendly too as its small enough to be allowed through airport security which is always a plus.

Overall, it's a lovely little product though the cost is perhaps a little too high for me.

*PR sample. You can read my disclaimer here

Have you tried any Kérastase products before? 

Lesley x

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Hair Rehab London Beauty Blogger Event

I was kindly invited to attend a styling session at Kleins Salon yesterday for luxury hair extensions company by Lauren Pope, Hair Rehab London. If you're not familiar with Lauren, she's a successful British television personality (notably for her appearances in The Only Way Is Essex), DJ and former glamour model. Hair Rehab London boasts a range of extensions, hair pieces and accessories which were showcased at the event.

Lauren personally matched her range of extensions to each bloggers hair colour which was really sweet. My hair is a pretty awkward colour to match where it changes with the light - it can look either dark brown, red and black as I dye it with henna. The shade 'midnight' - a deep, almost black, brown was the best match for my hair and Lauren picked out the Syn Half Wig (£39.99)* for me.

Despite heat styling my hair the night before, unfortunately the British weather (well the wind and rain) made my hair a little wild (the definition hot mess comes to mind) and I was reluctant to get my hair styled with the extensions as a result. I ended up living vicariously through the other bloggers at the event and for each the extensions blended with their hair extremely well. Many of the girls opted for gorgeous fishtail braids patiently crafted by the stylists at the event.

The hair pieces used were synthetic but they are not overly shiny and can be styled with very low or indirect heat. Lauren's favourite from the range is the Syn Snap Ponytail which literally snaps over your own ponytail for a new look in seconds (as shown below). 

The Syn Half Wig (which I received) is extremely lightweight, silky and very bouncy. My hair is so big and textured though I think it would take a lot of careful styling to make this particular piece look natural on me. From what I could see these extensions are suited to caucasian or naturally straight hair. The extensions would work with hair that's easy to heat-style straight or possibly bone straight afro-Caribbean relaxed hair. In any sense I didn't think these quite worked for me personally, purely because of the texture of my hair (even when styled straight). The extensions are available to buy from www.hairrehablondon.com and a variety of synthetic and human pieces are available.

As well as the extensions I was given a goodie bag stuffed with hair and beauty products which I'll be trying out over the next few weeks.

*PR sample. You can read my disclaimer here.

Do you wear extensions? Would you try these?

Lesley x

Sunday, 16 November 2014

3 ways to avoid dry hair this winter

The winter season sucks out moisture from even the most luscious strands and sometimes you have to do a little extra to keep your tresses hydrated. Here's how I'll be avoiding dry hair this winter.

Hot Oil Treatment
Never underestimate the power of a hot oil treatment as it's the easiest way to inject some life into winter-beaten strands. There's a plethora of hot oil treatments available on the market like V05 Nourish My Shine Hot Oil or Palmers Olive Oil Formula Hot Oil Treatment but I prefer to make my own using natural oils. I like using Coconut Oil most, and usually warm it up in a bowl of hot water or stick it in the microwave for a few seconds (I have a video on how I do my hot oil treatments on my YouTube channel here). Recently I've been doing a hot oil treatment on my hair on every other wash day which has helped massively with dryness. It's also made detangling my coily roots a breeze!

Deep conditioner 
I can't ever write a haircare post about dryness and not state the importance of using a deep conditioner regularly. Since I started using an intensive treatment on every wash my hair has been transformed from dry and dull to smooth and silky so I couldn't recommend it enough. I don't think using specific brands matter as long as you pick something which is a good match for your hairtype. When looking for a good deep conditioner ensure it is an intensive treatment and not just a regular conditioner (a deep conditioner will need to be left on the hair for anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes). Also look for quality ingredients, which will help specifically with parched strands, like humectants and natural oils. To increase the effectiveness of your deep conditioner, use with a plastic cap, hooded dryer or steamer.

Protective Styling
Prevention is better than cure right? Shield your hair from the wintery atmosphere as much as possible to prevent your hair getting dry and brittle in the first place. My go-to protective styles are buns and plaits but wigs, weaves, extensions, braids and twists all keep the hair tucked in and away from the elements. You can also wear silk-lined hats and scarves for added protection.

How will you be preventing dry hair this season? 

Lesley x

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Avlon Blogger Breakfast with Dr Ali Syed

On Saturday myself and some other bloggers were kindly invited to a breakfast with Avlon hosted by the company's President and Master Chemist Dr Ali Syed. Avlon, which specialises in producing professional products for afro hair, is recognised globally and has various brands under it's belt. I'm most familiar with KeraCare but the company boasts several other successful brands including Affirm, MoisturColor, Ferm and FiberGuard.

The event was eye-opening and I could see instantly why Dr Ali Syed is described as the leading authority on afro hair. He was bursting with knowledge and it was interesting to hear facts like 'african hair tends to be 50 times more difficult to comb when dry than caucasian hair' and 'hair growth rates in African hair can be as low as 3.68 inches per year in comparison to 5.69 inches in caucasian hair'. 

From left to right: Jemima (Black Beauty & Hair), Keysha (Black Hair), Diane (I Grew It Long), me, Dr Ali Syed, Rachy (UK Naturals), Dr Ali Syed's wife, Peeks (MO-AM network), Wunmi and Chantelle (Woman In the Jungle)

It became clear from the breakfast that despite a wealth of successful product lines the company is constantly looking to create more brands to suit both consumers and professionals. I'm most excited about the launch of the new Texture Release system in the UK. 

Texture Release is a salon system which can temporarily elongate or straighten curly hair, depending on your personal preference. The effects last for about two months and provides the ultimate versatility when styling the hair. In some ways Texture Release is similar to a keratin treatment, but it has been designed without formaldehyde, methylene glycol and other harsh ingredients which is a huge plus. It's also stated to work on all curl types and previously relaxed hair.

All of the above photos were kindly provided by Abi Oshodi. You can view more of his work at his website here.

The Texture Release looks to be genuine alternative to relaxing but I've tried to stop myself getting too excited about this system yet, as it's currently only available in salons (I've only been to a salon once in the past 8 years!) I've long been searching for a way to manage my multi-textured transitioning hair and I'm hoping a home version of this system is released so I can try it.

Overall it was a great event and I also received a goodie bag stuffed with KeraCare Natural Textures products which I've not tried before. I've already started using them but will do thorough reviews in the coming weeks when I have more of an idea on just how well they work for my hair.

Have you tried anything by Avlon? Have you heard of Texture Release and would you try it? 

Lesley x

© Fresh Lengths.Maira Gall.