Full disclosure: This product was a freebie from the brand.
I always wonder what "manageable" means when hair products promise to make hair more so. I hope for tresses that fall perfectly into place, or that will lie more obediently against my head when I pull my hair back in a clip. From the description for this mask:
Plump your fine, limp strands with Katira Hair Masque – A gentle yet surprisingly versatile rejuvenator for all hair types, our unique, clear-gel formula sinks right in to plump up fine, limp strands or calm and smooth coarse, hard-to-manage hair. Think of it as an amped-up, squeaky-clean version of a deep-conditioning treatment: You get all the vibrant shine and silkiness you could dream of – without a trace of added weight or residue. Katira Hair Masque will make the most of any hair texture, taking lush, light and manageable to a whole new level. ($40, philipb.com)
Well, my hair is definitely fine, and can tend toward limpness (which is why I try not to wash or condition it very often - the most I can skip without shampooing is one measly day, though). You can either leave this mask on overnight or for at least a few minutes in the shower, with applied heat helping it to penetrate the shaft. I tried both methods, and the results were identical each time: I can't say this did much to "plump up" my locks. Mostly, it made the strands feel very soft, almost as if my fingers had lost all sensation when running them through afterward. And now that they mention it, my hair did feel lighter.
That was nice, but not something for which I'd lay down 40 clams. I've tried other Philip B. products before - specifically, the African Shea Butter Shampoo, which is paraben-free (Hillary will appreciate that) - and been disappointed. They are terribly expensive for what they deliver, in my experience. Your mileage may vary.
My ideal TV channel would feature Seinfeld reruns, episodes of Bridezillas, Bad Girls' Club, and most of Bravo's reality shows. It's a good thing this channel doesn't exist, because I'd be a total couch potato.
I haven't set out to watch any of Shear Genius, but recent Wednesday nights seem to find me at home, eating a late dinner and trying to figure out what Jon did to his face and what the hell Camila Alves is saying. My favorites: Brig and Janine, whom I predict will be the big winner. (Janine also possesses the cutest tattoos ever, and I say that as a non-fan of tattoos.)
Nexxus, sponsors of Shear Genius, has kindly given us a HUGE stash of styling goodies to give away to one lucky Jack & Hill commenter. For a chance at winning, just comment below about your worst or best hair salon experience ever, or about the show. I'll use random.org to select a winning commenter on Friday. Good luck!
While I don't buy into most health scare stories, I have to admit to questioning whether or not every woman needs to wear deodorant. Because sometimes, in my rush to get out the door, I forget to put it on. Guess what? Unless I've hit the gym, I don't stink without it. I can walk 80 New York blocks while bundled in a duvet-like parka and come home smelling clean and fresh. So why bother? It's a mental thing, but I do wear deodorant 99 days out of 100. My understanding is that the bacteria that can form around pit stubble is what encourages that ripe, unpleasant smell. I'm pretty studious about being smooth and hair-free at all times, matriarchy be damned, so perhaps that helps.
So: Do you wear deodorant? Do you stink? You can tell us...
As I mentioned in my recent rave review of celebrity stylist Davide Torchio, Davide himself is extending an offer to our readers. When booking into his intimate, chic salon in uptown New York City, mention Jack & Hill and enjoy 20% off all salon services in the month of March. With blowouts starting at $44 and haircuts starting at $107, this salon's prices are already extremely competitive in New York - especially for a celebrity-favored house of style. With 20% off, it's a real bargain for the most upmarket hair possible. Don't forget to tell them Jack & Hill sent you!
Davide Torchio 954 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10021 (212) 737-3621
Something big has changed in my beauty routine: I stopped wearing foundation. For night time, I'll often just go with Dermablend concealer under my eyes and on any uneven spots. But for day, my go-to product is Patricia Wexler M.D. Tinted Moisturizer (SPF 30). Note: This was a gift eight months ago from the PR firm that reps Bath & Body Works, where the Wexler line is sold. At right, my friend Marisa and I have a glowing skin competition - she beats my Wexler best, but time is certainly on her side.
Previously, I had been using Kiehl's Ultra Facial Tinted Moisturizer (itself a gift from Kiehl's). When I tested it versus the Wexler product, I could see how superior the Wexler was for me - more natural, better consistency, and a closer match to my own skin. It took me ages to use up the last of my underwhelming Vincent Longo Liquid Canvas Healthy Fluid Foundation, with its paltry SPF 8 and coverage that was ridiculously sheer. (I paid $40+ for it, so there was no way I'd throw it out.) Once that was gone, it was Wexler all the way. I'll be buying myself a new one once I use this up, which will happen any day now. I can't think of a higher endorsement than that.
As I've said before, I find it difficult to write about fragrances. Hillary is just so adept at nailing scents, describing them in ways that would never occur to most people, whereas I'm all, "It smells good" or "Yuck". But I do love perfumes, and feel incomplete if I rush out the door without any. My favorites for daytime: Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Chanel Chance, Banana Republic Jade, Givenchy Ange ou Demon Le Secret. Nighttime must-have: Givenchy Ange ou Demon. (Scents in bold were gifts from their respective brands.) I tend to love somewhat musky numbers, find amber hard to resist, and am in a constant search for smoky fragrances - something with a hint of Catholic Mass incense. So I was thrilled when Cartier gifted me with two incredibly evocative scents from the five introductory fragrances in their Les Heures de Parfum collection. Each perfume is paired with a specific hour - the first five are L'Heure Promise (Hour I), L'Heure Brilliante (Hour VI), L'Heure Folle (Hour X), L'Heure Mystérieuse (Hour XII), and La Treizième Heure (Hour XIII). All were scents I'd describe as fine - as in, glorious and expensive-smelling. But the last two were by far my favorites.
Via Skype video from Paris, Cartier's perfumer Mathilde Laurent (pictured) gave an incredibly detailed account of each fragrance, the concept behind it, and why she chose each note that went into making it. That could have been quite dry or boring, but I was riveted. It helps that Mathilde is enchantingly chic, brainy, and welcomes questions.
For L'Heure Mystérieuse, paired with the midnight hour, she went with peppery elements like coriander and juniper, along with jasmine, patchouli, frankincense, and incense. Mathilde explained that scientists like her are big fans of the latter, as smoke was the first perfume, created thousands of years ago. I was so taken with this smell that I had to have it. Saying that it's like the most beautifully scented Catholic Mass you've ever attended doesn't do it justice.
My other favorite, La Treizième Heure, is by definition "the impossible hour" - there is no 13th hour on the clock. A mix of birch, maté, patchouli, narcissus, bergamot, vanilla, and - most winningly - leather notes, this is the most seductive of the bunch. It smells like something Coco Chanel would have worn, but not in public and never for anyone but the love of her life. It's a scent you don't want to share with just anyone, the kind of perfume you may wear primarily for yourself in the privacy of your own bedroom. I'd go so far as to say that any guy who objected to this isn't man enough for me. (Mathilde says that these fragrances are suitable for women or men to wear, and I can see that very much with these two.)
You can get each scent in the collection for $250 each (like I said, they smell expensive, but they're drastically cheaper than a bespoke Cartier fragrance created by Mathilde just for you). Only the first five of the collection of thirteen have been released, and you can get them boxed in a fetching Cartier red case from Cartier shops or Saks (the latter of which exclusively carries X from the set, which is only being sold in the US). Price for that is upon application; in other words, if you have to ask...
Full disclosure: Davide Torchio comped his services. I paid only cash tips to his assistants. Read to the end of this post for a special discount offer for Jack & Hill readers.
When celebrity stylist Davide Torchio invited me to his uptown New York salon to get my hair styled for the Oscars, I was more than ready for a new look - if only for one night. Although my hair hasn't seen scissors or color for six months, it's in really great shape. I feel like I finally have the hair I always wanted - there's no real style to it, sadly, but it shines and complies easily with my attempts to make it look presentable. That usually means some mousse (I like Samy's Fat Hair Amplifying Mousse or Big Sexy Hair Root Pump) and finger-combing under the blow drier for a pretty straight, plain look. So I was thinking some soft curls might make a nice change.
Davide took that and ran with it. When he told me he was going to do a Veronica Lake style, I got nervous: I hate having my hair in my face. Somehow, he managed to create a very Bacall-esque do without me having to push my hair out of my eyes every three seconds. My hair has never looked this fancy, and probably never will again; I felt like I'd stepped off the set of Mad Men. Here's my transformation from start to finish.
I was told not to wash my hair before my appointment. This is what my hair looks like after only 20 hours post-wash.
An assistant washed my hair and, per Davide's instructions, did not condition it. (I try not to condition my hair too often, as it has more volume if I don't. But my apartment is quite dry, and so I've been doing so more often over the winter.) She then applied Davide's own volumizer and made it very, very dry. Then another assistant took over, using a curling iron to make hot loops with my hair, which he then pinned down all over my head.
My grandmother used to do her hair like this, which made it a somewhat sentimental thing for me to have mine done the same. Sad but true.
After about 15 minutes of cooling time - during which I scoffed my favorite gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan cupcakes from Babycakes NYC (Davide's a vegan, which meant I could eat the baked goods at a social event for the first time since I went wheat-free and sugar-free several months ago) - all the pins were removed. I actually kind of liked my hair like this, without any further styling.
The finished product: soft, wavy locks with a retro - yet completely un-grandmotherly - feel. Davide was insistent that I pair this look with dramatic eyeliner and red lipstick. I chickened out on that, fearing that a combination of red lips (which are almost always aging) and liquid liner with this hair would be just too much. I'd love to rock this style with a pretty sundress and heels in the summer, you know? It doesn't have to be just a party look. (Though it was much admired by those at my Oscar party, and quite a few men on the streets of New York, judging by the gazes I seemed to be attracting after I left the salon.)
And yes, I love that I resemble my late Gramma Danicki a wee bit with this hair:
I often find celebrity stylists a bit distant and intimidating, but Davide is engaging and made me feel completely comfortable (as did his great assistants). He and one of the salon's co-owners even talked me out of forking out for a pricey Coppola keratin treatment - the best, most gentle on the market - as they didn't think my mostly frizz-free hair really required such a drastic move. Davide didn't force me to make small talk with him, either, which I really appreciated. Anyway, the salon's intimate, fun atmosphere put me in a sociable mood, so I was blathering away to everyone else in the room for much of the time. The way a salon can make you feel - either well taken care of or that they are doing YOU a big favor by letting you give them your business - is huge to me. It counts for a lot for me to be able to go somewhere cozy and friendly like Davide's.
Here's the best news: If you call Davide Torchio now through the end of March and mention Jack & Hill, you'll get 20 percent off all salon services. Their prices are fantastically reasonable, especially for a salon in New York (and especially for a celebrity-favored salon in New York), so this is an excellent bargain. I plan to make use of it myself as much as possible. Tell them Jack & Hill sent you!
Davide Torchio 954 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10021 (212) 737-3621
I must say, Oscar night is one night I miss living in LA. Half my friends were either reporting from it or going to it, and though I never did either, we always had some sort of shindig, with food and drinks and lots of turning on the TV early to ooh and hoot at the fashions. I can't get anybody here in Portland excited about it. Well, I'll be watching anyway. I might even put on a party hat.
Last week, Michelle Obama encouraged Americans to cut out that cookie or can of soda, in order to combat childhood obesity. Her message: even small changes can lead to big weight loss. Personal experience told me, this was not true.
Yes, it is a good idea to cut out too many sweets, and I personally think drinking soda as a thirst quencher idiotic. And sure, it's a step in the right direction to cut back on calories if you want to lose weight, indeed, it's mandatory, unless you start training like a freak.
But I have never successfully lost weight by skipping a cookie. It's only been with solid and long-term regimens that I have seen my weight budge. Earlier this week, I read a NY Times article that explained and confirmed what my body already knew:
Numerous scientific studies show that small caloric changes have almost no long-term effect on weight. When we skip a cookie or exercise a little more, the body’s biological and behavioral adaptations kick in, significantly reducing the caloric benefits of our effort.
This has been my experience, losing and gaining the same six or seven pounds over the past two years. Part of the reason is, I don't need to lose weight. At 5' 8", my body is very content being 141 pounds. It seems to be a set-point that it wants to continually maintain without much effort on my part. Being semi-athletic and enjoying the look and feel of being lighter, I prefer to be 134, which I have been able to reach several times in the past two years, but never when I just avoided dessert and whatnot. Once I break through the 138 ceiling, I can lose the rest, and stay there with relative ease, until, well, until I don't.
In the hopes this is useful to others, the only regime that works seems to be:
Daily (or near to it) exercise, an hour each time
Very little booze
Regimented eating, meaning, I pretty much eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch, small and sensibly for dinner.
I like being on a regime; it leaves me time to think about other things, and we cook in the house so we're eating well, not prepackaged diets foods.
Do others have the same experience, of having to sledgehammer through the plateaus, then finding the next plateau easy to reach? Is exercise for you key? And what are your favorite regimes?
Full disclosure: I got this product as a PR freebie, and I receive many free products from MAC.
I've always wondered what liner and/or primer Amy Winehouse uses. No matter how rough a night she's had - and let's face it, she's had her share - her eyeliner always remains astonishingly resilient. Whereas no matter what combination of primer and liner I use, I always end up with it smeared within two hours of application. What sacrifice must I offer to the maquillage gods in order to rectify this?
I thought MAC Greasepaint Sticks might be the answer. They certainly go on smoothly. But the one I tried smudged instantly and - more distressingly - took quite a lot of eye makeup remover and elbow grease to get off. I am very diligent about removing every last trace of face paint before bed, as those lingering smudges can settle into thin undereye skin and make me look ten years older than I am.
Well, I had to use no fewer than six cotton pads soaked in eye makeup remover, and even then, I woke up the next morning with raccoon rings under my peepers. I can't deal with that, so the search for Winehouse-esque staying power rides on. What do you use?
Never one to miss a bargain, I had to check out Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear nail varnish after reading Lauren Luke's recommendation of it in Black Out. There are few things worse than cheapo nail varnish, but cheapo black nail varnish is generally the absoute worst- just streaks of see-through grey striping your nails in random layers, as if you just spent the entire day potting plants with pritt-stick on your fingernails. No wonder you only paid a dollar, when it takes an entire pot to produce a decent colour, in seventy-eight coats, right? But Lauren says that Black Out required just one coat! This sounded like the sort of miracle every Recessionista dreams of- but was it really true?
Well, not quite- you really need two coats to get it deep and smooth enough to look good. However, I have never known a nail varnish that was OK with only one coat, and these are two nice thick shiny coats, which is something you don't expect to find for a couple of dollars in Target. Next up was the dark maroon Chanel Vamp copy, called Flirt. Two coats again, but honestly, I could not tell it apart from my much-loved, long-used Vamp. Flirt felt exactly the same to put on, and looks exactly the same dry. (And it's just as hard to get off.) But it costs about a tenth of the price. Back in Target, I picked up another 4 pots in different colours, and tried to get the Black Out for my teenaged daughter. It was sold out already, but there was one last pot of Flirt, so she will have to make to do. You have been warned.
I have to admit, at the risk of offending the many women who do have tattoos, that I am not the biggest fan of them on anyone. I just don't think very many people can carry off a tattoo. Lenny Kravitz and Pink are rarities, in my view.
But for some reason, I'm quite taken with Chanel's body transfers. I would never look anything but silly wearing them, but I do love how delicate and simple they are. So much so that they've drawn me out of a long spell of beauty blogging absence to bring them to your attention, and ask what you think. Well?
I love my iPhone, I do, but of the two-dozen apps I've loaded, I only use one every day, and that's Lose It! Which is free; which has zero learning curve, and which I am finding really helpful in keeping me honest about how much I am eating, how much I am exercizing, and how soon I will lose the additional four pounds I want to get down by the time I head to Panama in January. It's seriously easy to navigate.
Just had a few DMs with the lovely Adriana Lukas about which beauty products/regimes we swear by, and those we are interested in trying. I sent her links to products I've written about previously here, the Kiehl's Tinted Moisturizer my daughter and I use daily, she such a fan she once said, "I believe I am going to use this for the rest of my life," and I believe her, and will, as well. I am also a huge fan of their Line Reducing Concentrate, which sounds powerful and is but which goes on in a slip and feels like baby powder. I think both together have something with people regularly thinking I am ten years younger than I am.
I also have two new must-haves, both for hair: Terax, which I have also written about and which, though a bit spendy, has gone from a splurge to a must, and Frederic Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Cream, which might as easily be called Lustrousness in a Tube. Its brilliance is also in its scent, big and green and floral.
I'd love to know which products can you absolutely cannot do without, and what do they do.
While I am not endowed with her other attributes, I do have about the
same hair (texture, color, curliness) as Sophia Loren. A few months
ago, I was looking at images of her and was taken by a short cut she
had, the photo of which I sent to my hair-cutter, saying, I might want
this cut when I go to Panama in January, as I will not be taking the
blow-dryer (what my daughter calls my "ghetto hairdryer,"
to which I have essentially been harnessed since age thirteen because
it nicely half-pulls out the curls). She assured me, my hair will look
that way with that cut, no problem. Two images below: what my hair (if
not my... attributes) sort of looks like now, on the left; the proposed
cut on the right. Let the voting begin!
A few months back, I posted that I was going to bite the bullet on hair removal and get some laser treatments on my legs. This, for, oh, so many reasons: because the hair is dark, because there's a lot of it; because I have been waxing every month since age 17 years and am sick of shelling out the dough. Because, on those occasions when I've had to shave, the hair grows back sharp a needles, each leg hurting the other as I get under the covers.
May I just say right now that the only thing my husband has said to me of late, when he runs his leg over mine in bed, is, "Smooth." To which I now respond, "Forever smooth." Yes, this laser stuff works and then some.
As mentioned in the first post, I did a lot of research as to type of laser and price, and decided on Emerge Medical Spa, which is in Lake Oswego, about a 20-minute drive from where I live in Portland, Oregon. The staff is friendly; the place is clean, and the lasering itself not a very big deal: you buy a package of six (the number of sessions they estimate it takes to get the job done), and go every six weeks or so. The session, for full leg, takes about 90 minutes. Because there is less hair each time, the pain is exponentially less, though for me, it hasn't been bad at all. I've had two treatments and have very little regrowth, which means I'll now start putting more time between the sessions, so that any hair inclined to regrow will get a chance to, whereupon I will kill it.
I am having such good results, I am also getting the bikini done. At Emerge, you pay the same price, whether you just want to clean up the edges or get a full Brazilian. I was surprised to hear, from my aesthetician, that most women do get the full Brazilian; not me. As a friend who's also having her bikini done said last week, "The vagina's not that gorgeous to begin with, and I think I'm going to want to have a little hair covering it when I'm seventy."
I happened to walk past makeup artist Linda Mason's retail space yesterday in New York (yeah, I'm in NYC now - boy, do we need to catch up). What a stunning collection of beauty art. I didn't go in, but will have to return soon and check out her wares up close.
It's my birthday! I am 42, which is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything; and grown-up enough to buy whatever I want, for myself. (Often the best birthday gift is one's own, as every woman discovers sooner or later.)
So, what shall I get? The local mall has a Nordstrom and a Sephora, which covers most eventualities. I'm thinking of berry-coloured lipstick, calming smells that help one sleep, or sexy perfume. Or all three, of course. What do you love right now? Anything enjoyable and fun; not face-cream, which is a necessity, like toothpaste.
Nancy's experiences without shampoo were exactly what I needed to inspire a new direction in caring for my long, dry, thick, tangle-prone and increasingly wavy/curly hair... that was two weeks ago. Since then, a number of things have occurred:
1. Total failure to find the Dax Beeswax that Nancy recommended, resulting in hours standing in the black haircare aisles, reading product labels and feeling confused. Everything seemed either 'cone-infected or oily (I'd read something online about oil being bad- but of course these mileages vary).
2. Basic cheapo hair gel, which does encourage the waves but is also drying. And scrunching to de-crisp seems to re-encourage escaped, frizzy bits.
3. Vitapointe hair cream contains wax but after misunderstanding how to use it I looked like Neil from The Young Ones for three days. On vacation. At a family reunion. (The first day we had no working bathroom, the second day I was ill, the third day I went out with the recommended anti-frizz t-shirt wrapped round my wet head after shampooing through gritted teeth...)
4. Mornings. The hair wakes up newly tangled and frizzy, as if it had a much wilder time than me, all night. Misting with water and a little conditioner seems to help, but not enough to prevent me unconsciously smoothing and finger-combing and generally pulling out all the curls and ending up all flattened and Afghan-houndy.
The picture is one side of my hair this morning. As you can see, a little tangly/ crispy/ unkempt. Still working on it.
OK, so here's the thing- I dived into this without having read the book or ordered any of the recommended Curly Girl products, and it's a learning process anyway because everyone's hair is different, and frankly the massive and mounting stash of silicone products to which my hair and I were addicted had long since ceased to do their job right. My hair is way too long and thick to wash and air-dry every morning, with or without 'poo, and had to be braided or bunned from day 2 onwards before. So already, this is better.
But getting it right for once and all is going to be quite a job.
I wonder if there are any curly no-shampoo personal advisers out there?
What do you get when you throw a true beauty obsessive in New York together with a veteran beauty journalist in LA? Not much room on the bathroom shelves, that's for sure. Make-up, hair products, skincare, perfume, salons, spas, luxury hotels with toiletries and treatments that make us never want to go home - if we've left anything out, you can pry our mirrors from our cold, dead, perfectly manicured hands.