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THE COSMETIC REPORT
September 17, 2002

This week I am pleased to bring you my reviews of L'Oreal Kerastase anti-frizz hair, plus Bonnie Holmes skin care from California. Next week, I'm planning the next Drugstore Issue with reviews of Almay's fall colors and L'Oreal Pure Zone skin care. Enjoy!

I've been growing my hair out for the last four years. Ever since I got it cut short when I was pregnant with my first child (thinking it would easier to manage - what a mistake!), I've been trying to grow it long like I had it in high school and college. When it officially could be called "long", I was so excited, and loved my hair for a few months. But the daily grind of blow drying and straightening, only to have it end up looking frizzy and flyaway, got old very quickly. I stopped blow-drying, started always wearing my hair up in a ponytail, bun, twist, or anything to get it out of the way. It was about as anti-style as you'll find. It wasn't until I had some photos taken with my family that I started to notice that everyone else looked great, and I looked like somebody's granny with my hair severely pulled back into an ugly little bun. At my age, I have no business looking like that. My hair needed help. Rather than running to cut it all off - my gut instinct - I decided to try some new products to see if I could get the frizz under control and make the hair easier to work with. I'd heard of the L'Oreal Kerastase Nutritive Oleo-Relax line for dry, frizzy hair and was suggested the LookFantastic.com website by a reader as a place to find the brand. During one of their package specials (£27.45 for the three product set) I decided to give these anti-frizz products a try.

Shampoo (£8.25 for 250ml)
This thick amber gel has the standard cleansing agents you'd find in most shampoos, but it also has shorea robusta seed oil (from the sal tree common in India), one of the key ingredients of the line that L'Oreal claims works wonders for smoothing and controlling frizz. I did notice that after shampooing my hair was not tangled and could be combed easily, a claim I can't make for most shampoos.

Masque (£11.50 for 150ml jar)
I hate to not follow the directions on a product I am reviewing, but who has time for a 10-15 minute hair mask first thing in the morning? Every day? I suppose if I had seriously unruly hair, or hair that was very thick, I might consider trying it as a mask at night, but I don't. I used this product like a regular conditioner (since the line has no regular daily conditioner) - in the shower, left it on for a few minutes while I washed my face and such, then rinsed it out. Even left on for that short amount of time, it left my hair very soft and silky, and effortless to comb through. Like the shampoo, the conditioning masque has shorea robusta seed oil as well as African palm oil. I'm not crazy about the jar packaging for use in the shower, but I'll put up with it because this is such a nice conditioner. Maybe in the future they can repackage it in a tube...

Serum (£12.50 for 125ml pump)
This is the finishing product that you can use both on damp hair before you blowdry and on dry hair as a final smoothing step. Like many smoothing, anti-frizz serums on the market, this one has a base of cyclopentasiloxane and dimethiconol (silicones that smooth and seal the hair without weighing it down), but it also has the shorea robusta seed oil and palm oil like the other products. The addition seems to be effective when other anti-frizz products that are just silicones are not. As a finisher it really lasts, controlling frizz all day with no touch-ups. Only long or very thick hair needs a full pump of this serum, so if you have shorter hair, try dispensing just half a pump or a bit less; any more than that and your hair will look greasy, like it needs to be washed again.

After trying these products, I have interesting news. They worked so well to control my frizz that I could finally see what my hair was up to - it is simply too long and shapeless. The long, smooth and sleek look just doesn't suit me! Thankfully I found a terrific new stylist with a sense of vision, so I am now sporting a slightly shorter, playfully layered style that is frizz-free and actually fun! I am excited about the new style and plan to write reviews of other kinds of hair products I'll be trying like texture and volumizing products.

Before I discoverd that you can call 1-877-748-8357 for US salon locations of the Kerastase line, I found it on the UK website LookFantastic.com. If you live in the UK or Europe, check Kerastase.com for salon locations.

Bonnie Holmes Skin Care
According to Bonnie Holmes, health and skincare advocate, good circulation is the key to managing many of our most troublesome skin problems. She has a simple collection of cleansers, moisturizers and exfoliants that are designed to care for the skin and increase circulation. Since I was only able to try one cleanser, one moisturizer and one exfoliant this time, I hope to expand the review soon to include more of her other options.

Creme Cleanser ($30 for 4oz)
Open up the jar and you'll swear the label "cleanser" must be wrong - it looks just like a moisturizing cream. This rich cream is like a modern day cold cream for dry skin; rather than tissuing it off, you apply it to dry skin, then work it in with a bit of water, adding more water as it thins out and eventually rinses away. You are left with clean and supple skin that is not stripped in any way. If you want a "cleaner" feeling, you can also choose to remove it with a washcloth or facial sponge. For dry skin, especially with cold weather around the corner, this cream has the richness that many cleansers lack. I can definitely see using this cleanser when my skin is at its driest.

Pure Skin Balm ($75 for 2oz)
I've tried quite a few creams for dry, delicate and sensitive skin, and this has to be one of the most soothing and protective. Somehow Bonnie figured out all the right elements to making this cream ideal for irritated skin. Vitamin E, grape seed oil, jojoba oil, green tea extract, aloe extract, wheat germ oil, panthenol, chamomile extract, and cucumber extract together create the perfect environment for the skin to heal. You warm a small amount in your hands, then gently press it onto the skin. You can be as firm or as gentle as your skin needs, and you can easily concentrate more on areas that need more buy just pressing some of the balm in with your fingertips. For as rich as it is, Pure Skin Balm absorbs well and makes the skin feel comfortable and protected.

Roll-Away Creme ($60 for 2oz)
There seems to be a trend toward these types of "gommage" cream exfoliants that you apply and let dry like a mask, and then rub away with your hands (like an eraser) to remove, manually exfoliating the skin. This one has the added benefit of papain, a fruit enzyme, to break up the dead skin cells so they slough off more easily. This exfoliant is a key product for better circulation, and you control how firmly you rub it off. I am still getting used to this type of exfoliant, so I am looking forward to trying Bonnie's other products, like the Mineral Skin Polish (a more traditional scrub).

After just about a month, I can't say my circulation seems any better, but my dry skin is definitely under control. You can find Bonnie Holmes skin care products at ABeautifulLife.net, and more general information at BonnieHolmes.com.

I hope you enjoyed this issue of The Cosmetic Report!

Until next time,


 

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