Well here is the third and final offering in my series of favourite launches in the beauty industry for 2014. If you haven’t seen them already, don’t forget to go back and read my previous posts on the Top 5 Skincare Launches and Top 5 Makeup Launches from last year. I have cheated slightly with a few of my choices in this category, as it includes a few products that launched at the back end of 2013, but grew in recognition over 2014.
Looking through my choices, volume and damage-limitation seem to be the buzzwords that feature pretty heavily in my top 5! Having fuller-looking hair and keeping damage to a minimum are attributes that help to keep hair looking healthy, full of vitality and therefore youthful, I believe, so I hope there is something for everyone in this list!
So let’s get started…
Best Heat Protecting Styler: L’Oreal Paris Elnett Heat Protect Styling Spray
Despite some recent high profile celebrity signings to represent the brand, the allure of Elnett had largely evaded me until this line of heat protecting stylers launched. What I love about this product is that it combines both a styling product AND a heat protection spray. You choose the type of styling, from straightening, curling or volumising, and it will also takes care of protecting hair from heat damage whilst doing so.
On the styling side, I have only trialled the straightening version, and I find that it not only makes my hair easier to blow dry straight sans frizz, but it also has an ingenius memory hold to it, so that it maintains its shape well after styling. Apparently this locking-in of style can last for up to three days, but given I wash my hair every day, I can only tell you that this is true for 24 hours. I also cannot say for sure that it definitely helps to keep damage at bay, but it certainly leaves my hair looking and feeling better than if I had not used it.
L’Oreal do state that they have proven it is able to protect against damage up to an impressive 230°C, so I guess I will have to take their word for it. But what I particularly enjoy about this product is that my style appears resistant to the changes in humidity/weather that would usually send it into a frizzing frenzy.
And this might sound like an odd tip for a heat-protective spray, but also try it on the days that you do not want to blow-dry your hair, as I find it smoothes and tames the dreaded air-dried frizz I would normally suffer from when not using heat, as well as providing useful hold. A real revelation!
One final but important thing to note: the key to using this product effectively is that less is most definitely more – to give you a ball-park, we’re talking 3-4 full spritzes for an entire head of shoulder-length hair! If you use too much, it can leave hair looking dull and feeling a bit crispy on the ends. Other than needing to experiment with applicaton to ensure you get the best out of this product for your hair type, the only other downside for me is the strong, fairly old-fashioned fragrance it has. This soon disappears though, so I can live with it.
Bottom line: if you straighten your hair, given the extremely high heat protection this product offers, it has to be a no-brainer of a purchase!
Best Good-Hair-Day-Guarantee: Macadamia Natural Oil Flawless 6 in 1 Cleansing Conditioner
I was a bit sceptical of this product when I first read India Knight’s rave review on it in The Sunday Times (UK). Shampoos that also condition have traditionally had a bad rep in my book: they either leave my hair feeling lank and like it has not been cleaned properly, or else they leave my damaged ends feeling dry and untreated. This product not only claims to cleanse and condition, but also to reduce drying time, detangle, enhance volume and eliminate frizz – all in one step! I don’t know about you, but I have a bag full of products I use in an attempt to achieve these things – and usually not 100% successfully on every count – so that really is a brag and a half from this brand. But a brag it ain’t, dear reader. I am pleased to tell you that it sorts my hair out a treat, and I just love it.
This is no mean feat given my hair type has opposing needs: I have very fine hair that is prone to be weighted down by any sort of build-up or residue, but I also have very dry and damaged ends that need nourishing from a richer formula. But one pump of this innovative mousse massaged through my hair and then rinsed, leaves it feeling clean, behaving itself during the ensuing blow dry, and looking shiny, full and frizz-free when dry and styled. I hesitate to say it, but it looks, in a word, flawless.
One word of warning I feel I should add: silicone appears fourth on the ingredients list, so I would proceed with caution and not use this product with every shampoo, just to avoid build-up and lank hair.
Bottom line: a single quick and easy multi-tasking product for guaranteed results. Try it!
Best Volumising Product: Charles Worthington Volume & Bounce Texturising Spray
This product has been a revelation to me and to my bank manager. It may also be responsible for a drop in the share price of a certain well-known luxury hair care brand that produces a similar excellent formula – but for over five times the price! …Oribe’s cult Dry Texturizing Spray, since you ask.
Put simply, this product does what it says on the can, and it does it well. If you need that extra bit of oomph in volume, or to refresh your style, just spray into the roots, then ruffle, for an instant back-comb effect. It combines the style benefits of a traditional dry shampoo with the hold of a hairspray. The result is greater volume that lasts for longer than you can achieve with a dry shampoo alone.
I have bought cans and cans of Oribe’s formula, and not only do I find that this product has a better and longer-lasting hold to it (this may not be your preference), but it also has a cleaner fragrance that dissipates more quickly, avoiding any clash with your perfume before a night out. Much as I love Oribe’s excellent high-performance line, my complaint with it has always been the use of a very strong fragrance that never fails to completely overpower and cloy with any scent I try to wear at the same time.
Bottom Line: For root lift and hold like no other: I cannot praise this Charles Worthington styling product highly enough.
Best Hair Rescue: Wella SP Liquid Hair
OK, members of Hair-Abusers Anonymous, brace yourselves: this product may just take your hair back to the era when you were more concerned with Sesame Street (feel free to sub with the Zeitgeist of children’s television from your era!) than straighteners! I don’t know about 12 steps to salvation in the programme for this type of recovery; try a very much simpler 4 step programme. You simply shampoo, apply the Liquid Hair, blow dry it in, rinse et voilà: abused hair reborne!
Reformulated and relaunched by Wella SP in 2014, it quickly became a staple in my haircare armoury. This product is in no small part responsible for ensuring that I not only have hair left, but hair that is also remarkably healthy, given the hideous way I abuse it through chemical and heat processing! The formula is said to rebuild keratin bonds within the hair, filling in the gaps where there has been damage. It certainly leaves my hair feeling thicker, smoother, soft and silky. And the best part? It remains that way for about 4-5 shampoos post treatment!
Bottom Line: a brilliant lifesaver for damaged hair – even hair that needs serious resurrection!
A huge trend for 2014 in the beauty industry was micro-oil technology. Put simply, this new-ish technology allows us to benefit from the nourishing qualities of an oil, but without the associated heaviness of using one, whether it be in skin- or hair-care.
This brilliantly-priced shampoo is an example of that micro-oil technology put to use for the treatment of dry hair types. It uses a cocktail of six oily flower extracts – rose, chamomile, flax, lotus, tiara & sunflower – to nourish both the scalp and the dry, damaged, rough ends of parched and unruly hair types, leaving hair tamed, smoother and shinier. And all without causing the ‘lank-locks-look’ you’d usually associate with a product rich enough to be able to nourish tired tresses that have been battered by the trials and tribulations of modern-day heat-styling and chemical processing.
It is also a shining example of L’Oreal cascading the research it undertakes for its premium brands – Kérastase Elixir Ultime in this example – down to its drug-store brands. This means every price point can benefit from their research investment. In this case, the formula has impressed me so much, I wouldn’t even bother with the more expensive micro-oil formulas currently out there. I have trialled them all – Kérastase’s Elixir Ultime and Bumble & Bumble’s Invisible Oil ranges, to name but two – and this one is not only up there with these great premium products, but I actually prefer it. It leaves my extremely damaged hair feeling beautifully smooth and silky, and this is before I have even so much as looked at a bottle of conditioner!
Usually, with such products, when my hair feels this good after a single use, I immediately check the ingredients list. This is because they can often contain a lot of silicone, which can be great for a wash or two, but usually results in build-up and aforementioned ‘lank-looking-locks’ by about wash number 5. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that although there is silicone in this formula, it is not as high up in the ingredients list as it might be, signifying it is not used in such high concentrations as I have seen in other L’Oreal products. Indeed, a cursory glance reveals that glycerine, a great humectant and softener for the hair, appears much higher on the list. This is good news for dry, damaged and rebellious hair. Whether it is the glycerine and the silicone, or whether it is the “extraordinary oils” that are most responsible for the soft, smooth, silky results, who cares: it works – and, importantly, it works without build-up.
Given its price-point and continued excellent performance on my extremely damaged hair, this shampoo has been elevated to HG status in my bathroom, and I don’t see it getting knocked off its pedestal any time soon.
Bottom line: an absolute must for those who either have naturally dry and rebellious hair, or those who have inflicted this hair type upon themselves through excessive heat styling and chemical processing.
And one final sneaky one:
Best Volumising Powder: Batiste XXL Plumping Powder
This is just a great budget buy that I cannot be without since discovering it. It is so good, it was short-listed as best new hair product in the 2014 CEW Awards – the Oscars of the beauty world, if you like. I am an aficionado of all things volumising, with volumising powders being my specialist subject. Believe me, if a company produces one, I will have sought it out and tried it.
If you have yet to try one, I would describe them as the genius offspring of a dry hair shampoo and a flexible, non-sticky moulding compound (such as Bumble & Bumble’s brilliant SumoTech). Admittedly, it is an acquired sensation to wear one: many like the resultant styling effect, but cannot stand the resultant… hmmm.. how to describe it…gumminess or clamminess of the product against their scalp. They also struggle with the mattifying effect this hybrid product can impart to your style.
Of course, a lot of this is in the application technique. As discussed above, less is most definitely more with these powders. Personally, I love them, and Charles Worthington’s Volume & Bounce Root Lift Backcomb Powder was my personal favourite until I found this new addition to the Batiste line. I do not know how much is due to differences in the formula or even perhaps in the the applicator, but this powder lifts in a more airy and less clammy way at the roots. It not only seems to hold volume for longer than its contemporaries, but is also more flexible when it comes to restyling and reholding any hair touch-ups throughout the day/evening.
Bottom Line: If you like volume in your style, at this price-point, what have you got to lose: try it!
Well that it my round up of the best products of 2014 completed, and I hope you found it of some use. Please do add your comments below. Do you agree with my choices? Are there any other new haircare products that have been exciting you over the last year that you think I’ve overlooked? Or are there any upcoming product launches in 2015 that you simply cannot wait to get your hands on?
Also look out for the full reviews of all of the above products… coming soon! Don’t forget to click ‘follow’ below if you want to be the first in the know!
Posted by Jill
I am a skincare and beauty aficionado, and the founder of Nameless Grace. I aim to be your friendly guide through the minefield of marketing claims and the latest beauty trends.