In follow-up to TIA’s highlights of New Beauty’s 100 Best Products of the Year under the Skin & Anti-aging categories, here are some highlights from the Hair Category.

WEN Fig Cleansing Conditioner ($32):  The WEN hair care products can often be seen hawked on infomercials as well as network shopping channels. The testimonials are somewhat over the top in glowing commentary and the women shaking their heads around to show off their lustrous, sulfate free, locks can be intriguing to watch. WEN products were developed by LA based, celebrity stylist, Chaz Dean, to be a single hair solution for both cleansing and conditioning hair. Shampoo & conditioner in one isn’t revolutionary but what truly differentiated WEN hair products is that there really wasn’t a “shampoo” per se. Common shampoo formulations contain sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), an inexpensive type of detergent and known skin irritant commonly used in clinical studies to test for skin irritation. It is also the cause of the foamy lather that gives one the deceptive feeling of cleanliness.  SLS is a harsh detergent that strips the hair shaft of natural oils as well as fades any color that you’ve spent precious time and money depositing on it. Chaz Dean is considered a pioneer in the green movement and WEN claims that the products are made from botanicals blended with all natural ingredients but as noted in earlier TIA reviews, it’s a bit of a murky approach to green formulation. Moreover, there appears to be a TV version formulation for the masses that is considerably more chemical laden than the salon version. While WEN is by no means green or all natural, the lack of SLS use generally results in healthier looking, shiner hair and the WEN formulation does contain some good moisturizers that make hair feel softer. As far as the fig fragrance, some find the aroma to be somewhat medicinal.

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Wild Cherry Fruit Extract, Fig Extract, Chamomile Extract, Marigold Flower Extract, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Amodimethicone, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Polysorbate 60, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B-5), Menthol, Sweet Almond Oil, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Methlisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Citric Acid, Essential

Redken Real Control Conditioner ($14): This conditioner promises to “intensely moisturize, detangle and repair dense, dry hair”. I have dense dry hair so this seemed like the ideal conditioner for me. I’m always wary when I see the word “repair” in hair care product claims because hair is dead once it pops out of your scalp and bringing it back to life would likely be a Nobel Prize winning scientific miracle. The conditioner contains Redken’s exclusive Interlock Protein Network (IPN), which according to Redken, was 50 years in the making. It is a complex blend of ceramide for moisture, shea butter for frizz control and cationic protein. Well, hair is 97% protein, namely keratin, which has negatively-charged amino acids. Cationic surfactants (give slip) are positively charged in order to coat the hair shaft and not wash out completely and are ubiquitous in hair conditioners.  IPN didn’t seem all that remarkable but it was worth a shot.  While this conditioner does seem to be an effective for some, my personal use of this product yielded underwhelming results. It wasn’t particularly moisturizing at all and it didn’t make my hair very soft; the basic requirements for a hair conditioner in my view.  I even  tried a few different application methods (towel drying my hair first and leaving it on for 15 minutes/blow drying my hair with the conditioner in it to open up the cuticle/sleeping with it on overnight) as well as Redken’s  directions to “apply after shampooing, comb and rinse”.  TIA will be conducting further reviews on Redken Real Control Condition – hopefully someone else will have better luck. I definitely need a stronger conditioner than what this Redken product offers.

Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Amodimethicone, Isopropyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethenol, cetyl esters, fragrance, lauryl Peg/PPG-18/18 Methicone, Butyrospermum, Parki, Shea butter, Trideceth-6, Chlorohexidine, Dihydrochloride, Benzyl Salicyltate, Butylphenylmethylpropianol, Dodecene, Poloxamer 407, Linalolol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Limonene, Arginene, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Citronellol, Citric acid, Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, PG Propyl Silanetriol, Various Redken Patents

Nioxin System 3 Step Treatment for Fine Hair ($44): The Nioxin System 3 is for normal to thin-looking, fine, chemically treated hair. The 3 step kit includes a Cleanser,  Scalp Therapy (lightweight conditioner), and a Scalp Treatment (to thicken hair strands).  Nioxin admits that the active ingredients can cause redness which should go away within 30 minutes. Nioxin products include BioAMP (more on BioAMP here) and Glyco-Sheild (white tea extracts, humectants & peppermint oil (which I assume causes the redness).  Glyco-Sheild  has a “Dual shield” technology to provide protection and moisture balance to color-treated hair.  The Cleanser employs a Transactive Delivery System which uses antioxidants, botanicals, vitamins and “purifying agents” to rid the scalp of sebum and other residue. The ingredients in the kit are similar if not identical to TIA reviewed Nioxin Scalp Renew and the Intensive Therapy Follicle Booster which were somewhat effective, however the overall results were not impressive.

Ingredients: Cleanser: Water, TEA-Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium,  Chloride, Cocamide MEA, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey, Silk Amino Acids, Cinnamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Stearyl Dihydroxypropyldimonium Oligosaccharides, Panthenol, PEG-150 Distearate, Glycol Stearate, Mentha Piperita, Polysorbate-60, Polysorbate-80, Camellia Oleifera, Foeniculum Vulgare, Olea Europaea, Panax Ginseng, Pinus Pumilio, Polygonum Multiflorum, Vitis Vinifera, Wasabia Japonica, Lactobacillius/Eridictyon Californicum, Hydrolyzed Algin, Acetyl Cysteine, Acetyl Glutamine, Alanine, Asparagine, Aspartic Acid, Histidine, Ornithine Glutarate, Ethoxydiglycol, Coenzyme A, Coenzyme B5, Coenzyme B6, Coenzyme B12, Coenzyme Biotin, Coenzyme Folate, Coenzyme Nicotinate, Coenzyme Q6-10, Coenzyme R, Coenzyme Thiamine, Phenylalanine, Tyrosine, Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Simmondsia Chinensis, Aleurites Moluccana, Citric Acid, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Parfum/Fragrance

Scalp Therapy: Aqua/Water, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Bromide, Cetyl Alcohol, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Dimethicone, Cetrimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium-11, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey, Panthenol, Amodimethicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Polysorbate-60, Polysorbate-80, Propylene Glycol, Camellia Sinensis, Cucurbita Pepo, Humulus Lupulus, Mentha Piperita, Rosmarinus Officinalis, Serenoa Serrulata, Urtica Dioica, Visnaga Vera, Hexapeptide-11, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate Lysate, Betaine, Hexylene Glycol, Glycoproteins, Cystine bis-PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Phenoxyethanol, Phospholipids, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Ethoxydiglycol, Coenzyme A, Coenzyme B5, Coenzyme B6, Coenzyme B12, Coenzyme Biotin, Coenzyme Folate, Coenzyme Nicotinate, Coenzyme Q6-10, Coenzyme R, Coenzyme Thiamine, Melanin, Superoxide Dismutase, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Green 5, Yellow 6

Scalp Treatment: Water, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 80, Polysorbate 60, Acetamide MEA, Triethanolamine, Citric Acid, PEG 23M, Methyparaben, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Propylene Glycol, Proplyparaben, Methyl Nicotinate, Fragrance, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Menthol, Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil, Methylisothiazolinone, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Cystine Bis PG Propyl Silanetriol, Lechithin, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract, Humulus Lupulas (Hops) Extract, Saccharomyces Magnesium Ferment, Biotin, Folic Acid, Cyanocobalamin, Niacinamide, Pantothenic Acid, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin, Thiamine, Yeast Extract, Saccharomyces Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces Silicon Ferment, Saccharomyces Zinc Ferment



Kerastase Masque Oleo-Relax ($60): This mask has built up what can only be called a cult following. In my search for a product to transform my dry, damaged hair, Oleo-Relax is one the better masks I’ve found (so far). I’d say I really like it, I’m just not in love and am still looking for the “holy grail” mask. It’s important to note that this is not a substitute for a conditioner like many hair masks can be. The Oleo-Relax uses "Nutri-Huile complex" which combines combines shorea (mostlystearic acid and other fatty acids, along with shea butter), palm oils and cationic polymers. There are silicone derivatives used for anti-frizz protection.  Finding the right application method that will yield optimal results with this mask takes experimentation. I find that waiting until my hair is about 20% dry before applying the product and then blow-drying my hair on a ‘low’ setting (little trick that opens helps to up the cuticle on the hair shaft allowing the product to penetrate better) yields the best results for me. Subsequently, a 5-10 minute wait followed by a good rinse and use of a good conditioner works nicely for me. This is heavy stuff so if your hair is thin, I’d avoid application on the roots and use a lighter conditioner after rinsing out the mask. Best results are seen after regular usage (one time use usually doesn’t work any miracles), not over-usage (i.e. daily). Daily use (yes, I foolishly did that) will only result in product buildup leaving your hair, limp and greasy. I don’t like that I need to scoop it out of the jar and Kerastase hasn’t ever updated the packaging as far as I know. A pump would be ideal to control the amount of product dispensed and not contaminate what’s in the container. Personally, I find the rose fragrance a bit strong but am willing to overlook the aroma (which does fade after a few hours) for the results this mask delivers!

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Amodimethicone, Potato Starch Modified, Cetyl Esters, Isopropyl Alcohol, Elaeis Guineensis / Elaeis Guineensis Oil, Shorea Robusta / Shorea Robusta Seed Butter, Methylparaben, Trideceth 12, Citric Acid, Chlorhexidine Dihydrochloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cl 47005 (Yellow 10), CI 14700 (Red 4), Parfum/Fragrance



T3 Featherweight Luxe Blow Dryer ($250): The T3 Featherweight Luxe  model is an upgrade to the beauty editor favorite, T3 Featherweight ($200). The Luxe is said to be the “ultimate frizz-fighting, hair protecting, super-speed, Tourmaline Ceramic Power hair dryer”. T3 Luxe product claims, which include conditioning and sealing in moisture, are a tall order for any hair product, let alone a hair dryer. The secret in the Luxe is its Tourmaline Infusion Technology which uses “only the highest quality, imported (no info listed on where imported from) tourmaline stones, crushed into a fine powder". Supposedly other hair dryers use a sprayed coating of tourmaline. Read all about the benefits of tourmaline here. According to T3, the discovery of tourmaline technology was made by T3 creater, Kent Yu, who was inspired by his girlfriend’s frustration with her hair dryer. Yu’s collaboration with celebrity stylist, Orlando Pita, resulted in the T3 line of hair products. The second differentiating feature of the Luxe is the "SoftAire1™ flow" which supposedly creates a “uniform distribution of airflow resulting in even drying without overdrying. I’m not sure what "over drying" means as I think most people stop drying hair when it is, well – dry. If you continue to use any hair dryer when your hair is already dry, you will be a victim of overdrying. The SoftAire1™ technology avoids what T3 calls the “chaotic hurricane air” of conventional hair dryers. I have not used this hair dryer but a friend went out and bought it as soon as it hit the shelves (to replace her T3 Evolution) so this will be a vicarious review. At 1600 watts, the Luxe feels remarkably less powerful than any hair dryer she has used. I’m guessing that’s due to the SoftAire flow feature which prohibits the  “chaotic hurricane air” that she wants and misses to dry her thick hair. Yes, it’s lightweight and she likes that it’s a relatively quieter hair dryer than any she’s used. However, she doesn’t think it dries hair faster at all. In fact it seems to take about 10 minutes longer. She’s planning to return it.

Marta, personally prefers the Sedu Revolution Tourmaline Ionic Hair Dryer TGR 4000i

Side Note: For $250, I’d advise registering the product on T3’s website to get the warranty. Be sure to do this BEFORE you throw out the box as the serial number can only be found on the box, not on the device itself (why?).