Sometimes I feel that our hair has a direct line to our hearts… when we have a bad hair day, the whole world seems gloomy, and dark portentous clouds hang heavily over our heads (literally!). When our hair is healthy, gleaming, and full of vitality, so does the rest of our day seem just a little easier to handle… in spite of this, if you are like me, you can’t justify spending money on white truffles, champagne and caviar – especially when it’s all in an eighty-dollar bottle of Alterna® Shampoo! Fans of Alterna® reportedly include Jennifer Aniston, the long-standing queen of Hollywood hair. For the rest of us however, a trip to your local drugstore can hold many treasures, if you know what to look for.
Here are some picks for best hair products (that really work) for under $10.00 each:
Best Shampoo and Conditioner: Pantene Pro-V Smooth and Sleek Shampoo and Conditioner – for about $5.00 each, these are a perennial favorite among the experts. The shampoo retexturizes hair, smoothing the shaft and avoiding frizz. When used in combination with the conditioner, which helps reduce flyaway strands and provides deep conditioning, the company claims that you will have up to 65% smoother hair. Allure Magazine has given these products their “Best of Beauty” Award for the last seven years in a row.
Best Hair Serum: Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Weightless Smoothing Serum – with apricot kernel and avocado oils, this serum nourishes hair and keeps it soft, yet weightless. A word about de-frizzing hair serum: Thick ethnic hair like that of most Indian women will soak this stuff up, so use sparingly, avoiding the scalp, otherwise you’ll look like you went a couple rounds with a bottle of coconut oil! Really, only the bottom half of your hair needs serum to control split ends and provide shine.
Best Gel: John Frieda Frizz Ease Corrective Styling Gel with Encapsulated Silicone for Curly/Straight Hair – this firm hold gel controls hard to manage hair while being non-sticky and non-greasy. The silicone beads provide added shine and calms frizzies and fly-aways. This product is a staple when blow-drying my own waist-length hair! I also love this gel for men because it’s easy to use and has a very subtle, non-girly scent.
Best Gel for Curly Hair: Physique Spiral Gel – this gel aligns irregular air spaces along the strands of hair to enhance the definition of your curls. It is ph-balanced and gentle on color-treated or permed hair. This keeps curls bouncy and defined all day long, and through those crazy nights at the clubs!
Best Mousse: Helene Curtis ThermaSilk Volume Infusing Mousse – Forget everything you’ve ever known about the mousses that spawned countless tacky 80s – style hair that stuck straight up out of your head like a fountain! ThermaSilk Volume Infusing Mousse is heat-activated (like the whole ThermaSilk line) which conditions your hair while you blow-dry. I personally used the entire line (shampoo, conditioner, volumizing spray, and mousse) for about three months last summer, and actually had to stop because my hair got so silky and smooth that I couldn’t do anything with it! Clips and pins would literally just fall out of my hair. That being said…
Best Volumizing Spray: Helene Curtis ThermaSilk Heat Activated Volume and Shine Spray – This formula is made up of two layers of formula that you have to shake to mix together before using. The bottom layer contains heat activated resins that pump up hair and provide volume, while the top layer has silicone to add shine and swing. Real Simple Magazine recommends this spray after polling numerous hairstylists and testing it themselves.
Best Hair Spray: Umberto Giannini Glamour Clear Gloss Hairspray – this modern hairspray combines super hold with maximum flexibility; there is no flaking, even if you brush your hair after applying. I love the scent, which for some reason smells like the inside of Saks 5th Avenue to me. For some, it may be a little overpowering. At the moment, this spray is only available at the Rite Aid chain of drugstores.