Friday, May 27, 2016

The Theorie of Everything

OK, so you guys know how I was searching for a new flat iron and, after a few tries, finally fell in love with a digital dynamo called Quantum by beauty brand Theorie, right?  Well, so enamored am I with my new hair tool that I began perusing some more of their products online - most of which have no less than five stars, by the way!  Super impressed by their products' ever-growing list of accolades, I decided to put my proverbial toe back in the water... AGAIN!  Yes, yes, y'all... I am trying out more hair products.  (Don't roll your eyes or give me that look - I know, I know!)  Anywho, for the initiated, you know the drill: cats, curiosity... MEOW!  So, without further ado, let me get to my first roundup.  It's a trial-sized assortment of goodies curated from their Argan Oil line called the Argan Oil Ultimate Reform Collection - Discovery Edition.  

Tucked away in a faux cowhide pouch, the Argan Oil Ultimate Reform Collection - Discovery Edition contains five pickings from their line of products infused with a symphony of nutrient-rich oils, including frankincense, grapeseed and the headlining Moroccan Argan oil.   

The Argan Oil Ultimate Reform Shampoo and Conditioner boasts a one-two punch of hydrating power while imparting a brilliant shine to dull tresses.  Housed in dark amber bottles with twist off tops that deceivingly look like pumps, this paraben- and sulfate-free duo works hard at restoring hair to its highest degree of health and lustre all while leaving strands with a silk-like finish.  Oh, and it smells of sweet citrus to boot! 

The Argan Oil Ultimate Reform Hair Mask comes in an ample packet and is formulated to address severely damaged, unresponsive hair.  From root to tip, it provides a shield of hydration to thirsty strands, helping to guard it against breakage and rehab it to its ultimate state of vibrancy.

Rounding out the hair products in this sample collection if the Argan Oil Ultimate Reform Hair Serum, a luxurious elixir formulated to amp up the moisture as well as protect from the rigors of heat styling and boost shine.  It, too, has a juicy citrus smell and comes in a frosted amber bottle equipped with a dropper top to help control the dispensing of the serum.

And as for the fifth and lone body product of bunch, the Argan Oil Ultra Luxe Body Cleanser is as much an indulgence for the skin as it for the senses.  Imbued with the same scent signature to the Argan line, this gentle but thorough wash leaves skin feeling generously soft, supple and well moisturized.  It contains all natural ingredients and is free of harsh agents such as sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates.

So there you have it - my first go 'round with some of Theorie's products!  I figured I would whet my appetite with this convenient sampling and then take it from there.  *sigh*  I know, guys... the girl can't help it, though.  I like trying new stuff.  Especially hair stuff, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how these goodies fare on me.  And when I've tried them out, I'll be sure to be back and give you the full skinny!

Oh, and P.S. - Do you know that after I mourned the slow demise of my beloved HAI flat iron and after being told by the online retailer I originally bought it from that it was discontinued that they now have it RESTOCKED and are SELLING IT (albeit for a couple dollars more than priced previously)?!  See, it just goes to show you that you really have to be careful who you speak to because not all customer reps are well informed.  OK, maybe the rep made an honest mistake, but she was pretty adamant when she told me.  I was shocked to see it on their site recently!  But no matter; everything worked out in my favor because I found an iron I'm totally enamored with and - dare I say - is on par if not better than my HAI.  Oh, well.  All's well that ends well!  #WINNING!

The Argan Oil Ultimate Reform Collection - Discovery Edition is available at yourtheorie(.)com and retails for $28.       

Friday, May 6, 2016

Hair Trials: Theorie Quantum

It took Goldilocks three tries of porridge before she found her spoonful of "just right".  After failing to find a fitting flat iron to replace my ailing one on the first two tries, my optimism for finding one at all had quickly grown anemic.  In my last post, it was apparent that I was already weary of the process; I started to question my standards - even my sanity!  But I trudged on... and, behold!  Just like the aforementioned fairytale heroine, three ended up being my magic number as well.  Yes, I have finally procured my "just right" and I am so happy!  So, without further ado, let me tell you all about it.  It's the Quantum Flat Iron from Theorie... and I absolutely LOVE it!


Quantum is the latest collection of high-performance styling tools from prestigious hair care brand Theorie.  From shampoos and conditioners to blow dryers and curling irons, Theorie has an illustrious stable of innovative products that deftly marry technology with luxury, and this fabulous beauty is no exception.  The Quantum Flat Iron is a 1" stunner that boasts quick and safe heat styling via its ceramic infused titanium plates.  In addition to its "stay cool" hard body and chrome-like trim, it has a rotating, heat-resistant woven cord, comes with its own canvas travel pouch, and has two color options: white or black.  I opted for the latter.

Its slate gray plates are super smooth and fall completely flush when pressed together, allowing for constant contact with strands while straightening and easy, snag-free styling.

In addition to all the other bells and whistles, this flat iron has a digital touch screen and actually chimes when the iron has reached the desired heat (which goes up to 450 degrees F) as well as locks afterwards in order to keep from inadvertently adjusting the temperature during use.  Pretty cool, huh?  Quantum also has an auto shut-off mode that engages after 60 minutes of inactivity.  Yep.  This flat iron puts the "c" in cool...

And just how did it perform on my hair?  OH. EM. GEE.  My hair was so soft, so shiny, so curl-tastic - I LOVED IT!!  See, this is exactly what I was talking about!  I'm not cuckoo after all!  This is exactly what I was looking for: an iron to give my hair the ultimate shine and Quantum did precisely that!  I am so over the moon with this iron, y'all!  Like, for real!  Oh, and did I mention that it comes with a LIFETIME WARRANTY?  Um, no, that wasn't a typo.  Lifetime, y'all!  Who does that?  I mean, really - who?  I've never even heard of such a thing as far as any type of appliance goes, hair or otherwise.  Wowzers...

So there you have it!  The third time was the absolute charm for me and I'm so glad that the search is OVAH!  I have a brand new "beloved", y'all!  Theorie's Quantum Flat Iron has earned a special place in my heart (and on my head!) and has exceeded all my expectations.  I have finally found my "just right".  #WINNING!

Theorie Quantum Flat Iron is available at folica(.)com and yourtheorie(.)com, and retails for around $225.  (However, folica usually has site-wide sales, so keep your eyes peeled and at the ready if you're at all interested!)    

Friday, April 22, 2016

Hair Trials: Sedu Revolution

Welp.  Here I go again - round two in my search of a suitable replacement for my current battle-weary flat iron.  So let's get right into it, shall we?  Based on the majority of positive reviews it garnered on the hair product website Folica, I decided to roll the dice on a sleek beauty with ceramic plates: the Sedu Revolution.

Hailing from the Revolution line of styling tools from hair/beauty brand Sedu, this flat iron is a certified looker.  Its beauty lies in its simplicity.  Housed in a charcoal gray, soft-grip skin, it is equipped with a heat-resistant, swivel cord and boasts ceramic plates infused with tourmaline, a black gemstone that reports to tame static and frizz.  This particular version comes in two different sizes: 1" and 1.5".  I chose the latter.

The broad, jet-black plates are super smooth, which make for an easy glide across the hair.

And although the plates do float, they do not exactly line up flush when pressed flatly together.  This may be because the "floating" plates tilt from side to side like a see-saw instead of depressing straight up and down like most irons.

It has a temperature dial that ranges from 140 degrees to 450; however, the numbers aren't precisely aligned with the divots on the dial, so one must approximate their desired temp.  Situated next to the dial is the on/off button, which blinks red when the iron is first turned on then steadies when ready to use.  And it has a 60 minute auto shut-off mode.  A feature that's handy for those who need it, a potential pain in the butt for those that take longer than 60 minutes to do their hair. 

OK, so what's the verdict, you ask?  Well, it does straighten.  Hmm... maybe I shouldn't say "straighten".  Perhaps "flatten" is the better term since I felt like it made my hair flatter than I wanted and didn't leave it with any real bounce or body.  My hair was just kinda "blah".  Also, it didn't impart the kind of shine my HAI iron does.  I used it with both the CHI Iron Guard as well as my Paul Mitchell serum, but failed to get the desired results with either.

You know, I'm starting to feel like I'm crazy.  Am I asking too much from an iron?  Am I being way too picky?  Am I cuckoo/delusional for thinking my HAI is so great or is my HAI flat iron some type of styling anomaly?  I don't think so.  I really don't.

Now, I know that styling products can affect styling results, but I'm resolute in finding the right iron that'll work well with the products I already own instead of having to invest in a whole new lineup in order to accommodate a new iron.  And so I'll keep looking.  *sigh*  I have another one that I wanna try out, but I have to admit that, at this point, I'm a little discouraged.  But I'm gonna give it a go... and will be back with a full report when testing is completed.  Fingers (and toes) crossed!

Sedu Revolution Professional Styling Iron is available at Folica(.)com and retails for $130 (both the 1" and 1.5").    

Friday, April 8, 2016

Hair Trials: The BaBylissPRO Nano

And so it begins...

When we last spoke, I told you guys that I was on the hunt for a new flat iron.  After weeks and weeks of the ends of my hair feeling kinda crunchy and not being able to remedy the situation via a variety of products, I took one last shot at a resolution.  My beloved HAI flat iron that I've had for years was technically still functioning; however, the blue ceramic on the plates is starting to fade and, in fact, has totally worn away on the beveled edges, leaving the metal plate underneath completely exposed.  I took a guess that this may have been the culprit... and got confirmation soon after when I bought a brand new iron.  It's the BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium and I gave it a full fortnight to show me what it's got...

Well known in professional circles for its diverse array of hair styling tools, BaBylissPRO offers several different iterations of its popular Nano Titanium flat iron, including this BOGO (buy one, get one free) combo I picked up at my local Bed Bath & Beyond store.

Cased in a sleek, but angular, heat-resistant black in lieu of the brand-associated cornflower blue, these two Nanos are virtually the same except for their size: one is slightly longer than the other.

Both are equipped with swivel cords to grant more freedom and mobility during use.

Both boast pure, 1.25" titanium-plated plates, which are touted to be more durable (overall) and less prone to product build up than their ceramic counterparts.  Working in cahoots with ionic technology and a ceramic heater, the mirror-like plates help create frizz-free styles while maintaining consistent, even heat throughout. 

And both have an ON/OFF button as well as heat gauges that allow you to dial the iron from the lowest degree of 300 all the way up to 450.

So while the two Nano flat irons in my pack were pretty evenly matched point for point, here's where they differed.  Although both seemed to be fitted with floating plates - which are plates that can move and contract in order to accommodate whatever chunk or slice of hair you want to put in between them, ensuring constant contact for optimal straightening/styling - I was able to squeeze the smaller one flush (albeit with a bit more effort than I'm used to)...

...but could not get the plates on the larger one to close tight to save my life!  Perhaps it was just my model, but the plates on this barely moved at all.   Even with me employing a Kung Fu grip on this - squeezing it with all my might - it would NOT budge!  Needless to say, my hair slipped right through when I tried to use it, making any type of straightening or styling impossible.  So, with the inherent virtue of the BOGO now gone, I flatly moved forward to style my hair with the smaller one.

The iron heated up to 340 degrees (my preferred setting) fairly quickly even though I had to basically guess its readiness since there is no indicator (at least none that I could tell) to inform you of this.  My first go 'round, I used it with my CHI Iron Guard and it came out OK, but not as glossy as I'm used to.  Styling was a tad cumbersome as my hair did not glide through the plates as smoothly as I had hoped and left creases along the way.  The second session was a little better; I used my Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum and the iron seemed to appreciate it more.  I got a little more shine than before, but it seemed to peter out after a day or so and downgrade to a normal sheen.

I know that a lot of people absolutely LOVE this iron.  From the professional to the layperson, I've heard nothing but good things about it and do think it's a good iron.  I really do... but it's just not the perfect fit for me and what I want.  I have noticed that most use the iron on its higher settings and maybe that would have made a difference... but I'm not willing to risk that.  I've been rolling with 340 since the dawn of time with no problems and I don't feel like I should have to go higher just to get the results I desire.  I will also concede that perhaps I had a one-off... or one-offs.  Perhaps the "unbundled" Nanos normally come with plates that close flush with barely any effort at all.  But I must also say that I may be biased.  Now that I've tried a metal iron again, I really think I'm partial to ceramic.  There's just something about it and the way it makes my hair feel.  

So there you have it.  Although the flat iron didn't quite work out for me, good did come of it.  My ends looked healthier and smoother after using the Nano, which proved that, alas, it is time to replace my beloved HAI.  If I could, I would just buy another one and call it a day, but they discontinued my blue-plated model (of course!) and the "updated" version has been getting lukewarm reviews thus far.

And so it continues... my search for a new flat iron.  I picked up another iron and will be reviewing it soon.  Hopefully, this one will be THE one.  *sigh*  We shall see.  We shall definitely see...

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium 1.25" Straightening Iron is available at various retail outlets, including Bed Bath & Beyond, and retails for $139.99.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Field Trip: Bed, Bath & Beyond

Hey, guys!  Well, after a considerable hiatus from any serious, aesthetic-driven shopping, a "technical" issue has thrown me - once again - into the proverbial lion's den.  I did my research, comparison shopped online and then hit up the store that had the better deal on the item(s) I now needed: Bed, Bath & Beyond.  I had to travel a little ways to get to the desired location, but was rewarded immediately upon arrival with an almost empty store in which to roam.  I guess I shouldn't say "roam" since I was more than determined to stick to my assignment.  But I did allow myself a few moments to peruse some of the store's more colorful wares...

This seashell lamp certainly caught my eye.  If I were one who loved everything beach (which I'm not) and had a beach-themed room in my home (which I don't), I would definitely consider this unique fixture.

And then I found myself lingering in the decorative pillow aisle, which is not exactly a surprise.  I don't know exactly what it is - perhaps because the mere mention of the word elicits feelings of comfort and rest - but I absolutely LOVE pillows!  Throw pillows, floor pillows, square or oblong, I sincerely believe "the more the merrier"!  And if it has some sort of interesting, whimsical design... boy, I'm all in!   

Case and point: this bright starfish throw.  Again, there are no beach motifs anywhere in my current abode, but this would be a serious contender to add to the stock if I were so inclined.

True to its name, there were many bedding options available to view...

as well as some "beyonds" like this running advert of a woman sitting (fully dressed) on a toilet to describe the all joyful benefits of using a product called Poo-Pouri.  Umm...yeah.  *clears throat*  Moving right along...

After the brief detour, I finally got to the task at hand.  My whole purpose in making this sojourn to BB&B was to get a new flat iron.  Yes, guys.  I think my beloved HAI flat iron that I've had for many moons might be fading (perish the thought!).  And so, after overdosing on page after online page of positive reviews, I decided to give the much lauded BaByliss iron a try.  I spied this one, their 1" Ultra Thin version...

as well as this bundle pack that included two irons for the price of one.  Sadly enough, the bundle pack that I wanted (which included a travel-sized blow dryer, comb, a mini and full-sized iron) was erroneously listed online as being in stock when it clearly wasn't and hadn't been for a long time according to the manager.  So I was left with having to choose between the two available options.

And so I did.  And once I crack it open and use it on my locks this weekend, I'll be back to not only reveal the package I chose, but also give an earful of what I think.  Admittedly, I am not one to enthusiastically embrace change with regard to a lot of things.  But I'm gonna go with the flow and see where it takes me.  So we shall see.

Yep.  We shall definitely see...