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Two Columns!

First: Our test of John Frieda's Frizz-Ease, Part Two

Then: Your perfect tanned look without sun!
More Fun with Frizz-Ease!

By Diane Hardin

This is the second and final part of the John Frieda Frizz-Ease review. The first segment ran in June.

I was surprised to find these high-quality hair products at the drugstore. I love drugstore makeup, but had not previously been very impressed with the hair care selection. Frieda's Frizz-Ease products are designed to style and control frizzy or curly hair, and I found that most of them work quite well, especially the styling products. Even though I have access to professional beauty supplies at wholesale prices, there are a few products here that I would happily purchase again.

I tested these products on the following helpful and lovely participants:

1. Meryl, my 9-year-old niece with waist length, very curly blond hair.
2. Kristin, 30, who has chin-length, fine, wavy colored hair.
3. Jennifer, 26, who has naturally curly shoulder-length colored hair.
4. Dana, 34, with somewhat wavy long thick hair.
5. Me, 34, with wavy, shoulder-length, colored hair.

Secret Weapon Styling Creme.  This is a nifty product -- it's like a thick version of a leave-in conditioner, but it absorbs into hair very well. I really love it! I keep raving about it to my friends -- "You must try this," or "I'll put some in your hair one day and you'll see!" but the truth is, I've kept almost all of it for myself. It is truly a product that lives up to its name. This styling creme is similar to the Golden Opportunity grooming creme from the Frieda Sheer Blonde line, except that it has no tint added. Comprised mostly of water, avocado oil and silicones, it is light and clean-smelling. The few people who have gotten to use my stash have liked it well for taming frizzy ends and smoothing flyaways. It contains a sunscreen (octyl methoxycinnamate, a UVB screen), and moisturizes hair without leaving it feeling heavy, sticky or oily. I think it would be good for all types of hair, though those with fine hair should use it sparingly, and only on the ends. I will definitely purchase this when I run out.

Corrective Styling Mousse.  A pleasant, light mousse, that adds a bit of volume and gentle hold. Don't expect this product to work miracles -- it won't. It does smell nice and clean, and should protect your hair from sun damage (it contains benzophene-4 as a sunscreen), and encourage curls and waves. Be aware that it is not a product to use when styling your hair straight, since it rehydrates the hair (it adds back water that was removed by carefully blowing it out), which can destroy all the work you just did when blowing it out! So use it when you want waves or curls -- stick to using the other styling products when you want shining, bone-straight hair. I used this mousse in Kristin's hair to give it light hold and curls, and it worked well without feeling stiff or crunchy.

Corrective Styling Gel with Encapsulated Silicone Beads.  Curly-headed Jennifer tested this product for me, and I now realize that it's really better for creating straight hair styles. On her, it was nothing special. However, if you want to style your hair straight, but need some hold (the serum products provide none), then this gel is a fine choice. It smells clean and fresh, like most of the Frizz-Ease products, and doesn't leave hair sticky or super-stiff. The silicone beads are there to provide a little extra "slip" and shine, but there's really no special reason for the silicone to be in that form, as opposed to mixing it into the product. It's a cute gimmick, no more. Like the other styling products, the gel also contains a sunscreen. One nice thing is that it comes in a pump container, which I prefer to jars of gel (I hate getting it under my fingernails).

Shape and Shine Flexible Hold Hair Spray.  This pump hairspray smells horrible until it dries; very chemical-y. Then it fades to a faint clean scent, but I don't understand why it smells so bad in the bottle! Meryl said it "smelled like dog poo" -- not quite, but not too far off, either. It gives a semi-flexible hold -- it leaves hair less crunchy and crispy than some other sprays, but you can still feel that hairspray feel in your hair. It contains the usual sunscreen and silicones, and provides some, but not a lot of shine. I used this one on my shoulder-length wavy hair once, but I really prefer softer styling products. The Frizz-Ease line has another hairspray (an aerosol called Frizz-Ease Moisture Barrier Hair Spray) in this line that is specially designed to provide a moisture barrier for blown-straight hair, but unfortunately, they did not send it for review.

Pro-Scription Oils Hot Oil Treatment.  These particular hot oil treatments are not my favorite deep conditioners, although I'm glad to see them added to the line. Hair that regularly takes a lot of abuse (frequent blow-drys, lots of brushing to hold it straight, etc.) needs regular deep conditioning treatments. I used this on Dana's dried-out ends, and it did the job, but felt sticky while in her hair. I prefer plain olive oil, or evening primrose oil, used as a hot oil treatment, as both do a better job and are less expensive, but there is nothing wrong with Frieda's product. Use whichever deep conditioning treatment you like; just be sure you use one every month or two to keep your hair in good shape.

Final Thoughts.   I'm pretty impressed with Secret Weapon. It's an excellent product that I prefer even to Kiehl's Creme with Silk Groom, which was one of my former staples. Secret Weapon is less expensive, easier to use, less greasy and it smells better. The mousse is a good basic, as good as some salon mousses I've used, and I would consider purchasing it. The gel is a good product for styling straight hair. I'm glad to see a deep-conditioner (the hot oil treatment), since some of the products are made to help blow-dry curly hair straight, which can inflict a decent bit of damage. It's the right idea, even though I prefer other treatments. One styling product I'd like to see added is a water-based pomade, similar to Redken Water Wax. All in all, John Frieda's Frizz-Ease line has made an impressive showing, especially the styling products. The serums, styling creme, mousse and gel will help you tame or straighten curly and wavy hair. There are many imitators, but this is the most comprehensive line available to most consumers.

And next....

Your perfect tanned look without sun!

Bronzers and Self Tanners

There's no question about it, a tan can be a beautiful thing. The right tan can make you look healthy, glowing, even slimmer. But what makes a great tan? It should have a deep, smooth, even, beautiful color. The skin must be in great condition, not dried out, but glowing and supple. A great tan is a fake tan -- achieved not by exposing delicate skin to harsh and damaging UV radiation, but by the artful use of bronzers and self-tanners. And the best news is that you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for that luxe bronzed look, neither in money nor in skin damage. Rather than a wrinkle-inducing jaunt to Bermuda (or even sunning in your backyard), it's much more sensible to head down to your corner drugstore or grocery store and pick up everything you need to look glowing and glam. A side benefit? You stay cool as a cucumber while looking hot! Choose a bronzer for your face when you want a temporary glow, and a self-tanner when you want color that will last several days.

The word "bronzer" can conjure up images of blotchy, orange skin. However, it's easy to achieve a natural, glowing look when you know how. The most important step is to choose the right color -- pick a golden tan bronzer for pale skin, a true brown/orange bronze tone for medium to dark skin tones, and bold red- and orange-browns for the darkest skin tones. My friend Jo Ann Takovich of, who has extensive makeup experience, recommends a berry or plum bronzer for Asian skin tones. The powder can be slightly shimmery or matte, depending on your preference. Beware of a  strong shimmer, however, which can look very fake in daylight -- reserve these for evening only.

Next, choose your formulation -- bronzing powder for oilier skins, or those who just prefer to work with powder. Cream (stick or pan form) is great for drier skins, or those who find it easier to work with creams. Gel is ideal for those who don't wear powder, or those who break out from creams, but find powders hard to work with. Most of the formulations for men are in the gel category. Gels tend to feel refreshing, because of their high water content, but some rub off very easily. Powder feels cool and dry, but can creep into fine lines, and will not go on smoothly if you don't powder your face first. Creams will work for almost anyone, but be sure to check out the texture -- some are too oily for all but the driest skins, others transform to drier, more powdery textures once applied. Sticks are very portable, and it's fun to draw on war stripes and smudge, but make sure they're easily blendable.

Some great drugstore bronzers include: Bonne Bell Glitter Bronze powder in Golden Tan, and L'Oreal Quick Stick blush in Copper Gleam or Bronze Glow. Also, some shades of Jane and Black Opal blush work very well as bronzers.

Applying Powder Bronzer

If using concealer and/or foundation, apply those first. Then be sure to lightly and evenly apply translucent powder over your entire face, so that bronzer will glide on smoothly. Shake some of the bronzing powder into the lid or onto a tissue. Dip a large blush or bronzer brush into it, and tap the handle gently with your finger to ensure that the brush is not overloaded. Sweep the brush lightly across the tops of your cheeks, the bridge of your nose, top of forehead, top of chin, a tiny bit over your upper lip, and then over your eyelids (if you're not doing an elaborate eyeshadow look). Do all these without reloading the brush -- you can always add more later. Blend all over your face with the brush. Now examine your work in bright light (daylight, if possible) -- how does it look? Can you see choppy patches of bronzer? If so, start over again from scratch and make sure to powder your face more thoroughly. If the bronzing powder is too dark, mix a bit of it on a tissue with translucent powder. Does it look fake, rather than like naturally bronzed skin? Blend more, using the tips of your fingers if you'd like, to work the powder into your skin. Do you need more? I usually like to add a bit more to my cheeks, but not always. Add more bronzing powder to the areas that need it. A nice touch is to add powder blush on top of this for a very beautiful warm tan look -- pink or apricot tones seem to look best. Apply blush only on the apples of your cheeks and the bridge of your nose, and use less than you normally would. Your face should glow in a very natural way. Apply the rest of your makeup as usual.

Applying Cream (either stick or pan form) or Gel Bronzer

Apply foundation and/or concealer (if used) first, then apply cream or gel bronzer before you add translucent powder (and you may not want to apply any powder at all). Pick up some of the bronzer on your index and middle fingers and let it warm up a bit by working it between those fingers and your thumb. Touch dabs of the bronzer to the same spots you would apply powder bronzer -- cheeks, bridge of nose, top of forehead, top of chin, upper lip and eyelids. Now, blend in a circular motion, using a very light touch, until the bronzer almost disappears into the skin. Look at your face in bright light as above, and add more bronzer as needed. You have several options if you'd like to add blush now. If you used a cream bronzer you can either use a cream blush, or use translucent powder over the cream bronzer, and top with powder blush. If you used a gel bronzer, lightly powder over it and add powder blush -- if you try to add a gel or cream product over most gels, it will remove the color you worked so hard to apply. Finish your makeup application as usual.

A general rule of thumb: the darker the skintone, the more bright the bronzer should be. However, even pale pale skins can look great if you lightly apply a golden color, and follow up with a subtle blush. You will probably find that you want to use less makeup than usual with a bronzed look. Try finishing with just a bit of mascara and a clear or translucent lip gloss.

As a nice finishing touch, add bronzer lightly to your collarbone and shoulders, if they're exposed.

Using a Self-Tanner

Self-tanner can be viewed as a form of bronzer that lasts several days. Some tanners go on clear, while others incorporate a bronze tint to help you apply it more evenly. Either way, the following tips should help you apply self-tanner properly for a natural tan look.

Pick your color -- light, medium or dark -- according to your current skintone, not according to what color you want your tan to be. You can always apply extra coats of tanner until you get the color you want, but if you try to go from Snow White to Bronze Amazon in one step, you'll end up orange and streaky. Pick your formula according to what feeling you like, and whether or not you have help for your application -- sprays dry more quickly, and many of them are very easy to apply and even spray well upside-down, which is helpful for getting hard-to-reach spots like your lower back. Lotions moisturize well, but can be a bit sticky for a few minutes. Gels feel good, but in my experience they are difficult to apply evenly. Any of these formulas can be tinted (usually a bronze color, sometimes a disappearing tint), which helps form a visual guide on your skin to ensure even application. You may want to choose a special formula for applying to your face, though most of these should work just fine. If your skin isn't clear and smooth, it is better to skip self-tanner on your face, because it will just emphasize spots and dry patches. In that case, use self-tanner on your body and bronzer on your face.

Now you must exfoliate -- it needn't be difficult, just shower and scrub lightly with a brush or loofah, or use an exfoliating scrub. Focus on dry areas with thick skin, like knees, elbows and ankles. If you shave your legs, do it now, because you won't want to shave immediately after applying tanner (since you'll just end up shaving off the "tanned" layers of skin). Dry off thoroughly, and apply the self-tanner to all areas of your body that you want to tan (I sometimes just do my arms and legs, sometimes my whole body). Remember that some parts of your body don't get tan -- the underside of your arms, sides and bottoms of the feet, and the sides and palms of your hands, so don't apply self-tanner to those areas at all. However, I recommend NOT wearing plastic or latex gloves for this task -- I get streaks all over when I try to use them. Just wash your hands thoroughly when you're done (even in between your fingers), and reapply tanner lightly to the backs of your hands only. Rub the tanner into your skin totally -- that's the key to avoiding streaks. Don't apply too heavily -- all you need is a light to medium coat, evenly applied. Once the tanner is applied, take a damp washcloth or a baby wipe and wipe the tanner off of your knees, elbows and ankles. You don't want to scrub it off, just wipe so that there's less tanner on those areas. Then use the washcloth or baby wipe to smudge or "feather" the edges of the tanner around the sides of your feet and hands, and near the underside of your arms. That way, there won't be a definite line of demarcation, which would be a sure giveaway of "fake bake." Wash those hard-working hands, and carefully reapply a bit of tanner to your hands by spraying or dropping a dollop of tanner onto the back of one hand, then wiping the backs of both hands together. Try not to touch anything while you let the tanner dry completely (another good reason to avoid over-applying). Most sprays dry within about 5 minutes, lotions can take a few minutes longer -- check the label if you're not sure. Once you've dried, you can get dressed and go about your business. Be prepared to live with the scent and feel of the tanner for at least an hour (after an hour or so, you can shower, because most of the tanner has been absorbed fully by the skin). Pick a formula whose scent you like, because it can be very irritating otherwise! Your tan will take about 2 to 4 hours to completely develop. After that point, you can add another coat of self-tanner if you'd like to be darker. It is much better to build a subtle tan in this manner than to try to use a formula that's too dark for your skin. I noticed that all self-tanning formulas produce the same unusual smell on the skin while they're developing (since they all contain the same tanning ingredient, dihydroxyacetone) -- it's not exactly unpleasant, and not totally unlike toasted bread. This scent did not go away until the tan did, but it was pretty unobtrusive and inoffensive -- I was probably the only one who noticed it, and I have a very sensitive nose. When I tested tanners on other people, I didn't notice the smell unless I deliberately sniffed for it. :-)

Some great drugstore self-tanners are -- Banana Boat Sunless Tanning Spray (neutral scent), Bain de Soleil Mega Tan (strong pinapple scent), Neutrogena Spray (light, relatively pleasant fragrance), and Coppertone Moisturizing Self Tanner (no strong scent). I liked the color that Hawaiian Tropic Self Tanner Spray produced, but the pina-colada scent gave me a headache, and the spray mechanism dripped self-tanner all over my bathroom floor, so it was more difficult to apply than the other sprays.

Enjoy your beautiful color knowing it hasn't damaged your skin in any way. Happy safe tanning and bronzing!

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