The five items you need to survive any holiday party! #UltaTrendAlert #StyleHunters4Ulta

The five items you need to survive any holiday party!

Holiday parties. They can be so much fun…or they can be so embarrassing thanks to unforeseen fashion emergencies. Help is here with 5 essentials to save you from potentially embarrassing situations…who wants to be the subject of the water cooler gossip on Monday? Not us, and we won’t be with these awesome situational saviors that are all available at Ulta Beauty.

Breath Treatment Crystals1.  What is worse than making small talk with someone who has nasty breath? Finding out later that YOU were the source of the nastiness. The perfect antidote to bad breath (and exactly what you need to prevent it from happening in the first place) are the EV32 Breath Treatment Crystals. My favorite flavor is Peppermint, and an 18 pack is only $15 – a small price to pay for minty-fresh, inoffensive breath you can count on. A hip alternative to gum or mints, they ‘pop’ in your mouth – sort of like Pop Rocks (those of you who grew up in the 1980’s remember those!) and they fit perfectly in your purse.

Pacifica Underarm Deodorant Wipes

 2.  Ok, bad breath is awful…but how about looking down and realizing you have a big old wet ring under your arms? I love the Pacifica Underarm Deodorant Wipes ($9). A single swipe keeps sweat at a minimum and does double duty as a deodorant as well. These are must-haves at a party, especially when you know that super cute guy from accounting is going to be there too.


3.  Look, we all know – everybody poops. However, a holiday party is the WORST place to suddenly have an emergency digestion issue, but it’s all the more likely thanks to that rich food you aren’t used to eating. What is a girl to do??? Always carry a bottle of Poo-Pourri Before You Go Toilet Spray ($10). This stuff works. Just spray it on the top of the toilet water and regardless of the intensity or duration of your toilet emergency, there will be NO lingering scent. Everyone should have one of these. I have a friend whose mother puts one in everyone’s stocking each Christmas. No joke – get this!

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer

4.  So you are at a party and happen to look into a mirror. You suddenly realize that it looks like you’ve been up for an entire week binge-watching Homeland. Oh, and you also have a big old zit that definitely wasn’t there an hour ago. Duck into the bathroom and take care of both instantly with IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Anti-Aging Concealer ($24, the travel size is only $10!). The tube is a perfect size for your purse and the concealer looks totally natural but covers even the darkest circles, the biggest zits, and the most glaring red spots.

AG Travel Size Brunette Dry Shampoo

5.  As careful as you might be getting ready, it’s inevitable – you get to the party and see gray roots that weren’t showing before. Or, your hair has gotten as oily as a 13-year-old boy who hasn’t showered in 48 hours. Or, your hairdo has fainted and become a flat, sad hair don’t. No worries if you have your travel size can of AG HAIR Travel Size Brunette Dry Shampoo (10.95)!  This handy-dandy stuff makes oily roots, flat hair, and grey roots disappear like magic.

Don’t be afraid of those holiday parties…with these 5 miracles from Ulta Beauty you can party with total confidence!!  – Lisa #UltaTrendAlert #StyleHunters4Ulta @UltaBeauty

 *affiliate links

Frizz Fighter Alert – code red

Welcome to an edition of Makeup Wars for hair. This week we’ve been assigned (by the big boss) to share our favorite frizz fighters or volume saviors. I’m a genuine frizz hater. I’ve dealt with frizz my whole life and finally have ways to control it somewhat. For the last few years I’ve had a keratin treatment and I love the results of it. But it’s all grown out and I’m debating the merits of doing it again. Even with a Brazilian Blowout though I still need styling creams and products that fight the frizz so that’s what we have here, in no particular order. — Marcia
1433713480_ecru-acacia-protein-bb-creamECRU NEW YORK is one of my favorite haircare lines and their ACACIA PROTEIN BB CREAM is one I’ve been relying on ever since I received it. This is a great cream to protect my hair from my heat styling. It keeps my hair smooth and nourished. The Protein BB Cream contains Acacia Collagen™, Hydrolyzed Silk Protein, Silk Amino Acids, Jojoba Oil and Monoi Oil.
1433713281_coolway-4-160x400COOLWAY GLOW FINISHING OIL is actually part of a duo I use along with Coolway True Smooth Spray. The spray is used first and helps protect when I’m blowdrying and it also helps with frizz. The Finishing Oil is used after to make sure that my hair stays smooth and shiny.
1433713088_oil-essentials-almond-bottle-300x267OIL ESSENTIALS in SWEET ALMOND & MACADAMIA is fabulous. This oil can be used anywhere and lately I’ve been using it on my hair to help smooth it. This spring/summer has been very humid and I need all the help I can get. Oil Essentials is helping and is smells so darn good.
1433712997_makethumbnailKEUNE KERATIN SMOOTHING SERUM is my newest acquisition and I’m totally loving this line (full review upcoming). It is so great for those of us with frizz problems. The serum is a heat protector that contains active keratin, argan oil and essential minerals.
1433712835_dermorganic-leave-in-spray-therapy-160x300DERMORGANIC LEAVE IN SPRAY THERAPY is an “old” favorite that gets a lot of use. I think the new name might be Leave In Shine Therapy but whatever the name it’s still the same product. I use this after washing my hair and my comb just glides through my hair. It helps eliminate frizz while making my hair shiny.
1433712696_ag-hair-bb-and-deflectAG HAIR BB Cream Total Benefit Hair Primer and DEFLECT Fast Dry Heat Protection Spray work together like peanut butter and jelly. You can enjoy one without the other but together they are delicious. DEFLECT Spray is to be used on wet hair to help comb through it easily and to help with frizz protection as well as heat protection. BB Cream Primer is a hair primer that helps moisturize as well as thicken your hair to protect it from the F word.
1433712441_brazilian-blowout-masqueBRAZILIAN BLOWOUT ACAI SMOOTHING SERUM and BALM are my fall backs. I’ve been using these for years and I always have one of each on hand. You don’t need to have a keratin treatment to use these, anyone who wants a great styling tool and wants smoother looking hair would love this like I do.
Thanks for reading all my choices. My vanity is loaded with haircare so I switch around a lot. Are any of these products ones you use? If not, what do you use? —  Marcia

*some items were sent for consideration, some were purchases

Meet your color match with AG Hair Dry Shampoo

So how did you meet your match…speed dating? Online website? Did you bump into him at the grocery store and then melt when he asked if he could squeeze your Charmin? amd-charmin-jpg

Prepare to meet your match – your color match, that is – with AG Hair Dry Shampoos. I found that three out of the four ‘flavours’ were matches for me, so the heck with monogamy. I am in love with the concept of a dry shampoo that actually matches my hair color, taking care of both excess oil and grey roots at the same time.

AG Hair Dry Shampoo

I am a big fan of dry shampoo in general for several reasons. First, it gives me another day or two before having to wash my hair, soaking up oil and dirt and refreshing my hairstyle. It’s great on freshly washed hair, giving it some texture and lift. AG Hair Dry Shampoos also have ingredients that add moisture and shine to hair.  The ingredients include:

  • Rice and tapioca starch – natural oil absorbers.
  • Hydrolyzed silk protein – excellent moisture binding properties with low molecular weight, allowing penetration into the hair fiber, thereby strengthening and moisturizing the hair.
  • Green tea leaf extract – powerful antioxidants protect and strengthen the hair, making it healthier and more full.

There are four types, or as AG Hair calls them ‘flavours’, of Dry Shampoo. The Simply Dry Shampoo has no color, and it doesn’t leave a white cast on hair so it works for all hair types and shades. Just hold the bottle about 8 inches away from roots, spray on, let dry for a minute then fluff with fingers. Voila, fluffy clean hair with lots of body! This is a great dry shampoo for texturizing and refreshing. It has three friends that do all the same things PLUS cover up roots.

AG Hair Dry Shampoo left to right:  Blonde, Light Brown, Brunette

AG Hair Dry Shampoo left to right: Blonde, Light Brown, Brunette

The Blonde Dry Shampoo matches lighter hair shades. It not only covers greys, it also makes thinner hair look more full. This is not a match for my brown hair, but I know it will make a perfect couple for all of you blondes having so much fun out there!

The Light Brown Dry Shampoo is for those with light to medium brown hair. I have medium brown hair and it works perfectly for me. Here is a before and after comparison.

AG Hair Dry Shampoo before and after

Lucky me, the Brunette Dry Shampoo is a match as well! This works for dark brown to black hair and I really love this for covering up my weird cowlick that is like a part down the back of my head. The Brunette Dry Shampoo has less red in it than the Light Brown Dry Shampoo.

Regardless of which flavour you choose, I know it will be a successful pairing. AG Hair Dry Shampoo is an awesome product and I highly recommend it  You can find AG Hair products at Ulta and salons everywhere. Just use the Salon Locator on the AG Hair website.  – Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

Meet your color match!

Meet your color match!

Top Ten Tuesday – Hair Masks, Conditioners and Treatments

TOP TEN TUESDAY is addressing hair this week. We’ve chosen hair masks as our topic but that extends (in my world) to conditioners and treatments for my hair. As bloggers we have more of these products than most people I’m sure, hopefully you’ll find some products that you will love having in your life. With winter peeking its ugly head, we all need more care for our hair. Enjoy — Marcia
1.  PRETTY LITTLE ELIXIR – This is my favorite of all my hair masks. It was created by both Phyrra (of and Future Derm. It takes longer than most of the other masks but it’s so worth it. This is the only hair mask that I use a shower cap with and it makes my hair as soft as a puppy.
2. BRAZILIAN BLOWOUT ACAI DEEP CONDITIONING MASQUE – I get a Brazilian Blowout or other keratin straightening treatment about every 7 months. No matter what treatment I have done I always turn to this Acai Masque. I think this whole Acai line is terrific and keep buying it. This masque is especially good to use once a week for the first month or two after a straightening treatment since it helps extend it.
3.  ECRU NEW YORK ACACIA PROTEIN MASQUE – I recently reviewed the ECRU New York Acacia shampoo and conditioner which I love. The masque is terrific, to be used with or without the other products. It’s highly recommended especially for color treated hair.
4.  BRIOGEO DON’T DESPAIR, REPAIR DEEP CONDITIONING MASK – This is one of Lisa’s favorite masks. I’ve tried a sample which was enough to make me include this rich, great smelling hair mask on my list. The ingredients are wonderful for your hair.
5. MONAT REJUVENIQE – Full review to come on this amazing hair oil that can also be used on your skin. Rejuveniqe helps with so many things like shininess, hair repair, and volume. Plus there are no silicones.
6. ROUX LEAVE IN TREATMENTS – There are 4 different kinds of Leave In Treatments from Roux and all are wonderful. My favorite changes from time to time but right now it’s the Extra Moisture one. These are leave ins so I don’t have to put anything more in my hair before I style it.
7.  KERASTASE CHROMA RICHE MASK – If you want an extra rich mask, this is the one to get. This is a very thick formula that you leave in for 5-10 minutes and then wash out. The fragrance is strong so I don’t use it often but if my hair looks damaged I do reach for this one.
8.  NELSON J ARGAN OIL MOISTURE HEALING MASK – I haven’t used this but I’ve certainly heard my blog partner Lisa rave about it enough. She is crazy about this hair mask so it’s definitely worth a look at.
9.  AG HAIR RECONSTRUCT ANTI-BREAKAGE MASK – I’ve enjoyed using all the AG Hair products that I’ve tried. This mask is great for hair like mine that does break and shed easily.  It’s great for using as a short term conditioner that you rinse out quickly or a longer time mask.
10.  DARSHANA NATURAL INDIAN HAIR OIL – This miraculous oil leaves hair as beautiful and shiny as a movie star’s. The creators of this treatment used only natural ingredients (natural Ayurvedic Oils) and left out silicone, parabens, sulfates, mineral oil making this a cruelty free product. If you want shine, Darshana is the way to go.
At first I didn’t know if I could come up with 10 but I realize now that I’m lucky enough to have found 10 with others on my almost list. Have you a favorite hair mask or treatment?
Join the other Top Ten ladies to see what’s missing in your shower. – Marcia

*some products were received for review consideration as noted in original articles

Heat and humidity? No problem with AG Hair Smoothing Balm

AG Hair is a line that has never disappointed me, so when they sent a sample of their brand new Smoothing Balm I was really excited. My hair tends to get frizzy with tons of flyaways, especially in the heat and humidity.

The Smoothing Balm ($22) is a lightweight balm applied to dry hair for shine and frizz control.

AG Smoothing Balm

AG Smoothing Balm

inside the jar

inside the jar

Because the Smoothing Balm has a water-based formula, it can be re-applied as necessary throughout the day without any nasty build up. The balm has three essential oils sourced from Africa:  organic argan, Marula, and Mongongo oils. These oils give exactly the right amount of smoothness and shine that hair needs. A very small amount calms and smooths frizz and instantly eradicates flyaways. It makes hair wonderfully soft and manageable.

my smoothed out 'do

my smoothed out ‘do

The new Smoothing Balm just became available today, July 1st! If you are looking for something to smooth away frizz and add major shine, this is definitely the answer. And I adore AG Hair’s motto:  Use. Love. Repeat.

A portion of every bottle sold goes to AG’s Women Leading Change Foundation educating underprivileged girls in Africa.  – Lisa

* sent for editorial consideration

Adding vibrant and radiant color that lasts with AG Hair’s new BB Cream and Deflect

Are there days that you look in the mirror and love the way your hair looks? Whenever I have days like that I want to stop time. Lately with the newest products from AG Hair I’ve been having a lot of those days. AG Hair’s new BB Cream Total Benefit Hair Primer and Deflect Fast Dry Heat Protection Spray were launched in salons on March 1st and I am thrilled to have been using them from the company for the last several weeks.

AG Hair - BB Cream and Deflect

AG Hair – BB Cream and Deflect

AG Hair is a favorite of both Lisa and I. These two new products are part of the Colour Care line that helps keep hair vibrant and radiant.  What attracts us to pictures of stars in magazines is their shiny hair and with these two products we can all strive for that too. I’m the person that started going gray very young. I’ve been coloring my hair to cover roots since I was in my late twenties and my poor sister started even earlier. I know that if I let my roots grow out I’d have white hair by now but that’s not going to happen if I have anything to say about it. That’s why I am always looking for products that keep my color lasting longer like these two from AG Hair. AG Hair’s Colour Care line uses a special CARE Complex (Colour and Radiance Enhancing) that contains herbal extracts like sunflower seed extract, marigold, lavender, red clover, pine and carnation to combat color destroying free radicals.

AG Hair BB Cream, Total Benefit Hair Primer

AG Hair BB Cream, Total Benefit Hair Primer

Let’s start with the BB Cream, Total Benefit Hair Primer. Who knew that we’d need a hair primer? I just wrote an article for Top Ten Tuesday about facial primers and eyeshadow primers and easily could have included this BB Cream in that article if I wanted to discuss about hair primers. Wash and condition your hair as always, then prime it with BB Cream. According to the company this unique formula fills the hair cuticle and primes your hair for layering on styling products. It creates a smooth base while containing antioxidants like acai, goji berry, and pomegranate. It adds fabulous moisture. My hair is looking fuller and bouncier.

AG Hair BB Cream, enough for my shoulder length hair

AG Hair BB Cream, enough for my shoulder length hair

Look at all the benefits of AG Hair BB Cream:

1. fills uneven hair cuticle
2. thickens hair
3. moisturizes and smoothes frizz
4. adds silkiness
5. protects against colour fading with AG’s CARE Complex
6. protects against UV rays
7. protects against damage from heat styling tools
8. anti-aging – reduces brittleness
9. humidity-resistant
10. primes hair to maintain styles longer between shampoos

AG Hair Deflect, Fast-Dry Heat Protection

AG Hair Deflect, Fast-Dry Heat Protection

The other new product is Deflect, Fast Dry Heat Protection Spray which is infused with Abyssinian oil to detangle. It’s to be applied prior to heat styling your hair to shield it while at the same time protecting your color. Heat tools like our blow dryers, flattening irons, curling irons as well as the sun do a lot of damage to our color. Deflect helps combat the free radicals and shields hair from UV rays. When you are paying big bucks for hair color – not even counting the time it takes – you want to do all that you can to make the color last as long as possible.

Here’s how this wonderful product works: “When hair is wet, round, dense droplets of water sit on the surface of the hair shaft and require prolonged heat to evaporate. In Deflect, micro emulsified Abyssinian oil encourages the water droplets to collapse and lie flat, increasing the surface area of water available to heat. The result is water that evaporates rapidly and hair that dries significantly faster.”

Deflect, Fast-Dry Heat Protection Spray

Deflect, Fast-Dry Heat Protection Spray

I’m always changing up my routine with AG Hair BB Cream and Deflect. I use one every time I do my hair and sometimes I use both. Today for example I put a quarter size amount of BB Cream in the palm of my hand, rubbed my two hands together and spread it through my hair. I L.O.V.E. how my hair looks today. Other days I do the same with the BB Cream but then before blow drying I’ll spray on Deflect since it helps dry my hair a little faster as well as protects it from the heat. Other days I just use Deflect. Since I only have time to wash my hair 3 times a week I’ll sometimes use my straightening iron. Deflect is my new protection against that strong heat.

There’s so much for me to love about these two products as well as the rest of the AG Hair line. It’s been at least 8 months since I had a keratin treatment but I still only use products that would be safe for it so as not to leach out the remainder. That means sulfate free, no parabens, no salt (sodium chloride) – all aspects of AG Hair and especially their Colour Care line. In addition the products are cruelty free. That’s not all, AG Hair also donates a portion of every bottle sold towards building schools for girls in Africa through their Women Leading Change Foundation. So you can have beautiful hair that makes you feel like a million bucks and helps others out.

The beauty salon where I get my hair color treated carries AG Hair and I’ve talked to my hairdresser about the line. She is one of the owners and this is a company she trusts for her clientele. AG Hair BB Cream is $26 and Deflect is $24. They are both products you should inquire about at your salon. They are that good.

What we'll all look like with AG Hair BB Cream and Deflect

What we’ll all look like with AG Hair BB Cream and Deflect

AG Hair is a Canadian company that has only been selling in the US for about 2 years. In that time they’ve made a wonderful impression on both of us at Beauty Info Zone. I believe in every product I’ve tried from them and hope you’ll get a chance to find these at your salon too. — Marcia

AG Hair BB Cream

AG Hair BB Cream

AG Hair Deflect

AG Hair Deflect

*sent for editorial consideration


Second day hair with first day volume: AG Hair High & Dry

AG Hair has some of the coolest hair products around. I love their Texture Spray (read my review HERE), and Frizzproof (reviewed HERE) is a hair product I use every single day. However, the latest product they sent to the BIZ had me scratching my head at first…why do I want second day hair when I just washed and styled it?? Then I figured it out – it’s all about keeping that first day fullness while adding in awesome texture.

AG high and dry

High & Dry ($24), the newest styling product from AG Hair that just became available this month, was inspired by the Rocker Chic movement. High & Dry is meant to give hair lots of volume along with a matte, textured finish that is very rock and roll. Think Debbie Harry – effortless looking hair that has a bit of an edge. This is the look that ruled the Spring 2014 runways.


AG High & Dry


AG High & Dry gives matte volume and a texturized finish

High & Dry is different from a dry shampoo because it doesn’t leave any residue behind. It’s not stiff like hairspray either – hair feels and looks both moveable and touchable. The best way to apply is to spray the product onto dry hair in layers, kind of scrunching hair up a bit after you spray each layer.  It doesn’t build up or flake even when touching up with more product throughout the day. I like to use it in the evening before going out to dinner or out with friends; it quickly takes my smooth daytime look and transforms it into more of a party-ready style.

Other great reasons to use High & Dry? It has:

  • herbal extracts to soothe the scalp and add antioxidants that improve hair health
  • copolymers that create a dry texturizing grip
  • PABA free sunscreen to protect hair from UV rays
  • and it is ozone safe
My High and Dry hair

My high and dry hair

I have long, layered hair that is fine, but there is a lot of it. High & Dry works great with my hair type and style. If you wonder whether or not it will work for your hair type, just wander over to an Ulta Store and try it out.

While I am not going to be wearing five-inch heels with painted on jeans and a leather jacket any time soon, High & Dry is a wonderfully unique product that has a permanent place on my hair product shelf.  – Lisa

*pr sample