Top Three 2011 Game Changers: Hair

 (Me, the day after Christmas 1979, learning to ride the most awesome bike ever. Judging by this picture, My Mom was really into yellow. I suppose for the time, it was better than avocado, the only other color they had in the '70's.)

Happy Day-After-Christmas-Returns Day! Growing up, today was always they day that was lots of fun for me. Not only did we play with our loot all day, we also went to the big, fancy mall that had this cool store called Art Explosion, where I would spend my gift certificates. Then, after a trip to Express and Claire's my life was complete.

Now as an adult, instead of joyously buying funky tchotchkes, I am anxiously awaiting the hour to go to Game Stop and open up a can of Grade-A Gouldylox Whoop Ass on the store manager. He had spent 45 minutes helping me pick out the perfect headphones for Loxy, who loves Call of Duty.  Instead of the "New (which I thought was standard in a new box at full price), Wireless, Dolby Digital" headphones I thought I was plunking down Sultra-dryer-money for, I got this:  Used headphones (why do they do that?), that were missing the MICROPHONE and were in no way wireless. Since these things are not cheap and the store manager shepherded my way through the process with lies, it's Wrath-of-Gouldylox time. 

But I digress.

This year, I finally had hair to really explore the world of hair products. A few things stand out in my mind as being the 2011 game changers I don't want to be without.

#3. Wen Cleansing Conditioner. I know I talk about this all of the time. But as a redhead who can't use sulfates, Wen does an amazing job of managing my hair, especially the color. Before I get my hair colored again, I'll do a video showing you how even sulfate-free shampoo strips out color and Wen does not. I'll do one half of my head with each to show and prove it. But I don't want to be lopsided for long, so that won't be for a few weeks. When I first tried Wen, my hair was much shorter and the effects were not as obvious. Now having used it with much longer hair for longer periods of time, I am certain it's a game changer. Especially for red heads.  If you aren't sure what a Wen Cleansing Conditioner is, check out my review from earlier in the year.

#2. Dry shampoos. Again, this is a game changer for me specifically because, until this year, I didn't have enough hair to really bother with using them. And while I'm sure you know what a dry shampoo is, loads of lurkers email me weekly and ask if dry shampoos really work and are worth trying. If you don't know what a dry shampoo is, let me break it down. A dry shampoo is either a spray or powder that is applied to the roots of the hair (and sometimes to the hair shaft itself) that helps absorb oil and give your style another day or two. It can also be used to add volume to hair, refresh the smell of the hair or give very clean hair a little bit of grab if you are doing an updo of sorts. They even come in colors, which can be used to hide your roots. That is a godsend for me. Want to visit the wonderful world of dry shampoos? Check out this website, which carries almost everything that is dry shampoo. My favorites this year are as follows:

UNITE 7 Seconds Dry Shampoo is amazing because it's intended to be used on the roots and on the hair shaft itself. It doesn't make a white mess, doesn't smell blucky and works really hard. Love it.

HairShadz by Monimay is my go-to product every morning. I use it to cover my roots along the part and when I pull my hair up. It doesn't make a mess, it doesn't budge until you wash it and it revives my hair. If I could only keep one new styling hair product this year, it would be this.

Suave makes amazing, inexpensive dry shampoos as well. While I have loved several bottles of their standard dry shampoo, which smell better than Oribe, their new Keratin Dry Shampoo is equally amazing. I'll be reviewing the Keratin Infusion Dry Shampoo in the upcoming week. You'll just have to trust me for now.

#1. My number one game changer in the world of hair for 2011 is the ThermaFuse 405 Amino Acid Straightening Treatment. This has made my hair manageable, softer, touchable and like a Pantene ad, every day, when I get out of bed. This isn't a Keratin treatment, but rather an amino acid treatment. There is NO formaldehyde when the ingredients are combined, like other sneaky brands. This officially lasts for 3 months, but I am basically at month four and it's still going strong. It's definitely faded a bit, but my coarse, slightly wavy hair is still way more manageable than before I had the treatment. The only difference is that on days when it rains or is very humid, my ends start to get flippy and, once in a while, do frizz. I'm definitely getting this done again. I am told, by other readers, that if your hair is very curly, you may not have the same results. My curly-haired comrades have smoother hair that required way less styling time and product, not to mention less frizz. So different hair yields different results. I have/had coarse, wavy, not magazine pretty hair. Having this treatment done was like getting a new head of hair, without extensions. Check out my full review here.

All products mentioned were provided for consideration the first time. This time, it's just because they were that awesome.

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