Hair Care At Its Best
Our 2013 Beauty Award Winners
You've been sudsing and spritzing for as long as you can remember, and by now, you know what you want out of a hair product. You've also learned the hard way that many of the options out there fall flat on their promises, so you don't jump for joy at the sight of a new shampoo the way you might for a lipstick or a skin serum. That's about to change.
These products passed the ultimate challenge: Shampoos and conditioners were evaluated using a high-tech gizmo to measure shine, and then put through another complex trial to see how well they detangled (more on that later). Then we consulted the best hairstylists in the business, along with real women, to see which products excelled outside the lab (as in, after sweaty gym sessions, in windy weather, and in humid climates).
Here, the dozen products that'll solve your hair problems for good.
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- Mia Caybut, colorist at Color by Mia in San Francisco and Oakland, CA
- Justin Jensen, hair colorist for Sally Hershberger Salon in New York City
- Brad Johns, hair color director for the Salon and Spa at Saks 5th Avenue in New York City
- TRI/Princeton, independent research lab
Dove Hair Therapy Nutritive Solutions Daily Moisture Shampoo (, pack of 2; )
Why it's a winner with our panel: Strands sudsed with this shampoo stood up to a massive combing device, proving it detangled better than competitors, and it left hair supershiny, as judged by a light-diffusing apparatus. (Yes, these things actually exist.)
Why it's a winner with us: We didn't need fancy gadgets to see the difference in our sometimes lackluster strands (thanks, blow-dryer). This shampoo gave hair a just-stepped-out-of-a-salon kind of sheen.
Pantene Expert Collection Age Defy Conditioner (; )
Why it's a winner with our panel: It contains a blend of caffeine, niacinamide, and panthenol, a combo that increased hair thickness by 10% in Procter & Gamble research published in theBritish Journal of Dermatology. And it has an emulsifier that smooths hair for a youthful look, says Johns.
Why it's a winner with us: While we don't exactly want to revisit our teenage years, we didn't mind that this product made our hair as full, touchably soft, and utterly weightless as a high schooler's.
Garnier Olia Oil Powered Permanent Hair Color (; )
Why it's a winner with our panel: Most at-home hair dyes use ammonia to deposit color, but this formula takes a cue from the latest salon dyes, using "flower-based oil to propel color deep into the hair's cuticle," says Jensen. The result? Shiny hair.
Why it's a winner with us: We've all been there: You catch your likeness in a reflective surface and ugh—roots. Skip the trip to the salon, hit the drugstore, and then book it to your bathroom. This gentle product deposits lasting color. Plus, it's stink-free, so you can skip the hazmat suit. (Check out 7 more ways to hide your roots.)
Pro tip: "If you have stubborn gray hair, leave on for an extra 5 minutes," says Jensen.
Alterna Bamboo Style Ultra Hold Hairspray(; )
Why it's a winner with our panel:Most sprays have a shellaclike finish, but "this one has yucca and bambusa, which make hair soft, not stiff," says Caybut. Bonus: Olive oil adds shine and makes the product easy to brush out at night.
Why it's a winner with us:This hair spray passed the ultimate test: curly hair on a humid day. Even after hours of schlepping around town (including a stop at Vinyasa yoga class), our strands stayed bouncy, not crunchy. Our testers agreed. "I live in humid Florida, so I was impressed that this kept my hair in place without looking stiff," said one reader.
More from Prevention:Bad Hair Days, Solved
Redken Diamond Oil(; )
Why it's a winner with our panel:Some of our experts loved what was in the formula: sunflower oil, coriander, and apricot, which "create incredible shine," says Johns. Others applauded what was missing: silicone, which can build up on hair, making it flat and lackluster over time.
Why it's a winner with us:Even when we had split ends (who has time for that every-6-week trim, really?), the oil made our hair feel just-left-the-salon smooth.
Pro tip:"Apply at the ends first, where it's most needed," says Johns. Then distribute evenly through the middle of your strands. Avoid the scalp, especially if your hair is oily.
Organix Thick and Full Biotin & Collagen Amplifying Lotion(; )
Why it's a winner with our panel:"Your hair absorbs the collagen and becomes thicker," says Johns, "while wheat protein attaches to the outer layer to further enhance fullness."
Why it's a winner with us:Literally every tester referenced the "amazing [almost beachy] smell." Considering we caught ourselves sniffing our own strands all day, we'd have to agree. But the real selling point is the instant thickening effect. Limp hair got a boost whether or not we blasted our hair with heat.
Pro tip:Start with a thumbnail-size amount and gradually add more, if necessary. "Too much product can weigh hair down for the opposite effect," says Jensen.
Video: MY HAIRCARE ESSENTIALS! (All time favourite natural hair products)
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