MORE's Big Beauty Try-On: Fall Hair Care

The top five hair care products from MORE's Big Beauty Try-on
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Pantene Flat to Volume Shampoo and Conditioner

This new collection from Pantene was created not only to give added oomph to limp locks but also to provide appropriate care for fine hair-which has up to 50 percent less protein than thick hair, a deficiency that makes it more prone to splitting and breaking. (Who knew?) To combat this weakness, both the shampoo and conditioner formulas have been infused with special polymers that help reinforce fragile, fine hair, allowing it to comfortably s-t-r-e-t-c-h without breaking. And although readers were unaware of all the science behind the line, they appreciated what it did for their hair, after (in some cases) just one suds-up in the shower. "The duo did make my fine hair fuller, and my style still had body even after I used a flatiron on it," said one. Several commented on the products’ appealing, "citrusy" scent. Only one panelist, who described her hair as fine but also on the dry side, found the conditioner a bit too light for her liking. each $4; drugstores
Photo: Dwight Eschliman

Kiehl’s Superbly Smoothing Argan Hair Pak

This über-conditioner (part of Kiehl’s new Smoothing Argan Haircare line) is meant to be used once a week on very dry or damaged hair. The star ingredient-argan oil from Morocco-is especially high in essential fatty acids and is said to instantly smooth even the coarsest strands. Testers loved the results. "My hair was overprocessed from years of highlighting-it actually looked and felt synthetic, like something you’d find on a doll’s head. But after just one use of this treatment, my hair looked and felt soft and silky again-for the first time in a very long time," said one. The only downside: a disagreement over the conditioner’s scent. Argan oil has a smell that vaguely resembles patchouli (one might call it hippie-esque), and readers either loved it ?or hated it. One tester said the scent relaxed her and reminded her of a "dewy forest," while another said simply, "I just didn’t care for the scent." Our advice: Ask the Kiehl’s sales associate if you may take a sniff before you commit your cash. _$25; kiehls.com
Photo: Dwight Eschliman

Redken Real Control Slim Supreme

A leave-in smoothing treatment, this new styler won raves from testers for easy use (you just spritz it into clean, damp hair) and for its ability to smooth hair without weighing it down. "My hair is extremely fine, and usually I find that leave-in products leave me limp. But this one worked well," said one. Testers with fine to normal hair seemed to find the product most effective; those with very thick or coarse strands said it worked well on an average day, but when it was raining or very humid, frizz still managed to rear its not-so-pretty head. "I would still buy the product, though," said one, "because when it’s really raining, the only thing that truly keeps my coarse hair from expanding is a hat." $16; redken.com
Photo: Dwight Eschliman

Alterna Caviar Overnight Hair Rescue

Similar to a deep conditioner, this product was created to hydrate and strengthen dry, damaged hair, giving strands a bit more TLC than they get from daily hair care. However, unlike a deep conditioner, this product is applied to dry hair in an effort to improve penetration (which water can inhibit)-and it’s left on overnight while you sleep, then shampooed out the next morning rather than 10 to 15 minutes after application. Readers seemed to adapt to the unconventional usage, saying the product was absorbed easily and left no noticeable residue on their pillows. Testers with thicker, drier hair got the best results and reported that "this product left my hair looking healthier and shinier" and "my hair felt considerably softer." Only one tester, with dry but very fine hair, said she found the formula a bit too rich for her thin strands. _$35; beauty.com
Photo: Dwight Eschliman

Avon Advance Techniques Frizz Control Lotus Shield

In light of the booming popularity of frizz-controlling, in-salon keratin treatments, Avon decided to design a product that delivers fuzz-free results at home-for a fraction of the price. (Keratin treatments are typically several hundred dollars.) And though you need to apply this serum after every shampoo to see results (whereas the benefits of keratin treatments can last as long as three months), our testers were quite surprised at how effective just a pea-size drop of this frizz-control product could be. "I live in a hot, humid part of the country, and my hair gets really puffy. But this product tamed the pouf without feeling heavy or making my hair look greasy," said one. According to another, "It made my hair more manageable on day one-and on day two it actually seemed even better." Only one caveat for women with very long hair: A Rapunzel-type tester said she "had to use a little more product" than was prescribed on the packaging to get results that lasted. _$12; avon.com For the season’s best skin salves (as selected by our reader roadtesters), click here
Photo: Dwight Eschliman

First Published Fri, 2010-08-27 10:06

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