The Best Products to Protect and Beautify Your Hair and Skin
Care for your hair.
Given my credentials in master haircutting, color formulation, and skin care, the two most frequent conversations I’ve been having for more than three decades are: Don’t over-shampoo your hair, and apply SPF sun protection.
Hair care is an essential part of a grooming routine. For those that are blessed with great looks, a head of hair is the cherry on top. For those who didn’t wake-up-like-this, good hair is a nice way to enhance your eyes, blur a less-pronounced jawline, or create slick sophistication (think: The Great Gatsby) with tightly combed wax and a severe part. Or curly, wavy, and (Elvis) pompadoured. And a receding hairline or shaved head both have a place on the hot meter too.
Whatever look you’re rocking, rarely can it be done without tools and product, product, product. Period. Professional styling is an art, and learning when to use a comb, a Denman brush, a flat palm military brush, or a tightly woven boar bristle round brush is critical. Know when to use a cream versus a serum or paste; or three varying stiffnesses of wax and pomade; or wet-styling conditioning spray versus real hairspray.
Personally, I’ve found my best hair days are bed-hair days, which require dry shampoo, a 3.5-inch round brush, and a blow dryer. Sometimes dollops of slick serum and a flash dose of a flat iron. And yeah, sometimes a shower cap. Somehow, a half-dozen hair smoothing irons have been “lost” backstage while I worked on male models’ heads. What does that tell you? Lastly, don’t confuse “smooth” hair (which can also be large, shiny curls) with stick “straight” smooth hair. Ready?
Did your topical hair-growth cure have mixed results? Minoxidil Response Test informs you of how effective the topical solution could be ($139).DanielAlain.com
Equipped with painless nano needles, Revivv Dermaroller is a hair regrowth kit that stimulates and rejuvenates growth from the follicular scalp ($170).Revivv.co
My best style memories involve smooth hair. Keratin isn’t a relaxer; it’s a conditioning treatment coating of proteins (our hair and nails are made of this) usually infused onto the cuticle and shaft with a hair iron for thicker, stronger, smooth hair. Answr Beauty does this safely without formaldehyde, lasting about three months (from $55).AnswrBeauty.com
Yes, Balmain. I bowed with admiration for the hair collection. The Cordless Straightener is a durable machine ready for globetrotting. Floating plates, three LED-coded settings, and a travel clamp lock make this great. The chic travel tote seals the deal ($439). Thermal Protection Spray($52), Pre Styling Cream($44), and Sun Protection Spray($55) are just the beginning. Balmain.com
Dyson continues its hair innovation trek. The wait is over. The AirStrait provides wet-to-dry hair straightening with air and without hot plates or extreme heat. Its auto-sensing with air flow is genius ($500). Dyson.com/hair-care
Uppercut Deluxe toggles old-world barbering with modernity. Their product range allows hair to be tamed and tight or floppy and movable. Along with round brushing, I like the Foam Tonic for styling control ($17), the Styling Powder(bomb!) for root lift ($20), and the Easy Hold cream pomade for a “dusted” look throughout ($20).UppercutDeluxe.com
One United special edition Multi-Benefit Treatment Spray is a leave-in conditioning spray and heat-protectant detangler that adds shine and fights frizz and breakage. Redken has partnered with It Gets Better Project, a global nonprofit with a mission uplift LGBTQ+ youth; they also have a safe space course to ensure LGBTQ+ hairdressers and clients have great environments too ($22).Amazon.com
Pattern Beauty brings a level of silken luxury to ethnic and textured hair without feeling too heavy. The brand’s Leave-in Conditioner has jojoba, sweet almond, and shea butters ($9-$42), extending its formula to Palo Santo Leave-in Conditioner with a light, woody, mint citrus aroma ($25). PatternBeauty.com
Known for major hair preservation from hot tools, CHI is a vetted, sulfate-free, dedicated styling line. Keratin Mist($18-$37), Ionic Color Lock Treatment($3-$34),Infra Silk Infusion ($3-$57),Infra Treatment($2-$37). Chi.com
Kevin Murphy is ahead of the styling curve. Powder Puff is a moist root lift powder ($32); Touchable Spray Waxis very cool ($37); Everlasting Color Leave-In Spray is a bond builder ($41); Smooth Again is a nourishing styler ($41); and Young Again Dry Conditionerspray can be a style finisher or next day refresher ($22-$37). KevinMurphy.com.au
Leaf and Flower
Leaf + Flower’s CBD Instant Damage Correction range is a healing hair-to-toe experience. Shampoo + ConditionDuo($59),CBD 7 Minute Blowout repairs as you dry ($35);CBD Instant Frizz Remedy gives glass hair ($35); CBD Molecular Skin Shield may be the best hand balm ever ($29); and CBD Maximum Pain Releaf eases aches and fatigue ($89).LeafandFlower.com
The Ultimate Bonding Bundle from Fekkai provides immediate, noticeably luxe results in full sizes of the Super Strength + Shampoo, Conditioner, Mask, Protein Spray, and Bonding Oil. An “all-clean,” vegan, and sustainable triumph for Frédéric Fekkai ($112). Fekkai.com
Beyond perfumed hair care and artisanal glass bottles lies a truly decadent yet streamlined regimen from Lazarus Douvos. You can safely double cleanse with Rose 1845 Shampoo($50), feel indulgent with Rose 1845 Conditioner($50), and protect and silken with Rose 1845 Hair Oil($105). Rare. NeimanMarcus.com
Armor Your Skin
Zinc provides the best skin protection and least penetration, but it’s heavier. Let’s bring our vanity front and center. My ultimate purpose is ensuring that hyperpigmentation areas (increased melanin on spots, razor cuts, or healing blemish scars) don’t get darker. Meaning if your skin is completely unmarked, lucky you. But if not, you may need sun protection forever.
Luckily, skin science offers luxury options that act as multi-tasking treatments with antioxidants, retinols, peptides, and a whole host of targeted “it ingredients” like snow mushroom, willow bark, seaweed, or micro-algae. And finally, sunscreen is becoming weightless and invisible. Note: You can still get a tan with 70 SPF. You just won’t burn with re-application. I spot treat my face imperfections, then do a whole layer over that. In front of my computer or in the sun. Even in winter. Always and forever. The following skin protectors can positively change your outlook on doing an about face in the sun or cloudy daylight. Learn to love it. Or suffer in your golden years.
Clarins sets the gold standard when it comes to skin protection and ageless grace. UV Plus Anti-Pollution Sunscreen Multi-Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 50 disappears completely ($45).Hydrating Toning Lotion($30-$45) and Plant Gold Nutri-Revitalizing Oil-Emulsion calm sunny aggravations. Double Serum Firming and Smoothing Anti-Aging Concentrate helps fix flaws ($90-$175).Clarins.com
A perfect antioxidant-rich combo is Lumene'sNordic-C Arctic Berry Face Oil Cocktail ($36) under Brightening Day Fluid Mineral SPF 30($30).Amazon.com
Clinique for Men Super Energizer Anti-Fatigue Hydrating Concentrate Broad Spectrum SPF 25 ($53) is a must. Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Cream uses solar-activated antioxidants ($30).Clinique Smart Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Custom-Repair Moisturizer($64-$84) is all that. Clinique.com
Start the party with StriVectin’s Peptide Plump Line Filling Bounce Serum($89) used over Advanced Retinol Daily Repair Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30($99) and GlowFector SPF 30 Instant Illuminating Lotion Broad Spectrum($39) for flawless layering. StriVectin.com
Estée Lauder’s Multi-Defense Aqua UV Gel SPF 50 with 8 Antioxidants ($48) goes perfectly over Perfectionist Pro Serum Rapid Firm + Lift Treatment with Acetyl Hexapeptide-8($86) and their soothing corrective Swiss Performing Extract($65). EsteeLauder.com
Near cult status with rich Azorean actives is Blue Light Serum($124) and Volcanic Clay Mask($163) along with a stellar lineup at Ignae.com.
The clean potency of Image Skincare’s Prevention+ is Daily Ultimate Protection Moisturizer SPF 50($50) or Daily Matte Moisturizer SPF 30($52). Summer nights out deserve Ageless TotalPure Hyaluronic 6 Filler($80) over The Max Crème($116).ImageSkincare.com
Glo Skin Beauty
#Winning with Glo Skin Beauty’s Oil Free SPF 40+($48) or the ten shades of C-Shield Anti-Pollution Moisture Tint SPF 30($50). Treating under SPF protection? Use Brightening Polish ($46) and Retinol+ Resurfacing Serum($80).GloSkinBeauty.com
Vitamin C transforms at every layer: BeautyStat’s Universal C Skin Refiner Brightening Vitamin C Serum($85) and C Eye Perfector Dark Circle Reducing Vitamin C Eye Cream($65) under Universal C Broad Spectrum SPF($85).BeautyStat.com
Earthy and luxurious is Mara Algae + Zinc’s Sea Kale Sunscreen Serum($52) over Flower Acid Algae Serum($74).Mara Chia + Moringa’s Algae Enzyme Cleansing Oil is sublime ($58).TheMaraBeauty.com