A Guide To The Three Essential Hair Brushes

Hair brushes are like investments. Not high risk, high reward investments like junk bonds. More like your savings account earning 0.01% over the course of a year. OK, maybe that sounds bad, but think about it: Your hair brush is not going to suddenly transform into Optimus Prime after you have it for a year. No, it’s going to keep being your hair brush. And as long as you’re moderately responsible with it (no violent hair-brush-microphone lip-syncing) it’s going to be that same really good hair brush for a really long time.

But, there’s another investment analogy here. You shouldn’t invest in just any brush. You need to make an assessment of your current and future needs. To help, stylist (and colorist, too!) Greg Ruggeri has laid out a handy beginners guide. Chances are, what you need is going to fall into one of these three categories. Greg will lay the groundwork, and you can sound off in the comments:

For Wet Hair
“The most important brush of all would be for brushing your hair when wet or just coming out of the shower,” Greg says. “What you want for this is the Tangle Teezer. Use this by starting at the ends of the hair first and work your way up. There are various sizes depending on hair type. The newest in the range is the Aqua Splash, which is better than the original in that it is easier to use and won’t slip out of your hands.”

For Styling
“My styling brush of choice will always be my YS Park. Depending on your hair needs, there will always be a brush here for you in their line. The Daruma 7 is my go-to for sleek volume blowouts. The G-Series is for more straightening, but be warned that when you first use this brush it creates INCREDIBLE tension when used for straightening.”

For Every Day
“The everyday brush would be my Mason Pearson Large Extra Military,” Greg says. Just like the ubiquitous Mason Pearson—boar bristles to distribute oils from scalp to ends and quality to last a lifetime—but without the handle. It makes style last longer, plus it’s travel-friendly! And it makes you feel like a super serious Navy guy or something. Greg continues: “I’ve used it on every client I’ve had for the past 15 years. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s exactly what you need to do a proper consultation and preparation for any appointment.”

Photo via ITG.

Next up, eight combs to consider. Or if it’s makeup brushes you’re after, we’ve got some suggestions in that area, too.

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Weekend Itinerary: A Drugstore Spa Day

Duane Reade is Shangri-La for cheap gluttons like me. I find CVS’ lighting too harsh, and any Rite Aid will forever remind me of the Rite Aid in my hometown, which is a scary place to be after 7pm. Ricky’s is legendary, but doesn’t sell Utz chips or paper towels. My good friend Duane sells everything, is usually clean, and caters to all of my weird cravings 24 hours a day. What do you call a place that sells French drugstore products and Kit Kats on the same shelf? You call it paradise.

The other great thing about Duane Reade is that you can ball out in the cosmetics section for about thirty dollars. At the drugstore, peasants are kings. Just because I spent all my money on cabs and Juice Generation smoothies during Fashion Week doesn’t mean that I can’t treat myself like the Crown Prince of Brooklyn with a few strategic drugstore buys. Which makes it the perfect place to go once you’ve canceled all of your weekend plans in search of a little R&R. Less than $100 gets you a full-body spa day. Head, shoulders, knees, toes. Here’s the menu:

The DIY Facial: Yesterday you heard from Aida Bicaj, who is arguably one of the greatest facialists in New York City. But she’s uptown and I’m in Brooklyn… Luckily for you and me, drugstore masks are abundant and are usually really, really good. Take Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Masque, a beauty school favorite and excellent May Lindstrom switch hitter—it’s got a fresh scent, major clarifying power, and a satisfying, cartoonish key lime green color. I love to keep a mask on for as long as possible, but this one should stay on for 10 minutes, max.

And then, like the spoiled babe you are, you should follow with: Another mask. Specifically, L’Oreal’s Revitalift Intensive Overnight Mask. It was invented for slumber but for the purposes of this day, shall be used as a prolonged treatment mask. I asked my roommate if she would be interested in applying this to me, à la Bicaj. She politely declined. Revitalift has that “nice mask” smell (not for the scent adverse) but when applied lightly, leaves your skin a little bouncier afterwards. Blame those hyaluronic acids.

(Total for the DIY Facial: $29)

The Deep Pamper: If you live in New York or in a small apartment anywhere, the idea of taking a bath is either 1) luxurious, because you don’t have a bathtub or 2) unsavory, because no matter how much you clean it, it still seems kind of dirty? So if you have a bathtub, I urge you to overcome your fears and take one. Boom! That’s an indulgence you can have for free. Pour in some $8 Mayfair Body Wash Bubble Bath (scent rec: Sea Lily Jasmine) and you’re all set. And because this is a total body experience, eschew your usual conditioner for Aussie’s 3 Minute Miracle Deeeeep Conditioning Treatment. There’s deep, and then there’s deeeeeep—if winter is ravaging your hair, this is the perfect antidote.

I’d also suggest a pair of Pedispa Exfoliating Foot Masks—the kind that you can feel working while you use them. Pedispa recommends an hour to 90 minutes of foot soaking, which means you get an hour-to-90-minute excuse to remain horizontal.

(Total for the Deep Pamper: $22)

The While You Watch Vanderpump Rules: Nothing goes better with schadenfreude than a lil at-home manicure. Begin with Sally’s Cuticle Remover and follow up with the 18K Gold Nail Hardener. It’s easily the best 18K gold product you’ll find at Duane Reade, for one. Flecks of gold mean a slightly shimmery, metallic clear polish (and it’s buildable if you’re looking for something more) that works as a treatment on it’s own or a topcoat over another polish. Do your toenails, too! And while you’re down there, Neutrogena Foot Cream is no-frills, but works wonders for calloused, cracked skin. It is the perfect remedy for the trench foot I acquired while trudging to shows through inclement weather this past week.

(Total for all of that: $19)

The Quick Fix: Maybe you don’t have all day to indulge. If you’re like me, your “free time” consists of the 30 minutes you’ve blocked off on Saturday in which you complete the tax forms you’ve been putting off. In that case, slap on Bioré Pore Strips and Earth Therapeutics Hydrogel Eye Gels to get the job done. The first is a cult classic cleanse. The second is, hands down, the best under eye treatment $9 can buy. That brings the grand total for the whole spa day to about $87, which might be something to consider if you’re debating shelling out for some SK-II sheet masks. Sometimes more is more.

—Brennan Kilbane

Photographed by Tom Newton.

Speaking of options, pick out a new matte lipstick while you’re there. And say hi to Duane for us.

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All About Rosehip—Rose’s Less Obvious, Ridiculously-Good-For-You Sister

According to my local drugstore’s recent explosion into a pink and red rose disaster zone, it is almost Valentine’s Day. To be honest, Glossier HQ isn’t so different from a Duane Reade around this time of year—beyond the normal Soothing Face Mist rose scent, there’s more pink than usual, almost too much chocolate, and our usual Meta Flora arrangements have been joined with bouquets from significant others (and the occasional, very generous PR firm).

Is it just me or is anyone else a bit sick of roses? There’s nothing wrong with them, of course…but they do seem a little *obvious* at this time of year. Do you really want to feel beautiful on Valentine’s Day—or any day, really? Take a note from the skincare routines of women with beautiful skin (lookin’ at you, Miranda Kerr) and focus your attention on rosehip.

Think of rosehip as the Jan to rose’s Marcia: Rose gets all the attention, but rosehip is lowkey great at everything, and a little less showy about it. Sprung from the same flower, a rosehip is a tiny red fruit that is left when the petals of a wild rose fall off, and there it hangs until it is pressed into an elixir known to us as rosehip seed oil. It is amazing for all skin types, is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, and packed with insane amounts of antioxidants and vitamin C.

Now, before I tell you how you can slather this stuff on your body from head to toe, let my mom, a professional biodynamic gardener and know-it-all, tell you all about it. She says that rosehip is only going to be as pure and potent as the soil it was grown in (typical biodynamic gardener talk). If you cultivate rosehip using organic compost, the end result will provide your skin with optimum nutrients and benefits, but if a rosehip is grown using pesticides and stripped soil, you’ll be missing out on all that little bud has to offer—or as my mom put it, “Nobody wants to put that shit on their skin!” Listen to my mom: Make sure your rosehip products are organic.

Without further ado, here’s how you can put rosehip on every part of your body:

After cleansing, you can do one of three things: mask, peel or moisturize—the choice is yours.

For masking, Eminence Organics’ Rosehip and Maize Exfoliating Masque works overtime. The rosehip soothes and moisturizes, while the maize flour gently exfoliates for a rosy (too much?) and even complexion.

For peeling, try Korres’ Wild Rose Vitamin C Peel. This two-step peel is gentle because it uses that high source of vitamin C we were talking about earlier to exfoliate. The antioxidant doesn’t stop there: Vitamin C also helps smooth fine lines and discolorations, Lena Korres told me (she’s the the brand development director and and actual Korres family member behind the Greek drugstore line).

For moisturizing, Herbivore’s Phoenix Facial Oil has been my oil of choice for the past couple of months. It has a mixture of rosehip, sea buckthorn and CoQ10, all of which work together to fight aging, produce collagen, and intensely hydrate. While this can be used alone day or night, I prefer to use Phoenix under my day cream to combat my case of winter face.

If you prefer to not lay down a cool $88 for a face oil, do a quick Google search for organic rosehip seed oil. When I was just beginning my foray into the wonderful world of rosehip, I bought a huge bottle on Amazon for fifteen bucks that lasted me for months and provided just as many good skin days.

Your scalp is skin! Don’t forget it and use Christophe Robin’s Delicate Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner. Both products not only smell amazing—I’m talking the freshest and cleanest lingering rose scent—but they also restore the moisture that’s slowly being sucked out by life. Save your black wool coats from embarrassing dandruff situations with a couple quick spritzes.

Speaking of Miranda, Kora Organics’ Luxurious Rosehip Body Oil makes sure that the skin south of your face doesn’t get left out either. It’s dry enough that you can put it on without worrying about your clothes and moisturizing enough that it leaves you with a slight sheen on the skin with a light, herbal scent. This oil has me looking toward the future—to warmer days spent on the beach where it’ll enhance my nonexistent tan. Until then, rosehip oil will rid my skin of wintery dry patches and ensure that come summer, I’m ready for that Pucci bikini that I bought on sale in January.

­–Amelia Sabra

Amelia is a Glossier Editorial Intern. Photographed by Tom Newton.

Head into the glossary with ITG’s ingredient guides to echinaceapearl, and many more.

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BHAs: The Key To Conquering Oily Skin

I often find myself staring at very caustic, dangerous, and sometimes bizarre materials wondering, “Is this the thing that’ll clear up my skin?” Like, maybe all I need to do to get rid of my oversized pores is take some sandpaper from Home Depot to my entire face twice a day. Or maybe a Tide To Go pen would actually be the best acne spot treatment. (OK obviously not. Very obviously.) But these are just absent thoughts I have every once in a while. Truth be told, I’m a bit of a risk-averse skincare user. I figured anything with the word “acid” in it would leave me red-faced and horrified like Samantha Jones after her chemical peel on Sex and the City. Stick with the devil you know, the saying goes. And I’ve become closely acquainted with my oily, acne-prone skin.

However, I changed my tune after using Paula’s Choice’s BHA Skin Perfecting Liquid—I can’t even begin to tell you how many comments called it out as life changing (maybe you’re one of them…). So I gave into Paula. And damn does that stuff work. More on that in a minute.

First, the homework bit: BHA stands for Beta Hydroxy Acid. The most common BHA is Salicylic Acid, typically used for treating acne. BHAs are good for exfoliating—getting rid of dead skin and allowing new skin to grow—and correcting dark spots, photo-damage, and improving the skin’s texture. All of those things are good, but acid sounds bad. Should I be scared for any reason? I called my favorite dermatologists of all dermatologists, Dr. Pat Wexler, to elaborate:

“AHAs and BHAs are organic acids, so they can be found naturally occurring in nature,” she said. “BHAs are found in willow bark—salicylic acid is by far the most commonly used BHA for acne. The reason why BHAs are so effective is because they’re oil-soluble—so they can actually penetrate the pore to exfoliate, whereas AHAs can only exfoliate superficially.”

Figuring that out was my epiphany. Here, at last, was my Tide To Go pen for my skin cells, cleaning them up and making them like new.

The one little thing with Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Liquid is it’s a little complicated. It’s not a toner, it’s not a serum, it’s not moisturizer—it’s pure BHA and the texture of it is a little greasy. Probably tolerable for most people and easy enough to fit into any skincare routine, but before I sold my soul to one brand, I wanted to explore my own product path.

I started, of course, with a cleanser. Dr. Wexler had warned me that cleansers with BHAs aren’t the most effective treatment in the world—they’re not on your skin long enough to make much impact. But dammit if Renée Rouleau’s AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel isn’t one of the best things ever. It’s super frothy, smells lemony, has teeny gentle jojoba beads and is changing my skin. I’ve been using it 2x a day and taking my time morning and night to kind of massage it in. Since it’s not on your face for very long, the double exfoliation (physical and chemical) isn’t too much. From there I’ve started using Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar at night (as it is winter and I’m not so against moisturizer as I might normally be) and Mizon’s AHA/BHA Toner during the day.

For masks, I’ve been playing around with Herbivore’s Blue Tansy Mask. It’s very gentle and relaxing to use with a high concentration of AHA/BHAs—plus a very short, very ‘all natural,’ ‘organic’-vibe ingredient list for those who care about such things. It’s definitely worth trying.

Overall, my feelings about BHAs, and acids in general, can be summed up much better by the Renée Rouleau herself. (I talked to her about this story on the phone for an hour because she was just so charming and wonderful.) Her take is this:

“I’m more of a tried-and-true product person rather than just jumping off with the latest and greatest ingredient because I want to see how it pans out. I feel like it’s not authentic to jump on a buzz ingredient that’s not doing that much, so I wait it out and test it on myself and my clients. But AHAs and BHAs have been around for so long—they came out in the early ’90s and here we are in 2016. There’s a reason they’ve been in products for 25 years.”

That’s good enough logic for me.

—Tom Newton

Photographed by the author.

For more ITG editors and the exfoliants they love, read Emily Ferber’s take on the best peels for sensitive skin. For oily skin woes, see Alicia Yoon’s be-all, end-all Korean product guide.

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Sheet Mask Snow Day

If I may edit David Dudley’s already much-quoted blurb in the Times from last week, it should probably read, “A snowstorm rewards the well-moisturized and punishes those who haven’t been methodically stocking up on sheet masks, which is only one of the many reasons it’s the best natural disaster there is.” While the rest of the world was waiting in line at the Union Square Trader Joe’s for almond butter, I stopped at the much more conveniently located Space NK in Nolita because, yes, easy alternative protein is important—but when faced with a 48-hour snowstorm-enforced house arrest, it’s important to think about all facets of life. (Whole Foods is on my way home too, and they had plenty of almond butter left, so I did spend the weekend well-moisturized and well-fed.)

It turned into sort of a challenge, seeing just how many sheet masks I could accomplish during two days on the couch without a) freaking out my skin or b) freaking out my roommate. The best laid plans start with a sacrifice, so I tossed a prized SK-II Facial Treatment Mask her way as a peace offering. She seemed satisfied, so we turned on Ina Garten’s Back To Basics—the BEST thing on Netflix right now—and got to work.

With a project like this, you want to start slow, and give yourself a nice base moisturization to work with. Mess with the crazy ingredients later. Laneige Water Bank Soothing Gel Mask doesn’t make too many big promises or claims and that’s what I like about it. Instead, it’s all about comfort, and it does this two ways. The first is to make the mask out of extremely thin hydrogel; the second is to make it two pieces that you can fit together and overlap at will on your face. It’s also not too saturated, which makes for an easy, clean wearing experience.

Similarly there’s Ariul 7 Days Mask in Bamboo Water. It’s part of a Korean line purposefully designed to look like a daily newspaper, so that you’ll remember to use a sheet mask every day. It’s tencel, which made me feel better about the possibility that I might stock up on these—throwing 365 face-shaped pieces of tencel is apparently better than throwing away 365 pieces of anything else. (Reformation agrees.) It’s refreshing and it smells nice and sometimes a mask doesn’t need to be much more than that.

By Saturday night, I found myself needing something a little more party-party, y’know? Something to take the place of going out on the town (ha). Thank God there’s The Extremely Fancy One: Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle 24K Gold Intense Wrinkle Sheet Mask. It not only drips GOLD, but it leaves your face just a tinge sparkly. Can’t say I noticed its effects on wrinkles—maybe because I was so distracted by the sparkles. My roommate looked over at me in the process and gave a one word review: “Juicy!”

In one day, we’d gone through three bottles of wine, so Sunday morning was a bit rough. There’s always a hangover mask, or the more recently released DHC Medicated Q Pack Sheet. Once unfolded, it looks a bit like Shrek—a comparison not aided by the fact that it’s yellow-ish green in tint. (Of course, this is not to be confused with the actual Shrek sheet mask, something that came into the office last year but for dignity’s sake, I opted not to try.) The “ears” attached into my hairline, which wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but hey—maybe the coQ10 antioxidant formula is good for my roots, too. It was certainly good enough to revive dehydrated-by-alcohol-and-radiator skin in 10 minutes or less.

To stave off too much snacking, I brought out the Patchology Flashpatch Lip Gels on Sunday afternoon. They’re a sort of physical lip balm—a mouth-shaped hydrogel patch that dangles from your lips as long as you have the patience to keep it on. There’s a little hole in the middle, but you definitely shouldn’t try and stick food through it. It also tastes not great, so it’s good if you want your couch potato-mates to keep quiet as you try and figure out what Nicolas Hoult is shouting through Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s streaming on HBOGo so you can stop pretending that you’ve seen it and actually join the movement.

By Sunday night it was clear I would have to venture out into the world again soon, so I brought out the heavy hitter: Colbert MD Illumino Anti-Aging Brightening Mask. Dr. David Colbert, in addition to running New York Dermatology Group, has a really gorgeous line of skincare products that look not clinical or doctor-y at all. The latest addition to the ColbertMD line is this mask that makeup artist Frankie Boyd says he likes to “spoil” his clients with. Good enough for me! It’s the sort of mask where the packaging even suggests that you are going to sparkle like all that new snow on the ground before it gets slushy. And the results were good enough to get me over the Sunday Scaries hump and out to work the next morning. No small feat.

—Emily Ferber

Photographed by Tom Newton.

More sheet mask suggestions from Team Glossier can be found here. Also worth considering: facial steaming.

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