7 Hair-Care Secrets You Need to Know

Airdate: 8/18/11

Beauty experts Paula Begoun and Bryan Barron reveal what your hair stylist isn't telling you about hair care and tell you how to find effective products for a fraction of salon prices.

Paula Begoun: Good evening or good morning, or good afternoon, depending where you are in the world. This is Paula Begoun. I'm the Cosmetics Cop. And I'm keeping you Beautifully Informed every Thursday, or, well actually given that BlogTalkRadio is archived you can actually stay Beautifully Informed listening to previous shows any day of the week, any time. And you just have to come to and go to our BlogTalkRadio page and look that up.
00:00:36 You can also just come to here, BlogTalkRadio. But I don't keep you Beautifully Informed all by myself. It is way too vast a task, it is a huge industry – hair care, skincare, makeup, any care that has to do with looking beautiful. I need my Cosmetics Cop Team and I have Desiree Stordahl who produces the show for us, hi Desiree.
Desiree Stordahl: Hello.
Paula Begoun: Hello. And you are about to go on vacation.
Desiree Stordahl: I am, very excited. Going to Hawaii.
Paula Begoun: Uh oh. I'm nervous already.
Desiree Stordahl: I already told Paula, I have been stocking up on my sunscreen all week long so I am good to go.
Paula Begoun: What, have you just been taking them off the shelves? Or the return bin? I know everybody loves the returns bin, lord knows I do.
Desiree Stordahl: I got one of pretty much each kind of our sunscreens.
00:01:32 So I think I am going to be set.
Paula Begoun: And you know the difference, of course you do, between waterproof and not…okay, all right. You are going to load up and reapply. And you know you will lose your job if you come back with a tan that isn't from…no, god forbid. You are not going to ever do that again. And then the other part of the Paula's, actually I was going to say Paula's Choice, but it's really Bryan's Choice. Bryan is the Cosmetics Cop Team all by himself – knows more about skincare, makeup and hair care than just about anybody, even me and I have a big enough ego that that must be true because I wouldn't say it for just about anybody else.
00:02:11 Bryan Barron, also keeping you Beautifully Informed, the Cosmetics Cop Team head, are you there?
Bryan Barron: Good evening. I'm here. And you are too kind.
Paula Begoun: And you are not having a bad hair day like I am. I'm having a hair day from hell.
Bryan Barron: I thought I was having a bad hair day. It's not cooperating very well. I don't know if it is the crazy weather we have been having here, but I have definitely had an attitude this week where I am throwing in the towel literally and saying, "Okay, hair, you win."
Paula Begoun: So it's kind of funny how we see ourselves, because both Desiree and Bryan are complaining about their hair and I thought they looked adorable today. Bryan has this tousled amber brown, a little bit of blond highlight thing going on.
00:03:03 And Desiree has this cute tousled blonde thing happening as she puts part of her hair back and opens up here face so it is not like a lot of women hide their face – their hair brushes right into their face so all you can see is their nose. Desiree opens up her hair and it is tousled around…you guys look gorgeous! I'm the one whose hair looks like a frizzy beehive mess. I can't…so we are talking about hair today.
00:03:36 And actually for most of you out there, I think for most of you out there, know that Bryan and I have been writing books on skincare and makeup and hair care – we haven't done a hair care book in many years. I can't even remember. Bryan, when was the last time we wrote "Don't Go Shopping for Hair Care Products Without Me?"
Bryan Barron: It was back in – it was published in 2004. Most of the writing and work though was done in 2003.
00:04:04 So it has been several years. And I for one would love it if you actually retire that series.
Paula Begoun: Oh, yeah, history.
Bryan Barron: It is so boring to write about hair care, I'm sorry.
Paula Begoun: Well the reason it is boring, it is boring, because in reality the good news is that it is almost impossible to find a bad hair care product. It really is. I mean what we now know about hair formulations, not me necessarily but cosmetic chemists all over the world, in all price ranges –
00:04:40 It's just almost impossible to find a bad product. Now you might buy a product believing the claim on the label and so you would be getting a product that can't live up to its claim or isn't right for your hair type. We see lots of products that say "for fine, thin hair" and it is anything but good for fine, thin hair.
00:05:00 But separate from the claims, in terms of formulary excellence, the days of hair sprays flaking and looking like you have dandruff or helmet hair and you can't brush through it, unless you want to buy a product that you can't brush through it so it stands up and looks like, I don't know, feathers sticking out of your head.
Bryan Barron: And they are out there.
Paula Begoun: And that's great. And you can make that choice. But it is not that accidentally you are buying – I mean hairsprays – when I first wrote "Don't Go Shopping for Hair Care Products Without Me" it was almost impossible to find a hairspray in any price category that didn't flake, or a styling product, particularly gels, that didn't flake, or roll, or feel sticky and tacky or couldn't get a brush through it.
00:05:47 And those days are just over. And the formularies are so repetitive. It doesn't matter what that price tag is, I mean it's actually a bit shocking when you look at formularies and know what those ingredient names are. It's just a joke. What Bryan is saying is how many times can you say this product is good, it has light hold, you can brush through it; this product is good, it has firm hold, you can brush through it; this is a shampoo, just like a trillion other shampoos; this is absurdly expensive but it is a good conditioner. I mean it gets boring!
00:06:29 So that's why we stopped writing the book. It just got – reviewing the products it just got, I mean we do still review some products on; it's just hard for us to get worked up over hair care products.
Bryan Barron: Right, we are paying attention to the lines that Beautypedia subscribers and visitors are asking us about the most. For example, we recently reviewed Living Proof which made a huge splash at Sephora as any line claiming to come out of MIT and have a new molecule that eliminates frizz. I mean that is going to make pretty much any woman stand up and take notice.
Paula Begoun: What was – I don't remember the review now, because I don't remember anything. What ingredient was that in Living Proof, Bryan, do you remember? You always remember everything.
Bryan Barron: They developed a molecule called polyfluoro [ether] and it is of course a synthetic lab engineered compound that – and their studies which aren't available to the public – they claim can significantly reduce frizz by repelling moisture from the hair.
Paula Begoun: Like what ingredient in a hair styling product doesn't do that? Silicone does that. That's a good…oh, I see…so they came up with a new co-polymer which is fancy word for a type…never mind, it's too complicated. You know, Bryan, but my listeners don't need to know.
00:08:00 They came up with a new ingredient that is basically some kind of styling agent and like any styling agent, like a million ingredients, repels moisture from the hair, that is what they do. And they are not impervious. No matter what they say about high humidity and all of us know with frizzy hair you walk into a summer day in Florida and I don't care, you can have…I don't know what you can have on your hair other than glue – and there are hair care products that are like glue – your hair is not going to be impervious to the moisture and be nice and comb-able and smooth.
00:08:39 So we retired the "Don't Go Shopping for Hair Care Products Without Me" book but we do have some lines like Bryan said on So we are going to be giving away subscriptions to, when we take your call and answer your questions later on, we are going to be giving away a couple of Paula's Choice hair care products. We just have two – our shampoo, All Over Shampoo and Body, I can't remember the name but it is something like that, our conditioner.
00:09:11 And we are going to give away subscriptions to Beautypedia. So call in at 347-426-3783 with your questions and we will do…and it doesn't have to just be about hair care. We will talk about anything if it has to do with beauty. So let me start by – this is my rant. I mean I thought I was going to fall off my chair.
00:09:39 This is…what magazine was this?
Bryan Barron: I think it was Allure, Paula.
Paula Begoun: Is it Allure?
Desiree Stordahl: I think so.
Paula Begoun: Yes, it looks like Allure. So Allure Magazine, somebody named hairstylist River Lloyd of the Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon in New York City tells clients – I can't believe this – are you ready, it's in yellow highlight, "to spritz hair with water when they are out in the sun," which of course if you weren't swimming would wreck your hairstyle.
00:10:14 But nonetheless, "spritz your hair with water when you are out in the sun." [Hammer] explains this can help protect hair because the sun's – I'm sorry, what I'm about to say, I've already read it so I know how crazy it is, so it is hard for me to even get this out – Hammer explains spraying your hair with water can help protect hair because the sun's rays have to evaporate the water before they can do any harm.
00:10:42 That is the – I mean that would be like saying you can spray your skin with water and it until it is absorbed by the sun it wasn't damaging. The rays of the sun that absorb moisture have nothing to do with the rays of the sun. That damaged hair or damaged skin, the UVA/UVB rays of the sun – well, it's actually both of them that impact skin and hair and dry out hair and dry out skin and damage skin and mutate skin.
00:11:12 And you can't mutate hair because hair is dead. But you can absolutely break down its composition and it isn't the heat producing rays that are doing the damage. When it's hot, it's hot, whether it is outside or inside and wet hair doesn't protect it. If anything, here's the big shock, is that your hair is actually most vulnerable when it is wet.
00:11:39 And we are going to get into the secrets you need to know to take the best care of your hair. This is stuff even your hairdresser doesn't know so you can have beautiful gorgeous hair all summer, all winter, all fall or spring. This is just the best advice you are going to find anywhere. It definitely doesn't show up very often.
00:12:00 I mean just researching for the show tonight, the misinformation on the web and in fashion magazines makes me choke. So, Bryan, I would like you to start. You always do the best and worst product of the week, product of the week, so do you want to give that a shot?
Bryan Barron: Here we go. This week's best product is from the brand that we talked about a few minutes ago, Living Proof. It is their No Frizz Styling Cream Straight-Making for Medium-to-Thick Hair. They have two or three different styling creams for different hair textures.
00:12:37 And they actually all got happy face ratings. What is interesting about this is it is surprisingly thin textured, it is light enough for any hair type that needs smoothing and frizz control. If you have normal to fine hair you would simply use less of it. It smooth and tames without looking or feeling greasy or sticky which is a big plus. You will be able to get your flat iron through your hair. The research concerning the heat protecting ability of Living Proof's novel ingredient polyfluoro ester, I misspoke that one earlier, isn't there.
00:13:08 However, assuming its protective function to hair is similar to silicones, it should provide some [shield lingering] heat styling, and some being a relative word which is to say, "Not much," and Paula is going to touch on that in a bit more detail as we go through the list of secrets your stylists won't tell you. One more tip with the best product from Living Proof is to make sure that you like the fragrance before you buy it because it is potent and it will linger in the hair. Any other comment, Paula?
Paula Begoun: And then the worst…and this is worst.
Bryan Barron: Yes, this is from, interestingly both of these brands, Living Proof and Carol's Daughter, are sold in many Sephora stores. The Carol's Daughter is our worst product of the week and it is Lisa's Hair Elixir. This is a product named after Carol's Daughter founder, Lisa Price. Unfortunately what she loves for her hair isn't what most people should love. This is a very oily fluid. It should be kept away from the scalp for two important reasons.
00:14:06 One, the oils in it can clog the hair follicle leading to stunted growth. And, two, the formula contains peppermint, sage and rosemary oils and all of those are potent scalp irritants that can lead to itching and flaking. You will absolutely be tempted and the directions indicate that you should put this product on your scalp which means that all of those irritants are coming into direct contact with the skin.
00:14:31 How this blend of oils is supposed to make aging hair look younger or prevent breakage is ludicrous. It absolutely can't do that. It is all a myth. It is sold time and again to African American women who are looking for solutions for their dry, thin, fragile hair. Adding lots of oil to any type of hair isn't going to make it look younger; it is just going to make it look greasy and limp.
Paula Begoun: And then when you sit against a chair and you turn around it is all – you know you have greased up the back of whatever your hair comes in contact with. Yes, not –
Bryan Barron: Exactly.
Paula Begoun: Not the best. Not the best.
00:15:06 Yes, that oil thing…you know, it's funny – and we will talk about silicone serums here in a minute. But it is interesting that silicone serums which are by far preferred for many of its properties on hair just doesn't show up very often in products aimed at African American women or African hair women with African hair just in general around the world. And it is a shame because silicone – I mean names like Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone – there are several that can show up on a hair care product, absolutely have the most brilliant properties for hair.
00:15:46 But let's get into what you need to know, even your hair stylist doesn't know. And the first one separate from, I know I am having a terrible bad hair day. I feel silly talking about hair when my hair just looks…okay, I'm going to stop. Forget my hair. So, here is what your hair stylist isn't going to tell you is expensive hair care products are not better than inexpensive ones.
00:16:10 All of those things they tell you about the ingredients in the ones for the drugstore being floor cleaning ingredients or terrible for your hair are lies. I have yet to find, and we ask every hair care chemist we run into, so "Do you know of any hair care ingredient suppliers that are only selling to the companies that make cheap products and others that are only selling to the expensive product lines?" And the answer, of course, is no, never – they don't exist. Whatever ingredient you are buying, it is available to everybody. And the inexpensive products contain the same ingredients as the expensive ones.
Bryan Barron: I have a great example of that type of marketing.
00:17:00 When I have explained this to people before it does make them think, but let's use L'Oreal as an example. L'Oreal owns several hair care brands including Matrix, Redken and the big one that we are asked about quite often, Kérastase, which I think Paula they sell Kérastase at the salon you go to.
Paula Begoun: They do! And they try to get me to buy it all the time.
Bryan Barron: Every time. And it constantly shows up in fashion magazines as such and such's favorite product and I am never without my Kérastase this or that. The Kérastase products are shockingly similar to L'Oreal's products at the drugstore as well as the products from Garnier Fructis which L'Oreal also owns.
00:17:46 So knowing the whole argument of L'Oreal using cheap/inferior ingredients for their drugstore brand and ultra high-end expensive ingredients for their salon brand is just silly. Because if they really are doing that then why would you respect them?
Paula Begoun: Exactly. Exactly. Why would you shop a product line that only if you spend, even though they are making the same claims as they expensive products they sell, oh they are lying to me when they are selling cheap products but they are telling me the truth when they sell expensive products. Any product over $10 for an average size is a waste of money.
00:18:25 And people are going to ask me about my Paula's Choice shampoo and conditioner that come in a larger size, what makes them and that are over $10, what makes them unique is – they are not unique like wildly unique out there in the world of hair care, they are fragrance-free. They are a specialty kind of product for women who can't, or it isn't healthy for them to use fragrance for allergy or sensitive skin. So unfortunately for whatever reason most product lines don't – in fact nowadays it is almost impossible to find fragrance-free products. It is the only thing that makes them particularly unique.
00:19:03 And because of the size of my product line and because of the…never mind…for business purposes…and they are still relatively inexpensive given the amount you get. But that's…I'm still going to hold by in term so shopping out there in the world of drugstore or spas or salons, a product over $10 is burning your money.
00:19:23 So here is the next question is why can't you get your hair to look like how your hairstylist does no matter how much money you spend on products. You can buy every product they use, you will go home and you still will not have your hair look like how they do it almost every time because of their skill, talent, the time they spend, usually the type of hairstyling tools they use, but not all the time. Mostly it is their skill and talent. It's also their position standing over you; they can get around your head better. Definitely the amount of time they spend. You want to get out and going; you don't mind when you are sitting there and you are reading a magazine and they are preening over you.
00:20:00 But it isn't about the products, not to mention whatever stylist you see, they all use different products but you still go out looking gorgeous because hopefully you are seeing a very talented, skilled hairstylist. Here's the other thing you don't know, and your hairstylist doesn't know, is your hair is most vulnerable when it is wet. How you treat your hair when it is wet is one of the biggest issues around keeping it healthy.
00:20:27 So, when you have the salon, when you come out, they are done washing your hair and then they take a towel and they kind of really roughly scrinch and scrunch and rub it around to dry off your hair, that rubbing over your hair with a terrycloth towel is absolutely eating away at the cuticle layer, the protective layer of your hair shaft. Don't do that. Compression – you just gently squeeze, you don't rub and scrub. And give me that towel, hairstylists. Stop doing that. It is damaging to your hair.
00:21:05 The other thing that is a big deal is how you comb out your hair after you have washed it. now all of this is much easier when you have short hair. When you have short hair you are always cutting off the length and the older the hair is, the length of the hair, the older the growth, the more damaged it is. So short hair has a much easier time of it. But longer, particularly thick longer hair, when you comb it out and you just try to run that brush through the hair without segmenting it, without taking smaller areas and brushing through it, starting with the under-layer first and then slowly but surely combing through it with a rubber tipped comb or a wide-toothed…
00:21:46 I'm sorry, a rubber tipped brush or a wide-toothed comb that doesn't have point bristles at it is going to damage your hair. Don't do that. That's not good. Just gentle, the rubber tip keeps you from chipping away at the cuticle. Anything that chips away at the cuticle is a problem so that is why the kind of brush you use, particularly for brushing your hair makes such a big deal.
00:22:12 For styling it is okay that it grabs the hair and it is a little pointy; you do need to get that grab when styling it. But when brushing, especially when hair is wet you want to be careful. It is also very important how high heat from blow dryers and flat irons come in contact with your hair. But as Bryan was saying earlier, the products that claim they can protect your hair from heat aren't telling you the whole truth. It's not that they can't help somewhat, particularly when they contain silicone, and I will talk a little bit more about silicone in just a second because I have some cheap, cheap, cheap products to recommend.
00:22:48 Silicone is an ingredient that is in about 80% or 90% of all hair care products. It makes hair feel like silk. It does have some heat-protecting ability, but very little bit because if you put silicone on your skin and you accidentally touched your skin and you are not going to ever do this, but accidentally touch your skin with a flat iron, you would still get a burn. It is not protecting your hair any better than it can protect your skin.
00:23:13 It does help a little bit, but just a very, very little bit. What counts most is how you use that flat iron or how you use that blow dryer. The flat iron, the ceramic ones are better. In fact it is hard anymore to find the steel plate ones. You smooth it over the hair, you don't hold it over the hair. Hair has to be stone dry to use a flat iron. Any amount of moisture in hair when you are using a flat iron, that flat iron can heat up to over 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
00:23:42 The way to think about that is boiling water is 200 degrees Fahrenheit. So this is twice as hot as that hot water you are about to boil your past in. That is hot! And when you hold it onto hair, when there is a little bit of water in your hair, it literally boils the water in the hair shaft and that boiling point in the hair shaft, those bubbles, actually cause breakage from the inside out.
00:24:18 So you want to make sure your hair is stone dry first with indirect heat from your blow drier, then use your flat iron. And then you smooth it through the hair fast. You don't let that flat iron sit on any part of your hair for too long. Same thing with a blow dryer. And the blow dryer for long thick hair, you want it to be 1875 watts – 1875 watts – look for that when you can buy it at the drugstore. It doesn't have to come from a fancy salon. It could be $20, $25, $30 bucks tops. But 1875, the wattage is what counts for how much heat you can get out of it.
00:24:57 The more thick, frizzy your hair, the more higher heat you need to get it to do what you want. That's the kind of blow dryer your hair stylist is using. But if you have fine, thin or short hair, a 1600 watt blow dryer is just fine and it would be less damaging. It's just that 1600 watts for thicker hair or hair you want to really control to do a style, 1600 watts just isn't going to cut it. Coloring your hair is damaging but we are not going to talk about coloring – it doesn't matter what you do, pretreatments, after treatments, whatever they say is special about the hair care coloring products, especially when you go from dark to light is damaging.
00:25:37 But we are going to talk about hair dye next week. Everything about the color of your roots, the highlights, everything, but just right now when they give you, when your hairstylist tells you, "Oh, the hair coloring we use isn't damaging and this pre-treatment would help," the pre-treatment doesn't help at all. It doesn't change how hair dye changes your hair color and why that is damaging. So we are going to let go of that one but we will talk more specifically about hair dye next week.
00:26:07 Some silly advice your hairstylist, actually I think hair stylists believe this but it isn't true is about rinsing your hair with cold water to lock in moisture and shut down the cuticle. It doesn't work that way. Hair doesn't feel anything; hair is dead. Well, you will feel it – I mean you will feel cold and shocked. But even if it did shut down the cuticle, you are going to be in regular temperature air in just a second and the hair will go back to whatever temperature is in the room, not to mention if you are going to be using a flat iron and a blow dryer.
00:26:46 It's just going to heat it up and dry it up. You haven't protected it from anything. Even if it does work for more than a second you just feel cold. I mean it is not bad to do, it's just, darn it's uncomfortable. I hate when they do that. Well, on a hot day it's not bad.
00:27:02 But it doesn't help the hair. The special treatments for your hair, the conditioning treatments they always – I think they want to do that when they are late. You know, when the hairstylist is running late – "Would you like to have, just $30 more, would you like a special hair treatment?" When you look at these special hair treatments, the ingredients read almost identically, if not exactly the same, as a good conditioner would read.
00:27:29 All you are really doing is keeping it on your hair longer. You could do that with a conditioner. It doesn't need to be a $30 special hair treatment. If you are feeling bored while you are waiting and they offer that, just say, "Well how about if you just wash my hair and put some conditioner on and I will just sit there, and isn't that free because you would be putting conditioner on my hair for free anyway." Don't do those special hair treatments; what a waste of money.
00:27:55 Brush your hair to increase circulation. If you have heard that one, don't do that. First of all, hair, the scalp has an amazing amount of circulation. There are more blood vessels up there and they flow beautifully. You cut yourself on your scalp it bleeds profusely. You don't have a problem with blood flow on your scalp whether you are bald or not bald or whatever. Circulation – no relationship to hair growth anyways. But the problem is with that recommendation because actually for the scalp it is not good or bad – what brushing your hair is bad for is that every time you put a brush through your hair you are chipping off some cuticle and you are damaging your hair.
00:28:37 Conditioners don't repair split ends. Hair is dead. You can't repair it. To get rid of split ends you do have to get a trim and cut them off or they will break off all on their own. Hair care products don't protect hair from the sun. The FDA does not allow hair care products to have an SPF rating because in a shampoo or conditioner it would be rinsed down the drain in a hairstyling product, if you use a flat iron or a blow dryer you would be degrading the sun protecting ingredients.
00:29:06 Other than a hat, that's it. All the other claims from hair care products are fibbing. One last group of recommendations is you can eat healthy and have healthier hair. And not surprisingly it is identical to eating healthy for your body can absolutely help your hair. Salmon and flaxseed for Omega 3 fatty acids, dark green vegetables for vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium. Kidney beans and lentils, legumes in general for protein, iron, zinc and biotin, brilliant for hair, brilliant for health all over.
00:29:46 Nuts, brazil nuts in particular for selenium and walnuts, cashews, pecans and almonds for linoleic acid and more zinc. Zinc is incredible. Well, all of this stuff is incredibly important for your health. Non-fatty proteins like chicken and turkey – hair is protein. You need to have healthy protein in your body and absorb it. One of the ways to absorb protein is to have a healthy diet. Eggs, don't overdo eggs too much. Eggs are rich in biotin and vitamin B-12.
00:30:21 Whole grains – more zinc, more iron, and more vitamins. And carrots. Yes, carrots, vitamin A. A healthy diet equals healthy hair. I think, oh I was going to tell you about silicone serums. Silicone, you know, just buy one of these and feel the way, I mean just silicon ingredients, these ingredients on labels you will see that say cyclomethicone and dimethicone and phenyl trimethicone and cyclopentasiloxane which is way too long an ingredient to remember, they are all too complicated, but when you feel these ingredients, these brilliant ingredients that actually Procter & Gamble invented, started using in the 80's make hair feel like silk.
00:31:07 And the ones we are going to recommend for normal to fine or thin hair is the spray ones. They are really thin. You buy one of these products and it should last forever because the less you use the better it is for most hair types. L'Oreal Shine Seeker Glass Shine Spray, $3.99 for 4oz. It is a brilliant product. TRESemmé Smooth No Frizz European Shine Spray – again, this is for fine to thin hair, $4.75 for 4.2oz. I would put either of these up against the most expensive hair care anywhere on the shelf in a salon or spa.
00:31:48 And then for normal to thick/coarse or thick curly hair, the serums, the thicker more kind of fluidy, moves slow kind of liquid looking kind of serum, the ones we are recommending to try – Neutrogena Triple Moisture Healing Shine Serum. It doesn't heal anything, let's let go of that, but it makes hair feel like silk. $6.99 for 1.8oz. Again, you need so little of it, it will last forever. L'Oreal Vive Pro Glossy Style Smooth Glass Serum, this one is even cheaper, $4.99 for 1.7oz. But we are still talking cheap. And John Frieda Frizz Ease, original formula, actually I think John Frieda was one of the first companies – am I right about this, Bryan, one of the first companies to come out with a silicone serum?
00:32:38 Is that?
Bryan Barron: Well I don't know if they were the first, but I would say they were the first to really gain notoriety for it. In fact, I still remember the ads that probably came out in the late 80's/early 90's where you would flip through a magazine and it was a split page ad and on the one side there was this woman with incredibly dry frizzy just out of control, great big bush of a hair.
Paula Begoun: Oh, right. Yes.
Bryan Barron: And then the next page, it was absolutely the picture of perfect health, it was smooth, it was glossy, there wasn't a trace of frizz left, and you couldn't believe it was the same person.
Paula Begoun: Well, it was the same person, just after four hours of working with a hairstylist.
Bryan Barron: One you didn't see.
Paula Begoun: You know, actually we need to start taking calls. I am just going to say one last thing about hair care. Any ad you see, those results of that model or that celebrity with that hair is 1,000% not because of those products.
00:33:41 It is because of the hairstyling people and the person dyeing their hair and the person styling their hair that spend hours, and the lighting and everything else about it is about the stylist and that person's hair, not about the products they are using. That ad isn't because…the way that model looks in the ad is not because of those products. It is because of whatever talented stylist worked on their hair for hours before the picture was taken.
00:34:11 Those are the hair secrets you need to know to make you smarter than your hairstylist, but your hairstylist, the best money you can spend is on a brilliant hairstylist who is talented. That will save you money by not buying the expensive products and splurging on the best hairstylist you can find. Desiree, let's take the first call. I'm sorry. I just got carried away with hair care. First question.
Desiree Stordahl: Our first question comes from Marcy in California.
Paula Begoun: Hi Marcy.
Marcy: Hello.
Paula Begoun: Hi, what can I do for you?
Marcy: I'm 51 years old and my hair is very coarse and dry and I'm wondering what I can do for that. And also I have heard of Argan oil for hair. What do you think about Argan oil?
Paula Begoun: It's oily. It's going to make your hair greasy. So let's do it this way, so first, tell me what products you are using and then we will get you straightened out with your hair.
00:35:15 What hair care products are you using now?
Marcy: I have used a lot of different ones and right now I am actually using yours.
Paula Begoun: And your hair is still dry?
Marcy: Yes.
Paula Begoun: So you are using the shampoo and then you are using a generous amount of the conditioner, leaving it on for as long as possible?
Marcy: I'm not using the conditioner very often. And another question then – how often should I wash my hair?
Paula Begoun: So when you do wash your hair, you are not using the conditioner every time?
Marcy: I'm not using it every time, no.
Paula Begoun: Okay, all right.
00:35:55 All right, let me get my thoughts organized here. So let's start this way. How often you wash your hair is really just about how dirty your hair is, how greasy looking, how uncomfortable feeling. Personally I go for as long as I can without washing my hair. I tend to have somewhere between normal to slightly oily hair so I go about three to four days until I think people notice that I haven't washed my hair yet.
00:36:22 The less you wash your hair, the less you manipulate your hair, the better it is. Any time you wash your hair or style it, you are damaging it. The touching, the heat, the washing, it's damaging. So, but how often is completely up to you and your comfort level. If you are exercising and sweating a lot, it doesn't matter what kind of hair you have, you are going to want to wash it every day. But it is really a personal preference. You have to use a conditioner every time. Every single time you wash your hair you absolutely must put a conditioner on.
00:36:56 If you have my conditioner, you are going to love it. It is absolutely going to make a difference when you put it on. The trick is when you go into the shower, wash your hair first, put the conditioner on, and then do everything else you are going to do in the shower. Shave your legs. Soap up. Or actually you can use my shampoo from the neck down, too.
00:37:15 And then rinse your hair. The trick with a conditioner is to keep it on the length of your hair for as long as possible. Gently scrunch your hair without moving the towel to get the excess water out. And then given you have thick/coarse hair I want you to use one of those silicone serums I just mentioned from L'Oreal Vive or John Frieda and you just take a drop, about a nickel size drop, rub it though your hands and put it through the ends of your hair. And then when you style your hair you want to use a really good blow dryer with a round brush.
00:37:51 You know one of the best savings anybody can do is go see your hairstylist that you like and spend money, say, "Look, I want to spend one session with you, and I just want you to teach me how to blow my hair dry. Or I just want you to teach me how to use a flat iron." Whatever you spend on your hairstylist, if you like the way they style your hair, best 45 minutes you can ever spend. That will make a huge difference.
00:38:15 And then any of the lightweight styling serums, I'm sorry styling lotions or creams that are for your hair type, just a little bit. You are going to be thrilled. You don't need Argan oil. Hair is dead, you can't feed hair. Nothing repairs hair. The silicone serum will make your hair feel like silk. Use that conditioner every day and we are going to send you out, even though you are not using the conditioner enough, we are going to send you another one from
Marcy: Thank you. I will use it every day.
Paula Begoun: And another shampoo.
00:38:51 And actually we will also…
Bryan Barron: You can use some of the conditioner as a leave-in conditioner as well. In fact, a lot of our staff around the office with dry hair do that.
Paula Begoun: Oh that is a good…
Marcy: I can leave it in?
Bryan Barron: Yes. Rinse out what you put in the shower.
Paula Begoun: Right, go on, Bryan, I'm sorry.
Bryan Barron: And then after you have towel-dried your hair you can squeeze out a little bit more and massage it through the hair again and then add whatever styling products you normally use and go.
Paula Begoun: Right, so in the shower before you rinse you want to use a more generous amount of conditioner, rinse it out, and then just take about a quarter size amount of the conditioner as a leave-in product.
00:39:31 You can do that with any conditioner, not just mine. And for the people out there in the audience, listeners, Paula's Choice Shampoo and Conditioner are great, but so are the ones for thick hair, dry hair, Procter & Gamble conditioners are probably some of the best out there. They invented the technology everybody else uses. Garnier, L'Oreal make some of the best shampoos out there. TRESemmé doesn't do a bad job with conditioners and shampoos and they are cheap, they are great.
00:40:04 So good luck, Marcy, let us know how you are doing.
Marcy: Thank you very much.
Paula Begoun: All right, take care. Desiree, next caller?
Desiree Stordahl: Next up we have Monique from Georgia.
Paula Begoun: Oh, Monique, do you have a southern accent?
Monique: No, not really. I'm actually originally from South Carolina, so it is more island than it is southern, I think.
Paula Begoun: Well, actually, from up here in the North in Seattle, you do sound a little southern there. But that's okay.
Bryan Barron: I like it.
Paula Begoun: I love it. We do. You know us northerners get bored listening to ourselves.
00:40:37 So, Monique, what can I do for you?
Monique: Well I have a question about eye creams, and I know how you feel about eye creams, so I want to know what in your line would you recommend that I use as an eye cream. I have very oily skin and pretty acne-prone. Well, I'm getting over a lot of hypo-pigmentation. Maybe three nights out of the week I use Finacea on my skin before I go to bed. And I actually rotate the Finacea with the antioxidant serum at bedtime.
00:41:17 So on the nights that I put Finacea on, I would like to put something around my eyes because when I use the antioxidant serum I put that around my eyes.
Paula Begoun: Right, and are you using any of my salicylic acid, my beta hydroxy acid products?
Monique: Yes. I have the 2% gel.
Paula Begoun: Okay, that's perfect for you.
Monique: I use the Skin Balancing Cleanser, and then the 2% gel.
Paula Begoun: And how is that doing for you? That sounds perfect to me.
Monique: Yes, it's doing a bang up job.
Paula Begoun: Oh, I love hearing bang up job. That's great. And it is reducing the hyper pigmentation and you are breaking out less and skin feels smoother and all that stuff?
Monique: Yes.
Paula Begoun: I'm a happy woman. I'm a happy cosmetics company owner.
00:42:09 So here is what I would like you to do. For around the eyes, Desiree, let's send Monique the Hydrating Treatment Cream and the Skin Recovery Moisturizer. Both of those are wonderful for the eye area. The Hydrating, the Moisture Boost Hydrating Treatment Cream in my favorite. But a lot of women love our Skin Recover Moisturizer. So we are going to send you both of those to experiment with and you can see which one you like best. One is more emollient than the other. The Skin Recovery is more emollient.
00:42:45 So you will see, for oily skin you need to experiment to see, even though it is going around your eyes, you still need to experiment to see what feels the most comfortable on your face. But I do almost, except for the Finacea, I do almost the exact same routine you do. I do use my Skin Balancing Toner as well. And I use the 2% liquid instead of the gel. But basically I am doing…and then I put the Hydrating Treatment Cream and the Antioxidant Concentrate around my eyes, just like you do.
00:43:16 And then sometimes over little dry patches and stuff I might put a little of the Hydrating Treatment Cream as well. But give those a try and because it is a hair care day we are also going to send you the Paula's Choice Shampoo and the Paula's Choice Conditioner from You will have to let us know how you are doing. I think you will be happy.
Monique: I'm sure I will. I'm happy so far. Thank you.
Paula Begoun: That's great. Thank you, Monique. All right, next caller Desiree.
Desiree Stordahl: Our next caller is Leah from Massachusetts.
Paula Begoun: Hi Leah.
Leah: Hi Paula, how are you tonight?
Paula Begoun: Good, how are you?
Leah: Good thanks. My question is I am soon to be 40 next week and I wanted to get a little bit more aggressive with anti-aging skincare. And I was just wondering if there were any ingredients you could steer me towards?
Paula Begoun: I can never steer…well first of all, from just having heard you say that question, I'm going to give you a free subscription to…you don't have a subscription to, right?
Leah: No.
Paula Begoun: Okay, now you do.
00:44:25 Desiree, will you make sure Leah gets a free subscription to where the Cosmetics Cop Team has reviewed over, by now it must be up to 50,000 products. Just a few hundred product lines – a few hundred.
Bryan Barron: It's getting to the point where I will look at reviews and think, "Did we review that? Oh my gosh!" It's so much, it's insane.
Paula Begoun: Even Bryan can't remember and Bryan has the most photographic memory ever. But there are hundreds of products, all of the research is there. Hundreds…thousands – I can't believe I just said hundreds. Thousands of products.
Bryan Barron: Hundreds of brands.
Paula Begoun: Hundreds of brands, thank you, Bryan.
00:45:07 So, Leah, the reason I can't recommend ingredients is because a cosmetic chemist formulator has in their pocketbook so to speak the ability – there are over 30,000…somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000, depending on who you talk to, potential cosmetic ingredients that can go into a skincare product. And most have names you would never recognize.
00:45:36 I mean we spend, I have spent the past 30 years, that's all we do. Bryan has been working with me for 10 years and in the cosmetics industry another, I don't know, 5 or 6 years and all we do is research cosmetic ingredients and what they can and can't do for your skin. And there is no consistency between formulas. So, I would love to say, "This is the best ingredient," and the cosmetics industry loves telling you, "This is the best vitamin-this and this plant from the Amazon," and it always has to be from someplace that you don't live, right?
00:46:14 It's never going to be from Detroit. There are no miracle ingredients in Detroit or Chicago or Tennessee. It has to be the Himalayas or the Amazon somewhere. And what it is is there are a lot of brilliant ingredients and it is just too complicated, it would cheat your skin for me to say, "Oh yeah, only use this ingredient." So you are going to look at products on and I am going to send you some Paula's Choice products.
00:46:41 Leah, tell me what skin type you have?
Leah: I would say normal to dry, a little dehydrated, I guess. I just got a facial and she said I was dehydrated.
Paula Begoun: What is dehydrated…what does that mean "dehydrated?" Why don't they just say "dry skin?" What, throw water in your face. I don't know what that means.
Bryan Barron: They have all of these fancy terms. You are not acne-prone, you are "acneic."
Paula Begoun: Acneic! Oh, I haven't even heard of that one. So, what skincare products, Leah, are you using?
Leah: I'm using some of yours.
Paula Begoun: Which ones of mine, because you shouldn't be normal to dry and be using my products. What are you using?
Leah: The normal to dry cleanser and toner and the hydrating treatment cream.
Paula Begoun: And you are still feeling like your skin is dry?
Leah: It just looks lackluster. Just kind of dull.
Paula Begoun: And you said you are turning 40?
Leah: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: So here is what I want you to do. What I am going to send you is our Skin Recovery system. I'm going to change the cleanser you are using and you are going to use the Skin Recovery Toner, the Skin Recovery Sunscreen because it doesn't sound like you have a sunscreen in there and you are never going to have beautiful skin without…that is your best friend, anti-aging friend is getting your face protected from the sun.
00:48:08 And the moisturizer and the antioxidant concentrate. And then, Desiree, instead of the 8% alpha hydroxy acid product, let's stick a 1% beta hydroxy acid lotion. You need to exfoliate your skin, Leah. That is some of why skin is dull is because you have built up layers of skin that aren't coming off on a daily basis. We should be naturally shedding skin, like billions of skin cells a day. But because of sun damage, mostly sun damage, and then also as we get older because of perimenopause and menopause, you are not shedding skin like you should.
00:48:52 So you need help. I don't like recommending scrubs because they tend to tear at skin. So a far more gentle way and more effective way to do it is with either an alpha hydroxy acid or a beta hydroxy acid product. And I'm going to send you our beta hydroxy acid 1% lotion. Actually, let's also include the 2% and Leah you can experiment between the two and see which you like better. It will come with a step-by-step guide of how to use those products and of course you can always chat or call our customer service department. They know how to walk you through the details.
00:49:28 So I'm going to send all of those out to you. You can give them a try. And I think you will see the difference you are going after. You are just not using quite the right products from my line for your skin. I think this will help you a whole bunch.
Leah: Thank you so much, Paula, I appreciate it.
Paula Begoun: All right, thank you for calling, Leah. Talk to you next time.
Bryan Barron: Happy Birthday.
Paula Begoun: Oh, happy birthday! 40, oh my god, that's a landmark for sure. Desiree, next caller?
Desiree Stordahl: Next caller is Lashonda from Texas.
Paula Begoun: Hi Lashonda.
Lashonda: Hi.
Paula Begoun: We are here. We are, the Cosmetics Cop Team is here.
Lashonda: Cool. I wanted to ask a question about African American hair.
00:50:12 I know a lot of people say hair is just hair. Is that true?
Paula Begoun: No. And I take it you are African American and you know that your hair is not like the Caucasian woman sitting next to you at work.
Lashonda: That's right.
Paula Begoun: It's very different hair. So African hair, just in general, African hair anywhere in the world is a very specific type of hair.
00:50:40 It is, actually as full and bushy as it can look, is a very fine, thin hair strand. It is fragile. Very fragile. It easily breaks. That corkscrew shape, each turn of the hair is a break point. It is one of the reasons when women have really African hair, that corkscrew tight thin hair, it very rarely can grow long because it breaks. It just is so fragile it breaks. And then the treatments that a lot of black women use to have straight hair, the perms they use to straighten hair causes more damage and more breakage.
Lashonda: That was my next question. The relaxers.
Paula Begoun: Actually, you know what pisses me off about relaxers, not that relaxers are bad, but for kids, you know whenever you are shopping in the drugstore and you see the products with the cute little African American cute girl on the label and says "gentle and great for kids" and it is a little pink box.
00:51:52 And you are there looking at it thinking it is better for a child's hair, and it is BS up the wazoo. It is the exact same ingredients as for an adult. It is a pH of 14, a lot of them, some of them 11 to 12, but some of them are a pH of 14. That is the highest level of pH you can get, that is lye that is in those products. It is not different than the products for adults. That just makes me so angry.
00:52:28 But, I'm sorry, I am ranting. I do that sometimes. I just rant. What other questions do you have?
Lashonda: I was going to see if there was one relaxer that is any better than any other relaxer. Is the Mizani any better than what I can buy in the box or…I'm just trying to think of all the other big ones.
Paula Begoun: You know, except for the fancy Japanese hair straightening and nowadays people are talking a lot about the Brazilian hair straightening techniques where you go to the salon and they do this number on you.
00:53:07 And they do a series of applications and then flat iron the hair and go through all of that. It is a version of what you are using from the over-the-counter stuff. You would never want to do that technique that they use when they do because theirs is a lower pH. They do it repeatedly. It sits on your…because it is a lower pH it can sit on your hair longer.
00:53:33 So a lot of…not a lot of black women but it is definitely when the Japanese thermal...I don't know why they call it a Japanese, oh maybe because it was developed there? But the Japanese thermal hair straightening process a lot of black women did do it with mixed results. But from what I could tell from the research I saw, you know, the statistics kind of thing, women seem to be…it seemed to work okay but not that different. You know, I would give one of those fancy salon straightening processes, they call it Brazilian or the Japanese thermal, it is worth it giving it a try.
00:54:12 It's expensive…but maybe give it a try once and if not, then doing it at home there isn't a better product. What it takes to straighten hair just like what it takes to dye hair – they are using the same kind of process because you have to break the disulfide bonds, and never mind, technical. But, I know hair is held together by disulfide bonds. Never mind, it is too complicated. But it doesn't differ.
Lashonda: It doesn't differ. So if I get the, when they call it professional strength, because when you go to Sally sometimes they have stuff that the general public can't buy but then there's stuff we can't buy because we don't have a license.
00:54:54 And I was just wondering, well maybe that is the good stuff that we are not getting that will help us.
Paula Begoun: No. When you look at the ingredients, it's the same stuff at the drugstore. It's really about technique. It's really about not keeping it on the hair too long. There was a product for awhile, this was kind of interesting. There was a product on the market called Copa that was actually came out of South America somewhere. Does that sound familiar?
00:55:20 It was an infomercial.
Lashonda: Oh yeah, I think I read an article and you said that didn't work or something. Because I have a subscription to Beautypedia so…I just hadn't seen a lot of hair stuff and my hair is just a mess and I am turning 40 in December and it just seems like everything – my skin, my hair is out of control. So I'm thinking I need help, you know, for real.
Paula Begoun: So some of it is when…maybe for your 40th birthday you will treat yourself to one of those fancy salon hair straightening processes called Japanese thermal hair straightening or the Brazilian thermal hair straightening and just treat yourself to that. But for skincare, Lashonda, tell me what kind of skin type you have?
Lashonda: I've got oily acne at 39.
Paula Begoun: And what products are you using?
Lashonda: Well, I was using yours for awhile. I don't know if I was doing it right. I will probably say that. I have the 2% beta hydroxy gel and I was using the, I think it was the benzoyl peroxide.
00:56:20 But I kept getting too oily or too dry and it just kept going back and forth. So I went to the dermatologist and he put me on this stuff, Aczone, that is very expensive, like $40 a tube.
Paula Begoun: Bryan, do you know what Aczone is?
Bryan Barron: No, I don't. I'm not familiar with that.
Lashonda: Dapsone.
Paula Begoun: Oh, Dapsone.
Bryan Barron: Oh, okay, that's a prescription topical anti-bacterial.
Paula Begoun: So Lashonda, because we are running out of time, Desiree, will you make sure to get Lashonda's email address? So Lashonda, what I am going to do is I am going to put together…I think what you were doing from my line wasn't enough in terms of the other protective products you need to use.
00:57:07 So I am going to put together a skincare routine for you. Desiree is going to get it out to you. And if you have any questions for us, you will chat with Desiree and she will get your questions to me or my customer service team. But Lashonda I promise I will take care of your skin and you will have a really good 40th birthday.
Lashonda: Thank you so much, Paula.
Paula Begoun: You are welcome. Have a good evening. So, whoa, I can't believe how fast this hour goes. So, god, I feel like I have three million…I always have three million more things to say. So this is Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop, keeping you Beautifully Informed every Thursday night with Desiree Stordahl. Desiree, you will be on vacation next week, so it will just be Bryan and me and Kate again. Is Kate going to be helping out?
Desiree Stordahl: Kate is filling in.
Paula Begoun: Kate, my product development director. Next week we are going to be talking about hair dyes dos and don'ts. You are going to love me. Your roots are going to love me. I'm going to help you with your gray, your blonde, your brunette, your dyeing of your hair. Help you at the salon.
00:58:07 On the first, on July 1, Thursday the 1st we are going to talk about makeup tricks to look younger, healthier and vibrant, not dully and heavily and over made up. On the 8th we are going to talk about secrets to an at-home mani/pedi. We have a nail expert, Jamie [Shrebeck] is going to join us. And then on the 15th, this is my favorite show; I am traveler, thousands of miles a year. Well, actually, I don't know, maybe 200,000 miles a year – traveling beautifully. How to pack for your next flight. How to get through security faster. How to look beautiful at the end of the plane trip.
00:58:45 And the 22nd, this is going to be a great show, you have to listen to this one. Tell your friends because I am going to help you understand your skin type because that is getting everybody screwed up at the cosmetic counters when they shop. The most typical question we get is "what skin type do I have?" I'm going to help you figure that out.
00:59:02 And then on the 29th we are having Dr. Brandith Irwin back on July 29th. She is going to give us more information about non-surgical solutions for sagging skin, wrinkled skin, the frown lines, the jowls, the whole bit. How to put the whole thing together. What really works so that you don't waste money looking beautiful and not getting to be beautiful because you are buying the wrong products or doing the wrong procedures.
00:59:32 So stay tuned every Thursday evening to me, Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop and my Cosmetics Cop Team, Desiree Stordahl and Bryan Barron. Bryan, you are going to be here next week, right? Don't leave me.
Bryan Barron: I'm here next week.
Paula Begoun: Okay, and we will all have gorgeous hair. Thank you all for listening. Have a beautiful weekend. Well, actually, you will call in, we will give away more free products next week. Take care. Goodnight.
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