Self Healthy Beauty Awards

I was part of the SELF 2014 Healthy Beauty Awards, and the product category I was assigned was Hair Gel. Shortly before Christmas, an early present arrived filled with all of the products I would be testing.  There were 8 in total, so I used the highly scientific method of 'eenie-meenie-minie-moe' to decide the precise order of testing.  The Self Beauty Team recommends that you test each product for at least two days, so I tried to stick with that schedule. 
Tigi BedHead Up Front - My first impressions of this product were that it smelled okay, maybe a touch chemically.  I dipped my fingers in and was surprised at the texture of this very thick pomade. It was very sticky and it did not apply smoothly to my hair. It almost felt like I would rip my hair out if I tried to work it in too much. I suspect that this gel just isn't made for my hair type, which is on the long and fine side. I think this might be better suited for short and thick hair.  That being said, it did seem to provide good hold. I applied it to damp hair and clipped a portion up - when I removed the clip later, my hair retained its shape.
Retail Value: $12.52 (Amazon)
Garnier Fructis Style De-Constructed Move It - This gel dispensed more like a creamy lotion. It was a touch sticky but still workable and it has a pleasant, lightly fruity fragrance.  I applied it to damp hair and loosely braided. I let my hair mostly dry and then let it down - it felt a bit more stiff than I would have liked.  You definitely can't run your fingers through without tugging at your hair.
Retail: $4.59 (CVS)
New York Streets Styling Gel - The texture of this gel is what I would expect from a typical hair gel. I was able to easily work it into my hair. It has a light hold and doesn't leave my hair stiff. It has a mild fresh fragrance. 
Retail: $15.50 (New York-Streets)
Matrix Biolage Blue Agave Nectar Control Gel - This dispenses as a liquidy gel. It has a mild fresh fragrance (almost floral, perhaps this is the blue agave?) and worked very easily into my hair. It had a light hold and didn't leave my hair feeling stiff. Good styling product.   
Retail: $8.29 (Amazon)
Toni & Guy Stick It Up Gum - After my experience with the Tigi BedHead product, I decided to see if my husband was willing to be a guinea pig for this product. Luckily, he was game even though he usually doesn't use any product on his hair. This smelled okay, but it was like applying watery rubber cement to your hair. It really did have a glue-like consistency; it was gummy and it clumped in my husband's hair so I had to work it in very thoroughly. It took a while to dry, and it didn't dry as stiffly as I would have expected.
Retail: $14.99 (Target)
Conceived by Nature Moisturizing Hair Gel - This clear gel had a light, fresh fragrance. The handy pump made for easy application and it worked into my hair smoothly. It dries a little on the stiff side, but that will depend on how much product you actually use. One of my favorites! 
Retail: $9.99 (WebVitamins)

Real Me Curl-to-Coil Perfect Do Pomade - This actually ended up being my favorite product. Real Me had a liquidy lotion-like texture, and it worked really easily through my hair. It wasn't my favorite scent ever, but it was only lightly-fragranced so it wasn't an issue. It dried to a movable finish, still slightly stiff but not overly so.   
Retail: $8.99 (WebPlusBeauty)

Toni & Guy Style Spray Wax - Yet another product that is made for a much shorter hairstyle. It smelled decent. The pump was a little hard to press but not too bad. I sprayed it throughout my hair and then sprayed some of the white liquid directly in my hands to work in. It had decent hold and it wasn't too stiff.  
Retail: $14.99 (Target)

It was a fun experience, and I'm thrilled that SELF Magazine picked me to be a tester! The total value of all the products I tested was approximately $90.00, and now I have at least a years' supply of hair gel! :) 


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