Friday, June 23, 2006

Domesticity Reviews: Pinoy Hair Products

Quick Tagalog lesson: The word of the day is hiyang, which loosely translates to "suitable." (Not to be confused with "hiyang-hiya," which is embarrassed to the point of blushing, or "walanghiya," which is how my Dad describes my ex-boyfriends.) When you see fashionistas in the Philippines telling you to get a product that is talagang hiyang sa iyo, they really mean it literally - you should get the product that is the absolute total best for you, and by "absolute total best" they mean something that does not break you out, make you itch, or just plain makes you look totally horrible.

You will always hear the word hiyang most often in ads for hair and skin products, and for good reason: We Filipinos have a very bad habit of using "imported" products thinking that they will work wonders for us, until we realize that it will let us down badly by virtue of being unsuitable for us. Not all Filipinos, for example, have the same tap water that requires a shampoo or face wash with higher amounts of detergent, or super-thick moisturizers designed for more drying conditions. As with every other country, we are a nation of different hair and skin types that can tolerate different ingredients, so we can't use the same types of products all the time (*ahem*Eskinol*ahem*).

So in honor of our word of the day, most of the products tested for this review were created specifically for my hair type: fine, straight, and frequently lifeless in hot weather. Note that I also got it trimmed and layered at Jesi Mendez Alabang (which, as far as getting my hair done in Manila goes, is the BEST. SALON. EVER) so my new 'do now looks like a full-on shag when unstyled.

Sunsilk Fresh for Longer shampoo: Remember when I said that Sunsilk is one of my favorite brands here at home? Well, this shampoo does not disappoint on this front at all. I got this primarily because of the tangerine scent - and, okay, so it's not exactly posh, but if I can get a shampoo like this that smells good and cuts the scalp grease that I usually get in the summer for a fraction of what I'd pay for a salon/boutique brand, well, I'm there. I've been using this practically every day and I can't help but touch my hair; it's that good.

Cream Silk Light & Bouncy conditioner with baby oil: Let it be known that this conditioner has mineral oil, which I doubted like the dickens. Firstly because, well, it is mineral oil, and secondly because I think that's what gave me the major pimples during my first few days here. Once I calmed down, however, I decided to give this conditioner another shot. That's when I noticed that this stuff is creamy - all I really needed for my new shag was a single squirt of conditioner, no bigger than a dime, and I got my "light and bouncy" hair that not only stayed that way all day, but also kept my hair soft and touchable all throughout. That said, if I'm still here and I run out of this, I'm going to keep my eyes open for a conditioner that doesn't have mineral oil, just to be safe. (The Cream Silk products I found at the store sounded quite rich in comparison.) Or maybe I'll just grab the Creme Silk leave-in conditioner instead, since that one has sun protection.

Bench Fix Hairlastic styling cream: I just had to grab this on my last shopping trip at Bench because 1) it seemed cheap compared to other salon products (P150 = roughly US$3); 2) it smelled nice; and 3) it promised to texturize and volumize with "flexible fibers." All righty, then. The first thing I noticed was that this cream looked hefty in the jar - not only was it glossy like donut glaze, but it was also thick enough to form stiff peaks. And not just that, but it also left my hair completely volumized: Every strand it touched got beefed up in a major way without looking greasy or stiff, and it was extremely easy to work with from there on. The packaging recommends this for making spikes and twists, but my favorite way of working with the Hairlastic is to rub a nickel-sized amount into my hands, then rake it through my hair while holding my head upside down, then flipping my hair back and rubbing the leftover cream on my fingertips into my bangs and front pieces to create a shaggy, piece-y look. Points off for the tricky packaging, though, because I still needed a butter knife to open the tin during the first two times I used the stuff. Otherwise, it truly is fantastic, and a high quality product that's comparable to anything else that your hairdresser might want to use.


kuri said...

Great reviews and perfect timing. Hairlastic sounds great. I'll be visiting in Aug. and will check everything out! Am especially addicted to hair products lately. I think my hair is the opposite of yours though, other than that grease aspect.

meimei said...

Fantastic! I'm glad you'll be visiting! :)

Actually I've only been to Manila twice in this whole trip to the Philippines (my parents live in a college town not too far from the city) but so far I'm liking what I'm seeing, especially at Ayala Alabang and Mall of Asia. And although I haven't been to Makati yet, I'm hearing good things about the shops over there - Glorietta and Greenbelt used to be fashionista havens when I lived there ten years ago, and more chichi boutiques have cropped up since then. Plus, as far as chains go, Bench is like a cross between Gap (quality, aesthetics) and H&M (product range, trendiness) so it's pretty nifty.