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Give Hair Hold and Touchability with the Kérastase Couture Styling Collection

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Some people are gifted when it comes to blow drying their strands — they know exactly how to best angle the blow drier with one hand while, with the other, rolling and twirling a round toothbrush with the ease with which a marching band majorette would twirl her baton. Sadly, I do not belong in this category. I’ve never claimed to have the greatest coordination, but I’m a clumsy, fumbling fool when it comes to blow drying my own hair. Sure, I eventually get the job done, but the process is never graceful or seamless. Because I have a lot of hair and it’s often uncooperative, styling it to my satisfaction can prove even more challenging. Which is, of course, why I rely on excellent styling products to give me a much-needed assist. These can range from leave-in conditioners to hair sprays, volume-boosting mousses, heat protectant serums, heat-activated straightening serums and mists, smoothing balms and oils, curl defining lotions, and frizz-fighting serums. The straightening products have proved the successful in terms of fast, visible results — and I’m speaking, in particular, about the John Frieda Frizz-Ease 3-Day Straight and the Living Proof Straight Straight — but few products are as handy in allowing you to easily (and I stress easily) create bombshell hair looks with plenty of volume and touchable hold. And that, in a nutshell, is why I’m enamored by the new Couture Styling collection by Kérastase .

All of the products in the Kérastase Couture Styling Collection are formulated so as to protect strands from hot styling tools and provide long-lasting hold without leaving hair stiff to the touch. These products, then, prioritize hold without sacrificing our sensory and tactile experiences, the result of a groundbreaking formula incorporating micronized fixative polymers that envelop each hair strand, creating a lightweight (and, of course, invisible film) with memory retention properties, giving hair hold without compromising its textural properties. These micronized polymers create a stretchable mesh fabric that adheres to each hair fiber and expands up to three times its size, so that hair can have the body and volume you desire. And thanks to the memory retention properties of this mesh and the sensory considerations taken into account while developing this product, you can easily run your dainty fingers through your perfectly styled hair, flip your mane from one side to the next, and then have the hair fall back into place almost intuitively.

And that’s not all: all of the products feature ingredients that safeguard hair against heat styling tools, UV rays, and even humidity, keeping frizz at bay and fending off any damage.

The collection is rather expansive, but my favorite products are those that focus on helping you construct a desired style, as opposed to those that focus on finishing said style. Within this “Construct” family, you’ll find five products, all packaged in luxurious teal-colored bottles or tubes, and all meant to be applied to damp, towel-dried hair. The five products are: Spray A Porter ($35; visit Kerastase-USA.com for salon locations), meant to give hair a laid-back, tousled effect; Lift Vertige ($36; visit Kerastase-USA.com for salon locations), a lightweight gel to give hair volume from the very root; Forme Fatale ($35; visit Kerastase-USA.com for salon locations), a blow-drying gel to give hair body and hold; Mousse Bouffant ($36; visit Kerastase-USA.com for salon locations), a volumizing mousse; and Boucles D’Art ($35; visit Kerastase-USA.com for salon locations), a lightweight foam meant to help define curls.

For months now, I’ve been testing out three of these products: the Spray A Porter, the Forme Fatale, and the Mousse Bouffant. The Forme Fatale has become my new go-to styling product since it simplifies the blow drying process tremendously and gives my hair volume without leaving it feeling dry, stiff, crunchy, or tacky. Since it’s dubbed a “gel,” I was really apprehensive about using it — after all, my experiences with gel have been mainly negative. Typically, I think of gel as that horrendous substance that creates a helmet-like effect, flakes and creates a dandruff-like residue, and dries out strands to boot. Granted, there are some exceptions to the rule — for instance, the Ouidad Heat & Humidity Gel — but I still tend to wince upon hearing the word “gel.” That said, this is no ordinary product.

To use the Kérastase Forme Fatale, you first have to cleanse and condition hair, comb it through so it’s perfectly untangled and separate hair into sections as you would ordinarily do when heat styling your mane. Next, you need to take a small section of hair — no bigger than an inch — and, using a small amount of gel, smooth it all through that section of hair, massaging it and combing it through to make sure it’s evenly distributed. Next, you can start blow drying that hair, using your favorite round brush or paddle brush. You’ll notice that, as you dry the hair, it takes on the shape you give it with your brush, quickly “memorizing” any waves or bends you create. And the gel never makes it hard to roll and twirl that brush — in fact, it makes it easier! To complete styling your hair, you’ll want to keep applying the product to every section of hair, repeating the aforementioned process. When finished, you’ll notice your hair has this amazing bombshell quality: it’s got body and shine, and it won’t fall flat as the day progresses. Best of all, it accomplishes these feats without giving hair that stiff, helmet-like texture we associate with gels or that odd crunch that can accompany hairsprays.

On days when I want more volume, when I want to look like a couture lioness, I first apply the Mousse Bouffant to strands. This product envelops hair fibers and creates a mesh that expands dramatically to make strands look significantly thicker and hence amplify the volume of any hair style created. To use, you simply dispense the airy foam onto your palms and work through your entire mane, raking the product through for even distribution. You can then proceed to style your hair or, to give it that flexible hold, follow with the Forme Fatale (as I tend to do).

The only disappointing product in my personal experience was the Spray A Porter spray since it created the desired tousled effect but didn’t give me the tactile experience for which I longed, instead leaving hair feeling tangled. Now, I do have rather dry strands, and I think this product might work better on those with healthier, more nourished strands, but not for women with fine, dry, or damaged hair.

That said, the Forme Fatale and Mousse Bouffant are simply superb. You can pull off so many looks with them — from side-swept manes with Veronica Lake waves to Brigitte Bordeaux-esque looks with plenty of volume at the crown, retro glam pin curls, film noir-style victory rolls, rockabilly-inspired bouffants and pompadours, and so forth.

Not only will the looks last for hours, but you won’t have to utter the words, “Don’t touch the hair!”

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