5 Better-for-You Beauty Treatments
A Non-Toxic Hair Smoother
In-salon keratin treatments (a.k.a. Brazilian blowouts), which promised sleek strands for months, seemed like a dream come true for frizz-prone women—until we found out that most of them were laced with formaldehyde, a carcinogen and a skin and lung irritant. Since then, the race has been on to create versions that deliver the same impressively smooth results—without the sketchy chemical. Red Door’s new Advanced Glycolic Smoothing Treatment uses keratin and glycolic acid (yes, the same stuff that gives smooth, glowing skin) and is free of all aldehydes. It’s said to penetrate the hair shaft, repairing damage and locking out the external factors that cause frizz (like humidity) for up to five months. And it even has science behind it: A few years back, a study found that when applied to hair, glycolic acid improved strand strength and manageability. Find a Red Door near you at Reddoorspas.com.
Less Painful Waxing
Waxing away unwanted hair is a quick way to get silky smooth skin, but ouch, it hurts—especially in sensitive spots like your bikini area. European Wax Center aims to make the experience far more pleasant with their exclusive comfort wax. Unlike other waxes, their special “hard wax” adheres only to the hairs, not to the skin, making it much more gentle. Find a center near you at waxcenter.com.
Cost: $47 for a Brazilian bikini wax.
Hair Color That Doesn’t Stink (or Sting)
Some of us have a love/hate relationship with hair dye. Yes, it keeps our hue vibrant and hides any gray strands, but it can also smell pretty pungent and sting and irritate our sensitive scalp skin. The main culprit: ammonia, which is used to open the hair cuticle, allowing the dye molecules to penetrate. Fortunately, hair color makers have figured out a way to deliver the color without the noxious chemical. While ammonia-free dyes have been around for a few years now, the latest versions are even better than before. Redken’s latest, Chromatics Beyond Cover, offers 100 percent gray coverage (something previous ammonia-free formulas didn’t do so well) and infuses strands with nourishing and strengthening ingredients such as argan oil, ceramides, antioxidants, and proteins. Find a salon near you at redken.com.
Cost: Varies by salon.
A Gentler Microderm Service
If you want a smoother, brighter, and more even-toned complexion, dermatologists will often suggest a series of microdermabrasion treatments, during which the top layer of skin cells are sloughed off via aluminum oxide crystals and a vacuum. It does the job, but can be a bit too aggressive for sensitive types. The solution: Bio Brasion, which is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, rosacea and acne-prone skin. The difference? It’s crystal-free and uses a low-suction vacuum. Plus, the level of exfoliation can be customized. Visit bio-therapeutic.com to find a spa.
Cost: The price varies by location, but expect to pay at least $100.
A UV-Free, Longwear Manicure
Hands down, the nail industry’s biggest innovation this decade has been the gel manicure. But the longwearing manicure, during which the gel polish is hardened and cured under a UV lamp, hasn’t been without controversy. Some research suggests the UV exposure is minimal and therefore, not harmful; other data shows time under the lamp may put users at an increased risk for skin cancers. If you go for gel, wear broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect digits. Or, consider another long-lasting alternative: CND’s Vinylux Nail Lacquer, billed as “weekly polish.” The enamel is activated by natural light—no lamp required—and lasts for up to seven days. Even better? Vinylux is free of formaldehyde, DBP, and toluene. Find a salon retailer at cnd.com.
Cost: An in-salon manicure with Vinylux ranges from $20 to $35. You can also purchase the polish for $9.90. Shown in Sultry Sunset.