The 7 Hair Products I Couldn’t Live Without, Plus a Bonus Tip!

Welcome to the 476th Metamorphosis Monday!

Recently I shared a new tool I’m using for de-frizzing/curling/styling my hair. This thing is amazing, don’t know how I ever lived without it! If you missed that post, you’ll find it here The Best Hair Styler Tool I’ve Ever Used and this styling tool is available here: Styling Tool.)Best Hair Tool for Smoothing Frizzies and Creating Beautiful Curls

For this week’s Met Monday, I thought I’d share the other products that I’ve been using for years, and absolutely can’t do without when it comes to managing my unruly mane. So I guess you could call this a hair metamorphosis!

I shared this shampoo a few years back and I still love and use it every time I shampoo my hair. I hope they never quit making it because it’s excellent. You can read more about this shampoo and purchase it here: Shampoo. It looks like they have changed the packaging but it’s the same shampoo.

The conditioner is also, good, but for my color-treated hair, I need something a bit stronger.Mill Creek Botanicals Biotin Shampoo & Conditioner


This is my absolute favorite conditioner. It’s not cheap, but it doesn’t take a lot, so for me, it lasts a long time. I’ve been told by hair stylists and an associate in Sally Beauty Supply that it’s not supposed to be available to the general public and is only sold to salons, but I’ve been purchasing it for several years here: Kerastase.

Here’s how I use it: After I wash my hair, I squeeze out the water, then apply the Kerastase Nutritive to my hair. I leave the Kerastase in my hair while I finish showering, shaving my legs, etc…. When I’m ready to get out of the shower, I rinse my hair, forcing myself to not rinse too much out. It’s easy to think you need to keep on rinsing because this stuff is super, industrial rich, so it always feels like there’s still a lot of this nutritive/conditioner left, even after rinsing your hair. That’s normal…don’t rinse it all out!

If you wash your hair often, you may need to alternate the Kerastase with another conditioner, since it is so rich. My skin and hair tend toward the dry end, so my hair only needs washing every 4-5 days…it’s been that way my whole life. So I use the Kerastase every single time I wash my hair. I always have one of these in the shower and one in reserve because I never want to run out. Again, you’ll find it here: Kerastase.

After I’m out of the shower, I lightly towel dry my hair, then I spray 3-4 sprays of this Biolage Daily Leave-in Tonic on my still-wet hair.

I first purchased this Biolage Daily Leave-in Tonic in a hair salon after the stylist recommended it for my hair. I’ve been using it for probably 15+ years now. It takes so little, a bottle lasts for a very, very long time.

I’m not sure if it’s still really necessary since I use Kerastase in the shower, but my hair is so thick, I figure it needs all the help it can get. This leave-in conditioner doesn’t weigh your hair down, which I really like. If your hair can be hard to manage and lacks body, I can definitely recommend it. It’s available here: Biolage.

Biolage Daily Leave-in Tonic


I comb the Biolage through my hair using this detangling brush available here: Detangling Brush.

Next, I blow dry my hair by leaning over and throwing my hair over my head to dry it. I don’t have the patience to dry is like they do in a salon because it would take forever. Stylist always remark (and sometimes even complain) about how long it takes to dry my hair. I can’t tell you how many times they’ve just given up, and I’ve left the salon with still partially-wet hair. I even had a stylist once hand me the blow dryer and encourage me to do it myself as I do at home, she was so over trying to dry it the standard way. lol

After I blow-dry my hair (which I do in stages since I don’t want heat on my hair for such a long stretch) once it cools off, this is the brush I use to brush it out. I have two of these, one in my dressing room and one in the bath/vanity area. I’ve also purchased it for family members because it’s such a great brush.

I’ve been trying to think of a way to describe what it’s like to use. The one word that keeps coming to mind is “thorough.” When you brush your hair with this brush, it feels like it is literally brushing every single strand of hair on whatever section of your head/hair that you’re brushing. Yet, it’s sooo gentle on the hair. How they created a brush that brushes the hair so thoroughly and so well, yet doesn’t break the hair, I do not know. It also feels really good to use, hard to explain…you just have to feel it. You’ll find it available here: Brush.

Update: If you buy this brush, do not use soap/water on it to clean it. I noticed reviews on Amazon saying it fell apart after they soaked it or washed it in water. It’s not plastic, it’s a wood brush and the part that holds the bristles is rubber-like. I’ve always used a comb to clean hair from mine, but I just purchased THIS brush cleaning tool that I saw someone recommend in the reviews. I didn’t know there was such a thing.



I’ve just recently started using this thermal protector occasionally before blow drying my hair since it takes so long to dry it. I ordered it after a You Tuber I follow recommended it. It doesn’t leave your hair feeling greasy, which I really like. I haven’t used it enough to give a total verdict on it, but the few times I have used it, I did like it. I purchased it here: Thermal Protector.

HSI Argan Oil

After my hair has completely cooled off from being blow-dried, it’s time for the real magic! That’s the only way I can think to describe what this awesome tool does for my hair! It literally leaves my hair feeling like I’ve been to a fancy salon and had a professional blowout. It gives my hair tons of body, soft curls and it gets rid of any frizzies.

I purchased mine here: Styling Tool. This version comes with its own storage bag, which I really like. That will come in handy for travel. I purchased the 1.5 inch size since my hair is below my shoulder, now–I’ve been letting it grow. You’ll find the 1″ size for shorter hair at that link, as well.

Best Hair Tool for Smoothing Frizzies and Creating Beautiful Curls

If I Had To Pick Just Two

If I had to choose just two products from all of the above, I would choose this awesome Styling Tool and the Kerastase Nutritive Conditioner. The Kerastase could probably undo any damage done by a less than stellar shampoo, and I can’t live without my new styling tool! I would miss my brush, so I’d have to sneak it in, too!

Bonus Tip: After I returned home from being so sick with Influenza A in Germany, a BNOTP reader suggested these vitamins in a comment. I never take vitamins, but I was feeling so run down while fighting bronchitis left over from the flu, I decided to order them. I was also worried I would lose a lot of hair, that happens sometimes when my body goes through a stressful ordeal.

The box says to take two a day, but I’ve been taking just one a day. After taking them for a month, I feel the best I have felt in many years. I don’t know if it’s the vitamins or not, but even on days when I don’t get enough sleep, I have so much more energy than I normally would.

I don’t want to suggest you take these since I don’t know your health situation. You should probably consult with your doctor first to be safe, but I just had to share them since I do think they have make a huge difference in how I feel each day and how fast I have bounced back from the flu and bronchitis. And I haven’t had any hair loss like I normally would after being sick.

Thanks so much to Bella for suggesting these! She said in her comment that they are available at Whole Foods and on Amazon, and that’s where I ordered them here: Vitamins.

Organic Vitamins


Looking forward to all the wonderful Before and Afters for this week’s Metamorphosis Monday!

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Metamorphosis Monday

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  1. Thanks for hosting each week!

  2. Jean Sprimont says

    Oh Susan after reading about your difficulty with drying your hair I can’t help but wonder if you’ve tried the Dyson Blow Dryer my hairdresser swears by and something I purchased for my daughter for Christmas. Do read the reviews. Now warning…it’s a ghastly $400. so be certain you purchase it from a store that accepts returns so you can try it. I purchased from Bed Bath and Beyond. It may be the answer to your problem.

    • I didn’t know they made a blow dryer…how interesting! The one I have is by Conair and it’s super, duper strong. It has several settings, but I keep it on the hottest, otherwise, I’d be drying my hair forever. I just do it in sessions so it’s not under the heat for so long. I really Google and read about their Dyson. I know folks rave about their vacuums! One of these days I’m going to splurge and buy one of the vacuums. Thanks for that tip, Jean!

  3. Barbara H says

    I purchase the Calista styling tool after you mentioned it last time and you were absolutely right! This is one of the best things I have ever bought. What a game changer. My hair looks and feels great with less effort and in less time than ever. I blow my hair dry without trying to style it in any way, then I use the Calista 1 and a half inch model. I do the top first then put two Velcro roller in while I do the rest. I love it! My hair looks fabulous-I am so grateful to you for recommending it. Thank you.

    • Isn’t it amazing! That’s been my experience, too…takes so much less time and I love how my hair looks and feels. So glad you love it, Barbara! I wish I had discovered it years ago! 🙂

  4. BamaCarol says

    I also have very thick, curly hair which retains water like crazy. My hair stylist is the best as she makes sure my hair is good and dry before I leave. She allows extra time for my weekly wash and blow-out just because of the thickness. When I was sick several years ago I probably lost 1/2 of my hair but no one ever knew except for her and my family. That is how thick my hair is! I recently stopped coloring it and have gone grey to keep it healthy. Thanks for the recommendations.

    • You are lucky to have a good stylist, Carol! I always warn stylist up front that I have a lot of hair. They nod, then once they start cutting it, they start exclaiming over how much hair I have, like they had no idea! lol The best haircut I’ve ever gotten was when the stylist took the time to pin it in lots of different sections, then lowered each section one by one to cut it. Is that how your stylist cuts your hair?
      The same thing has happened to me before when I’ve been sick and lost a ton of hair. No one could tell since it was so thick to start with, but I had a bazillion tiny little hairs sticking out everywhere when it came back in. lol
      Let me know how you like it as it grows out. I’ve thought about doing that but always chicken out. I started going gray very early, around 29 years of age, so I’ve always colored mine. I don’t think I’m ready to go gray, just yet.

      • BamaCarol says

        Yes, she cuts it and drys it by sectioning it off and working on it then. After she drys it on cutting day, she will go back and cut again usually. And yes, I had the ‘halo hair’ effect as she calls it when my hair started growing back. Fortunately for me it is all grown back now and the gray is grown out as well so no more color for me. I just think it makes my hair healthier to not color it. I was watching “Somethings Gotta Give” again and realized I have the Dianne Keaton haircut from that movie. Just wisshed I looked as cute as she does in that movie and that the house came with the haircut.

  5. Hmmm…I take those “proprietary to salons” remarks (of many products) with a grain of salt. I see Kerastase everywhere in Europe–it doesn’t seem restricted to salons. Bumble and Bumble makes an amazing curl creme I’ve been using for 20 years. The company was founded in NYC and belongs to Estee Lauder. Those with delicate skin would do well to discover Biafine, produced and used in France for thermal and UV burns and clinically proven to stimulate healing, but I use it on my dryish face as a daily moisturiser…it’s absolute magic! It used to be a J&J company, I think, now owned by L’Oreal. There are so many good products out there, as a result of basic dermatologic research carried out in the past 30 years.

    • Yeah, I thought that was really odd since I’ve been buying it on Amazon now for several years. I was hoping I could find it locally in case Amazon quits carrying it, but I can’t find it here in my area at all.

  6. I have fine hair and rarely use conditioner so I probably won’t use these products, but I wanted to let you know I appreciate all your recommendations and I purchased the hair styling tool for my daughter. Hopefully she’ll like it as much as you!

  7. Any other ideas for finding the Spornette brush? I’ve been looking for a great brush for ages. Amazon doesn’t carry it anymore. Waaaa….

    • It looks like they still have 1 left here:

      • Hey Susan – still showing “not available” just like this morning… I’ve contacted Spornette, and they have replied that they are out of stock also. Must be a popular brush! Spornette has many brushes of the boar bristle+nylon combination, but not the porcupine style that you have. I am trying to find out when they will be back in stock. Will let you know so you can post.

        • Well, that’s a shame. So strange they would run completely out. I Googled and can’t find them anywhere. Yes, please let me know and I’ll let folks know that it’s back in stock. Thanks!

          • Hi Susan –
            I have an update from Spornette. Their rep says that they are having issues with the factory that produces the #25 porcupine brush, and “should” have them back in stock at the end of April. They will be available on their website, and also at Amazon. 45 days away? That’s a lot of factory trouble! Hope my current paddle brush lasts that long until I can order the Spornette.

            • Wow, that is a long time. At least it looks like they will eventually have them back in. Glad you heard back from them, thanks for that update!

  8. So many good tips–a lot to absorb. I need to step up my hair care; it is starting to thin out. (the navy hot brush it $1oo dollars more than any other color!). I think the vitamins and hot brush will move to the top of my “to purchase” list.

  9. Thank you Susan, I did buy the curling brush on your recommendation, and I think I’m going to love it, still playing with it and figuring out how to use it…thanks for the other tips today!

    • I’ve been playing with mine, too…trying different things. Jenna, if you search on YouTube for it, you’ll find a video by the woman who invented it showing some different ways to use it.

  10. These look like great hair products but I have the opposite kind of hair issue- mine is very fine so I have to be careful as to how conditioning a product is. My hair gets too limp and wants to lay flatter (and it’s incredibly straight and flat already). I have to work to get lift out of it. I had also just purchased a styling curling iron brush for my hair when you got yours and it’s made a big difference for me. I love that there are so many different kinds of hair tools out there for us to choose from!

    • Liz, you probably wouldn’t like Kerastase, although it doesn’t weigh the hair down, which is surprising since it’s so rich. You might like the styling tool though since it actually seems to add body to my hair.

  11. I have been using the shampoo and conditioner ever since you first posted. I wish I had your hair drying problem.

  12. I love reading your blog. You share information on so many topics for which I share your interests.
    I just recently purchased my first Nora Fleming plate along with 2 miniatures the Adirondack chair and the lamb. I must tell you when I showed these to my husband in the store he also thought they were terrific and picked out 7 miniatures he personally liked.
    I have just purchased the styling tool you recommended previously. I have been looking to purchase a new one and am hopeful this one will be what I am looking for. I am excited for it to arrive.

  13. So glad you’re “up and running” at full speed!! Keep doin what you’re doin!! franki

  14. Would love it if you would show a pic of your hair

  15. Thank you Susan! The Calista curling iron is incredible and I love the fact that you don’t burn your hand when rolling your locks onto the iron. It only takes a few minutes and presto you’re done! Love it!

    • I know! I can’t believe how fast I get done when I use it. I still don’t understand how it makes my hair feel so bouncy…and that bouncy lasts for days, usually until the next time I wash my hair. Have you found that, too Gina? I do love it! Wonder if I should buy another one to just keep on hand. I always have a fear they will stop making something that I love. lol

  16. Lots of great information here! My girls have tons of great hair products and I learn a lot from them, but it’s always good to get another opinion. The biotin shampoo looks good. I need to try that. Thanks!

  17. My hair is like yours thick & also takes forever to dry. I immediately purchased the Calista styling brush after your review and love it! I had a hair appt last Frid and even tho my hair was in dire need of washing, color etc. I quickly used the Calista brush before heading in and my stylist and other girls right away told me how good my hair looked…I had to laugh but seriously I know it was all because of the Calista magic wand! I use the Kerastase masque too but only occasionally. It tends to make my hair a bit too soft & fly away if used too often. What I use always is this from Kerastase: it protects your hair so amazingly well from all the heated objects we use on our hair. The bonus I discovered with it is that it has cut my hair drying time in half that I no longer dread drying my hair! You really should try it. I have the Spornette brush and like but end up using my wet/dry brush more often. I love your honest reviews, they’ve really helped me…spend money lol! Now I’m off to research those vitamins 😉

  18. This blog post needs a picture of your hair! 🙂

  19. Hi, great review on the products! I just got a cut from a new gal and she remarked that I never need to worry about thinning hair as I age because I still have so much hair! Went back to an old style where it’s layered more, but my hair also takes so long to dry. I’ll have to give these products a try.

  20. I’m such a simple girl when it comes to beauty maintenance….I have short hair that now has a bit of wavy texture, but used to be poker straight. All I do is finger comb it with a little water each morning after showering the night before….
    Those vitamins look interesting, may check those out. I’ve been maintaining on the same mix of vitamins for about 12 yrs now, Dr. recommended.
    Thanks for hosting the platform for us to share each week, Susan. I love your informative and inspiring blog.

  21. Thank you for the styling tips! I have fine shoulder length blonde hair. My hair is totally different back here in hot and humid South Texas, as opposed to the very low humidity of Idaho. Here my hair has curls and waves it never had before and has a tendency to get frizzy. I have used Kerastase products before and like them, but I know I need that styling tool too!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  22. Thanks for hosting today. You share great products. Have a great week.

  23. Vanessa in Atlanta says

    I love to read about what products are tried and true for others!

    My hair isn’t all that thick, and it has a fine texture, but it does take forever and a day to dry. I bought the Dyson hair dryer and regained a lot of time back. I adore my Dyson and actually travel with it now as it has spoiled me. It is spendy but I think it is worth every penny.

    Good hair products make all the difference in the world. I spray this on my hair prior to blow dry (I purchase from my hair salon) and it really helps the ends:

    Thanks for sharing your tips and finds.

  24. Cyndi Raines says

    Susan, I have been using the biotin shampoo and conditioner since you posted about it and love it. I think it is great for my fine hair. I also bought the brush and LOVE it, it is everything that you said. Now don’t laugh at me, but I was a big dummy and did put mine in the blue soaking solution /cleaning solution you see used in salons, but I had intended to only do a few minutes, but became sidetracked and forgot it overnight. I could have kicked myself when I realized my stupid mistake. The brush still works fine, but the nice lacquer finish peeled off, so now it is just a smooth wooden handle. I can’t tell you how mad I was at myself and my husband just laughed at me. Just yesterday I thought I should order another and keep this one as a spare, so now I am disappointed that they are out of stock. Hope they get more in. Regarding color, after 32 years of coloring my hair, this past year I made the big decision to let my silver show and I am enjoying not having that chore. I have actually had ladies come up to me in the store and ask if I had my hair “frosted” or highlighted, and I tell them no, it’s mine and I’ve earned every one, haha. I still have lots of my natural color, but the silver is definetly evident. It’s been kind of a freeing experience and one I am still getting used to and think I’ll keep. Saves money too which is great and doesn’t make me feel guilty when buying more Nora Fleming charms, lol!

    • Oh, sorry that happened, Cyndi. I bet they will get them in again. I wonder if you could apply some polyurethane to it…kinda like I did the potting table I built, only I used marine varnish on it.

      It would be really painful for me to let my gray grow out because when I see the roots, I can tell I’m pretty much all gray. I starting going gray really early, around age 29. A couple of years back I asked a hairdresser who was cutting my hair how people did it, how do people go natural when they decide to do it. I thought maybe they let it grow out a half an inch, then maybe the hairdresser could color it the same color as the gray that was showing.
      Nope. He said you just have to suffer it out…meaning let it grow out on its own. I can’t imagine what I would look like with one inch, then two inches, then three inches, etcc… of gray showing and then brown the rest of the way. 🙁 I color my own hair because do not have the patience to sit in a hair salon for a few hours. It takes me 20-30 minutes at home and while it working, I do other things like answer comments on the blog or work on a blog post. So there’s no wasted time stuck in a salon. I also don’t like to pay what it cost to have it done in a salon, would rather spend that on more fun things…like travel. It only costs me around $8-10 to color it at home, and I can color it every 4 weeks instead of having to schedule an appointment and wait.
      That’s wonderful that your hair is a mix so you can go gray naturally and not with a big line of demarcation all the way around your head like I would have. lol I honestly don’t think I would look good with gray hair. I have very pale skin and just not sure gray would do anything for my already pale complexion.

  25. Sherie Frank says

    Also bought the Calista curling brush. Can’t believe the volume I’m getting compared to my regular curling iron. And I don’t need products to create volume… the brush does it. Thanks for the recommendation.

  26. Sheila in Garden City SC says

    Susan, I’ve used the round brush dryer/smoother for years and it does very nice for my curly and often frizzy hair. Last summer I learned of a salon service for smoothing (not straightening). The Brazilian Blow Out has been life changing, regarding my hair. A little pricey, $250.00, takes 2 hours, but mine lasted 4-5 months as it became less noticeable. It might be worth checking into. As for Something’s Gotta Give and Diane Keaton, that’s the look I’m after, for both! Love that movie!

  27. Susan—I bought the Calista curling iron after you posted it. I’ve loved it, but It has finally lost so many teeth that I need to replace it; however, it’s no longer available. Have you had to replace yours? If with another brand, what do you recommend? Thank you.

    • I know. 🙁 When I was visiting with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren last year, I realized I had left my Calista at home. I couldn’t find them available anywhere but ended up finding one on eBay. Fortunately, it worked great when it arrived. That’s the only place I know to find one now. I don’t why they discontinued, I love that thing and still use mine every time I wash my hair. I haven’t had any teeth break off so far. Do you have the 1-inch barrel size or the bigger size, which I think is 1-1/2 barrel size? Here’s a 1-inch on eBay: . Just do a search on eBay for Calista Hair Tool. I have one in each size since sometimes I cut my hair short and other times I let it grow.

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