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Explainer: Good Housekeeping's Annual Anti-Aging Awards

  • Most of us only dream of banishing bad hair days, especially as we get older and strands go gray and lose their shine and fullness. But Good Housekeeping wondered if they could make that dream a reality: Last fall, they set out to discover, scientifically, whether anything could deliver lasting color and revive limp locks; in short, they focused their second annual awards on finding anti-aging hair products that really work. They enlisted 579 women, ages 35 to 81, and gave them shampoos, treatments, haircolor, and more to test for one to four weeks, depending on product directions. They filled out reams of questionnaires with their picks, pans, and comments. Back at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, the Beauty Lab spent months shampooing, conditioning, treating, and coloring almost nine pounds of human hair swatches, and then evaluated the results using our state-of-the-art equipment. The good news: The hair products you use can make a limp and lackluster head of hair look thicker and shinier and help haircolor stay vibrant. Here are their 17 winners.

  • Best shampoos and conditioners: Gold winner

    Good Housekeeping
    The contenders: Shampoos and conditioners created to increase volume, shine, softness, and smoothness, and to make hair more manageable — without fading color. Since the pairs are formulated to work together, that's how we tested them.

    Testing time: One week

    Gold winner: "I had strangers telling me my hair was gorgeous!" said one tester after using the Pureology Nanoworks Shampoo & Conditioner ($53 each, salons). The admittedly pricey pair earned its splurge-worthy status, taking first place in our biggest testing category. Testers repeatedly commented on its "rich, thick lather," especially notable because the shampoo doesn't contain the common sudsing agent sodium lauryl sulfate, which can cause hair and scalp dryness. The color-protecting formula made it popular among panelists with colored strands. "It made my hair smooth and kept the color vibrant," said one. Volunteers also noted that it improved softness and combability, and the latter was confirmed in the lab. Both the Pureology and second-place Biolage (see below) received perfect scores for wet combing on the Instron, demonstrating their prowess at detangling and protecting strands from further damage. Still hesitant about spending big bucks on shampoo? Consider that a bottle is designed to last for 80 shampoos (about three months), thanks to its concentrated formula.

  • Best Shampoos and Conditioners: Silver winner

    Good Housekeeping
    Coming in a close second, Biolage Rejuvathérapie Age Rejuvenating Shampoo and Conditioner ($18 and $19, respectively; salons) is a more wallet-friendly alternative to our expensive gold winner. It aced the lab's combing test (see above), and consumers loved how the "clean- and fresh-smelling" duo also helped boost the smoothness and softness of their strands. "My hair felt silky after it dried," said one pleased volunteer.

    Tip: None of the shampoos and conditioners added notable volume. Troubleshoot flatness with a styling product, like a mousse.

  • Best deep conditioners: Gold winner

    Good Housekeeping
    The contenders:Masks, or deep conditioners, promising to remedy dryness, roughness, and dullness with an intense dose of conditioners along with rich, plant-based oils. Designed to be used once or twice a week, these are combed through hair, left on for anywhere from three to 15 minutes, and then rinsed out.

    Testing time: Two weeks

    Gold winner: Big-time bargain Age Beautiful Intense Strengthening Treatment ($10, Sally Beauty) received top marks in both lab and consumer testing, ousting the pricier competition. Panelists gave it the highest rating for boosting their hair's softness, shine, and strength. "It added moisture and vibrancy to my hair. What a compliment it is when those half your age ask for your beauty secrets," reported one 62-year-old tester. "It made my hair very soft and easy to manage," said another. Wet hair swatches conditioned with both Age Beautiful and runner-up Redken (details below) were especially easy to comb through (the Instron recorded minimal friction). Age Beautiful also outperformed other masks in the shine evaluation conducted by our lab experts.

  • Best deep conditioners: Silver winner

    Good Housekeeping
    Silver winner: Sliding in at number two, Redken Time Reset Youth Revitalizer ($17, salons) also was the second-best bargain among anti-aging deep conditioners, which were a pricey group. "My hair looked and felt amazing after using this," said a panelist. The lab gave it points for its performance in the Instron test (see above). Affirming that victory, consumers classified Redken as a great detangler. Bonus: Testers found both Redken and Age Beautiful easiest to use, thanks to the squeeze-tube packaging that set them apart from the competition's tubs and jars. "I like that you can leave it upside down to eventually use all of the product," said a volunteer of the Redken.

    Tip: Intense conditioning can do wonders for colored, curly, coarse, thick, or damaged hair. If your locks are thin, apply it only from mid-shaft to ends to avoid weighing down fine strands.

  • Best permanent hair color: Gold winner

    Good Housekeeping
    The contenders:  At-home haircolor formulated to completely cover gray for up to four weeks without making hair look or feel coarse or dry.

    Testing time: Four weeks

    Gold winner: A real deal, Revlon ColorSilk With UV Defense ($3.69, 40 shades, drugstores) took top honors in lab performance, proving its mettle in the essential permanent haircolor measure, gray coverage, both immediately and at four weeks. Agreed a tester: "It covered my grays better and for a longer time than similar products I've tried." True to its name, it also scored high marks for fade resistance. The lab simulated a month's worth of UVA exposure and checked the color retention at each one-week mark. The color stayed vibrant, especially in the brown and blond shades. Consumers were especially pleased with the nonirritating, ammonia-free formula and scent. "Most brands will leave a strong 'just-colored' smell in the hair. This one didn't," said a volunteer.

  • Best permanent hair color: Silver winner

    Good Housekeeping
    Silver winner: Couture colour ($30, nine shades, Sephora) was a close second overall, and a panelist favorite for thorough gray coverage; rich, even color; fade resistance; and making hair shiny. "It stayed true to color and didn't fade. I loved the way it made my hair feel. It was amazing!" said one tester. Its shine-enhancing secret: a one-month supply of pequi oil treatment, derived from the Amazonian pequi fruit, instead of the usual conditioner included in a permanent haircolor kit. And, indeed, Couture Colour did edge out Revlon in the lab's shine-retention evaluation. Plus, testers were relieved that the dye didn't have a noxious smell. "I loved the scent. I never knew a haircolor existed that didn't have a chemical scent," reported a panelist.

    Tip: To help dye-resistant gray, leave the color on for the longest recommended time possible.

  • Best instant root touchups: Gold winner

    Good Housekeeping
    The contenders:  Sticks, wands, sprays, combs, and marker-like pens designed to immediately color small areas of gray roots — for example, at the part or temples — and last until the next shampoo.

    Testing time: One week

    Gold winner: Irene Gari Cover Your Gray Professional ($7, three shades) narrowly beat the competition in this extensive category, the only one for which our award is based solely on consumer testing. Panelists found Irene Gari covered gray the best and loved how well the shades matched their color. "It blended with my natural color beautifully and was very easy to apply," reported one. Our researchers noticed that it was especially popular with curly-haired testers; the lipstick-like stick was easy to maneuver and didn't get tangled in their hair. The caveat: Irene Gari comes only in medium brown, dark brown, and black shades. Redheads and blonds can try the runners-up below.

  • Best instant root touchups: Silver winners

    Good Housekeeping
    Silver winners: It's a tie: Andre Walker Hair Make-Up Color Blend Wand ($12, five shades, www.andrewalkerhair.com) and QuickTint ($15, 10 shades, quicktint.net) finished just behind the winner. The differences between these two standouts came down to applicators and shade choice. Andre Walker was rated as the easiest to apply: "I like the option of two applicators," said one fan of the mascara-like wand at one end and lip gloss--type applicator at the other. QuickTint, a color-dispensing click pen and mini comb, offers the widest range of shades (including six variations of brown). "The color matched my hair really well and did a good job of blending in," said one enthusiast. Testers particularly liked that the product stayed put when they brushed their hair.

    Tip: Use a light stroke when applying an instant root touch-up. If you're too heavy-handed, the excess may stick to your scalp, where it will be very noticeable and hard to wash off.

  • Best demi-permanent haircolor: Gold winner

    Good Housekeeping
    The contenders: At-home kits that promise to color hair that's 50 percent to 70 percent gray, last through 28 shampoos, and improve the look and feel of hair. Unlike most permanent haircolors, these don't release noxious ammonia during processing.

    Testing time: Four weeks

    Gold winner: Clairol Natural Instincts ($9, 36 shades, drugstores) took the top spot. It placed first in the lab for both initial and final gray coverage and for shine retention on hair swatches. At home, after using Natural Instincts, testers found that their hair color was the likeliest to actually match the color swatch on the box and that this product had the least offensive smell. "A pleasant fruity scent," noted one. It also received the best marks from consumers for making hair smooth, soft, and silky, and (along with runner-up Garnier HerbaShine, details below) for fade resistance. Testers also praised its unique inclusion of Week 2 Color Refresher, a rinse-out treatment that delivers key pigments lost two weeks after coloring. "It gave my color a kick. I'm still happy at week four," said one volunteer.

  • Best demi-permanent haircolor: Silver winner

    Good Housekeeping
    Silver winner: Scoring a close second in the lab, Garnier HerbaShine Color Crème With Bamboo Extract ($8, 18 shades, drugstores) got kudos from panelists for covering grays and providing rich, even color, as well as a call-out for being the easiest to mix and apply. "I had never purchased a demi before, and I thought it would easily fade or not adequately cover my gray, but this held up as well as any permanent color I have used," said one demi newbie.

    Tip: While some demi-permanents claim to cover up to 70 percent gray, in our lab test, the color looked most vibrant on 30 percent-gray swatches. On those that were 70 percent gray, the color looked more washed-out.

  • Best leave-in treatments: Gold winner

    Good Housekeeping
    The contenders: Hair serums, lotions, and creams intended to make hair look shinier, thicker, and fuller. They also promise increased softness, smoothness, and manageability.

    Testing time: One week

    Gold Winner: L'anza Healing Strength Neem Plant Silk Serum ($26, salons) grabbed first place in overall lab performance, winning the shine evaluation and earning our visual-rating panel's highest score for imparting sheen to hair swatches. That success was confirmed in the Samba instrumental test, performed at an outside lab (TRI in Princeton, NJ), which showed that the serum increased shine on untreated hair swatches by 250 percent. Testers agreed, giving it the highest shine score. "It made my hair shine instantly," said one. They also gave it top marks for making their hair feel soft. In the lab, it tied with runner-up Biolage (details below) in Instron combability tests, demonstrating that it also made hair less prone to snags and breaks. "My hair just seemed way more manageable. I had happier hair," one panelist commented.

  • Best Leave-in Treatments: Silver Winner

    Good Housekeeping
    Silver winner: Biolage Rejuvathérapie Age Rejuvenating Leave-In Densifier($18, salons) surpassed other leave-ins by impressing testers with its ability to thicken and strengthen their hair. "It made my hair seem thick and fluffy. This stuff works," reported a tester. The Instron test confirmed that Biolage does indeed help reinforce hair and prevent breakage. The trade-off: Biolage didn't perform nearly as well as L'anza at increasing shine.

    Tip: Start by applying a drop or two, and gradually add more if needed. Too much of a leave-in treatment, particularly a serum, can make strands greasy or limp.

    Root touch ups

    These permanent haircolor "minis" are a boon for gray coverage between colorings. We tested the only two on the market — L'Oréal Paris Root Rescue ($8, 12 shades, drugstores) and Clairol Nice 'n Easy Root Touch-Up ($7, 20 shades, drugstores), both designed to last three weeks — and they scored head-to-head. A few differences: L'Oréal garnered top consumer scores for providing seamless coverage and for the accuracy of the color's match with the swatch on the box. "It looked natural and blended with my existing color," noted one volunteer. Testers rated Clairol less likely to fade over three weeks than L'Oréal, and they especially liked Clairol's applicator: "The blue brush was the easiest I've ever used," said one. (L'Oréal has a comb-tipped bottle, not a separate brush.) For both products, some testers reported that the dye didn't cover resistant grays and complained of fading. Those results were echoed in the lab, where our experts found that root touch-ups faded more quickly than permanent haircolor. Testers were divided on the benefits of a root touch-up. Reported one convert: "The ease of it means I could use it often. It's much better for me than using an entire box of color." Feedback from an on-the-fence tester: "It only stretched the time between dyeings by maybe two weeks."

    More from Good Housekeeping:

    Best Anti-Aging Skin Products

    Age-Defying Style Tips

    125 Ways to Look Young (And Feel Great)

    How to Live Forever (Or Almost)

    Take Five Years Off – Fast

updated 8/22/2011 5:08:01 PM ET 2011-08-22T21:08:01

Photos: Stars’ scary hair moments

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  1. Halle Berry

    "In the '80s it was all about big hair, lots of makeup, and trying to look older than you really were," the Oscar winner told InStyle in March 2009.

    "I looked older when I was 20 than I do now at 42." As for the cut shown in this '94 pic, Berry said: "It looks like a backward mullet!"

    More Celebrity Hair Scares (Jordan Strauss/wireimage, Jeff K / InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Jessica Biel

    "When I was 17, I cut my hair up to my ears," the actress revealed in our September 2004 issue. "It was a blunt cut all the way around, and I used to hairspray it until it was stiff. When I look back, I'm like, Ugh!" (Kevin Mazur/wireimage, Jim Smeal / InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Sheryl Crow

    "At the height of my success in the '90s, after my first record, I confounded my record label by chopping all my hair off. Basically it looked like, 'Oh, my record sales are plummeting and people hate me!'" the singer told us at the Healthy Child Healthy World Gala in Beverly Hills. "The haircut was great — it was the two years of growing it out that was a nightmare. Never again." (Kevin Mazur/wireimage, Robin Pla / InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Claire Danes

    When asked about her worst hair moment at the Gucci Icon Temporary Sneaker Store opening in New York City, the actress replied, "Manic Panic Red. Does that count as a disaster?" (Full disclosure: In 1994, we loved Angela Chase's hair color in "My So-Called Life.")

    Rachel Zoe's Top 10 Fashion Must-Haves (Jennifer Graylock/jpistudios, Ma / InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Jane Krakowski

    "I had a really tragic cut at the beginning of Season 2 of 'Ally McBeal,'" the actress said in our April 2000 issue. "Someone convinced me that it would be good to layer my hair. I basically looked like Ronald McDonald." (Kevin Mazur/wireimage, Everett C / InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Ricki Lake

    At the Healthy Child Healthy World Gala in Beverly Hills, Lake was eager to share her scariest moment: "Oh my god! When John Waters made me dye my hair two colors —platinum blond and dark brown — for 'Hairspray,'" she confessed.

    "People think it was a wig, but it was my real hair. And honestly, I was 18 years old and my hair was never as good as before that film. But it was worth it!"

    10 Hairstyles That Are Always In Style (Gabriela Maj/getty, New Line Cin / InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image:
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    Above: Slideshow (6) Stars’ scary hair moments
  2. Audrey Hepburn
    Slideshow (22) Beehive beauties

Video: Look younger from the inside, out!

  1. Closed captioning of: Look younger from the inside, out!

    >>> this morning on "today's" beauty, turning back the clock from everything from beauty boosing foods to skin and hair products . we have the editor and chief of "good housekeeping" magazine. good to see you.

    >> great to be here.

    >> i know "good housekeeping" did a lot of testing. how did you figure out which ones were the best?

    >> second annual anti-aging award. this year we did all haircare products because more and more of these are making claims and some of them are outrageous claims. you find them in drugstores, beauty salons and department stores . we tested more than 70 products on more than 500 women. we had 2,500 lab tests that we did. our "good housekeeping" research institute and we have the winners.

    >> here is your chance. the first category in hair, this is at revlon hair color . i think to cover up gray.

    >> permanent hair color . we looked at things that totally covered gray that lasted the full four weeks they're supposed to and left your hair sign ahiny and manageable and not dry and performed well. very good price value.

    >> the root touch-up, you liked two products.

    >> there were only two touch-up products on the market. they both deliver. they are great for in between colorings. specifically because they have the cool little tools that will put the coloring where you want it.

    >> application is the key.

    >> that is the key. put it along your part and your hairline. if you don't have a tool, it's going to go everywhere you don't want it to go.

    >> who knew you needed conditioners that had anti-abling.

    >> when we did our skin care awards last year a lot of drugstore brands vastly out performed the super expensive brands.

    >> that's nice.

    >> in haircare, not so much. the goldwyner is purology. it's $53 a bottle.

    >> oh, my goodness.

    >> shampoo and conditioner. however, in both the lab testest tests tests and consumers, clear winner. very rich formula. if you shampoo twice a week, ten months. what about these?

    >> biolage was the runner-up. less than half the price, also works well. this is a serum. this is something you put in both to protect your hair and to increase shine.

    >> is this a leave-in conditioner?

    >> exactly. it's a leave-in serum. compared to untreated hair, increased shine 3 1/2 times. huge difference.

    >> let's look at skin care . as skin gets older we start getting the dark spots.

    >> it's called a hyper pigmentation. there are a couple of things you want to do. first of all, you want to use a product all over that's brightens your skin and sloughs off skin cells. this is a great product for that. then you want a specific spot treatment. this product has acid in it. it works well. then use something more intense if you have a lot of age spots , a serum like this will work. it has acids and licorice, which oddly enough is great to do.

    >> would eating it have the same effect?

    >> oddly not.

    >> so a serum like that, would you put it all over your face?

    >> it is an all-over treatment. and then finally, no matter what you're using if you want to use a product with retinol, don't forget to use it on your neck and chest as well as face. retinol speeds up the skin cell turnover. it also fights hyper pigmentation.

    >> retinol can be really expensive but this product here is not.

    >> this is not. this is sold at walmart. it's not expensive. more and more products do have retinol in them. you can get a higher concentration from our dermatologists but these work well for most women.

    >> foods. why are berries good anti-aging foods?

    >> in the september issue you will find an entire diet to help you lose ten pounds in a month but nourish your skin from inside out. you want high vitamin c foods like blackberries, raspberries, broccoli has a lot, cranberry, pomegranate. you only need 75 milligrams a day. a cup of rapgs bspberries in your cereal in the morning and a cup of broccoli at night, you're done. women have fewer wrinkles and moisture skin.

    >> one common denominator with all these foods, they're orange.

    >> beta carotene, right? this is very protective for your skin and you find it in sweet potatoes , apricots, squaush and cantaloupe. cooked tomatoes.

    >> okay. lastly, whole grains.

    >> whole grains. flour, rice, cake, triggers your insulin which triggers an inflammatory effect which ages your skin, whole grain does the opposite which fights the sun damage.

    >> thank you. we got to all of it. thank you.


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