Test Drive - Stila Hair Refresher, India Hicks Perfume

Sunday, December 14, 2008


My co-workers and fellow Metro commuters should be happy to know that

I shower every day. But I don't do it for them; I do it for my hair. If I go more than 24 hours without a wash, my locks become a limp, oily, itchy mess. So I was skeptical about Stila's hair powder, which is supposed to give hair a lift by absorbing oil and adding volume.

On my first try, I puffed too much powder onto my day-old dirty do. After the floral-scented cloud cleared, I saw that my black hair had turned gray. I worked the powder through with my hands, but it took several spritzes of water to erase the Halloween effect. My hair immediately felt less oily, if a little stiff. But over the next few hours, the dryness caused a mass of tangles to form, and the only solution was a long-overdue shower.

Knowing that no two heads are alike,

I asked a friend to give the hair refresher a whirl. She liked it but complained about white patches, even in her lighter hair.

I offered to let her keep the powder. Her response: "Eh, I don't really need something that will encourage me not to shower." You said it, sister.

-- Angie Wu

$28 at http://www.sephora.com.


I've always been the type to buy a book based ( mostly) on its cover. So, true to form, I was drawn to the India Hicks Island Night perfume compact by its looks, not necessarily by its scent. I'm a sucker for gorgeous packaging, and I just couldn't resist the weighty coolness of the inky black metal compact, embossed with Hicks's signature coral branch.

Inside, solid disks contain the Island Night perfume, meant to invoke dusky island breezes, and an "enhancer" with wood, musk and amber notes. To trendsetter and apparent perfumer India Hicks (who also happens to be goddaughter to Prince Charles and muse to Ralph Lauren), a Caribbean evening smells like orchids, jasmine, orange blossoms and palms. It's pleasant: fresh, a bit soapy, quite innocuous. But I prefer stronger perfumes, and I ended up layering the light scent with the richer, amber-laden intensifier to create something more complex.

Still, I found myself slipping the little oval case into my handbag more often than I wanted to wear the scent, then inventing opportunities to pull it out and apply it in front of my friends. Yes, I'm that much of a sucker.

-- Michelle Thomas

$40 at Crabtree & Evelyn stores and http://www.crabtree-evelyn.com.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company