I have to start this article by telling you that I like Bumble and Bumble. I like the name, I like the hot image and I like the unusual hair care products that they creatively think up on a regular basis.
Unfortunately I am not always wild about their pricing on their hair care items. I don't know if it is because they are based in New York City or if it is "just because" but some of their products can be a little pricey.
Yes, I love the best hair quality products that I can find and I am willing to pay for them. My hair is important to me and I really try to do the very best for it on a regular basis.
However, I also live with the constant struggle of wanting to get good value for my money. The same thing constantly worries me with the HairBoutique marketplace. I want to provide all of our customers with the best quality I can find. Charging a fair price is a challenge and we try to work it out so that everyone wins.
With all of that said, when I recently spied the new Bumble & Bumble Hair Powder, I was instantly curious. I picked up the unusual plastic packaging and spotted a small bottle of powder. I looked at the price tag and thought it had to be an error? $18.95+tax for a 2 ounce bottle of powder? Really?
Of course I had to buy the white powder for blondes so that I could figure out what made this product so special and whether it was indeed worth $18.95.
Note: As of 2009 the Bumble & Bumble has risen in cost to an estimate of more than $40 not including taxes and handling.
Old Hair Secret - Cornstarch
Flash back to when I was a teenager--as many teens do, I suffered from very oily bangs. The rest of my hair was dry and my bangs were oily. Since I didn't want to wash my hair more than once a day, I would powder the bangs and stretch my daily shampoos through the entire day.
My first oily hair aid consisted of the Pssst dry shampoo that came in a spray can. My dad was appalled that I would pay my hard earned babysitting money for what was basically powder. So he convinced me to try using baby powder instead.
Dad was right. The baby powder worked pretty well except for being very messy. I used baby powder for about one year until someone told me that the talc in the powder could be unhealthy for me if I inhaled it, at which point I switched to using all natural cornstarch. After all, how could I avoid inhaling something on my bangs?
Cornstarch? Yep, one of the food groups somewhere. For those that aren't familiar with it, cornstarch is a white powder normally used in cooking. However, it turns out to be very healing for human skin. It can be used to heal diaper rashes or heat rashes. Cornstarch is also a great all natural dusting powder.
My mom used cornstarch to thicken gravy and my best friend used cornstarch for heat rashes on her thighs. I sprinkled it on my oily hair and discovered it worked even better than either the Pssst or the baby powder.
Cornmeal also works in a similar fashion but I never really liked the results on my hair. Cornstarch was the best option for me and my hair.
Note: A great dry shampoo spray to try is Rene Furterer's Naturia.
By the time I was 18, my bangs were no longer oily and my jar of bathroom cornstarch was abandoned forever.
B&B Hair Powder vs. Bob's Cornstarch
I purchased the B&B 2 ounce Hair Powder in white for blondes and brought it home. Then I pulled out my recent purchase of Bob's Red Mill Cornstarch that I purchased at Whole Foods Market in North Dallas. Bob's 22 ounce package of cornstarch cost $1.49 plus tax.
A similar amount of B&B powder would cost over $190.00. Is it really worth that much more?
I studied the B&B Hair Powder ingredients. It included: Corn (Zea Mays) Starch, Montmorillonite, Tapioca Starch, Oat Starch, Oat Flour, Silica, Fragrance (Parfum). It does note that it may contain Iron Oxides (C177491).
I studied Bob's Red Mill Cornstarch ingredients. There is just one ingredient and it's cornstarch. That's it. Cornstarch and only cornstarch.
The Hair Powder is specifically manufactured for Bumble & Bumble in New York City. According to the instruction card that is included in the plastic packaging, Laurent Phillippon, a member of the B&B styling team, made their hair powder a dry shampoo to help the hair extend its style by a day or two.
How Does Baby Powder Stack Up?
After comparing the B&B Hair Powder and Bob's Red Mill Cornstarch I was starting to see a trend. It appeared that they both included one major similarity and that was cornstarch.
I decided to push my investigative skills a little further and check out the ingredients in baby powder.
My current container of Baby Magic baby powder cost me close to $2.25+tax (USD) for 8 ounces.
I read the ingredients on the side of the Baby Magic which included Corn Starch, Sodium Bicarbonate, Aloe Vera Gel, Tricalcium Phosphate and Fragrance.
Aha, my old friend cornstarch is there as the first primary ingredient. Why was I not surprised.
In fact, I noted that Desitin and Diaperene Baby Powders had the word Cornstarch in the actual titles.
Testing The B&B Hair Powder
Since I paid for the hair powder and studied the little instruction card I decided that I had to test it on my hair.
The B&B Hair Powder comes in four different colors, red, brown, black and white (for blondes). The fact that the B&B Hair Powders come in four colors is something that Bob's Cornstarch and the Baby Powders can not compete with.
Cornstarch, by itself, is just one color and that is white. End of story. I have never seen powder in red, brown or black, except for soot from the fireplace, which is probably not recommended for use on hair except in a X-Files show.
The instructions on the B&B Hair Powder tell you to shake well before each use. The powder does seem to settle down into the clear container which looks a little like a miniature milk bottle.
Since the whole point of using the Hair Powder is to do a dry shampoo, I waited until I have end-of-first-day hair and then applied the B&B Hair Powder right before bed.
I followed the instructions and shook the container for a few seconds. Holding the bottle upright 6-8 inches from my hair I managed to squeeze the bottle until a steady spurt of powder covered my hair.
Since I was not sure how hard to squeeze the bottle, I had to work at getting the pressure just right. Once I did the powder came out just fine.
The instructions advised me to pouf away and work through with my fingers. I did the pouffing and some combing and my hair reacted just like it used to react to the cornstarch. The oils disappeared and my hair had a sort of pouffey appearance.
I have to admit that the fragrance was nice and I did not notice excessive static on my hair.
The powder is definitely on the messy side. It is important to keep the powder away from your clothing. When I used to do the cornstarch trick to my hair, I would wrap up in a white bathrobe and sprinkle the cornstarch very carefully on my bangs. The less I could use, the better for my hair and my clothes.
After I applied the cornstarch I would comb and brush my hair until the powder was worked in really well. Once I made the mistake of not working the cornstarch into my hair and one of my friends gave me a hard smack on my hair so that a white cloud of powder filled the air.
Yes, it was good for a laugh, but taught me to really work the stuff into my hair well. I never again suffered from white cloud syndrome.
The same appears true for the Hair Powder. It needs to be worked in really well.
It did find it interesting that the instruction card for the B&B cautioned against inhaling the Hair Powder. It also warned not to get the product in the eyes and suggested immediate rinsing if eye contact occurred.
Would I recommend the B&B Hair Powder? Hmmm, mixed emotions churn around. On one hand it is a good product that has a good purpose. You can't find colored powders in the cornstarch aisles of Whole Foods. So to get extra time on a super style, the B&B powder would be a great tool for redheads and brunettes who would not fare as well with pure cornstarch.
While I am blonde and the cornstarch works well with my color, it is true that dark brunettes may have a much harder time using just cornstarch. In some cases it might leave a slight color which would give brunettes the appearance of gray.
The price seems to be high for the product. In all fairness, B&B does manufacture this in a special container and they do add fragrance and color for the black, brown and red formulas.
I think under the right circumstances the B&B is a good option.
I also think that cornstarch, if it can be used it a great "do it yourself" dry shampoo. I would recommend that anyone try cornstarch as a possible option.
Some brunettes may have success with the plain cornstarch if they brush carefully.
Whether you use the B&B Hair Powder or the cornstarch - be warned that it is messy. There is no way around this. Powder is powder and it can get on everything.
Would I recommend Baby Powder? Probably not for the hair. If you want to use a good B&B substitute just go to the source and head for the cornstarch aisle of your local grocery.
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