The Beauty Innovations That Won Our Readers’ Choice Breakthrough Awards

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All of this skin-care focus doesn’t mean cosmetic compromise, though. “The formula also contains flexible film formers that help hold pigments in place,” Dobos says. Interestingly, it also contains high-shine silicones like diphenylsiloxy phenyl trimethicone that are more common in hair care, “but when carefully combined with other ingredients in this foundation give a luminous finish.”

“I find it to be very buildable and it blends beautifully on my skin,” says Allure audience development director Lexi Herrick, who loves the sleek packaging. “It’s not too heavy but has excellent coverage for acne and scarring.”

The hair winner: K18 Molecular Repair Hair Oil


K18 Molecular Repair Hair Oil

The concept of using a hair oil to reduce frizz is nothing new. Also not new: disappointment when hair oil fails to reduce frizz. Depending on your hair type or the product, you might end up as frizzy as you were before applying, or you may find your hair weighed down—which technically counts as frizz reduction, but at what greasy cost?

“Most oils weigh down fine hair types or aren’t hydrating enough for dry hair,” explains Rita El-khouri, PhD, vice president of innovation at K18, which makes Breakthrough winner Molecular Repair Hair Oil. “K18 has created a concentrated formula that requires just one to three drops and absorbs into versus sitting on top of the hair.” But this absorption is only part of why it works so well; once absorbed, it functions differently on a molecular level.

You’re likely familiar with seeing peptides in your skin care, but K18 has developed one that does the heavy lifting (or considering its lightweight texture, not-so-heavy lifting) in its Molecular Repair Hair Oil. The amino acid chain sh-Oligopeptide-78, known as K18Peptide in the US Patent and Trademark Office, is able to smooth hair and encourage repair in a way that translates to far less frizz going forward.

According to cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos, sh-oligopeptide-78 is a peptide that has a structure corresponding to a specific part of the hair’s keratin structure. “Keratin is the critical protein in skin, hair, and nails that provides strength,” she says. “This peptide is purported to penetrate the hair fiber and reconnect broken bonds in the cuticle and deeper cortex.”

And instead of silicone, Molecular Repair Hair Oil coats hair in avocado oil not only for additional smoothing power, Dr. El-khouri says, but also because it has “one of the highest natural smoke points and helps provide 450° F heat protection.” A little goes a very long way, which means it’s easy to overdo it. But, on the very bright side, once you nail that perfect little amount, the silky results will last and last and last. “All I need is a drop or two to instantly smooth my frayed blonde ends,” says associate beauty director Sarah Kinonen. “And because it’s a dry oil, it doesn’t leave any greasy residue on my hands or my hair!”

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