Shampoo

What I’ve Been Loving Lately…

It’s been a while since my last post, and I couldn’t be more excited to get back into the swing of things!  The products I’ve discovered these past few months are some of my all-time favourites, and I hope you’ll love them, too!

1. MantraBand “Smile, Breath, and Go Slowly” Bracelet

I discovered MantraBand during a trip to the USA this past summer.  Being someone who loves motivational quotes, I was immediately intrigued by these bracelets, which are sleek and simple in design (available in silver, rose gold, or yellow gold), and adorn various fun, inspirational messages.  In particular, I was drawn to the saying, “Smile, Breath, and Go Slowly“.  The MantraBand website describes this bracelet as a reminder to, “Remember to focus on one thing at a time and give it your all. Stay calm, look on the bright side, and keep going. Because it’s all about the journey, not the destination.”  I, like many others, often times find myself rushing to get things done, and I can easily forget to slow down and enjoy the process.  Naturally, I’m now hooked on these bracelets and have a handful of others on my wishlist: “Hakuna Matata“, “Ohana“, and “Que Sera Sera“, just to name a few!

2. L’Oreal Paris Hair Expertise Extraordinary Clay Shampoo and Conditioner

I’ve waited a long time for an affordable shampoo and conditioner that were specially formulated for oily roots, and guess what?  It’s finally arrived! L’Oreal’s Extraordinary Clay line is perfect for those who have hair the equivalent to “combination skin”: an oily scalp, with ends that could use some love.  These products use the power of various clays (white, blue, and green) to cleanse, moisturize, and revitalize the hair and scalp, leaving hair balanced for up to 72 hours!  The shampoo lathers beautifully and leaves your hair and scalp feeling clean and refreshed, and the conditioner is super moisturizing and lightweight.  Oh, and both products smell amazing.  Using the shampoo and conditioner, I noticed a difference in my hair within just two uses.  Next on my list to try is the Pre-Shampoo Clay Mask.

3. Benefit Cosmetics Dallas Box o’Powder Blush

I’d always heard great things about Benefit Cosmetic’s boxed blushes, but had never actually purchased or tried one for myself.  I decided it was time to hop on the bandwagon, and chose the shade “Dallas” (described as a rosy-bronze hue).  Trust me, the shade you see in the box does not do this product justice.  Once applied, it wears as a gorgeous, warm bronze that gives you a healthy glow, and is perfect for Fall.  You can even use it as a bronzer, or to contour, and it suits nearly every skin tone.

4. Quo Effortless Curl Mascara in “Black”

I’m someone who’s lucky enough to have long lashes naturally, but if I don’t use the right mascara, they just fall flat and can end up looking sparse.  I’m therefore always on the lookout for affordable options that give volume and hold curl.  I received this particular mascara in a gift bag from a Quo event, and was hooked after trying it just once.  The formula is glossy and super pigmented, the curved silicone brush adds curl, and it apples clump-free and lasts all day.  This mascara easily compares to high-end versions, and is just a fraction of the price. Definitely recommend!

5. Michael Kors Eau de Parfum in “Sexy Amber”

This is a perfume that has been on my wishlist for a long time, but due to it’s higher-than-average price tag, I always hesitated.  When Shoppers Drug Mart hosted their recent redeem your points event, I decided to finally take the plunge.  First off, this product is an Eau de Parfum, meaning a little bit goes a long way (making it a good value for money). It comes in a gorgeous glass bottle with gold accents, and the signature Michael Kors logo.  The scent itself has notes of warm amber, sandalwood, and white flowers.  It’s warm and musky but still feminine, and it’s perfect for the colder months ahead.

6. Bath and Body Works Ultra Shea Body Cream in “Golden Pear & Brown Sugar”

Surprise! Another warm, musky scent that I can’t get enough of.  Until it was recently discontinued, Bath and Body Works’ “Twilight Woods” was always one of my favourites.  However their new scent, “Golden Pear & Brown Sugar” has now replaced it as my number one.  It has notes of almond creme, Bartlett pear, brown sugar, toasted hazelnut, silken vanilla, and decadent pistachio mousse (hungry yet?).  It’s a pretty, sexy scent, but is also subtle and not overpowering.  I pair the shower gel in the same scent with the Ultra Shea Body Cream for an extra scent boost.  Note to self: stock up on this before it’s gone!

What have you been loving lately?  Let me know in the comments below!

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Spring Favourites

With just a couple more weeks of Spring left (helloooo Summer!), I wanted to share some of the products I’ve been loving for the past few months.  Let’s get started!

1. Beauty With a Twist Daily Shampoo and Conditioner*

Created in 2013 by celebrity stylist Oliver Ifergan in an effort to capture the essence of the California lifestyle (palm trees, sandy beaches…basically everything I dream about), Beauty With a Twist’s products are formulated with only the highest quality, certified-organic ingredients.  Their products are not tested on animals, and a portion of their sales are donated to The Beagle Freedom Project to help end animal cruelty.  Their Daily Shampoo and Conditioner smell amazing, (notes of coconut and soft peach), and leave hair feeling soft and moisturized.  Both are formulated without parabens and are sulfate-free, ensuring they protect and preserve colour treated hair.  Beauty With a Twist products can be purchased in Canada exclusively on Amazon.ca.

2. Sahajan Discovery Kit*

This Discovery Kit is like an adult goodie-bag full of nourishing treatments for your face, body, and hair.  All of Sahajan’s products are natural and organic, and are developed and made in Canada (Toronto to be exact!) with eco-friendly and sustainable practices.  This kit is the perfect way to test out some of Sahajan’s products and includes: Nourish Face Cream, Restorative Eye Cream, Protective Face Serum, Nurture Hair Oil, and Ritual Body Oil (plus a handy linen makeup bag and a natural-wood mirror).  All of the products in this kit are impressive; they are nourishing, lightweight, and smell beautiful.  If I had to choose just one favourite (and trust me, it’s hard), it would have to be the Restorative Eye Cream.  A good eye cream is hard to find, and this one left the skin under my eyes feeling soft and moisturized, and looking brighter.  You can purchase this Discovery Kit, or the individual Sahajan products at Toronto’s Blossom Lounge.

3. Skechers Flex Appeal Sneakers in “Floral Bloom”

For me, these sneakers were love at first sight (um, hello, do you see those flamingos!?).  Not only are they bright, adorable, and perfect for Summer, they are also extremely comfortable, thanks to their memory foam insoles and stretch mesh panels.  They are light-weight (a women’s size 7 is just 6oz!) and are super flexible, allowing them to bend and flex naturally with your feet.

4. NYX Lip Lingerie in “Corset”

After reading positive reviews about this colour and formula online, I decided to give it a try.  This product is a matte liquid lipstick with a griege-ish tone.  It is long-lasting, and, as is commonplace for the NYX brand, is affordable without compromising on quality. If you’re looking for a super-unique yet wearable tone to add to your makeup collection, this is it.

5. Prada Candy Eau de Parfum

I’m one of those people who likes to switch up their scent on a daily basis, so it’s not often I find one that ends up on repeat.  I received a sample of this scent about a year ago, and brought it with me on a trip to Mexico.  Now, maybe it’s that every time I smell this scent I recall sandy beaches, warm breezes, and pina coladas, but since purchasing a full-sized version a couple of months ago, I still can’t get enough.  With notes of caramel, musk, and vanilla, this scent is soft and sweet with a nice warmth to it, just like a Summer night.

What have you been loving these past few months?  Let me know in the comments below!

Note: products indicated with an asterisk (*) were received for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

A Trip to the Beach (In your Shower!)

I love pretty much anything that reminds me of the beach: Pina Coladas, pineapples, seashells, and, of course, coconuts (fun fact: I used to wear sunscreen to school in the Winter because I loved the scent that much).  Thanks to Hask Beauty, taking a trip to the beach is as easy as taking your morning shower with their Monoi Coconut Oil collection.  So what is Monoi Coconut Oil, you ask?  It’s a mixture of pure coconut oil and Tahitian gardenias; a combination commonly used by Polynesian women to nourish and protect their hair from the elements (sand, wind, and sun).  Even better? All of Hasks’s products are free of sulfates, parabens, gluten, artificial colours, and drying alcohols.  Their products are also used on many film and television sets (more than any other brand!).   I mean, who doesn’t want to use the same styling products as Olivia Pope?!  You can find their products in many countries throughout the world; visit their website to find a retailer near you! But for now, keep reading to learn more about the products pictured above from the Monoi Coconut line (which are safe for all hair types).

1.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Shampoo

This shampoo is perfection:  from the scent, to the formula, and the results.  As someone with oily hair, I’m always looking for products that won’t add any weight or residue.  This shampoo lathers nicely and evenly, leaves hair feeling clean, and obviously, smells amazing.

2.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Conditioner

As I mentioned before, having oily hair means that conditioning products can sometimes be a little scary.  I want my hair to feel soft and look shiny, but most importantly I want it to look and feel clean.   I apply this conditioner in the shower after shampooing, and leave it in for a few minutes while I wash my body, shave, or sing (come on, you do it too!).  When I wash it out, my hair is left feeling soft, detangled, and moisturized without any extra weight or greasiness.   Oh yeah, and did I mention these products smell fantastic?…

 3.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Deep Conditioner

Used 1-2 times per week, this deep conditioner helps moisturize and repair damage.  Just apply to wet, clean hair, leave in for 10 minutes or so, and rinse well.  My preference is to start by applying it to the ends of my hair (where I have more damage) and work my way up to my scalp.  This product (along with the SHINE Oil below) is so popular that one is purchased every 5 seconds!

 4.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing SHINE Oil

I’ve always used and loved hair oils because of their versatility.  You can use them on wet hair to help moisturize and detangle, or you can use them on dry hair to help tame frizzy hair and add shine.  This oil is the perfect consistency and weight, allowing it to absorb quickly and work its magic without making hair greasy or oily.  Just remember to use a small amount, and concentrate on the ends of your hair (avoid applying directly to your roots).

Have you tried any Hask Beauty products before?  Let me know in the comments below!

*Products provided for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

New Favourite Alert! Clear Scalp and Hair Therapy

Clear Shampoo and Conditioner

I’ve been struggling lately to find a shampoo and conditioner that I really love.  They either make my hair too dry or too greasy: there just seems to be no happy medium.  Another problem I encounter from using heavy shampoos and conditioners, is a dry, itchy scalp, which ultimately can lead to dandruff.  What you’re probably thinking is, “grab a bottle of Head & Shoulders and stop whining”, but given that half of my hair is dyed and half is natural (courtesy of ombre),  I don’t want to risk damaging or stripping the colour from my hair (as per the advice many beauty experts and hair stylists). (more…)

Mane Attraction: My Current Hair Favourites!

Hair FavouritesWhen it comes to hair products, I’m pretty picky, and when I find products that I think work well, I’m also pretty loyal to them.  I wanted to share some of the best products that I use on a daily basis.  Keep in mind that I have coloured, damaged hair, so for some of these treatments, you may want to select similar products if you have a different hair type.  I’ve also tried to include a more budget-friendly version for some of the pricier (but well worth it!) products.  Let’s get started!

1. Ion Colour Defense Clarifying Shampoo $6.99

Though you can use this product every day, I prefer to use it once or twice a week, alternating with my regular shampoo.  This product is great at removing all the guck and residue left from hairsprays, dry shampoos, and other styling products, without removing your precious (and expensive!) hair dye.  It leaves your hair squeaky clean and is especially great when using a deep conditioning treatment (like the one below).  Another great alternative if you don’t have colour treated hair is the Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo (note: this product can strip your hair colour).

2. Macadamia Oil Deep Repair Mask $28.00

The first time I used this mask, I didn’t see what all the hype was about.  After a few uses however, I was definitely in love.  Apply this in the shower and leave on for 5 minutes or so before rinsing, and you’ll be left with soft, manageable hair.  You can even put this on at bedtime and wear it as an overnight mask, washing out in the morning.  If this product isn’t in your beauty budget, try Aussie 3 Minute Miracle or TRESemme Platinum Strength Renewing Deep Conditioning Treatment.

3. Moroccanoil Treatment Oil $39.00

This is one of the items that I usually ask for at Christmas or birthdays, because I slightly cringe at the thought of a hair product that costs close to $50.00.  But honestly, this product is worth every penny.  Not only does it smell delicious (like a tropical vacation), it also works extremely well, and one large bottle lasts a really long time (about 6-7 months).  You can apply this product to wet or dry hair, and can also use it as a heat protectant before drying, straightening, or curling your hair.  Even better? This oil can also be used as a body or massage oil! A budget friendly product that is similar to this product is the Got2b Oil-licous Calm and Shine Styling Oil.

4. OSIS+ Magic Finish $19.99

I use this product once my hair is dry, typically after straightening to tame those annoying flyaways.  A little bit goes a long way, so one bottle lasts a really long time (over a year for me!).  I love that this product gives beautiful shine and provides manageability without making your hair look greasy.  A less expensive but similar product is the Frizz-Ease Secret Weapon Finishing Crème.

5. John Frieda Full Repair Touch-Up Flyaway Tamer $9.99

This is my can’t-live-without product for creating sleek ponytails or taming second day hair.  The easy to use wand makes it a cinch to apply, and the product is not greasy or clumpy.  I use it mostly where my hair parts to flatten flyaways, or for those annoying baby hairs that frame the face.  I love this product so much that I bought out the stock at Shoppers Drug Mart when it was on clearance one day (now that’s love!).

6.  L’Oreal Elnett Satin Hairspray for Coloured Hair $14.00

This hairspray is the perfect combination of strong hold and manageability.  It gives me soft, bouncy curls that last all night but don’t feel crunchy or hard.  Some people complain that the smell is very old-fashioned, but I actually don’t mind it at all.  In fact, this product is a favourite of many celebrities and hair stylists, (you can find pictures of Kourtney Kardashian raiding the shelves for it!).

7.  Batiste Dry Shampoo $8.00

I’ve already expressed my love for this product in a recent post, but in a nutshell, this product provides volume, a great scent, and the illusion of squeaky clean hair…enough said!

“If your hair is done properly and you have on good shoes, you can get away with anything.” ~Iris Apfel

Review: Dry Shampoo (and why it’s awesome!)

Dry Shampoo

In my opinion, dry shampoo is a beauty essential.  Not only does it keep your hair healthy and prevent it from the negative effects of over-washing (dryness, excess oiliness, and etcetera), it also saves you money because it protects your hair from fading (you want that expensive dye job to last, don’t’ you!?), and allows you to spend, and use, less of your more expensive in-shower shampoos.  Dry shampoo also saves you time, because admit it, some (ahem, most)  days we would rather be sleeping an extra 20 minutes in the morning than washing our hair.  I’ve tried some of the many brands on the market and have put together this review of my favourites (and my absolute top-pick), as well as those that disappointed.   I have also reviewed across a variety of price points to ensure there is one for every budget. Let’s get started!

FAVOURITE DRUGSTORE DRY SHAMPOO

Dove Refresh+Care Invigorating Dry Shampoo ($3.00-$7.00)

This product absorbs oil well, and provides great volume and lift.  One container of this lasted a fairly long time, and a little bit goes a long way.  The downside is that it has quite a strong scent (very perfumey) that I think you’ll either love or hate.  Overall, I consider it to be a great value for the price.

LEAST FAVOURITE DRUGSTORE DRY SHAMPOO

TRESemme Fresh Start Volumizing Dry Shampoo ($6.00-$8.00)

I definitely do not like this product.  The only thing it has going for it, in my opinion, is the price (though Dove has it beat in this department anyway).  Normally I love TRESemme products and their commitment to making salon-quality products at an affordable price, but this product just left my hair feeling even greasier than when I started, and made it look flat and messy. Save your money.

FAVOURITE MID-PRICED DRY SHAMPOO (AND OVERALL FAVOURITE!!)

Batiste Dry Shampoo ($8.00-$14.00)

This product is, in my opinion, dry shampoo perfection.  It fights oiliness like a beauty-superhero and gives amazing volume.  It comes in a variety of scents, with my personal favourite being the “Wild” formula.  Another problem Batiste has solved? The “grey hair” look people tend to complain of after using many kinds of dry shampoo (the product sprays as a white powder).  Personally, I don’t mind having to work the product into my hair, but Batiste does offer versions of their dry shampoo in 3 tone-matching colours that don’t require you to give yourself a head massage (like it’s a bad thing?). Run, don’t walk, and get this product now!

LEAST FAVOURITE MID-PRICED DRY SHAMPOO

Bath and Body Works True Blue Spa Shea Cashmere Dry Shampoo ($16.50)

To be honest, the first time I used this product I loved it.  So much so, that I went out and bought 3 extra bottles to keep in case they discontinued it (don’t act like you haven’t done it before!).  After a couple days however, the nozzle clogged so bad that I couldn’t get any product out.  After trying everything from the hot-water trick to sticking pins in the hole, I decided to cut my losses, throw it out, and start a new bottle.  To my surprise it happened again (this time at least it was closer to the end of the bottle), and yet again on the third bottle.  It’s unfortunate because this product does do a pretty good job and smells amazing (musky, vanilla goodness).  However, until the packaging glitch is solved, I won’t allow myself to waste any more money on it, and neither should you.

FAVOURITE HIGHER-PRICED DRY SHAMPOO

Ojon Full Detox Rub-Out Dry Cleansing Spray ($24.00)

This was one of the first dry shampoos I ever tried, and for the longest time, I held every dry shampoo up to this standard.  This product does everything a dry shampoo should, and claims, to do.  Some downsides are that the scent is really a matter of preference, and one bottle really don’t last as long as I’d like.  Most obviously, it is a little bit pricey, so I would recommend purchasing this once in a while as a treat for yourself, you deserve it!

LEAST FAVOURITE HIGHER-PRICED DRY SHAMPOO

Julep Dry Clean Invisible Dry Shampoo ($22.00)

I received this product in one of my monthly-subscription boxes and was really excited to try it.  I feel it does an okay job of minimizing oiliness, but I did not find that it added any value in terms of volume.  I prefer more of a powdery texture to my dry shampoos (like Batiste), and this one was more of a liquid consistency, requiring you to wait until it dries.  If I had paid the full price for this product, I would be quite disappointed.

“Gorgeous hair is the best revenge”~Ivana Trump