Review: John Frieda Sheer Blonde Hi-Impact Shampoo, Conditioner, and Restoring Oil Elixir

Posted on May 21, 2016 under Reviews

Note: I received these items for free through Influenster (referral link – I get 5 points if you sign up using it), but all opinions are my own!

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Hi-Impact Shampoo, Conditioner, Oil

I was really excited when Influenster sent me a box of John Frieda’s newest goodies for blonde hair: firstly, because it’s the first time I’ve qualified for an Influenster campaign, and secondly, because I’ve been using John Frieda blonde products for quite some time now. I’ve tried various tone-correcting shampoos and conditioners, but I return to good ol’ John most frequently because the prices are reasonable and the products are good.

Influenster sent along three items from the new launch, all from the Sheer Blonde Hi-Impact line: the Restoring Shampoo, Restoring Conditioner, and Restoring Oil Elixir. All of the copy about these products talks about how they “Repair and restore a healthy look and feel to distressed blonde hair” – however, I don’t believe they’re supposed to particularly colour correct, unlike the Go Blonder, which I love, or the Colour Renew, which is a true purple shampoo.

Although my hair is (very) damaged and I’m actively attempting to bring it back to life, generally when I’m looking to buy a product marketed specifically for blonde hair I want something that is tone-correcting. Very light blonde hair is a pain to maintain, and absolutely requires specialty products!

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Hi-Impact Shampoo and Conditioner

The Hi-Impact Restoring Shampoo and Conditioner are decent products. They leave my hair feeling fairly healthy and soft. However, my hair is really damaged at this point, and with these products I still don’t feel totally comfortable going without a deep conditioner. For someone with dry or moderately damaged hair, the shampoo and conditioner might do. For me, they don’t quite cut it – though I’ll admit that I’m a more extreme case than the average person. However, when paired with my usual Ice Cream hair mask my hair does feel softer than when I use the regular Go Blonder or the L’Oreal EverPure purple shampoo. I’ll use these guys up, but I’ll probably go back to my Go Blonder when they’re gone. I will say, though, that I haven’t found my colour has become significantly more brassy since I started using these products about a month ago. I just prefer to have something that does some heavy duty tone correction.

These products aren’t bad by any means; they’re just not quite right for my damaged blonde hair’s needs. I imagine they’d work quite well for other people – and probably not only blondes. (I guess they’re marketed towards blondes because it’s assumed that blonde = bleach = damage, which is certainly true in my case.)

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Hi-Impact Restoring Oil Elixir

The Hi-Impact Restoring Oil Elixir is very much for me. It’s a lightweight, thin oil which can be used on wet or dry hair. I try to avoid heat on my hair, but once in awhile I really don’t have a choice but to blow dry my hair so I won’t show up to work soaking wet. (I have a lot of hair; it takes a minimum of four hours of air drying before it looks at all socially acceptable.) Two pumps of the Restoring Oil Elixir leaves my blown-dry hair soft, smooth, and shiny. I’ll also use a pump of it mainly through the ends of dry hair if I notice that it’s feeling a bit crunchy. It doesn’t feel like oil on the hair and doesn’t make my hair greasy any faster – although, it should be noted, I have naturally dry hair made drier by bleach, so it doesn’t tend to get greasy very fast anyway.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with this Sheer Blonde Hi-Impact collection. In general I’ve been pretty impressed with the John Frieda products I’ve tried; while the shampoo and conditioner didn’t suit my needs, I think they’re nice moisturizing products, and the price point is pretty reasonable. And, of course, I love the oil. A little goes a long way so I don’t see myself running out of it too soon, but I would absolutely consider repurchasing it.

Review: Lancôme Grandiôse Mascara

Posted on May 11, 2016 under Reviews

Lancôme Grandiôse Mascara

I am constantly reminded by various signage at work that Lancôme was ranked the number one luxury mascara brand by some magazine or another. Possibly multiple magazines. (I’m a great SA, huh?) By this point, I’ve tried the Definicils, Hypnôse, Hypnôse Doll Lashes, and the Grandiôse. I have a tube of Hypnôse Star which I will try soon, leaving only the Hypnôse Drama and Hypnôse Volume-à-Porter. This is all to say that I know my way around some Lancôme mascara, and I adore the original Hypnôse (honestly HG status for me), Hypnôse Doll Lashes, and Definicils.

When the Grandiôse originally launched in summer 2014, I became obsessed with it. It wasn’t the promise that it would do away with the need for an eyelash curler or even the unusual swan neck of the product that drew me in: it was the packaging. I mean, tell me this shit isn’t beautiful, fingerprints excluded:

Lancôme Grandiôse Mascara packaging

(If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you’ll know that packaging frequently gets me. I’m a sucker for feeling more sophisticated than I will ever be, I guess.)

When I finally got my hands on it a year and a half later thanks to my generous coworker and friend, I had hyped it up in my head to the extreme. I’d just finished a tube of Hypnôse and was expecting Grandiôse to be Hypnôse but better, and with more amazing packaging.

I’ll cut to the chase: I was disappointed. My initial application was clumpy, whereas other Lancôme mascaras, in my experience, are eerily clump-free no matter how much of the stuff you pile on. I often get on better with a mascara after it’s been dried out by about 3 weeks’ worth of use, and that’s certainly the case with this one. It’s less prone to clumping now, less wet. But being less shitty doesn’t mean it’s not still shitty.

Maybe “shitty” is a harsh word. I don’t know. It’s not the worst mascara in the world. But I could pay, like, $3.99 for an Essence mascara that would do at least as well as this one. And if you’re going to charge $35, that shit had better be on another level.

My other major issue with the Grandiôse is that it’s damn hard to get off. And, no, I do not have the waterproof version. I’m not talking Benefit They’re Real! level of difficulty removing it, but getting perilously close. Actually, in general this reminds me quite a bit of They’re Real!, which for me is a damning comparison. I don’t know, though, maybe if you love They’re Real! and inexplicably want to spend even more on a mascara you’ll like this one.

Lancôme Grandiôse Mascara brush

Much is made of the twisted swan neck of the wand. I treat gimmicks with a healthy dose of skepticism, this one included. And, personally, I don’t think it does anything. This mascara gets into the inner corners marginally better than some others, but that’s because the brush is smaller than average, not because the wand curves. In fact, I speculate that the way the brush must go into and out of the tube due to the curved neck makes it difficult for excess product to come off, leading to clumpiness. I don’t know if that’s accurate, but something makes that brush come out loaded with product.

As for the claim that this mascara negates the need for an eyelash curler? Not even close. My lashes are pretty stick-straight naturally, so I consider eyelash curlers to be an essential tool in my makeup arsenal. To put this to the test, one day I used Grandiôse on uncurled lashes, and then tested it another day on curled lashes. Here it is on uncurled lashes:


And on curled lashes:


And, if you needed a comparison:


And then another comparison (this time between bare lashes and curled, mascara-ed lashes), because I think this angle really shows just how much length a mascara is adding:


Now, I have a well-documented aversion to paying more than $10 for mascara. I also haven’t paid any money for mascara in almost three years, between gifts, samples, and gratis from work. So you’ll know that since I would never pay for this product, I hold it to my usual mascara standard of “Would I spend Optimum points on this?” rather than “Would I purchase this full price?” And, as you have probably guessed, the answer is no, I would not spend Optimum points on it. I’ll save my two bucks and buy the Hypnôse instead, as I recommend you do.

Empties: February to April 2016

Posted on April 29, 2016 under Empties


Wow, it’s only been three months since my last empties post! That’s pretty good for me. So, blah blah, I used some stuff up and I just moved back to Toronto so I took pictures of all this stuff and then threw it out before I left Montreal. YOU KNOW THE DRILL.



Vichy Pureté Thermale Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover: I desperately wanted this to be as good as the Lancôme Bi-Facil for a much more reasonable price, but it just wasn’t. I mean, it was okay, but it didn’t do super well with my Stila eyeliner. I imagine it would not be very effective at taking off waterproof mascara, not that I ever let waterproof mascara touch my eyelashes. Still haven’t decided if I can justify actually spending $36 on the Bi-Facil, though – I’ll probably pick it up with Optimum points next time.

La Roche-Posay Physiological Micellar Solution: This is honestly my favourite micellar solution. It does a really good job without ever stripping the skin. This size bottle is pretty bad value ounce per ounce compared to other brands (I got this particular one free through work), but when they have the double sized bottle for the same price I snap it up.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner: I used to really love this toner for some added hydration, but I’ve made a lot of changes in my skincare routine that makes this unnecessary for me currently.

Bio Beauté Gentle Comfort Exfoliant With Red Berries: I didn’t feel that this was a particularly effective physical exfoliant. I honestly prefer just using my Sephora Precision Pore Cleansing Pad with my cleanser a few times a week. But then, my skin does better with a good AHA than with physical exfoliation anyway!

Bath and Body


L’Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate: This cream is a really great experience. It smells incredible and it has a light, almost whipped texture which I really enjoyed. It definitely was not enough for my legs in the dead of winter.

Freeman Pomegranate Body Sugar Scrub: I use these up a lot. I like the product. I think I’ve exhausted my supply, though. I will repurchase if I can find it!

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+*: Clearly I loved this, because I cut it open and scraped out every last bit of product. This worked wonders for my legs, which suffer from a moderate to severe case of keratosis pilaris. It didn’t cut down on the pigmentation of the KP, but it made my legs feel very smooth and soft without being laden with heavy product. Would most likely repurchase, though I currently have a large backlog of body moisturizers that I’m trying to get through!



John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Conditioner: I’ve used this up a lot of times and I’ve already repurchased it (and the shampoo). I really do notice a difference when I don’t use it. Because my hair is a very light blonde, it tends to go green rather than brassy, and this fights that really well.

L’Oreal EverPure Colour Care System Moisture Shampoo: I think my pink hair faded quickly due to the fact that Manic Panic sucks, but I don’t feel like this particularly helped maintain the colour. It wasn’t super moisturizing, either, but my hair needs a lot more help than the average human’s. Definitely won’t repurchase this one.

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Shampoo (sample): This is a pretty nice and extremely cheap moisturizing shampoo. It doesn’t blow me away (and I prefer to use blonde shampoo anyway!), but it’s decent for travel.

Ice Cream Dry-T Mask: So, I liked this a lot when I first got it and I still do. But I’ve come to the conclusion that my hair gets used to masks if I use them for more than about six months, so my second tub of this stuff did less for my hair than the first. I’ll probably repurchase this, but I’ll rotate it with at least one other mask.

Marc Anthony Hydrating Coconut Oil and Shea Butter Deep Nourishing Conditioning Treatment (sample): What a name! I actually loved this stuff – I wanted to try a treatment with protein but knew I was moving soon and didn’t want to commit to lugging a big tub of something back with me, so I bought this little sample packet. My hair hasn’t been in such good condition in ages! I probably won’t purchase the full size since I’m guessing pure coconut oil would do the same thing. Either way, I’m definitely sold!



Maybelline Color Tattoo in Edgy Emerald: Not empty. Not even close! It just dried up. But I got it for $2.50 at Jean Coutu in 2013 and it got me through a few St. Patrick’s Days, so it’s all good.

Essence Lash & Brow Gel Mascara: This was pretty good for a $2.99 brow gel. Sometimes the wand deposited a bit too much product, leaving my eyebrows looking shiny, but I didn’t mind wiping it off with my finger. I mean, it’s $2.99. I didn’t repurchase it because there was no Essence at my local Pharmaprix, but I’d definitely consider buying it again. Brow gel is such an unbelievably boring product that I have no intention of ever spending more than about $5 on it.

OCC Lip Tar in Hoochie: Again, his is not actually empty; I cannot imagine ever actually finishing up a Lip Tar. This just went bad, separating and becoming impossible to apply. I’m very sad, because I absolutely adored the colour. I’ve been hunting for a dupe without success. I’d consider repurchasing Hoochie, but it’s kind of a hassle since OCC isn’t at Sephora anymore. And I do feel like this went bad kind of quickly, to be honest.



Sally Hansen Moisturizing Fast and Gentle Nail Polish Remover: Ugh, I need to stop going for gentle nail polish remover. It never works as well. Bring on the chemicals!

I’m going to keep pushing to use up skincare and body products, because I have a lot of those and nobody needs as much of it as I have. Until next time!