Review: Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

Posted on May 18, 2015 under Reviews

When I was staying with Aisling at the end of March, she mentioned that she had bought the Garnier micellar cleanser and didn’t like it. It was her first experience with a micellar water, and she was not impressed! Specifically, she noted that it did not do a very good job at removing her eye makeup.

I was a bit curious about it as I’ve personally found micellars to be great, but have only tried more pricey ones, so while staying with her I test drove it for the whole weekend.

I have to say, despite the hype and generally excellent reviews online, I’m inclined to agree with Aisling!

I normally use a dedicated eye makeup remover or an oil cleanser to get rid of my waterproof mascara and eyeliner, but I’ve used micellars in a pinch and they work pretty well as long as you let them soak the eye makeup off. This one, however, barely made a dent in my Stila Stay All Day liquid eyeliner – it took quite a bit of rubbing to get it all off, even after holding a soaked cotton pad against my eye for half a minute.

It took off my face makeup much more thoroughly, but it really dried my skin out – it felt very tight. This is disappointing and, quite frankly, unacceptable for a product that claims to be soothing! If my skin is screaming for moisturizer, it is not soothed. These days my skin runs more on the normal side of things, and cleansers don’t typically leave it feeling so parched!

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With a mini Eiffel Tower, because it’s imitating the cult French pharmacie product. Or something.

Most of the reviews of this product on the Boots website seem to indicate that the users haven’t tried any other micellars before (“I bought this product 2 months ago after considering spending £16 on the infamous Bioderma Micellar solution”), so I’m guessing a lot of the positive reviews come either from people who don’t have anything in the same family of products to compare it to, or from bloggers/vloggers who are being sponsored by Garnier. I allow that this product may simply have not worked for Aisling and I, but I am a bit taken aback by the 4.7/5 average rating on Boots.com considering how lackluster the two of us found it!

At just £4.99 ($9.38 CAD) for 400mL (£0.012 or $0.023 per mL), this product is much more affordable than micellars from other brands such as Bioderma ($26.95 for 500mL, or $0.054 per mL), La Roche-Posay ($22 for 200mL, or $0.11 per mL) or BioBeauté ($19 for 200mL, or $0.095 per mL). I’d say if you have a dedicated eye makeup remover and skin that leans more on the combo to oily side rather than dry, this is a good budget option. But if you’re on the drier side or want a micellar that will be much better at removing eye makeup, I’d recommend either Bioderma or La Roche-Posay (but only when they have their micellar on special – double the amount for the same price). Those two are legitimately effective products and they are both great for sensitive skin. Sometimes it’s worth it to pay a little extra! It pains me to admit that a budget option is simply not as good as the fancy stuff, but in this case I think that’s very much the case.

Review: John Frieda Go Blonder Shampoo and Conditioner

Posted on April 30, 2015 under Reviews

A fake blonde’s work is never over. Maintaining the perfect hue requires constant vigilance, lest we be visited by the dread B-word – brassiness. It does not do to simply tone your hair to perfection and hope it will last, because it won’t. That is a fact. Blonde is not for the lazy.

Unfortunately, after arriving in Glasgow in September with the perfect ashy platinum, I fell down on the job. I had a brief flirtation with lilac, which faded to silver, which faded to a greenish-blonde. In March, I decided that enough was enough.

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And so, I picked up the John Frieda Go Blonder Shampoo and Conditioner, after scouring the internet for reviews. I read mixed things, but most of the people who didn’t like the products seemed to have only used them one or two times. In the interests of fairness, I opted to give these a test drive of at least five washes, so as not to be like all the outraged Ulta.com customers who don’t seem to understand that short of bleach, nothing you put on your hair is going to instantly lift colour in any noticeable way. Much like blonde, these products are not a short-term commitment!

Also in the interests of fairness, I decided not to use my beloved L’Oreal mask as conditioner, and rather to just use this system on its own. This way, I could see how the texture of my very damaged hair fared with John Frieda at the proverbial wheel.

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Here is my hair before using this product. My iPhone camera doesn’t pick it up terribly well, but there is a bit of yellow running through, particularly at the roots. Hot roots are real, people! And that green is unmistakable. (Also, excuse the greasiness in the first picture – I took it immediately after returning from Warsaw, and the travel did not make my hair any cleaner.)

I used these two products for about a month (and sadly had to leave them in the UK because NO SPACE IN MY SUITCASE). They made my hair feel rather soft after washing it, and I could brush through it with relative ease. (When I don’t use any conditioner I literally cannot get a brush through it. Bleach is fun.)

jf-after

I did notice a change in colour, though subtle. It absolutely did not immediately tone my hair to a cooler blonde, but over time it helped take some of the brassiness out and definitely eliminated that green tinge. It also lightened my naturally medium-brown roots a touch after a month of consistent use. It didn’t take my hair to my ideal colour, but it made it a far more reasonable shade. I’ll take a slightly warm blonde over green any day! Plus, look how shiny and smooth it looks in that close-up – does that look like the texture of 10x bleached hair to you?!

I was previously using the John Frieda Sheer Blonde purple shampoo, which was okay – but Go Blonder is infinitely better, and once it’s on sale I’m going to replenish my stock. I think it was much more effective than Sheer Blonde at slowly toning my hair. It’s certainly not a replacement for a proper toner (Wella T18 for life!), but it’s effective for slow, long-term toning.

ash

I also recently did my poor CAVERNOUS ROOTS OF DOOM and toned my hair to an ash blonde, so I’ll be interested in seeing if Go Blonder is good for maintaining that ashiness. Toned hair doesn’t last very long on me, and I am very interested in prolonging the results!

Long story short, I am pro-Go Blonder. It’s a bit of a pricer option for the drugstore, but I’m willing to pay the $14 for a product that works. I’d have no business being blonde if I weren’t.

Review: Boots Botanics Replenishing Night Cream

Posted on April 19, 2015 under Reviews

I adore having friends who are into all things beauty, because often they introduce me to new products! I’m pretty adventurous about makeup brands and styles, but when it comes to skincare I’m not exactly far-ranging. Chalk this up to the fact that I don’t find skincare very exciting or chalk it up to the fact that I mainly stick to the brands I’m trained to sell, but either way I don’t often try new things.

However, when I was with Aisling in March, she introduced me to a new night cream, and by “introduced me to” I mean she told me not to bring any of my toiletries because she had things that I could try.

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As luck would have it, she had recently picked up a new night cream from the Boots Botanics line, and I was stuck in a night cream rut since I just had not found one I loved. After using hers twice, I was hooked – and when she mentioned that it was half off an already very good price, I practically ran to Boots to pick one up for myself!

It’s hard to write about skincare in an exciting way, much less moisturizers, so here’s what I will say: it works. It feels nice. It sinks in easily. It smells good (a bit like a pine tree, but with a tiny hint of citrus). I wake up in the morning and my face still feels hydrated and soft, but not at all greasy.

This product is from the Botanics anti-aging line, which is not really a concern of mine right now. However, a quick glance at the ingredients makes this cream very appealing to me – vitamins E and C and hyaluronic acid are great ingredients for any age!

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I will note that the scent may be a deterrent for some people – fragrance sensitivity is a real thing, and I’m a bit surprised that a product that’s marketed as being more “natural” (whatever that’s supposed to mean, if anything outside of being a marketing buzzword) would have such a strong scent. Because, yes: it is fairly strong. Personally, I don’t mind, because I’m not sensitive to such things and I think it smells nice – very calming. But this is something to know if you tend to do better with unscented, or lightly scented, products!

As for the texture, it’s unsurprisingly quite thick. It’s definitely a cream, and definitely on the heavier side of things. I wouldn’t want to use it under makeup! However, as a night cream, it’s perfect: it’s definitely hydrating, but it sinks in reasonably quickly and never feels or looks greasy. I’d say this is probably best suited to people on the normal to dry side of things due to the thicker texture, but I don’t think it would exacerbate oiliness – it just may be overkill.

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Is this picture art or is it art? Don’t answer that.

Another thing I need to mention is the packaging, which I’m not a fan of. Tub packaging is just not desirable when it comes to preserving active ingredients and keeping them at their most effective, plus it’s not the most hygienic. However, tub packaging is the norm for night creams (probably due to the thicker texture), so it’s not like this product is falling behind other night creams in that regard. I still do want to mention it, though, because I’m pretty serious about preferring, well, basically any packaging that’s not a tub.

Overall, I really like this product. I’ve been using it for nearly a month now and it’s one of my favourite skincare products in my current rotation. Despite the less than ideal packaging, I think it works very well, smells good, and is an excellent price (even when it’s not half off). Is it revolutionary or really special at all? No. But is it a solid product that I will happily use up and consider repurchasing? Definitely.

Boots Botanics Replenishing Night Cream retails for £7.99 ($15 CAD) for 50mL, or £0.15/$0.30 per mL. It can be purchased from Boots locations or online from Boots.com.