Empties: September 2015 to January 2016

Posted on January 25, 2016 under Empties

empties-2016

The idea of doing Empties posts at regular intervals is alien to me. I just do them when I think I have enough products to warrant a post. Inevitably I do not seem to notice how stuffed my empties box or bag is, and suddenly realize that it has been more than long enough since the last time. So, I present to you: lots of empties spanning from September until now.

Skincare

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The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil: It took me just over a year to finish this up and I meant to write a review the entire time. I loved it and used it religiously; it got my makeup off really well and left my skin feeling soft and hydrated. Right now I’m loving the Marina Miracle Sweet & Creamy Oil Cleanser*, but I do have another bottle of the Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil that I’ll continue to use as well!

Boots Botanics Replenishing Night Cream: I ended up really liking this product; I’ve been using a Boots No7 night cream since I can’t get this one in Canada, but it’s just not the same! I was very sad to see this go, but it was great value for the money considering I got it for £4!

Vaseline Lip Therapy: I mainly used this to seal in other lip balms at night. I’ve moved on to better things, so I probably won’t repurchase. (You can’t get Vaseline in these tins in Canada, anyway – just the dinky little plastic tubs. Not nearly as fun!)

StriVectin Present Perfect Antioxidant Defense Lotion: Definitely not my favourite moisturizer; but then, I think it’d be better suited to someone with combination to oily skin. It was okay when I was using it in the summer, but as the cold crept up on me this just did not do the trick. The ingredients are great, though, if you put any stock in Beautypedia.

Bath and Body

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One Direction You & I Shower Gel: … You know what? I HAVE NO SHAME. I did not particularly care for this very strong floral scent, but that was my fault for buying a shower gel aimed at 13-year-olds. I still used it up to show my #support.

Freeman Body Sugar Scrub in Pomegranate: This has probably been in an empties post before because my mom buys them in bulk. Body scrubs don’t excite me, but this one does the job well enough so I will continue to use it as long as I have easy access to it! (I’m about halfway through the last tube I have on hand right now – hopefully it will last me until the end of the semester!)

dermaglow 10% Glycolic Body Cream: This is probably like 75 years out of date but I DON’T CARE because it’s the best body cream I have found for my keratosis pilaris. I still weep every day that dermaglow went out of business; I have found some pretty good body creams but nothing as good as this. RIP dermaglow/my happiness.

Avène Akérat Smoothing, Exfoliating Cream: My mom and I both tried this in our quest for a replacement for the dermaglow; we both agree that it’s definitely far better than nothing, but nowhere close to dermaglow and not even the best of all the substitute options we’ve tried.

Haircare

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L’Oreal EverPure Blonde Brass Banisher Shampoo: I liked this. It didn’t blow me away. I’m not a blonde anymore so I will not be repurchasing any time in the near future.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo and Conditioner: I’ve gone through a few tubes of both of these; I think this might be #3, but I can’t be sure. I found them quite effective at keeping the brass at bay, but they weren’t the most nourishing. Again, I’m not a blonde currently, but if I ever am again (ONE DAY!!!), I’d be happy to repurchase.

Ice Cream Dry-T Hair Mask: I have already repurchased this. I credit it for singlehandedly keeping my hair alive far past its expiration date and for adding life back into it post-death.

Makeup

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Revlon Nearly Naked Makeup in 110 Ivory: I would consider repurchasing this in the future, but I’m trying something else out. (I don’t like to have more than one foundation going at a time.)

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser in Brightener: I picked this up after hearing nothing but endless praise; I think I should have gone for one of the flesh-toned shades rather than the Brightener. It wasn’t horrible, but the shade had a grey tint that made me look a bit sickly. I didn’t find that it did an amazing job of covering dark circles, either. I’m just worried that the lightest of the regular shades will still be too dark for me!

MAC StudioFix Concealer in NC15: I do not want to tell you how old this concealer is. You will judge me. There is still a lot of product in it, but IT IS TIME, PEOPLE. I actually really liked it for blemishes and wish I had just bought a new one instead of trying something new!

Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara: You guys know I stubbornly refuse to pay more than $10 for mascara; however, I’d absolutely spend my Shoppers Optimum points on this. It won’t be for awhile as I only use one mascara at a time and I have 3 backups, but I’m sure I’ll obtain another one of these one way or another. I very rarely feel any which way about mascara – but I love this stuff.

Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara in Clear: I feel like the tinted options might be better, but this one was just, you know, a clear brow gel. At $12.99 CAD, I really feel that it is not the best value for your money – especially because I didn’t think the hold was amazing. Will not repurchase.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black: I’ve lost track of how many of these I’ve gone through. Maybe 5? There is no end in sight!

Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in East End Snob: Another product that I seem to go through like Kleenex. This is maybe my third or fourth; obviously, I’ve already made quite the dent in another.

NARS Pro-Prime Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Primer: I would take a bullet for this product. It and the Stila eyeliner are my only true holy grail products. $30 CAD for a product that is undeniably boring is obviously steep – but I got over two years of use out of this guy. I have no qualms with that.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge: I liked this pretty well. I haven’t seen it for sale anywhere that I frequent so when it came time to replace it I went with another beautyblender knockoff, but I’d probably repurchase. (I’ve never tried the beautyblender because I AM NOT PAYING $25 FOR A SPONGE, so I can’t compare the two.)

Whew! Time to throw it all out and start again.

Beating the bleach blues with L’Oréal and Ice Cream

Posted on October 02, 2015 under Reviews

I have lost track of how many times I have bleached my hair. Perhaps a quantitative description isn’t vivid enough, anyway; I think it’s more effective if I tell you that the last time I tried washing my hair without conditioner, I physically could not get a comb more than an inch and a half through it.

In addition to conditioner, a good purple shampoo is a necessity in my hair care arsenal. Gone are the days when I could slather any shampoo and conditioner onto my head and be reasonably pleased with the results. I am no longer so low maintenance that I will use hotel products, whatever my host has at their house, something hastily purchased at the airport, etc. No. I must bring decanted versions of my shampoo and conditioner with me wherever I travel, lest my hair stage a protest at its abuse and leave my head forever.

(Who, me? Dramatic?)

I declared back at the end of April that I was very happy with my John Frieda Go Blonder, and I do still enjoy the line. However, when I went to Pharmaprix to replace it, they were out of it! After having a momentary internal freak-out, I decided to try out L’Oréal EverPure Blonde Brass Banisher, which was on sale.

loreal-everpure-blonde-shampoo

After using it for about a month now, I have formed a pretty solid opinion on it. Firstly, it’s definitely not as effective as the John Frieda at removing brassiness. I have a tiny bit of brassiness from the last time I bleached my roots, and it hasn’t done a huge amount to combat that. However, it has maintained my hair’s tone, which in general is good enough for me. (It’s rare that I have brassiness since I am pretty diligent with the toner – this is anomalous.)

That said, I much prefer L’Oréal EverPure’s texture to the John Frieda! It’s thicker and feels almost sticky, which doesn’t sound that appealing, but I find it lathers quite nicely. It smells like lavender, as opposed to the slight lemon of John Frieda. I don’t hugely prefer one over the other, but lavender is a bit more relaxing to my mind. Finally, the L’Oreal keeps my hair feeling clean for way longer! By day two using John Frieda, my hair always needs a blast of dry shampoo. But day two with L’Oreal it still feels and looks shiny, soft, and decidedly non-greasy.

I also like the price on this one. When it’s not on sale, it costs $10.99 for 250mL, or $0.044 per mL. (That’s $1.29 for each of its 8.5 fl oz.) 250mL bottles of shampoo usually last me about 6 weeks, and eleven bucks every 6 weeks does not break the bank.

Shockingly, I have also done away with my L’Oréal deep conditioner, after the fourth tub. Don’t get me wrong – I still think it’s great stuff. I’ve just discovered something even better.

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Enter the Ice Cream Dry-T Mask, which we got a limited quantity of at work in August. I immediately hopped online to research it, was met with rave reviews, and put a tub aside for myself. And holy crap is it good. If the L’Oréal was moisturizing, I don’t know how the hell to describe this stuff. Like magic. My hair has never felt healthier in my entire life – and this is after nearly two years of mercilessly subjecting it to 30-volume developer. “Silky” and “soft” do not even do my hair justice. I seriously touch it every day and think about how amazing it feels. A bonus is that the 500mL/16.9 fl oz tub goes for $9.99, putting it at $0.020 per mL/$0.59 per fl oz. Way better value than the L’Oreal mask, which was $0.026 per mL/$0.75 per fl oz.

There are only two potential downsides to this product in my books. First, it smells like bananas, which I know is not everyone’s cup of tea. It doesn’t bother me, but it also doesn’t particularly entice me. (It’s also available in a Tutti-Frutti scent, but I can’t imagine that would be any less obtrusive.) Second, Ice Cream’s availability is limited. It is carried only by select Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix locations in Canada. Luckily, my local Pharmaprix does carry Ice Cream, but it’s annoying to know that one of my favourite products isn’t super readily-available.

Between the L’Oréal shampoo and the Ice Cream mask, my hair has been in amazing condition lately. I tend to be pretty loyal with hair products, so I don’t see this combination changing anytime soon. But who knows – it’s not like I wouldn’t be thrilled if even more magical products fell from the sky.

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.

purple

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.

jf-before

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.