The Beauty Bargain| L’Oreal Revitalift Cicacream

The L’Oreal Revitalift Cicacream Skin Repair + Anti-Aging Cream ($29.99 CDN) is one of those strange products that is available in a myriad of countries, yet has at least three different formulas. There’s one formula sold in the US that seems to be the most economical – but with the least impressive ingredient list – and there are two more similar ingredient lists (but still different) in Europe and Canada. I have the Canadian version. At almost thirty dollars at most drugstores here for 50 mLs, this product doesn’t seem to be the most affordable. However, the formula is impressive enough for me to highly recommend it.

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Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sesamum Indicum Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, PEG-100 Sterate, Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter, BHT, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Centella Asiatica Extract, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Chlorphensin, Citric Acid, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Faex Extract, Madecassoside, Methyldihydrojasmonate, Myristic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Pentaerythrityl-tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 20, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthum Gum

This product is recognized for skin health by the Canadian Dermatology Association for its value on sensitized skin, or skin that is just plain sensitive in nature. It’s fragrance free and doesn’t contain any irritating plant extracts or drying alcohols either. Also it’s paraben and dye free if those are concerns of yours. This version has an impressive amount of centella asiatica extract, which is a potent antioxidant known to accelerate wound healing, combat inflammation and restore an impaired skin barrier. It’s anti-aging in the sense that it prevents further skin damage from occurring via antioxidant activity and decreases inflammation, strengthening the skin barrier. The base of the product is glycerin, your standard emollients, sesame oil, shea and cocoa seed butter and fatty alcohols. Further down on the ingredient list, this product also features yeast, another antioxidant. Unfortunately, the formula only contains a minuscule amount of retinyl palmitate and will not likely have an impact on the skin.

My experience with this moisturizer on my dry and easily irritated skin is that my skin is left calmed, soothed, hydrated and comforted and I happily find myself reaching for it, even when my skin is quite dry and irritated. The formula reminds me a lot of the Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer – which is also in the L’Oreal family and contains shea butter and centella asiatica – with a higher price tag.

Have you tried this product?
Maggie, x.

More Curly Girl Method Approved Empties

Ever since re-starting the ‘curly girl method’ back in December, I’ve done a looooooot of product buying and testing — product junkie, hello. Before it gets any more out of control, I’m making an active effort to actually finish up the products I have and this is mainly the result of that. As I reminder I have high porosity, fine hair with high density and my curl pattern is mainly in the 2c range, but has some 2b thrown in and some 3a patches.

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DevaCurl B’Leave In ($27 CDN/ 177 mL): This has to me among the hair products that I love the most and I’ve loved it for years. It’s a confusing and misunderstood product, adding bounce and elasticity to waves and curls with protein and helping to keep curls clumped together. Using this product tends to lead to a good hair day for me, unlesss I’ve done something disastrous. It helps my long curls that tend to wilt from their length — I really need to get some layers next time I go for a cut — stay clumped together in larger curls and bounce up. I couldn’t stand to finish this bottle until my fresh bottle came in the mail. It’s glycerin based and also contains wheat protein and water-soluble castor oil with a weightless gel texture. It does not offer hold on its own.

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Wheat Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Melissa Officinalis Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Fragrance (Parfum), Hydroxyethylcellulose, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Diazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate.

DevaCurl Low-Poo Delight ($32 CDN/ 355 mL): I found myself really liking the lightest weight cleanser from Deva but it’s not the most moisturizing admittedly. What I like about it is that it’s weightless and contains cocamidopropyl betaine and coco-betaine, which are gentle cleansing agents that are remarkably good at removing build up. I find this shampoo gently clarifying whilst being minimally stripping. I might actually repurchase this after I go through the million sulfate-free shampoos that I still have….

Ingredients: Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Coco-Betaine, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Extract, Salvia Hispanica Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Nymphaea Lotus Flower Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Fragrance (Parfum), PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Polyquaternium-10, Propylene Glycol, Polyquaternium-7, Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Aminomethyl Propanol, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

DevaCurl One Condition Delight ($32/ 355 mL): As a girl who loves her intensive conditioners, I kind of laughed at the idea of a lightweight one until I tried this offering. It’s a nice complement to the heavier conditioners that I use, adding no weight whilst having a generous amount of slip, protein and moisture. I like it so much that I bought the salon size. I use this when I want lots of volume and often use it as a leave-in. It has some protein that adds bounce to my waves and has curl-enhancing linseed extract along with the usual glycerin, slip agents and fatty alcohols.
Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Glycol Distearate, Cetyl Esters, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Extract (and) Salvia Hispanica Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Nymphaea Lotus Flower Extract, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Melissa Officinalis Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Propylene Glycol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

Tresemme Botanique Nourish & Replenish Conditioner ($6.99 CDN/ 739 mL): I have to say that Tresemme’s coconut oil infused conditioner has to be my least favourite of their silicone-free conditioners that they have offered over the last five years. It’s the heaviest of their conditioners and is decently moisturizing but doesn’t help clump my curls in the way that I like my medium-weight conditioners to. It also does not have the most slip. After the traditional fatty alcohols and slip agents, the formula contains coconut oil, aloe and coconut extract. Coconut oil and aloe can act like a protein for some people in a problematic manner but I’ve never had this experience before. However, my waves just don’t clump or curl the most nicely with this conditioner. It does have a nice musky coconut scent that doesn’t read too sunscreen-y. I finished up my bottle as a detangling product and to co-wash my hair.

Ingredients: Water (Eau), Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Fragrance (Parfum), Behentrimonium Chloride, Dipropylene Glycol, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

Garnier Fructis Strengthening Treat 1 Minute Hair Mask ($5.99 CDN/ 100 mL): I’ve waxed poetically on about this hair mask before so I’ll try to keep it sweet. I love this hair mask because of how easily available it is locally in Canada and because it works well as a deep conditioner or a richer rinse out on my waves and curls, offering slip and helping to clump curls without added weight. I think it’s about time for me to pick up one of the newer larger more cost-effective tubs of this.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Isopropyl Myristate, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter/Shea Butter, Olea Europaea Oil/Olive Fruit Oil, Glycine Soja Oil/Soybean Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil/Sunflower Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract/Rosemary Leaf Extract, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Cocos Nucifera Oil/Coconut Oil, Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxypropyl Trimonium Chloride, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Persea Gratissima Oil/Avocado Oil, Tartaric Acid, Cetyl Esters, Tocopherol, Salicylic Acid, Caramel, Linalool, Eugenol, Limonene, Citronellol, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Salicylate, Parfum/Fragrance.

Dippity-Do Girls With Curls Light Hold Gelee ($6.99 CDN/ 340 mL): Let me tell you, I was shocked to find myself loving a gel by Dippity Do and pleasantly surprised. It definitely doesn’t offer adequate hold on its own for me but it works as a curl-clumping product used in combination with gel to help my curls form larger and more spiral-y clumps and is a fantastic product for when I damp refresh my curls. It’s lightweight and glycerin-free although it does have sorbitol and propylene glycol which are similarly behaving humectants. It contains a tiny bit of hydrolyzed wheat for protein and has a moderate amount of aloe as well. It has a solid light hold and lends bounce to the hair. I would definitely repurchase but I’m going to try to hold off for the moment.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, PVP, Sorbitol, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, Propylene Glycol, Panthenol, Parfum/Fragrance, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Benzophenone-4, Benzyl Benzoate, Red 33 (CI 17200).

Shea Moisture Hydrate + Repair Multi-Action Leave-In ($13.99 CDN/ 237 mL): This spray treatment product from Shea Moisture has to be the best leave-in product I’ve ever tried. The only complaint was that I went through it quickly – this was likely because I discovered it was a great milky spray to refresh second and third day curls. It was substantial enough to add moisture and help with definition but added no extra weight. It contains water soluble a protein-silicone polymer so it acts as a heat-protectant for when diffusing but I experienced no issues with build up or anything of that sort. It offered great slip and weightless hydration. I’m definitely repurchasing and luckily, it’s now sold in Walmart and Shopper’s Drugmart in Canada.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, PVP, Sorbitol, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, Propylene Glycol, Panthenol, Parfum/Fragrance, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Benzophenone-4, Benzyl Benzoate, Red 33 (CI 17200).

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.

Another Weekday Wishlist

Wishlist posts aren’t the most informative but sometimes materialism is exciting. Joking aside, sometimes there’s nothing like the euphoria of buying a new beauty product and have it work out for the better. Here are a few of the products on my radar:

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  1. L’Oreal Infallible 24H Fresh Wear Foundation ($20 CDN | drugstores): When I started to think about writing this blog post, this foundation that everyone seems to be raving about was a true wishlist item. However, after hearing that people with dry skin were loving this heavier coverage foundation, I had to give it a try and it’s good. Spoiler alert: I bought it. It has a satin finish, offers medium-high coverage and has a fantastic shade selection, with different undertone offerings, particularly for shades on the fairer spectrum.
  2. Dior Forever Skin Glow 24H Radiant Perfecting Skin-Caring Foundation ($64 CDN | Sephora): I really need another foundation like I need another hole in my head because it really looks like this foundation will be similar to the discontinued Diorskin Star foundation, which I loved and am hoarding what remains of my bottle of it. I’m excited that there is a much better shade selection on this one and I love a good Dior base, especially one that promises glow and medium-buildable coverage.
  3. Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer ($35 US | paulaschoice.com ): I have a few moisturizers on the go at the moment but after a friend of mine described this moisturizer as a fluffy cloud on your face and rather soothing, I’m very intrigued. This moisturizer has an interesting formula, containing antioxidant-rich plant oils, shea butter and a myriad of barrier restoring ingredients. I’m interested.
  4. DevaCurl Devafuser ($68 CDN | Sephora): I’m a big fan of diffusing my hair because my waves and curls take forever to air dry and because it adds some bounce and volume to my long fine hair. However, my diffuser that I have is old and falling apart. I’m really interested in this one because it the hand shape allows you to easily dry the roots with lift. It is ridiculously expensive for a dryer attachment though…
  5. Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Protein Power Treatment ($13.96 CDN | Walmart): Despite the fact that I thoroughly disagree with this product being sold as a protein treatment, I really enjoyed my packet of this thick masque. It’s not heavy in the slightest and adds nourishment to the hair. I’ll pick up a jar the next time I’m somewhat near to a Walmart, which doesn’t seem to be overly often.
Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.

The Essentials | Deep Conditioners

Ever since I was young teen, embracing the wave that I found in my hair, I have experimented with using masks and deep conditioners in my routine as a standard conditioner. Even more than this, I often even left them in because it encouraged nice curls in my lengths and helped to prevent the dryness and tangles that I’ve always been prone to. However, since re-embracing the curly girl method this winter, I have been committing to deep conditioning for a good half hour or more weekly. This has really helped my porous hair form nice curl clumps, re-encourage curl in my lengths and keep my hair hydrated in this cold Canadian winter. Leaving a mask weekly (or even twice a week) can work wonders on your hair whether you wear it in its natural state, follow the curly girl method or heat-style it. Actually, I believe deep conditioning has been the main reason my high porosity hair has begun to actually hold onto moisture. The current favourites are as follows:

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Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Protein Power Treatment ($15 CDN): I’m pleased to report that while this was once a product that had to be ordered online from Ulta for us Canadians, it’s now starting to pop up in Walmarts and select drugstores. This may be sold as a protein treatment but I like it as a moisturizing deep conditioner with a hint of protein mixed in. I think it would work well for those that are protein-sensitive because it doesn’t contain much in terms of those small molecule hydrolyzed proteins that really work to add elasticity and bounce to the hair, while repairing damage. It has a nice mild scent and a thick texture that doesn’t feel particularly heavy on my fine strands. However, it leaves my hair super hydrated and smoothed.It helps my curls to clump and has lovely slip for even the most tangly hair. I think those who heat style their hair would really like this one because of how it can repair heat damage to an extent. I do note that this does contain a water soluble silicone-protein polymer, which I can only see being a problem for anti-silicone fanatics…

Ingredients: Water, Behentrimonium Chloride, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Stearyl Alcohol, Glycerin (Vegetable), Honey, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Oil, Yogurt Powder, Yogurt Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Butter, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Seed Oil, Trichilia Emetica (Mafura) Seed Oil, Allantoin, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Tocopherol, Triethyl Citrate, Caprylyl Glycol, lnulin, Benzoic Acid, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend).

Shea Moisture Mongongo and Hemp Seed Oils High Porosity Moisture-Seal Masque ($16.99 CDN): This was my original Shea Moisture deep conditioner love and still remains one that I adore the most. It’s a bit heavier than the former product but never weighs down my fine high-porosity wavy curls. It’s unfortunately only available online in Canada or at specialty beauty supply stores. It’s smoothing and curl-clumping and gives serious bounce. It contains butters, oils, fatty alcohols, slip agents and a moderate dose of protein. It’s incredibly concentrated and has fantastic slip and consistently gives good multiple day hair without dryness seeping in. This is the one that restored my faith in deep conditioners’ ability to restore curls. It doesn’t contain coconut oil, which I only mention because it can be problematic to some and is included in many deep conditioners.

Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Adansonia Digitata Seed Extract, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend), Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Ricinodendron Rautanenii (Mongongo) Seed Oil, Vinegar, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Panthenol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Sodium Benzoate.

Curl Junkie Repair Me Reconstructive Hair Treatment ($34 CDN): This is unfortunately a harder product to track down, especially in Canada, yet again. It’s only available at select salons that use this line and specialty beauty supply stores/ online retailers- I picked mine up from Honey Fig. It’s actually a unique product, with enough hydrolyzed protein to add definite elasticity and bounce back to the hair, help repair damage and prevent breakage, while also being very conditioning and detangling. I noticed a real bounce brought back to my curls from deep conditioning with this and I found that it left my hair with the most slip out of maybe any product I’ve ever tried and lasting hydration. It’s a traditional thick conditioner texture with the nourishment you would expect from a mask. It doesn’t have any shea butter or coconut oil so I think it would be a lighter weight option for those that have a real sensitivity to those ingredients.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Hydrolyzed Keratin Protein, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Panthenol, Keratin Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Yeast, Glyceryl Stearate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Glycol Stearate, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, Tocopherol Acetate, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance/Parfum, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, *Benzyl Benzoate. *Fragrance Component

Garnier Fructis Strengthening Treat 1 Minute Hair Mask ($5.99 CDN): I really like this silicone-free and drying alcohol-free hair mask and was really happy to learn recently that there’s larger sizes available – and accessible, even in Canada – because this 100 mL size would not last forever, especially if you aren’t as much of a product junkie as I am. It works to hold moisture in my hair when I use this as a deep conditioner or rinse out and it’s quite smoothing and nourishing, without adding any sort of weight to the hair. It’s protein-free so I highly question the strengthening claim but it’s a great purely moisturizing deep conditioner. It has enough slip to detangle with without difficulty. It has your usual fatty alcohols, glycerin, shea butter, olive, soybean, sunflower seed, coconut and avocado oils, along with rosemary extract. It also has that nostalgic salon-y banana scent that I enjoy.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Isopropyl Myristate, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter/Shea Butter, Olea Europaea Oil/Olive Fruit Oil, Glycine Soja Oil/Soybean Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil/Sunflower Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract/Rosemary Leaf Extract, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Cocos Nucifera Oil/Coconut Oil, Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxypropyl Trimonium Chloride, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Persea Gratissima Oil/Avocado Oil, Tartaric Acid, Cetyl Esters, Tocopherol, Salicylic Acid, Caramel, Linalool, Eugenol, Limonene, Citronellol, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Salicylate, Parfum/Fragrance.

Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Conditioner ($13.99 CDN): I was originally going to end the post before this product but I thought to myself that it would be helpful to include other options for deep conditioning that aren’t as heavy. I know many don’t go for the intensive more butter and oil-heavy masks that I seem to adore as they can be heavy on some hair types – especially wavies that are prone to products building up on their hair. I think that if you are looking for some extra nourishment for your hair but find traditional thick masks heavy, this thick standard conditioner may be worth a shot. It’s not as thick as the deep treatment in this line but it still has a thicker consistency; however, it’s probably among the lighter of Shea Moisture’s offerings. I’ve used it as a deep treatment with nice results but it’s honestly my favourite as a rinse-out conditioner, as it’s nicely moisturizing and curl clumping without weighing down my hair in the slightest. This one doesn’t even contain water soluble silicones, has some slip agents, shea butter and oils. It has a tiny amount of protein in it. It’s available in Walmarts too which I adore.

Ingredients: Water, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Stearyl Alcohol, Glycerin (Vegetable), Honey, Yogurt Powder, Yogurt Extract, lnulin, Trichilia Emetica (Mafura) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Evening Primrose (Oenothera Biennis) Oil, Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Panthenol, Bisabolol, Tocopherol, Triethyl Citrate, Caprylyl Glycol, Benzoic Acid, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend).

Do you have a favourite deep conditioner?
Maggie, x.

The Essential | Paula’s Choice BHA 9

As someone who doesn’t deal with pimples overly often, rarely has single blackhead and has skin that tends to be quite dry, I wouldn’t have expected that I needed such a potent beta hydroxy acid treatment in my life. Boy was I wrong. The Paula’s Choice RESIST BHA 9 Treatment ($43 US/0.3 ounces) is the perfect product for me to use in my routine alongside my repertoire of alpha hydroxy acid exfoliants for a pore clearing and anti-congestion boost. The consistency is very much a gel serum, which I appreciate because it does not dry out any sort of problem areas that I have any further. Unlike most other spot treatments on the market, this one does not actually irritate the spots further that I am trying to treat.

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Ingredients: Propylene Glycol (hydration), PEG-75 (texture-enhancing), PEG-8 (texture-enhancing), Water, Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), Avena Sativa Kernel Extract (oat extract/skin-soothing), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (antioxidant), Sea Whip Extract (skin-soothing), Arginine (hydration/skin replenishing), Polysorbate 20 (texture-enhancing), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer).

This is also much more than your typical spot treatment. It’s a concentrated sustained-release formula that contains a whopping 9% salicylic acid and manages to not be irritating because of the buffered formula, containing anti-irritants and nothing known to be irritating on the skin. The pump container does have a tendency to dispense way too much product but the results that it provides makes it worth the hassle for me. It helps to unclog pores and deal with congestion the most effectively and quickly of any product I’ve ever tried and speed up the healing time of blemishes. On the rare occasion where I get blackheads, I often find that they take weeks to go and using this has reduced that time to a day or two. This also seems to prevent underneath the skin blemishes from forming to an extent and reducing the severity of the ones that form. It also helps underneath the skin bumps heal more quickly. It also really helps with the recovery time of hormonal blemishes. Not only does the 9% salicylic acid help to clear the pores rapidly, it also has anti-inflammatory activity that really helps with dealing with the post-acne marks that hang around on my skin for ages. The most significant part for me is that it does this without pissing my temperamental skin off.

I shouldn’t advertise this but this is an excellent product to use if you’ve slept in your makeup, majorly slacked on your skincare routine and eaten terribly, as it takes down congestion and inflammation like a champ. Also, it is the only product I’ve ever used that has gotten rid of a blackhead in six hours. It’s expensive (especially when converted into Canadian dollars) but I have to say that the hype was well founded.

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.

The Review | Camille Rose Naturals Curl Maker

I promise I have non curly hair related posts in the works. However, there’s another hair product review post ahead. The Camille Rose Naturals Curl Maker is a pricier product, retailing at $22 US or $30-ish CDN for 12 ounces or 355 mLs. It’s only available in Sally’s Beauty Supply in Canada, or other specialty beauty supply stores but is readily available online from Target and a bunch of other sites. I know in the US, it’s available at Sally’s Beauty Supply, Target and a bunch of drugstores. The product contains a bunch of naturally based ingredients, is cruelty-free and made in the US. I’m 99% sure it’s vegan too.


Camille Rose Naturals claims “our Curl Maker Curl Defining Jelly is handcrafted with marshmallow and agave leaf extracts”, will define curls “without the crunch” and will “eliminate frizz, moisturize and define curls”. In my experience, it definitely helps curls and waves to clump and acts as an enhancing product. It minimizes frizz and adds smoothness and hydration. I don’t experience any crunch with this gelly but I also find that it has maybe light hold on me and consequently follow it with a harder hold gel to get good results on my fine looser pattern of curls and waves. I know that those with a tighter curl pattern can use this gel on their own and enjoy doing so. The below picture on the left is my hair early on following the Curly Girl Method — fair warning my hair looks better now — with this product layered underneath a harder hold gel, and the picture on the right is my hair refreshed with this product.

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Now, let’s delve into the ingredients further. I consider it Curly Girl Method approved, meaning that it doesn’t contain sulfates, silicones or drying alcohols. However, the castor seed oil that the formula contains will require gentle surfactants to be removed and thus, might not be compatible with a shampoo-free regimen. The formula doesn’t contain any glycerin or other simple humectants that tend to be problematic in low and extremely high dew points. It’s really nourishing and smoothing with the coconut oil, aloe juice and castor seed oil. Curl Maker contains a fair number of ingredients classified as film-forming humectants that pull water into the hair and keep the moisture intact — some of these include: pectin, aloe, marshmallow root, nettle and panthenol.

Ingredients: Dionized water, pectin, coco nucifera(coconut )oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, panthenol, ricinus communis (caster) seed oil, althaea officinalis (marshmallow) root extract, agava americana leaf extract, equisetum arvense (horsetail) extract, urtica dioica (nettle) leaf extract, corn starch, xanthan gum, chondrus (seaweed) crispus, polysorbate 20, tocopheryl acetate (vitanin E), cyanocobalamin (vitamin b-12), phenoxyethanol (optiphen nd) caprylyl glycol, fragance (parfum) and LOVE!

The Camille Rose Naturals Curl Maker does not necessarily give me the tightest waves and curls out of every product on the market but it certainly helps to encourage spirals and curl clump formation. It’s that perfect balance on my fine but high porosity hair of being smoothing and moisturizing without adding heaviness. The formula is protein-free but the aloe and the coconut oil have been known to act similar to proteins for those who’s hair is protein sensitive. As I’m nearing the end of my bottle, I plan on reinvesting in another bottle to use as a curl enhancing product and to refresh with. Also, in my experience this is defining but elongating.

Has anyone tried anything by Camille Rose Naturals?
Maggie, x.

The Essentials| Winter & High Porosity Hair

I’ve been following the Curly Girl Method again for over a month and have to admit that I’ve become happier with my hair. I’ve been able to achieve more consistent results and curls and have noticed an improvement in how my hair is clumping towards the ends and an increase in curl definition all over my head. What’s the most impressive about this is that I’ve had luck with my waves in the winter, when I typically dislike my hair the most during the winter. Much of what I’ve learned for what works in my hair has come from learning about my hair characteristics and not just about my wavy curl pattern. Looking into my porosity and its significance has been particularly helpful. I believe understanding my hair porosity is what has helped me to get better results and improvement this time around.


Porosity, as a reminder, is the measure of how your hair responds to and holds onto moisture. Those with higher porosity hair find that their hair absorbs moisture easily but also does not retain it well. I’ve always had hair that hairdressers commented on as being incredibly porous. However, I was beginning to doubt my porosity because my hair floated in that strand test, which by the way can be incredibly inaccurate. My hair is fine but high density and this heaviness can make it seem like my strands are easily weighed down, which is not the case. My hair absorbs any moisture incredibly quickly, loses moisture quickly, tangles intensely and reacts terribly with humidity. Despite not being damaged, my hair’s cuticles remain open. Here are some of the products that worked well for my higher porosity hair and a brief explanation of why they work on my high porosity hair, especially in the cold Canadian winter.

Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate and Repair Multi-Action Leave In ($14.99 CDN): I’ve loved having this milky spray leave-in around this winter because of its lightweight nature – it never weighs down my finer waves or my roots that tend to fall flat because of their weight – and versatility. I like using it as a leave-in on wet hair for an extra dose of protein, to help clump and smooth my curls and as an extra layer of moisture. It contains a water-soluble silicone which I don’t mind in the slightest because my hair does not tend to easily experience build up and it acts as a heat-protectant – a godsend when I diffuse. It has some nice slip, too, and a light dose of shea butter and oils, which my hair sucks right up. I love using it as a refresher spray after my curls have fallen out on subsequent days, adding hydration without weight, when paired with a styler. It also works well to fix a wayward curl via dampening and pin-curling. I’ve heard that Canadians are starting to see this pop up in drugstores as well, which is exciting.

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Anti-Frizz Max Hold Gel ($16.99 CDN): In my experience, high porosity hair that sucks everything up and has a tendency to get frizzy and dry – especially in the winter – needs a harder hold gel. This one has the strongest hold out of most of the gels I’ve tried without being drying or heavy and I find gives me the best multi-day hair because it reduces the frizz factor from refreshing and actually stays working in my hair overnight and beyond. I find many gels disappear in my thirsty hair overnight and I lose definition and frizz creeps in. It has protein which can be a plus for most high porosity people and contains shea butter and a few plant oils to help nourish the hair and seal it. It does contain a lot of the humectant, glycerin, but it also has lots of anti-humectants as well which prevents moisture from being sucked out of the hair.
Shea Moisture Mongongo & Hemp Seed Oils High Porosity Moisture-Correct Masque ($16.99 CDN): I’m realizing now that I’m talking endlessly about Shea Moisture for my high porosity recommendations but they truly do work on my finer high porosity hair in this cold Canadian winter especially. Unfortunately, this one isn’t readily available here in stores – I’ve had to order it online. It’s a blend of fatty alcohols, butters, a few slip agents, oils and a mild to moderate dose of protein. It’s not heavy but it definitely hydrates thirsty hair, reduces frizz and helps my curls clump nicely. I use it as either a standard conditioner in the shower but it makes an excellent deep conditioner. The butters and oils keep hydration in my hair for longer than a minute and seem to ward off frizz and it offers a dose of protein that higher porosity hair tends to crave, especially if its fine like mine. Doing full weekly deep conditioning treatments have become essential for me during the harsh winter weather and this is my product of choice.
AG Hair Recoil Curl Activator ($22/$38 CDN): While AG isn’t exactly a particularly budget conscious line, the salon brand is super easy to find in Canada, at many salons and is sold at Chatters, the popular chain. This cult favourite curl cream is one of their many sulfate and silicone free products and can easily be purchased. In the cold Canadian winter, adding a lightweight and curl enhancing cream to my routine has really helped my hair to retain moisture and clump nicely. I use it before gel and I find that it keeps my hair defined and help my curls underneath clump more nicely into spirals. It does contain humectants but it also has film-forming ingredients that seem to minimize the hydration loss and frizzing. Adding this curl cream to my routine this winter has really helped with my hair being smoother and in more hydrated, bouncy curls.
Deva Curl One Condition Delight ($26-30 CDN): Including Deva Curl’s most lightweight conditioner might seem like a strange choice in a post about thirsty winter hair but hear me out… In the winter, my hair is much drier, more tangly, frizzy at the crown and lifeless. It needs babying and constant nourishment from the elements, dry air and friction from rubbing against scarves and coats. However, when you have fine hair like I do that can get weighed down in certain sections, a great nourishing but lightweight conditioner can be your best friend. I like this one because it’s curl enhancing for me with the protein and the linseed and my hair drinks it up. I like using it as a leave-in and as a standard conditioner, but not rinsing it out whatsoever. I also alternate my typical gentle shampoo with co-washing and I reach for this one often because it has the slip I want and doesn’t contribute to flat roots, as some can. It does contain glycerin but it also has film-forming humectants which are helpful for reducing moisture loss in colder weather and minimizing frizzing that occurs. It’s an excellent complement to the more butter and oil rich products that I rely on to keep my hair moisturized.

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.