Products I’ve Used Up | Take Two

Let’s skip as much of the introductory ramble as possible. I finished some products and I wrote a lot about them…


DevaCurl No-Poo Zero Lather Cleansing Conditioner ($32 CDN/ 355 mLs): Please forgive the old packaging of my bottle; I had forgotten that I still had a quarter of a bottle left underneath my sink. I’ve been trying it out again and my feelings haven’t changed. I really like the minty citrus scent and the slip that co-wash leaves in my thirsty tangly hair. Unfortunately, this product tends to make my scalp itchy in ways that conditioner washing with straight conditioners do not. I expect that my scalp hates the peppermint oil, which is a known irritant and when my scalp starts to itch, I can easily start to have an eczema outbreak… I didn’t really find it any more cleansing than a standard conditioner and although my curls liked the slip of this product, I just couldn’t do it on more than an occasional basis. It also gave my fine hair limper roots, which I did not appreciate.

Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Conditioner ($10 CDN/ 385 mLs): Loosely speaking, this product is kind of sulfate, silicone and drying alcohol free. It does contain standard alcohol but as far as I am aware, it’s acting as a solvent in the formula. I’m not sure how I feel about this but I definitely did not experience any sort of dryness as a result. It has a thicker consistency that does impart some moisture but isn’t as intensely hydrating and as slippy as I would prefer. It was a fine conditioner but it wasn’t my favourite because of these shortcomings. It’ s a good affordable conditioner with aloe, glycerin, coconut oil and fatty alcohols. Unfortunately, I did not find it to be curl clumping either. I feel like it would be better for those with thicker hair textures and less tangly hair than mine.

Shea Moisture Raw Shea & Cupuacu Frizz Defense Hair Masque ($16.99 CDN/ 354 mLs): I went an ordered this mask from Ulta because it was aimed at wavy hair – and I have waves with some curls thrown in there – and while I liked it, I wasn’t in love. It’s silicone-free, doesn’t have any drying ingredients and actually appears to be protein free. It had a thick texture that was smoothing and moisturizing but it didn’t do anything special for my finer strands. I think it would be better for thicker strands and those who are protein sensitive.

Shea Moisture Mongongo & Hemp Seed Oils High Porosity Moisture-Seal Mask ($16.99 CDN/ 354 mLs): This has to be my favourite hair mask that I’ve ever tried and I liked this so much when I finished it – over a year ago – that I held onto the empty package like a true hoarder. It’s aimed at hair curlier than mine with higher porosity but I love it for my high porosity 2c fine hair. It has great slip and is super concentrated, providing intense moisture to my strands that help curls to clump, especially at the lengths. It has some protein in it too, which my hair appreciates but it’s very moisturizing overall and is very concentrated. The texture is rich but not heavy. I recently acquired a new tub and I’ve been loving having it in my life again. It’s silicone free and drying alcohol free.

Love Beauty & Planet Argan Oil & Lavender Conditioner ($10-12 CDN/ 400 mL): This was an impulse purchase that I made upon seeing that the product was silicone free and seemed to have an interesting ingredient list. I really liked it. It’s silicone-free, has nothing drying in it and doesn’t really contain anything that could build up on the hair. It has a great spa scent, moderate moisture and great slip. It’s a great conditioner that hydrates without adding weight and contains fatty alcohols, your usual slip agents, along with coconut and argan oil. It helped to clump my curls and added no weight to my hair. It worked as a standard conditioner and as a leave-in. I would buy again, especially because of how easy it is to come across in stores here.

Suave Essentials Ocean Breeze Conditioner ($2.77 CDN/ 887 mL): The Suave Essentials conditioners are one of those things that frustratingly aren’t readily available in Canada. However, I picked one up when ordering other products from Target online and I have to say that I was impressed with the light and thin conditioner. It’s silicone free and is mainly formulated with slip agents and moisturizing fatty alcohols. This makes it a great conditioner to use as a co-wash on my fine tangly hair and as a weightless leave-in conditioner. The thin runny texture is very curl clumping and leaves me with more volume than others. I’ll buy again when I place another order online.

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner ($21 US/ 190 mL): These milky toners from Paula’s Choice have been an essential part of my skincare routine for a few years now and I wouldn’t want to switch them out. They add another layer of weightless moisture and prevent transepidermal water loss. There’s loads of anti-irritants, antioxidants and hydrating ingredients and nothing known to be irritating. It’s essentially a serum in liquid form that’s very calming with the ability to help repair the barrier.

Paula’s Choice RESIST Advanced Smoothing Treatment ($37 US/ 30 mLs): This 10% alpha hydroxy acid solution wasn’t an instant favourite but I grew to love the dual chemical exfoliant and serum enough to repurchase it, even before my bottle was empty. I find it to be an effective exfoliant and water-binder, with lactic, glycolic, malic, tartaric and salicylic acid – at effective concentrations – ,helping to smooth, brighten and even out my complexion. I find that the 0.5% of salicylic acid that the formula includes is enough to help prevent my skin from breaking out on my chin for the most part and I find the antioxidants and anti-irritants make the formula very easy to tolerate.

NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base ($33 CDN/ 7 mL): Despite having dry skin, I have somewhat oilier eyelids that are prone to creasing and wearing through eyeshadow in general. This is one of the few eyeshadow primers that I’ve tried that has consistently reduced the creasing I experience and increased the wear-time of eyeshadow. I’ve repurchased this.

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara in Mystic Black ($13.99 CDN/ 8.5 mL): This dry volumizing formula has been a fantastic discovery in the last year or so. It’s so dry that it meets my standards for volume and curl without the risk of getting everywhere during application that wetter formulas have. It creates lots of drama in the lashes without being overly clumpy. My only complaint is that the tube gets grimy and the wand gets gunky earlier on than other mascaras so I find myself having to repurchase more often, which is probably a good thing for my eye health. I have repurchased and I will buy more soon.

What have you used up recently?
Maggie, x.

The Review | Deva Curl Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam

I originally tried out the DevaCurl Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam ($36 CDN/ 222 mLs) as part of one of the brand’s sets featuring products from their wavy line. I found myself liking the foam so much that I ended up purchasing a full-size of the product months later. I was not impressed upon realizing that the product had been reformulated by the time that I repurchased it. This reformulation was not for the better in my experience. It didn’t have as much hold and ability to help droopy curls spring up and tighten in my wavy hair. Both versions of the product are Curly Girl Method approved, formulated without silicones, drying alcohols or sulfates. As a sidenote, it’s also cruelty-free and formulated without parabens, if that is of interest to you, as well.

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The old version of this foam that I adored had a fairly similar ingredient list to the newer formula. However, the curl-enhancing ingredient changed from polyquaternium-69 to polyamide-1, which I simply don’t find to be as spiral and bounce boosting. Also, I noticed that the foam offered much less hold than the previous formula. Now, I’ll try to stop dwelling over the old formula that I preferred.

The brand markets the Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam as a product that primarily provides volume and frizz-protection, while being lightweight. It’s supposed to offer volume to curls, along with touchable definition and shine, whilst eliminating frizz. It offers maybe a light hold on its own in my experience (but my hair is heavy and higher porosity so I tend to experience little hold in products) and does help add volume and a bit of extra bounce to my curls in a weightless way. I definitely still experienced some frizz with this product and used on its own, I definitely would experience frizz. This foam is so weightless, though, that I think baby-fine wavies and curlies would love it. I can’t imagine it adding weight to anyone’s hair. I will concede it does add definition and a lighter hold and would be an option for those with hair that gets heavy from most products. For reference, I have 2c-ish hair that’s incredibly long, have high density fine strands and are higher porosity.

The foam is much lighterweight than a gel or even a mousse and functions as a curl enhancer for me, used before gel in my routine. It does add some extra definition, a touch of hold and some extra lift and bounce. It’s featherlight without being drying. I might actually prefer the product for refreshing, though, because the light hold helps combat frizz and my curls tendency to droop in areas, while helping to enhance them.

The scent of the product is light and fruity. Ingredient-wise, it relies on the polyamide-1 to enhance curls, add volume and protect against humidity via acting as a film former. The next ingredient is primarily a holding agent, matodextrin/vp copolymer. The remaining ingredients are your usual botanical extracts mainly. It doesn’t seem to contain any protein and the humectant, glycerin, only appears at the very end of the ingredient list. Polyquaternium-68 is also found very low on the ingredient list; I only mention this because I know that some find they cause build up.

I don’t think I would necessarily repurchase this formula as it is, but I will use my bottle up without complaint.

Have you tried this?
Maggie, x.

The Edit | Curly Girl Method Gels

Now that I’ve gotten back into following The Curly Girl Method with renewed vigour, I’m really noticing that I’m going through a good amount of the products I’ve been hoarding. My bag of empty products has rapidly been filling with hair products and as a true product junkie, I have lots of thoughts to share on them. Today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gels that I have finished up. This is going to seem like a lot of product but in all honesty, my hair eats up gel and I need lots of it to have consistently defined hair. Otherwise, my hair willjust wilt, tangle and frizz. It’s worth noting that I have a ton of fine long hair, a mix of waves and some curls in terms of texture and hair that is quite porous.

DevaCurl Arc AnGel ($60 CDN/ 946 mLs)

This gel is my absolute favourite in the humid summer because my hair frizzes out and wilts overnight and throughout the day the least with this gel. It provides great almost firm hold and isn’t particularly drying, crunchy or heavy for that level of hold but doesn’t give my curls the enhancing boost that Ultra Defining Gel does, especially in the cooler months when my curls need more encouragement. It’s a gel heavy in glycerin but it has nowhere near the amount of protein that the other gels in the line have, so it could be very good for hair that doesn’t love protein as much as mine does. I also frustratingly find that by the time I get towards the end of these large bottles, the texture of the gel starts to change and doesn’t seem to work quite so well. As it gets closer to the summer, I want to experiment with this one again.

DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel ($30 CDN/ 355 mLs)

Probably because my hair absorbs everything and seems to resist forming a protective cast like nothing else, I find that I need a good amount of this gel but I also find that my waves and curls are a bit bouncier and more spirally with this gel, especially in the cooler months when my curls tend to lie flat and wilt. It’s a touch more than medium hold and can enhance and tighten up my curls, without being drying or weighing my hair down. I wish I didn’t have to use quite so much and that it gave slightly more hold on my temperamental hair that resists looking decent by the next day. It has loads of protein which my fine porous hair loves and also is glycerin heavy. It’s my favourite of the gels in the cooler months, I reckon.

Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel ($34.76 CDN/ 250 mLs)

I think this was actually the product that started my love of traditional gels, back when I tried it years ago. I found it for a great price at Winners and tried it again and remember why I liked it. My gripe with this product is that it’s expensive at full retail price, especially because the hold is on the lower-end of medium and in order to get good results, I have to use so much of this gel. It’s really hydrating and helps my curls to clump nicely but doesn’t quite have the structure and enhancement of the Deva gels. I will note that I don’t experience much frizz with this one and that I’ve had good hair days with it. This gel might be better for those who prefer a lighter hold or with a tighter curl pattern. I do love the fresh and clean scent. Glycerin is towards the bottom of the ingredient list with this one and protein appears near there as well.

Shea Moisture Mongogo & Hemp Seed Oils High Porosity Moisture-Seal Styling Gel ($14.99 CDN/ 236 mLs)

I didn’t love this gel but that was because of first time buyer error mainly. I bought the gel along with the other products in the high porosity line that I adore because I felt some sort of need to complete the collection. It didn’t work for me as a harder hold gel because it has a soft hold, as it’s marketed to. It’s smoothing and moisturizing but lacks the hard hold that I need. I do think those with tighter curls would like this if they want moisture and softer hair. I didn’t mind it as a refresher on damp hair. It has glycerin, shea butter, aloe and a variety of oils.

Shea Moisture Raw Shea & Cupacu Frizz Defense Styling Gel-Cream ($13.99 CDN/ 236 mLs)

I bought this cream gel because it was designed for a wavier texture and remembered liking cream gel products in the past, but it wasn’t right for me either as a main styler. I think it might work for those with coarser hair textures but not for my finer hair as a holding product. It didn’t weigh my hair down and it did add moisture but I didn’t find that it had much for hold or curl clumping ability. I did find it worked quite well on damp hair to refresh because it added that moisture and enough hold to bring curls back to life.

Equate Hard Hold Styling Gel ($2.27 CDN/ 350 mLs)

I purchased this affordable gel after seeing that its ingredients were similar to the cheapie gels available in the United States that those who follow the Curly Girl Method seem to adore such as the LA Looks offerings. The hold was moderate and it was somewhat curl clumping but I wasn’t blown away by this one. I did get fairly good results using this gel in combination with another cream or enhancing product but I think that the Sport Gel variation was my favourite out of the three varieties I tried. It’s glycerin free and contains a small amount of protein.

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.

 

Top 18 of 2018

Some of my favourite posts to read and videos to watch are those detailing yearly favourites. However, I haven’t managed to write one since 2015. I’m remedying this now, after much thought on what products I would include. You can’t possibly imagine how much time I’ve spent thinking and thinking about this.  The way that I thought about the yearly favourites were the eighteen products that I relied on the most and got the best performance from throughout the year. I do note that some of these won’t surprise any regular readers here in the least and they aren’t products that just came out this year or products that I bought in the last year necessarily. Here we go.

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Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm ($39 CDN)

This fragrance and known irritant free balm cleanser was a late 2017 discovery that firmly has become my favourite makeup remover because it dissolves everything without stinging my eyes, blurring my vision – unless I’m an idiot and use way too much – or irritating my skin. It’s such a gentle balm cleanser that I managed to use it during an eczema flare when even water made my skin burn and itch without an issue. It’s nothing glamorous but removes even the toughest eye makeup and dissolves foundation better than anything else I’ve tried without that stripping factor. It’s so good that I can skip a second cleanse if I’m feeling lazy without getting under the skin bumps the next day.

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Paula’s Choice RESIST Advanced Replenishing Toner ($24 US)

Since trying out the Skin Recovery Toner in 2015, I haven’t wanted to be without one of these Paula’s Choice milky toners. Honestly, I tend to flip flop between this offering and the Skin Recovery one but just using one of them is essential for my skin that is prone to irritation, dehydration, flaking and eczema. It honestly provides many of the benefits of a serum in a milky liquid form. It’s obviously formulated without alcohol, fragrance and ingredients that are known to be irritating. It’s soothing and is incredibly helpful in maintaining a healthy skin barrier and repairing a compromised one with fatty acids, antioxidants and hydrating ingredients. It provides a soothing effect short term and long-term keeps my skin looking healthier and brighter, without dry patches and calmed.

Paula’s Choice RESIST Advanced Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA ($36 US) | review

Along with my prescription retinoid, – and more recently my azelaic acid – I rely on an AHA exfoliant to keep my skin smooth and clear on the whole and hydrated. This one keeps my pores from getting clogged and with the 0.5% salicylic acid and I find the glycolic, lactic, malic and tartaric acid formula to be gentler than pure glycolic acid but still have the same even-ing, brightening, smoothing and water-binding impact that single note formulas can have. More impressively, I love how gentle the formula is and how it combines the exfoliating ingredients with antioxidants and skin-replenishing ingredients. Essentially, it acts as a serum and effective exfoliant at once and I find it easier to tolerate, likely as a result of the antioxidants and anti-irritants.

Paula’s Choice RESIST Skin Restoring Moisturizer SPF 50 ($33 US)

It appears that I may have a thing for the Paula’s Choice RESIST line for dry skin, I’m realizing. I think that this is because they are chalked full of antioxidants and anti-irritants that make the formulas the most soothing and replenishing as possible, which my easily irritated skin needs. This is a very hydrating and cosmetically elegant lotion that is formulated with chemical sunscreen actives and is unique because it’s the only chemical sunscreen I’ve ever tried that has not immediately irritated my skin. I think I’ll always be a mineral sunscreen girl but I love this one for how it’s truly hydrating, isn’t greasy and never clings to dry patches in the way that mineral actives do. I think I tolerate this one because of the robust antioxidants and anti-irritants in the formula.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation ($72 CDN) | review

There’s no foundation that I’ve tried in the last three years that has knocked this cult favourite foundation from its spot as my go-to foundation. It looks incredibly skin like, even on my uneven texture and dry patches, and has a satin finish that lasts until I remove it on my dry thirsty skin. I like the medium-buildable coverage that it offers and how it will cover even reddened eczema patches, without losing that radiant finish. Without fail, this expensive foundation always makes me feel and look my best. Plus, it photographs fantastically.

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Laura Geller Balance n Brighten Baked Colour Correcting Foundation ($45 CDN)

Being someone with drier skin that doesn’t suffer from issues of makeup longevity, I have a tendency to skip powder altogether. However, I have discovered that I really like this one because of the light coverage it provides that mainly serves to cancel out redness of my face and because of the soft focus radiant (but without shimmer in sight) finish that it  provides over my t-zone. I tend to like wearing it if I’m going to be taking pictures and I loved wearing it in the unseasonably hot summer that we had. Also, the smoothing finish and coverage it provides works nicely as a low maintenance ‘foundation’ alternative on good skin days and days when I’m doing two or three minute makeup.

L’Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation ($20-25 CDN)

I’m beyond irritated that this foundation doesn’t seem to be carried by most drugstores in Canada anymore but I’m pleased that they haven’t discontinued my favourite lighter coverage base entirely. The cushion foundation is not the most economical option but as someone who rarely goes through foundation, it’s worthwhile for an easy option that’s almost undetectable on the skin and doesn’t cling to dry patches in the slightest. When I’m unsure of what to grab as a base and I don’t have time to think about it, I reach for this light to medium coverage offering because it’s hydrating, weightless and doesn’t cling to dry patches. The dewy finish is very brightening and it covers redness well but always looks like skin.

Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Amber ($31 CDN)

As someone whose face just looks better with a bit of shading, I find myself often reaching for this cream-to-powder contour colour because it’s easy to blend into the skin and has a realistic grey tone that reads as a shadow. Also it works with both powder and cream products in my routine.

Colourpop Super Shock Highlighter in Wisp ($8 US)

I bought this putty-cream textured highlighter in a kit last year with a hefty dose of skepticism but I found myself really enjoying the gleam and sheen that this bronzier golden champagne highlighter provided to my cheeks. It’s one of those highlighters without obvious shimmer, I must note. Being fair, I find that I have to use a lighter hand but I love the luminous sheen it gives my cheekbones and how it adds life to my skin.

Physician’s Formula Eyebooster Lash Boosting Eyeliner & Serum ($15 CDN)

I feel like I’ve rambled on about how much I love this brush-tipped pen style liquid eyeliner so much recently but I do adore reaching for it on a daily basis because it creates a bit of a kitten flick with ease. I don’t have to worry about my eyeliner if I use this one. It removes easily and doesn’t really budge either.

Viseart Matte Eyeshadow Palette in Warm Mattes 10 ($100 CDN) | review

Ever since I picked up this expensive sunset-hued matte palette towards the beginning of 2018, it’s been my everyday go-to. I love how the shades have that flattering warm hue and that everything except a black is included for shade selection. Most of all I like that the shades crease on me the least of any eyeshadow formula, last for ages, blend like a dream and do not cause fallout. The red shade in this palette even got me on the red eyeshadow train.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette ($55 CDN)

It seems like whenever I do these kinds of posts, I can’t resist including a product or two that I’ve more recently discovered. This palette I might have only picked up at the beginning of November, but it has become a real favourite of mine since then. The colour choices are a bit more interesting than the Viseart, being a mixture of neutral mattes (with a few shimmers thrown in), along with some red and berry-toned shades. I love how it makes a nice one and done look and I’ve enjoyed experimenting with the more red shades. The formula’s powderiness doesn’t seem to leave fallout, either. Also, the formula is pretty easy to work with. I love the inclusion of a few shimmery shades for the lid and to add some dimension.

MAC Eyeshadow in All That Glitters ($9/$19 CDN)

I came close to including a selection of the MAC eyeshadows that I reached for some throughout the year but in all honesty, I mainly reached for this peachy champagne shimmery shadow. I’ve repurchased it countless times and when I wanted a lid shade, I always find myself reaching for this one and am pleased with how it looks.

MAC Brow Set in Beguile ($22 CDN)

While I might have a lot of brow, they are sparse and tend to look unnatural unless a lot of care is put into gently filling them in and taming them. This year, I discovered that using this brow mascara with a light hand held them in place and helped to fill in the sparse sections, without looking product-y or unnatural in the slightest. It was a godsend for when I wanted to do something with my brows but did not have the time or energy to really fill them in.

L’Oreal Pro Matte Liquid Lipstick in 360 Angora ($12.99 CDN)

My lip product discovery and favourite of the year was easily this liquid lipstick formula and my go to shade was this medium-toned greige shade. I have super dry lips and aren’t a particularly clean eater and drinker and tend to experience lip products wearing off unevenly through the day, accentuating my dry patches. I like a lip product that I don’t have to think about and this one fits the bill, especially because once I let this product set on my lips, it can last through a Christmas dinner. I also like how the formula doesn’t have a super dry feel but sets on my lips. Also, the colour is interesting enough that it feels kind of cool and different without being a bold or jarring colour.

MAC Lip Pencil in Boldly Bare ($22 CDN)

As much as I like buying lip products, I don’t find myself reaching for them on a daily basis because I can’t be bothered with the upkeep and having to think about them. On days when I wanted some colour to my lips, I often found myself filling in my lips with this neutral coral-hued rosy pencil and topping it with lip balm or a sheerer neutral lipstick offering. It happily lived in my purse throughout the year.

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DevaCurl One Condition Delight Weightless Waves ($32/$62 CDN)

I have long porous fine wavy curls that tangles like nothing else in this world and this conditioner ticks all of the boxes for a daily conditioner; I can use it as a leave-in to keep my curlier underlayer of hair hydrated and defined without flattening out the wimpier waves that are prone to falling out on the top layer of my hair and as my standard conditioner of choice.  I have a ton of hair that requires a ton of slip to detangle and this fits the bill, whilst adding the dose of protein that gives my hair the bounce it needs to look good. It has great slip and provides moisture without weight for my thirsty locks. It’s free of drying alcohols and silicones.

DevaCurl B’Leave In ($27 CDN)

This year, I noticed that most of my good hair days – when I actually wore my curls and waves down – occurred after using this curl boosting product in addition to gel and whatever cream product I was using. This holdless gel-textured product added a weightless dose of protein to my fine hair and really boosted the bounce and curl in sections of my hair that are prone to wilting and falling flat. I’ve used this product before with good results but I rediscovered it this year when I started putting more effort into my hair again.

Any favourites to share?
Maggie, x.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curly Girl Method Thoughts & Current Favourites

Long time no post, eh? Truth be told, I’ve been busy planning and writing out my 2018 favourites post – so stay tuned for that – and I’ve been stressed and limited by the few daylight hours we have for taking pictures. Something I have been doing the last month or so is giving myself back into the curly girl method. Regardless, I never use sulphates and rarely heat style my hair (like a few times a year) but I can be guilty and use silicones on occasion and have been wearing my hair up in a bun often in recent months, giving up on my hair entirely. However, in the last month I’ve been strictly following my semi-modified routine.

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Frustratingly, my hair photographs straighter and flatter than it looks in real life but I will include a picture here or two. Note: I know that its length disguises the texture somewhat. The first picture is first day hair and the second is second or third day. I have the kind of hair where the individual strands are quite fine (but not baby fine) and despite being very healthy, it tangles like nothing else in this world and refuses to hold any sort of style other than the messy bun. Did I mention that I have an obscene amount of hair? I have hair that sits between the wavy side of things with some looser spirals and ringlets thrown in. I’m one of those people that have a drier underlayer of hair that is quite curly and voluminous and a flatter and straighter upper layer of hair. Also, I never know how my hair is going to look – it has a mind of its own. My hair responds well to protein and needs moisture underneath but has a tendency to get weighed down and look straight on the crown and top layer of my hair. I’m a sulfate-free shampoo kind of girl and really struggle with my curls falling flat and losing all definition in weather and after being slept on. My hair requires a lot of product to look good and takes some effort and prayers to look its best. Curl pattern wise, I seem to have the most 2c hair, with some 3a underneath and some 2b in the lazier upper sections in my hair. Before this turns into an essay, I’ll get to the product favourites:

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Deva Curl B’Leave-In ($27 CDN)

This is one of those extra products that when added to my routine make the greatest difference. It adds volume and bounce to  my curls that tend to lack life. It’s not moisturizing so the name is kind of confusing but it’s a lightweight gel textured product that adds a dose of protein to my hair, helping it create juicier spirals and curls when paired with a heavy hold gel. It’s a great product for those with finer hair that loves protein and that want to boost their curls. It’s one that helps me unify my different curl patterns.

DevaCurl One Condition Delight Weightless Waves ($30/$60 CDN)

Deva Curl’s products are hit or miss with me on an individual basis, but my hair loves protein so as a whole, my hair enjoys a variety of their products. This is a protein heavy conditioner that offers enough slip to help with the detangling process and enough hydration to help my looser curls clump their heart out. It’s also light enough that I can use it as a leave-in as well throughout my hair, without fear of weighing down even my more lazy waves and loose spirals towards the top of my hair. As with the previous product, it’s glycerin and protein heavy so your mileage may vary in terms of your hair’s response to those polarizing ingredients. I liked the conditioner so much that I bought the larger size which thankfully is only twice the price for 3x the amount of product. This is my ‘squish to condish’ conditioner that i squish into my hair with water to create that kind of wet seaweed texture that minimizes frizz and really gets the hair to clump together in curls nicely.

Curls Creme Brûlée Whipped Curl Cream ($10-15 CDN)

Cream products are a bit of a gamble for my hair but are necessary if I want to get my hair to the third or fourth day mark without having to restyle from scratch. This is an option that I have to use a light hand with when using it as a leave in because the shea butter can sometimes weigh down my hair if I use it before my stylers on soaking wet gel. However, I really like it mixed with water as a refresher or used along with a hold product to refresh damp curls. It helps my hair form those curl clumps that it needs to look polished and doesn’t weigh down my hair in the slightest used this way. However, it has no hold so I have to cocktail it. The best part is that I’ve been able to buy it at Sally’s Beauty Supply on the east coast in Canada, where it’s really difficult to find curly-girl approved products in physical stores.

Deva Curl Ultra Defining Gel ($30 CDN)

I fell in love with this gel after I had my first DevaCut because it actually gave my hair hold that didn’t weigh it down and it enhanced and unified my varying curl patterns. It’s definitely protein heavy and doesn’t always play well with every other product I’ve used but it gives me more consistently good hair days than most and I need a gel to have hair that doesn’t droop by the time its dry. I go back and forth between this gel and the Arc AnGel, which has even more hold and less protein. It’s glycerin and protein heavy but I love it on my fine hair for combatting frizz and not really giving much of a cast. My annoyance is that I go through it rather quickly and that I can’t invest in the litre sizes without the texture of the gel changing by the time I finish those larger bottles. It’s good at adding volume and lift while defining curls.

Dippity Do Girls With Curls Defrizz Gelee ($7-8 CDN)

I never expected to like a product made by Dippity-Do but I couldn’t be happier to like such an affordable and easily available hold product that’s Curly Girl Method friendly in Canada – I’m frustrated to no end how difficult it is to come across affordable options in stores here. It’s definitely smoothing and helps to clump curls with a light to moderate hold but it’s not enough for me to use on its own on wet hair  . However,  I adore how it’s lightweight and has that curl clumping ability. I prefer to use it when I refresh my hair, as it helps bring the spring back to my curls and waves without adding any weight or anything. It has a nice subtle clean scent and contains a little bit of panthenol, aloe and protein. Unlike most of the products I’ve talked about, it’s also glycerin free.

Shea Moisture Mongongo & Hemp Seed Oils High Porosity Moisture-Seal Mask ($18.50 CDN)

Truth be told, I haven’t used this mask in a while. I have loved incorporating conditioners and masks from Shea Moisture’s line in my routine for that boost of moisture, slip and reconditioning that my somewhat porous hair needs. I threw out the bottle of the one that I used the most recently and grabbed this one because it has been my favourite long term. I can’t use it like I use lighter conditioners where I scrunch and leave them in my hair but it helps form juicy curls on the lengths of my hair and keeps things manageable. Unfortunately, I have to order most Shea Moisture products online but they are great if your hair doesn’t mind shea butter and cocoa butter. I just ordered this one again and am excited to have this mask back in my life. It’s butter-heavy but doesn’t seem to weigh down my hair when rinsed out and also has some nice oils in it and a small to moderate amount of protein that my finer hair agrees with.

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.

 

 

 

The Beauty Bargain | The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10%+ HA

After experiencing that beginning of winter skin freakout, I’ve been on a real skincare kick. After getting the dryness and irritation under control, I’ve really enjoyed layering different products that I have and the whole ritual of morning and evening skincare application – it’s been more than simply going through the motions for me. Recently, I’ve discovered a few products in my arsenal that I haven’t reviewed as of yet but want to share my thoughts on. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% ($6.70 CDN/ 30 mLs) is one of these products.


For the sake of this post not being a few thousand words, i won’t get into the controversy over Deciem’s ownership and their ex-CEO – The Ordinary is one of the many brands under the Deciem umbrella. This product is a simple chemical exfoliant formula with some hydrating and soothing properties. It contains 10% of the alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid to gently exfoliate the surface of the skin, help to unclog pores, smooth and hydrate the skin’s surface and decrease the look of imperfections and discolourations over time. I will emphasize that this won’t exfoliate the pore to the same degree as salicylic acid does so if clogged pores are your primary concern, I’d be more tempted to try salicylic as your chemical exfoliant of choice. It did do all of these things mentioned above in a gentle fashion because it’s formulated at the correct pH and does not contain irritants such as drying alcohols, or irritating plant extracts and essential oils. It performed well as a gentle alpha hydroxy acid exfoliant for me but I will note that I didn’t notice a real wow impact of using it compared to other products in the category upon first use. However, I may be biased because I continuously use acids in my regimen. It definitely helped to even out the texture of my skin and to keep my skin clear but I found this lactic-acid based exfoliant shined at drawing moisture back into my dehydrated skin. The formula does include 2% hyaluronic acid which is incredibly helpful as a humectant, especially in combination with lactic acid and glycerin. Another novel ingredient of note in the formula is the Tasmanian pepper berry that has research indicating that it has excellent anti-inflammatory activity and can function as an antioxidant. I believe that the addition of these soothing and hydrating ingredients play a part in how gentle the formula is whilst being effective.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Isoceteth-20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

The acid is housed in a frosted glass bottle container with a dropper, which works well to dispense the gel-serum texture of the exfoliant. I suppose it’s slightly sticky in texture but most skin types will need to apply something over the top in order to seal the moisture into the skin (as it contains humectants) and consequently, the tackiness should not be an issue. The dropper works well for the fluid texture of the product and I don’t believe that this product contains anything that could be compromised by this packaging style. It feels lightweight and hydrating on the skin, quickly sinking in. If you’re interested in trying a water-binding acid exfoliant, I’d highly recommend trying this one. It’s not complicated and is effective and gentle at a very affordable price tag. I do find that I go through the bottle a little more quickly than some other acid exfoliants but it’s so affordable that I don’t care. It’s free of animal testing, I believe. I will note, however, that the formula isn’t as robust as some of the much more expensive exfoliants I also enjoy from Paula’s Choice.

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x

 

The Review | Paula’s Choice RESIST Advanced Smoothing Treatment

I didn’t realize that I enjoyed the Paula’s Choice RESIST Advanced Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA ($36 US/ 30 mLs) quite so much until I found myself repurchasing it at the Black Friday Sale. Unlike the discontinued Paula’s Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment 10% AHA, I don’t use it one night and instantly notice that my skin is so much smoother and brighter, and that my textural irregularities have been toned down notably. However, I do notice that this formula likely gets me to the same place whilst being even more gentle and having even a soothing action on my easily-angered skin with continued use. What I enjoy the most about the newer addition to Paula’s line is that it combines a gentle alpha hydroxy acid with enough salicylic acid (0.5%) to combat the clogged pores that I’m prone to around my chin and lower cheeks, whilst also being a skin-restoring serum. The most impressive part is that it does this without irritating my sensitive skin that I keep in check with prescription Differin and azelaic acid.

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This formula is different than most exfoliants on the market for two main reasons reasons: (1) It’s formulated without drying alcohol and irritants and is at the correct concentration and pH to be effective (2) It’s an effective mixture of the bog-standard glycolic acid and the larger molecule alpha hydroxy acids lactic acid, magic acid and tartaric acid. In more recent years, I’m happy to report that other effective gentle acids have come onto the market but few contain the restoring soothing ingredients that Paula’s do at her more reasonable price tag. I believe that this acid product’s brilliance is that it provides the potent 10% AHA concentration (that I can tell you is effective firsthand) but is gentler because it combines the slightly more gentler AHA’s along with the glycolic acid that features in most AHA exfoliants, along with skin repairing ingredients, antioxidants and anti-irritants. Now let’s segway into the ingredients in more depth:

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Glycolic Acid (alpha hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), Lactic Acid (alpha hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (texture enhancer), Malic Acid (alpha hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Tartaric Acid (alpha hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 (skin-restoring), Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (skin-restoring), Ceramide NG (skin-replenishing), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (skin-soothing), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran Extract (skin-soothing), Punica Granatum Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (antioxidant), Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (antioxidant/skin-soothing), Peucedanum Graveolens (Dill) Extract (antioxidant), Allantoin (skin-soothing), Adenosine (skin-restoring), Hydrogenated Lecithin (skin-restoring), Bisabolol (skin-soothing), Polyquaternium-10 (texture enhancer), Xanthan Gum (thickener/emulsifier), Carbomer (texture enhancer), Polysorbate 20 (cleansing agent), Sodium Bicarbonate (pH adjuster), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Aminomethyl Propanol (pH adjuster), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Benzyl Alcohol (preservative).

As previously mentioned, the formula’s basis is the 10% concentration of water binding alpha-hydroxy acids along with 0.5% salicylic acid to help penetrate the pores and aid with treating congestion. As with all Paula’s Choice products, it does this without fragrance, drying alcohols and plant extracts that are known to cause irritant reactions. The alpha hydroxy acids work to bind water to the skin and smooth its texture and diminish the look of imperfections and any sort of discolouration. Glycerin helps to bind water to the skin and the peptides theoretically help to normalize skin cell activity and reinforce the skin’s barrier. The ceramides that the formula contains play a significant role in repairing the skin’s barrier, which is important for everyone’s skin health but is especially important when you have a tendency towards eczema and naturally have an impaired barrier. The formula also contains a bunch of antioxidants and anti-irritants but I’ll talk most about the ones that appear in higher concentrations and are the most notable. Licorice root extract is anti-inflammatory ingredient that also plays a role in treating hyperpigmentation. Sidenote: this extract also appears to act against acne causing bacteria. Chamomile is antioxidant that also has evidence of extra anti-inflammatory ability.

The texture of the product is a lightweight but not watery gel thats effectively dispensed in a dropper. The product is fluid enough that I believe that the packaging is probably the most effective style that it could be and is definitely practical and a bit more sophisticated than Paula’s Choice packaging of the past. The packaging improvement and inclusion of so many beneficial ingredients makes the middle of the road price tag worthwhile for me. I do note that Paula’s Choice products have increased in price in the last several years but I do believe that their formulas have become more sophisticated, as has their packaging as a result. Even though you get very little product, I don’t find you need much and I appreciate that it functions as a nice serum as well as an exfoliant. For those wondering, this product is not clearly stated as vegan – see the Paula’s Choice animal testing page for the full details – but it’s certainly cruelty free.

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.