I’m very aware of my recent absence around my favourite escape, my blog, but things have been just so crazy during this semester’s exam period and I have to say this exam period has been my worst – and it’s not ever yet, plus I’ve had pretty horrifying exam experiences in the last three years – but I’m back because I have a few days off to breathe before my final exam and paper and I’ve been missing this. Getting back to the point, I’ve been into putting some more styling effort into my hair and reading and watching curly/wavy hair content and have been inspired to get out more hair-related posts so I figured I would start out with a review. Phew. I had to.
On my very last trip to Target before it closed down, I picked up the Curls Unleashed Lavish in Lather Sulfate-Free Shampoo ($10 US/$15 CDN) and I have been using slash enjoying it since. It’s marketed towards textured hair as a gentle but effective cleanser that also helps to moisturize and detangle hair and I would have to agree that it meets those claims with a few other benefits. It’s not the most detangling or moisturizing but I have dry hair that tangles like nothing else so the fact that it was not overly tangled or dry after shampooing is a sign in its favour. I don’t tend to be someone who places tons of significance on the scent of the products I use, but I totally love the soap-come-herbal scent of the cleanser that reminds me of that Deva Curl smell, likely because of the hops, lemon and rosemary. What I love about this cleanser is just how suitable it is for those like me who have finer hair and tend to be product junkies but still have fragile and dry hair and are looking for a nourishing, lightweight yet slightly clarifying shampoo. It’s more clarifying than your typical sulfate-free shampoo, yet it doesn’t strip the hair at all or contain your harshest non sulfate cleansers, or irritate my sensitive scalp in the slightest. It’s definitely a great one to grab when your hair is starting to feel a bit limp or weighed down but you don’t want to lose definition as a result and dry your hair out – it straddles the line of being lightweight and effective, whilst being gentle – and it’s definitely one to grab when you have finer hair, especially when you have loads of it like me.
Ingredient-wise it’s impressive, formulated without silicones or sulfates while still performing in other respects. The cleansing agents are impressive ones, rather than the half-assed slightly-removed-from-sulfate-offerings that many rely on but it still manages to be concentrated and creates a delightful amount of lather.
You can pick this and the rest of the line up at Target if you’re in the US and I believe at Sally’s Beauty Supply almost everywhere. I know for certain that Sally’s stocks it online as do a myriad of other places. Obviously, I’d recommend it to those with finer hair textures looking for a gentle cleanser or really anyone looking for a bit of clarifying actions without any sort of problematic drying or stripping action.
You may already be aware that I have the kind of hair that by anyone’s standards is time-consuming and difficult to deal with, even with the best of tools but despite this, I’ve been getting back into hair lately. One of the products that I’ve been enjoying the OGX Kukui Oil Frizz-Defying Curl Cream ($9-12) as when used in addition to a holding product – my choice is the DevaCare Arc AnGel – it helps my loose wavy curls become defined, hydrated and manageable without weighing down the finer front bits that need as much help as they can get. I will emphasize, however, that it’s ot a great product to add curl that was not previously there; it’s more of one that I would deem suitable for those with wavy and curly hair naturally.
I wouldn’t necessarily agree with the absurd claim that the kukui oil would give the formula hair water-proofing abilities but it does help on the frizz front and otherwise does what it promises to. As with most curl creams, silicone is a bit higher on the ingredient list than even the oil itself (but not much and it doesn’t have that heavy feeling) and is paired with a good amount of glycerin that my hair seems to rather enjoy. The texture is lightweight but creamy with a teensy bit of of gelliness to the formula, which I rather enjoy. Unlike most of the more affordable curl creams (and a few of the higher end ones) that I’ve tried, this doesn’t weigh down the hair, coating it with that heavy sensation while still helping to do all that it promises on the smoothing and defining front.
If you have hair like mine — fickle, naturally difficult, tangly and long with a variety of curl patterns and limited coherence — a styling cocktail is a difficult feat to discover in itself and it’s even more difficult to find one that doesn’t beat the bank so when I discovered this duo of products that leaves my wavy curls looking their best without breaking the bank due to ridiculous hair porosity. Err, I don’t know if it’s like this for any of you with a similar texture but I have hair that soaks up product like a sponge and I require loads of it to get the intended result so I can get frustrated with pricy products fast.
What are the two products in question, one might ask? Well, they are the OGX Kukui Oil Frizz-Defying Curl Cream ($8-11 CDN)and the Dove Style + Care Nourishing Curls Mousse ($6-8 CDN) and together in my warm-weather hair, create texture and bounce in my hair in a nourishing and controlled manner and I scrunch a moderate amount of the light cream and a much more generous amount of the whipped mousse through my mass of soaking-wet hair when exiting the shower and I later haphazardly diffused it with my ancient hair-dryer and these are the results.
Curl creams are a difficult thing for my hair as they don’t seem to work throughout the cooler months of the year and can seem to not really do anything productive but in pictures where I like my hair, there is always some sort of curl cream going on and this one is a nicer one that I’ve tried, especially at this price point. Rather than being heavy and greasy, this cream has a hydrating but lightweight texture that helps to define curls whilst keeping the hair hydrated and less of a tangly mess. Paired with the Dove mousse as the holding product in the duo, I’m left with texturized, bouncy wavy curls that don’t just hang there. This mousse offering won’t be for everyone, I’m afraid, as it has that creamy texture that does contain some silicones; I’m not usually a fan of silicones but in this product, they seem to keep the hair soft and nourished whilst providing hold and some lift at the roots, rather than leaving the hair a little bit parched. The results aren’t perfect but my hair has been the best I’ve seen it in a while with these products so I can’t complain even slightly.
Lately I’ve been in a bit of a hair mood; although adding Pureology’s Precious Oil Masque has made a world of difference, I’m still working on the routine (my hair is rather problematic), after our exam I celebrated with a few friends, going out to lunch and we decided to hit up the drugstore (Shopper’s Drugmart if you’re curious) as well and this happened. I have hair that resides in the space between wavy and curly and is perhaps the tangliest thing in existence (I get those horrid clumps) and it’s dry but can get kind of dead-looking so I’m someone who really can benefit from some product cocktailing and TLC…
As life-changing as the aforementioned Pureology masqueis, it costs $50 for a container and I have the kind of hair that just drinks up conditioner regardless of how concentrated it is and therefore I’ve been on the lookout for a lower-priced product to alternate with without sacrificing the nourishment. As I’m a fan of the whole sulfate-free range from L’Oreal and being someone whose hair loves oils, I snapped up this product as soon as I spotted it on the packed shelf. It smells divine and I’m feeling optimistic about the high concentration of oils in the ingredients.
I believe this curl cream is also a new product, as I haven’t seen it before and I was pleasantly surprised to find it for a few dollars off. I’ve always been a fan of curl creams (generally used along with a holding product) as they tend to nourish the hair while defining it and preventing it from going as crazy as my hair usually does but after being completely disappointed with the Garnier offering, I haven’t been tempted to pick up another one but my dry tangly hair needs all the help it can get right now.
John Freida Frizz-Ease Dream Curls Daily Styling Spray ($11 CDN)
I’m someone whose hair becomes flat and undefined after being slept on but my hair is much happier when it’s washed quite minimally (twice a week on average) so I struggle with my hair in the morning. I always thought that these refreshing sprays weren’t worth their price tag and then I almost convinced myself to pick up the much pricier Bumble and Bumble alternative but then I saw this – the magnesium sulfate should help define curls, the glycerin and olive oil should help condition the hair and the use of amodimethicone should prevent it from weighing my hair down.
It feels weird doing another ‘products I bought’ type post so soon but I was excited for these three things and I’ll definitely keep you all posted. Have you tried any of these? Hair recommendations for me?
1.Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation in 100 Ivory: I’ve been really into natural looking glowy skin and this seems to be the perfect product for this. It provides excellent effortless light-medium buildable coverage. The shade range is atrocious, however and now that I’ve gained a wee bit of colour the lightest shade is almost perfect for my fair but not porcelain skin – I’d say that this shade is a touch lighter than a MAC NW20 and slightly more yellow.
2. Make Up For Ever 5 Concealer Cream Palette in 1: What I really like about this concealer palette is that the five colours together serve all of my concealing and correcting needs. The lightest colour is a nice brightening shade (particularly when I’m at my fairest), the second lightest shade is a perfect match for my skin which is somewhere around an MAC NW15, the yellow-toned shade is perfect for concealing blemishes that are red-toned or simply red-toned areas without having to layer a corrector with the concealer, the green correcter is perfect for correcting redness and the orange corrector is great at offsetting my frighteningly dark undereye circles. Their lasting power is good, their coverage is definitely full and they can be blended into the skin very easily. The only thing I find is that on my dry undereyes and patches, the concealer is a touch too dry.
3. MAC Harmony Powder Blush: This is a great contouring powder that suits a variety of skintones – fair to medium (and perhaps a bit darker, but I’m not completely sure). It is very pigmented and for this reason, I have to be quite careful with my application of the product and I find it easier to use when I have a bit more colour. The powder contour is a medium-toned brown with reddish undertones (without an ounce of orange in it) that creates a natural yet effective contour especially for those of us with cooler-undertones (although it still looks nice on those with neutral and warm undertones). Although it is not golden, I can use it to both contour and add a bit of colour elsewhere.
4. MAC Dazzlelight eyeshadow: The highlighting shade has a lovely sheen without being overly shimmery – I don’t feel like it contributes to shimmer overkill when worn with other shimmery colours – and is a light golden-champagne that leans quite yellow. I use it both to highlight my eyes (I have also used it as a face highlight and it worked nicely!) and as a light lid colour for everyday. It also has a really nice texture to work with.
5. NARS Kalahari eyeshadow duo: What really stands out about this duo is its smooth and blendable texture and the uniqueness of the shadows. The lighter colour on the left of the duo is a shimmery pale gold that is fairly neutral-toned but it pulls slightly cool. The darker colour on the right of the duo is a medium taupey-brown that has mauve undertones and a sheen to it. For easy and quick everyday makeup I wear the lighter shade on the lid and the darker in the crease and it looks great on my blue eyes but they also are great shadows when playing with other colours. The shadows have really great lasting power under a base/primer on my creasing-prone eye lids.
6. MAC Stereo Rose Mineralize Skinfinish: I’ve used this product in both of my looks that I’ve posted and I’ve really making good use of this product – I use it as a blush but it can also be used as a highlighter, it depends on your skintone – this month. It’s a very smooth, shimmery but not overly glittery pink-based coral with bronze-veining that lasts for a good amount of time on the skin. It’s quite a versatile colour, going with many different looks and does not require additional highlighter. It’s limited edition but has been repromoted several times – I talk about alternatives to this colour in my Naked Palette FOTD.
7. Bobbi Brown Rose Pot Rouge: Lately I’ve been using this warm rose cream product on my lips as an everyday sort of colour – it’s flattering on me without being very dramatic at all. It’s very versatile, as it can be worn with pretty much any look and I apply it in two different ways – patted onto the lips for a bit of colour or applied more intensely with a lip brush.
8. Maybelline ‘The Vivids’ Colorsensational Lipstick in On Fire Red: I adore the look of a red lip, but I usually find them high-maintenance and difficult to pull of but neither of the aforementioned things are issued with this lipstick. Because of the glossy but not frosty or shimmery finish of the lipstick, it is not particularly long-lasting, however on a more positive note it is a nice moisturizing formula. The colour is a bright red that leans slightly cool – it’s a very true red. Whenever I want to look glamorous and polished, I reach for this lipstick.
Note: So, I’ve been rather skincare obsessed and because of this obsession, a blog post on my routine is underway and therefore I’ll try to keep my descriptions brief.
9. Caudalie Vinosource Quendching Sorbet-Creme: This is a soothing, lightweight, fast-absorbing yet very hydrating moisturizer. I think it may be my favorite moisturizer that I have ever tried (and I’ve tried a lot). It contains antioxidants in stable packaging (which is nice) and the only downside is its inclusion of potentially-irritating fragrance.
10. Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion: This is a really great exfoliating toner that contains 0.5% BHA (salicylic acid) to exfoliate beneath the surface of the skin and improve clarity of the skin without any of the harsh irritants (fragrance and drying alcohols). This is a very effective yet gentle chemical exfoliant.
11. Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser: This is one of those extremely gentle cleansers that does not contain any of the common irritants (alcohol, detergents, etc.) and does not strip the skin whatsoever, It doesn’t lather, is somewhat difficult to rinse and does not remove makeup well but nevertheless I adore it! I mentioned this before in my Drugstore Essentials post (and will talk about it again when I talk of my routine).
12. L’Oreal Professionnel Intense Repair Nutrition Masque: I’ve always liked the L’Oreal Professional masques (although I’ve always used them as a regular conditioner) but this one by far is my favourite. I have very long hair that is curly, is prone to split ends and is rather dry and using this product I noticed a definite improvement in the health of my hair and it went months longer without developing split ends. My only annoyance is that is does contain silicones (amodimethicone- which is not water soluble but does not build up on the hair and is not an issue for me). It is ultra-hydrating, provides great slip for detangling and does not weigh my hair down. I believe it contains low amounts of protein.
13. Devacurl b’Leave In: I have an insane amount of fine-textured wavy-curly hair and this product really gives my curls a boost, making them bouncier and more voluminous. The name of the product is rather misleading as it is by no means a leave-in conditioner but rather is a leave-in protein treatment (wheat protein so not ideal for those with gluten-sensitivity) but is the only product I’ve ever tried that gives this sort of boost to my hair. It should be followed by a holding product for best results as it has no hold on its own – i also use gel and/or mousse.
I was thinking about making the top 13 essentials for every month a series – any thoughts? I would love to hear about what everybody else has been loving!