Keeping it Red

I recently dyed my hair again – which is something I don’t tend to do too often because of the damage it generally causes, but I’ve always enjoyed having a bit of an occasional changeup. I’ve posted before on my hair dying routine and I used the same product again this time. I enjoy semi-permanent dye, but of course it fades quite quickly, so this time around I made the commitment to trying to make the colour last as long as possible. In the past I would buy a random shampoo meant for redheads but never actually liked the product, and did not bother to get it again. Instead, I hit up my local Trade Secrets and was recommended the Abba Color Protection Shampoo, which is from an all natural brand, and apparently quite popular. It’s not cheap, but I do really enjoy this shampoo – it smells nice and is a lovely creamy consistency that leaves the hair feeling clean without being stripped. When I was traveling recently, I picked up a travel-sized L’Oreal Color Radiance Shampoo, which works great. To go with both, I’ve just been using the conditioner that comes in the dye box.

One huge thing I’ve been trying my best to do is to not wash my hair everyday. It’s well-known that daily washing can be stripping to the hair, not to mention expensive, with the amount of product that one goes through. I have quite greasy hair so I tend to be bad and wash my hair daily, sometimes using some kind of cleansing conditioner to lessen the number of products I’m using on my poor, damaged hair. But now that I’ve both dyed it and am heat styling it regularly, I’m trying to be good and wash my hair only every other day, as well as alternate my Abba shampoo with something gentler. I picked up the L’Oreal Ever Pure 6 in 1 Cleansing Balm, which is meant specifically for coloured hair. It smells quite a bit of chemicals but all in all, it does the job. I think I would try to find a different cleansing conditioner the next time I dye my hair, but for now I will continue to use this one up.

To treat my hair after being washed, I picked up a bottle of the Ouai Hair Oil. The brand seems to be all the rage right now, and while I’m not huge on styling products, I do love me some hair oil, so I’m currently using a pump or two of this in my ends after I shower. It smells floral and leaves the hair feeling soft, although I will say that I prefer the Alterna offering. The only extra plus is that this hair oil claims to prevent dye from fading.

The last product I’ve been using, and most interesting to me, has been the Revlon Nutri Color Creme, which is a sort of hair glaze that almost re-dyes the hair. It’s a very potent and pigmented gel/cream that is meant to be used almost like dye – after shampooing I leave it in my hair for 3 minutes and then rinse it out. I do this once a week and it refreshes the colour without the trouble of actual dye. It definitely works and I am loving it so far!

It’s been almost a month since I first dyed my hair and the combination of the above products has really helped keep my hair colour looking as fresh as when I first dyed it, despite only being semi-permanent. What are your favourite products to use on coloured hair and what drugstore hair dye do you use?


The Q2 Clearout

As promised, I’m keeping up with my quarterly clearouts – I think I actually did quite well this spring, with some good haircare/skincare/makeup empties that I’ve managed to use up and get rid of. As you can see, I’m a keen tube-cutter. There is tons of product left inside a tube, so I highly recommend doing this to get your money’s worth. Some highlighted products:

The Giovanni 2Chic Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Leave-In Conditioner is an interesting product – I’ve tried a different leave-in conditioner from them that was great, and this one was similar – I take a dollop on my ends after showering and it leaves my hair really silky and smooth. The downside to this guy is that it smells absolutely horrible, kind of like cat urine, if you’ve ever had the good fortune of sniffing that. I won’t be repurchasing this specific hair product, but I do like the brand in general.

I used up a lot of my favourites, including the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, Laneige Water Sleeping Mask and the L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation in shade 103. All three are going to be repurchases for sure!

The one item I had to get rid of due to age was the Revlon Brow Fantasy in shade Dark Brown. This is the first and only brow pencil I’ve ever bought in my life, and as you can see, it didn’t get much use – I had originally bought it for the gel on the other end, which has long dried up. I just found that because my brows are quite low maintenance, there wasn’t really a need for a pencil – any other tinted brow gel will do, and tons have been released into the market since I bought the Brow Fantasy.

Which products have you tried and do you regularly clean them out?

New Shower Favourites from the Drugstore

Showering is one of my favourite things to do everyday – including washing my hair. While I don’t tend to splurge too much on my hair/body stuff, I do like to try different products, and the drugstore has become a mecca for luxurious items at an affordable price point recently.

Dove brought out their Purely Pampering line a while ago, but it was only a few months back that I picked up the Pistachio Cream Body Wash as a nice, warm and sweet winter scent to use for bath time. I’ve said again and again how much I love the Laura Mercier Pistachio Scent, and while they do a corresponding body wash, it costs somewhere around $50. The Dove one smells surprisingly similar – it has the same rich aroma, with an undercurrent of the signature Dove scent. Apparently Dove has a corresponding body lotion, but it’s not sold in Canada. GRR!

After showering, I’ve been using the Vitabath Heavenly Coconut Creme Body Lotion. This is an interesting product, as the consistency sits somewhere between a watery lotion and a body butter. I didn’t really like it when I first got it, but now it’s grown on me, and the scent is lovely – warm coconut and not too sickly sweet.

The last item on my list is yet another OGX shampoo – they really are my favourite sulphate-free range at the drugstore, and while they’re more expensive than regular shampoo, they’re often on sale for $7-8. A couple months ago, I started seeing this new scent on the shelves, and decided to try it out. The Sensually Soft Tsubaki Blossom products are supposed to leave hair soft and sultry, as the name suggests. What I like about this in particular is that it cleans hair quite well without leaving the hair stripped, sitting somewhere between a hardcore clarifying shampoo and a more creamy, moisturizing formula. There’s also virtually no scent, so if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing, this is a good buy.

What have your recent shower/bath-time favourites been, and what should I try next?

Bamboo Moisture

Expensive hair products are not really up my alley most of the time, but every now and again I find a gem I can’t get enough of despite my wallet’s protests. Brand-wise, Alterna has to be the only high-end haircare line I’ve ever really gotten into. My love for the Kendi Oil Treatment has been documented on this blog, but I have also tried the variations from them, the Dry Oil Mist and Thermal Protectant Spray, which in my opinion are decent, but not worth the money. I’ve also tried a few products from the Caviar range and love them, though that was as a 500-point perk from Sephora–I simply cannot be bothered to spend $40/bottle for the full-sized shampoo and conditioner. I have quite long and very thick hair, so I would go through a bottle in about three weeks.

Hair treatments though, are an entirely different animal. I’m pretty sure the first time I tried the Kendi Oil, the heavens opened up and angels sang. While I’m trying to wean myself off the stuff, and other expensive hair treatments (cough*Macadamia Oil*cough) it’s been hard to find products that work as well. Luckily, a few weeks ago, I stumbled into my local Winners, and while I was having a look ’round their beauty section, I happened upon the Smooth Moisture Masque selling for $14.99, which normally retails for $32.00 CAD, so I was pretty overjoyed. $15 isn’t cheap, but I snatched it up immediately. I’ve been using it for a couple weeks now and I have to say that it’s quite good. It’s not as thick or nourishing as the Macadamia Oil one, which retails for around $50 CAD here, but it does a good job of leaving your hair soft and manageable afterwards. And like the rest of the Bamboo/Kendi range, it doesn’t ever weigh down the hair or make it extra greasy, which is something I really have to watch out for, and is great as we go into the warmer months, since I won’t be abusing my hair as much with my straightener. I’m not sure if I will repurchase this mask, but if I ever see it again on sale or at Winners, I may just have to grab one again..

What is your current favourite hair treatment and have you ever tried anything from Alterna?

Mini Hair Transformation

Healthy Look
Recently I decided to do a bit of a switch up with my hair to give it some life during these dull winter days. Between the ages of 12-20 I pretty much never stopped colouring my hair, and after I discovered the wonders of heat styling, my poor hair pretty much never got a rest. In recent years I gave my hair a break from the dye but last year I discovered the L’Oreal Healthy Look Creme Gloss in Vibrant Light Auburn, which is an ammonia-free semi-permanent dye that is supposed to infused with an “anti-oxidant complex” with pomegranate and royal jelly that leaves less damage.

This is the third time I’ve used the dye and I have to say that I’m quite pleased with the results. For anyone who wants to skip the ridiculously expensive salon price tag and do it at home, I’d suggest going this route, especially since semi-permanent colour is a great way to try something that you’re not sure about. These dyes are always on sale at the drugstore for around $10-$15 (or less!), and totally worth it. Because I’m a messy and clumsy person, I just spread newspaper around the bathroom and go to town.

Another benefit to using semi-permanent dye (and I don’t know if this is true of all dyes of this type), is that it doesn’t give that burning, stinging sensation to the eyes and nose. Also, I’m allergic to hair dye, so I have to rub conditioner around my hairline and ears before applying, and it works like a dream for this stuff. Red is also a very difficult colour to maintain, so because my hair tends to go brassy, and I have quite dark hair to begin with (that I refuse to bleach), semi-permanent dye fades a lot better than permanent dye, which tends to just go orange.

Results below in the before and after pictures – excuse the poor resolution, but you can see the difference between my natural and post-dye hair.. it’s quite true to colour on the box and cools down the tone of the red in my hair really nicely.
Before After

What are your favourite box dyes and what colour should I try next?

Update: WHAT?! I just found out this product has been discontinued and replaced with the Casting Creme Gloss. Looks about the same so I will have to check it out in stores next time.

Recent Drugstore Hair Favourites

Haircare has always been a bit of a half-hearted venture for me – I don’t have a ton of issues with my hair and I keep my styling products to an absolute minimum, – I’m not committed to spending a ton of money like I am with skincare, but at the same time I want quality products. The main hair concern I have is dryness, especially at the ends, due to my daily straightening/curling bonanza. Since I  ran out of my ridiculously expensive Macadamia Oil Masque a few months ago, I decided to try something a bit lower on the $$$ scale. I got the Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser on sale in the fall. I believe in Canada it retails for around $6.99, which is a great price. I find it works decently well if left in the hair for a few minutes and then rinsed out. To fill the void of macadamia oil in my life, I also picked up the Organix Hydrating Macadamia Oil Shampoo and Conditioner, which smell wonderful and also hydrate the hair like no other. I’ve spoken about how much I like the Organix range before and this is simply reinforcing my love for the brand. They’re a bit pricier than your average drugstore shampoo/conditioner, but if you can find them on sale (which they are, frequently), then it’s a decent price.

For after-shower treatments, I’ve been trying to find an alternative to my beloved and very favourite Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil, which retails for $31 at Sephora here, so I decided to go with the Garnier Fructis Marvelous Oil. There are three varieties; the one pictured above is the Deep Nourish kind for Dry, Damaged Hair. I massage 4-5 pumps of this stuff into my damp hair and it absorbs pretty well. It doesn’t top the Alterna for me, but it’s a lovely drugstore alternative that doesn’t make my hair overly greasy, which is a problem I struggle with when I’m trying hair oils.

The last product I use on a daily basis, thanks to excessive (?) use of my straightening iron is the Tresemme Keratin Smooth Flat Iron Smoothing Spray. Tresemme makes decently priced and high quality heat protectants, and this is another one I received for free at an event – I would definitely repurchase though, as it comes out as a fine mist and does exactly what it says it will do – reduce frizz and lock in shine to make straightened hair look healthy.

What are your favourite hair products, especially for dry, damaged hair?

The Haircare Wardrobe, Part III: Tools


For the final installment of my little haircare trio, I thought I’d discuss the hair tools I currently use and how they’ve been working for me so far.

I haven’t included any type of hair detangling tool because I honestly hardly comb or brush out my hair. I do own a brush that I never use, and a comb I’ve had for probably over a decade. My hair isn’t naturally very tangly, so I can make do with finger combing and the like.

Texture-wise, my hair is straight-ish, with varying amounts of wave/curl depending on the day, how I’ve slept, and how wet my hair was when I slept. It tends to take the form of whatever I’ve done to it, so putting it into a bun all day with leave me with huge amounts of curls with no heat required. But when I’m looking for a more presentable way to do my hair I rely the most on my Chi straightener. I don’t even know how much this cost me or what model it is because I bought it off of eBay about five years ago, and it has been my go-to tool ever since. It’s very simple, has an on/off switch, and I use it to both straighten and curl my hair.

Next up is my Zazen hair straightener that I picked up at Trade Secrets once – the reason I have a second straightener is for travelling to foreign places. While I love my Chi, it doesn’t work so well with other types of voltages, even with a transformer, so I decided to invest in the Zazen, which has different heat settings AND works in both Europe and Asia.

My newest purchase is this Eva NYC curling wand. I’ve wanted a curling wand for ages, but couldn’t be bothered to spend loads of money on one, especially since my Chi will do the trick most of the time. But one time at Winners, I spotted this curling wand on sale for about $30 and grabbed it. It comes with a heat protectant glove, and I’ve only used it a couple times, but I do like the effect it gives.

In terms of blow drying, I tend to stay away from that altogether, as I’m trying to use as little heat as possible on my hair, after straightening or curling it everyday. But on the odd occasion, and in the winter, I like to speed up the drying process (which takes 3-4 hours) by using this Avanti Ionic Hair Dryer. Again, I don’t know exactly which model or how much it cost as it was a gift from last Christmas. I do love this for the times I do choose to blow dry my hair, and hope it’ll last for a good long time.

And there we have it, every single item I use on my hair – a bit much, too little, or just the right amount?