Category: Hair Reviews

Kérastase Aura Botanica Collection

I’m a massive Kérastase fan, to the point where I hoard my products so I don’t run out. Their Discipline line is one of my favourites for combatting frizz. Maybe until now. Their newest release is the Aura Botanica collection, the company’s first foray into natural hair care products with over 95% of the ingredients listed as natural origin. The line comes with four products Shampoo Bain Micellaire, Conditioner Soin Fondamental, Oil Essence D’Eclat and Oil Concentre Essentiel. All of the products have coconut and argan oils and are supposed to eliminate frizz for 72 hours and make your hair 4x shinier. There are also zero silicones or sulfates and they’re 99% biodegradable. Everything sounds good so far, so let’s see how it went.

The shampoo and conditioner are definitely different than I expect from Kérastase. The shampoo has a gel-like consistency and where I normally use a dime size amount of shampoo with Kérastase, I need more with this one if I want to get any kind of lather at all. Even with more of a quarter size amount there isn’t a ton of lather, but my hair definitely feels better. You absolutely have to use this shampoo with the conditioner, you don’t get nearly enough moisture on it’s own. The conditioner on the other hand is very, very thick. Almost masque like, but it doesn’t weigh down my hair. I leave this one on for around 5 minutes and it leaves my hair incredibly soft and easy to manage.

The best part of the collection for me though are the treatments. The Essence D’Eclat is a bi-phase mist that you shake up and apply on damp hair. It’s formula of coconut, argan, jojoba and avocado oils plus Damascus Rose floral water; detangle, de-frizz and make your hair super soft and shiny. If you need a touch up, you can use it on dry hair as well and it won’t leave your hair crunchy. And then there’s the Oil Concentre Essentiel. I adore pre-wash treatment oils and this one is pretty spectacular. You can use it on your scalp if you have dryness or on the ends if your hair is thicker. You can also mix it with the conditioner. When I use it as a pre-wash, I leave it in for about ten minutes and because there aren’t any silicones, it washes out easily.

Aura Botanica might be the best natural hair care line I’ve tried. But if you have super fine hair like I do, it might be best to leave this one for winter. It’s a little too much for my hair right now and I’ve changed over to using just the treatments or my roots get greasy pretty fast. With the whole line, the day I wash my hair looks amazing and frizz-free and shiny and the next day, not so much. With just the treatments, I can go three or four days between washings. It looks like I’ll be continuing my Kérastase hoarding and pull these out next winter. And I can’t wait.

GLISS Extra Volume and Ultra+Moisture Collections

When a company releases a bunch of new hair lines within one collection, we usually get one, maybe two of them for review. But in the case of Schwarzkopf’s new drugstore GLISS collection, we received all five lines. Under the GLISS umbrella (available in Canada at Shoppers Drug Mart) the five lines are: Ultimate Repair, Ultra+Moisture, Oil Nutritive, Color Guard and Extra Volume. Obviously we can’t use all of them at once, but the first two I tried were the Extra Volume and Ultra+Moisture. Here’s how it went.

Each line comes with a shampoo, conditioner and some kind of treatment and the shampoo and conditioner bottles are fairly large at 400 mL. The treatment in the Extra Volume collection is the Extra Volume Lift-Up Spray. The shampoo and conditioner were pretty nice, smelled really good and didn’t leave my hair feeling stripped. I have very fine, thin hair and always need added volume, so that’s what I was looking for from this line. I did notice that my hair felt a bit thicker when it was wet. I would use both of these again with other styling products. When I test hair lines, I initially only use whatever products I’ve been given and don’t add any outside products and that’s what I did in this case as well. My biggest issue came with the volume spray. It’s pretty similar to other types like it, and I did get some volume from it. But I also got a whole lot of crunchy hair with a very weird greasy texture. I let my hair dry naturally, so I’m not sure if the spray works better with a blow dryer, but it was really an epic fail for me. Luckily, I liked the next collection a lot better.

I cut my hair just over a month ago and it’s still in really good condition, so I don’t need a ton of repair. With my frizz though, I always need a ton of moisture so the Ultra+Moisture was definitely something I was looking forward to. The shampoo and conditioner were extremely moisturizing and felt really nice on wet hair and again, they smelled really good. The treatment for this line is the Express Repair, which is basically a leave-in conditioner. It’s also amazing. It prevents hair breakage, gives you moisture and in my case, gets rid of frizz. I literally don’t have to use any other styling treatment when I use this one to let my hair air dry. I’ve also used it on dry hair and it refreshes my hair without leaving it greasy.

So far with the two GLISS lines I’ve tried, we’re even with an Ultra+Moisture hit and an Extra Volume miss but both of the deciding factors were with the treatments. I liked both the shampoos and conditioners. Now, on to the other three lines.

Makeup Most Wanted April 2017 – Alyssa’s Picks

Thanks to going on vacation and Passover, I’m super behind on a lot of my posts but now that things have slowed down, I have a lot of new products that I’m using on a regular basis and in April, these ones were used more than most.

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Lotus

Before I cut my hair in March, using a dry shampoo was a tricky thing for me but if I used one, it was generally Batiste related. We received a couple new scents just in time for me to start using dry shampoo on a regular basis and Lotus is hands down my favourite Batiste dry shampoo yet. The description is pretty and opulent but all I can say is that it smells completely amazing. It’s a little fruity, a little floral and I really want to use it as a room spray (but I won’t waste it). It also works at giving me major volume, while freshening up my roots.

Vichy Idéalia Smoothness & Glow Mattifying Sorbet-Cream

I loved the original Idéalia line, but Vichy recently reformulated and added new products to it. While, I’ve noticed most people pick the Night Peeling as their favourite, mine is this lightweight moisturizer. Smoothness & Glow Mattifying Sorbet-Cream is pretty much the perfect description for it. It comes out really soft and refreshing like a sorbet, melts into your skin instantly and keeps me pretty matte. It also gives me a really nice, subtle glow and has the same gorgeous almost raspberry like scent that I associate with the Idéalia line. This is going to be a great moisturizer for my combination skin this summer.

Garnier Fructis Moisture Lock 10-In-1 Rescue Leave-In Detangler

Now that my hair is shorter, it’s much easier to style, especially since I generally let it air dry. But it’s still curly and frizzy and this leave-in treatment from Garnier Fructis helps me detangle it gently and starts to minimize frizz. I do use other styling products with it but I can use it on it’s own and still like how my hair looks. The matching Moisture Lock shampoo and conditioner are good too but I like this detangler the most of the three. Using it on dry hair to refresh my curls also works, but if it’s too close to when I have to wash my hair, it gets a touch greasy.

Yves Saint Laurent Kiss & Blush Duo Stick in From Prude To Nude

I’m really a big fan of multi-tasking makeup and the Kiss & Blush Duo Stick from YSL gives you a ton of options. The YSL website alone has twelve suggestions for cheeks and lips, not to mention you could totally use this as eyeshadow in a pinch. From Prude to Nude is a rose nude/mocha nude combo that combined gives me both a nice blush shade and a great nude lip for my complexion but I generally use it as a blush. It’s super tiny but you really don’t need to use a lot and it’s so easy to throw in your purse for touchups. And you’ll probably need a couple touchups in the summer because of the super creamy formula. The price is a little steep at $40, but not surprising considering it’s YSL, but you can get a ton of uses out of it, so it might actually save you from buying a couple other things in the long run.

March Makeup Most Wanted

Spring into a new season with these March makeup products that I have been obsessed with this month.

Covergirl Outlast All-Day Custom Reds Lip Color – I have tried a lot of lipsticks that said they were going to last a long time, but Covergirl has finally done it. This two-step lip color is the longest lasting lipstick that I’ve ever tried. It’s really simple, you just apply the colour first, wait a minute and then apply the clear coat over top. Boom! You have lipstick that will last all day. I even had a hard time getting it off of my lips. I fell asleep with lipstick on one night and it was still on the next morning! This lipstick is UNREAL! The red shades that I tried were quiet bold, but really beautiful.

Rodial Baking Powder – I’m not going to lie, I don’t really get the idea of baking. I also don’t have time to bake my makeup before leaving the house. That doesn’t make my love of this powder any less. Instead of baking my makeup and dusting it off later, I have been using it as a finishing powder. I just dust a light layer over my foundation before I leave the house for a minor bake. Forget the long lasting powder of the bake, I love the matte finish that my skin gets when I use it. Clearly this powder is super versatile, making it key in my makeup bag.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream – Finally, a super moisturizing gel cream for extra dry skin that doesn’t feel heavy on my face. I fell in love with gel moisturizers because it is perfect for my skin. I get dry skin, but I also have acne. I need all the same anti-aging and boosting properties, but my skin can’t handle heavy thick moisturizers. I get greasy very easily. Neutrogena lets me get a major moisture boost without that issue. It absorbs into my skin leaving it feeling dry and matte, but also soft. This one is for anyone who is sick of fighting with moisturizers and their skin. Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost is the saving grace this winter.

Sebastian Volupt Spray High Impact Volume – I used to love spray gel in high school. It was probably the only product that I used, and I used it every day. Since then I’ve moved on to other products, but getting this newer product was like meeting an old friend. I love this product because it gives you hold without making my hair stiff. It’s really nice on curls or beach waves to get a hold without the crunch of mousse.

Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Shampoo & Conditioner – Herbal Essences new hair care collection Bio:Renew sounds very fancy in the description. It’s made with a special blend of antioxidants, aloe and sea kelp. It’s supposed to bring your hair back to life in 21 days (although it doesn’t say how many washes that is). I love it because, while it has all of those great properties, it still feels like classic Herbal Essences. The Coconut Milk scent smells amazing. My hair looks great, it’s shiny and easy to manage. I can’t ask for anything else!

Shu Uemura Art Of Hair Ultimate Remedy Extreme Restoration Collection

We try so many hair products that’s it’s pretty hard for me to be blown away by any. I was already a huge fan of Shu Uemura, so I had fairly high expectation for my first time trying one of their hair lines. Ultimate Remedy is for ultra-damaged hair, so winter is probably the best time to try it. My fine, wavy, frizzy, highlighted hair gets pretty dried out in winter and definitely needs some extra help. Unfortunately most extreme hydration lines also weigh my hair down a lot. We received the shampoo, conditioner and duo-serum and there’s also an extreme restoration treatment (hair masque).

The entire line has a lotus infusion and the scent of the collection is peppermint. I honestly don’t smell mint and didn’t really like the scent at first but the more I use the line, the more I love it. The bottles are a really pretty green but the shampoo bottle is a little hard to squeeze due to the shape and how heavy the plastic is. I love that the conditioner is a pump though. The shampoo is a really interesting consistency. It’s kind of a gel-oil texture and doesn’t get a huge lather but enough that you know it’s there. I have to say, to me, this is the hero product of the collection. The shampoo feels so silky and nourishing and I’ve even thought about not using conditioner after it because I think I could get away with it. I’m used to loving conditioners or styling treatments but this is the first time I seriously love a shampoo.

The conditioner is a little on the thinner side and you feel like it’s not doing much until you rinse it out but it’s made my hair really manageable and hydrated. The duo-serum is an interesting styling product. One side is a texture-oil and the other is a cream. You have to pump the bottle just right to get both at the same time but it’s great for detangling and getting frizz out. Once it dries, you don’t even know it’s there. I find that I have to use quite a bit of it though and at a $56 CDN price tag, that’s a little bit of a bummer.

I really like the Ultimate Remedy collection as a whole but I love, love, love the shampoo and if I’m going to buy anything once I run out, it’s that.

Winter Hair Most Wanted

These winter hair most wanted products will help you say goodbye to frizz, get smoother hair and manage those locks this winter.


L’Oreal Professionnel Mythic Oil Hair Collection – You’ve probably already tried, or at least heard of, the original Mythic Oil for hair. I didn’t know that there was a whole line of Mythic Oil products just waiting for my hair. I tried the Shampoo, Masque and Oil Detangling Spray all with the same Mythic Oil care for my locks. I found the whole collection very soft and moisturizing on my hair. After using the collection my hair looked because and was really easy to manage.


Pureology Style & Care Smooth Perfection Infusion – Lately I haven’t had great luck with pre-blow dry frizz products. It took my a long time to dare to use this product. I love that it’s a gel and cream combo – a styler and a leave-in conditioner. I think it’s that combination that helped it work to keep my hair looking great for longer. I did find that it made me have to wash my hair sooner than usual, because it got greasy faster. But that said it was great from wash to wash.


Redken Pillow Proof Blow-Dry Collection – Redken wants to help keep your blow out for a few days longer with their new Pillow Proof collection. I tried the combo of the Express Treatment Primer and the Two Day Extender Dry Shampoo. The primer was supposed to help your hair blow dry faster than usual. I’m not entirely sure that it worked, because I don’t blow dry my hair enough to know the regular amount of time. But my hair did feel and look great afterwards, so I will call that a win. The dry shampoo is your average dry shampoo. It left my hair looking good for at least two more days. It’s also nice and cool and smells good! Bonus!


Pantene Pro-V Intense Repair Collection – I don’t really think that my hair is damaged, but you can never protect your hair too much can you? It smells and feels like something that you would get in a salon. It’s luxurious feeling and leaves your hair very soft. I don’t know about the damage, but I definitely have less frizz and more silky hair that i don’t have to throw in a ponytail to hide. It will be perfect for protecting my hair from those sub-zero temperatures.


Invisibobble Hair Ring – These little spiral hair ties have an interesting back story. They were inspired by phone cords, back in the day when people had home phones. They are meant to give you less headaches, stop that annoying hair crimp and be simple to use. I find them a bit clunky, but they are definitely softer on my hair. They don’t feel like they are hold my hair so tight it hurts. I kept thinking that they were falling out. It’s a weird feeling to get used to, but you just have to trust the Invisibobble. It could change your ponytails forever.

Holiday Most Wanted: Hair Gift Sets

We’ve put together some hair gifts, perfect for someone who wants to start the new year off with great hair.

KMS Color Vitality + Hairplay Trio
Available at Trade Secrets, this trio includes the KMS Color Vitality shampoo and conditioner and Hairplay Playable Texture spray. A new year can bring new color and this is a great way to lock it in and keep your style looking great. It comes with a cute little travel bag as well.
Sebastian Limited Edition Tattooed Styling Products
With new package designs by tattoo artist Maxime Büchi, you can get cool new versions of your favourite Sebastian styling products. Items included are Craft Clay, Drynamic +, Shaper Fierce, Volupt Spray, Sublimate and my favourite, Potion 9.
Kérastase Discipline Gift Set
If you know someone that can’t live without their Kérastase Discipline (I’m one of them), this is a great way to get their basics all in one place. With the Discipline shampoo, conditioner and thermal spray; it’s also a great way to introduce someone with unruly, frizzy hair to the products that will give them super smooth hair.
ColorProof Glam Girl Gift Set
if you know someone with coloured hair that’s also in need of smoothing, the ColorProof Glam Girl gift is a great place to start. It has the CrazySmooth shampoo and conditioner plus the PlushLocks Leave-In Smooth. Perfect for dried out winter hair.

Dessange Paris Balancing Collection


Dessange Paris is bringing the salon feel to your hair at home with this balancing collection. If you are looking for something totally different, then keep on reading.

This hair care line starts very different than any other hair line you use. You start with the Dessange Paris Purifying Clay Pre-Shampoo Mask. This hair mask is made to help oily scalps by absorbing all of that oil before you get in the shower. You have to use a little brush to apply this green clay all over your scalp. You are going to look silly and probably make a bit of a mess. That is just a warning! Now you have to wait about five to ten minutes before you hop in the shower to rinse it all out.

Once you get in the shower, it’s now time for the Balancing Shampoo. When all of the mask is rinsed out, you can continue to wash your hair with this shampoo. It’s interesting to think of the shampoo as what is conditioning your hair, but this cleanser does add back in some of that moisture. It is especially nice one the ends of your hair.

It was really hard to not condition my hair after using both of these products. Everything I know about my hair leads me to want to condition, so I resisted the urge.

My hair still felt nice and soft once it had dried like normal. I feel like the routine a woman has before a shower is a sacred thing. Everyone has little things that they do to get ready and this Dessange hair mask interrupts that. It’s fun to do it once, but I don’t know if I am willing to mix up my whole routine for this.

OGX Coconut Most Wanted

If you think that dry, frizzed out hair belongs exclusively to winter then you haven’t lived through a ridiculously hot Toronto summer, where your hair is basically fried the entire season thanks to the sun. Especially if you have curly hair that has any kind of bleach in it. OGX has two coconut hair collections; Nourishing + Coconut Milk and Quenching + Coconut Curls, and it wasn’t until I put them together that I started having really good hair days again. Here’s what I used to save my hair.
Nourishing + Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner
I’m actually not a huge coconut fan, I can basically take it or leave it but these smell delicious. The shampoo is a thicker, almost jelly like texture that lathers really well. It doesn’t leave my hair feeling stripped and I can actually go without conditioner if I have to. The conditioner though, is fantastic. It’s also thick and really soaks into my hair. I use very little at my roots, something that’s strange for someone who likes to slather conditioner everywhere, and just use a bunch on the bottom length. I leave it in my a couple minutes and have significantly more moisture and less frizz.
Quenching + Coconut Curls Curling Hair Butter
I use this curling butter for everything. I put it on dry hair as a pre-wash treatment, use it as a deep conditioner (although not if I’m using the Coconut Milk conditioner) and use it as a leave-in conditioning styling cream. It’s a lot thinner than it looks and doesn’t have a straight coconut scent, it’s more like a tropical pina colada scent. But it gets rid of more frizz than nearly anything else I’ve tried and doesn’t leave me with a crunchy or greasy feeling.

Although my hair was mostly in a ponytail this summer, I probably would’ve chopped it off completely without this regime of OGX products. I knew I liked OGX before but I didn’t expect to love them this much.

Weekend Getaway Makeup Most Wanted

When you are heading out of town with friends or maybe for a romantic weekend away, you don’t want to have to pack your whole arsenal of makeup. Here’s a little glimpse at some of the things I packed to hit the road for a weekend in Boston!


The Face Shop Mango Seed Cleansing Wipes – Everything about these wipes is moisturizing. I have been addicted to these wipes this summer because they are perfect no matter where the day takes you. The moisturizing wipes are perfect after a long day in the sun to dry out your face. They do leave a little bit of a residue, but it didn’t bother me most of the time. Everything feels nice and dewy.


Leonor Greyl Luxury Travel Kit – I hate going away and not being able to take my favourite shampoo and conditioner with me. This travel kit is really the next best thing. It comes with a shampoo, conditioning mask and oil. My first thought was, why do I want a hair mask while I’m on vacation? It’s nice because you can cheat and use it like a regular conditioner as well. When I was away recently I became hooked on the oil, which is perfect on wet or dry hair. You can find this luxe set for volume, dry hair or curly hair (or even just pick up the travel size oil solo), so you can get exactly what you need.


Juara Candlenut Obsession Trio – Since you are in the shower, you also have to take care of that body. I don’t know what a candlenut is, but I can tell you I really am obsessed. This trio box has a Body Polish, Hydrating Shower Gel and Body Crème with this new scent. It’s got a mix of shea butter, coconut, and something musky underneath. It smells a bit like men’s soap. I can’t even describe it properly. All I know is it made this weekend away even better!


Sephora Collection Look Color In The Eye Brush Capsule – I hate travelling with my regular brushes. I always get worried I will lose them, break them or otherwise ruin them while on the road. This little brush capsule is perfect to take instead. It has all of the eye brushes I could ever want. The pretty capsule keeps them clean and protected in my luggage.


Mac Cosmetics She’s A Model Eyeshadow Palette – Lately MAC has released some crazy, bold and beautiful colours, but that doesn’t always work for my real life. Enter this palette. While the eye shadows can be worn together in more daring ways, it’s also work appropriate. You can use the nice neutral tones for the office once you get back to reality. Then glam up your look with the sparkly silvers or better yet, the daring teal eye shadow. This collection also comes with some bright pink lipsticks and nail polishes, so there will be no shortage of colour when you enter the room.


Essence Pure Nude Highlighter – Get a little shimmer and shine with the new highlighter powder from essence. I’ve gotten really into powders this summer. The idea of wearing heavy foundation in the heat is just too much for my skin. This highlighter has been good to add back a little shine where I want. I think that highlighters are seriously under-used makeup, at least by me. I have been applying this highlighter on my cheeks above my cheek bones and nose for a little natural shine. Paired with my blush and bronzer, it gives me the natural glow you want, not the one you get on a humid summer day.