LivBox – September 2014

livbox-all

It’s time for a quick first impressions -post on September’s LivBox (mothly beauty box subscription). After the awesome August box LivBox definitely had big boots to fill! The September’s box was definitely up to the task – unless you are like me, and refusing to use cosmetics that are tested on animals. Now, technically all the cosmetics in the picture are cruelty free, because it’s illegal to sell animal tested cosmetics in the EU, but we all know that L’Oréal and Nivea also sell in China. We know that Katy Perry collaborated with Coty on her new scent and Coty is no angel when it comes to animal testing. L’Occitane is a bit of tough case, because while they are in the Chinese market, their logic sort of makes sense. L’Occitane has always been very adamant about not using animal testing and they have put in work to come up with alternative testing methods. Their logic for not pulling out of the Chinese market was that they’re not big and important enough to make a difference by pulling out. Instead, they focused their efforts on trying to convince the Chinese that there are other valid testing methods. They have so far pushed through alternative testing methods for sun screens, which, I guess, is something. I’m glad that they do this work, but I’m not sure if that still justifies being in China at the moment.

Regardless, here’s what I got:

loccitane

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream (24 € / 150 ml) (minisize)

Apparently this is a L’Occitane best seller product. I have heard a handful of people rave about it, but I’ve never tried it. Promises to absorb quickly and leave a pleasant scent for the skin. I’m all for shea butter, so I might well try this, but I’m still wrestling with the moral dilemma of the company’s work in China, so I’m not sure I would be into buying this. At 24 euros per 150 ml, this would have to be a really good hand cream for me to bother!

elnett

L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Volume Express (2,85 € / 75 ml) (travel size)

Elnett is a pretty legendary hairspray, though I’ve never used it. This hairspray has now been revamped in favor of a volumizing effect. I have always hated hairsprays and I only use them when I do a bun that won’t otherwise hold throughout the day. I also prefer my hairspray unscented (due to my asthma). I’m fairly sure my mom wouldn’t mind having this as a travel option, so I will likely give it to her. I have no use for it, nor do I want to use L’Oréal.

loreal

L’Oréal Paris Skin Perfection Unifying Day Moisturizer (12,90 € / 50 ml)

A normal-sized L’Oréal day cream with a ridiculously long name. Descriped as a moisturizer that evens out skintone and improves skin quality while providing a natural glow. Said to leave the skin feeling refreshed and matte. Sounds like a good product and I would gladly try it, if, once again, it weren’t by L’Oréal. I will be finding a new home for this one without testing it.

nivea-lip-butter

Nivea Lip Butter Blueberry Blush (3,45 € / 16,7 g)

This one is going to be tough one to resist. I do love lip balms and lip butters and I love blueberries! I’ve heard this smells amazing too, which makes it really hard for me to pass this one on as well. Unfortunately, since I bought my Nivea lip butter in Vanilla & Macadamia, I learned that Nivea too sells in China and as such, allows animal testing to be done in order to get their hands on some sweet, sweet yen. Needless to say, I was pretty devastated to hear this as Nivea had always been one of my go-to brands in cosmetics. As such, this one will also be passed on to someone else.

katyperry

Katy Perry Royal Revolution (34 € / 30 ml)

Sounds like a great scent (flowery and a bit sweet with leather!) and I did love Katy Perry’s Killer Queen perfume, which I then decided not to buy as I found out that Katy has been making these in collaboration with Coty. Unfortunately, this too shall be passed on, which is a real shame because I’m quite sure I would have loved the scent!

lumene

Lumene Clear it up! (6,90 € / 150 ml)

Finally something I can use! Even though this one seems to be mostly directed at teens / possibly young adults with it’s deeply purifying promise, I might still put this into the shower to use when I need a quick wash-up with something that will take care of the eye makup as well (which this promises to do). I did give this a quick sniff and quite liked it, so I think I will indeed be using this one. The wash-up gel is suitable for oily & mixed skin, so it might be best for me during summer time use.

Afterthought

Pretty great box, if you haven’t set the same kind of limits for yourself as I have. I feel most people are satisfied knowing that their product wasn’t tested on animals and don’t really think about the Chinese market, which I understand. It seems like a pretty distant thing and sometimes I feel like I’ve made my (cosmetic) life really difficult by opting out of (non-Chinese) products sold in China. I wish nothing more than for L’Oréal to pull out of the Chinese market. It’s such a huge company, that I think if someone like it were to pull out, the Chinese would soon be forced to rethink their policies.

Natural cosmetics haul

Hyvinvoinnin Tavaratalo

Last Friday I made a pretty large order of natural cosmetics from a large Finnish online “mall”, as it were, even though I was only looking for a new, moisturizing night cream and a hair dye. Somehow, I ended up clicking all sorts of things into my cart (damn you, online shopping!). I have been dyeing my hair with Sante‘s semi-permanent dyes for a few times now, but they are unable to conquer my blonde roots (I’m Finnish, alright) so I decided to take it up a notch and get the Sante’s permanent hair dye in Chestnut Brown. I absolutely love the semi-permanent Sante dyes because they come in a nice tube and are actually very easy to apply. No mixing required either – I would highly recommend them to anyone looking to brighten up their color, natural or not. But, as said, it doesn’t really seem to do much for the roots, so it’s perhaps not the best for that. In order to get the most out of the natural dyes, you should always use a deep cleansing clay mask on clean, freshly washed hair, before coloring – so for that purpose, I bought Logona‘s deep cleansing clay mask for hair.

I don’t know if this is TMI, but I am a shaver. It’s annoying but it’s something I can do while I’m in the shower anyway, so I do it. I have never tried waxing, imagining it would suck, except that on my eyebrows it was alright, the one time it was done. When in USA I sometimes used creams and even this weird, sand-paper like thing you “buffed” your legs with (which was actually kind of nice), but at home, I’ve been sticking to shaving. Now, I’m going to try this natural cream for hair removal purposes (it’s by Acorelle). I’m honestly quite curious about it and how it may or may not work.

For that night cream I was looking for, I chose one by Marilou Bio – purely because I thought the packaging was cute and it wasn’t super expensive. I was looking for something a bit more moisturizing and nourishing than the product I have on daily use, which is the refreshing, minty emulsion by Lavera. In addition to these, I ordered two soaps, one liquid shower gel by Bio Seasons and a bar soap by Finnish brand Flow. The Bio Seasons shower gel is a shea butter one, since I’ve been so into the Body Shop’s Shea Butter line… At a quick sniff, the scent wasn’t the same (not surprisingly), but nice none the less. The himalayan salt & geranium soap bar by Flow is all natural, organic and handmade – said to relieve stress and soothe the mind.

I’m quite happy with my purchases and excited to get to try them all. I already did try the night cream (mmmm…soft…) and the Flow soap (so fresh, so clean), but more on those (and the other products) later!

Do you use natural cosmetics? If so, where do you buy them from?

got2b guardian angel

I rarely blow-dry my hair, especially during summer when it’s just too hot to do, but I do use a straightener or curler now and then and I acknowledge that I should use a heat protector of some sort. After seeing a few good reviews, I opted for the Schwarzkopf got2b guardian angel heat protection some months ago. Yes, months. This product is still almost full, because it has mostly spent its days sitting in my bathroom haircare basket unused, yet I haven’t dared to throw it away, because it’s almost unused and I had been hoping that I had just been doing something wrong and that it should be good.

got2b guardian angel (200ml / approx. 8 €)

Packaging: A reasonably sized, tall and slender black plastic spray bottle with a bit of gold decoration and white text. Probably aimed at a younger (and possibly cooler) clientele than I, but none the less, I find the packaging to be alright. The curve of the bottle provides a decent grip.

Promise: “Protect your sizzling styles with got2b guardian angel with up to 220’C heat protection, your hair will be invincible when using hot irons + blow dryers. So, go ahead and create your hair styles, now you have your own guardian angel protecting you! Be divine and shine!”

Scent: I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. It’s not entirely what I would hope for my hair to smell like, but it’s better than in a lot of the heat protection sprays I’ve sniffed. I wouldn’t recommend this to those who are quite sensitive of scents though! It can be overpowering.

What does it do: My hair is naturally wavy, at times a bit frizzy and medium-thick. For me… this product was unfortunately little more than a hot mess. I have tried to use it before blow drying, but it just leaves my hair feeling like straw. Hard and also a bit sticky. For some reason this just doesn’t seem to work on my hair at all. I’m not seeing any shine added to my hair and it even ends up looking quite… dry, to be honest. Many people have used this and loved this, but it’s certainly not the product for me. Shame, because it sounded good enough on paper!

Would I repurchase: No. I don’t see myself using this, because of the way it makes my hair feel. It just creeps me out, sorry, got2b.

The Body Shop Coconut Oil Hair Shine

wpid-img_20140530_181742.jpg

I’ve fallen in love with this product and so I had to come over and write a bit about it. I bought this on a whim a couple of weeks ago when I last visited The Body Shop. I was looking for something to basically give my hair a nice, shiny and healthy-looking finish – as naturally wavy/curly hair is easily transformed into a frizzy mess even throughout the day. I’ve tried just using pure coconut oil in my hair, but unfortunately that instantly makes my hair just look and feel ridiculously greasy, so it doesn’t work for me. My hair isn’t really that dry, it just has a bit of “control issues” now and then.

The Body Shop Coconut Oil Hair Shine (50 g)

Product Idea: “Smoothes, adds shine, conditions and repairs. Smooth over dry hair. Store in a cool place.” – says the container. Basically it’s enhanced coconut oil in a convenient tin form (slender and easy to take with you). Doesn’t exactly style your hair, but will give it a nourishing shine.

Consistency: Kind of like a wax. Quite hard in the tin, it reacts to the warmth of your hand to get to a slightly more liquid-y form. Easy to apply without a mess. A little goes a long way!

Scent: Coconut with a twist. Doesn’t smell like pure coconut oil and doesn’t overwhelm me with sweetness. I actually like the smell of this more than the smell of just plain coconut oil. Definitely a scent that will remind a lot of people of warm days in the sun… You can smell it in the hair for some time as well.

What does it actually do: It does give your hair some great, glossy-looking shine. You may wish to apply it quite carefully and in small amounts to not turn the glossiness into greasiness. It works its way into the hair quite quickly though so you get away with a slight over applying easier than with oils. Hair feels softer and looks healthier.  Also tames the unruly kinks a bit – great for my wavy hair (on both curl and non-curl days).

Would I buy again: Absolutely. This is definitely a product that will be with me at all times and in everyday use. Even in this super expensive country called Finland this is reasonably priced at 8,90 € which, for a very long-lasting 50g tin is quite appealing. Also, I happen to have a great, deep and seemingly never-ending love for tins… so it’s a win-win for me!

Goldwell Dualsenses Ultra Volume Touch-Up Spray & 60sec Gel-Treatment

dualsenses

Today I’ll be reviewing a couple of products by Goldwell Dualsenses Ultra Volume line. The Touch-Up Spray I’ve had for a good while now, but the Gel-Treatment is a pretty new purchase. I’ve never used that many volume enhancing products before because I always kind of thought they were just for people with very thin, limp hair. My hair is somewhere between normal and thick and its natural texture isn’t that coarse, but it just feels thick and kind of heavy. It’s colored, but in good condition. However, because my hair is quite heavy (even though it’s not long anymore), I could use a bit of a boost – especially around the roots. I’ve long made friends with various dry shampoos to get my hair to look nice on the 2nd (or sometimes even the 3rd) day, but I’ve never tried any other volume enhancing products, though I probably should have.

I bought the Goldwell Dualsenses Ultra Volume Touch-Up Spray after reading a few raving reviews on it and hearing that it just smells oh, so fresh. I’m quite picky when it comes to scents, especially on my hair where I can smell it all the time, so the promise of a simple, clean scent was what drew me to this product in the first place – despite it’s pretty intense price (around 18,50 € here in Finland = ouch).

The Gel-Treatment I bought because I was running out of a nice, moisturizing mask. Unfortunately, super moisturizing masks often suck all the volume out of my hair, leaving my hair pretty much laying flat on my head. With so much moisture, my hair doesn’t seem to know what to do with it, so it just lays flat and refuses to cooperate. I thought that a light weight gel treatment might be a good option to try out!

Goldwell Dualsenses Ultra Volume Touch-Up Spray (250 ml)

Product idea: Basically this product is Goldwell’s take on a dry shampoo. It’s meant to be used in between washes to refresh the hair, give it some volume along with a bit of shine. Shine being the keyword here. Most dry shampoos make your hair quite matte and a bit coarse as they suck out the grease. Since this one doesn’t mattify your hair, it, in my opinion, doesn’t really do much for actual grease removal.

Consistency: Light weight spray, much like hair spray, but non-sticky.

Scent: This here is what makes me love the product. The scent is so clean and so fresh – I absolutely love it. It may well be the best smelling salon haircare product I’ve ever smelled, it’s that good. I doubt that anyone could hate it. It’s a fairly strong, yet still pleasant scent that lasts a good while in the hair (you can pretty much smell it all day long when your hair moves).

What does it actually do: Well, it does freshen up your hair. It gives a moderate amount of volume in a reasonably thick and heavy hair like mine, but it is meant for fine to normal hair so I may not be in the target group. For someone with fine hair this might give quite a lot of volume. In my experience, it doesn’t really remove the greasy appearance from hair – like what I usually get on my bangs. It does make you feel nice and fresh regardless. I wouldn’t really advertize this as a dry shampoo, I’d advertize it as a hair refresher / (mild) volumizer.

Would I buy again: I’m conflicted because I love this product so much for the scent and the freshness – yet if I’m looking for a dry shampoo to actually remove greasiness from my hair, this isn’t it. The price is also steep for something you use quite a lot. I would love to use this on a daily basis, but yeah, not as a dry shampoo. I may well buy this again though… just because of the freshness!

Goldwell Dualsenses Ultra Volume 60sec Gel-Treatment (200 ml)

Product idea: Volumizing, moisturizing and repairing 60 second mask for fine to normal hair.

Consistency: Gel-like, but not as gel-like as one might thing as it still looks like a slightly creamy mask with light turquoise in color. Jiggles a bit.

Scent: Fresh, somehow ocean-like, not overpowering. I quite like it. Refreshing.

What does it actually do: I was actually surprised to see this give my hair a bit more volume! I wasn’t honestly expecting to see a difference, but my hair was definitely looking better at the roots – and feeling really clean. I didn’t get that annoying flat head effect that I get with most masks. I would like to know how this works in really fine hair, but considering that this feels really light and kind of “wet”, I think it might go well with pretty fine hair. Hair does feel moisturized and cared for afterwards.

Would I buy again: I think I would. I got this from a sale for 5 euros, which was a total steal as I believe the normal price is somewhere around 15 euros for this. For a product I’d use maybe once a week and get maybe 2-3 months of uses out of, yes, I think I would buy this again, because it’s moisturizing enough, yet offering that volume I want. I would imagine this works even better with a volumizing shampoo.

—-

I have read from a couple of sources that Goldwell would be cruelty-free, but I’ve also since then read its “mother company” Kao Germany wouldn’t be. I’m not sure what the case is on this at the moment. If someone knows, please let me know!

Mádara Shampoo & Conditioner Review

Madaras

It’s time for that Mádara review I might have recently promised (and then got swept away by “real life” again)! As I mentioned, I had intended to buy the Mádara Colour & Shine shampoo and conditioner but somehow got the exactly similar bottles mixed up at the store and ended up buying the Gloss & Vibrancy shampoo instead. No harm done… I have now used both products for about a month, approximately every other day.

Let’s look at the shampoo first!

Mádara Gloss & Vibrancy Shampoo (according to the company)

Shine–enhancing shampoo with Northern Birch and Cranberry. Gently cleanses, protects and boosts volume. Hair becomes stronger, silkier and infused with natural gloss. Massage into wet hair. Lather and rinse. For best results, use with MÁDARA Gloss and Vibrancy Conditioner.

This shampoo is packaged in a 100% post-consumer recycled bottle. Wash your hair and reduce the volume of new plastic bottles made each year!

  • VEGAN
  • Nut Free
  • Natural ECOCERT
  • Cruelty Free

My thoughts

Texture: Smooth, pearly, reasonably thick and pleasant.

Scent: Knowing that the product has birch and cranberry in it, I believe I can smell them in the scent – but only lightly. No particular aroma is overpowering and the overall scent appears to be herb-y, earthy and pleasant. The scent in general isn’t that strong, in my opinion.

Feel: I love that this shampoo gives a really good foam. I can’t stand shampoos that don’t foam up properly, they never give me that clean feeling I want. This glides on easily in the hair and feels like it washes properly and all the way through. Afterwards I feel like I do need a conditioner, but my hair is definitely not left a huge ball of tangled mess after just the shampoo – which happened with that Urtekram Lavender shampoo I reviewed some while ago.

Overall: Such a good natural shampoo that I don’t know if I really need to look for another product to try out if I didn’t feel like I should really get the shampoo for colored hair! If the quality of that one is as good, I think I’ve found a keeper in the Mádara shampoos! Feels like a very high quality shampoo.

Mádara Colour & Shine Conditioner (according to the company)

Colour preserving conditioner with enriching Northern Linseed, Horse Chestnut and Plantain deeply nourishes and protects treated and coloured hair. Helps smooth frizz and maintains vibrancy of hair colour. Hair becomes shinier, silky smooth and easier to style. Apply to clean, wet hair. Leave in for 1-3 min, rinse thoroughly. For best results use with MÁDARA Colour and Shine Shampoo.

This conditioner is packaged in a 60% post-consumer recycled tube. Wash your hair and reduce the volume of new plastic bottles made each year!

  • VEGAN
  • Cruelty Free

My thoughts

Texture: Creamy, rich, smooth, applies very easily, doesn’t feel heavy.

Scent: Very little scent. To me, it smells fresh, kind of like a summer day. I prefer the scent of this conditioner over the scent of shampoo, honestly. No particular ingredient feels overpowering.

Feel: Glides on super smoothly and feels to instantly smooth and detangle the hair somewhat. Doesn’t feel heavy when applied and leaves the hair feeling very soft. Baby soft, I would say. I brush my hair with a tangle teezer when it’s still somewhat damp and I don’t get much resistance. Doesn’t really do much for frizziness (my hair will still go wavy and frizzy after this), but I always use an oil afterwards, so I’m not too bothered about that.

Overall: A really good, natural conditioner with very pleasant scent and high quality feel. Definitely does it’s job. I’m 99% sure that I will be repurchasing.

Price of both products is around 11 euros at Mádara’s online store.

I find the packaging of both products to be pleasant and simple and easy to use. For those of us who can’t quite see so well in the shower, it helps that they are shaped differently!

SIM Argan Care Healing Smoothie & SIM Argan Care Moisture Shot review

argan-care

I received samples of SIM Argan Care Healing Smoothie & SIM Argan Care Moisture Shot hair products with my last LivBox earlier this month. LivBox, as you may know from my previous posts, is a monthly cosmetics & beauty box delivered to your home/workplace and it contains both normal sized products and samples. Since I have had the chance to try these two, I thought I would review them a bit. They seem to be available online for UK at I Love Hair & Beauty, at least.

SIM Argan Care Healing Smoothie sells for a whopping 36 euros (300ml) here in Finland, so it’s not a product I would normally easily pick out for my hair. The SIM Argan Care Healing Smoothie functions as a hair mask, to be used after shampooing. The product contains argan oil and is marketed as having reconstructive qualities, balancing the moisture balance in dry, damaged hair. The product claims to boost hair renewal rate and make the hair softer and easier to comb.

I love hair masks. There’s nothing as amazing as that silky soft, luxurious feeling you get after using an excellent hair mask. I usually treat myself to one on a weekly basis – or at least before any important event. I was super excited to try this product as hair masks are one thing I could even see myself dropping 36 euros for – if it’s good.

Sadly, this one was a big disappointment. I have naturally slightly wavy hair which is in good condition, but really needs moisture in order to not become a poofy, frizzy mess. After having heard so many good things about argan oil, I figured this mask would be absolutely heavenly, but honestly, I’m surprised by how poorly it worked. I have been using a really inexpensive L’Oreal hair mask (for which I am in the process of finding a replacement) and that L’Oreal hair mask beats this baby 6-0.

The scent is pleasant enough, the texture is equal to average conditioner, but the results are… not much to write home about. As I usually do before using a hair mask, I wash my hair with a clarifying shampoo first to get all the styling products and other residues off of my hair – then, I use a hair mask, which has now an even better surface to cling to. I was having real trouble running my fingers through my hair after using the SIM Argan Care Healing Smoothie after my clarifying shampoo. My hair didn’t feel particularly awful, but it was far from that luxurious, silky feeling I’m used to. Odd.

As a conclusion, for the price of 36 euros… definitely would not purchase for myself nor would I want to recommend this to anyone – except maybe to those with very soft, weak hair.

SIM Argan Care Moisture Shot on the other hand is a hydrating styling cream, which promises to deeply moisturize the hair, rebuild the hair fibre and to remove frizziness and electricity from the hair. Little is said to go a long way.

The scent is pleasant again, the texture is semi-thick and creamy, but once again, I feel pretty indifferent after using the product. I normally use BC Miracle Oil which leaves my hair very soft and smooth, even if I just let it air dry and don’t even comb through it. This seemed to just kind of vanish into my hair. I wouldn’t really market this as a styling cream either, because it doesn’t really do much in terms of styling… at least not in my hair. Another disappointment then!

The price for this one is an impressive 24 euros (250ml) here in Finland, which I would say is quite a bit for a styling product – especially when it doesn’t really do much for you.

Out of this duo, the styling cream is definitely more worth your while, but I’d say neither is really worth your money.

Has anyone else tried these?

 

Urtekram Organic Lavender Shampoo & Conditioner Review

Urtekram Lavender shampoo & conditioner

Urtekram Lavender shampoo & conditioner

My hair is shoulder-lenght, naturally wavy & a bit frizzy. It’s in good condition, though it is colored. For ages, I’ve used L’Oréal’s wonderfully scented stuffs, but NO LONGER. I’m in search for an eco- & animal friendly alternatives!

Urtekram Organic Lavender Shampoo:  First impression was just the heavenly smell, just like lavender, nothing added. The texture is very watery, which I half expected. Unfortunately, this also meant that I couldn’t get it to foam at all (and I need the foam!) and it didn’t feel like it was really cleaning my hair. I had to use three times my usual amount just to feel somewhat satisfied. When I washed it off, my hair felt awful. It was feeling very tangled, very straw-like and just an all-around mess. I could only hope the conditioner would fix this up.

Urtekram Organic Lavender Conditioner: Again, heavenly scent of lavender, even more so perhaps than in the shower. Thicker texture than the shampoo, but I felt I still needed a lot more than I’d normally use to get this to cover my hair. I let it sit on my hair for about 5 minutes before rinsing (the bottle recommended 3-5 minutes), but unfortunately after rinsing, I was once again left with tangled, straw-like mess. My hair actually felt like it was stretching when I was trying to comb it through a bit with my fingers in the shower. The end result was so frightening that I had to re-wash my hair with my usual products.

I’m really sad that these two didn’t work for me, because I absolutely loved the scent of these two! Lavender is one of my favorite scents (and flowers) and I really wanted these to work! Oh well, someone in my building will soon have wonderfully lavender-smelling hair, as I donated these to whomever might be interested (left them downstairs with a note “please take”).

I think these could work for someone who naturally has normal or kind of thin hair which hasn’t been chemically processed at all. For my kind of a mane… no luck.

What are your favorite organic/vegan/vegetarian/cruelty-free hair products?