April 2016 Ipsy Review #1: Harvey Prince Organics Keravegan Hair Mask

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When brands branch out into other products, the results can be interesting.

Oh, my dearly neglected little blog. I’m so sorry. Work, phone problems (my main way of communicating with work), and other life happenings have kept me from making my thrice weekly posts. But here I am! Back at it reviewing products from our most loved beauty subscription services.

I love that Birchbox and Ipsy have introduced me to the world of Harvey Prince’s fragrances. Hello is pretty much universally loved as a wonderfully light scent. My personal favorite is the more androgynous Sincerely. All in all, they’re a pretty great fragrance company I wouldn’t have known about if it weren’t for beauty subscriptions.

Interestingly enough, it seems that they’re branching out into other realms of beauty, specifically hair care. Hmm, ok. I’m always down to try new hair products. Ipsy included their Keravegan Hair Mask (USD $24.00 for 8 0z.), a nontoxic vegan hair mask. It’s also sulfate and paraben free, for ingredient conscious folks. Just glancing at the ingredients, there are some promising moisturizing ingredients including argan, coconut, and shea butter oil. I was down to try!

We all know that any mask I receive is measured against my very favorite Amika Nourishing mask.

Being a Harvey Prince product, I expect the mask to smell really nice. The smell is pleasant, but a little underwhelming for what I was expecting. I think it would be nice if it smelled like Hello. I don’t know. It’s not bad by any means, but I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t in love with the smell.

The mask texture isn’t very heavy, which is fine because I don’t want a mask to weigh down my hair. However, the texture left behind a somewhat dry feeling on my hands, which was odd. Some creams and hair products do that and it’s always a little odd when it happens.

I kept all other parts of my hair routine the same. After towel drying and heat styling, I was disappointed. My hair felt softer, but the ends still looked dried out. When I use my usual mask, the ends are soft and look less damaged. This just didn’t happen here.

I think because I have balayage highlights, I just need a stronger hair mask for my ends. This just doesn’t make the cut. However, being such a lightweight mask, it might be great for those with oily hair that do have some damage they want treated.

Bottom line: I’m a little underwhelmed by the first product I’ve tried from Harvey Prince’s hair line. I wish I liked the smell better and that the mask was a little more moisturizing. But I know hair products can vary from person to person, so this might be great for someone whose hair doesn’t demand quite as much moisture as mine.

If you’d like to try Ipsy, follow the link!

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February 2016 Ipsy Review #1: It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product

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Because I don’t already have a million leave in conditioner samples in my stash.

I can’t blame Ipsy for sending me a product that I’ve already tried and owned in the past. After all, there’s not really a section where I can check off those products. Though, I did let them know in my February feedback that I’ve tried It’s a 10’s various conditioning treatments and would no longer like to receive any. In fact, I’d be down for not getting any more conditioning treatments in any of my subscriptions for a while. It’s nice to keep a travel size bottle or two for trips, but most of the time I stick with what already works for my hair.

That being said, this is by no means a bad brand or a bad product. If you’ve been on the beauty scene for a while, then you’re at least familiar with the name. It’s a 10 has a whole line of hair care products that you can buy at the drugstore or Ulta. It’s definitely way more affordable than luxe brands like Living Proof, Amika, and Bumble & Bumble, but it’s also not the most affordable in haircare. Ipsy sent me the Miracle Leave-In Product (USD $18 for 4 oz or $36 for 10 oz). You are getting a ton of product for the price, so definitely don’t feel like you’re wasting your money if you buy this.

I remember when this first came out, there was so much hype around it. It was suppose to be this magical hair product that could do everything: condition, add shine, repair split ends, heat protect, etc. You’d think this stuff was made of unicorn tears.

In all honesty, this is a VERY versatile hair product. It’s nourishing enough to act like a conditioning treatment in wet hair (though, in my opinion, very damaged hair will need something heavier), but light enough to use as a styling cream or a touch-up product on dry hair between washes. It also smells really good. Back in the day when I used It’s a 10, I really liked it.

So why did I stop using it? Well, when I started coloring my hair my needs changed. It’s a 10 just simply couldn’t meet what I needed. More than a leave-in treatment, I now need deeper conditioning whenever I wash my hair, which is why I resort to a hair mask.

What about as a styling cream? I still think It’s a 10 works fabulously as such. However, I found that for my personal hair needs, Living Proof’s PhD 5 in 1┬áStyling Treatment┬ájust works better. My hair does what I want it to more easily. It’s nitpicky, but in the end Living Proof won out, despite the higher price point.

And as a touch-up treatment on the ends? Yes, absolutely, it works really well as that. But yet again, I found that Bumble & Bumble’s Hair Dresser Oil just delivers slightly more of that shine and softness that I need to liven up the ends of my hair between washes.

So who is this good for? I’d say, if you cannot afford higher end hair products or you can’t spend your money on so many hair products, It’s a 10 is probably your best bet. Also, if you’re not as high maintenance about your hair as I am and want a product that is great at multitasking, this is absolutely for you.

Who knows? There may be a day when I come back to this product. For now, I’ve passed along this well sized sample to a friend who already loves it.

Rating: 5/5. It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product hits it out of the park. It’s versatile, nourishing, and priced just right. While there are definitely other products out there that can perform better, I have yet to find one at a higher price point that is as versatile as this.

If you’d like to subscribe to Ipsy, follow the link!

February 2016 Birchbox Review #1: Corioliss Argan Conditioning Mask

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Another day, another hair mask

I’ve been feeling down about getting hair masks in my subscription boxes. Over the past few months, I’ve been inundated with them and I’m over it. It doesn’t help that I already use two hair masks that I absolutely love and don’t see myself straying from any time soon. Still, it’s always interesting to see if there’s anything out there that would beat what I currently use.

The theme of Birchbox’s February box was having a night in. A hair mask is clearly fitting, as you could use a night in to treat your hair. Argan oil is a great way to restore moisture and softness back into hair. Corioliss Argan Conditioning Mask (USD $40, full size) is a pricey hair mask that boasts ingredients like argan oil, vitamin e, and fatty acids that are suppose to repair hair. I also spotted sea buckthorn oil (which is also in my favorite Amika hair mask), a bunch of other oils (jojoba, wheat germ, and rosemary), and interestingly tea tree oil extract. This ingredient was a little puzzling, because I’ve always heard of it being used as an astringent or a scalp cleanser. Still, a promising ingredient list.

Since I only wash my hair two to three times a week, I always use a hair mask. This just works best for my hair. I just swapped out my Amika for the Corioliss while I tried this. The mask itself is pretty lightweight and smells nice and clean. Toweling off, I could tell that the mask hadn’t over moisturized my hair (something that I’ve had happen with conditioners and masks). The last thing anyone wants is heavy, greasy feeling hair.

I blow out my hair before either straightening or curling. At this stage, I can also get a good look at my ends and judge how well a hair mask worked. My ends did feel really nice and soft. My hair was very manageable. However, I did notice a difference in texture between this and the Amika mask. My hair was a little duller than usual, and the ends, while soft feeling, still looked dried out and did not style quite as nicely.

I wanted to make sure this wasn’t just a styling fluke, so I continued using this mask for the next couple of washes. But each time I got the same results: soft, but dull looking hair.

It’s too bad, because this mask almost has it right. It might be that my color treated ends (I use the balayage technique) were just too much for this mask. So while it may still be too nourishing for people with really oily locks, if you don’t color treat your hair this might work for you.

Rating: 3/5. This mask has such promising ingredients, but just wasn’t enough for my hair. While it does deliver softer, more manageable locks, it just fell short of giving me healthy looking hair. Still, it may be worth a shot for people who don’t color their hair.

If you’d like to subscribe to Birchbox, follow the link!

December ’15 Boxycharm Review 4: Nelson J Argan Oil Moisture Healing Mask

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Ah, yet another hair conditioning treatment. Because those never get old…

I wasn’t kidding when I said December subscriptions were flooded with hair conditioning treatments. I really need these subscriptions to stop sending these for a good 6 months. Boxycharm does send full size items, but the downside is if it doesn’t work out you’re stuck with a full size product you’ll never use.

I personally don’t like passing on stuff that isn’t good and feel super guilty when the day comes for me to toss something. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.

I tried to make the best of having to test out another conditioning treatment. Like I’ve said before, absolutely nothing has beaten my amika/coconut oil treatment combination. Argan oil products are, however, also good options. I use to be obsessed with Argan oil back in the day when I discovered it in France. This was before the haircare aisle was practically spammed with the stuff. But it’s there for a good reason. It does work. For some people, it’s a holy grail. For me, it’s great but I much prefer pure coconut oil.

This Argan Oil 7 Moisture Healing Mask from Nelson J Beverly Hills (USD $23.00 for 3.4 oz or $59 for 16 oz.) looked promising. It claims to have 100% Argan oil plus some other goodies to repair hair. Seems standard, but for a $23.00 price point I do expect great results.

The texture seems fairly standard. It isn’t super creamy or runny. But I know too well that texture can be deceiving. Some of the lightest feeling formulas have left my hair a greasy mess. The smell is also amazing! The mask is coconut scented without being chemically.

What I really liked about it is that it came with instructions on three different ways to use it: pre-wash, deep conditioning, and swim protection.

I decided to do the prewash treatment, where you put it on for 7 to 10 minutes before shampooing and conditioning. I was a little worried that this would lead to over conditioned hair, but I could always rewash if that happened. The deep conditioning method also seemed neat, but I don’t have a few hours to spend under a heat source.

I followed my routine per instructions: wore the mask for 10 minutes, did NOT rinse out, and went straight into shampoo and conditioning.

You know what, as I styled I was incredibly impressed with how soft and renewed my hair felt. My roots also didn’t feel weighed down and greasy. This is everything I want in a hair mask. I really felt like my hair got a mini makeover.

Now, does this beat out my beloved amika mask? It’s pretty freaking close. But all in all, I still prefer amika’s. Still, once I finish up my latest tub I will definitely be going through this bad boy.

What intrigues me is their suggestion that you can use this mask to protect your hair while you’re swimming at the pool/beach. Nelson J suggests putting this mask on wet hair during your beach day so it won’t be so damaged from chlorine and sea salt. Whenever I go on a beach vacation, my hair does take a beating because I love swimming in the ocean each day and have to wash it more often.

When summer comes up, I’m absolutely going to take some of this mask with me and see if it helps protect it against the damage from sea salt exposure and constant washing.

Rating: 5/5. This is a great hair mask. It is up there in price, but you’re going to get a solid product out of it. While it doesn’t beat out my amika mask, if you’re someone who isn’t a huge fan of that particular brand and want to find a different formula around the same price point, I’d say this Nelson J mask is the way to go.

If you’d like to try Boxycharm, follow the link!