March 31, 2016

Orofluido Asia - The Zen Beauty Ritual

Since it's apparently hair care week on the blog, I thought I'd share some thoughts on a higher end alternative to Monday's drugstore findsOrofluido, a completely new-to-me brand -- in large part due to the fact that it's a salon-exclusive (and clearly not been carried in any of the salons I've ever frequented). However, being a professional brand under the Revlon company's umbrella, it does carry a certain sense of familiarity.

Orofluido Asia is a new line of 4 products (Zen Control Shampoo, Zen Control Conditioner, Zen Control Elixir, and Zen Control Mask) making up the Zen Beauty Ritual, a system designed to combat frizz-prone hair. It's based around three key ingredients sourced directly from Asia: tsubaki (camellia) oil for frizz control, bamboo extract to improve elasticity, and rice oil to nourish and smooth.

When I first opened my Zen Beauty Ritual Kit, I admit I was a little underwhelmed. I can't decide if I like the packaging (the flowers are kind of pretty) or find it tacky (the font used for "Asia" is as stereotypical as you can get). Save for the Elixir, which comes in a nice glass bottle, everything else is a very lightweight and kind of cheap feeling plastic.

Packaging issues aside, what about the actual product? Well, firstly, I don't think I am the target demographic for this line. Although it can be used for all hair types, it is specially formulated for women with dry, coarse, and brittle hair. This is not me. My hair is super fine, stick straight with no frizz, and prone to greasiness. Nonetheless, I put the Zen Beauty Ritual to the test anyway to see how it would work.

Immediately after use, I will say I was very impressed. The products smell amazing (a combination of camellia and subtle fruity notes), and my hair felt even smoother than normal. I can see how this system would be great for those with really dry and damaged hair. Unfortunately, the initial smoothing effects did not carry over into the next day for me, as I woke up with my hair feeling extra heavy and my roots getting greasier as the day wore on.

The thing with hair care, as with any beauty regime, is that it must be tailored to suit your individual needs. Orofluido Asia is definitely not the right fit for my hair type but it would probably be great for its intended market -- "women with dry, coarse, brittle hair who suffer from frizz particularly in humid conditions."

March 28, 2016

Garnier Whole Blends

Earlier this year, I noticed my local Shoppers Drug Mart had set up a giant display for the Garnier Whole Blends line of haircare and, of course, I couldn't help but wander over to take a look. After all, whose interest wouldn't be piqued by combinations like Coconut Water & Vanilla Milk, Green Apple & Green Tea, or Avocado Oil & Shea Butter? Lucky for me, I was sent a few of the blends to try for myself!

The concept behind this new (and very affordable -- MSRP is $5.99) line is a selection of natural blends targeted to different haircare concerns that are paraben-free and with "gentle & effective sulfates". Now, I'm aware that some people don't like to use sulfates, especially because they tend to strip colour from dyed hair. This is always a concern for me since mine is bleached but since I have been alternating my Whole Blends products with purple shampoo and conditioner, I personally haven't seen any negative effects.

The Coconut Oil & Cocoa Butter blend will appeal to any coconut lovers (that would be me!). Infused with South Pacific Coconut Oil and Cocoa Butter sourced from West Africa, this blend smoothes hair and controls frizz. I have also been loving Honey Treasures, which combines nourishing Honey, revitalizing Royal Jelly, and protecting Propolis to strengthen and heal damaged hair. This is a good one if your hair is prone to breakage and it also smells delicious.

And now for a somewhat random thought: I do find the packaging on these kind of funny; almost retro in shape and design like they're from the 1970s. Of course, I have no idea what shampoo and conditioner bottles actually looked like in the '70s but tell me I'm not the only one who thinks this! Or, maybe I'm just biased because of the colour combination of brown and yellow from the two blends I have been testing out...

March 23, 2016

Coffee Alley

I'm a bit behind on my Chicago recap post. but in the meantime, I thought I'd share some photos from this cool alley located in front of Asado Coffee on E. Jackson. I've actually stopped drinking coffee on the regular (thanks to being sick, the effects of detoxing from my caffeine addiction were overshadowed by other misery). However, I had to make an exception during vacation... there were just so many lovely cafes to visit! Another Chicago fave we discovered was Goddess and the Baker, which had the best avocado toast. Yum!

Sweater: Oak + Fort / Jeans: Frame (similar)
Boots: Stuart Weitzman (here and here)

March 17, 2016

Colgate Total Advanced Health Daily Repair Toothpaste

I'm one of those weird people who actually likes going to the dentist -- probably because it's only for my twice yearly checkup and cleaning rather than any extensive dental surgery (if that were the case, I imagine my feelings would be much much different).

Good oral health is key to our everyday wellbeing, as I mentioned in this post, so I wanted to share some thoughts on a new product that recently hit store shelves: Colgate Total Advanced Health Daily Repair Toothpaste.

Colgate has been my go-to toothpaste brand for years and in fact, the regular Colgate Total was a staple in my family's household growing up. This new formulation builds on that old favouraite because it actually works to repair early teeth and gum damage by remineralizing weakened enamel and killing bacteria that causes gingivitis and plaque buildup. Plus, it's a pleasant mint that freshens your breath and isn't spearmint which I hate, haha.

I'll be honest, even though I like visiting my dentist, sometimes I do get chastised for being a bit of a slacker when it comes to flossing... which, as we all know, can lead to gingivitis and gum damage. I have thankfully become better about regular flossing in recent years, and while this toothpaste can't be a substitute for that, it does help to know I've got another product on my side to keep my teeth looking great!

March 14, 2016

Here & Now Botanicals

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love and rave about aromatherapy. I have nebulizers both at work and home, and when those aren't in use I can often be found spritzing the air or rollerball-ing myself with any number of essential oils. That's why I was so excited when Jessica from Here&Now Botanicals asked me if I'd like to try some products from her local aromatherapy skincare line (small batches made right here in East Van).

The name might actually sound familiar to you because I was first introduced to Here&Now Botanicals in my November 2015 Vancity Box. The Sweet Sassafras Aromatherapy Spray has even become a bedside staple for me which I often spritz on my pillows before bed. Since November, the brand has also gone through a bit of a makeover. The bottles and labels now have a minimalist-chic apothecary vibe -- if that's even a thing... I may have just made it up!

Jessica sent over a few of her best-sellers and if you are a fan of aromatherapy as well, you'll definitely want to get your hands on these yourself.

Whether you're in school or working, it can sometimes be hard to kick the urge to procrastinate. The Stay Focused Aromatherapy Mist, a lemon-y herbal scent, helps improve focus and boost memory. To use, simply mist into the air and inhale or you can spray it directly on your body like a body spray.

For rollerball aficionados, Here&Now Botanicals has a number of custom blended essential oils that can be used for different purposes. She Aromatherapy Oil is made specifically for us ladies and can be used to relieve pain from cramps, and for general hormone balancing effects. For relief of stress and anxiety (something I often need help with), Uplift Aromatherapy Oil features a delightful blend of citrus and neroli.

Here&Now Botanicals can be found online or in select stores.

March 7, 2016

Cloud Gate

If you're following me on Instagram, you will have already gotten a sneak peek at some of the things I got up to while I was in Chicago last week (mainly a lot of eating, drinking, and visiting some well-known sights). Cloud Gate, for example, otherwise known as "The Bean"... which I had seen many pictures of before but really had no idea just how cool it is in person. No matter which way you approach this giant sculpture -- all around and even under -- you see a different reflection.

Sweater: Wilfred (Aritzia) / Leggings: Wilfred (Aritzia) / Parka: TNA (Aritzia)
Shoes: Converse (here) / Sunglasses: Ray-Ban (here)

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