Friday, February 27, 2015

Summery haircare to get you through gloomy winter days

By Giselle Wedemire

It's the end of February, and this winter is really starting to grind my gears. Lately it's been gloomy and chilly and exceedingly lame. I mean, just look at how terrible it looks outside:

Photo via Flickr

Just kidding! It's actually nowhere that bad here in Calgary. But still, I am so over winter right now, and summer just can't seem to come soon enough this year. Even though I'm really not the biggest fan of the heat, this drab winter has really got me itching for summer -- or at least for spring. All I really want is to be able to walk without having to watch my every step for potential death traps ice patches or worry that my just-washed hair will freeze and snap off during my walk to work.

What can I say? I'm a simple kind of gal (sometimes).

One thing that's been helping me out with this seasonal wanderlust of mine is the fantastically tropical scent of what's soon to be my new favourite haircare duo: Live Clean's Coconut Milk moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.* 

With its creamy, dreamy coconut scent, it feels like my shower is right across the way from a white sand-filled, resort-like beach -- the kind you'd expect to receive impeccable service and even better pina coladas.

As far as aromatherapy goes, this duo helps me dream a little dream that warmer days on their way. And as far as formulation goes, this collection is fortified with -- you guessed it -- coconut milk, plus other nourishing ingredients like Vitamins C, E, Provitamin B5 (all plant-sourced), rice protein and (curiously) "milk protein".

Reading that last part on the bottles' labels originally had me pouting so hard that I looked like I was duck facing for some unknown photo. Fearing the Vegan Police from Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World would be in hot pursuit of me if I even entertained the idea of using something that had traces of dairy in it, I immediately touched base with my contact at Live Clean and shot him this email:

The Live Clean rep got back to me the next morning with this short but effective (and, frankly, endearing) response: "Hi Giselle. Coconut milk!  Cows milk – yuuch!"

With my anxieties soothed, I set to work and tried out the newest addition to Live Clean's haircare roster.

Here's what I thought

LC Coconut Milk moisturizing shampoo
Thick in consistency and creamy, opaque white in colour, this shampoo is definitely different than any other Live Clean shampoo I've ever tried. But it's different in a lovely and luxurious way. It lathers beautifully and makes it feel like you're using a much more expensive product -- almost as if you're lavishing in a seaside salon or some other mythical setting I just made up.

True to its claims, this shampoo is cleansing without over-cleansing, and it leaves my hair feeling supple yet clean each time I use it.

LC Coconut Milk moisturizing conditioner
Like the coordinating shampoo, this conditioner** is on the thicker side, and as far as texture and consistency goes, it reminds me of Live Clean's Age Resist conditioner. It provides a good amount of slip and it seems to hydrate my slightly thirsty late-winter mane very well. 

But beware! A little of this conditioner goes a looooong way. I suggest using about half your regular-sized dollop of conditioner when trying this product on for size, and if that isn't enough for you, then add a bit (little by little) if you need more moisture.

I first tried this haircare duo out on February 13 in anticipation of rocking a super sexy Victoria's Secret model-inspired blow-out on Valentine's Day. It worked beautifully and my overall look was straight up Kardashian-like. Though this collection is deeply moisturizing, it never felt heavy on my straightened hair, nor did it make my hair greasy quickly, which I think is a hard balance to strike sometimes especially when dealing with a blow-out. 

A week later, I used the shampoo and conditioner once more to return to my natural curls and I was surprised that curls were so well-defined and almost Tracee Ellis Ross-like in how rad they looked.

All in all, I am a fan of this haircare duo and its heavenly scent, and I'm really hoping it sticks around for a long time. Because lord knows we all need a little help remembering what summer smells like while we're slogging our way through interminable winters.

You can find Live Clean Coconut Milk moisturizing shampoo and conditioner at Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws, Jean Coutu, and Lawtons stores across Canada.

Have you tried Live Clean's Coconut Milk moisturizing shampoo and conditioner? Do you have any amazing products that help you forget that it's still winter outside? Let us know by commenting below, or by tweeting us at @PickyBitchez

*Live Clean Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner were sent to me to review
**This product contains beeswax, which may conflict with some vegans' ethics. Depending on your views as it pertains to beeswax, this product may not be a good fit for you

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Natural perfumes to unleash your inner goddess

By Giselle Wedemire

You're never fully dressed until you've applied perfume. That's the advice my mom gave me when I was around 10 years old -- right before I was given my very own (and very classy) bottle of Cinderella perfume for my birthday. 

Since then, fragrance has played a big role in my daily beauty routine, and I never miss an opportunity to give myself a quick spritz -- even when I'm at home with the flu. For me, a splash of my favourite scent instantly classes up any outfit I may throw together, even if I'm rocking a lazy day ensemble of sweatpants and a tank top. 

The problem with many perfumes and colognes is that they're synthetic in the worst possible way: they often contain harmful ingredients like parabens and phthalates, which have been linked to hormone disruption and carcinogenic side effects, respectively.

Years ago, I made the switch to all-natural products for all but one aspect of my beauty regimen. I've simply found it too hard to let go of my favourite perfumes (I'm looking at you, Flowerbomb!), but this year I've vowed to kick the synthetic scent habit and stock my dresser with natural perfumes from companies like Grasse Roots Perfumery.

Based in Stratford, Ontario, Grasse Roots Perfumery is a vegetarian (and mostly vegan) perfumery that crafts luxurious perfume blends with pure natural essences and botanicals. Often times, these blends are even made with certified organic essences whenever possible.

I contacted Grasse Roots in an effort to broaden my natural perfume horizons, and they generously sent me samples of each of their pure perfumes to test out. Each one was lovely in its own way, awakening old memories in me with every fragrant application, and I found that natural perfumes don't last as long on the skin as their unnatural cousins. However, there's something to be said for knowing -- and being able to pronounce -- a perfume's ingredients. It's very liberating.

Photo courtesy of Grasse Roots Perfumery