Beauty For a Snip! Cien at Lidl

Despite being rebranded, I have long admired the cotton pads for sale in Lidl. Iseree, Cien? Eh, just don’t take away my love, dudes.

Beauty products come and go in the global discount supermarket chain, but Cien‘s new line that’s taking up permanent residence from now on.
CIEN makeup launch
I’ve given the lippy a good going over, as well as the lip gloss, and both are excellent. I esepcially love the Rich Magenta (fourth from left) because it is just the right amount of pink without being too hot or too rosy.

Equally welcome is the new haircare range:
CIEN haircare launch
You can get the full whack for less than a sevener, and it is really stands up to anything that you’d buy in the €15-20 range, particularly for a keratin-infused concoction. In this case, the Intensive Repair Mask is my fave, as I love little better than a good hair mask; take this one for a spin if you are a fan of co-washing, it is so good.

For those of us who like to impulsively fling a new lippy into the trolley, you {we!} can now do this with abandon…


{Co-washing, you say? It’s using conditioner only, without shampoo, something that those with fine and super curly hair swear by. My version is more like condition, shampoo, condition, and it’s worked a treat. I also find that this gets the best out of those good-for-you, but hard-to-use sulfate-free shampoo/conditioner duos. I find them pesky because of the low-lather, which makes my fine hair explode like bamboo shoots tossed into a wok. As ever, YMMV.}

I Try Before You Buy: Oils, From Top to Toe

Almost didn’t get the toes in — and it’s a bit of a push — but ‘top to middle’ just wasn’t doing it for me.

MATRIX Oil Wonders: Micro-Oil Shampoo & Conditioner, €12.50/each
I wasn’t sure that this was working for me, blonde {‘blonde’} that I am, and when I initially tried these, as argan oil always dulls down my fresh highlights. As my hair has evened out, however, this combo is perfect: for less than €30, you get salon-shiny hair and extreme manageability. Since my keratin treatment has run out, I am all about any S&C that can calm down the flyaways and the half-arsed waving that my hair does. Love these, but won’t be using them on newly ‘did’ hair, because of that pesky but beneficial argan oil.

SHU UEMURA Art of Hair Cleansing Oil Shampoo, €40
It took me a while to get used to the non-sudsy element involved in using this class of oil, but oh boy, this is good. I’ve used the Gentle Balancing Cleanser, and can’t see that this will any less effective: for those who suffer from dry hair and scalp, this promises to bring balance, and the right kind of moisture, to your locks. It’s infused with Neroli essential oil, which is such a useful and versatile oil and is the key ingredient that’s going to get to work on your scalp. One star off because a conditioner would be a nice accompaniment — IDK, my hair is just too tangly to do without one, despite this line making for such silky tresses…

CLINIQUE Turnaround Revitalizing Treatment Oil, €39
I’m using this at nighttime, and finding it to be terrific, brightening my complexion and adding loads of hydration — which is exactly what it promises to do. It absorbs quickly, so my pillow cases are safe, and I feel better every morning after the night before I used this: looking in the mirror first thing is actually quite fun as I notice improvement every time.


No7 Youthful Replenishing Facial Oil, €30.50
This is a little bit too oily for daytime, if you’re me and never give yourself enough minutes in the morning to allow something to fully absorb. So: good news in that this is so rich that it does take time to sink in, but bad news if you need to hit the ground running. I’ll use this at night, or on lazy days — oh, and a little bit truly goes a long way, half a drop does the business. Great value!

L’OCCITANE Immortelle Oil Make-up Remover, €26
Love a good oil as a makeup remover — there really is nothing like it. This has a gorgeous scent and it is very effective in its job. I find I prefer to use it in the morning, to wake up my skin and to remove the foundation that inevitably did not come off despite my relentless cleansing campaign. Would that be a thing of the past if I used this at night? Not so much: there’s nothing like the spray of the shower and good going over with my Clinique Sonic to do the job properly. Again, a little of this goes a long way, so it’s well worth the price tag.

LACURA Suncare Oil Spray, €3.99
This is where I got the toes in, which is a push because I don’t think my toes have seen the sun for about six years. Aldi’s spray has only got 15 SPF/UVB, which seems so 90s, but the texture of it perfect: silky, not sticky, just like it says on the bottle. There’s a top-note of alcohol (the rubbing kind, sadly) but it dries down to a delicious, tropical coconutty fragrance. Sure, at that price you can reapply with abandon, and might only need two for your hols, if you’re lucky with the weather.

JO MALONE Velvet Rose & Oud Dry Body Oil, €62
The scent is gorgeous: not too rosey, not too masculine, but the combination of the oud and the rose is rich and sexy. The spray bottle is unwieldy, and as many ways as I tried to get the most out of an application — whether by spraying all over myself without rubbing it in until I was done, or spraying into one hand and applying as I went along —  slippy hands made it hard work. The staying power makes it worth the struggle. #FirstWorldProblems.


Garnier Ultimate Blends: What’s Your Antidote?

Argh, which is not as good as ‘what’s your poison?’ but I’m going to go with it. The recent launch of Garnier Ultimate Blends haircare line saw each of their distinctive elements translated into mocktails, as shown below.
Just as well that they were mock, as the fruity/nutty blends went down very, very easily. Below, The One With the Coconut, which I inhaled before you could say ‘Where’s the little umbrella!?!’
Here’s the one with the coconut, which was especially delicious. This matched up with The Sleek Restorer, the shampoo, conditioner and treatment for those among us who suffer from dry, frizzy hair. It’s got coconut oil in it, hence the mocktail, as well as cocoa butter, which is just as well it wasn’t an ingredient, at least in the drink.

There is something for every hair issue, way beyond the usual dry-normal-greasy troika. In addition to The Sleek Restorer, you may avail of:

>The Marvellous Transformer
with Argan and Camellia Oils for dry, lifeless hair
>The Silky Smoother
with Vanilla Milk and Papaya for mid-long hair with split ends
>The Colour Illuminator
with Moroccan Argan Oil and North American Cranberry for coloured hair
>The Nourishing Repairer
with European Avocado Oil and African Shea Butter for very dry, damaged hair
> The Shine Revitaliser
with Chinese Green Tea and Mediterranean Lemon for normal hair

We all got a fluff-up from the stylists…

…and were sent on our way with some of the flavours to test. I’ve used The Silky Smoother and the Colour Illuminator. Both smell delish, and despite this being a value range, a little bit of everything goes a long way. The first time I used the Silky, it took me about half an hour to rinse out the suds, simply because I used way too much.

Both dry to a blinding shine — truth — but I’ve found that the Colour Illuminator gives better second day hair. The line comes with a 7 in 1 Dry Shampoo, which didn’t work for me, so I couldn’t use it to extend my coiff. The brunettes at the launch were thrilled because it doesn’t turn your hair white; I found it wasn’t dry enough on contact, and that my hair flopped after about an hour. I love the 1 Minute Treatments, though, and have found them to be very moisturising, and again: they smell fantastic and therefore: spendy.

But! See the prices below: the value is enormous, and the line extends to hair oils as well. Because I am spoiled, I can be a bit leery of using economy brands, especially on the highlights, as cheaper products can be pretty harsh. These felt great, and gave an posh finish, as fancy as any of the higher priced brands I’ve tried. They do seem to be erring on the side of dry hair, probably a result of all the heat we have been applying over the last number of years, but I wonder at the lack of a greasy hair formula. I suppose the dry shampoo is there for that, but I’d want something that goes — ha, ha — directly to the root of the problem in the cleansing process…


Garnier Ultimate Blends:
Shampoos and conditioners: €3.99
One minute treatments: €6.99
7 in 1 Dry Shampoo: €5.49
Hair oils: €10.99


O.M.Fibrology: In Word and Deed

L’Oréal Paris’ latest launch, Elvive Fibrology Thickening Haircare Range, is very science-y. It would have to be, I s’pose, to be able to back up claims that your can increase the follicular volume of fine hair just by washing it. So: there’s this thing? Called Sol-Gel Technology? They use it to fix cracked windscreens? {Windshields, to you Americans!} What it does is, it makes a liquid turn into a solid, and in the case of this product, there’s also these Fixollane molecules that bond with proteins in the hair shaft, and they stay and grow when the hair dries, making it thicker, and more able to hold a style.

OMGGGGG. Here, just look:
FIBROLOGY 02  day2
Did not style — as in, did not use any ‘big hair’ drying devices, did use any root-pumping-up product, no spray, nothing. Not much ‘fluffing’ either, just enough to drape it about the shoulders.
FIBROLOGY 01  day2

I have a lot of time for the Elvive line in general, and here, I couldn’t be more impressed. There’s your standard FIBROLOGY BOOSTERS&C, as well as a Thickness Booster, which is a tube of serum that you mix in with the conditioner, or put directly on the hair before using the Intensive Texturising Mask. The tube is little bit fiddly, and there’s no way to balance it properly, tub-side, but you’ll get over it, as I did. It’s not for use everyday, and the tube contains about four applications, so save it for days when you need to guarantee good, big hair.

The scent is lovely, the texture of all the products is great, and there is a Double Serum styling product that can be used wet or dry; haven’t tried that, but I’m guessing it’s in the same line of country as all those new BB hair creams. {BB hair creams, you ask? Stay tuned!}

Second day hair — always an important consideration — is good, with the usual application of dry shampoo at the roots the evening before. The thickening of the follicles helps them stay that tiny bit less greasy, which for fine hair is always an ish.

All in all, a total scientific success, and I for one am happy to never have to think about the ‘why it works’ ever again — I’m quite satisfied with the ‘what it does’. It does good.


Shampoo (250mls) €5.84/£2.89
Conditioner (250mls) €5.84/£2.89
Thickness Booster €9.19/£5.99
Intensive Texturising Mask €8.49/£5.49
Double Serum €10.79/£6.99


How to Youthify Ageing Hair: Pantene Pro-V Youth Protect 7

Pantene Pro-V Youth Protect 7 Shampoo and Serum €3.45 RRPI write this with one eye closed, because: denial. I mean, okay, hair thins as we age, etc, etc, but yeah, I’d prefer to go lalalalalalala in my head. My head, which even as we speak is sprouting locks at a slower, thinner rate. Nooooooooo!

This issue wouldn’t have been brought to my attention but for receiving samples for Pantene’s latest collection in the Pro-V vein, Youth Protect 7. The 7 refers to the 7 signs of youthful hair, or less optimistically, the 7 signs of ageing hair. I’m going with the former, thanks, as attitude is everything.

Ageing follicles show more than those pesky grey hairs, and healthy hair is the very picture of shine, fullness, smoothness, strength, resilient ends, damage-free and hydration. Now, I do think it’s arguable that we each have our personal issues with our hair — one woman’s lack of smoothness may be another’s tendency to greasiness — but I do believe that if you make the effort to mind anything about your person, you’ll see improvement. I used to have terrible split ends until I stared using hair masks and intensive treatments. Since I have been, I’d totally forgotten that they were ever an issue, until just this minute.
Pantene Pro-V Youth Protect 7 Conditioner €3.45 RRP
So! Proof that taking care of business really does work, and further proof that success is due to a commitment over time. It is with that feeling of hope, then, that I tried out Pantene’s new shampoo, conditioner, and their 1 minute treatment.

I am a fan, in general, of Pantene, as far as over-the-counter hair products are concerned. I’ve always been happy with the result I get from them, and at €3.45 each, you’re not going to go too far wrong. Additionally, you can use what I consider to be a pricey product’s amount of either and still get a good result; often, the less expensive shampoos and conditioners require you use more, and then go through it faster, and then mitigate your savings.

Not so here. I got a grand wash outta the shampoo, and I found the conditioner in particular to go a long way. The real eye-opener, however, was the 1 Minute Wonder Ampoule that I used the second time I gave this a go.

Pantene Pro-V Strength  Shine 1 Minute Wonder Ampoules €5.69
You get three minutes for €5.65, and they may be the best three-minute investment you’ve ever made. Now, I am sure I left this on longer than 60 seconds, in the same way that when an intensive mask says to leave it on for 15 minutes, I most assuredly do not. So, I’m not gonna vouch for the time frame, based on actual stop-watch watching. I will say with authority that the texture felt rich, that the contents of the ampoule were sufficient unto my loads of hair, and that when I rinsed it out, my locks felt nice and soft, even when still wet.

Et voilá:
That’s on the day, with no styling. Like, I did the blow dry in my usual haphazard fashion, but put in no styling products, before, during or after.

Shiiiiiiny! And, hopefully, actively youthifying my follicles.

Next up: 7 in 1 Hair Perfector BB Créme. BB Cream for the hair, you gasp? Indeed!


The Picture of Insanity

OMG THIS IS THE BATH> Seven shampoo & conditioner duos

> One conditioner on its ownio

> One tiny shampoo & conditioner sample {Kevin Murphy? Which is fabbilis and I don’t know where to get it?}

> Three bars of soap

> Four shower gels

> One in-shower body moisturiser


This does not even include the five facial exfoliators, the two cleansers, and the three intense conditioning treatments.

If you look up ‘first world problems’ in the dictionary, etc. etc.

On the other hand, I am hard at work!

Right. See above.


How much stuff have you got in your bath? I would welcome photos of baths that are not quite as populated as mine…


I Used It All Up: John Frieda Luxurious Volume Shampoo and Conditioner

Ha, sezs she!’ sez you.

Intervention was required to prove that I did, indeed, use these all up.

Or did I?!?! O.o

That’s the shampoo, all gone.

Nooooooooo! That was enough conditioner for — no, there isn’t actually. Not enough for a treatment. Having said that: the shampoo-to-conditioner ratio being what it usually is, which is twice as much of the former to not as much of latter, I think I did really well, getting the full value out of this duo.

This was my go-to for perfect second-day hair, meaning: I used this post-horse of a Wednesday night, and wokeon the Thursday refreshed, and with fresh looking locks. Ah, well. At €6.31 {RRP} apiece, it’s great value that went a long way.


I am also a fan of the line’s Blow Dry Lotion Root Booster {RRP €6.31} which adds lift when using this combo for first-day hair.