Beauty review

Beauty Review: AHA! Peel so Good Skin Renewal Gel

Beauty Review: AHA! Peel So Good Skin Renewal Gel | Writing Between Pauses

Back in August, I posted my review of the Holika Holika Pig-Nose gel, which basically acts as an exfoliating gel. My review was positively glowing: I use the Holika Holika gel at least every 7-10 to help with my textured skin and it has made a huge difference in the past few months. For a $2.99 tube I bought on impulse at TJ Maxx… it’s really, really good.

But the more I use it, the more I get nervous. I haven’t found it in TJ Maxx or Marshall’s since I bought it, which means I need something that works just as well for when this tube is over. (Note: when I originally wrote this post a few days ago, I hadn’t found another tube of it anywhere. However, just this past weekend, I found it at TJ Maxx! So keep your eyes peeled.)

I purchased the AHA! Peel So Good Skin Renewal Gel (from the Korean brand, Faith in Face) about three months ago with the intention of comparing it to the Holika Holika. Even though it is also a Korean brand, I decided to test it first because: I see a tube of it nearly every time I visit Marshall’s or TJ Maxx; it comes in a much larger amount than the Holika Holika tube; and at $4.99, it’s still an absolute bargain.

Here’s what the AHA! Peel So Good gel promises:

A soft cellulose scrub containing AHA complex. Feel good by renewing your skin into clear and radiant skin.

The gel is almost the exact same texture and appearance as the Holika Holika gel and it has the same, somewhat strong smell. (It is somewhat chemical-y, as I noted in my previous review, but it doesn’t bother me that much!)

The good news is that this exfoliating gel works almost exactly the same as Holika Holika: after 5 minutes of a thin layer on my face, I scrub off all the dead skin and residue from the previous week. My skin is so soft afterwards and my texture definitely looks better.

Even better news? This gel has made huge headway on my acne scars, especially on my chin. My scarring from cystic acne is one of my biggest insecurities and I hadn’t noticed a huge improvement with using Holika Holika. But once I started testing this product out every other week, I noticed a huge improvement. So you’re struggling with scarring on your face or new, I cannot recommend this product enough.

In the showdown between AHA! Peel So Good and Holika Holika, who wins? I think it depends on what you’re looking for! Holika Holika is a size of tube that suggests it is just for your nose (even though I use it all over my face), so if you struggle with clogged pores on your nose, that would definitely be a winner. But if you’re like me and struggle with textured skin and scarring, I highly recommend the Peel So Good gel! I like both pretty equally, but I know which one will last longer and that’s a better deal to me!

Beauty Review: Sephora Overnight Gel Masks

Beauty Review: Sephora Overnight Gel Masks | Writing Between Pauses

I have always been a little bit suspicious of sleep or overnight masks. I sleep primarily with my hands touching my face, or blankets touching my face, or on my stomach, so the idea of a mask scared me. Because I knew it would get all over my pillow, hands, and blankets throughout the night and really, I thought, what’s the benefit of that?

However, the slew of overnight masks I’ve tried recently have been ones that essentially dry down—like a heavy moisturizer or a gel. This has made me totally change my mind on overnight masks. So much so that I actually have worn one every single night for… two or three weeks. And my skin has absolutely thanked me for it!

On my birthday, I “treated myself” to two Sephora Collection sleeping masks. I picked the green tea (mattifying & anti-blemish) and pearl (brightening & perfecting) varieties. They are only $4 a piece and even though they are quite small, I have found that each mask technically has 4-5, perhaps 6 uses. So one mask can reasonably last a week if you wear it every night, longer if you skip nights.

I used the green tea mask first and I’m so glad I did. This mask left my skin feel super soft, hydrated, and poreless the next day; some blemishes I had had pop up were gone and the clogged pores I get on my jawline were gone. It felt amazing! At first, I thought perhaps it was just a fluke; but every time I use this mask overnight, my skin looks better and better.

I used the pearl mask after about a week straight of using the green tea mask and, while it did make my skin feel very soft and smooth, it did make me break out a little bit. It is always hard to tell what exactly makes me break out: it could be stress, hormonal, or something I’ve tried. It’s just so hard to know! However, I used it a second night and, again, woke up with several new whiteheads, something I rarely get, on my chin and forehead.

So the pearl mask isn’t for me—but the green tea mask? I’m going back to Sephora to buy a few more of it. It’s absolutely worth the $4!

The Sweet Smell of Christmas: TooFaced Christmas Treats Liquid Lipstick Collection

The Sweet Smell of Christmas: TooFaced Christmas Treats Liquid Lipstick Collection | Writing Between Pauses

I am not much of an impulse shopper these days. I usually plan all of my purchases to a degree that drives Danny a bit crazy (“do we really need a 15 minute discussion about our Costco trip?” he asks, every two weeks). However, as I mentioned in my Inspiration Sunday post, I kind of decided spur of the moment to treat myself to the Too Faced Gingerbread Palette and then, shockingly, this lipstick set in Ulta.

This is the Sweet Smell of Christmas: Christmas Treats Liquified Lipstick Set, a set of four Melted Matte lipsticks.

I would never, ever buy 4 lipsticks at once. That just feels like too many. But then I did, because I felt like it and it was there and $25 seemed like a good deal. So, let’s walk through the basics of this lipstick set.

Here’s what the set has to say for itself:

Melt your heart out with this stocking-sized collection of Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Lipsticks in yummy Christmas scents: Pumpkin Spice, Sugar Cookie, Cinnamon Bear and Hot Buttered Rum. Too Faced’s innovative formula glides over lips like a gloss but dries to an ultra-matte opaque finish.

They promise these benefits:

  • Each shade has a unique Christmas scent

  • Infused with Volulip for a no-sting plumping and smoothing effect

  • Features avocado oil, vitamin E, and hyaluronic filling spheres to moisturize and smooth lips

  • Lightweight, long-wearing formula wears comfortably

That all sounds lovely, doesn’t it? I’ll be honest, I’ve never really used Too Faced Melt Mattes before. I’ve heard good things, but a full size is about $25 per lipstick—a bit too steep for me! However, this set is a $48 value and sells for $25. These lipsticks are deluxe sample size at 0.1 fl oz. The standard size Melted Matte is 0.23 fluid ounces (or 7 ml). That’s still quite a lot of product and for $25 for four, I really couldn’t pass it up!

From left to right: Pumpkin Pie; Sugar Cookie; Cinnamon Bear; Hot Buttered Rum.

From left to right: Pumpkin Pie; Sugar Cookie; Cinnamon Bear; Hot Buttered Rum.

This set includes the following 4 shades: Pumpkin Spice, a spiced rose brown; Sugar Cookie, a sugared nude; Cinnamon Bear, a matte cinnamon red; and Hot Buttered Rum, a warm caramel brown. They are all gorgeous and scented like the dessert they’re named after. My favorite scent is Sugar Cookie and while I initially bought the set almost entire because I loved the Pumpkin Pie shade, my favorite shade has quickly become Cinnamon Bear. I’m not a huge fan of the smell of red hot cinnamon, but this color is absolutely gorgeous.

Having worn all four shades by now (including Cinnamon Bear to an event on Saturday where I ate and drank a lot), I can say that these are some of the most comfortable, long-wearing lipsticks I’ve ever worn. And I wear a lot of matte lipsticks!

The only shade I’m not 100% sold on is Sugar Cookie; I suspect it might just be a little light for me, but I’m going to be brave and wear it again and see what happens. It’s just a different shade than what I’m used it! I really like Hot Buttered Rum as well; it looks quite brown in the bottle, but it’s so pretty and caramel-y on. It’s one of those shades that I think looks a bit different on each person.

TooFaced Melted Matte Christmas Shades

This little set would be a great gift for the holidays—it’s relatively affordable for $25. You get a lot of product for $25! If you’re looking to fill out your lipstick collection, these are also 4 absolutely lovely shades. I think Cinnamon Bear would be an pretty close dupe of (or replacement for) Kat Von D’s Nahz Fur Atoo.

Beauty Review: L'Oreal Pure-Clay Mask & Cleanser

Beauty Review: L'Oreal Pure-Clay Mask & Cleanser | Writing Between Pauses

As I mentioned in my Inspiration Sunday post this week, I bought one of the L’Oreal Pure-Clay Face Masks at TJ Maxx this weekend. Usually, these are around $10-12, depending on your drugstore; that’s a little steep for me, especially in a non-cruelty free mask. However, for $3.99, I’ll try it!

The one I chose in TJ Maxx came with a small sample of the Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Cleanser. I was really excited to try both of these, the mask and the cleanser, so I can know if they are worth the relatively hefty price tag at my local Wal-Mart. I’m always down for a new mask, as you all know, and $13 is slightly better than the $17 of my favorite Body Shop mask.

L'Oreal Calming Pure-Clay Mask

The Pure-Clay mask I picked up is the Clear & Comfort mask; it is, as you can tell, bright, bright blue. Here’s what it promises:

3 Pure Clays and Seaweed. Clears & Comforts Stressed, Uncomfortable Skin. Visibly reduces imperfections. Indulgent. Transformative. Perfectly Clean. L’Oréal Paris created a new super-charged Pure-Clay face mask with seaweed to clear and comfort skin in just 10 minutes. Our indulgent and powerful formula with pure clays and seaweed provides a luxurious experience while helping comfort stressed skin. This creamy, indulgent formula gently yet effectively cleanses to leave skin clean and clear. Clear and Comfort Clay Face Mask addresses your skin’s imperfections to reveal purified and healthier looking skin.

The one thing that throws me really is the blue, blue color. It is very blue. It does wash off completely though, even though I was a little worry about staining my face blue. It is a really smooth texture, not sticky. It doesn’t remind me of other clay masks; there is something almost whipped about it (as opposed to muddy and heavy). It is very light, but, like I said, very bright blue. It feels lovely on and dries down really well. It doesn’t leave my skin feeling super tight.

Afterwards, my skin felt absolutely lovely and in the last few days. I did notice a distinct reduction in small blemishes and clogged pores along my jawline. The blemishes I had on my chin were looking much smaller the next day. I did really like it. I’m still a little bit hesitant about the $13 pricetag, but I do really want to try the other varieties (especially the yellow one and the white one) because I do really, really like this mask.

Are the L'Oreal Pure-Clay Masks Worth It?

Now, let’s talk about the Pure-Clay Cleanser. I was truly planning to hate this cleanser. I am a tried-and-true devotee to the Body Shop’s Tea Tree Facial Wash. However, I really loved this cleanser. Like a lot. So much that I plan to buy a full size version of it! Let’s look at what it promises:

Detoxes & Brightens Dull, Tired Skin. Removes everyday impurities.

L’Oréal Paris Skin Experts created our 1st range of clay-to-mousse daily cleansers that leave skin looking perfectly clear. Each cleanser is powered by 3 different clays in their pure form and enhanced with a nature-sourced ingredient.

This cleanser starts out as a clay-like mousse and then foams up to a pretty average cleanser. However, it removes makeup like nobodies business and left my skin feeling so soft! The cleanser is only $6.99 for a full size, which is absolutely worth it. I love that it has charcoal and clay in it to help with my oily skin.

If you’ve been wanting to try these Instagram-hyped masks, I think they are worth it if you’ve got $13 to splash around. And if you’re in the market for a new cleanser, then definitely try the Pure-Clay Cleanser. It’s amazing.

Is This the Perfect Autumn Palette? | TooFaced Gingerbread Spice Palette

Beauty Review: TooFaced Gingerbread Spice Palette | Writing Between Pauses

When the Gingerbread Spice palette was announced, I told myself I wasn’t going to buy it. I didn’t need it! I never buy holiday palettes! It probably wouldn’t be that good! I swore and swore to Danny that I wouldn’t get it. But then, I swatched it in Sephora a week ago and… I loved it. I loved it from the moment I saw the promo images, but I especially loved it when I swatched Gumdrop and Hot Toddy.

There was no way around it: I was getting this palette.

I’m a one-palette-a-year kind of girl. I don’t buy eyeshadow palettes super regularly, usually just as my favorites expire or as trends change. I might by some small single eyeshadows once and a while, but not super regularly. I’m not a makeup collector and I don’t want to be.

However, this is the first time I really spur of the moment decided to buy something. I had a 20% off prestige coupon for Ulta, as I mentioned in my Inspiration Sunday post, so I knew it was the ideal time to buy it.

Now, TooFaced has the reputation of making gorgeous palettes that can fall flat. A lot of people don’t love their eyeshadow formula. I own the Sweet Peach palette, as well as the Peach Velvet Mattes palette. I love both, but they are an eyeshadow formula that I like working with and that works for me.

So with that in mind (that makeup is a preference and what works for one person might not be what works for another), let’s jump into a review!

Gingerbread Spice Palette | Writing Between Pauses

First things first, yes I did accidentally stab Gingerbread Latte with my fingernail right off the bat!

How’s the matte formula?

The matte formula is almost exactly like the Peach Velvet Mattes palette. It is an easy-to-blend, slightly dry formula. This is the formula i prefer (as opposed to the very pigmented, almost buttery formula of something like Anastasia Beverly Hills) because you can easily build color. My favorite matte shades at Lookie At My Cookie, Gingerbread, and Gingerbread Latte; these are the 3 I can see myself using over and over throughout the fall and the holidays!

How are the shimmers?

There are almost two different styles of shimmer or glitter in this palette. Spiked Eggnog and Frostbite Me are more shimmery, whereas all the others are more thick with glitter. (Does that make sense?) Both Spiked Eggnog and Frostbite Me are lovely and very, very easy to use.

For me, the hit of this palette was Hot Toddy and then Bake It Till You Make It; both swatch beautifully, but on brushes, are difficult to apply. However, I found a spritz of setting spray or a just slightly moist brush made a huge difference. They also apply great using your fingers. For some people, that can be a major turnoff because they like to use brushes for everything. It’s not to me, as I find it easier to adapt my method depending on formula to get the best look! And almost everyone applying makeup has fingers.

How Wearable Are These Shadows?

This is the question I ask before I buy any new makeup: how wearable is this for every single day? If I’m buying a makeup palette, I want it to be something I use more than once a year.

Some of the shades are definitely less for everyday wear; the shimmers are so bold, they can be a bit overwhelming, but used sparingly, I think they can work. Most of the matte shades are perfect for everyday eye looks. The only shades I think are really more for special occasions, at least for me, are Gumdrop and Frostbite Me. Frostbite Me is so icy and shimmery, it is more for a standout look. And Gumdrop is gorgeous and so bright, but it’s not an everyday shadow for me. However, that’s only 2 out of 18 shadows.

What About the Scent?

One of my biggest critiques about both of TooFaced’s peach palettes (and honestly, most of TooFaced’s stuff) is the scent. The peach scent of the first Sweet Peach palette was extremely strong; the Velvet Mattes palette is better, but still quite strong. The Gingerbread Spice Palette is supposed to be scented, but I have trouble really… smelling it? It smells faintly sweet if I get really close, but it is not overwhelming like the peach scent is and I honestly can’t smell it unless I shove my nose in it. For me, that is a major improvement!

Is This Palette Worth It?

The cost of this palette is $49 at both Ulta and Sephora. I love this palette; I’ve used it every single day since I bought it. I’m on record saying I’m done with warm-toned shadows, but here I am, with warm-toned shadows again. But these are warm tones that work for me because they are brown-based (as opposed to orange- or pink-based).

However, is $49 really worth it? I think if you’re in the market for a palette like this for Autumn and Winter, absolutely, it’s worth it. It has a lot of product and you get a variety of shimmers and mattes. If you have that 20% Ulta coupon, it’s an even better deal.

Do you have the Gingerbread Spice palette? What do you think of it?

Beauty Review: bliss Drench & Quench Cream-to-Water Moisturizer

Beauty Review: bliss Drench & Quench Cream-to-Water Moisturizer | Writing Between Pauses

Recently, I started watching the viral hit, 100% Hotter, on Netflix. Have you watched this? A team of 3 professionals (a stylist, a make up artist, and a hair dresser) makeover two people with the intent to make them 100% hotter. The premise of the show is one of those that makes me feel a bit mad: yes, some people dress outrageously bad, they don't dress to flatter themselves, and as a society we might deem it unattractive. But goodness gracious, is it anyone's business? And how cruel is it to have people rate their appearance, to their face!? 

I'm still watching it though. There are some bright spots, like the stylist pointing out that sometimes the clothes we wear are a mask to save ourselves from having to reveal our true selves, but overwhelmingly, it's a shallow little bit of television. 

However, on one episode, the make up artist tells a young man (who was absolutely gorgeous, by the way) that to help prevent oil he shouldn't moisturize in the morning. 

I nearly yelled! No, that's the wrong answer!

That used to be a commonly held belief: if you're oily, you shouldn't moisturize, especially before putting on makeup. Because that moisturizer is going to make you more oily through the day, right? 


If you're like me and have oily skin (and trust me, I could run a car on my oil some days). you're skin isn't oily because it feels like it; your skin is oily because it is dehydrated. I wrote about this a bit in my post on skin congestion; dehydration can be solved by drinking more water (internal hydration) and using good moisturizers (external hydration). Dehydrated (and therefore, oily) skin is different from dry skin. We don't get dry, flaky patches; dry skin is caused by a lack of oil. Oily skin goes oily because it is overcompensating for a lack of moisture (water), so we need to add that. 

Whew, that's quite the explanation, huh? 

I'm a bit obsessed with moisturizers. I have a few holy grail favorites (specifically Pacifica's Dreamy Youth and Crystal Youth), but I love trying new moisturizers because I'm always looking for something better. 

I recently decided to try bliss's drench & quench Cream-to-Water Hydrator; it's a little more expensive than your average moisturizer, but I was intrigued by the promise of a cream-to-water formula. 

Here's what bliss says about it: 

Feel this ultra-lightweight moisturizer transform into water on contact, surging skin with more than 10,000 marine micro-droplets for intense, yet weightless, all-day hydration. Perfectly balanced hydration disappears instantly into the skin – no greasy or heavy feeling. Skin immediately feels soft, healthy and refreshed; within 4 weeks skin’s moisture barrier is improved

Lofty promises! It contains purified micro algae, which improve skin hydration and reduces the loss of water (dehydration); it also has milk thistle oil, passion fruit seed oil, and German chamomile. That's a lot of lovely sounding ingredients. 

Adding It To My Routine

I have a very reduced skincare routine lately: I double cleanse my face with jojoba oil and the Body Shop's Tea Tree Facial Cleanser, then tone, then apply moisturizer. That's in, easy peasy! (If I use a mask, it goes after cleansing.) 

I started using this moisturizer when I used up my tube of Pacifica's Crystal Youth; I loved that moisturizer, it was nearly perfect! 

This moisturizer is quite an interesting texture. It comes in a tub, which isn't my favorite way to store beauty products, and is blue. It feels almost like a very light, whipped marshmallow. As I put it on, I could feel it take on a more watery texture and it absorbed into my skin really quickly. It didn't feel "wet" like a water product might. This moisturizer does promise not to feel greasy or heavy, but I did find it felt quite greasy for the first 10-15 minutes after putting it on. It's not enough for me not to like it, but it definitely still felt like a cream moisturizer on my skin. 

Do I Recommend It? 

Here's the thing: I love many bliss products. 

I'm just not sure this is one that stands up to its promise. 

It sounds so promising, doesn't it? But for $20, I expect a lot more from a moisturizer! It's quite nice and I feel like it does the job, but I am absolutely not blown away by it at all. It feels like a fairly standard moisturizer once it is on. It's disappointing because the concept (cream to water? Yes!) sounds amazing, but in execution, it leaves a little to be desired. 

That leaves me using up this tub and then trying to find another holy grail moisturizer! Any suggestions? 

Beauty Review: My April Ipsy Bag

Beauty Review: My April Ipsy Bag | Writing Between Pauses

Mercury Retrograde ended last weekend and, let me just say, it was an absolute doozy for me. It started rough (a really high tax bill) and ended rough (having to replace a major appliance in my home, a shattered windshield, buying a new set of tires and getting a flat tire 2 hours later, and tons of tiny inconveniences)... but I made it! I'm here!

So when Danny came home on April 14 with my Ipsy bag, I was beyond ecstatic. After all the money I spent, I needed something little to get me excited and make me feel better. Plus, I had been so excited about the products in my bag. 

Without further ado, let's jump into what I got, how I like everything, and the total value of this bag! 

(To read my past Ipsy bag reviews, click here.) 

Ipsy Bag 1

1. Feel Restored Warming Clay Mask, $7.60 Value

You know I love a mask, so I was really excited to see this mask. Here's what it promises: 

This magical mask is infused with white charcoal powder which warms up upon contact with your skin to open up pores and clear out all the icky stuff that’s hiding deep down.

And you know what? It absolutely does warm up when you start to apply it! It's really soothing and lovely to put on, because it does get so warm. This little sample pack only has enough for about 2 uses; it had 20ml. The full size costs $38 and has 100ml, so 5-times the size. You'd get about 10 uses. That equals out to about $3-4 per use (or "per mask"). Is that worth it? I usually pay about $2-3 per sheet masks, so it's a little more expensive than usual. However, it's a really nice mask and my face did feel really great afterwards (if a little dry). 

2. Purlisse Coconut Oil + Coffee Sugar Scrub, $10 

I love the brand Purlisse--their Lotus Seed mask that I got in my January bag is one of my favorites--so I was excited to get this coffee scrub. I love a body exfoliator as I recently stopped using plastic loofas (to reduce the amount of shedded plastic I put into waterways). Here's what it promises: 

Coffee grounds are great exfoliators, and they’re rich in antioxidants. They also help improve circulation to firm and tone your skin.

Lovely! This scrub smells amazing, almost energizing (the coffee smell, really), and left my skin feeling so, so soft. I definitely needed to moisturize well afterwards, but it was worth it! I also found it helped remove the eczema I get on my upper arms, so there is that benefit too. 

3. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Ibiza, $6.50 

Soft Matte Lip Cream is one of my favorite lip formulas. I like this shade a lot; I was worried I would receive a shade I already own (I own about 10 of them!). This is descriped as a "deep rosy-pink", but that's actually not correct. It's quite bright, not a melon or coral, but closer to a watermelon shade. 


I know some struggle with the formula of the Soft Matte Lip Creams, but I find them very long lasting. This lasted me through a trip to Target, a Starbucks, lunch, and even dinner. When I went to take an After shot for my teeth whitening later, I had stains on my lips from it! I will say, the price on these has gone up in the last few years; they were definitely closer to $4 when I bought my first tube of Stockholm. 

4. Luna by Luna Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Spiced Pumpkin, $15

I was hoping I would get this shade and, surprise, I did! Spiced Pumpkin is a lovely warm bronze shade. I was not impressed by my first Luna Cosmetics item (a baby pink lipstick way back in my October ipsy bag). However, I was ready to give this eyeshadow a shot and I'm so glad I did. 

I've come to accept that I don't look great in warm pink tones (I write as I sob over my Too Faced peach palettes), but I do look good in more orange or bronze tones. This one is absolutely lovely and looks great on its own. I've been playing with single-shadow eye looks and trying to find ways to add dimension without a ton of effort... I love this eyeshadow for that! 

5. Steve Laurant Beauty Blush in Rose All Day, $22

You know I love blushes, so I was beyond excited to receive a new one. This shade from Steve Laurant is a soft, medium-toned pink that would look good on probably every skin tone. It's really, really pretty. At first, I thought it wasn't very pigmented; I used a brush and put some on my arm. Nothing. The next morning, I started doing my make up and loaded up a brush with it and... it was so much blush! Oops! I wiped it off, redid my foundation, and tried again. 

You know how when you go out in the spring and it's a little chilly out, so you get really pink-cheeked and lovely? This is the perfect blush to replicate that look! It's really gorgeous and has the perfect finish for a daily look. 

Ipsy Bag 2

Final Thoughts

The final total value of this ipsy bag is $61.10! That's pretty good for a bag where I love every single item. That never happens. I don't have one single dud in this bag. Amazing? Genius? The best? I'm obsessed with every item here. It's not my highest valued bag, but it's one of my favorites ever. If you'd like to try Ipsy, use my referral link here

3 Things You Need to Know about Sulfate-Free Shampoo

3 Things You Need to Know about Sulfate-Free Shampoo | Writing Between Pauses

I'll be totally honest: I've always been really disinterested in hair products. As someone who can buy 45 different versions of the same lipstick color (and argue with my husband to the death that they are actually very different colors, thank you very much), hair products are just beauty products that I feel I don't have space in my brain for. 

I've been pretty lucky to be blessed with hair that just kind of works. I have straight, really manageable hair. I could honestly wash it with dish soap and it would behave the exact same way. (And yes, I may have done this once or twice in college.) I don't heat treat my hair and I only dye my hair its natural shade to cover grays, so I don't experience a ton of damage to it. 

My hair, by nature, is very fine (though I have a lot of it, so my hair is also quite thick in terms of amount) and I've always been able to get away with washing it every 2-3 days before it looks bad. Unlike my face, I seemed to have a natural amount of oil on my scalp and it never bothered me. But about 4 months ago, I started really struggling with a dry scalp. 

I tried every tea tree oil shampoo I could find, convinced I wanted to go natural. When those did nothing, I switched to Head & Shoulders, angry that I had to go with an option that wasn't cruelty-free. And while Head & Shoulders made it marginally better, I still would get a dry, flaky, itchy scalp within a day of washing. I went to the dermatologist and was told I didn't have dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis; my scalp was just dry, so when my hair got even a little oily, the skin would lift. The dermatologist told me to just wash my hair every day. 

Which I did and it didn't really help. And my hair started getting quite limp from all the washing. 

While listening to a podcast recently, a guest mentioned that people with dry, flaky scalps should try going sulfate-free. I had tried a few sulfate-free shampoos and I wasn't totally impressed with them--but I was willing to give it a shot. Anything that allowed me to go more than 24 hours between washes without a flaky, itchy scalp! 

I started doing a lot of research on sulfate-free shampoos and came to conclusion that trying it would be absolutely worth it. I knew it might require me to stick with it for a while--not something I'm great at--but I really wanted to give it a try. 

All my research gave me the idea that I needed to share what I've learned about sulfate-free shampoos. 

1. Sulfates are what make shampoo sudsy--and they do not cause cancer. 

For the last few years, I've been seeing this scary meme floating around Facebook (especially in my mom groups) that sulfates in shampoo cause cancer. That's categorically false.

Sulfates are simply an ingredient in shampoo that makes it sudsy; they also are a type of surfacant, which means they attract oil and water to themselves. This allows oil and debris to be removed from your scalp--but it can also strip natural oils from your hair too, making it dry and brittle. If you struggle with a dry scalp or dry hair, you may be particularly sensitive to sulfates--and so switching to sulfate-free shampoo would be a good things to try. 

2. Sulfate-free shampoo makes hair color last longer. 

If you dye your hair, and notice that your color is fading quite quickly, switching to sulfate-free shampoo can make a major difference. I primarily used eSalon's shampoo for a long time--but as I started struggling with my dry scalp, I had to switch to harsher shampoos that I felt stripped my color. Since I've switched to the Kristen Ess sulfate-free shampoo, I've definitely noticed that my color is not fading nearly as fast. 

3. Going sulfate-free is most beneficial for certain hair types. 

There are some who will benefit from going sulfate-free and some who won't. If you have relatively easy hair, and a scalp that never gets itchy or too oily, then sulfates are the easiest way to clean your hair. Going sulfate-free means you spend a little bit more time manually cleaning your scalp. 

Those with dry and/or frizzy hair can benefit from sulfate-free shampoos, especially those that use coconut extracts instead of sulfates. As well, anyone who struggles with eczema or other skin conditions might benefit from going sulfate-free too, as it can help alleviate dry skin and itchiness. 

I'm two weeks into using Kristen Ess's The One Signature Shampoo; I'll update this blog post when I know exactly how it has helped my scalp. I've definitely seen a reduction in flakiness and I've been much less itchy since I started using it, but I want to give myself a little bit more time! 

Do you use sulfate-free shampoo? What's your favorite kind? Have you seen it help your scalp or hair?