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Beauty Review: Peter Thomas Roth Peptide 21 Collection*

Beauty Review: Peter Thomas Roth Peptide 21 Collection | Writing Between Pauses

I love trying new skincare products. In fact, it’s one of my favorite parts about having my blog; getting the opportunity to try new things and see what works for my skin is just one of the many perks of blogging.

As an example: a few weeks ago, I received the Peter Thomas Roth Peptide 21 Collection to review. (I received this product from Influenster, not Peter Thomas Roth directly.*) Peter Thomas Roth is a brand I would never actually buy myself—even though I’ve heard great things about them—because it’s just a little out of my price range.

So, we’ve come to the downside of being sent products to review: sometimes you find stuff you really, really love that is way more money than you would ever spend on a product.

Here is what’s special about the Peptide 21 Collection:

Peptide 21™ proves there is strength in numbers—and diversity! An unprecedented amount and array of 21 Peptides and Neuropeptides allows the multi-action serum and moisturizer to effectively treat every area of the face and neck. Enhanced by cutting-edge Gamma Proteins, these formulas help improve the look of fine lines, wrinkles, elasticity, radiance, uneven skin tone and texture. Peptide-building Amino Acid peel pads complete the collection, providing powerful exfoliation while optimizing results.

I received all three products from the collection to review: the Peptide 21 Wrinkle Resist Serum; the Peptide 21 Lift & Firm Moisturizer; and the Peptide 21 Amino Acid Exfoliating Peel Pads. All three products focus on the main task of anti-aging using peptides. Funny enough, I think they are using “peptides” as a clever stand-in for “collagen.” As most of us know, topically applying collagen isn’t super effective when it comes to skincare; our skin can’t absorb it in a way it can be used for anti-aging. They claim these peptides “support” collagen proteins that already exist in our skin, but I’m not too sure on all that. (Science is not my strong suit!)

However, I will say this to start this review: I like every single one of these products. However, there is something a little gimmicky about the peptides stuff—I don’t know enough about it to know for sure, but I know enough about marketing to know when a gimmick is a gimmick.

That being said, again, I really like all these products. Do I think the peptides do anything? Not really.

Peter Thomas Roth Peptide 21 Collection

What I Like

My favorite part of the collection are the Exfoliating Peel Pads; they are a quick, easy swipe part of a routine and I’ve noticed the biggest difference in my skin just from them. (When trying new products, I usually add just one at a time.) They really are the stand out product from the collection, as they contain more than “peptides”. Here’s what they promise: “Packed with peptide-building Amino Acids, these exfoliating peel pads help reduce the look of pores, uneven skin tone, texture, fine lines and wrinkles while prepping skin for peptide treatment products.” It goes without saying, they don’t only contain peptides, but also Phytic Acid, Salicylic Acid and Sodium Lactate, as well as vitamins A and E.

I noticed a huge difference in my skin’s texture just from these pads alone. Usually, I try not to use anything that makes garbage pile up, however, and using a peel pad every single day (or twice a day) creates a lot of garbage at the end of the day. If this was a toner in a bottle, I’d absolutely be head-over-heels in love with it.

I did like the serum and the moisturizer as well. The moisturizer was probably my second favorite item, as I use moisturizer more than anything else (if I’m too tired to do my entire routine, a makeup wipe and moisturizer is as good as it gets). I am not big on serums generally; sometimes, I feel like they just add steps to a routine when that same thing could be added to a moisturizer. (I know there are many great serums out there. I’m just lazy, let’s be honest.)

Skincare for anti-aging

What I Don’t Like

It took so much self control not to say this in the above section, but: the serum feels gross. It makes my skin feel so sticky and slimy, no matter how long I let it sink it. I’m still using it, but I cannot wait to get to the moisturizer step of my routine purely to rid myself of the feeling. However, even after moisturizer, my skin still always feels a little gross, so I find myself skipping the serum more-and-more. And to be honest, I don’t notice a huge difference without the serum.

Here’s another thing about the serum: it’s $110!!!!!! I would say it’s the worst product of the collection, and the most useless, and it costs nearly DOUBLE the price of the peel pads! That’s outrageous and I absolutely do not love that. The peel pads cost $52, which isn’t a great price, but also isn’t bad as I really do like them. The moisturizer is $78, which is another yikes; I like it, but it’s not any better than a Pacifica moisturizer, which you can get for less than $15 at Target.

As always, for most skincare products, what it comes down to is price for me. You can find lots of things that give you the same or similar results to these products. Is this a nice collection? Sure. Is it way out of my price range? Yes. Will I be repurchasing anything from it? I may repurchase the peel pads if I can’t find a good dupe, but it’s definitely a long shot.

Good serum for anti-aging and acne

Final Thoughts

I’m glad I got to try this new collection; the peel pads, honestly, are the best part of it. But as I said, the price point is just a little high for products that I don’t feel deliver (at least on my skin). A lot of that price is clearly the name, which is all well and good—but who wants to spend $200+ for products that don’t make a $200 difference to your skin?

Disclaimer: As noted by the asterisk (*) in the title of this post, I received these products free in exchange for review. However, all opinions remain my own! Click here to read more about my disclosure policy.

Beauty Review: Maple Holistics Silk18 Shampoo*

Beauty Review: Maple Holistics Silk18 Shampoo* | Writing Between Pauses

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a review of Maple Holistic’s Tea Tree Shampoo (one of my favorites). You can read that here.

As you all surely know by now, shampoo is one of my bugbears. I have a very sensitive, dry scalp; shampoos will work for a little while to relieve the dryness, then stop. I have reviewed so many shampoos and while they all worked for a while, eventually, my scalp went back to its usual: dry, flaky, itchy, sensitive.

When Maple Holistics reached out to me about reviewing their Silk18 Shampoo*, I was excited… but aware that like most shampoos, my dry scalp will probably acclimate to it. I’ve started to realize that I need to focus more on nourishing my scalp between washes, instead of expecting the shampoo to do all of the world.

My review of this was slightly complicated by the power outage at the end of February. I wasn’t able to shower for the first 4 days, by which time I was on day 7 with no washing. My scalp felt great and I realized I needed to start giving myself more time between washes. I used the Silk18 Shampoo for that first shower and oh my gosh… it felt amazing.

I really like Maple Holistics for a lot of reasons; the first one is that all of their products are cruelty free and ethically sourced. This helps me feel a lot better about the products I use, even if I can’t guarantee it for everything that works me & my hair! I also like that their products contain natural, soothing ingredients that are low on a toxicity scale, which helps keep our waterways clean.

Maple Holistics shampoo

The Silk18 Shampoo from Maple Holistics promises the following:

Achieve stronger, smoother, more luscious hair with silk18 shampoo. Infused with a rejuvenating blend of 18 silk amino acids which help fortify hair follicles and strengthen strands to protect hair from dryness, breakage, damage, split ends, and hair fall. The nourishing formula gently cleanses dandruff, excess sebum, and impurities to leave your hair and scalp feeling fresh but not stripped. Enriched with argan and jojoba oil to add supreme softness and a luminous shine. Our shampoo is sulfate and paraben-free making it great for all hair types, color treated hair, and sensitive skin.

All of those things are definitely true. I have slightly drier-than-average hair (although not bad compared to my scalp) that can get slightly frizzy and ugly after a few days (usually if I wear it in a bun too much). However, this shampoo definitely gave my hair most luster and shine than any other shampoo I’ve used recently, which is a definite plus. I used it in combination with my Formulate conditioner, which was really, really lovely.

Good shampoo for oily scalps

You might be wondering, what about your scalp? Well, it didn’t help my dry scalp as much as I would like—but it didn’t make it worse. When it comes to shampoo, that’s really all I can ask for! Some shampoos definitely make my scalp feel awful and this isn’t one of them.

So what’s my final verdict?

I love this shampoo for my hair. I like it for my scalp. I have found that using it in combination with my blend of half Head & Shoulders and half my Formulate shampoo on my scalp, then this on my ends… I get the absolute best wash I’ve gotten in a while. I’m currently working on washing my hair much, much less often to see if that will help my scalp health overtime. (I’m talking… like washing my hair every 10 days here, which seems like so long!) If you have drier hair, this is a great shampoo to try for a little extra moisture here at the tail end of a very, very cold winter season.

You can try the Maple Holistics Silk 18 Shampoo yourself by purchasing here.

Disclaimer: As always, as asterisk (*) in the title of this post denotes that I received this product in exchange for review. However, all opinions remain my own! Posts like this help me keep the lights on at Writing Between Pauses. To learn more about my disclosure policy, click here.

Beauty Review: Maybelline Shine Compulsion*

Beauty Review: Maybelline Shine Compulsion | Writing Between Pauses

There are few things as exciting as a new lipstick. I suspect that if you're reading this blog post, you can absolutely relate. New lipsticks are full of possibilities. Even if you, like me, tend to buy the same color over and over (shout out to dusty rose shades), there is always a question of whether it's going to look as good as you hope it will. 

When I received this Mabelline Shine Compulsion lipstick (and ColorSational Lip Liner) in the mail from Influenster, I was so excited to try it. I love lipstick. It's probably the thing I most look forward to picking out in terms of my makeup (especially as I've been rocking neutral eyes & winged liner lately). I received the color Undressed Pink, as well as the lip liner Pink Wink. Here's what Maybelline has to say about these new lipsticks: 

Shine Compulsion Lipstick is Maybelline’s most brilliant lip color - get loads of hydration, vibrant color, and an ultra-shiny finish.

Well, color me intrigued!

Recently, the trend has been shifting from matte lips to a more glossy finish. Having lived through the gloss-soaked 2000s, I can't say I'm exactly excited. There was nothing worse than getting your hair stuck in your super glossy lips--then having both ruined your lip gloss and coated part of your hair in it too! Plus, gloss requires more application and honestly, I'm pretty lazy when it comes to lipsticks. 

Let's dive in to my thoughts about this lipstick though, shall we? 

Maybelline Shine Compulsion in Undressed Pink

I'll be completely honest: the moment I opened this lipstick and looked at the shade I'd received, I was pretty disappointed. I quite like pink lipsticks, but this one struck me as a bit too... baby pink. The first time I applied it, I stood in the mirror and grimaced. My husband walked in and asked me if everything was ok. 

"Do you like this lipstick?" I asked. 

He paused, tilted his head, and then said, "It looks a bit like the one your grandma wears." 

Yes, that's it exactly: I swear it's the exact shade my grandmother has been wearing for 40+ years. It is frosted and extremely shiny. The formula is lovely, very smooth and hydrating. I don't know if it is just this color, but there is a slightly frosty, almost metallic tint. I vowed to try to make it work, though. 

I will say, if your lips are chapped, just like with liquid lips, this lipstick won't look great on the first application. It can be a bit streaky and uneven from the amount of oil in the lipstick, so moisturizing and exfoliating beforehand is important. 

In this photo: Shine Compulsion Lipstick in Undressed Pink over Colorsational Liner in Pink Wink.

In this photo: Shine Compulsion Lipstick in Undressed Pink over Colorsational Liner in Pink Wink.

In this photo, Colorsational Lip Liner in Pink Wink topped with Wet'n'Wild Liquid Catsuit in Coral Corruption. 

In this photo, Colorsational Lip Liner in Pink Wink topped with Wet'n'Wild Liquid Catsuit in Coral Corruption. 

The lip liner I received is actually darker than the lipstick itself. Pink Wink is an almost mauve-pink liner. I decided to line my lips with this and fill in about 2/3 of my lips, then applied the lipstick just directly in the center. I have to say: I much prefer the lipliner to the lipstick! It's creamy and smooth, applies like a dream, and has major staying power. I'll probably wear it on its own, to be honest! I preferred this look to just the lipstick; it toned down the frosted nature of the lipstick and gave me the most staying power (though I still had to reapply after eating or drinking anything). You can see this look on the left. 

I decided to experiment with the liner and see if it would tone down some of my brighter lipsticks. I lined my lips and filled in the outer 1/3 with Pink Wink, then applied Wet'n'Wild Liquid Catsuit in Coral Corruption, one of my favorite liquid lips, but this shade is a bit too orange-toned for me. However, the lip liner gave it a bit more pink and I loved the result! I'd wear this look again in a heartbeat. This look is on the right. (And I promise, I do wear more things than a gray sweatshirt. I just happened to be wearing the same sweatshirt on both days!) 

Undressed Pink
Maybelline Shine Compulsion in Undressed Pink Swatch

Is this my absolute favorite lipstick? No. But are there ways to make it work? Absolutely! I'm a bigger fan of the lip liner I was sent than the lipstick itself, but I'm going to experiment with blending it into some darker lip liners to see if that can allow me some different looks. As well, I'm very excited to keep experimenting with the lip liner to even out some of my more difficult lipsticks.

Disclaimer: As mentioned, I received this product in exchange for an honest review from Influenster. However, all opinions remain my own. Taking sponsored posts and complimentary products like these help me keep Writing Between Pauses going! To learn more about my disclosure policy, click here

Beauty Review: Chic Voxbox*

Beauty Review: Chic Voxbox* | Writing Between Pauses

Another month, another Voxbox! I love receiving voxboxes, but sometimes, especially the ones that include multiple products, can feel a bit random. Does anyone else feel that way? 

This month, I received the Chic voxbox. (I'm still not sure why it's called the Chic voxbox... these products are not high end. In fact, All of these items are under $10, except for the full size of the face mask. But c'est la vie, I'm not working their marketing department!) 

If you don't use Influenster, it's a great time to start! (You can view my profile here.) Influenster is a website where you can review products, answer questions about products, and take surveys to receive products to review. I've gotten a ton of products through Influenster and I've loved a lot of them. (Click here to read about my Uniquely J voxbox and click here to read my Foot Petals voxbox review.) 

Here's everything I received in the Chic voxbox: 

  • eos: evolution of smooth Sensitive Skin Shave Cream ($3,99, full size) 
  • NYX Worth the Hype Volumizing and Lengthening Mascara ($8.99, full size) 
  • KORRES Pomegranate AHAs and Enzymes Resurfacing Mask ($34 for full size) 
  • Hair Food Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner ($9.99 for full size) 

That's a lot of stuff, but most of it is sample size. I have no issue with deluxe sample sizes (like the KORRES mask). I do take issue with receiving packets of shampoo and conditioner as samples; plain and simple, using it once is not enough of an idea of how good it is. However, I'll do my best to review. Let's jump to it then! 

eos Sensitive Skin Shave Cream

This is a full size product, which is always quite exciting to receive. However, I don't typically use shaving cream; I usually use hair conditioner (multi purpose!) or just soap. What does this shave cream promise? 

Formulated especially for sensitive skin, with botanical ingredients to soothe and deeply moisturize skin and no added fragrance. A unique, skin-friendly and super-smooth Shave Cream for Sensitive Skin to moisturize and soothe with aloe and wild oats, lavender butter and no added fragrance.

 Well, that does sound nice, doesn't it? 

It's true that this shave cream doesn't have any added fragrance--an added bonus, especially if you have sensitive skin. It's not the texture of the average shaving cream, really; it's more like a very thick lotion. I found it clogged up my razor really badly, and I found it quite annoying to have to rinse so often. But it did make my legs feel quite soft and smooth. Since it's only $3.99, I could definitely see myself repurchasing--but a single tube will probably last me quite a while! 

NYX Worth the Hype Volumizing and Lengthening Mascara

I'm a huge fan of NYX products, so I was excited for this one! I'm not much of a mascara fan; I have a hard time finding mascaras that work for what I want. This mascara is really no different than the other mascaras I own, but I do like how dark black it is and the brush is my favorite kind of brush. Here's what NYX has to say about it: 

This buildable formula actually does what it promises! Get up to eight times the volume with darker, fuller lashes!

Well, it does give you darker lashes. But like most volumizing mascaras, I find that that tends to translate to "clumpy." It's not a bad mascara, but it's definitely not anything worth writing home about. But for $8, it is quite nice. 

KORRES Pomegranate AHAs and Enzymes Resurfacing Mask

We have to talk about this mask. Mainly, it's not a mask... it's a scrub! The instructions say to only leave it on for 2-3 minutes... that's not a mask. That's just forgetting to rinse your face wash. Let's look at the promises, shall we? 

A natural resurfacing face mask powered by glycolic acid and pomegranate grains and extracts to purify the skin and minimize the appearance of pores.

Those are... some promises! I had to pop over to their website to see what else they promised. Check this out: 

Customer Panel (in one use): 97% Improvement in Skin Texture. 100% Reduction in the Appearance of Pores and Balance of Sebum. 100% Improvement in Skin Smoothness and Skin Tone.

100% reduction in appearance of pores? And 100% improvement in skin smoothness and tone? Ok. Well. 

I'm here to tell you that I don't think that's true. This glorified face wash is quite nice. It smells incredibly strongly of fake pomegranate fragrance (you heard me) and it contains small shells which I can only assume are pomegranate shells. It made my skin feel soft. Did it do anything? Not really. My pores didn't look smaller. I don't scrub my face, so it did nothing to my texture. And the tone of my skin remained the same. It's a nice face wash, but it's not a mask and it's an absolute "yikes!" moment to read those promises! 

Hair Food Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner Infused with Honey Apricot Fragrances

I hate to say it, but these were my favorite items in the box! As I've written about a truly embarrassing amount, I've had a problem with an itchy, dry scalp the last 4-5 months. It's been a major struggle. I really wanted to hate this shampoo and conditioner because they are not cruelty-free products... but if this isn't the best my scalp has felt in months, I'll eat my own socks. My scalp is not itchy at all! My scalp looks great! No flakes! And my hair is silky and shiny. 

Let's look at what they have to say: 

Hair Food’s line of shampoos and conditioners is inspired by nutritionists and crafted by hair experts to nourish your hair without parabens or mineral oils.

That's absolutely fair. I feel like this shampoo and conditioner does do those things. I am actually planning to buy full sizes of these to keep testing out and see if maybe it's just a fluke that it helped my scalp so much. (I genuinely need to know!) 


Did you receive the Chic voxbox? Or have you used any of these products before? What do you think? 

*Disclaimer: as denoted by the asterisk (*) in the title of this post, I received these products in exchange for review. However, thoughts remain my own! You can read more about my disclosure policy here.

Product Review: Uniquely J Voxbox*

Product Review: Uniquely J Voxbox* | Writing Between Pauses

This is going to be a rather quick review. To start, I received three products in this Voxbox from Influenster and, not to give it away, they all fell a bit flat. It's hard to get excited about crackers and freezer bags, but I did my best!

Disclaimer: as always, the asterisk (*) in the title of this blog post denotes that I received these products free in exchange from review. However, my choice to feature them here is my own and all opinions are my own. You can read more about my disclosure policy here

What is Uniquely J? 

Uniquely J is the generic brand of Jet.com, a website that I know most for having somewhat bizarre commercials. Jet.com is a lot like Amazon, selling household goods on subscription services for cheaper prices. So basically, you sign up and get toilet paper autoshipped to your house every 6 weeks--so it's technically cheaper than buying it from the store. 

Uniquely J is their brand of just about everything: coffee, paper supplies, cooking supplies, cleaning supplies, snacks... They've got a bit of everything. You can check it out here

What I Received

In this voxbox, I received: Fig and Olive Large Crisps; Almond Chocolate Biscotti; and Freezer Bags

Mocha Almond Biscotti

Uh, yeah. Freezer bags. 

Freezer Bags

First things first, let's discuss what I liked: the packaging of these products is cute. I mean, it's really cute. The boxes are cute. Everything is cute. But then, you open them. 

Ok, it's not quite that dramatic. 

Fig and Olive Crisps

But I was pretty disappointed by the snacks because, well, they have the makings of everything I love. I love biscotti! I love crackers! I love those things! Yet, I wouldn't eat either of these things by choice. 

Let's break it down.

I'll start with the Fig and Olive Crisps. They're insanely sweet. Not sweet and salty. Not savory with some sweetness. They are sweet in the way that British people often describe American bread. (Yes, you're not alone, Brits. I, a born and bred American, also hate how sweet our bread is.) They are blisteringly, mouth-puckeringly sweet. I have no idea what you would eat these with, honestly. A dip might help reducing how teeth-numbingly sweet they are, but I honestly can't imagine what I would dip them in. Cheese? Gravy? The possibilities are all quite disgusting. On the plus side: Forrest likes them, but occasionally I catch him eating crayons. He is two years old, after all; his tastes aren't exactly discerning. 

Next, let's talk those Almond Chocolate Biscotti. Almond! Chocolate! Biscotti! Can you imagine? It sounds delicious, right? While the Fig and Olive Crisps are much too sweet for being a savory cracker, these biscotti are not sweet enough, despite being essentially a cookie. What is going on?! They are vaguely chocolatey, with bits of almond in them... but I wouldn't call them a biscotti. It was like two different kinds of blandness getting married to form another type of bland in the form of a cookie. They are aggressively bland in a way that is almost unsettling. And worse, they aren't even whole. This isn't a sleeve of little biscottis; it's a bag of essentially biscotti pieces. It's so bizarre! How can something that should be so easy to make taste amazing taste like I'm eating a piece of cardboard that's vaguely chocolatey? 

Needless to say... the two snack choices didn't make me very happy!

Then, of course, we have the Freezer Bags. I don't even know what to say about these! How do you review freezer bags? They zip. They have cute little designs on them, which isn't exactly my thing, but it's a nice touch. They seem to freeze well. They are quite thick and you get a lot in the package. It's hard to like or dislike freezer bags! 

It's funny because this voxbox had the other option of receiving cleaning supplies... I would much rather have gotten cleaning supplies, because I love a good window cleaner or wipe for my counter! These snacks have officially been put into the "treats for Forrest" bin and we've moved on from trying to make them work. But hey, the Uniquely J coffee does look really good and the prices certainly aren't bad. 

Beauty Review: L'Oreal Color Riche Shine Lipsticks*

Beauty Review: L'Oreal Color Riche Shine Lipsticks* | Writing Between Pauses

As always, the asterisk (*) in the title of this post indicates that I received this product free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, however. You can read more about my disclosure policy, and review standards, here

A few months ago, I decided to go cruelty-free. This has been harder than I expected, because many brands still test on animals and even if they don't, they are often owned by larger groups that test on animals. This is the case with L'Oreal, who has their own make up brand, as well as owning several other make up brands (like Kiehls). 

I read a great argument recently that talked about how it's ok to have an ideal (being cruelty free) but not sticking to it 100%. I consider myself a vegetarian these days, but sometimes I do eat meat--so what do I call myself? It's hard to know! However, it's ok to be imperfect. 

And while make up isn't a necessity, sometimes things just work. Take, for example, the L'Oreal Pro-Matte foundation; for about 3 months, it was my absolute favorite foundation. It's the closest match to my skin ever. It doesn't oxidize. And even better, it didn't break down throughout the day. And then, they reformulated and I was devastated. I realized how important that foundation was to me, how it made me feel like my skin was so beautiful. I believe whole-heartedly in being cruelty free when it comes to my cosmetics, but sometimes, like any imperfect human, I fall in love. 

The case could be made for these lipsticks as well. 

I received these L'Oreal Color Riche Shine lipsticks from Influenster in exchange for a review. Let's look at what L'Oreal has to say about them: 

Ultra-rich, ultra-radiant shiny lipstick. Glossy, high color finish for lips that Shine. Available in 16 luminous, high-definition shades.

Those are some promises, aren't they?! Truly, they aren't wrong: these are very, very high shine lipsticks and they are insanely pigmented. I received the shades Enamel Red (924), Lacquered Strawberry (920), and Burnished Blush (906). 

Enamel Red is a true red. Lacquered Strawberry is an extremely bright, hot pink. And Burnished Blush is a light, mauve-y pink shade. These are three fairly standard colors and, for that reason, I was a bit disappointed. Sometimes, I just want to try something outside of my standard red-pink-blush family. I'm a bit notorious for always wearing a red or mauve lip! 

Considering there are shades like Gleaming Plum (an almost neon purple), Varnished Rosewood, and Glossy Fawn, receiving three standard colors was a little wah-wah. 

That being said, I love the shades I received. I will probably wear all three of them throughout the year. I especially like Enamel Red. Despite being a traditional lipstick, with all the problems that come along with transfer, short wear time, and high shine, it felt really good on my lips: moisturizing and smooth. And even as it wore off, it left a decent enough stain of color so that I didn't get that annoying halo look. 

The only gripe I would have is that these lipsticks all require a pretty heavy lip liner, as well as primer. Why? Because I found them sinking into my skin around my lips and bleeding. I don't have fine lines (I say, my hand to my chest, looking shocked), but looking in the mirror after applying these, I briefly wondered if I do have fine lines. After a long talk with my mom, I was assured that I do not, in fact: these lipsticks just bleed very badly! Lip liner and primer (I used Bite Beauty's primer) works to keep it at bay. 

Were these lipsticks moisturizing? The website says that: 

Experience a hydrating and lasting chine effect coupled with a rich color pay-off. This lipstick's true color formula has 60% more oils, leaving lips comfortable and conditioned throughout the wear and for days after. 

Did my lips feel hydrated while wearing these lipsticks? Yes. Would I say it kept them hydrated for days? Absolutely not. However, if you're over how dry matte lips make you feel (trust me, I understand), these are a great option because they are so heavily pigmented! 

What's my final verdict?

Would I purchase these lipsticks on my own? Part of me wants to say yes, because they are great, hydrating, and have some gorgeous colors. But a larger part of me says that no, I wouldn't, because L'Oreal isn't a cruelty-free company and I want to stick to my guns. However, if you're looking for a hydrating, high pigment lipstick, these are a wonderful option for you.  

These lipsticks retail for $9.99 and are available from L'Oreal's website here

4 Tips for Winter Hair Care*

4 Tips for Winter Hair Care | Writing Between Pauses

While my skin has always been a struggle for me (as my post about my acne demonstrates), I've always been incredibly blessed to have good hair. My hair is naturally very dark (almost black); it grows incredibly fast; and it's a good texture (very fine, but I have a lot of hair... like double the amount most people have). In many ways, having good hair has made up for my bad skin; if nothing else, my hair always looks great. 

Aside from graying pretty early in life (my first patch of gray hair was discovered at age 11), my other hair is has always been having a dry scalp. How is it that I struggle with way too oily of a face, but a bone dry scalp? What is going on there!? 

Every winter, undoubtedly, my scalp starts to really struggle. It gets itchy and flaky, even when my hair is greasy. I either wash too much or too little--and I can't tell which is worse! I spend a fortune on fancy shampoos, trying to find something cruelty free to use... only to crawl back to Head & Shoulders because while it is chemically blue and tested on animals, damn, at least it works, right? 

This year, I started my research early. I wanted to avoid the Head & Shoulders crawl and find natural, cruelty free products that worked. I was lucky enough to receive a sample of Tea Tree Oil shampoo from Maple Holistics.

I decided to write up my 4 tips for hair care during the winter. These tips will keep your scalp clean, non-itchy, and moisturized, while ensuring your hair looks gorgeous. 

1. Find a Good Shampoo

Like I said, I feel like I spend a small fortune every winter trying to find a shampoo that will help my scalp--and yet, I always end up back at Head & Shoulders. I'm so glad I was able to find a shampoo that actually works. 

The Tea Tree Oil Shampoo from Maple Holistics* really is one of the best shampoos I've used for my scalp. It has a lovely, tea tree and rosemary oil scent and helps keep my scalp from flaking and getting too dry. Maple Holistics also has an amazing free sample program, so if you want to try some of their products, you can sign up for that here.

While it might not be the perfect shampoo, it's definitely worth a shot--and at $8.95 for a bottle, it's very affordable; as well, it's cruelty free and made with all natural ingredients. And for me, that's worth a lot! 

2. Shampoo When Your Hair Needs It

For a few years, there has been a back and forth about how often to wash our hair. Growing up, I was taught to wash my hair nearly every single day. Skipping a day, to my mom, was really gross. However, as I got older, I realized that washing my hair every day made my scalp really dry and my hair really frizzy. In college, I would go 2-3 days between washes, but I still kept a very strict schedule. Recently, my friend said that her dermatologist's advice was: "wash your hair when it needs it." 

God, that seems so simple, right? If your hair is greasy, wash it. If your scalp is dry and itchy, wash it. If your hair feels like it needs washed, wash it! Even if it was just yesterday the last time you washed it. You don't have to follow anyone else's schedule for their hair. 

3. Use Jojoba Oil 

I've seen lots of posts about using coconut oil for your scalp. I've used baby oil and olive oil in the past as well, but as I've written before, jojoba oil is the closest oil to what we produce naturally. Therefore, I just trust it more when it comes to moisturizing! Coconut oil made my scalp break out severely once (it is comedogenic, so never ever use it on your face... seriously), so I don't recommend it. However, a few drops of jojoba on my scalp at night before bed, especially when the weather is cold and dry helps my scalp to not be so itchy. 

4. Avoid Wearing Hats & Ponytails With Wet Hair

What's the number one cause of dry itchy scalp? Popping a hat on your hair when it is still wet or putting it into a ponytail or bun when it is still wet. This traps moisture on your scalp, which makes it a breeding ground for bacteria--causing dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and more. If you need to wear a hat, make sure you blow dry your hair thoroughly or let it air dry before putting it on; same with a ponytail. 


*Disclaimer: As always, use of a single asterisk in the post title denotes that I received free product or payment in exchange for this post. However, all recommendations and opinions remain my own! You can read more about my disclosure policy here