Beauty Review: L'Oreal Paris Rapid Reviver Conditioner*

Beauty Review: L'Oreal Paris Rapid Reviver Conditioner | Writing Between Pauses

My relationship with my hair is complicated.

For the last 12 years of my life, I’ve gone through a series of cut-into-pixie-and-grow-as-long-as-possible periods. I got my hair cut into a pixie just weeks before I had Forrest, then didn’t get a haircut for 3 years. (My hairdresser, as you can imagine, was as shocked as me. It really didn’t feel like 3 years, in my defense.)

In the last year and a half as well, I’ve developed an intensely dry scalp, that can be flaky, but mostly just deeply annoying. Sometimes, it’s tied to my cycle. Sometimes, it’s made worse or better by what I use in my hair. But the baseline for my scalp seems to be dry as hell, with a side of flakiness, and that’s just… my normal as an adult. It goes without saying: of all the terrible genetic traits to inherit, why this one (and my slow as heck metabolism)?

Whenever I look for products for my hair and scalp now, I have to be really clear about what I’m looking for: my hair itself isn’t necessarily dry, but my scalp is; my hair handles sulfate-free shampoos well, but not sulfate-free conditioners; harsh dandruff ingredients irritate my scalp worse; I need moisturizing, but not too much or it weighs down my hair… the list goes on.

When I received this conditioner for review, I was convinced I was going to hate it. The L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Rapid Reviver Deep Conditioner has the longest product name in the world (I struggled to shorten it for this blog post) and promises to “provide 2X more nourishment than any leading conditioner” and to be “lightweight, hydrating and moisturizing.” Two of those words mean the same thing, so… we’ll see.

Extraordinary Oil sounds way, way too heavy, doesn’t it? However, despite being called “Extraordinary Oil” and “a hair treatment” in various places both on the L’Oreal website and the tube, it also says it’s for daily use. Now, I subscribe to the idea that you don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) wash your hair every single day. So using a heavy conditioner every day seems like a lot.

How good is L'Oreal Paris conditioner

I use a lot of hair masks, so I was fully prepared for this conditioner to have the texture of a hair mask. However, it doesn’t. It’s a fairly standard conditioner when you get down to it; it doesn’t feel heavy and it gives your hair that slippy feeling when you apply it. I’ll admit to being fairly addicted to conditioner; I never don’t use it, because my hair can be unmanageable without it. I love the slippy, smooth feeling and even though I know that’s sulfates, and the internet tells me that sulfates are bad for my hair, I also don’t like not using it… because then my hair turns into a single tangle that I can’t get out! Give me sulfates in my conditioner or give me death!

Did I like this conditioner? Yes! I did. It was hydrating for my scalp and didn’t weigh down my hair as much as I thought it would. However, do I think it is anything special? Not necessarily. Despite all the fancy names, it doesn’t really promise to be anything besides a hydrating conditioner—which is what all conditioners do. Whenever I’m testing a hair product, I have to ask myself, over and over again, if I’m noticing a difference in my scalp (better or worse); preferably, it’s actually best that a product has no effect on my scalp. This product is one of those where it didn’t make my scalp better or worse, which is often a solid win for me.

Is this a particularly special conditioner? Not really. It didn’t necessarily wow me in terms of making my hair look any different from any other conditioner. It should be said, again: I don’t really have dry hair, just a dry scalp, and my hair isn’t damaged from heat treatment or hair dye. The bonus is this is only around $4-6 depending on which drug store you go to. (The downside is that L’Oreal Paris tests on animals.) If you’re looking for a good, affordable conditioner, and you struggle with hair that is dry or damaged, this is a great option.

Would I repurchase? It depends. I think if I started heat treating my hair more, I would probably look for something similar (but cruelty free) to use, as it is really hydrating. But this specific product? Probably not.

Disclaimer: As denoted by the asterisk (*) in the title of this blog post, I received this product in exchange for review. If you’d like to learn more about my disclosure policy, click here.

How to Find the Right Hair Mask for Your Hair Type

How to Find the Right Hair Mask for Your Hair Type | Writing Between Pauses

I do a lot of hair care. Like, a lot. I've written reviews about all the shampoos and hair masks I've tried over the last year. 

If you read my hair care posts, you know I've been struggling with a dry scalp that gets very bad, then gets better, then gets worse... no matter what I do. I'm excited to tell you guys I found the culprit: it's hormonal. Yeah, chalk that up to another unfortunate side effect of being female, I guess; some people struggle with a dry scalp at the same point in their cycle every single month. Once I started tracking my scalp problems in my cycle-tracking app, I noticed that my scalp got much drier between when I ovulate and when I start my period. Every. Single. Month. 

Hair masks for thin hair

So, that's exciting! At least I've found an answer, after a year of struggling. I use hair masks and heavy conditioning on my scalp just before when I know it's going to start getting bad and I've noticed a huge improvement. 

However, I get asked by almost everyone I know: how do you know what hair mask to pick for your hair type? 

A lot of hair masks are designed for hair that is not like mine. And I'll admit right now that I have a very basic, easy hair type. There is nothing special about my hair! There seems to be gaps at both ends of the spectrum for hair: most masks are designed for people with straight-to-wavy hair that is thick and not too curly. A lot of people are left out that way, but don't worry, hope isn't lost! I've still found some great hair masks. 

Regardless of your hair type, I have a few tips for picking the right hair mask for you. 

1. Read the entire packet. 

This goes without saying, but read the entire packet that you're looking at! I've make the mistake (one too many times) of tossing a few hair masks into my basket and then when I get home, realizing they are way too heavy for my hair type. 

There are some types of oil that work better for different types of hair. If you have very curly, coarse hair then your hair can withstand using things like shea and coconut oil. But for finer hair, those oils can be too heavy and cause build up; fine hair works best with jojoba and other light seed oils. Paying attention to ingredients is a big step towards finding the right mask for you. 

2. Know what your hair needs.

Is your hair dry? Or does it get easily tangled? Do you need to add shine back to your hair? Or are you trying to grow it out? 

Depending on what you need, that will determine your mask type. Because my hair is quite long and my scalp needs extra conditioning, I often buy masks that are designed for dry hair; I use them on both my scalp and my hair. However, I will often also buy masks that advertise themselves as sealing (to help with preventing split ends). Again: read the packet fully and know what you're looking for. 

Here are a few recommendations I have for different hair needs!

For Damaged Hair

For Dry Hair

For Hair Growth

3. You don't have to use the entire packet. 

Many hair masks come in packets that seem to suggest they are a single use. (If you're using from a tub, this doesn't apply! But we will get to how much mask to use). If you have very dry, damaged hair, you might need to use a lot of a hair mask; however, just because it comes in a packet doesn't mean you can't use half and get an extra conditioning. This also helps you avoid waxy build up if you have fine hair. (Oh and it saves money, of course!) 

Most people don't need to condition their scalps. In fact, most masks say to avoid your scalp (as this can make your hair greasier). I don't subscribe to that logic because my scalp is the part of my hair that needs moisturizing! However, most people can get by with masking just the bottom 50-75% of their hair. Really! So if you want to try a hair mask that is perhaps heavier than what you would typically use for your hair type, remember: you can only use half! 

4. Don't be afraid to try a few things. 

I love hair masks and I've used a ton... but I've also found myself thinking, this mask didn't do anything. And that's ok! Not every mask is going to be a miracle worker. But when you find the mask that works for you, it will be worth all the duds you found along the way. And one person's dud (Pacifica's Banana Love mask, for me) could be someone else's holy grail! 

This is why I recommend buying packets of hair masks (or getting samples) first, then splurging on a tube or tub! That way you aren't stuck with a lot of something that you just won't use. As well, when it comes to repairing damage or rehydrating dry hair, it won't be an overnight or single use shift; it will require a lot of change on your part. For example, if you have split ends, a keratin-based hair mask can help--but you'll have to use it regularly, alongside avoiding additional head damage and stress damage, at the same time! Hair masks are great, but they aren't miracle workers. 

Do you use hair masks? What are your favorites? 

5 Short Hair Styles to Try this Spring

Short hair can be a huge pain. It can also be really, incredibly cute. 

I have followed the pattern (over and over again) of getting a pixie cut, growing it out, and then cutting it again... right when I'm done with the awkward growing out phase. And the awkward growing out phase is the worst

For this post, I wanted to share some short hair styles for spring. But I wanted to focus on that particular length of hair that is neither pixie length short nor long enough for a ponytail, or bun, or anything. It's that Super Awkward Length that everyone who has ever grown out a pixie cut remembers with horror. You have a little length. You have a little room to work. But it's still... not... enough. 

These hair styles are for you, fellow awkward hair length girls! 

1. Try this flatiron trick for waves

When in doubt, give your hair some texture. (If you already have curly hair, you're good.) Almost everyone looks good with a textured bob or lob. I love this tutorial from the Beauty Department on the flatiron trick, which I have only recently mastered. 

2. Try some cute braids

Short hair can get really annoying because it's always in your face. I love using braids to get it out of my eyes. This tutorial is pretty easy and has clear instructions (for the braiding challenged... like me). 

3. Do a half top knot

Thank god the 90s are back in style and we can say things like "half top knot" without getting a look of absolute disgust in return. I love wearing my hair in half ponytails, but it can get a little boring day after day after day. A half top knot, with a little fun texture, is a blessing. 

4. Try a short hair chignon

I love this tutorial because 1) it's a video! and 2) it is actually pretty easy. I did it myself! The idea of getting short hair into a chignon sounds daunting, but it's actually very easy. 

5. Try milkmaid braids

Listen: I cannot braid to save my life. I would need assistance for this one. But if you are better at braiding than me, give it a whirl! I love the look of milkmaid braids and this, like a chignon or the first braiding tutorial, can get your hair out of your face and eyes, while still looking cute. Plus, during the summer, you can get your hair off of your neck. 

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I Cut All My Hair Off (Again)

My anxiety has two settings: I don't care (at all, not even a little bit) or I can't stop thinking about it. 

Strangely enough, one of the things that I don't care about at all is labor and delivery. I can't be bothered to think about it. I know it's going to happy. I know I'm supposed to be scared that it will hurt or be awful or whatever. I know those things. But I just cannot care. 

Instead, the thing I compulsively worried about was this: what am I going to do with my hair when I'm in labor?? 

This is a truly ridiculous thing to worry about when it comes to having a baby, but it's what my brain decided to fixate on. Would I remember hair ties? If I told Danny to buy me hair ties, what kind of atrocities would I end up with (rubber bands? the ones with the metal clasps??)? I'm a hair twirler too, especially when I'm anxious, tired, or in pain. In labor, I knew I'd be tearing my hair out of a ponytail every few minutes, only to put it back in the ponytail, and repeat. 

The solution was obvious. It was staring me right in the face: I needed to cut my hair off. 

Once upon a time, I was just a college hipster living in Idaho. 

Once upon a time, I was just a college hipster living in Idaho. 

For having had a pixie cut for so long, I've become strangely attached to long hair. My long(er) hair has become part of my identity, even though I mostly just put it in a bun most of the time. Having gained weight in the last few years, and gaining more since getting pregnant, I felt afraid that if I cut my hair, it would betray the changes my body had gone through. I was really, really scared that I wouldn't look as cute as I used to with short hair and that people would clue in to the fact that I had gotten, well, considerably larger than I used to be. 

My long hair was a security blanket: I used it to hide, to hide the reality of what I look like and what I feel I look like. Even though I knew I look really good with short hair, I was terrified that this time, I wouldn't. 

However, as time passed, it got harder and harder for me to do my hair every day. I knew I looked disheveled. I knew I looked like a mess. I knew I looked like I'd just rolled out of bed (in many instances, I had). Something had to be done. Something drastic. 

At exactly 35 weeks (last Friday), I cut all my hair off. 

Ok, maybe not all of it: most of it. 

And you know what? 

I didn't look awful. I did have a terrifying moment, post-haircut, where I walked into Target and saw my reflection in the sliding glass doors: do I look like a tick?????!!! You know, big body, little head? I became paranoid, rushed through Target, and drove home... only for Danny to tell me that I looked amazing and, in his words, "more put together." 

Which, really, was the goal. 

My fears were unfounded. I'd been terrified that, without my long hair, my much fuller face and burgeoning double chin would be revealed. However, I've found with a pixie cut, those things are actually less obvious: instead, people focus on my eyes or my features or, best of all, my belly.