My Scalp & Hair Care Routine 2020 (1A, Low Porosity, Thick, Long Hair)

If you read my Hair Care Haul post, you already know that last year I began an overhaul on my scalp and hair care routine. My routine prior to that was standard – scalp serum, shampoo, conditioner,  hair serum, air dry most times, only blow dry when necessary. I found it all very tedious because I have a lot of hair and long hair, I just wanted it to be over with as soon as possible. I was definitely never as attentive to my hair back then as I am now. My scalp and hair were barely problematic for most of my life; It wasn’t until I started working in aviation and bleached my hair multiple times that I started developing problems. I would spend most of my money on scalp serums that definitely helped, but didn’t really pay attention to the other products as much – as long as my hair felt smooth and didn’t irritate my scalp, it was okay in my books.

I’m sure many of you have seen Holistic Habits and Organically Anna, the ladies with long, healthy, gorgeous hair. They pretty much inspired me to pay attention to my scalp and hair more. Also just me getting older and realizing I banked on my hair just being dead straight and with Asian genes equating to unproblematic. Oh how that is not the case!

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Using the recommended products and applying their tips and tricks, I have been doing the following routine for about a year since purchasing the recommended products to achieve and maintain healthy hair.


ABOUT MY SCALP & HAIR

My Scalp
Used to be super inflamed when I bleached for years, to the point where I developed a disgusting amount of dandruff. Now it is fairly balanced – no dandruff, but scalp gets itchy by the 2nd day after washing. Scalp can get quite oily. I tried “adjusting” to wash my hair only 1-2x a week for a year and it never adjusted (yes, even without using heat, using SLS and silicone-free shampoo / conditioners, dry shampoo).

My Hair
Long (just above waist). Dark brown that gets natural highlights in the summer, tips are dyed because I’ve been growing out my natural hair – haven’t dyed my hair since December 2017. Pretty much straight 24/7 – although when I get a haircut there is a slight wave. Would say mostly my hair is 1A. Low porosity. Not thick like typical Asian hair but still considered thick (if that makes sense). It didn’t look unhealthy, but I personally felt like my hair was lifeless and becoming dull.


MY SCALP AND HAIR ROUTINE

1x Week/Every Other Week:

Scalp Treatment: On a wash day, I massage the Innate Life Scalp Treatment all over my scalp by sectioning off my hair and rubbing the treatment on my hair line. Once I have covered my entire scalp, I massage it for 3-5 minutes, then let the treatment sit for 2 hours before shampooing with a clarifying shampoo twice (Aveeno Scalp Soothing Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo) and a Calia Natural Shampoo. I have to shampoo my hair 3 times to get the treatment out, so that’s why I like following up with Calia Natural.

Conditioning Treatment: I have tried Calia Natural’s Intensive Conditioner, Briogeo’s Don’t Despair Repair, Innate Life’s Herbal Hair Mask… None satisfy me! I stopped using a conditioning treatment for a bit and just leave plain conditioner in my hair for longer. Currently I am trying to start to use Coconut Oil on my ends more consistently; It is able to penetrate the hair shafts, create a water-blocking layer, and prevent protein loss. I have a lot of hair, so it’s definitely the more affordable option!

Every Other Day:

Shampoo & Condition: After much trial and error, 1-2x a week hair washing is not for me. The buildup of oils is too much that no dry shampoo can help, also my scalp becomes irritated. It’s felt a lot better since giving up that endeavour and just washing it when I need to. I alternate my Calia Natural shampoos and conditioners depending on my mood.  I’ve been loving this brand because it doesn’t irritate my scalp at all, and the shampoos and conditioners are actually pH balanced to match the pH of your scalp and hair shaft! I make sure to massage the shampoo on my scalp for a few minutes, and leave conditioner on the mid-shaft to my ends for a few minutes as well. I recently started using a clarifying shampoo on days where I feel like my hair looks weighed down. The Calia Shampoos barely lather and I don’t see any cleansing agent in the ingredient list, but my hair always feels clean after using them and never oily. Sometimes my hair starts to look a little weighed down if I use them too much, so I use my clarifying shampoo (Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo) to help add back volume.

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Drying: I like to use a microfibre towel (Kitsch Microfibre Towel) to absorb as much water out of my hair as possible and I find it helps minimize hair breakage(you can also use an old T-shirt). I usually have it on for 30 minutes to an hour depending how chill I am lol. I find doing this helps lessen the amount of time I apply heat on my hair. When I am ready to dry my hair, I apply a leave-in conditioner all over, with a focus on my ends (I have been rotating between Briogeo Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioning Spray and Beach Cosmetics Mellow Out Leave-in Conditioning Detangler). I keep the dryer a fair distance away from my scalp and hair, and I switch to the cool setting once I feel that my hair has dried enough. I have tried air drying my hair for years and frankly I haven’t noticed much of a difference for what it does to my hair other than it being annoying and causing more frizz to my seemingly straight hair.

Every Day:

 

Apply Hair Serum to Ends: The Innate Life Rose Hair Elixir is the first oil-based hair serum that I actually really like. It moisturizes my ends really well, has a faint rose scent, and I only need a few drops! Occasionally I use the Hask Monoi Nourishing Shine Oil; While I like that it smells nice and softens my hair, I find it’s not as long-lasting. Silicone-based products tend to build up in your hair, this one just disappears lol. Usually my hair likes silicone-based hair serums, I guess this one just can’t compete with the bleach! On occasion, I also like to spray my hair again with leave-in conditioner to make my hair feel softer (and smell good).

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Brush hair 2-3x a day: I have been using the TEK Oval Brush religiously for over a year to brush my hair. Wooden brushes are recommended to help with scalp massage, distribute your natural oils through your hair strands, and prevent excessive breakage. I personally haven’t noticed a difference with hair oil distribution, but I love it for scalp massages and it has been one of the gentler brushes I have used on my hair. It’s tips are rounded and I had a hard time trying to dupe it. I like that I can put some pressure on my scalp and get a nice, comfortable massage going without it getting tender up there.


And that is is for my current scalp and hair routine! I honestly never thought I’d be the type of person to put this much effort into my hair, but I’ve really been noticing the benefits from all this TLC and the difference when I get lazy. I have also received compliments from friends and family that my hair looks shinier and thicker, and feels softer! I actually find my haircare more relaxing and contributes to my #SelfCare more than skincare lately!

I’m almost finished all my Calia Natural Shampoos and Conditioners and have actually purchased the Innate Life Herbal Shampoo and Conditioner to try out. I also purchased their new Neroli Hair Primer and Leave-In Conditioner! I actually wanted to repurchase the Beach Cosmetics Mellow Out Leave-in Conditioning Detangler, but it looks like they’re not operating anymore 😥

Overall I find this routine has been working really well for me, but my curiosity has peaked with the Capillary Schedule (Cronograma Capilar) and I may be trying that soon! Have you tried it before? Let me know in the comments, I’m super intrigued by it.

As always, I hope you found this helpful and informative! I had fun talking about something other than skincare, so I may be doing some more scalp and hair related content in the future.

xo, M


The following are affiliate links and codes. If you use them to make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Thank you so much if you decide to use them! If you feel uncomfortable, feel free to google a new link.

CALIA NATURAL
$5 OFF YOUR FIRST PURCHASE:
https://prz.io/6OaJEzU1

THE INNATE LIFE
USE “MICH” TO GET 15% OFF YOUR FIRST PURCHASE
http://www.theinnatelife.co/discount/MICH

Aveeno Scalp Soothing Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo
Walmart.com

Briogeo Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioner
Sephora

TEK Oval Brush
Amazon.ca

Kitsch Microfiber Hair Towel
Well.ca

Hask Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Shine Oil
Ulta

REVIEW: The Innate Life Small Complete Hair Care Bundle

Inspired to take care of my scalp more + the desire to try something new, I purchased Toronto-based brand Innate Life products and had to share my thoughts on their products!

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I’ve strayed away from Green Beauty marketing-based companies when it comes to skincare, but when it comes to my hair I find that’s when these types of products benefit me the most! I decided to purchase their Small Complete Hair Care Bundle with the small sizes of the following products:

  • Scalp Treatment for Problematic Scalp
  • Herbal Hair Mask
  • Rose Hair Elixir

As I just mentioned, the Innate Life is a Toronto-based Canadian brand that takes an ayurvedic approach to hair care! Every product contains their signature blend of the following ayurvedic herbs, all supposed to promote either hair growth and overall scalp health:

  • Bhringaraj
  • Brahmi
  • Amla
  • Tulsi
  • Neem

My personal opinion: I do believe traditional medicines serve a purpose and have some promise since it’s based off of thousands of years of trial and error, which is why I occasionally like using these kinds of products. It is consistent long-term use for potentially long term gain, and sometimes it’s hard for them to compete with new Western medicine, especially when you’re living a modern lifestyle of different  (and more often than not, a lot more) stresses (environment, food, etc.).

The Innate Life Small Complete Hair Care Bundle with tax cost $55.53 USD / $76.19 CAD have used this bundle for a couple of months now, so I am ready to share my thoughts!


Scalp Treatment for Problematic Scalp

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Hair growth starts at the root. The Scalp Treatment is the ultimate product for hair growth because it nourishes and stimulates the scalp. It’s packed with natural goodness that will benefit your scalp and hair in ways you never thought possible! Used a couple times a week, The Scalp Treatment will provide intense hydration and repair the scalp for ultimate growth. It’s relaxing herbal scent makes it an essential part of any self-care day.

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AMOUNT: 2oz
INDIVIDUAL PRICE: $20 USD

Coconut Oil as the main oil is also great for hair health, for it is able to penetrate the hair shafts, create a water-blocking layer, and prevent protein loss. The ayurvedic and other plant extracts in the list are shown in herbal medicine to have soothing properties – definitely a must when applying potent essential oils on the scalp and trying to lower irritation from buildup. The essential oils listed, particularly Rosemary Oil, has a study on how it contributed to hair growth (Rosemary Oil was compared to be just as effective as Minoxidil (key active in Rogaine) but without irritation!). Pair all of these ingredients with the act of scalp massaging, it sounds like this is a go-to product for literally getting your head in the game of scalp health.

I’ll leave the following links below if you’re interested in the read. PLEASE NOTE: Just because some studies were done, doesn’t mean that it’s 100% safe and proven to be used in such a manner. Only until your country’s governing body passes ingredients (in this case, essential oils) as a drug for use in such a manner (in specific concentrations), these are just the beginning of studies and any use otherwise is anecdotal.

Human studies:

2015 Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial

Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous Tissue

In vitro & in vivo:
Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage.

Animal studies:

2016 Study Hair Growth-Promoting Effects of Lavender Oil in C57BL/6 Mice

Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic signs

USAGE: 2 hours before I planned on washing my hair, every wash. My scalp was quite irritated at the time, and I confirmed with Innate Life that I was able to use this every wash (for me that’s every 2-3 days).

SCENT: Light herbal scent, the Peppermint Oil is the most noticeable scent.

TEXTURE: Runny, make sure to take little amounts rather than a lot in one go.

APPLICATION: Parted my hair in sections, and massaged thin layers directly on the scalp. After my entire scalp area was covered, I massaged it for 3-5 minutes.

FEEL: While massaging, I felt my scalp heating up. Not in an irritating way, moreso that there was a lot of blood circulation gong on. This feeling lasts from 30 minutes to an hour.

WASH: Need to shampoo twice to make sure all the oils from my hair are out.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON THE SCALP TREATMENT FOR PROBLEMATIC SCALP

PROS:

  • My scalp became less itchy; Usually it gets itchy by the 2nd day, and I haven’t experienced that since using this treatment
  • In combination with the shampoo and conditioner I am using (see Haircare Haul), I’ve been told my hair looks fuller at the front
  • I’ve noticed baby hairs that I usually don’t see finally sit on my head differently and look more visible (they already existed, the photo does not show brand new growth)
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CONS:

  • Not a fan of the clear, jar packaging. It is great that it’s in glass, the essential oils act as a natural preservative, and I can keep it in a dark cabinet, but it should be in an opaque package with a small dispenser to further prevent any ingredient degradation.

Overall I have seen benefits while using the Innate Life Scalp Treatment. My scalp feels less irritated, baby hairs are coming out to play, and it is not difficult to wash out.


Herbal Hair Mask

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Dry and damaged hair rejoice! The Herbal Hair Mask is the answer to your prayers. This intensive once-a-week hair mask has the power to naturally transform hair into a silky dream. Formulated with over 15 plant-based botanicals, The Herbal Hair Mask keeps hair soft, silky, and shiny. Natural detanglers leave strands tangle-free and manageable. This Mask also reverses damage caused by heat tools and hair dyes. For sad-looking locks, The Herbal Mask is sure to cheer them up!

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AMOUNT: 4oz

INDIVIDUAL PRICE: $25 USD

USAGE: 2 hours before I planned on washing my hair, once a week alongside the Scalp Treatment on dry hair. I tried damp and after-conditioning as well; I did not notice a difference between the application methods, so I stuck with the pre-wash.

SCENT: Citrusy Lavender. Definitely took a handful of whiffs while applying it!

TEXTURE: Light cream.

APPLICATION: Massaged product in from the mid-length to ends on dry hair, making sure it was properly coated.

FEEL: Like a light oil, not as overwhelming as Coconut Oil on its own.

WASH: Rinses out pretty easily without using shampoo at the ends.

OVERALL THOUGHTS OF THE HERBAL HAIR MASK

PROS:

  • Smells divine – I definitely enjoyed this while applying.

CONS:

  • Hair feels the same, nothing crazy different
  • I get similar results from just leaving conditioner in my hair for a couple of minutes

Overall this was my least favourite product out of the 3. Not just the Innate Life Herbal Hair Mask, but I find conditioning masks in general don’t do much for my hair. Maybe my hair is less damaged than I thought? If you’re looking for a light hair mask, still consider this one – lots of other users have benefitted from this hair mask!


Rose Hair Elixir

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The Rose Hair Elixir is the Holy Grail product of hair care. Formulated with over 15 organic oils, this Elixir is potent and serves a number of purposes. It can be used daily or whenever your hair needs a quick pick me up. It can be used on dry hair to nourish split ends, tame frizzy hair, repair damaged hair and add shine. This little bottle does it all! It even works as a heat protectant before styling or on damp hair as a leave-in treatment. If that’s not enough for you, it’s intoxicating rose smell will have you coming back for more.

AMOUNT: 20ml

INDIVIDUAL PRICE: $15 USD

USAGE: 2 times a day, morning and night before brushing my hair.

SCENT: Starts off smelling like rose. It isn’t overwhelming, but I definitely liked sniffing my hair throughout the day. After a few hours the scent wears off and your ends smell like a mix of oils.

TEXTURE: Similar to a silicone-based hair serum, but feels like an oil, if that makes sense…

APPLICATION: Apply 4 drops to my mid-length to ends, more of a focus on the ends.

FEEL: Does not weigh down my hair and does not leave an oily look.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON THE ROSE HAIR ELIXIR

PROS:

  • First oil-based hair serum that performs well
  • Ends feel very soft and healthy
  • Lovely, subtle scent of rose

CONS:

  • Another deduction for packaging; Clear bottle and the dropper doesn’t even reach the bottom, you’d have to poor out the oil when you’re near the end

Overall this is my favourite oil-based hair serum I have tried to date. I personally preferred silicone-based hair serums because I saw better results, but I’m happy to have discovered the lovely formula that is the Innate Life Rose Hair Elixir.


FINAL THOUGHTS

OVERALL PROS:

  • All products have very promising ingredients that have potential to contribute to scalp and hair health, particularly Coconut Oil, Amla, and Rosemary Oil
  • Fairly affordable price and lasts fairly long considering I have long hair
  • Quick delivery once ordered – being in Toronto in particular it takes 3-5 business days
  • Saving $10 when buying the bundle as opposed to the individual products
  • The Scalp Treatment in particular was the catalyst for paying more attention to my scalp, leading down the endless hole that is haircare

OVERALL CONS:

  • The packaging on the Scalp Treatment and Rose Hair Elixir needs to be updated for better function and product preservation
  • Just like other brands, I am not a fan of the scare-tactics type of marketing; They use the “no chemicals” and “non-toxic” approach to their products. If they changed their marketing to show the potential plant power going on in their products and promote these as beneficial chemicals, they could definitely gain more of a following and trust with their brand

OVERALL IN-BETWEEN FEELS:

  •  I’m not sure if they mean “made from scratch” from a home setting or in a lab. Not to say it is a bad thing, it is to point out general caution to anyone looking at their products. They are all wash-off anyways and I haven’t experienced any negative side effects.
  • Scalp Treatment and Herbal Hair Mask can be left on overnight, but I didn’t notice much of a difference than if I were to just keep it in for 2 hours

The Small Bundle is a great introductory purchase for the Innate Life products. On top of the sensorial experience from each product, 2/3 products actually delivered for my hair type and have played an essential role in gaining and maintaining healthy scalp and hair. It was easy to consistently use these products, especially knowing that they wouldn’t run out so fast.

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I already repurchased their Long Hair Bundle which contains full sizes of the Scalp Treatment (Problematic Scalp) and the Rose Hair Elixir. They’re definitely part of the reason I’ve been loving my hair state lately and will continue using them and supporting a Canadian brand!

Use “MICH” * to get 15% off your first purchase:
http://www.theinnatelife.co/discount/MICH *

This is an affiliate code and link. If you use this link to make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Thank you so much if decide to use it! If you feel uncomfortable, feel free to google a new link.

Have you tried these Innate Life products? They also have a shampoo and conditioner, let me know what you think about them in the comments if you’ve tried!

xo, M

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HAIRCARE HAUL: She’s a big one!

Hey everyone!

I haven’t done a hair specific post before, but I’d thought no better time then now since I bought a LOT of items to improve my scalp and hair.

I’ve tried every single product listed below, but will wait another month to give them proper reviews. All you have to know for now is I’ve been getting positive comments on how my hair has been looking! My friend says it visibly looks smoother, my mother even noticed it looks thicker and fuller, particular at the front, and I’ve noticed my hair feels super soft despite having bleached/dyed ends.

My hair:  Long (underboob length). Dark brown that gets natural highlights in the summer, tips are dyed because I’ve been growing out my natural hair – haven’t dyed my hair since December 2017. Pretty much straight 24/7 – although when I get a haircut there is a slight wave. Would say mostly my hair is 1A. Low porosity. Not thick like typical Asian hair but still considered thick (if that makes sense).

My Scalp: Used to be super inflamed when I bleached for years, to the point where I developed a disgusting amount of dandruff. Now it is fairly balanced – no dandruff, but scalp gets itchy by the 2nd day after washing. Scalp can get quite oily. I tried “adjusting” to wash my hair only 1-2x a week for a year and it never adjusted (yes, even without using heat, using SLS and silicone-free shampoo / conditioners, dry shampoo).


CALIA NATURAL

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Broken record intro, yes, I heard about this from Holistic Habits lol.

I actually contacted Calia Natural customer service because they actually have such a huge selection of products, catered to any hair type! After explaining to them my current scalp and hair situation, they recommended for me the Purifying line for dry hair, the Balancing line, and to do a conditioning mask every so often. I opted for the smallest sizes of their Purifying Shampoo, Balancing Conditioner, and Intensive Conditioner. I’ve used these a handful of times and holy moly, my hair feels AMAZING. I’m no stranger to SLS-free, silicone-free shampoos and such. I’ve actually been using them for years. I think the biggest standout about their products is that they are attentive to the pH of their products. Their shampoos are around pH 5.5 (like the scalp) and conditioners around pH 4.5 (like the hair shaft). I am VERY impressed with these products so far, and totally get the hype around them.


THE INNATE LIFE + HASK

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This brand has also been mentioned by Holistic Habits, but it was actually OrganicallyAnna’s review that convinced me to give this the Innate Life a go. I purchased their small bundle which contains their Scalp Treatment for Problematic Scalp, Herbal Hair Mask and Rose Hair Elixir. I have had an irritated scalp for years, and have always bought serums to help. Not once however, did I ever intently massage my scalp, or did I ever use something so oil-based for it before! I tried coconut oil in the past and honestly w-t-f is the point if I need to do 2-4 shampoos to get it out!? So far though the Scalp Treatment has been fairly easy to wash out, and very enjoyable to use! I love the scent of the Herbal Hair Mask, but it performs kinda meh; I’ll have to try it in different ways to see how it performs best.

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Usually for hair oils, silicone always performs the best for me, hence why I purchased an amazingly affordable one from Hask – their Monoi Nourishing Shine Oil. I love how a small amount goes a long way and makes my bleached, dyed ends feels soft. However, I am equally as impressed and more obsessed with the smell from the Innate Life’s Rose Hair Elixir. O-M-G, yes, you smell like roses for majority of the day if you use this in your hair. Both hair oils have great scents actually, not super strong, quite subtle, but I prefer the natural scent from the Rose Hair Elixir.


BEACH COSMETICS

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After giving spot-on recommendations, I trusted OrganicallyAnna with another one of her favourites, Beach Cosmetics Mellow Out Leave-In Conditioning Detangler. After having horrid results from using Carina Organics Sweet Pea Leave-In Conditioner, I steered clear from leave-in conditioners for a while. I tried a sample-size of the Briogeo one and actually seemed decent, but I opted to support a more local brand made by a Canadian actress! I’ve used this detangler the least amount of times compared to the other products, but I still enjoyed using it the couple of times I did! It’s a lovely fine spray, leaves my hair actually detangled, feeling soft, and smelling like a cookie! It’s a bit too faux-fragranced for my liking, yet I can’t stop smelling my hair and feeling delicious. Either way while it’s in my hair it’s not overpowering and I don’t smell it unless I willingly sniff my hair (admittedly more often than usual). I may consider the Briogeo one in the future but for now I’m happy with the one I just got!


TEK BRUSHES + KITSCH

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The only tools / accessories purchased in this haul! I feel like almost every channel I watched, TEK Brushes were ALWAYS mentioned! And on top of that, I haven’t found a brush that looks quite like it (well, I did, but the quality was poo-poo). I caved and bought TEK’s Oval Brush, which I have been loving! Basically a wooden brush is supposed to help massaging your scalp, help distribute your natural oils throughout your hair strands, and not cause a lot of breakage to your hair when brushing. So far the head massages have been nice and gentle, and I can’t really tell if the “oil distribution” part is doing much. Either way this brush definitely performs and is great quality! As for the Kitsch Microfiber Hair Towel Wrap – I like how microfiber absorbs a lot of water from my hair, for this has helped reduce the amount of heat I use significantly! I already had a microfiber cloth, but Kitsch offered a turban towel so I had to get it. I’m happy to report that it fits all my hair easily!

Honourable Mention: Revlon One-Step Dryer and Volumizer. Check out my Instagram post on it if you want to know more about why I love this tool!


And that’s that for the haul! I’m going to attempt to explain my haircare routine in the future, and I’ll be reviewing some of the products at a later date (I’m thinking July, since some of these products are made by Canadians!).

xo, M