I am always on the lookout for green(er) beauty products that actually work, so when BeautyCrew offered to send me L'Oreal's new offering aimed at this market, I was more than willing to give the range a try. L'Oreal has launched a completely new range ...

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Chic Mummy - 5 new articles

Product Review: L'Oreal Botanicals Fresh Care Coriander Strength Source


I am always on the lookout for green(er) beauty products that actually work, so when BeautyCrew offered to send me L'Oreal's new offering aimed at this market, I was more than willing to give the range a try. L'Oreal has launched a completely new range of products, Botanicals Fresh Care, featuring four different collections based around four hero ingredients aimed at four individual hair concerns. 
  • Coriander: Strength Source (green)
  • Safflower: Rich Infusion (orange)
  • Geranium: Radiance Remedy (pink)
  • Camelina: Smooth Ritual (purple)
After a quick questionnaire, I was sent the Coriander Strength Source for Fragile Hair, designed to reinforce, revitalize and strengthen fragile hair from root to tip, which seemed perfect for my fine hair that is constantly being damaged by lightening my hair!

The Coriander Strength Source range is made up of four products, all containing Coriander Seed oil, and all completely free of parabens, silicones and colourants. L'Oreal claims the range will reduce breakage and fall-out, and promote new hair growth to help even the weakest hair find its better nature.  I was a bit wary about the fragrance - coriander is not something I usually associate positively with haircare - but was pleasantly surprised. The scent is a lovely earthy herbal, almost medicinal but very refreshing, and in no way overwhelming. It leaves your hair smelling clean and fresh all day long.



I can honestly say I think I've found my new holy grail hair care range! I have been using the entire range for a fortnight now, and my hair has never looked nor felt better.  After two weeks, my chemically lightened hair has definitely improved in condition - it is stronger, shinier and softer, with less breakage and a lot less hair falling out.  What I loved the most is that it left my hair bouncy and full of volume with clearly defined, non-frizzy waves, no mean feat for my fine, somewhat wavy, somewhat frizzy hair.


The Shampoo ($17.95) is a light gel texture, that foams only lightly (which is a surprise given it does contain SLES) and two pumps is enough for my shoulder length hair. I generally only shampoo once, not twice, and I continued doing that with this shampoo. It's not a conditioning shampoo, so your hair doesn't feel conditioned after using it on its own, but it doesn't feel dry or straw-like either. The shampoo comes in a 400ml pump bottle - it's great value for money, and the pump is really easy to use.

After shampooing, I follow with the Conditioning Balm ($12.95).  The texture of the conditioner is lovely - a thick cream - that is easily worked throughout the lengths of my hair. It de-tangles beautifully, and washes out quickly and easily, leaving my hair smooth and conditioned. What I really love about this conditioning balm is that it a) doesn't weigh down my fine and wavy hair at all, and b) allows me to go at least two days in between washing, without leaving me with greasy roots and dry ends.  I really love the packaging - a squeeze tube is so much more convenient in the shower for a thick balm, and there is less wastage then putting a thick conditioner in a pump bottle. 


The Conditioning Mask ($17.95) should be the hero product of the Coriander range - it is that amazing! It is thick, creamy and luxurious to use, and I apply after a quick towel dry of my hair after shampooing, combing through with a wide tooth comb. Three minutes later, I wash out to reveal hair that is deeply hydrated and repaired, but with absolutely no heavy or greasy feel. After my hair has dried it is soft, bouncy and light. I have been using it twice a week on my fine and wavy hair, and each time my hair improves more and more. I have even started using it on my daughter's hair, as she swims 5 days a week, and it has significantly improved the condition of her chlorine damaged hair. The lack of chemical nasties is also reassuring when using it on the sensitive skin of a 9 year old.

The Strength Potion ($17.95) is a leave in treatment that according to L'Oreal has even more significant  benefit than the mask! I apply to towel dried hair as my last step, mostly before letting my hair air dry, but occasionally before heat styling. The potion is a thin, almost watery serum, easily dispensed from the very cute dropper bottle, that I apply throughout my hair, including at my roots, unlike regular hair serums. I love that it is light and doesn't weigh down my hair at all, or make my roots greasy.

As you can see, I really loving this range, and recently purchased a whole replacement set the other day when my local drugstore had 40% off all "big brands". I think this range fills a nice gap in the market between your typical supermarket ranges (which I have never found to be any good on my colour treated hair), and the much higher priced salon ranges, and I can with certainty say that I am a convert!

PS: If you live in Australia, the entire range is on sale now at Priceline.





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Disclaimer: I was sent the range to try, with no obligation to provide a review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way. Further, there are no affliliate links in this post. I have included links simply to make it easy for my readers to find the products.
    


Mask Monday: Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Hydrating Modeling Mask



Hi everyone! Long time no see, and my apologies for that, but life has been super crazy!! I thought a good post to ease us all back in would be another installment of Mask Monday and today I am sharing a real winner with you, Dr Dennis Gross' Hyaluronic Marine Hydrating Modeling Mask.



This mask is one of the more unique masks I have used, and involves a little bit more work, but the results are outstanding; so much so that I am now onto my second box. The Modeling Mask is made up of two parts, a gel and a powder, that you mix in a bowl just before application. As usual, apply to a clean face, and then watch as the mask works its magic, turning from a goopy blue goo into a rubbery mask that my kids love peeling off at the end.

According to Dr Dennis Gross, the mask is:

A gel + powder transformative mask that delivers intense hydration to your skin.  Transforms from a gel texture to a solid, peel-off mask through a cooling chemical reaction in which an oxygen exchange removes impurities from the skin. Containing algin and hyaluronic acid, it delivers essential minerals and elements, and boosts moisture levels. Parched, lacklustre skin is left firm, plump and supple and the appearance of dry surface lines and pores minimized in just one treatment.

And it delivers on all of these claims!  You definitely feel the cooling effect as it sets on your skin, and once removed, my skin felt baby soft, plumped and refreshed, a feeling that lasted overnight and through into the next day. I have been using it weekly over the change from summer to autumn, always a problematic time for my skin, and it not only instantly makes my skin feel so much better, it has improved its texture and radiance over the past four weeks.


Application is simple, but as I said earlier, does involve more steps than the lazy girl sheet masks I have been using!
  • To use, mix a packet of Hyaluronic Cushion Gel (Step 1) with a packet of Activating Powder (Step 2) in a bowl. 
  • With the spatula (supplied), immediately spread the formula in a thick, even layer on clean, dry skin- starting from the bottom of your face and working in upward strokes, avoiding the eye area. The thicker and more even the application, the easier it is to remove the mask. 
  • The mask sets in about 5 minutes, but may be left on for up to 15 minutes for maximum hydration. 
  • To remove, lift off the mask and wipe away any excess with a damp cotton pad. Follow with your regular skincare regime.
I highly recommend the Hyaluronic Marine Hydrating Modeling Mask for anytime your skin needs that extra boost of hydration and radiance. While I have only used it so far at night before bed, from the results I've seen I think it would also be the perfect mask to use before a big event to really perk up your skin.

US$46/AUD$67 for 4 treatments.


  




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Sweet and Sour Meatballs

When I was growing up I lived in a country town, and the closest thing we got to ethnic food was the very Australian "Chinese" restaurant.  Despite loving (and being able to get) real Chinese food now, I still have huge nostalgia for the sweet and sour dishes we used to order, vividly red in colour, and so laden with MSG, fat and salt that I am surprised any of us made it out of the 80s in tact!

These Sweet and Sour Meatballs deliver all of that nostalgia, with none of the nasties! Served with rice and some stir fry veggies, these would make a complete meal, but they would also be great served with toothpicks for a retro spin on entertaining.


Sweet and Sour Meatballs


Meatballs:
1kg low fat beef mince

2 eggs
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (2 slices bread)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp grated ginger
1/4 cup milk

Sauce:
Juice from 2 x 440g tins pineapple pieces, pineapple reserved
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 red capsicum, diced


  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Combine the meatball ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Shape into meatballs and place into a casserole dish in a single layer.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
  5. While meatballs are cooking, combine sauce ingredients except for the capsicum and reserved pineapple in a small saucepan, and whisk over medium heat until sauce boils for 1 minute and sauce is thickened and glossy.
  6. Add in reserved pineapple and capsicum, and pour over meatballs once they are done.
  7. Bake for another 10 minutes, and then serve with steamed rice.
 





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Can I Really Wear My Yoga Pants All Day Long? An Athleisure Capsule Wardrobe


Ah, January, the month of resolutions that will be lucky to make it out of the month alive. Despite knowing that, I have resolved to make exercise regular part of my life, and almost half way through the month, I am sticking to it, with plans to step it up another level once school starts.  What that does mean, however, is a rethink of my daily wardrobe, and asking myself the question, "can I really wear my yoga pants all day long?"

The answer is, of course, a resounding yes! More than ever, athleisure has moved from being a trend to being an entire category of fashion. As more and more women realize the importance of health and fitness, they are integrating it into their daily lives. The key for me is to have clothes that are functional for my gym classes/Pilates/to and from the pool, while also looking chic and stylish when transitioning from school drop off to workout to errands to coffee with friends.

Basics


Athleisure Capsule

Just like any other wardrobe capsule, think basics first. Key pieces in neutral colours are a great place to start and will make it easy to build outfits that can take you to more places than just the gym. Begin with a well fitting pair of black compression capris/tights and a pair of joggers, a couple of black sports bras and 3 longer length tops. These basics will work together and with other items to create many different outfits to suit whatever your day throws at you. Obviously, the more times a week your workout, the more pieces you will need to invest in (or do the laundry more often!).

Fabric


Sometimes it is better to pay a little bit more for performance fabrics. Fabric that is moisture wicking, quick drying and odor resistant is the key to being able to go from the gym to a coffee shop without feeling icky.

The third piece


third pieces


A slouchy sweater, a cocoon cardigan, a well worn leather jacket or an open front vest provides the extra coverage that will transform your gym wear into an actual outfit.

Accessories


accessories

A quick change of shoe, the addition of a scarf, and a gym bag that doubles as a stylish tote can make all the difference with little to no effort.  Now, I'm not suggesting adding in a heel (let's leave that to the magazine stylists, shall we?), but switching out the trainers for a cool moto boot after spin class, or wearing sporty ballerinas to Pilates instead of flip flops can complete your stylish athleisure look.

Toiletries


Not technically part of the capsule wardrobe, but just as essential, I like to pack a toiletries bag with dry shampoo, face wipes, deodorant wipes, tinted sunscreen base, mascara and lip gloss. These six items take me from flushed to fresh in no time.



Early morning swim


When school goes back both the kids have early morning swim club and instead of the old me sitting and reading a book, I've decided to dive in as well. Track pants and a tank slip over a swimsuit on the way, but paired with a scarf and coordinating tote look simply stylish for the school run.

spin class
Throwing a longer length cocoon cardi over your spin class Lycra turns functional into fashionable when you add in some geometric silver jewellery and trade in the cycle shoes for a pair of packable ballet flats. Red lips an optional extra!


pilates

The graphic print tank and track pants are perfect for my pilates class and a simple pair of graphic studs won't get in the way. On a side note, I can't recommend the Nike Studio Wraps highly enough for pilates or barre class - perfectly grippy, but I can still feel my toes on the ground. After class, slipping on a pair of moto boots and silver aviators and grabbing a structured tote will take me through running all of my errands, and is even stylish enough to go on a quick lunch date with my hubby!

So as you can see, a well considered athleisure capsule is not only functional, but stylish as well, and will go a long way towards motivating you to get up and keep moving.


 




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Hawaiian Rice Salad


This vibrant salad is delicious on its own, but I like it even more as a side dish paired with grilled chicken.  Despite the long list of ingredients, the salad comes together really easily, and it makes a big batch so I store the leftovers in the fridge and we eat over a couple of days.


Hawaiian Rice Salad


3 cups jasmine/basmati rice
3 cups water
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
Fresh coriander, to serve

Dressing
4 spring (green) onions, white and pale green parts only, finely sliced
1 440g tin crushed pineapple
1/3 cup shredded (unsweetened) coconut
1 tbs curry powder
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs finely grated ginger, or 1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tbs vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook rice as directed on packet (I use a rice cooker) and fluff with a fork when cooked.
  2. Toss cooked rice, carrots, onions and the nuts in a large bowl.
  3. Combine dressing ingredients and pour over rice, stirring well.
  4. Top with coriander and serve warm or cold.






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