Garnier Fructis Grow Strong

Garnier Grow Strong Shampoo and ConditionerGarnier Fructis Grow Strong Shampoo & Conditioner
photo from Target

Intended this for publishing on Monday, but apparently I’m awesome at WordPress and it came out a little early. Don’t worry, the schedule is correct for the rest of the week!

First things first: I received Garnier Fructis Grow Strong Shampoo and Conditioner for free to try courtesy of BzzAgent (and, of course, Garnier). I was not paid to create this content. Anyone can join BzzAgent for free and qualify for BzzCampaigns – you receive free product provided you agree to review it.

Even though my current shampoo and conditioner situation is working out, I’m open to trying products from brands I’ve had luck with. I used Garnier Fructis products with relative success for years when the brand was new-ish. Since then, the brand’s offerings have changed a lot and I’m less familiar with their landscape. Garnier Fructis Grow Strong, which is paraben free and vegan, claims to support hair by making it 10x stronger. I tried it to find out.

The two stars of the Garnier Fructis Grow Strong duo are (per Garnier’s label) Apple Extract and Ceramide.

Apple Extract

In reality, this means it contains malic acid, which is an acid produced by apples, but also all fruits (among other things). Along with glycolic, lactic, and citric acid, malic acid is a part of the alpha hydroxy acid family and is occasionally a component of skincare products.

Malic acid is part of why apple cider vinegar rinses are recommended for no- and low-‘poo regimens. Some people claim that malic acid (and ACV rinses) can stimulate hair growth. This skeptical jury of one is out on that; AHAs interact with living cells, so I suppose it is plausible that they could stimulate the scalp into doing what we want. Otherwise, applied to just the hair shaft itself, it isn’t going to promote hair growth.

Ceramide(s)

These waxy lipids help the hair (or skin, in the case of its natural presence in skin or in skincare) bind together. Think of those ultra-close-up views of what a strand of hair truly looks like: it is essentially a cascade of tiny scales. Ceramide helps them stick and lie flush to prevent damage to the hair’s cuticle. Their presence assists the hair in trapping and retaining moisture. Both of those effects result in stronger hair by:

  • directly reducing the likelihood of breakage
  • improving moisture retention (which also reduces breakage risk!)

Net result is you win because you have healthier, fuller hair. You can learn more about the interaction between ceramide and hair at Longing4Length, who has a nice article on it.

Garnier Fructis Grow Strong Shampoo & Conditioner

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Curled my Lashes, Bent my No Buy with the Shiseido Eyelash Curler

No Buy

I’ve been on a No Buy for the better part of a year. If you’re a regular, you’re probably tired of hearing about it. The truth is, it is an interesting balance – writing a beauty blog without buying product. If you’re sick of hearing it, sorry. If not, carry on.

My eyelash curler broke recently. I’ve had it for years and, frankly, didn’t treat it very well. I didn’t have a backup so I determined a replacement was warranted. Overall life-choices wise, I try to buy the best version of a tool I reasonably can. Ultimately, I decided that I would go for a cult classic – either Shiseido or Shu Uemera. Both are renown for their effectiveness and longevity.

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Amope Pedi Perfect Wet and Dry

Amope Pedi Perfect Wet and DryAmope Pedi Perfect Wet and Dry

Do you feel like you have more disappointing nail salon memories than relaxing, majestic ones? I know I do! The natural solution, of course, is is to take matters into my own hands – literally. For me, the biggest parts of a pedicure are correcting my eponychium and cuticles and reducing my calluses. Over the years, I’ve used plenty of products: rasps, Ped-Egg-type solutions, those horribly scary Credo blades, pumice stones, Mr. Pumi bars (which are pretty nice for mild cases and daily upkeep). A few years ago, my husband got me a ridiculous powertool shockingly good, albeit occasionally awkward-to-use motorized callus buffer. It is FANTASTIC! (yeah, caps and exclamation points) at removing the bulk of thick, unwanted calluses, but it can leave things uneven in its wake. That’s where the Amope Pedi Perfect Wet and Dry comes in. 

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NARS Sheer Matte Foundation

This is a legacy post that has been given a slight facelift (don’t worry, content and opinions are the same). NARS Sheer Matte is a discontinued product I don’t miss. Continue reading to see why!

NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in Punjab
NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in Punjab

After a battery of swatches, samples, and wear tests I wound up using NARS Sheer Matte foundation for my bridal makeup. Prior to self-tanning (which I wasn’t going to do originally so I didn’t have to buy something new), I was already too dark for my, ‘pasty,’ foundation…so I decided to self-tan. I went to get color-matched once I established my desired color.

Getting Matched

It took a few trips to get it right. Unfortunately, the ColorIQ device was used improperly (I was flushed from the heat) and matched me to an EXTREMELY pink foundation. The foundation looked fine under the fluorescent lighting, but I stepped outside and was pink. (I have neutral-to-yellow undertones.) Pink wasn’t a good look for me. On the third trip, we finally nailed a color match – NARS Sheer Matte in Punjab. And it wasn’t just, “close enough,” Punjab was my skin color at the time. I was delighted – before, it had never taken three tries to pick a color; usually I do a ton of homework so I usually have a good idea what is going to work. This time, since my skin was not my usual color, I took a chance and threw myself on the mercy of the sales associates.

Excited for my first NARS product (eye pencil sharpener does not count) went home, tried it in the sunlight – still perfect! In weird lighting of my home – perfect. In front of my Jerdon lighted mirror – yep! And on camera – yes! Awesome. No SPF which meant no flash-back or washed out pictures.

I worked with it a few times before my wedding day so I wouldn’t be surprised about how it behaved not only during application but also during wear. Once it was on, it looked great – but in short? I would never, ever repurchase NARS Sheer Matte.

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L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black Mascara

Note: This is a legacy post that has been given a facelift! Some minor adjustments have been made to format and readability, but the content is the same with spot-updates from today!


(In 2015) I’d been using L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess for a while and liked it well enough. I was picking up a waterproof tube (of something else) for a wedding I went to in June 2015 when I decided to pick up a tube of L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black, too (not waterproof).

Telescopic Carbon Black Mascara - Stock Photo

TL;DR? I love it.

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