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.


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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Febreze One & Terracycle

Febreze One

First things first: I did receive free product from Influenster to solicit testing and a review from me. HOWEVER, I had already purchased TWO bottles of this product before I knew there was or joined the campaign.

If it is par for the course for beauty bloggers to talk about candles, why not other home fragrance products?

I’ve been a Febreze junkie for over a decade. Meadows and Rain, which I’m pretty sure has been long-since discontinued, was my first favorite. Over the years, I enjoyed a lavender one (forget its name) for a while, then (oddly) the Allergen Reducer (I don’t have indoor allergies), then Thai Dragonfruit (discontinued), then the Tide one. I still use both the Allergen Reducer and the Tide-scented ones for different things – my brother-in-law is allergic to cats and we have two, so if he’s coming over we aggressively vacuum, and I hit the seating with the Allergen Reducer. It’s a nice, light scent. I have no idea, honestly, if it helps with allergens though. It’s the thought that counts?

Bought at First Sight

Well before I received the BzzCampaign invitation for Febreze One, I spotted the new bottles in Target for $5.99 with an on-product coupon. Because I’m a sucker Febreze junkie early adopter, I gleefully dropped one into my cart before realizing what’s cool about the product. The trigger and dispensing mechanism is intended to be reused – so you just purchase refill bottles that screw into the bottom.

Two Solutions in One Spray

Read moreFebreze One & Terracycle

April 2017 Favorites

April 2017 Favorites
GVP Compare to Clairol Shimmer Lights
, $10 / Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream, $5 /
Tarte Shape Tape, $25 / L’Oreal Sublime Glow, $9 / Febreze One, $6

I made a typo when I was writing out the title of this post – I accidentally wrote, “April 2015 Favorites.” Yeah, right.

I’ve moved on from Blond Brilliance. Priced similarly for way more product, Sally Beauty’s GVP line has what is apparently an excellent dupe of Clairol Shimmer Lights. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t tried Shimmer Lights, but what I do know is that this stuff is glorious for preservation of blonde.

It’s back! My cuticles are a mess since the manicure that blew my no buy. They did a fairly shoddy job, and now my fingers are worse off than before. This is the universe’s way of getting me back, ha. To help protect them, I’ve been slathering the Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage cream into them a couple times a day. I’m almost all fixed up.

I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. Shape Tape is a really great concealer. It isn’t some godly ambrosia perfect for every situation as the masses on YouTube would have you believe, but it is pretty solid.

I’m using Cabana Tan on my legs, but my arms (which take color at a comically rapid rate and do not suffer aggressive exfoliation from shaving) are getting a gradual sunless tanner for now. I’ve used Jergens with success but wanted to try L’Oreal Sublime Glow for fun and bought it over the winter – I like how it smells a bit more than the Jergens, and it seems as effective. Bonus? This has a small bit of fun, non-distracting, non-tacky shimmer – just enough to highlight the skin ever-so-faintly and give it a bit more life. I use medium. Note: This isn’t Sublime BRONZE, which is their more aggressive sunless tanner. This is the gradual one!

I’ll be the first to admit I have a Febreze problem. I have since as long as I can remember. Back in the day, it was Meadows and Rain. Then, Thai Dragonfruit, Allergen Reducer (smells surprisingly nice and I still use it). Next (and also currently), the Tide scented one since that’s my husband’s laundry detergent preference. I’ve tried and liked many more. Then, Febreze came out with their refillable Febreze One product and I immediately purchased it. It’s a fabric refresher and air freshener in one. It’s non-aerosol, and you can buy refill cartridges rather than whole new bottles. The Bamboo scent reminds me of something between Tide and Meadows and Rain – it’s clean, but not nauseatingly so. There’s a distinct, crisp Ozone note that I can’t.get.enough.of (its what I love about Yankee’s Margaritaville Mother Ocean candles!) Anyway, then BzzAgent sent me the other two scents which are quite lovely as well. I love that they’re lower-waste and that it’s a multi-use product. Couch? Curtains? Bathroom? Office? Handled.

Crest 3D White Brilliance 2-Step System

First things first – I received the Crest 3D White Brilliance 2-Step System free, courtesy of BzzAgent, for testing purposes; so you may consider this post sponsored. More info at the bottom of this post.

Crest 3D White Brilliance 2-Step System - Packaging

I drink coffee. At least two cups per weekday. And I drink tea. Needless to say, my teeth aren’t as white as they could be, so in addition to my regular whitening toothpaste (Crest Whitening Expressions Extreme Herbal Mint) I resort to whitening treatments (I love Plus White gel) from time to time. I had used a couple of products from the 3D White line before; although I liked them, I preferred my Extreme Herbal Mint, so back to it I went.

The newest addition to the 3D White line, Crest 3D White Brilliance 2-Step System, is sold together in some fairly snazzy, eye-catching packaging that is as fabulous as your teeth should hope to be when done with the regimen. Claiming to keep your teeth up to 99% as white as a professional polish/teeth whitening treatment, this product makes some tall claims.

Crest 3D White Brilliance 2-Step System - Products

How To:

The Crest 3D White Brilliance 2-Step System is intended to replace your normal toothpaste and is suggested to be used day and night as a part of your normal oral hygiene routine. First, you brush for one minute with the blue tube of Deep Cleansing toothpaste, clearly-labeled Step 1…

Then, after spitting (I’ll take, “Words you never thought you’d write on your beauty blog,” for $1000, Trebek.), do not rinse, and brush again with the contents of the white tube, Step 2. This is a peroxide-based gel to bump up your whitening.

Pretty simple process, not too many steps, not too complicated.

My Experience:

I haven’t come across a toothpaste I truly disliked – sure, I am not a fan of spearmint or wintergreen-type mint toothpastes, but they didn’t make me see red. This, however? This did.

SUCRALOSE. For the love of cats why did you use sucralose, Crest?! It not only tastes horrible but is a migraine trigger for some people (myself included). Now, granted, you don’t intentionally ingest toothpaste…but let’s not pretend a tiny bit isn’t accidentally swallowed from time-to-time. The way it tastes bothers me…a lot! Every toothpaste I know of uses artificial sweeteners to make the brushing experience more pleasant, but sucralose is not the answer for me. Imagine my delight when I started scrubbing away at my teeth with my Oral B 3000 with that on it… ew.

Beyond the sweetener, I noticed that the paste had a particularly odd texture. More abrasive than a regular toothpaste, it had a strange grit to it that I did not enjoy. The abrasion does help lift stains, but at what cost? Gradually worn-away enamel, sensitivity, etc. Classic problems!

Continuing? The fluoride. No, I am not a fluoride conspiracy theorist, so don’t click away. Fluoride is present in, oh, every anti-cavity toothpaste on the market. Rather than the fluoride we’re used to seeing (sodium fluoride) the Crest 3D White Brilliance 2-Step System uses Stannous Fluoride (yes, that is pronounced like Stannis Baratheon). Why is that a point of concern? The packaging tells you:

Other Information:

  • Products containing stannous fluoride may produce surface staining of the teeth…

While staining is not unique to stannous fluoride, the fact that it is prevalent enough that Crest felt the need to make a disclaimer about it on the packaging is kind of, well, hilarious. Here’s a whitening product…that is going to noticeably stain your teeth, maybe *cough*. If you’re someone who has some basically-irreversible discoloration from dental fluorosis as-is, this kind of thing leaves a bad taste in your mouth (you know, along with the sucralose).

To top that all off, the gel is a fairly standard peroxide-based whitening gel, not unlike my beloved Plus White gel. The suggested use for Step 2 is to apply it to your regular toothbrush and brush for one minute. I followed the instructions (like a fool) and was uncomfortable. Gels of this nature are often used with trays to isolate the gel to the surface of the teeth because peroxide isn’t the kindest to gums. The packaging warns that this might happen, but brushes it off as acceptable, calling them, “signals.”

You may experience temporary signals with the use of this breakthrough system, such as: white spots on gums or other soft tissue, and/or oral discomfort.

Signals? If your gums are turning white after peroxide exposure it is not just a, “signal,” or something to ignore. Whitened gums are an indicator of tissue damage and if you experience it you should discontinue using the product in question immediately, not keep using it! In addition to whitening, peroxide can also kill bacteria/germs…but peroxide isn’t, “smart;” it cannot tell gums from contaminants. Unfortunately, this gel turned my upper gums white in the single minute I used to brush.

The Bottom Line:

I won’t be using it again, and I definitely would not buy it. The second step of the Crest 3D White Brilliance 2-Step System might be useful as a whitening gel in a tray that can help keep it only on the teeth, so I will try that so the whole kit doesn’t go to waste.

I’d say it is probably fine to use if you:

  • Do not have an aversion to sucralose
  • Do not have any degree of deep-set staining due to dental fluorosis
  • Already have generally healthy, strong teeth with no sensitivity issues
  • Only wish to lift everyday stains (coffee, tea, red wine, whatever)

Unfortunately, given the bad experience I had with the product I was unable to use it long enough to say whether or not it would have a huge impact on lifting the superficial staining my teeth have. I imagine it would, yes, but the cost of doing so is simply not worth it for me. I would also say that it is unlikely that the Crest 3D White Brilliance 2-Step System, an OTC product, is going to have the same results as in-office whitening done by a dental professional…but that’s marketing for you.

Although I received the Crest 3D White Brilliance 2-Step System free from BzzAgent I was neither compensated nor otherwise coerced into sharing. The other Crest/Oral-B products mentioned have nothing to do with the BzzAgent Campaign; I’ve used those products before this blog existed.

BzzAgent: Tone Body Wash

I am going to quickly preface this post – inaddition to being an Influenster, I am also a BzzAgent. The program is similar in that you sign up for free, join campaigns, receive free or discounted product(s) to review and share socially. They approach the process ethically (lying about free products irritates me, and it should irritate you too!), which is why I continue to participate in their campaigns. The BzzAgent network includes, according to their site, over 400 million shoppers and they work with clients such as L’Oreal, Schwartzkopf, Clinique, Proctor & Gamble, amongst others.

In the past I have been a part of Maybelline campaigns (when they first released Great Lash Lots of Lashes and the now-popular Baby Lips balms), Schick Hydro, Dr Scholls Massaging Gel Insoles (I was indeed gellin’), as well as others.

Tone Body Wash - Petal Soft

I was recently invited to join a campaign for Tone body wash. In the same family as Dial soaps, who I understand is also updating their body wash lines, they recently released a new scent and, ostensibly, wanted some feedback. I had only ever tried one other Tone body wash before (the, “Fruit Peel,” variety) so I didn’t have much to go on. I was on my last few uses-worth of body wash, conveniently, so I accepted.

A week or so later, this appeared! (Pardon the smartphone pictures in this post.) Their packing tape is cute – more companies need to get into this custom packing tape game.


I hastily unboxed it, and transferred some into a pump bottle I use in the shower (because I was out of body wash at this point and was using bar soap). This body wash, Petal Soft, boasts Pink Peony and Rose Oil – it is very, very floral. It does not smell like roses to me, but I can’t speak to the peonies because I have no idea what they actually smell like.

Tone Body Wash - received from BzzAgent

As per usual, the BzzKit (that’s what the box and its contents are called!) included an informational card, and a handful of coupons. Your job is to try the product, talk about it, and distribute coupons to interested parties so they can try it, fall in love/decide they hate it (we’re being honest, remember?)/and share the info, etc.

Tone Body Wash BzzAgent Coupons

Let’s talk about the product itself, now that I’ve actually used it for a week or so. BzzAgent says,

Tone® moisturizing body washes are made with spa-inspired ingredients that transport you beyond your shower with invigorating scents, leaving you with irresistibly soft skin. You’ll fall in love with the naturally smooth feel after the first wash, while you indulge in intoxicating aromas from the whole line [which includes]

  • Petal Soft with Pink Peony & Rose Oil
  • Mango Splash with Cocoa Butter
  • Daily Detox with White Clay & Pink Jasmine
  • Soothing Oatmeal with Shea Butter
  • Ocean Therapy with Deep Sea Extracts & Pearl Essence
  • Fruit Peel® with Alpha-Hydroxy Fruit Acids

I’m going to table the first sentence until the next picture; we’ll come back to it. The thick, pearly pink gel is, like I said before, a very strong floral. I am personally not fond of a lot of strong florals, and I found it a little overwhelming. For someone who tends to choose milder shower scents, this was kind of a slap in the face. My body lotion is unscented so it cannot clash, but I think my perfume would if I applied it right away (I usually shower at night and the scent dissipates by morning and does not usually clash). Here’s a picture to show you what it looks like!

Tone Body Wash packaging - front

I like showing you the back of packaging. The first thing you see is that, “every girl deserves flowers…” Oh? I mean, from whom? Kind of a weird thing to say on a body wash, but alright – I trust you can read, so I’ll let you read it (below), but it goes on about how irresistibly fresh it is. I wouldn’t describe this as fresh – granted, I am biased and am not a fan of strong florals to begin with but frankly it is a bit cloying and heavy. And if I don’t like it, I couldn’t possibly expect my fragrance-sensitive fiance to be a fan – he wasn’t.

Coming back to my tabled point – they suggest this product has spa-like ingredients but nowhere on the label does it list cocoa-butter, white clay, or any alpha-hydroxy acids. These seem to be ingredients of the other varieties (the Fruit Peel variety does have AHA, I tried it!) but there is nothing special about the composition of this one. It is pretty standard as body washes go.

Tone Body Wash packaging - back

While I do feel as though it softened my skin, I don’t think it did any better than anything else I have used recently (Dove or Olay body washes, etc). It is nice enough, but I will not repurchase this variety – instead, I would try something like the Soothing Oatmeal with Shea Butter. Petal Soft just wasn’t a hit with me, I’m afraid. It does perform well enough, and at a nice price-point ($3-4 at mass retailers, drugstores, online, etc) I would recommend the line but not this fragrance (unless I knew you were obsessed with florals).

You can like Tone here on Facebook, follow them on Twitter (though to date nothing has been posted).  I also encourage you to join BzzAgent if you like to try things out and have time to talk about them. Don’t just join for free stuff, you have to be active in order to be considered for campaigns!

Disclosure: This post was not sponsored, but I DID receive the Tone Body Wash in Petal Soft for free because I am a BzzAgent and I participated in the corresponding BzzCampaign. I am not paid or otherwise compensated to share–my thoughts are my own. This post also does contain one affiliate link – this means I may get a very small percentage of the sale if you decide to buy something. I will only tell you something is awesome if I can vouch for it myself.