REVIEW: L’Oreal EverPure Repair & Defend Hair Care

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Hey look, it’s another Influenster VoxBox review.

Influenster seems to like sending me haircare products. I’m pretty sure that one of the very first products they ever sent me back when I first signed up was some purple hair dye from Clairol. Maybe they recognize how damaged it is after I bleached the hell out of it in high school. And then again right before sophomore year of college.

I’ve written extensively on my life as a blonde Asian, but a huge part of that life is trying to keep my hair from falling out again like it did at the beginning of freshman year, resulting in a pixie cut that made me look like Arya Stark when she was masquerading as a boy. I’m still trying to grow my hair back again. I’m glad that phase of my life is over — in terms of hair, I consider myself more of a Daenerys than an Arya.

Now that I’m in the process of growing my hair back again, while maintaining the bleach blonde color, I’m on the constant lookout for products that will both keep my hair healthy and protect its color. The L’Oreal EverPure Repair and Defend shampoo and conditioner set promises to do just that.

So after testing it out for a few weeks, do I think it lives up to its promises?

Eh…well enough, I guess. Ultimately, I don’t think I’ll be making a permanent switch of my normal routine of Clairol Shimmer Lights and Aussie Three Minute Miracle.

The thing is, with my bleach blonde hair, I don’t need my shampoo to “lock in” the color of a dye that’s been put on top of my hair; I need it to add a toning shade to prevent it from getting brassy. I don’t actually dye my hair — that is, I don’t put dye on top of it. I bleach it, and then I tone it, which is a different from dyeing.

I think this product is meant to prevent dye from fading, which is not something I struggle with because my hair has not been dyed. That’s why I like the Clairol Shimmer Lights shampoo — it’s a deep purple, so when I layer it on top of my base color of a yellowish bleach blonde color, it neutralizes the yellows and makes it look like a more natural ash blonde. Complimentary colors and all that jazz.

The conditioner is alright, but nothing special. I do find that my hair seems to be getting greasier faster than usual in the time I’ve been using this product, but that could also be the change of season. I do find it questionable though that a regular conditioner that’s meant for daily use makes my hair greasier faster than the deep conditioner I normally use; it seems like if anything, the L’Oreal conditioner should be lighter and make my hair less greasy than the Aussie one.

I appreciate that I had the chance to try these products, and maybe they could work for someone with different hair. Like I said, if you actually dye your hair and want to prevent fading, then perhaps this product is for you. But for me, whose concerns are not so much fading but rather toning, I just don’t think I was the right person this time. Sorry Influenster.

Have you tried the any of these products? Or do you have any suggestions for your favorite shampoos and conditioners for color-damaged hair? Let me know your thoughts below!

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

 

 

Saturday Musings – March Bullet Journal Spread!

One of my favorite things about sharing my bullet journal spreads on this blog is that I don’t have to come up with a creative blog titles — I can just announce that I’m writing about my bullet journal spread and be done with it.

Anyway, this blog will be about my March spread. Please don’t pay attention to how this is being posted on March 30, also known as the second-to-last day of the month.

As I see it, though, people can still be inspired by my bullet journal drawings regardless of when in the month it is — it’s not like I’m a bullet journal influencer, so I don’t see any reason to post my spreads at any particular time. Besides, I’m new to bullet journaling myself, so I don’t see myself as anything worth copying at the moment. In fact, I’m still copying the layouts of some of my favorite artists, like AmandaRachLee.

View this post on Instagram

shhh, i know it’s not march anymore

A post shared by Meilin || L'ensemble du jour (@lensembledujour) on

I’m kind-of surprised with myself for managing to keep up with bullet journaling for so long (that is, if you ignore the three-month hiatus I took from October-December where I basically didn’t write/draw anything at all). I really like it as a way to force myself to draw a little every day — since I’m not in art classes really anymore, it’s a great way to try to exercise my skills.

I honestly wish I had more time to devote to it, though — I sometimes find that I end up rushing through a design/spread because I know I have limited time each day realistically to work on my journal. I wish I could do elaborate, time-intensive, and detailed drawings each month, but they usually end up pretty simplistic.

And simplistic isn’t a bad thing! But a lot of my artwork in the past was very detail-oriented, and there’s nothing really I’m doing right now to practice that kind of artwork. It’s looking like I’ll have a month at home in between my various travels, so maybe that’s something I’ll work on then.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Bullet Journal Supplies (with Amazon links)

Bullet journal: The Scribbles that Matter Pro, A5, 

Pens: Pilot Frixion 

Markers: Prismacolor Brush Tip  and Copic Brush Tip

 

Tuesday Musings – February Bujo!

Hey look, I know I’m late — but at least this post is getting done before the end of the month.

Believe it or not, I actually finished the spread for this month at a decent time this month. I can’t tell you exactly when I finished the cover page, but it was toward the beginning of the month.

So why did it take me so long to share my designs on my blog? In truth, I just didn’t have a chance to do the photography. I also hadn’t finalized some fo the doodles for my calendar portion (like what you see under February 22 and 16, and I didn’t want to post pictures of my designs until I’d included those extra little drawings.

I like the spread I did for February, though I kind-of wish it were a little more representative of what February in South Bend is really like — that’s to say, while I like the flowers I drew, flowers aren’t exactly something I saw once this entire month. I saw a lot snow, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, snow is a little harder to draw, and not nearly as colorful.

And so I think the February spread represented more my hopes for what the month would be like, rather than my expectations. I mean, you’ll notice, I also included lots of Valentines Day-themed drawings, and it’s not like I actually did anything exciting for Valentines Day (more on that in the February 14 blog).

The winter is definitely wearing thin. At the time of writing this blog, it’s February 26, and I’m about a week and a half out from spring break. “Spring break” — that should imply that spring is around the corner, right? Not here. It’s still definitively winter here in beautiful Northern Indiana. I think it made it all the way up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit today — so basically, it was a scorcher.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Bullet Journal Supplies (with Amazon links)

Bullet journal: The Scribbles that Matter Pro, A5, 

Pens: Pilot Frixion 

Markers: Prismacolor Brush Tip

 

REVIEW: Lancôme Visionnaire Skin Solutions Collection

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve done an Influenster VoxBox review, yeah?

I seem only to get one at a time, and each one takes about a month to complete (with the exception of my BareMinerals foundation one, which took two months), so at that rate, I have a new VoxBox about once a month.

I’ve been really lucky recently, though — I’ve gotten some really good products to review for free. In fact, one of my holy grail eyebrow products, the Lime Crime Bushy Brow pen, was something that I received in my last box.

But I think this most recent box takes the cake for some of the best full-size products that I’ve ever received to review — this time, Influenster pulled out the big guns and sent me products from Lancôme.

Let me give you a little background on my history with Lancôme: there basically is no history. I’ve never purchased any of their products because I can’t afford them (well, I suppose I could spend the money if I really wanted to…but I’m just not enough of a makeup person to justify it. I’d rather spend the money on clothes, to be honest), and so the only Lancôme makeup I own actually comes from my grandmother’s collection. She buys classier makeup than me.

Anyway, I dug into this box with very little in terms of preconceived notions about what Lancôme products should be like. I knew they were pricey, and so I hoped for something of good quality, but that’s about the only expectations I had. I actually calculated the total monetary value of everything I got in my box — $211 — and so I hoped that the products would be worth someone out there spending $211 on them.

I received the Vissionnaire Skin Solutions 15% vitamin C concentrate, the Vissionnaire Skin Solutions 2% Retinol night corrector, the Fix It and Forget It setting spray, and the Long Time No Shine setting powder. As far as I could tell, all of the products were their full-size versions.

Long Time No Shine Setting Power

I’ll begin with the Long Time No Shine setting powder because of the four products I received, I probably used this one the most.

Overall, I liked it. It’s a good setting powder — maybe not almost-$40 good, but still very good. I liked the packaging it came in — it felt much sturdier and of better quality than my ELF HD setting powder or even my BareMinerals Blemish Rescue powder. My one complaint is that there’s no way to close off the holes where the powder comes out, which can be very problematic when you’re traveling and the container gets bumped around in  your bag. Sure, you have a lid, which should prevent the powder from leaving the container, but that doesn’t prevent the product from spilling into the space in between the main storage compartment and the lid. My BareMinerals loose powder has a simple mechanism for closing the holes; you’d think that for $40 Lancôme could do the same.

The powder itself is good, though I’m still not a huge loose powder fan for everyday use. In general, I do like it more than pressed powder, but given how messy it is to apply, I usually only use loose for special occasions. I’m afraid this Lancôme powder hasn’t changed my onion. I like it, don’t get me wrong — but I don’t like it enough to get over my hesitations with loose powders as a whole. But it’s a good loose powder, as loose powders go.

Fix It and Forget It Setting Spray

This might be my favorite of the products I received from Lancôme, or at least, the one I see myself using the most. I found the staying power of this stuff to be really fantastic. I have long days — I go to class in the mornings, and I often don’t take off my makeup until late at night. By the time night rolls around, my makeup can look pretty awful.

With this product, though, I found I could get my makeup to hold up pretty decently. I didn’t do a test of how many hours I could get my foundation to last or anything like that, but I can say that it made it though a day — and a day for me can go from 9:30AM to 2AM the next morning.

My one complaint is, again, the packaging. The way the spray mechanism works gives you a very fine mist — so fine that it’s hard to perceive it on your skin. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, I guess, but I found that I was often confused as to whether I’d gotten any of the spray on my face at all, or if I’d completely missed. I’d end up going through several pumps of the product, just to realize that the spray was hitting my face but I couldn’t perceive it. Compared to heavier sprays, like the famous Urban Decay All-Nighter stuff, it’s a little difficult to get used to. Regardless, it’s still a great product, and one that I would recommend the most out of all of these.

Vissionnaire Skin Solutions 15% Vitamin C Concentrate

It’s a little hard for me to review the Vissionnaire Skin Solutions 15% vitamin C concentrate (as is the case with the 2% Retinol corrector as well, which you’ll see below), as I don’t really think it’s a product that’s meant for me, a 20 year-old woman. From what I understood from the package, it’s meant for people dealing with aging skin, which, while I guess my skin is technically aging constantly, is not really an issue that I’m worrying about right now. I still get acne sometimes — I’m not ready to worry about wrinkles! I suppose it might be useful for preventing wrinkles in the future, but don’t want to lie and pretend that this product does something for me that I can’t see yet.

So I can only speak to what I did experience with the product — and that’s that it kind of smelled lousy. I mean, I’ve probably used smellier products before, but I was kind of hoping for something better out of Lancôme. As for the actual effect on me, I did find that it had some moisturizing properties. It didn’t sting going on, like some serums do, and apart from the scent, it was an overall inoffensive product. Am I sold? No — but like I said, I don’t think it’s meant to be sold to me.

Vissionnaire Skin Solutions 2% Retinol Night Corrector

And that’s the case with the Vissionnaire Skin Solutions 2% Retinol night corrector too. Again, Retinol is an ingredient known for its anti-aging properties — and my skin just isn’t aging that badly yet. Retinol is also supposedly a very strong vitamin; in fact, the box that the tube came in even warned me against using it more than once a week when I was first trying it out. I’ve heard about people having some pretty negative reactions to Retinol, and with my sensitive skin, I didn’t think it was a good idea to chance it.

I did try the product, though, if only in a very small quantity. My impression was that it smelled kind of chemical-y, and that it stung a little bit (or maybe more like a tingling sensation?) going on. I had no strong negative reactions the next morning, but no miracles went on either. Maybe I could speak to strong negative reactions or miracles a little more after I’d used the product for longer, but with only a month to review all of the products in this box, and with the restriction of using the Retinol night corrector once or twice a week, I didn’t really notice anything. Sorry if this is an anticlimactic review, but I can’t speak to what I haven’t experienced .


Have you tried the any of these products? Or do you have any suggestions for your favorite soaps, brow products, primers, or serums? Let me know your thoughts below!

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

 

Saturday Musings – Bujo

Today, I realized something that should have been obvious — “bujo” stands for “bullet journaling.

I’ve been seeing the bujo tag on Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr for ages to represent images of visually appealing, artistic, and cutesy journal pages. I’ve also been seeing bullet journals all over — which ultimately influenced my decision to purchase one for myself and try to get into it. However, of all of my years of consciously knowing that “bujo” and “bullet journaling” were aesthetic journal trends, I never realized that they were the same thing. Bujo = BUllet JOurnal. Shouldn’t that have even obvious?

In other news, you’ll notice that I’ve brought my Saturday Musings series back! I haven’t done one of these posts since mid-September. I initially took a break because I just felt like I didn’t have any new inspiration for posts — they were getting repetitive, just shots of my coffee and my laptop over and over again. I started the series to give me a break and take the pressure off from the OOTD posts, and yet, I found that the Saturday Musings posts were just putting pressure on me to produce flatly-style pictures even when I had no new ideas.

But now that I’ve gotten into bullet journaling (sort-of — I did kind of fall behind in November and December), I have a new source of inspiration for what I can show off in these Saturday Musings posts. So I’m brining it back — but I’m taking the pressure off of myself to do a post like this every week, and to do them only on Saturdays. Now, these “musings” style posts will come whenever I feel the inspiration for them — be that on a Saturday or no.

Anyway, I finally got around to doing a January bullet journal spread, and so I thought I’d  share it with you today. With all of the traveling I did at the end of 2018/beginning of 2019, I thought this image of the globe would be fitting. But then, of course, after the traveling was all over, it was time to return to university, so I combined the travel imagery with some study inspiration in the form of books. I guess you could say the general theme for the January spread is studying through cultural immersion.

Or maybe there’s no overarching theme — just some aesthetically-pleasing doodles and colors combined into a calendar spread. Going with the theme of minimal commitment and pressure that I’m adopting with my blog, I’m also not putting strict definitions or rules about what my bullet journal has to be. It’ll be whatever it ends up being.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Bullet Journal Supplies (with Amazon links)

Bullet journal: The Scribbles that Matter Pro, A5, 

Pens: Pilot Frixion 

Markers: Prismacolor Brush Tip

Monday Musings + Coffee – Long, Short Weekend

Huh, somehow, I wound up doing another Musings + Coffee post on a Monday.

This weekend has been crazy, so you’ll have to excuse my lack of blogging. In the last 72 hours, I have experienced — in no particular order — a concert, a dead car battery, 24,000 steps worth of Chicago, and a missed mandatory class. Once I get to the OOTD posts from these last few days, I’ll go into more detail, but suffice to say, I’ve been busy.

Somehow, though, it seems I managed to fit in some flatlay photography for one of these posts. Keyword — some. This isn’t the most cohesive set of photos I’ve ever posted on this blog (save the first two, which are clearly from the same set of my bullet journal), but I like them all for their individual merits. And I did indeed get some really good photos this weekend; it’s just that they’re unrelated. I hope you can forgive me.

Apart from the bullet journal photos, I’ve also got this from picture from my plant class that I thought turned out really well. Our homework is to go out and collect and identify plant samples — how cool is that? It’s probably one of my favorite classes at the moment because it’s low-stress, it’s a subject that interests me, and it’s fun. Compare that to my Russian Lit class, which is high-stress, not interesting, and not much fun, and it’s easy to see how an outdoors botany class would speak to me for this semester.

Plus, I like plants. I’ll have to give you guys an update on my dorm plants soon — since I’m in a new dorm room this year, I guess you’ll have to see the updated configuration. We had some tragic losses (RIP my rose moss seedlings), but we’ve also had some new additions to the family.

The weekend concluded with this really lovely sunset over the Golden Dome, which I had the pleasure of watching out a library window. Sort-of. I wasn’t actually able to secure a coveted window seat myself to watch the whole thing, but I walked by the window multiple times so I could catch it — probably thoroughly annoying the person who was actually sitting by the window in the process.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Back At It

Hoo boy, it’s been a long time since I’ve written one of these!

It’s not that these Saturday Musings posts are that hard to write, but the photography for them is a little more challenging, admittedly, than an OOTD post. I don’t want my flatlays to get repetitive, so I don’t want to keep using the same objects and backgrounds over and over again. But I only have so many objects that I can sit atop a white sheet and make them look cute, you know?

I do have new spread in my bullet journal to show off though, so I figured that was some solid content deserving of a post.

It took me a ridiculous number of hours to get this month’s spread looking like it does. Why did August take so much longer than usual? Well…because I never finished July.

A solid chunk of July for me was spent in Nepal, which meant a solid chunk of July was spent doing things like talking about religion and modernity and finding ancient temples and not doodling in my journal. I’m committed enough to my bullet journal that I want it to be pretty and complete, but not committed enough that I want to designate time necessarily every day in order to write in it so it can be pretty and complete. As a result, I often wind up having to fill in days and events that have already passed, which I guess you could argue defeats the purpose of even using it as a planner.

Okay, so maybe my bullet journal is more of a log of past events than a planner of future ones. Whatever, I’m going to make it look cute and aesthetic either way.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Nepal Day One

Greetings from Nepal!FullSizeRender-1.jpeg

It took 27 hours of traveling including layovers, but finally, I’m here!

These photos were taken in the Chicago O’Hare terminal while I waited for my flight to Abu Dhabi — waiting which I probably shouldn’t have done.

See, I had a four hour layover in Chicago after I flew out from Lexington, and so I figured I would be able to sit there with my laptop for at least a little and do a bit of work. That’s actually where this blog was written and published.FullSizeRender.jpeg

So after two hours of sitting there in the domestic terminal, I figured I’d saunter over to the international one, which, judging by the signs I had seen, was just a short ride on the airport rails away. At this point, I had two hours before my flight departed, and I thought I had plenty of time.

Of course, things didn’t happen as planned — the rails were closed for some reason, which I didn’t realize until I had gone to two separate platforms at different locations in the airport and seen that they were closed. After asking around — with one person even telling me that the rails were open, which they clearly weren’t — I found a shuttle to take me to the international terminal.

That all took about 45 minutes, so as I rode the shuttle over to the international terminal, I was slightly worried, but not terribly so. That was, until I arrived at the international terminal and saw the queue to get through security.

I made it through, but not before worriedly calling my mother and questioning whether I’d be able to make it through in time. I’ve had experiences where it’s taken hours to get through a long security line, and I was afraid that that would happen to me again. Thankfully, by channeling my native Chinese pushing-through-lines skills, I was able to get through with about thirty minutes to spare.IMG_1116.jpeg

I was one of the last people to board the flight, and I missed out on any chance I might’ve had otherwise to get bumped up to business or first class, but I made it, and that’s what counts.

There’s more to this travel story, but I think I’ll leave it until I post the blog from that day. Until then, here’s what Google Translate just told me is “goodbye” in Nepali: अलविदा!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

 

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Kathmandu Preparations

This is it, my last weekend in the US before I leave for Nepal!

I have a lot still to do — packing, applying for my visa, completing some reading, just to name a few of my upcoming tasks. I’m hoping actually do get some done this evening, we’ll see though. I have a bad habit of falling asleep with the light on after finishing up an evening blog.

Perhaps most concerning of things on my to do list is some reading I’d really like to do before I head off — reading that totals about 350 pages. And it’s not really even exciting reading, just dull academic stuff. That’s not to say it won’t be interesting, just difficult to motivate myself to do considering it’s not a necessity for a grade. Heck, I even had difficulty motivating myself to do academic reading in school when it was a necessity for a grade.

Thankfully, though, I have a few days off from work before I go, so I should have time to do all the travel preparations I need to do. I’m a little nervous to travel to a foreign country by myself, and I’m not at all looking forward to my six hour layover in Chicago, but once I’m settled, things should be alright. It’s just the process of getting settled that worries me.

I have a hard time getting excited for things before they occur, but once I’m actually in Nepal, I should be able to enjoy myself. I’m less likely to excitedly anticipate an event, and more likely to forlornly reminisce about it afterwards.

On a final note, check out this blop tongue from my cat this morning. He’s a good boy. I’ll miss him when I’m gone.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Bullet Journal Life

Oh no guys, I’m posting another Saturday Musings blog on a Sunday. What a terrible blogger am I.

This weekend sees me beginning my first bullet journal, which is arguably a terrible decision for the actual organization of my life. See, I’m terrible at devoting time to projects like this. I want them to turn out beautiful, as if I’d put hours and hours of my time in to it, but I’m unwilling to put the hours and hours into it, so I wind up with something where a few pages are done to perfection and the rest are half finished and neglected.

But I just couldn’t resist! I started watching AmandaRachLee’s bullet journal tutorials on YouTube, and I couldn’t stop myself after I saw her pretty pastel colors and simplistic designs. Plus, I figured I already spent a lot of time putting doodles into my planner and making that look cute, so why not put just a little more time into making a bullet journal look cute?

We’ll see how it turns out, I guess. I’ve finished my June spread, and I’m really happy with how it turned out! I used my Prismacolor alcohol-based markers, resulting in having to skip pages due to bleed through (“ghosting” as I’ve heard it called), but I didn’t really have anything better to use. My Prismacolors aren’t really being used for anything right now anyway, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

I’ll keep you updated on my bullet journal adventures! I’m not sure I’d put much faith into me actually maintaining it, especially once school begins, but I wouldn’t count it out either. I like it so far, so hopefully my motivation remains!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!