Instanatural Argan Oil Hair Mask & Elixir Review

I’m not one for pampering. It’s not that I don’t want to, or that I don’t like doing it, it’s just, well, you know how it goes. Once the babies are in bed you either have a hundred and one things to do or you are literally too tired to do anything but collapse in front of the TV. Pampering is often something that falls to the bottom of the to do list.

However, recently I’ve been trying to be a little bit kinder to myself. Since going to Ragdale Hall, I’ve been concious of how important it is to take care of yourself on a day to day basis, because the effect can be enormous. A bath here, a cheeky vino with friends there. I am trying to be nicer to me. So when I was asked if I would like to try some hair conditioning treatments, it fitted nicely with my small attempts at pampering. Plus since Ragdale, I have also noticed how dry my hair has been. Bethany and I spent an entire weekend in the pool and it was showing. My frizzed out locks told me I had to give it a whirl.

My hair is fine, but I have tonnes of it, making it heavy. It has been looking rather tired of late!

My hair looks thick, but it’s actually just a lot of fine hair, meaning it can be quite heavy. It has been looking rather tired of late!

I don’t usually use a conditioner. I have fine hair, but there’s a lot of it, meaning it can get greasy quickly and conditioners can, if I’m not careful, exacerbate this. So I didn’t have particularly high hopes of a product whose base ingredient was oil!

Instanatural, while sounding like an Instagram account, is actually an American beauty company that only use all natural ingredients in their products. As a devotee of companies like Lush and Burt’s Bees this appealed to me. I’ve never been interested in coating my hair in plastic just to get a good shine on it (which never really worked for me anyway). Instanatural kindly gave me two products to try, a hair mask and a hair elixir/serum, both of which had a basis in the natural beauty product du jour, Argan Oil.image

To begin with I couldn’t really understand how one was different from the other. The directions on the boxes were similar. The only thing I could see was that the Elixir could also be used in styling like a serum. However, to get the best idea of how each worked I decided to test them separately. I started with the mask.

The hair mask comes in a tub and and includes ingredients such as Argan Oil, Amino Acid Complex, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Vitamin B5, Jojoba Oil and Avocado Oil. Oh and it smells wonderful! I washed my hair, then applied the hair mask. It went on easily and the box says to leave it on for up to 15 minutes, so this was where the pampering started. The waiting means it’s definitely one I prefer to do when the boy isn’t around. So I sat in my dressing gown, checked my phone and generally whiled away 15 minutes, then got back in the shower and just rinsed (no need to wash again with this one). I assumed just rinsing it off would leave my hair feeling unclean, but seriously once I rinsed it, it still felt like I’d just washed it.

image

Instanatural Hair Mask

Instanatural Hair Mask

image

Masked hair

And then I dried it. I blow dry my hair every other day, just blasting it dry and hoping for the best. I don’t have time or ability to dry it like they would it a salon and usually it looks, well, dry. But drying hair that had just been masked was a revelation. Not only did it still smell great, it dried in half the time AND poker straight! I swear it looked like I’d run the straighteners over it and the shine? Well, I haven’t had shine like that on my hair since I was a child!

Check out that shine! First application of the Instanatural Argan Oil Hair Mask

Check out that shine! First application of the Instanatural Argan Oil Hair Mask

No straighteners were used in the making of this photo!

No straighteners were used in the making of this photo!

I was thrilled with the result and those results even lasted through two more washes! Yup, one application and a week later it was still drying straighter and looking shinier than usual.

It was then time to try the Elixir. I decided to try it as a treatment rather than as styling aid. The elixir comes in a dark glass bottle and is a thick blend of Argan Oil, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter, Sunflower Oil and Grapeseed Oil. This one goes on dry hair as it needs to be washed off. It doesn’t smell as nice as the mask, but then it doesn’t really smell of anything at all which is good. I was worried I’d smell of chip pan, with all that oil!

Instanatural Elixir. A rich blend of Argan Oil, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Jojoba oil, Shea Butter, Sunflower Oil, & Grapeseed Oil.

Instanatural Elixir. A rich blend of Argan Oil, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter, Sunflower Oil, & Grapeseed Oil.

I did the same as with the mask and left this on for 15 minutes, although it does say on the bottle that you could leave it on overnight if your hair is super dry. I then had to wash my hair. And this is where it got tricky. I use a really good Lush shampoo, designed for greasy hair and even that struggled with this. I had to shampoo my hair twice to get all the oil residue out. Then I dried it in exactly the same way. I knew before I even started it wasn’t going to look as shiny and I was right.

The shine from the elixir was more defuse.

The shine from the elixir was more defuse.

It didn’t look nearly as shiny or as straight as with the mask. However, it did feel incredibly soft. I think maybe this would be better on curly or super dry hair. It really did feel nourished, but I missed the sparkle shine I got from the mask.

The real test for me was how quickly my hair looked greasy afterwards. And I was surprised that neither product weighed my hair down and made it look greasy quicker that usual. In fact I was pleased with both products:

Mask

  • beautiful scent
  • diamond shine
  • sped up styling
  • effect lasted through subsequent washes

Elixir

  • no scent
  • super soft hair
  • nourished feel
  • short ingredient list

The mask was definitely my favourite, just for the amazing silky feel and shine it gave my straight hair. I fully intend to incorporate the mask into my weekly pamper routine. The elixir I have yet to try as a styling serum, but if I did I know I’d only need a tiny amount. In fact you don’t need huge amounts of either product in order to get great results and because the mask is a weekly treatment, I’m hoping a tub will last me a good while. You can buy both products at Amazon. The Elixir currently costs £16.95 for 120ml bottle and the Mask £14.95 for a 240ml pot. The cost is higher than high street hair masks I’ve seen for sale, but the ingredient list is definitely better. I’d take organic natural oils over chemicals any day. And I think my hair would agree!

 

I would like to thank Instanatural for gifting me these products to try.

I was not paid to write this review and as always my opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

Mama-andmore

Millie Jones Hair – a review

I’m a really cautious Twitter follower. If someone follows me, I don’t just automatically follow back. I take the time to check out who they are. If they’re not interesting to me (sorry children’s footie clubs in Raynes Park we have nothing in common) I don’t follow back. Controversial maybe, but just the way I am! A few weeks ago I was followed by @milliehair. When I looked I saw they were a new hair salon, Millie Jones Hair, opening in Haslemere. Now this I was interested in. We don’t live in a big place and new local businesses, particularly those of interest to me or my family, are always going to be worth checking out. A new hair salon? It was beyond interesting, I was properly excited.

I don’t know about you, but to me a hairdresser is easy to find but difficult to stay with. When I moved to Swansea it took me a few goes but I eventually stumbled on Paul at Boosh. He listened to me and understood what I was aiming for every time. I was gutted when I had to pack up and come back to England, leaving him and everything else I had come to love in South Wales. I moved to Haslemere four years ago and despite various attempts at various salons I’ve not found someone I liked enough to go back to (except a girl I had in Toni & Guy Guildford. Unfortunately I never seemed to be able to get another appointment with her when I needed it, so I gave up trying the end). For me, its not just about the actual cut (although that is a big part of it). I need to feel comfortable, both with the stylist and in a salon itself. I’ve had terrible experiences where I’ve spent the whole time feeling awkward and uncomfortable, have been made to feel like I was just a number, or worse ignored entirely (when I say NOT a Rachel cut, I mean NOT a Rachel cut). There’s such arrogance in ignoring your client and I can assure you such behaviour has never resulted in repeat business from me.

The Rachel cut. Looked great on her in the mid 90s. Not on me. Ever!

The ‘Rachel’ cut. Looked great on her in the mid 90’s. Not on me. Ever!

Now that I have Oscar, taking time to get my hair cut is more of a luxury than I can explain. So if I get that time and I’m spending what little money I have, I want to enjoy the experience. I want to feel pampered and looked after and I want to be listened to in a comfortable environment. Basically I want the best experience for my time and money. I have tried having my hair cut at home and don’t get me wrong the outcome was great, but it’s just not the same. I love the feeling a great salon visit can give you, so I decided to give Millie Jones a go. Last Saturday.

From the off it was clear this was different to any other salons I’ve visited locally. The decor is cool and relaxing, in shades of monchrome, the waiting armchairs a vibrant pop of red. The bold gold lettering on the wall are minimal and elegant. The salon has around 12 seats, but unlike other salons I couldn’t see any equipment or clutter. I was greeted by Millie herself then shown to my seat and provided with a frothy coffee and magazines. Millie explained to me that her specialism was colour, so Kate would be cutting my hair. We chatted briefly then she left me to my coffee (warm coffee that hasn’t been heated twice in the microwave? What decadence was this??)

IMG_7960

IMG_7963

First time I’ve been to a salon and the gown’s fitted me perfectly – happy moment right there!

The salon wasn’t quiet, so much as peaceful, with cool chill out tunes coming through the speakers. This was a far cry from the high energy, non stop noise I’ve experienced in other salons. My hair was washed by a lovely apprentice and we chatted about her career and how glad she was to have found this placement. Then I met Kate, my stylist. I explained that I have been growing my hair for some time now and am happy with the style I have at the moment, having taken forever to grow out layers I was always talked into having. I was concerned that she didn’t take too much off, but enough so that it looked healthy and fresh. Kate is a very experienced stylist (17 years she told me) and was sure to give me the very best of what I’d described, explaining that any new client should stick with a stylist for at least three appointments before changing their style, as it takes that long to get to know both the client and the hair. She used products I’d never come across before – Living Proof from the US. As she rightly noted, my hair doesn’t feel like it looks. People think it’s thick, but it’s actually fine, there’s just a lot of it. So she used their No Frizz Weightless Styling Spray. It not only smelt great, but it also took any frizz out of my fine hair without making it lank (I think I might have to purchase, when I’ve got a bit more money 😉 ) Kate did a fantastic job and I was really pleased with the outcome. Not too much off, and looking really sleek.

IMG_7964

Before I left I chatted with Millie, the owner and colourist. She explained that she’d been in the business for 25 years, working in Mayfair and Knightsbridge and loved what she did, but felt the need for more work life balance (she has two young children). Hence the decision to open her own salon, somewhere where her particularly dedicated clientele could follow her (from all over the South East it would seem!). I guess when you find someone you trust to colour your hair you’ll travel to reach them. Although going back to Swansea might have been a stretch for me!

I left with a great hair cut, feeling relaxed and just a little bit gorgeous. I couldn’t help the odd swish of the hair here and there. I definitely attracted a few glances, although I couldn’t work out if that was because I was looking so good, or because I was swishing my head about!

So big question did I like it there enough to go back? Do you know I think I did. Not only was the cut I got first rate it was the little things I appreciated. Like the mirrors not going from floor to ceiling (I find it really uncomfortable sitting in front of a full length view of myself for an hour!), the chairs that could be raised really high (I’m tall so they normally drop them right down and then sit to cut my hair which is can be quite uncomfortable for me), and the golden coloured spoon that came with the coffee. You know, stuff that has no bearing on the haircut what so ever, but make this an experience you are happy to repeat. And the most important thing for me, was how easily it ‘styled’ when I next washed it (for styled, read blow dried it til dry.) If it looks fab in the salon, but a dogs dinner once you’ve washed it, then really what’s the point? In terms of cost they’re not the cheapest in the area and neither would I expect them to be. You can check out their price lists here. I think they’re on a par with some prices I’ve paid locally and in Guildford and I know I was much happier with the results.

 

IMG_7987

 

 

I was given a free haircut in exchange for an honest write up. I was not paid to write this post. All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

Mama and More