Product Review: Garnier Fructis Curl & Shine Leave-in Conditioning Cream

How many Garnier products have I reviewed and raved about so far? I think that qualifies me as a Garnier product whore. There's something about the yummy fruity scent, reliability, and affordability of their product lines which is a winning combination for me every time.

Taking my hairdresser's words to heart, I stopped by the drugstore to find some sort of leave-in conditioner for curly hair in the twenty scant minutes I had before I had to catch my bus home. I was in such a hurry that I spotted the lime green bottle, skimmed the label (curls, check; shine, check; leave-in conditioning, check), checked the price (on sale for $3.49...sweet!), lined up at the cash register, paid, and hurried back to my bus stop. Once on the bus, I took the bottle out and examined the label on the back more closely. The Garnier Fructis Curl & Shine Leave-in Conditioning Cream promised to give me manageable, soft, defined curls and, well, shine by coating the hair shaft. The instructions seemed simple enough: Work a quarter-sized dollop through your hair and finger-scrunch for added definition, then let your curls air-dry.

The fruity-smelling leave-in conditioner dispenses through a squeeze bottle with a pop top, kind of like the bottles that are used for dishwashing detergent, making it easy to control exactly how much product you want. Although this bottle top is great for when the container's full, I can imagine dispensing product once it's half-empty to be a bit frustrating. Perhaps an upside-down squeeze tube like the one they have for their Sleek & Shine Styling Cream might be better?

The first time I used it, I washed my hair in the morning and planned to let it dry as the day wore on. I worked more than a quarter-dollop through my thick shoulder-length hair for the definition I wanted. The result was relaxed waves with enough definition to look good but not overdone and no frizz, and my hair was soft to the touch. I only wash my hair every three days or so, so the next day when I woke up I was disappointed to see that a night's sleep had crushed and tangled my hair so that the waviness wasn't as defined anymore. However, a bit of spontaneous experimentation fixed that: I worked just a dab of the conditioner through my hair - more like a dime-sized dollop - and voila! Defined waves once again. My hair looked so good that a guy friend at salsa that night complimented me on my "cascading" wavy locks.

The Garnier Fructis Curl & Shine Leave-in Conditioning Cream works best if you use it and don't sleep on your damp hair right afterward. I learned this firsthand. According to the kid in Jerry Maguire, the average human head weighs 10 or 11 pounds (I can't remember the exact number), so it's no surprise that my huge heavy head crushed any good work the leave-conditioner could've done for me and left my hair looking flat and uninspired. This is precisely why I'm wearing my hair clipped back today instead of, ahem, letting the pretty waves cascade over my shoulders.

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