P&G Summer Beauty Faves

P&G summer beauty faves

During the dog days of summer, there are a few things that can make the heat bearable: face mists, iced coffee, air conditioning at the office, a refreshing shower. My latest beauty mail delivery from P&G Beauty United featured a couple of drugstore delights that have made their way into my summer shower routine and helped me feel fresh in spite of the high temperatures.

Olay Fresh Outlast Birch Water and Lavender Body Wash

Admittedly, the green beauty readers of this blog would probably shudder at the sight of the ingredients list for Olay Fresh Outlast Purifying Birch Water & Lavender Body Wash ($4.99 at London Drugs). Sulfates, fragrance and colour, artificial preservatives—yikes! Sulfates get a bad rap because they can be irritating and drying on sensitive skin.

But you know what? They are also inexpensive and wonderfully effective cleansing agents. I've been back and forth about how natural I want to go with my routine (all the way or partially?), and in the end figured that I'm okay with using non-natural cleansers, shampoos, and conditioners occasionally because it's highly unlikely to be absorbed into anything before being rinsed down the drain.

During my post-surgery recovery, I had this in the shower and a fancy bar of sulfate-free French soap. I was supposed to keep the surgical tape over my incision sites dry and therefore trying to take shorter showers and take care not to get the wounds wet. The French soap seemed to take forever getting me truly clean, whereas the Olay body wash worked like a charm. Its light blue gel formula created a luxuriously sudsy lather that cut through sweat and stubborn waterproof sunscreens effortlessly (and cut down on my showering time), without leaving my skin feeling tight or dry.

As for the birch and lavender scent, I can't really describe it—it smells like you'd expect a light blue product to smell, if that makes any sense: soothing, cool, and light. Up until that point, I'd transitioned most of my beauty routine to a more or less natural one, and even though I adore natural scents and essential oils, there was something about this undoubtedly artificial birch water/lavender combo that was heady and refreshing. It was like being on an all-organic eat-clean diet and then having a doughnut—a palate cleanser and a change of pace that delights the senses and is therefore good for the soul.

Herbal Essences Dry Shampoo in Cucumber and Green Tea

My husband was never a fan of dry shampoo in general, and it wasn't until I tried Herbal Essences Bio Renew Revitalize Dry Shampoo in the new cucumber and green tea scent that I realized why: He simply didn't like the way other dry shampoos smelled. Aside from a refreshing scent which may or may not be artificial, this is a relatively clean drugstore find. It uses tapioca starch to absorb excess oil and contains bio:renew (Herbal Essences's signature blend of aloe, sea kelp, and antioxidants) to smooth and condition hair. There are no parabens, artificial colours, or gluten in the formula. Performance-wise, I find that it does the job in refreshing sweaty bangs and roots in a pinch and if you have thick hair, you'll need more product. It's no substitute for a thorough wash though.

Herbal Essences Repair Argan Oil of Morocco Conditioner

I've been dabbling with natural shampoo and conditioner and have mixed feelings about it so far, but as far as drugstore shampoos go, we've always stuck to Pantene because it's so reliably good on our thick Asian hair. (My husband even asks for it by name whenever the bottles are running low in the shower and I have to rifle through my beauty sample stash—that's how ridiculously brand-loyal he is.) This time around, we've strayed from Pantene but stuck to the P&G Beauty family with Herbal Essences Bio Renew Repair Argan Oil of Morocco Conditioner ($7.99 at London Drugs). While the other products in this post which are new (or at least, new scent additions to existing products), this one is an older launch.

Like the Herbal Essences dry shampoo, this conditioner contains no parabens, gluten, or artificial colours, although it does contain artificial preservatives and fragrance. The formula boasts bio:renew as well as argan oil, silicones and moisturizing ingredients to create a rich creamy conditioner that coats each strand. I just washed my hair with this and the matching shampoo the other day; even without heat styling or additional styling products afterward, my hair air-dried into slightly textured waves that were shiny, soft, and frizz-free. Impressive.

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