by Christina


I admit that I am fairly partial to beauty and skincare products that are not always super affordable and could be what some would call "lux-brands" and that's okay...unless you're also super rich. As a full-time student, step-mother, and worker- I don't always have an abundance of $$$ at the end of the month to spend on beauty products and skincare items  and that has meant that I've become more creative to find ways in which I CAN afford them :)

For starters, there are samples these days for just about every beauty club and online and in-store beauty company out there! Even if you're spending a quarter of the price, you can manage to score some great beauty finds for either super steep deals or FREE samples. Then there are of course the alternatives like organic and natural beauty products and what many might call "drug-store beauty" items too.

What exactly do I mean?! Although I sometimes avoid the lower price points when it comes to skincare and personal care products because of the cheap and harmful ingredients lists and the little care that the companies sometimes take towards their products and their customers- I've kept an open mind that there are still items out there in the beauty world that could still be great finds AND be affordable as well! 



l'oreal paris advanced haircare- smooth intense ultimate straight system

shampoo/$4.99 & conditioner/$4.99

I really thought these two combined make an excellently paired shampoo & conditioner system- especially at such an affordable price! The formula still felt a little "heavy" and I did need to wash my thicker, coarser hair twice with these products, as I do with many of the less-expensive hair care products. As my hair is very thick and quite coarse, I tend to use salon-quality formulas and products so I don't have to wash my hair numerous times just to get it to feel as though it's really clean!

For me, this has been one of the bigger drawbacks for "drugstore haircare" items...I end up using much more product and they usually don't seem to get my hair clean. This system was different in that although I did have  wash my hair twice, it really did leave my hair feeling clean in the end! The scent is fantastic too- I really noticed how great it smelled and left my hair smelling as well :) When it comes to it's straightening power, I'd give both products around a 7 out of a scale of 10 {10 being the best at straightening}.

For the price, it DEF does a decent job BUT I will admit that if you don't have the opportunity to use the entire system- including the pre-conditioner and perfecting balm, then you will probably only get about a 4 or 5 out of a 10 for straightening power. I tried leaving the other 2 products out and just using the shampoo and conditioner and I did notice how much better the polishing and smoothing part of the system seemed to work with all of the products were utilized.



straight to perfecting balm/$6.99

This is by far my BEST product out of the entire L'oreal Smooth Intense system and here's why- IT REALLY WORKS!!! I was pleasantly surprised at well this product does its job and tames away flyaways and keeps the "kinks" at bay. It has a great smell too, as the other products do in the line and it's definitely at a fair price. I do wish perhaps that the formula was a little less heavier than it is, as a lighter formula could still be possible as a balm. You don't have to use that much though, to achieve the look you want :)



straight boosting pre-conditioner/$6.99

I'm not that big on "pre-conditioners" as they are usually give me the feeling that I'm wasting my time and just adding on to the already multi-step process with my hair care routine. However, I'm willing to give new approaches a try, which is why I wanted to see what this item was all about. I tried using the system with AND without using the product and I could tell a difference.

My hair did seem softer and smoother and was a LOT easier to style, but I did also notice and feel slightly that I couldn't quite get the product "out" of my hair. I do understand that its meant to "boost" your conditioner essentially and the effectiveness of the hair care system, but I do want to feel like I can wash it out with ease. This product did make it much harder to rinse my hair when it was time to wash out my conditioner. All in all though, I did love the softness and smoothness boost that it seemed to give my hair when I chose to use it :)

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