Merry Christmas to my hair: Is MONAT's Volume System a Christmas miracle?

MONAT's Volume System, which consists of Revive Shampoo, Revitalize Conditioner, and Reshape Root Lifter.

On the holiday season and Christmas miracles

You may have noticed it's been a little quiet around here, lovelies. I'm sorry for that. December, including the Christmas season, has been busy. Great, but busy. I made some headway on my graduate thesis. I wound down at work after months without any time off, and I did some teaching on the side. I also had a little mishap that involved a few drops of water and my six-year-old Macbook Air. (Did  you know that you can't replace a Mac keyboard after five years? Apparently my machine is now "vintage.") Miraculously, the keyboard began working again after about an hour of malfunctioning. No explanation. It just dried off. A Christmas miracle? Maybe.

After my mishap, my hubby and I spent Christmas eating, drinking, and snuggling babies. Nieces and nephews are the best, am I right? Yesterday, we decided to head home—back to real life, a few more days off work, and a more reasonable diet.

The highway and our car had other plans. About an hour out of Kamloops, BC, where my in-laws live, my hubby and I hit an icy patch going a little too fast. With a spin, spin, smash smash, our car was (probably) totaled, but we were, miraculously, still able to move all our body parts. I can still hardly believe we didn't hit another vehicle given the traffic. A Christmas miracle? Most definitely.

The RCMP and a tow truck arrived almost instantaneously—they must have been patrolling that part of the Coquihalla highway (and for good reason). Within a few hours, what was left of our car was sitting in a tow lot, an insurance claim had been filed, and we were back at my in-laws' with our heads spinning only a little.

We'll probably never see our car again. It may cost us a lot. I'd really like to be at home snuggling my fur-babies right now and not several hours away in a house that isn't mine. My back is a little sore. But I keep reminding myself of a rather important detail: My husband and I are alive, and no worse for wear. I'm thankful. SO thankful. Drive carefully, my lovelies.

Given this back story, maybe referring to a hair care system as a "miracle" seems inappropriate. Maybe it's like a starter miracle. Or really sweet science. But whatever I decide to call it, my hair is really happy!

MONAT's Volume System

A couple of months ago, a friend referred me to a friend of hers who sells MONAT, a high-end hair care line that is meant to repair hair and stimulate growth. The before-and-after photos are impressive. Would I like to try MONAT and post a review in exchange for free product?

Yes, yes I would. My lifeless, flat, stick-straight hair needs all the help it can get, and then some.

I received the MONAT Volume System, which includes shampoo, conditioner, and root lifter, sometime in October, and I've been using them since. Immediately, I noticed my hair felt softer and smoother, but I wanted to use it a little longer so I could see the maximum benefit. (See the unattractive smears on the bottles that I forgot to wipe off before taking the above photo? Consider them proof that I really have been using the products regularly. You're welcome.)

A couple of months in, I still prefer the look of my hair after a blow dry and a few minutes with a flat iron. The products are not a replacement for volume styling. However, my hair is noticeably more voluminous without help. For the first time in years, I'm okay with wearing my hair down without styling it first. That's a big deal, my friends. What's more, when I do style my hair, it holds volume and style for longer.

I'm not big on the science behind beauty products (though if you are, you can read about it here). I just care whether they do what they say they will do. So far, MONAT does what it says, and I'll definitely be replacing the products—out of my own pocket—when they run out. Are they cheap? At $129 CAD for all three products (you can buy them separately, but it's not quite as good a deal), that's a hard no. But I think it's worth it.

I regret to say that I don't have before-and-after photos for you. (I know. LAME.) I cut and toned my hair around the same time that I began using MONAT, so I didn't think comparison photos would be accurate or helpful. So you'll have to take my word for it: The stuff works. I am a convert.

The downside of MONAT is that you need to go through someone who sells it rather than buying it in store. I recommend you check out the Elizabeth Suitor's website, or visit her on Facebook or Instagram accounts (she hooked me up with product). She features photos, information, and more. Plus, if you visit, you'll be supporting a lady boss, which is something I can always get behind!

Have you heard of MONAT? What do you think? Would you consider giving it a try? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: These products were provided for my consideration. As always, opinions are my own.

My three must-haves for dealing with winter skin

Left to right: Make Up For Ever Lip Booster in 01, Rodan + Fields SOOTHE Moisture Replenishing Cream, and Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream.

Winter is murder on skin—especially my fair, sensitive skin. Just when I think I've almost got it balanced out, colder weather hits, and sometimes it's back to the drawing board. When you find just the right products for you, they're like gold—am I right?

Here are three of my must-haves for staying happily hydrated this season, and they cover the three key problem areas: lips, face, and body.

1) LIPS: Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Lip Booster in 01

I briefly mentioned Make Up For Ever's Lip Booster in a favourites post several months ago, and it still holds up! I use it every single day. I used to get uncomfortably chapped lips seasonally. My lips and the skin around them would get raw, red, and uncomfortable. I'd carry traditional, waxy balm with me and re-apply regularly, but I felt like it would just wear off and never really sink into my lips. Lip Booster is totally different. It has a more liquid texture than balm—almost like a thin gloss, but without the high-shine and stickiness. I apply it in the morning, and it sinks into my lips, plumps them up, and keeps them feeling healthy all day. It comes in clear (00) and pink (01). I have the pink, which I love—it adds just a hint of shine and colour, which is all I need most days. I repurchased this recently at the Sephora VIB sale so I'd have a backup when it runs out. It's THAT good.

You can find Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Lip Booster at Sephora for C$29.

2) FACE: Rodan + Fields SOOTHE Moisture Replenishing Cream

I'm always on the hunt for the perfect skincare regimen. My skin is pretty good, but sometimes, balancing my oily nose with the rest of my normal/sensitive/dehydrated face feels impossible. I posted earlier this year about a regimen consisting mostly of Avène products that came as close to ideal as I've ever found.

But is a beauty enthusiast ever really satisfied? No. No, she is not. So when I kept seeing Rodan + Fields pop up (my husband's cousin sells it and swears by it), I thought I'd give it a try. It's pricey, but they offer you your money back if you don't love it within 60 days, so it seemed worth the risk.

I tried the SOOTHE line, which is meant for sensitive skin. I was nervous about not including acne products in my regimen, but I get even fewer breakouts  with this than I did with my Avène products—and I didn't get many! It seems my calmer skin is less acne-prone.

My favourite product in the SOOTHE line is this Moisture Replenishing Cream. Combined with this hydration serum (which I'm currently out of—sob!), it leaves my skin as balanced as it's ever been. I barely need to touch up my makeup mid-day, and my skin looks great. It's pricey, true, but I think it's worth it. I'm on my second tube.

You can find Rodan + Fields SOOTHE Moisture Replenishing Cream online for C$64.

3) BODY: Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

I can't get enough of Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, which I reviewed recently. I just repurchased it at the Sephora VIB sale, and I'm so glad I did! It's my favourite body cream, hands-down. I use it all over, and it sinks in beautifully, leaves my skin feeling soft, hydrated and silky-smooth, and smells like Hawaii. Unfortunately for my wallet, I'm not planning to be without it anytime soon.

You can find Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream at Sephora for $57 (full-size, pictured above).

What are your winter skincare must-haves? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: Make Up For Ever's Lip Booster was provided by PR for my consideration. Other products were purchased by Eyeshadow Addict.

A Quick Eye of the Day with Jaclyn Hill's Eyeshadow Palette

The Jaclyn Hill Palette by Morphe.

The Jaclyn Hill Palette by Morphe.

Along with a few million other people, I fell for the Jaclyn Hill Morphe Palette hype. I missed out on the first crop of palettes, and FOMO made me get onto eBay and grab one from a girl that had bought two. I spent "only" a few dollars more than I would have with Morphe's ridiculous shipping fee plus the US exchange.

I don't want to talk about how much money I would have saved if I had waited long enough for the Ulta release. #arrgghh

I haven't played with this palette a ton—funny how it seems less exciting when you have it in your hand. But the quality seems good so far, and there is a nice variety of colours. I love the looks she's shown on her channel. The look I came up with, of course, is not remotely original—a bronzey-gold basic smokey eye. I can't help myself. I like what I like!

An EOTD with the Jaclyn Hill Palette by Morphe.

I'm looking forward to playing with this palette a little more!

You can find the Jaclyn Hill Palette at Ulta.com for $48.25 Canadian.

Have you tried the Jaclyn Hill Palette? Are you planning to? Let me know in the comments! If you have a look to share, please post that too! I'd love to be inspired.

Disclosure: This product was purchased by Eyeshadow Addict.