A Review: Desert Essence Anti-Breakage Shampoo and Conditioner

I was sent the Dessert Essence Anti-Breakage Shampoo and Conditioner along with the Anti-Breakage Hair Mask from Moms Meet to try for free in exchange for posting my honest opinion on my blog.

I’m going to do a rare straight-out review, because I can’t think of a funny story or way to turn talking about shampoo and conditioner into an engaging tale. I accepted this blog campaign because I have a thing for hair products and am always trying different stuff and hoping for miracles. I have kind of frizzy, damaged, color-treated, half curly, half straight hair that drives me crazy most of the time so it’s always up on a ponytail.

The Dessert Essence anti-breakage products are formulated with Country Life Maxi-Hair® plus Biotin and are supposed to reduce breakage up to 61%. I feel like there must be a product around boasting 60% and they were like, let’s push this to 61! Because that 1% just might make all the difference. According to their website, “Country Life Maxi-Hair®, rich in a multitude of B-Vitamins and Biotin, has been one of Country Life’s best-selling supplements and a consumer favorite for more two decades.”

All the products have a very herbal scent, like tea tree oil. It leaves your hair smelling fresh and clean, not overly perfumed. I first tried the shampoo and conditioner on its own, then next time I added the deep conditioning hair mask.

I noticed a difference on the first round, although I will admit that often happens when you switch shampoos at first. So I made sure to use these products for two weeks before reviewing. My hair seemed smoother and easier to comb, which inspired me to actually style it and try wearing it down for the day.

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After a few heavy sun/pool/beach days, I gave the hair mask a try. The instructions say to leave it in for 20-30 min. and to maximize benefits, wrap it in a hot towel. It was kind of hard to squeeze in a shower, plus 30 min. of hair conditioning, and then a short shower to rinse it out, but a few extra episodes of Paw Patrol kept the kiddo entertained long enough to pull it off.

The hair mask is a nice thick formula with the same clean herbal scent. It made my hair easy to comb in the shower, but the real anti-breakage test came when I got out and tried to comb it wet. I have a few spots (the ones with the lightest highlights) that get a little snarly. I’ve even had to just chop some pieces off because they look terrible. I could still see a couple of weak spots, so before combing them I took the tiniest bit of the hair mask and put a little extra on those strands. After that I was able to comb everything through nice and smooth, no snags.

Overall I thought the products did a nice job of taming my frizz and making my hair look healthier, even when it was up in a ponytail. It took some getting used to the herbal scent. At first I thought it was more “medicinal” smelling, but it grew on me. I will definitely keep using these throughout the summer, while I’m trying to grow out my hair and see if they do reduce the usual breakage that results from the harsh summer environment of sun, chlorine and salt water.

Right now you can save 20% off all Anti-breakage and Smoothing hair care products on Desert Essence with promo code DELovesMomsMeet

 

Let’s Get Popping with Malaysian Palm Oil

I use a lot of different oils in my cooking so I was excited about the opportunity from Moms Meet to try a free bottle of Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil and see what it was like. I learned the palm oil has very high smoke point and won’t break down into harmful chemicals when used at higher temperatures so it would be perfect to replace some of my other cooking oils. It’s also packed with potent phytonutrients like carotene and tocotrienols (an ultra-potent form of vitamin E) not found in other oils.

The suggested recipe was for popcorn and I admit I was skeptical about making it in a pot! I guess I thought you needed some kind of special air popper, old school tin foil bubble or microwave package to make it, but nope! All you need is a pot, oil and kernels.

I used a 6 qt. pot, 3 tbsp. of palm oil and just under 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels. The recipe called for 1/2 cup and an 8 qt. pot, so I adjusted for my smaller pot. I poured the 3 tbsp. in the pot, added three kernels, covered it with the lid and turned the heat to medium-high.

malaysian palm oil

It felt like it took forever to hear those three little pops, but really it was probably less than five minutes. After that I remove the pot from the heat and scooped the popped pieces out with a spoon. I then poured in the kernels and gave them a good shake to distribute the oil and heat evenly and ensure that everything pops at the same time. It’s an important step because otherwise it will pop unevenly and you will end up with burnt popcorn and leftover kernels.

I then put the pot back on the heat with a lid slightly askew so steam could escape. When it started popping, a few kernels escaped too!

The popping started pretty quickly and I had to adjust the lid a couple times because it kept slipping down. After a couple minutes I peeked in and there was a beautiful golden pile of popcorn. The palm oil is a rich red color from the same carotenoids found in carrots, oranges, squash and apricots and is loaded with provitamin A. The red color of the oil gives the popcorn a golden hue that makes it look like it’s right out of the movie theater.

I poured it into the bowl and found that almost every single kernel had popped and this was possibly the most perfect bowl of popcorn I had ever made. I didn’t even feel like I needed to add butter and just tossed it with a little bit of sea salt and it was delicious!

Popcorn made with palm oil

I’m really looking forward to trying the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil in other recipes like pan frying and stir fry, and making popcorn like this again! If you’d like to learn more about palm oil and its many benefits, check out www.PalmOilHealth.org .

The Time I Unintentionally Made Poop Emoji Cupcakes

I’ve been doing little sampling parties lately, and each time I try to have fun with a new theme or activity. When I got the chance to sample and share Miss Jones Baking Co. organic cake mix and frosting through MomsMeet.com, I got some crazy idea to try doing fancy frosting. I thought it would be fun to engage everyone with the product by letting them try out decorative frosting tips.

toddler and frosting
Nice display Mom…I’m about to ram it with my cars OK?

Am I a baker? No. Do I even know how to use a frosting bag? No. Did I go ahead and order a fancy 32 piece cake decorating set off Amazon? You bet I did!

I also went all out with a giant pan for 48 mini muffins. One box of mix says it will make 48 muffins, but I actually had a little extra! And I made sure I filled each tin at least halfway. The instructions say they may not rise as much as some brands since they leave out all the artificial ingredients, but mine puffed up nicely.

wonder-bakerThe icing instructions say to heat it for 5-10 seconds first for regular spreading. I needed it a little smoother to squirt out of the bag, so with the vanilla I heated it for ten seconds, then ten more and it was perfect. As I was trying to figure out how to get into the bag, my friend Bridget had a brilliant suggestion to put the bag over a cup. Apparently, she’s seen this done before!

frosting-coverMy vanilla icing attempts looked pretty decent as long as you take into account I’m making it up as I go along. Bolstered by this instant success, I popped the chocolate in the microwave for a straight 20 seconds.

And that’s when things got weird.

Heating it for 20 seconds was too much and it got really melted and just oozed out of the bag. We tried popping it in the freezer to harden it up a bit but every attempt looked like a little turd on top on a muffin. And then someone shouted “it looks like a poop emoji!” And that’s when I realized I’d stumbled upon some Pinterest level poop if I just stuck a couple eyes on each one.

poop emoji cupcake

Everyone enjoyed the muffins and getting up close and personal with the frosting experience. I stashed the few cupcakes that were left in the fridge and the next morning the chocolate icing had hardened up and was like a big Hershey kiss on top! Delicious! As a side note – you do not need to refrigerate any leftover frosting because it is dairy-free.

icing-cupcakes

I don’t think I have a future in cake decorating, but I did feel like I learned enough to take on some Pinterest board cupcakes.

*As usual, any link to Amazon is an affiliate link!*