Garnier Ultimate Blends Strength Restorer Balm

Lately, my hair has been in need of some TLC. As much as it’s saddened me to do so, I’ve been steering away from Lush’s hair products as for the last few months I’ve found them seriously lacking in nourishment, as well as constantly drying out my hair. In my search for shampoos and such that will bring back the moisture, I came across Garnier’s Ultimate Blends range.

Many moons ago, I was a moderate fan of their Fructis range, until they changed the formula and it started making my hair oddly sticky. However, like every other brand, they’ve upped their game over the last decade and I was ready to give Garnier a second chance, especially when I found out that the entire range was half price at Boots. I picked up the Strength Restorer Shampoo, Conditioner and Balm; all for under £5.

The scent range is called Honey Treasures, containing honey, Royal Jelly and propolis, it’s designed to build strength whilst keeping your hair in tip-top condition. I tried and loved the shampoo and conditioner and finally, after a week of putting it off, turned to the Strength Restorer Balm.

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The Balm is designed to be used once or twice a week in place of conditioner to provide a thorough deep-down nourishing and softening effect. I was a little sceptical. I only paid £2.99 for this bad boy and I wasn’t expecting it to do much – if anything. Most cheap intensive hair treatments tend to be a little blah.

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It looks like and has the consistency of a thick conditioner, the same colour as the conditioner in the range, actually. The scent is much stronger than the other products in the range, you can really pick up the honey in this.

The balm smooths onto the hair incredibly easily, sinking in but not being absorbed so that you don’t overdo it. As my hair is an inch away from touching my shoulders now (having grown 1 1/2 inches in the last 2 months), and taking into considering that it is also insanely thick, I only used slightly more product than I would use with conditioner. You really do not need much at all. I’m always aware of using too much as my hair gets greasy fast and any excess product is always noticeable.

As per the instructions, I left this on for about 3 minutes. The packaging recommends leaving it on for 1-5 minutes but, I always take the maximum with a pinch of salt. I know my hair and what it can take. Washing the balm out was a little time-consuming as I do have a lot of hair, but took no longer than any other treatment.

Immediately after rinsing my locks were soft and sleek. My hair dried like a dream and straightened so quickly that it was alarming. It used to take me a good 45 minutes to straighten but in recent years I’ve managed to get it down to a respectable 20. The Strength Restorer Balm had softened my hair so much that it only took 10 minutes to straighten. 10 MINUTES!!!!!!

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As you can see from the photo, my hair is straight but still has volume and looks natural instead of ironed into submission. There is a little frizz and some fly-aways on top, but I ALWAYS have these. They are due to breakage, as I have to use seriously elasticated bobbles to put my hair up so that it doesn’t fall free every few seconds and no matter what products I use, they can never be tamed.

The scent of the balm didn’t linger at all, even though it was used with the shampoo and the only other product I applied was Boots Style Works Heat Product Spray which does not have a strong odour at all (and is not the best, fyi). The fact that I couldn’t smell the balm was a big disappointment. There’s something that makes me feel so put-together about having nice smelling hair.

I did notice that by the end of the day, my hair had begun to wave near the roots and in the front sections that I find myself tucking behind my ears. Usually straightening sets the style and holds until the next morning, but this always happens when I change hair products. Eventually, it will get used to the new products and start doing what I want it to again. Either way, I don’t really mind if my hair does its own thing. It can be easily tamed, if required.

Overall, I love the effects of the balm, the fact that I only need to use such a tiny amount and that it smells absolutely gorgeous. The only downside is that the smell disappears and you can’t continue to sniff your hair through the day!

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