I purchased La Mer's Lip Balm during my second cycle on Accutane. My lips were so dry that they were peeling and bleeding. I needed something more than the Aquaphor that I had been relying on and since my HG moisturizer is Creme de la Mer, I figured I couldn't go wrong trying the lip balm. It worked O.K. but nothing out of the ordinary. I liked the minty taste but I found it very hard to rub on my delicate lips. It didn't seem to heal them or even soften them enough to warrant the high price tag. In the end, I finally shelled out the really big bucks on By Terry's Baume de Rose, which healed my lips within days. 2/9/12 UPDATE: I've increased my rating on this product to 4 lippies. I received this balm in a swap a few months ago and I am unsure if it is because I didn't shell out the money for it or if it is because I am no longer on Acctuane, but I really love this lip balm. I became almost sickened by the taste/scent of Baume de Rose so the slightly sweet and minty-ness of La Mer's balm is a welcome respite. I also found that the balm I am using now isn't at all hard but more oily and it feels wonderful on my lips.
I decided to try this gel due to the great reviews on MUA as well as naturallycurly.com. I didn't like it on its own -- too much crunch for my 3a hair so I tried using it a couple of times with my HG curl cream (BB Curl Defining Creme). This combo did give me great hold, enhanced my curls and helped control the frizzies. But, it also flaked badly -- to the point that I had to stop wearing dark colors when I used it. Frankly, I don't love any gel that much so I stopped using it and have handed it over to my husband to try. UPDATE 10/24/11 - After spending so much money on various curl creams and gels, I finally repurchased BRHG after asking a MUAer with similar hair what she is currently using. I don't know if I originally purchased a bad bottle of gel or if the gel was just old but this new tube that I purchased from Ulta was in different packaging and the scent had changed. I am finding that I now adore this gel - it makes my hair shiny, holds and enhances the curls and there is no flaking. So glad I tried it again!
Styling Products -Unlisted Brand - Profound Beauty - Curl Glaze
mkmonty 3/15/2010 4:03:00 PM
I am always looking for a newer, better curl enhancer but Profound Beauty was a surprise discovery. I received a sample of their curling serum (which is also great) with a recent order from Naturallycurly.com. I had never heard of Profound Beauty but after trying the curling serum and having it actually do what it says it will, I did some online research and purchased the Curl Glaze. This product is exactly what I have been looking for -- enhances my curls, holds the curls all day and makes my hair crazy shiny. I love it. The smell is, ah, interesting. Almost a toothpaste mixed with some industrial cleaner scent that I can't describe. Not to worry, though, as the smell completely goes away once it is added to my hair.
Conditioner -Philip B. - Deep Conditioning Creme Rinse
mkmonty 3/15/2010 3:57:00 PM
This conditioner simply isn't moisturizing enough for my curly hair. I agree that the smell is nice and it does seem to untangle any knots but otherwise, it did not add any shine or body to my hair. I am using it on my DDs straight, fine Asian hair and it works wonders -- makes it easy to comb out her hair, doesn't weigh it down or make it look oily the next day.
Shampoo -Philip B. - Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo
mkmonty 3/15/2010 3:52:00 PM
I became obsessed with Philip B's Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo after reading some of the MUA hair board comments on the product. It sounded like the fountain of youth for hair and I am embarrassed to admit that I bought into all of the hype. I have a thick head of naturally curly (3a), colored hair that is fine in texture. I am a hair product snob and I have found that I typically get what I pay for when it comes cosmetics and hair care products. So, to spend $140 for 12-oz. of shampoo, I was expecting perfection in a jar. Unfortunately, what I ended up getting was pouffy, dull, soft, (albeit great-smelling) hair. In hopes of salvaging my dignity, I used the shampoo 5 times and followed Philip B's directions to the letter but I still ended up with blah hair. This shampoo was such a waste of money and time.
I tried this concealer to use in conjunction with my La Mer Treatment Powder Foundation to help cover the dark circles my eyes have been plagued with all of my life. The consistency of the concealer is very interesting -- definitely a cream to powder. It covers incredibly well and the first couple of times I wore it, I thought I had found my HG concealer after years of trying every other concealer available including Cle de Peau, Amazing Cosmetics, Lancome, Estee Lauder, and Bobbi Brown. Unfortunately, I ended up returning the concealer because it didn't perform as well as Cle de Peau: 1. The color choices are limited to light, medium and dark. I am fair with yellow undertones. I was positive that the light would be the color I needed but after the SA tried both on me, the light was too light and pink and the medium appeared to be a closer match. After wearing the medium for 6+ hours, it seemed to oxidize a bit and became darker than my foundation. Frankly, it looked awful and I wonder if I should have stood my ground and purchased the light shade instead. I wish La Mer offered a few more choices in color. 2. I have very dry skin but I moisturize well both morning and night. The cream to powder formula really made the skin under my eyes appear flakey and dry. 3. The concealer accentuated fine lines under my eyes that I didn't even know I had.
Powder -La Mer - The Treatment Powder Foundation SPF 15
mkmonty 1/20/2010 11:23:00 PM
Oh how I adore this powder foundation. Ever since I tried Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals a couple of years ago, I have preferred the feeling of a powder foundation vs. liquids or creams on my face. My skin is very picky -- extremely dry, breaks out and is sensitive to many products. I had to stop using Bare Minerals because it was making my face burn, itch and break out. As soon as I saw that La Mer was coming out with a treatment powder foundation last year (I am one of the few people who loves Creme de la Mer), I immediately ordered it in Ivory from my local Nordstrom. The coverage that this powder foundation offers is unsurpassed -- creamy, natural but covers EVERYTHING. It makes my skin flawless and it seems to work really well with my dry skin which is unusual for a powder. I don't use the sponge or puff that each compact comes with -- I find that my Bobbi Brown Face Brush applies the powder perfectly. The price is outrageous and I would love to find something that performs as well but for a lower price. Until then, I am shackled to this lovely foundation.
Shampoo -Unlisted Brand - Neil George Intense Illuminating Shampoo
mkmonty 1/2/2010 4:07:00 PM
I am a hair product junkie and I adore trying new products. I bought this shampoo, the matching conditioner, the mask and the gooseberry oil a month ago. I'm glad that I waited a full month before writing a review because the review would have been much different 4 weeks ago. At first, I adored this product line. I loved how the products made my hair so shiny and easy to manage. I have never paid much attention to whether my hair products contained 'cones because I didn''t think it made any difference to my thick, naturally wavy/curly hair. But, after reading more about this product line as well as using it for a month, I am noticing that my curls are limp and my hair seems flat and dull. I was able to return the gooseberry oil but I am forcing myself to finish the shampoo so that I can move on to a better product.
Conditioner -Moroccanoil - Moisture Repair Conditioner
mkmonty 11/17/2009 5:10:00 PM
A few weeks ago, I started using Moroccanoil and I really liked how it seemed to moisturize my naturally curly hair without weighing it down. I was excited to try the other Moroccanoil products as I am tired of shelling out $30+ for Kerastase shampoos and conditioners. The price of the Moroccanoil products are still high but are more in line with other high-end shampoos and conditioners. I happened to scan through the reviews on the Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Conditioner before typing my review and I was a tad relieved to see that I wasn't the only one who didn't think this conditioner was wonderful. It made my hair somewhat shiny, somewhat fluffy (not in good way) and definitely frizzy. It did nothing to enhance my curls and the smell wasn't as divine as I was anticipating. Such a disappointment. Luckily, I purchased it from an online store that accepted returns. Back went the shampoo, the conditioner and the hydrating mask and my search for my HG hair product line continues
A few weeks ago, I started using Moroccanoil and I really liked how it seemed to moisturize my naturally curly hair without weighing it down. I was excited to try the other Moroccanoil products as I am tired of shelling out $30+ for Kerastase shampoos and conditioners. The price of the Moroccanoil products are still high but are more in line with other high-end shampoos and conditioners. I happened to scan through the reviews on the Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo before typing my review and I was a tad relieved to see that I wasn't the only one who didn't think this shampoo was wonderful. It made my hair somewhat shiny, somewhat fluffy (not in good way) and definitely frizzy. It did nothing to enhance my curls and the smell wasn't as divine as I was anticipating. Such a disappointment. Luckily, I purchased it from an online store that accepted returns. Back went the shampoo, the conditioner and the hydrating mask and my search for my HG hair product line continues.
Skincare - Face -Unlisted Brand - Accutane (by prescription)
mkmonty 9/14/2009 11:06:00 PM
I have suffered from moderate, persistant acne since the age of 12. I have tried everything: OTC medications, prescriptions for gels and creams, antibiotics, BCP, diet/exercise, Proactive -- you name it, I've tried it. Everything would work for a while and then my skin would break out again. When Accutane was first introduced (I was in my teens at the time), it was targeted to people with severe cystic acne. Even though my acne was embarrassing and affected my self esteem, it would never have been characterized as severe cystic acne so I didn't try it. In my 20's, my acne actually got worse but I still didn't go on Accutane because, frankly, I was scared of the side effects. By the time I hit my 30's and my acne still wasn't going away, I finally gave in and tried Accutane. I started my first 6-month course 18 months ago. It was a miracle drug for me. My skin tends to be dry to begin with and it did become drier with Accutane but, surprisingly, not as a dry as it has been on Retin A or Proactive. I had mild side effects including dry lips and nose, slightly more hair loss than usual and some minor back aches. I lubed up with Aquaphor every night and took an occasional aspirin for the aches. I also found that drinking a lot of water seemed to help alleviate the dry skin and aches. After only a couple of weeks, my skin was clear of pimples. After one month, all of my blackheads were gone. My skin was so incredible that it was glowing. I know that some encounter depression while on Accutane but I experienced the opposite -- absolute euphoria -- because after 20+ years of battling acne, my skin was finally clear. After going off Accutane, I was acne free for many months except for a brief period of breakouts due to Bare Minerals (I was able to use it in the past but after using Accutane, it appears I am allergic to bismuth oxychloride). Then, about a year later, I started getting some hormonal breakouts. I was worried that the breakouts would become more and more frequent so I started my second 6-month course of Accutane two months ago. My skin is clearing up again albeit a bit slower than the first time around. As for side effects, I have really dry lips, nothing else. Accutane does require dedication. The monthly blood tests and doctor visits aren't fun and it would be nice to not have to take so many pills on a daily basis. For me, the results far outweigh any of the annoying aspects of the program. Acctuane has been my HG in clearing up my skin.
Styling Products -Ouidad - PlayCurl Volumizing Mousse
mkmonty 9/1/2009 5:28:00 PM
After trying countless styling products for my thick but limp, curly hair, I was excited to give Ouidad PlayCurl foam a shot. After showering and squeezing out the excess water from my hair, I applied the foam as indicated on the bottle. The scent is an overwhelmingly strong cheap cologne smell that I attempted to wash off my hands three times before giving up and proceeding with the styling of my hair. I gently blew my hair dry using a diffuser and when I was finished my hair looked, in a word, horrible. Stringy, greasy yet frizzy (I didn't even know this was possible) and limp. I cannot wait to return this foam back to the store I purchased it from.
I have very wavy hair that with the right products becomes very curly. Unfortunately, this Kerastase product did not make my hair shiny, unfrizzy or curly. It is a gel which was hard to distribute through my long, thick hair. I think it would be easier to use if packaged in a bottle. I cannot tell you how many times a glob of the gel/conditioner would slide out of my hands and go down the drain before I could catch it. I might as well shove dollar bills down my drain given the expense of this conditioner...
For the price, I expected this product to actually boost my curls. Unfortunately, it made my hair limp and lifeless instead. I do love the smell but I need more from a $32.00 shampoo than a great scent.
Try as I may, I have yet to find Kerastase to be the end-all-be-all of haircare products. I purchased the Masque Oleo-Relax, in part, due to the great MUA reviews. Unfortunately, this conditioner did nothing for my wavy thick hair. It still seemed frizzy and the Oleo-Relax actually seemed to make it limp as well. I do love the scent but for $58.00, I expected much much more from this product.