Moisturizers -Neutrogena - Ageless Restoratives Skin Renewal Moisture SPF 30
three_black_cats 8/30/2009 12:50:00 AM
According to the packaging, this product is "Ageless Restoratives Skin Renewal Moisture with SPF 30". I really loved what this did for my skin. It banished the flaky areas, without leaving me greasy. And I love the SPF 30! But after three days, the packaging just quit, and wouldn't dispense any product. It is a pump type product, and while it looks like it would be very efficient, for some reason the bottle I bought doesn't work anymore. There's tons of product in there, but it won't dispense. And because of how it's packaged, I can't just open it up and bypass the dispenser mechanism. I hope I just got a faulty one, because I paid close to $20 for this, and I would hate to think that anyone else would have this problem. Overall, the moisturizing and SPF were great, the product had a pleasant smell, but the packaging and dispensing totally failed. I wish I could return it and try again because it did seem to work really well with my skin. But for $20 and the inability to dispense or get at the product, I'm not going to risk it. EDIT on 10/25/09: I did end up buying this product again, and the packaging didn't fail like it did with my first purchase. And I still loved what it did for my skin. I'm hoping the first one I bought was just a fluke in terms of the dispensing mechanism, because the second one I bought worked just fine. It made my skin smooth and supple, and you have to love the awesome SPF this product delivers. No breakouts from this, and it calmed down my dry patches.
I was skeptical about the whole solid-shampoo thing, but the reviews were great, and the novelty of it inspired me to give it a try. A shampoo, with no packaging! Easy to travel with, no containers that must be rinsed out in order to recycle all the excess packaging when you're done, a great scent, a nice lathering effect without feeling like my hair was being stripped. What could be better? I was very, very pleased with the scent of this product. And pleasantly surprised that it lathers very well, even with only stroking it over my wet hair a few times. In fact, I was VERY surprised at the amount of lather. It isn't the same kind of lather that you get from a liquid shampoo, but it is pretty amazing for a solid shampoo bar, and it feels luxurious. So far (after 6+ uses) it is holding up pretty well, and it looks like it will last a good long time so long as I take care to keep it out of direct running water, and let it dry out between uses. I'm left with mixed feelings in terms of how this made my hair feel, however. When I air-dried my hair after use (with no additional conditioner or products), my hair felt soft and was fragrant and conditioned and so lovely. When I used a hair dryer (a must for me before going to work on weekday mornings) it seemed like my hair took forever to dry, dried unevenly, and seemed limp and wouldn't hold a simple style at all. (Maybe heating up my hair with a hair dryer made the cocoa butter in this do weird things?) When I added a conditioner to the ends of my hair after using it, that improved things a bit, but my hair still felt limp by mid-day and wouldn't hold even a simple style when blow drying. I usually bend over at the waist and get my hair mostly dry, then stand back up and use a round brush to smooth the ends and make the shorter layers behave. So far, I haven't been able to make my usual hair-drying routine work with Godiva. But, oh my goodness, when I let my hair air-dry after using this, it is lovely. I love the scent of this product, the concept, and the luxurious-but-not-drying lather so much that I'm going to keep trying to make it work on my blow-dried hair as well as it works on my air-dried hair. I keep thinking that if I just find the right combination of styling techniques, use of an additional conditioner or balm, or something else, that this will be the holy grail of eco-friendly shampoos! EDIT: I went through my first puck of Godiva, and got another one. The second one has really turned my head. Pun intended. The smell is divine! The lather is amazing, even for a solid shampoo. It leaves my hair so soft. I have found that using my old stand-by Pantene conditioner with this is a must, but I no longer have styling woes as I did when I first started using it. I'm a total fan now. I'm tempted to use this as a body wash, since I love the scent so much!
Treatments -Unlisted Brand - Surgi Cream Hair Removal Cream
three_black_cats 7/19/2009 2:44:00 PM
I picked up this Surgi Cream hair removal cream at the drugstore when I ran out of my usual Nair facial hair remover stuff, and this was the only thing I could find that was supposed to be specifically for facial hair. I have very fine blonde facial hair on my upper lip and chin, so I don't really HAVE to remove it, but I think I look better when I do. Also, my skin is pretty sensitive, and waxing will invariably make me break out, so I've found that cream depilatories work best for me. I ended up liking this one much better than the Nair product, even though the Nair product (with the lip-gloss tube style applicator, meaning your fingers never have to touch the product) was a bit less messy. This product comes with a tube of the hair removal cream and also included is a tube of the "surgi-soothe cream with hair stop plus" for after you've used the hair removal cream. You apply with your fingertip, and while that is a bit inconvenient, it's not that hard to wash your fingertips off when you're done applying. All in all, it works very very well. The instructions say not to leave it on for more than 8 minutes, but I found that anything less than 8 minutes resulted in less than perfect results. Still, it didn't irritate my sometimes-sensitive skin, nor did it result in a ton of breakouts a few days later, something I've experienced with other hair removal products/methods. It also doesn't have a terrible odor the way some hair removal creams do, which is a miracle in my book. I don't notice that the "surgi-soothe cream with hair stop plus" does anything to discourage or lessen re-growth, but it is soothing after using the hair removal cream. I've repurchased this a couple of times since my first experiment with it, and will likely continue to repurchase. It gets the job done, doesn't irritate my skin, and doesn't make me break out or regret my hair-removal experience. Your mileage may vary, but for me, this is the gold standard for facial hair removal.
First things first: This will NOT remove your mascara, eyeliner, long wear foundation, or long wear lipstick. Oh, no. It's too gentle to do that. So if you're looking for a cleanser that will take off a pound of makeup/sunscreen/etc that has been sitting on your skin all day long, this is not the one for you. It also might not be very effective for extremely oily or blemish-prone skin, although it certainly will not irritate or encourage existing blemishes. The somewhat thin (completely fragrance free) formula will feel creamy on your skin, but will NOT lather. It also will not irritate your eyes at all, something I really appreciate. If you know what to expect (and what NOT to expect) you might be very happy with this very neutral, very gentle cleanser. And that's exactly why I like it. I don't wear a whole lot of makeup, but when I do, I use a makeup remover (or *gasp* plain soap) for that purpose. But Cetaphil is fabulous in terms of cleansing my skin and not drying it out or irritating it at all. You can use it dry, and just tissue it off. Or you can rinse it off. Or you can use a washcloth and rub it off if you want more exfoliation. Or you can mix the Cetaphil with your favorite exfoliating ingredient. I once used Epsom Salts mixed with Cetaphil, and that worked great. I've also used Cetaphil on various parts of my body when I had dry itchy skin, or the occasional rash. It gets you clean without any lather and without any stripping of the skin. In fact, I sometimes feel as if I don't need any moisturizer when I'm done cleansing, except on the very driest areas of skin. I have a big bottle of this on my bathroom counter, and it has lasted me a very long time. I sometimes take it into the shower with me, too. No frills, nothing fancy, just a nice gentle cleanser. Does what it's supposed to do, and at a very reasonable price. It's a winner.
Powder -L'Oreal - Bare Naturale Powdered Mineral Foundation
three_black_cats 7/19/2009 1:59:00 PM
This definitely has more coverage than some of the other powdered mineral foundations I've tried. And that is not necessarily a good thing. If I'm not careful, applying it with the brush that comes with the product can leave me looking cakey and fake. Not a look I'm going for. Still, it's not a bad product, I just think you have to very careful with it if you want a natural look. Probably using a better brush than the one that comes with the product would help with that, too. I use it sparingly, and then smooth my fingertips over my skin to get rid of the powdery mask-like appearance, and I'm still left with decent coverage that evens out my skin tone. It can be a bit shiny, and doesn't work as well over drier areas of skin, but that's to be expected from a powder foundation. The packaging is kind of funky. There's a small jar of product, and the brush is built into the screw-top lid. Then there's a giant clear top that snaps onto the brush-lid. While it keeps the brush protected from being bent out of shape in your makeup bag/drawer, it is kind of bulky and otherwise useless. With the packaging the way it is, there is no good way to swirl your brush into this powder without getting way too much product on the brush. Then when you tap it off (as I do, to avoid over-application) you lose a lot of product. Unless you're willing to heave some sort of separate container available to swirl and tap the powder with the brush, it's just plain inconvenient. All in all, not bad for a drugstore powdered mineral makeup. But be careful, because applied the wrong way, it can get pretty mask-like and cakey. Applied the right way, it does a decent job. I'm not going to be re-purchasing this, but I will continue to experiment with this to see if I can get it to work better for me.
Carmex is all the rage, but I remain unimpressed. I used to use it regularly, and just ignored the strong medicinal scent. It's great while it's on your lips (if you can ignore the smell) but once it's off, I don't feel that it has improved my lips any. Any benefit from using this product is strictly limited to a small window of time immediately following application, in my experience. It obviously contains quite a bit of menthol, and while methol may provide a nice tingly feel, it is probably very drying and irritating for sensitive lips. Many of my friends have mentioned that the more they use Carmex, the drier their lips are, and the more Carmex they have to use. Break the cycle, and use something without so many irritating ingredients! If it tingles when you put it on your lips, it's not doing you any favors. Plus, it's very sticky and if you're not careful, the little pot of product (and the grooves in the lid) will accumulate all kinds of lint and anything other kind of debris that might be hiding in your purse or makeup bag. This isn't a terrible product, but I think it may be a bit overrated.
Scrubs -100 Percent Pure - Organic Tangerine Butter Body Scrub
three_black_cats 7/5/2009 8:46:00 PM
I expected this to be just your average ordinary scrub. Not so! This is more like a butter than a scrub... once you're wet and have soaked for a bit, scoop a bit of this out of the container and buff yourself with the perfect mix of body butters and mildly rough-stuff to get your skin looking lovely. Yes, there are citrus peels in there, and you do have to clean out the tub a bit when you're done. But with how lovely it makes my skin feel, that's no big deal. It made the little keratosis pilaris bumps on the backs of my arms almost completely go away after two or three uses. The smell is lovely. Citrus-y, very tangerine, but mild enough that I could use whatever lotion or fragrance I wanted once I'd patted myself dry. And after patting myself dry, my skin was still so soft and moisturized. The only drawback is that it's a bit pricey, but with all natural ingredients and the results I get, it just might be worth it.
Bath Treatments -LUSH - You've Been Mangoed bath melt
three_black_cats 7/5/2009 12:31:00 PM
This is a bath melt, sized just a bit larger than a "fun sized" candy bar. I cut mine into pieces. The first time I used it, I let the piece melt in the bathwater. It was a sublime experience. The next time I used it, I soaked in the tub for a bit, then rubbed the You've Been Mangoed bar over my skin and let it melt into me before submersing myself again in the water. Both approaches worked great. The bathwater was soft, fragrant, and left me feeling smooth and happy. My skin was loving it. I want more! The only thing I don't love is that there is no Lush store near where I live, and the shipping cost if you order from Lush.com is a bit over the top. The price of this bath melt on Lush's website is $5.85, which seems reasonable, given all the great ingredients that go into this product. But shipping costs start at $8.00-$10.50 for smaller packages, and go up to $11.00-$14.00 for larger packages. You've got to be kidding me! Next time I'm near a Lush store, I'm stocking up. But as for ordering online and paying those high shipping costs? No way. Sad, but true. I'd rather look into making my own bath melts than pay that much for shipping two or three bath melts from Lush. Sorry, Lush. Love you, but can't afford your shipping!
Lipstick -Revlon - ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick
three_black_cats 6/27/2009 1:05:00 PM
This product was on sale at Long's for a buy-one-get-one-free sale. I was intrigued by the ads I'd seen, so I decided to take advantage of the sale. I purchased 075 (#1 Nude) and 035 (Iconic Iris). My first impression, upon aplying #1 Nude, was that this was just an ordinary everyday long-wearing lip color. #1 Nude is a warm shade with a hint of red, and it looked my-lips-but-better when applied. It is a very nice neutral shade, with no gloss, no shimmer. After a minute or two, it dried to a mostly matte finish. It looks darker in the tube than it did on my pale lips, but it is a very subtle nude shade that I like. Iconic Iris is more purple/pink and shimmery, but still subtle and natural, with just a bit of shimmer. The color held up well through a light snack/lunch, and both these colors are very natural and wearable. This product feels silky and smooth when you first apply it. When I rubbed my lips together just after applying, it felt smooth and lovely. After a few minutes, though, my lips felt very tacky and sticky when I pressed them together. Running a finger over my lips didn't have the same tacky-sticky effect, but any time I pressed my lips together, that tacky-sticky feeling was there. That's the only drawback so far, so I just have to remind myself not to press my lips together when I'm using this product. Would I buy this again? Sure, as long as there is a buy-one-get-one-free offer! I might also be more adventurous and buy one of the darker shades next time, since both the shades I bought seem lighter on my lips than they look in the tube.
The store where I purchased this was having a special, and I couldn't resist. All the other shades seemed to be way too pink or waaaaay too orange. So I bought this one, even though it was the deepest, darkest shade offered. I worried a bit that it was going to be too garish or harsh for my pale complexion, but I figured that at least my lips wouldn't be neon orange or neon pink. I shouldn't have worried so much. I expected it to be more of a high-intensity stain, based on what I know of the rest of the L'Oreal HIP line. Instead, this is a very soft feeling gloss with a very subtle color and shine. I think I ended up with the right shade, even though I was afraid because I chose the darkest one. Even though it looks super dark in the packaging, when applied it was very subtle, like plum, but not purple, and it was glossy without being too sticky. And there's no shimmer, which made me very happy. I did notice some scent, as others have mentioned. While I hate food-y smelling products, the subtle vanilla/caramel scent of this wasn't enough to put me off. This is the "HIP" line (high intensity pigments) but I didn't get high intensity pigment from this product. And that's just as well, because the subtle tint and jelly-non-sticky feel was just what I was looking for.
Ok, so this is a soap that is NOT like traditional soap. I got a slice of this at a Lush store, and was expecting lather. Didn't get lather. But what I did get was so much better. The scent is more citrus than rose, but there's still a bit of rose in there to temper the strong citrus notes. According to Lush, most soaps are 99% soap and 1% fragrance. This is a "buttercream" soap, and according to Lush, it is only 20% soap (which accounts for the lack of lather) and the other 80% is oils, butters, glycerin, and essential oils. Which accounts for the lovely buttery quality of this product that left my skin feeling wonderful and soft. I got best results by soaking first in a tub of warm water, then sliding a piece of it all over my skin in long, luxurious strokes. It doesn't foam or lather much, but that doesn't mean it's not getting you clean. It didn't leave me feeling squeaky-clean, which is a good thing because squeaky-clean usually means very drying to the skin. Instead, it left me feeling moisturized and clean, with smooth skin and a subtle scent. It does melt away pretty quickly, but I took the slice I bought and broke it into pieces so that I can save some for later. One less-than-one-inch slice of this is going to last me for at least four or five baths, I think. It does a great job of cleansing without drying, leaving only a subtle citrus with a hint of rose scent behind. Oh, and did I mention that it felt very moisturizing and not at all drying? Don't let the lack of lather fool you -- often the stuff that makes lather and bubbles, while pleasant in the bath, just dries your skin out. Also, the fragrance and essential oils in this product didn't irritate my skin in any way. This is the first Lush product I've tried, and you can bet I'll be trying more. It is a bit pricey, but with how little I needed to use to feel cleansed and moisturized, and with the scent intensity (intense in the bath, but not over-powering on my skin once I'd dried off), it might be worth buying a larger amount next time.
Lipstick -Wet 'n' Wild - Wild Shine Lip Lacquer in Rapture
three_black_cats 2/15/2009 7:48:00 PM
I originally purchased this product in the "Fetish" shade, and I loved it. "Rapture" has the same features that made me love this product in the shade I originally purchased, but this shade isn't quite as fabulous on my lips. Your mileage may vary. Pros: Nice, creamy texture. Very moisturizing. Well pigmented, and a very nice berry shade without being too pink or too purple. Can't beat the price! No glitter, no irridescence, no sparkle at all. Definitely a sophisticated dewy finish. No fragrance, and nothing "minty" in it to irritate your lips. Cons: "Rapture" is a bit more opaque than "Fetish" and the creaminess of it seems more prone to migrate outside of my lipline. There's a lot of product that can't be retracted into the container, so it's really easy to get lipstick all over the inside of the lid if you're not careful when opening and closing it. Others have mentioned this problem, and I concur. Would I buy it again? At this price? Definitely, but not in this shade. It would certainly help if they came out with some more shades. I keep hearing people talking about the great red-toned shades, but I didn't see that when I was shopping. It also seems like there are no mid-tone neutrals. All the shades look very pink or very peach to me... maybe it's the lighting in the grocery store? Or maybe I just need to try them. But at this price, I could definitely do that.
Picked this up on a whim at the grocery store. Yes, the grocery store. Nob Hill carries Wet 'n' Wild, but doesn't have the same dirt cheap sales that you can find at the drug store. Still, it was less than three bucks, and I figured I couldn't go wrong with that. I got this in the shade called "Fetish." How they decided to name this color, I'll never know, but it's very nice and subtle on me. Polished, even, without being over-the-top at all. Not anything like anything "fetish" I've ever seen or heard about before, unless you have a fetish for a very comfortable, very easy to wear, very subtle lip color. This shade is a nice sheer mauve/rose, with just the barest hint of shimmer and the barest hint of irridescence. Very natural on my lips. It is also not sticky, not opaque, and very easy to apply, and comfortable to wear. No worries about it ending up on my teeth, and no worries about it fading unnaturally. It also didn't dry my lips out at all, either. No lipbrush or lipliner needed here to achieve a lovely low-maintenance look. Some of the other shades of this product looked way too bright pink, but there were a few others that were intriguing. And at this price, I can afford to experiment.
Mascara -Revlon - Beyond Natural Mascara [DISCONTINUED]
three_black_cats 2/6/2009 9:54:00 PM
I have this mascara in dark brown, and it doesn't look fake or too black like some "dark brown" mascaras that I now know to avoid. I'm pretty fair, so I always love mascara that darkens and defines my lashes without being too black. It also doesn't clump when applying, and it doesn't make my lashes feel dry or brittle. I haven't had any problem with it flaking off, either. It is also fairly easy to remove, but doesn't wear off during the day unless I'm rubbing my eyes a lot. And even if I'm rubbing my eyes a lot, it doesn't end up UNDER my eyes, which is nice. I also like the comb-like brush that has two different lengths of bristles, but it is hard to tell them apart, so when I'm in a hurry in the morning, I just use the brush whichever way it comes out of the tube, and so far that's worked pretty well. I do have to wipe a bit of product off the end of the brush before I apply to avoid an uneven application, but that's minor, and to be expected with any mascara. It seems to work best with a very slow "wiggle" from the base of lashes to the tip to build volume as you apply it, followed by a few quick sweeps to build length. Nothing unusual there. Application makes all the difference, as with most mascaras. This mascara doesn't build a lot of volume (which can be a plus if you want to avoid clumping, like me) and it doesn't add spectacular length, but since I'm going for a natural look, and my lashes don't need all-out length building and volume, this does the trick with minimal effort. I'm not enjoying it as much as Cover Girl's Lash Exact, but it's a pretty close second. I'd buy it again, but I'd be more likely to buy the Cover Girl Lash Exact.
Deodorants -Dove - Pro Age Anti-perspirant Deodorant
three_black_cats 12/21/2008 1:52:00 PM
I love this product. No doubt about it. It is actually an anti-perspirant as well as being a deodorant, and it does a good job at both. A lot of deodorant/anti-perspirant products have too-strong or "powdery" scents that I can't stand, but the scent of this one is just perfect. It is subtle, and a bit floral, with no hint of "powder" in it. I can't stand "powdery" scents, and this one has none of that. The scent reminds me of Estee Lauder's "Beyond Paradise," but it is subtle enough that it won't interfere with whatever scent I'm wearing. It also does a really great job of preventing underarm wetness, and although I sometimes get some white marks on my clothes if I'm not careful, that problem seems to be very minimal with this product compared to other products I've used. Furthermore, it seems to treat my underarm skin very gently, and makes the skin in that area feel nice. It also doesn't irritate at all after shaving, which is a big plus for my sensitive skin. I've been buying this product for the last couple of years or so, and often buying two at a time when I find it, because not all drugstores or groceries seem to carry it. Hopefully I'll never run out and they'll never discontinue it, because this is the best deodorant/anti-perspirant I've found so far. Good subtle non-powdery scent, good to my skin, and does what it's supposed to do. EDIT: I think they've discontinued this, which makes me very sad.