Please, please, stay away from this one! I tried this in the Hands up! lotion (medium intensity), thinking it would be a nice mildly sweet but otherwise unobtrusive scent. It's descibed as a blend of Honey and Vanilla. Well, I can detect a bit of the honey, but this scent has an overpowering musty/medicinal note that is not appealing at all.
I tried to let it grow on me (after all, I have a full tub of it now). I used it once before bed, and woke up several times in the night after placing my hands a bit too close to my face. Not only was the stench enough to rouse me from my sleep (!), when my SO surprised me by coming over first thing in the morning, just as he was about to hug me, he recoiled and said "What's that smell?!" I immediately ran into the washroom and scrubbed my hands, I'd had enough!
This scent just reeks. I can't be polite or poetic about it. I shudder to think what the scent this is meant to replace was like! It's the total opposite of what I was expecting and a major disappointment. Consider yourselves warned!
This is my favorite nail strengthener. It's not as easy to find as Nail Envy or other brands (I've only ever seen it in a few salons or beauty supply stores) but it's worth tracking down. It can be a bit expensive, a teeny little 1/4 oz. bottle easily goes for around $20 CDN. When you consider that the product won't last very long, and is prone to thickening, it looks like you've got a pricey little habit developing! Buying the 'Formula Fix with Protein' (which is like a polish thinner) is definitely a good idea, and will stretch the life of your bottle considerably!
I had great results with this formula; it made my nails longer and stronger than anything else I've used, for the greatest length of time. In the end my nails did begin to break and peel again, but I was able to enjoy a good month of perfect nails before that happened. I switched over to Formula #1 a little later than I should have, so perhaps that's where I went wrong? That coupled with my usual disregard for my nails' welfare, of course. :)
I'd definitely recommend this product, along with the Formula #1 and Formula Fix, if you're desparate to have long pretty nails. It does work! Having 'long pretty nails' just turned out to be too much of a committment for me timewise, else I'd still be hooked on this line. I'm slowly learning to love the short ones Nature seems to prefer on me though!
*****UPDATE***** Just wanted to say, this strengthener doesn't even compare to my new favorite, by Mavala. Please see my (long) review on that one for the details if interested!
My nails are prone to splitting, peeling, breaking, you name it - I can never keep them long for more than a week or two. I've used many nail strengtheners and this is one of the few I've tried that worked....for a while at least.
Nail Envy seemed to be working very well for about a month or so. My nails were definitely growing (and quickly at that), but sadly, this didn't fortify them enough to allow me to maintain the length. They were the longest they'd been in years, and then they suddenly began snapping off left and right! Not only were they apparently as weak as before, they were now also extremely brittle. I gave this two or three good runs, and then gave up. On the postitive side, this product is very easy to find in stores, and not that expensive.
The results I had with this product were certainly better than many similar ones I've tried, it ranks right up there with Nailtiques on my list of superior nail strengtheners. But I really think this will work best if you're not looking to maintain a dramatic length (like I was), and are serious about looking after your nails once they've grown. My poor diet, frequent hand washing and failure to protect my hands during household tasks or at work are probably partly to blame for the failure. So in closing: it works, but be sure to moisturize and protect your hands and nails often, or the brittle monster will get them!
I've used these several times since they came out, both the Professional Strength, and the normal drugstore kind. Whichever you choose I don't think you can go wrong with these.
The Pro strips will give you faster, more noticeable results, so they are a great introduction to the line. They should be available through your dentist for anywhere between $40 to $100 CDN. I paid about $100 when they first came out, but my friends claim that they are sold online for less -- so please shop around! For that price you should receive a three week supply, and perhaps some toothpaste and a brush -- to make it clear you're getting your money's worth, of course. Nothing like unwrapping a shiny new toothbrush to make you feel pampered! Priceless, fantastic toothbrush aside, they are good investment. They give great results and were a great first purchase.
The regular Whitestrips are roughly $45 CDN, but with coupons etc. you can also find these for less. I purchase the regular strips every few months now to maintain the results I got from the Pro kit, and I've been happy with them them as well.
Three things I didn't like about these strips originally: 1) They made me drool like a rabid dog 2) They tasted like I was chugging a bottle of peroxide 3) They have to sit on my teeth for a hour altogether. I didn't experience any sensitivity or other unpleasant side effects, but those were pretty annoying. My most recent box has changed my mind however, the peroixde gel now seems to have a sweet flavour, and I was able to use them without going into salivary overdrive. Nice to know they've been working to improve them. I still have to wear them for an hour, if I do both upper and lower though. At least it's more pleasant.
For at home tooth whitening these are by far my favourite products, and if you can find them at a decent price, they're worth every penny!
This was once the only foundation I used! I'd always hated liquid foundations and the like, and dreamed of finding a powder that would give me decent coverage without looking chalky or caked on. Studiofix was it!
My skin is definitely combination, but leans more towards the normal/dry side, and I find I get better results using this after I moisturize. As with any powder, this will emphasize flakes and dryness, so I can only see this working well for those with combo/oily skin. That said, it blots out shine, and evens out my skintone, without looking heavy or mask-like at all. I just look like I have 'good skin'! I only pick up a tiny amount on the sponge and pat/smooth it on gently - this provides just the right amount of coverage for me.
My one complaint would be the packaging, it needs to be more klutz-proof! I always end up dropping the compact and the hinge breaks very easily, which means the cover won't stay on unless I'm careful about fitting it into place after every use. Very annoying. But don't let my idiocy scare you away! ******UPDATE****** I finally gave up on this after years of use. Partly because I didn't feel like going in for another color matching, partly because it seemed to be causing a lot of blackheads and clogged pores. I've moved on to mineral foundation now, and have no plans to return to using Studiofix in future.
Misc Beauty Tools -Tweezerman - Corner Lash Curler
Aiko_Aiko 7/11/2003 4:18:00 PM
I have a decent set of long lashes, but they are notoriously unruly. They like to point in odd directions and I swear sometimes it's like they're actively dodging my eyelash curler in the morning! Since my outermost lashes are the toughest to tame, I bought this little tool to see if it would help with the problem. I'm really happy to say that it does!
The head of this curler is approx. 1 cm wide, and comes with a little pad that's very durable. The body of the curler is made of stainless steel. It's very easy to clean, and overall, it should last you a long time. I think I picked mine up for between $12 - $15 CDN, and find it worth the price.
The curler is small enough to use on those corner lashes that refuse to curl normally and it doesn't pinch or crimp the lashes I've already curled. I normally apply just enough to pressure to get the 'bad' lashes to blend in with the rest (instead of pointing straight down etc.) and then use my normal eyelash curler to finish things off. It's well designed and it does the job it's meant to, but I find that following up with my normal curler provides the most uniform results.
This tool certainly won't replace your normal curler, but if you've ever wondered if some of your eyelashes are growing in upside down just to spite you, you'll be happy you picked this item up! I doubt I'll need to replace this anytime soon, but if I ever lost it, I'd buy it again in a heartbeat!
I was pleasantly surprised by this product. Most silicone based 'shine serums' leave my hair a sticky, greasy mess, but this one is light and practically disappears into my hair. It has a nice smell, and it only takes a small amount to show results on my shoulder length hair, (less than the size of a dime). I use it before I blowdry or flat iron, and it leaves my hair silky, smooth and shiny. It's about $20 for 50 ml, but the bottle lasts forever. Definitely a staple in my hair care arsenal!
Treatments -Joico - k-pak deep penetrating reconstructor
Aiko_Aiko 7/9/2003 1:32:00 AM
I use this about once a week and my hair always thanks me for it! I'm not nuts about the scent, but it doesn't really last, so I can cope with it. (It's not gag-inducing, just not my favorite fragrance, something like a banana/pineapple combo).
Scent aside, this does a fantastic job as a deep conditioner. I really believe this is what keeps my hair free of split ends between trims -- I constantly heat style my hair, but this stuff helps it stay shiny and healthy. And it's not one to weigh my hair down or leave it feeling coated and greasy either. It's about $18 for a tube, but well worth it!
This is great conditioner for hair that takes a lot of heat styling, like mine. It's thick and creamy, smells lovely, and leaves my hair very soft and manageable. It also doesn't weigh my hair down the way other rich conditioners do. It usually costs about $13, and because a little of this conditioner goes a long way, it lasts for quite a while. Like the All-Soft shampoo, it's inexpensive and true to its name. A staple for me!
One of my favorite shampoos! My hair: Very coarse, thick and wavy in texture, and fairly 'virginal' and healthy -- I might have a semi-permanent or gloss applied once in a while, but nothing really damaging. I do heat style it a lot though, so I'm always looking to prevent split ends and dryness.
The smell of this shampoo is nice but not overpowering, and it leaves my hair very shiny and soft. It's great to use before heat styling, and I've had the same excellent results using it with the All-Soft conditioner or a deep conditioning treatment. The price is usually around $12 and it's easy to find in salons and beauty supply stores. A really nice product that's affordable and delivers on its promises!
Lip Treatments -Smith's Rosebud Salve - Smith's Rosebud Salve
Aiko_Aiko 7/9/2003 12:40:00 AM
I'm indifferent to this product. The rose scent is pleasant enough, it doesn't 'tingle', the tin is cute, and it does moisturize my lips well. But there is a bit of a weird taste to it, it's pore clogging, has no sunscreen, and I tend to prefer lip balms in tube form. I find it's alright to use as cuticle cream, but even then, I have products I prefer for that purpose!
Mine was about 8 dollars, and it's not easy to find (in Canada at least). If you really like the retro packaging and aren't too picky about what you want in a lip balm, you'll probably be very happy with it. But it's not what I'd consider a 'must-have' item. Good luck with it if you try it!
I used this product for a while, before switching to waterproof/budgeproof eye makeup, and I was always pleased with it. Have you ever added water to a liquid soap dispenser to get out the very last drops of soap? If so, you're already familiar with the texture of this makeup remover - mildly soapy water. (For $11 bucks, it better be more than just that!) It's very gentle, never once did it sting or burn my eyes. It's also not greasy or oily, which can be a nice thing depending on your skin type. But that said, it doesn't really do an amazing job. It never seemed to take off my (non-waterproof) mascaras completely, so I always had to follow up with a cleanser to be sure it was all gone. Other kinds of makeup (concealer, lipstick etc.) came off quite easily though.
If you're lucky enough to only have to worry about removing a little bit of makeup and then falling into bed, this is a great, non-irritating product to try. If not, this is still worth a look for those with very sensitive eyes -- just be prepared to wash your face afterwards. And those needing more a more heavy duty remover probably want to look elsewhere!
Hair Styling Tools -Solano - HAI Convertable Flat Iron
Aiko_Aiko 7/2/2003 12:56:00 AM
This review is actually for the 1 inch HAI Stik (sorry to put it here, I just can't seem to create separate reviews!)
I have been using flat irons for years and thought all the fuss being made about ceramic irons was just hype, until I tried this. It saves me so much time and effort, and it works so well, I can't rave enough about it. It takes literally seconds to heat up, and the model I have comes with adjustable heat settings, which makes it suitable for all kinds of hair. I keep mine on the highest setting and it straightens my thick wavy hair in one or two passes. I don't even have to blowdry my hair straight beforehand, it works on my hair's natural air dried texture (my hair is very resistant to straightening, so this is nothing short of a miracle). The smaller plates also make it very easy to flip the ends of my hair under/out, something I couldn't do with my larger flat irons. And whereas other (metal) flat irons used to leave my hair looking fried and lifeless, this one actually leaves it looking shiny and healthy, especially if I remember to apply a leave-in treatment first. There is a store on eBay that carries these at very reasonable prices, and my experience with them was great -- definitely do a search for them there. These really are excellent. If you straighten your hair often, don't like to spend a lot of time or effort doing it, and want something that works without killing your hair, go get one of these!!
Other -Unlisted Brand - Emjoi Gently Gold Caress Epilator
Aiko_Aiko 6/27/2003 4:12:00 AM
I have both this and the Emjoi Optima. I prefer the Optima, but before that was released the Gently Gold was in my book the best epilator I'd ever used. Epilators will never be painless, as they remove hair from the root, but a good one like the Emjoi makes the process quicker and minimizes the discomfort. And it will save you a trip to the salon or the mess and incovenience of at-home waxing or shaving everyday. (I don't miss having to do any of those, believe me.) The ability to go for weeks in the summer without having to shave under my arms made these worth the price, even though that particular area is the most painful for me to use these on!
The Gently Gold is a good buy, as it only misses the tiniest or finest hairs, causes very little breakage (when a hair is simply snapped off at the skin's surface, but not pulled out at the root), and is not any more irritating than need be (you might notice some redness and/or spots on your skin after using an epilator, but that's normal and fades in about an hour). I've used this on my legs, my arms, my bikini line, and underarms, all with great results. But I do like the Optima better and since I can't create a separate review for it, I'll just explain why below...
The Optima has two rows of tweezing heads instead of the one on the GG. This makes the removal process even faster, and causes less irritation because you're not making repeated attempts to remove all the hair in a single spot. I find it does a superior job removing short and fine hairs as well. The GG never left my legs feeling totally smooth, as I could still feel the tiny hairs that were broken off or missed afterwards. I don't have that problem with the Optima, it really is amazing. The Optima also comes with an electric razor head that can be used on areas you'd rather not tweeze (I personally use it on my thighs and bikini area, and epilate my lower leg only). It can be used on dry skin, and gives a nice smooth shave. Just be very careful with the pointed metal combs on either side of the shaving head, they are extremely sharp and can scratch the skin. I believe they are meant to 'guide' the hairs that are going to be shaved off but I would like it much better if they weren't there at all. They are the only downside to using the shaver, but I still like having the attachment and think it's a great idea to provide both. I should also mention that the rotating bar in the middle of the tweezer heads can be abrasive and scrape the skin if you're pressing down too hard. You get the hang of using both attachments pretty quickly though, and once you do, you shouldn't have those problems.
The Optima definitely gets my vote overall, but if you're just looking for an epilator that works, without any frills, the Gently Gold is still worth the money. (Sorry for the gigantic review!)
I wear waterproof mascara and use Almay Amazing Lasting concealer as an eyeshadow base, so removing my eye makeup at night can be pretty tough. Most makeup removers I've tried either irritate my eyes or fail to take off those products altogether. I tend to avoid using any rich or heavy creams on my face, for fear of breakouts or clogged pores, but this product is acutally non-comedogenic (the ingredient list checks out, and my experience with it backs up that claim). And it does a fabulous job of removing the most stubborn makeup! I just rub a little onto my eye area and remove it with a cotton pad, followed by my normal cleansing routine. It can cause a blurring effect if you accidentally get some in your eyes, but in my experience that's not uncomfortable, and goes away quickly (even if I've happened to leave my contacts in). It's the only thing I've found that takes everything off, and doesn't have any of the adverse effects I've experienced with other removers. It's also very inexpensive, about $6.50 CDN for a tub that will last for ages. It's a must have for me, I wouldn't be without this!