Lotions/ Creams -Unlisted Brand - Dr. Fred Summit - Skin Whitener
RustGospel 5/12/2013 8:57:00 AM
Dr. Fred and I have been friends for a long, long time. We've had our ups and downs over the years, particularly concerning my product junkie mentality. Yet somehow, no matter what, I always come back to my dear Dr. Fred Summit. Why? The answer is this simple: it actually works for me and it does more than it claims to. I've only just started back using this cream for about 2 weeks thus far and my skin is already looking much, much more even in tone. My slightly red post-acne marks have faded down to a subtle shade of brown that I suspect will continue to lighten over the coming weeks. I wake up in the morning looking radiant and my skin is so plump and filled out in appearance. The lines around my eyes even look smoother! I'm not sure what it is, but this product also makes my skin softer feeling than anything I've EVER used. I want to add that I don't think this cream really "whitens". On me it simply tones down any dark spots and discoloration while imparting a very healthy glow. For those looking to perhaps try this product I'll offer some advice to help aid it's effectiveness: Always wear a good sunscreen. Yes, always. It's pointless to embark on a journey to even skin when you're going out during the day and only re-darkening the spots you're trying to lighten. Exfoliate often. Once or twice a week is usually good. Exfoliating alone can result in more even skin but when used in conjunction with a cream like Dr. Fred Summit's it clears the old skin cells off the surface so that the cream can work more effectively. You don't need anything too fancy either. Sugar and olive oil work great for me. Try incorporating lemon juice. Before my skin became really picky I would splash my wet face with a bit of lemon juice before blotting the excess moisture off slightly and applying the cream. Lemon juice by it's self gives a great glow and has exfoliative properties. Here's the BEST trick- Try putting this cream on skin that is on the wetter side of damp. You don't need a lot of this either. I use only enough to cover the very tip of my index finger and then I warm it in the palm of my hands before applying it. Doing this after getting out of the shower is even better. This certainly helps my skin absorb the cream a thousand times easier too. The feeling of this product on skin that is towel dried just feels heavy/greasy/gross and it will take forever to absorb. Don't do it! All in all, I LOVE Dr. Fred Summit's Skin Whitener. It's cheap, readily available and best of all...it actually works! Possibly HG status for me!
As many hits as NYX seems to turn out, this white eyeliner is a definite MISS. This is so unbearably chalky and dry. The texture is quite thick and the pencil is so hard that it barely deposits color on the waterline. On the lid, this pencil drags terribly- almost to the point of discomfort. The color pay off is better on the lid than it is on the waterline but it's impossible to get an even or smooth line. The appearance that it gives is unsightly to be polite, simply because it goes on looking very patchy/grainy. Yuck. Forget about trying to blend it out too! It's so dry that there's no way you could do it without hurting yourself. Over all, pass. I know it's cheap, but you can definitely find something better and possibly more available elsewhere.
Eyeliner -Physicians Formula - Eye booster eyeliner + serum
RustGospel 4/4/2013 12:12:00 AM
I really, REALLY wanted to love this eyeliner but I find myself beyond displeased with it. My eyes are not only small but also hooded and the tip on most eyeliners is far too thick for me to use with ease. Instead of getting the nice fine line that many eyeliners promise, I wind up closing my off entire lid space and making my eyes look even more beady than before. When I first found out about Physicians Formula's Eye Booster I was certain it would be a godsend because it genuinely has a very precise tip. Well...that didn't wind up being the case. While I do love the brush tip and the control that it offers, the only time I've actually been able to get it to really work was the day I first opened it. It preformed well until I reached the second eye and then the tip seemed to run dry. I'd shaken it once more and then tried again but nothing came out. Instead, the dry brush tip actually caused the liner already on my eye to wear off. Not thinking much of it, I decided to store it upside down undisturbed for about two days. I hoped that perhaps I could get the liner flowing that way since it'd probably been stored upright at the store for a good while. Nope. Even after leaving it alone to settle, I STILL couldn't get the liner to work. I've only been able to barely complete ONE single eye before the liner totally runs dry each time I get my nerve up to mess with it again. When attempting to get this flowing on the back of my hand, all I can coax out of the brush are these very blotchy, dry, random spurts of liner. Absolutely nothing comes out on my eye because the entire brush is almost totally bone dry, not just the tip. Wow. For almost 12 dollars, this is the biggest let down imaginable. It's totally unacceptable. It's the most expensive eyeliner I've ever purchased and definitely a total waste. What makes this all even worse is that I can't return the eyeliner and get a replacement or my money back. If my experience with this eyeliner is any reflection on the Physicians Formula line as a whole, I have to say that I'm not very impressed. This eyeliner was my first purchase from them and it's not making the best first impression thus far. I've contacted Physicians Formula about this and will update once they respond.
Eyeliner -Rimmel - Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner in Nude
RustGospel 3/16/2013 1:46:00 PM
Prior to Rimmel releasing several things that caught my eye this spring, they were generally a brand that I totally ignored. I had always been under the impression that many of the products weren't very great quality and something about the marketing rubbed me the wrong way. Anyway, Rimmel Scandal'Eyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner in Nude completely changed my mind. Whoa. These eyeliners...where do I start? The shade selection is unlike anything I've seen in the drugstore before. Sure, we've all seen browns and blues but what about powdery canary blue shades and beautiful (pigmented) taupes? This nude shade is the first of it's kind that I've seen in the drugstore. Prior to these being available in America if you wanted a nude eyeliner you'd either have to resort to using a white or take a trip to a counter/specialty cosmetic store and pay anywhere from 15 to 20-something dollars on a single eyeliner. Not anymore. It's so pigmented and creamy that it takes just the slightest touch to get a vibrant color with this, yet it doesn't move around in the waterline. Rimmel Scandal'Eyes in Nude is the FIRST EVER eyeliner that I've tried that genuinely sets in my waterline and lasts. Most of them melt immediately and migrate into my tear ducts before 30 minutes is out. That includes many exalted drugstore liners that were much more expensive than this was (looking at you, Milani Liquif'Eye). The color is slightly peachy, causing my eyes look awake and lively in a much more natural way than white eyeliner ever could. It's wonderful for making my eyes stand out under my dark glasses too. I've used this liner as a soft matte brow highlight for days when I've needed a little lift and in the tearduct area for some extra brightness. It also worked well for highlighting around my lips and keeping lipstick in place when used as a liner around the mouth. Using it that way really made my lipstick pop! This nude eyeliner is total perfection. I've persuaded everyone that I know to pick it up because I am totally in love with it. I can't wait to go back and get the black shade next. HG, HG, HG. Can't say it enough.
When I received this in my Sweetheart box, I have to say that I was initially both a little apprehensive and skeptical. I was worried that the included Shine Minimizing cleanser would be too stripping on my skin which is quite dry (and thus naturally shine-free) during the winter. However, I'm happy to report that it did no such thing! My skin feels very balanced and hydrated after cleansing with the Shine Minimizing cleanser. No irritation either! My skin has done a total 360 from moment I switched to the Olay Fresh Effects system from the Alpha Hydrox cleanser I was using. I will say this though, this cleanser can be a little heavy and leave a bit of film on the skin if you're not using the brush with it. Make sure you wash it off well! The included powered facial brush is really nice. I didn't think that it would make much difference because it vibrates rather than the brush head it's self actually rotating. Boy, was I wrong. Using the powered brush really does make my face not only feel more clean but it also imparts a lovely rosy glow that makes me look more radiant and awake. My skin seems more smooth after using it and my moisturizer glides right on afterwards, absorbing better and being more effective in the process. It also really keeps the pores on my nose much clearer than manual washing. I like it a lot and can't wait to try it out with different scrubs for exfoliating. Over all, I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised by Olay Fresh Effect's Cleansing System. It's gentle but very effective and I'm grateful to have it. If you're looking to try out a little facial brush but not wanting shell out money for the big guns (like Clarisonic) this might be something to look into.
Conditioner -Alberto Vo5 - Strawberries & Cream smoothing conditioner
RustGospel 2/28/2013 9:44:00 AM
I really love this cheap little conditioner! When I picked it up at the dollar store, I really wasn't expecting much. I wound up finding myself supremely surprised though. This is the perfect silicone-free conditioner for those who co-wash their hair. First of all, the scent of both the shampoo and the conditioner is positively heavenly. Some may find it sickly sweet and slightly cloying, but I really do love it. It makes my hair smell delicious! My only complaint about the scent is that I wish it lingered more, though this may be a total turn-off to others who are more sensitive to product fragrances. Secondly, this is absolutely divine for detangling my thick 3b hair. After massaging this into my scalp and rinsing it out, I then apply a generous handful and allow it to sit on my hair while I finish my shower. Vo5 Moisture Milks practically MELTS my tangles right away with it's strawberry splendor. It offers the perfect amount of "slip" for detangling my thick tresses without coating and suffocating it with plastic-y silicones also. Another plus is that this contains a bit of soy milk protein to strengthen hair that has been weathered by coloring/bleaching, chemical treatments, and mechanical damage. Finally, the price is great. I found this for a dollar at my local Dollar Tree, yet I've heard of other people scooping it up for even less during sales at drugstores. Trust me, once you start co-washing your hair regularly, you'll go through a ton of conditioner- even more so if your hair is thick and/or long. Sticking with something cheap and effective like this is definitely the way to go.
I really wanted to like this product (as well as other Alpha Hydrox products) but I really don't think it's for me. I purchased this a few months ago and have been using it religiously since then, both in conjunction with the 10% Enhanced Lotion and more recently, alone. This makes my face so overwhelmingly dry and tight. It seems as though no amount of moisturizer will replenish my skin once it's been washed with this. To even raise an eyebrow or smile feels uncomfortable. My skin looks terrible. Since I've been using Alpha Hydrox products, I've noticed that my skin has become much more fussy and aggravated than usual also- probably because it's so dry. Winter definitely isn't helping but I stay inside most of the time. I haven't seen any difference in my skin aside from the fact that it is unbearably dry and more prone to irritation than it was before. Basic cleansers like Cetaphil seem to do a 1,000 times better for my skin than this does.
Moisturizers -Alpha Hydrox - Enhanced Lotion - 10% AHA
RustGospel 2/11/2013 2:21:00 PM
Alpha Hydrox products just don't seem to work for me at all. There. I said it. This is the second time around that I've tried Alpha Hydrox's 10% range. Around this time last year I was using the 10% Enhanced Cream and this time I wound up with the 10% Enhanced Lotion. Neither of them have done anything for my skin aside from make it sticky (initially) and then insanely, incorrigibly dry. I've waited between washing and then applying it, I've applied it directly after. I've used the Alpha Hydrox Foaming Facial Cleanser with it. I've waited between applying this and then moisturizer, I've done it immediately after. No matter how I've tried this in the many months I've been using it, it just doesn't deliver for me at all. I picked it up hoping that this would give me the more even and glowing skin that other reviewers have reported. I hunted it down at my local Walgreens and paid a small fortune for both the lotion and the cleanser. Originally I had fully intended to try out the 12% because the 10% did nothing for my skin last time but of course, my Walgreens only carried 3 products: The 10% Enhanced Cream, The 10% Lotion, and the Foaming Facial Cleanser. I convinced myself that cleanser and this together might be more effective because last time I was not using a cleanser that was PH balanced. Nope, not at all. The only "results" that I garnered from these products was an unbearable dryness that couldn't seem to be countered by any moisturizer I tried and in turn started to result in irritation. Needless to say, I am beyond unhappy with this purchase. When I contacted Alpha Hydrox about my concerns, I was rather rudely brushed off. I won't be trying any more of these products any time soon.
It seems as though I've unfortunately been spoiled by the wonders of Maybelline's Define-A-Brow (who's shades seem to be rapidly disappearing left and right through discontinuation) and I'm not sure that I'll ever be quite as satisfied with another automatic eyebrow pencil. Nyx's Auto Eyebrow Pencil is certainly a step in the right direction shade-wise, though the pencil mechanism itself leads much to desire. Because my brows are quite thick, I still very much prefer the thinner point of pencil's like Define-A-Brow that make it exceptionally easy to make fine, hair-like strokes. Nyx's Auto Eyebrow Pencil isn't fat by any means, but it is rather wide and does distribute product quickly in a very broad area. This is great for gals that prefer "soft brows" that are quite natural and effortless as well as those who definitely have brows that are a little more on the sparser side. For me though, it's a little too easy to create brows that are a tad furry. Because this pencil is quite waxy, it seems to require a lot of blending with a brush to keep it from making my brows look flat, dull and clumped together. Of course, as others have stated, the brush provided on the end of the pencil is pretty useless and much too flimsy to do the blending needed. The one redeeming feature of Nyx's Auto Eyebrow Pencil in Charcoal definitely has to be it's color. For those with black hair and dark cool-toned eyebrows, greys like this one are EXCELLENT. They are so much less harsh than blacks can be for me, as well as much more versatile. They can be a bit more gentle and toned down for day wear but also built up and more dramatic for night time. What more could a raven-haired girl want, right? I think it's excellent that Nyx included a shade like this one in it's selection. Greys are quite hard to find and even harder if you only like automatic pencils like I do. If you're considering trying out one just to see if shades like this work for you, Nyx's Auto Eyebrow Pencil in Charcoal might be a great one to sample. As for me, well...I'm still on the hunt for my HG eyebrow pencil.
Though there has been much raving about Dominican products amongst those with curly and kinky hair (both relaxed, natural, and somewhere in between), I really can't say that I was impressed by Avanti's Silicon Mix. I purchased this product hastily and definitely against my better judgement. At the time, I was attempting to follow the Curly Girl Method to see if perhaps it would work on my s-shaped, dense, long 3b hair. Adding this deep conditioner to the mix really set me back and had me caught right back up in the stripping cycle of silicones and shampoo. BUT, in my desperation to try a Dominican product, I caved. This seems to hydrate best when I've simply left it on while showering versus sitting under the dryer with it on. Either way, the results really aren't anything notable. My hair seems to react the same way to other more available drugstore conditioners like Aussie Moist or Garnier's Triple Nutrition. While the silicones in this do provide much needed slip for detangling, I don't find that this really helps my hair stay hydrated. If anything, this really bothers my scalp. I've been having to wash my hair more than usual because I'm tearing my scalp up by scratching at it. If you are someone who is bothered by scents in products or you especially detest strong, powdery, floral, "mature" type fragrances, this DEFINITELY isn't for you. Silicon Mix has a very potent scent that hangs around long after it's been washed out. It's so bad that even if this product did work for me, I wouldn't repurchase it because of the smell. Over all, Silicon Mix was a total miss for me.
Hair Styling Tools -Unlisted Brand - Tangle Teezer
RustGospel 2/1/2013 11:24:00 PM
I'll just cut to the chase: I, for one, would love it sooo much more if it had a handle. It'd be so much easier to work with. Fellow curly girls know the drill- most of us prefer detangling in the shower with conditioner in our hair to provide extra slip for our grooming implements. Well, conditioner in this case isn't the only thing giving slip...the Tangle Teezer is a fan of slipping right out of my hand and totally going projectile in the shower when it's wet. I also want to note that because this brush fits directly in the palm of my hand, I also partially wind up finger-combing my hair and snagging my nails because my fingers hang over the edges of the brush. I have a TON of hair and it seems like adding a handle to this brush would definitely make my detangling sessions go by a bit faster as well. All that being said, I really do love the Tangle Teezer. It is THOUSANDS of times better than my crappy wide tooth comb which did nothing but rip gobs of my hair out no matter now gentle or slow I was. However, I can't say that I really prefer my Tangle Teezer to my regular old Goody paddle brush. Why? The Goody brush has a handle of course! It's a lot more easy to use but it's certainly not as gentle on my hair as the Tangle Teezer is. The Tangle Teezer also defines my curls a lot more than the paddle brush does. Though my 3b hair is insanely dense and typically rather knotted by the time wash day rolls around, I really don't find that I have to brush tip to root or even section my hair off when I use this. It glides right through my knots with no tugging or pain and seems to get through every layer of hair with relative ease. I also haven't noticed any damage to my hair from using this product either! As far as similar products go, the Tangle Tamer Max is supposedly comparable to the Tangle Teezer but has a handle. That said, it's handle is flat rather than round and I've read that it's no easier to hold on to in the shower than the genuine Tangle Teezer is. Shaun P. & the gang have recently come out with a more shower friendly version of the Tangle Teezer (with non-slip coating I believe) but I don't think I'll being running to my nearest Sally's to pick one up anytime soon. It is also oddly shaped and again without a handle. :( Over all, I do love this brush but I can't help but wish it was more easy to use.
I hate to bring the score on this product down but...there's just something in Ambi Fade Cream that my skin can't tolerate. Every time I try this, I get greasy, bumpy, and irritated skin. When I first got this product, I was at the tail end of my year long acne battle and I don't think I realized that this was causing more harm than good. I used it religiously for months, mostly at night but sometimes during the day (with additional sunscreen over the top), in conjunction with other products that were meant to help lighten dark marks and alone. I've tried it only in spots and I've used a light layer of it over my entire face also. Needless to say, I never garnered any positive results from it. I recently tried it again now that I'm all clear and I don't think I can keep putting this on my face. Even though I have the Oily Skin formulation and my skin is quite dry, this product is far, far too greasy for me. After using it my skin feels suffocated and mildly itchy. Every morning after I sleep with this on my face, I wake up with bumps. Dabbing it only in spots seems to elicit the same reaction. When I don't apply it, my skin is clear. I'm giving this 2 rating only because it's pretty widely available, this price is good, and the packaging is appropriate. I most certainly wouldn't recommend this to people who are prone to irritation.
Cetaphil is really probably the perfect no-frills, utilitarian cleanser. Without it, I never would have realized that the year-long plague of acne that I suffered (never having had it before then) was due to irritation. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, particularly if you're used to cold creams or other heavy cleansers. I wasn't too thrilled with it initially as it didn't leave my face feeling quite as minty and "clean" as I was accustomed to, but come to find out, the menthol in my previous cleanser (which I'd been using for years with no issues) was part of the aggravating cocktail that was causing my skin to freak out in the first place. After Cetaphil entered the picture, the large pores on my cheeks and forehead diminished completely and were restored to their pre acne size. Those areas also stopped being so itchy and inflamed and the severe irritation along my jawline disappeared. Instead of adding more and more harsh ingredients to my regimen to combat the acne, which only made it worse, I should have spent more time finding out the underlying cause of it. I should have put away my other products and went back to the more gentle basics. If I had switched sooner perhaps I'd have less post acne scarring than I do now. Thanks, Cetaphil.
I really wish that I had more to say about this product. It's strange that I don't, seeing as I've been using it now for about 3-4 months and are finally coming to the end of my tube. Still, I'm just not sure that this product alone is to account for the dramatic change in my skin during those months. The first week of using this, I had a very minor break out of tiny, slightly itchy red bumps across my forehead that soon became flesh colored and then disappeared altogether and never flared up again. So, I too can vouch for some of the claims that this causes break outs. I can imagine them being more severe for someone who is acne prone or extra sensitive. Please watch out if this describes you. After the initial break out was gone, I did notice my skin looking a bit more bright than it had been before. Over time it seems like all of the more shallow reddish marks on my forehead have cleared completely yet the deeper, slightly indented brown marks on my cheeks still remain. They're fading slowly but I have the feeling that it's got more to do with time than this treatment. I kind of feel like the more shallow 'marks' I had were actually just irritation from products I had been using before switching to a more mild cleanser and this cream. However, my skin is DEFINITELY much less red and splotchy than it was prior to making those changes. I like that unlike other 'fade' type products this one is not greasy and doesn't contain hydroquinone. It's also pretty readily available at most drugstores and the packaging is appropriate for a product of this type that can oxidize. It's got a serum type consistency that is neither extremely heavy nor too light. I still have to layer over it with another moisturizer at night as this can get kind of sticky if you use too much of it, but it's perfect for daytime if you plan on staying inside. It does have a smell that lingers and can be kind of strong. The closest thing I can compare the scent to is raw potatoes. Strange, I know. Overall, I'm just not sure how I feel about this product. The vitamin C in this can't do anything but good for my skin but I doubt very seriously that it's done absolute wonders either. For the price, I'm just not sure that this is a justifiable re-purchase for me.
Polishes -Wet 'n' Wild - megalast - Red A Good Book
RustGospel 12/14/2012 2:23:00 PM
I haven't written a review in quite some time but I just HAD to pop in and write one for 'I Red A Good Book'. First of all, I own tons of red polishes (albeit drugstore brands) and this one is truly the most vibrant neutral medium red shade that I've come across. Even my former flame 'Revlon Red' just can't stand up to this one. I don't know about most people, but on me shades touted as 'neutral' can sometimes be quite flat as far as dimension is concerned. This definitely isn't so with 'I Red A Good Book'. Though this color doesn't pull warm or cool on me, it somehow just pops. It's almost like a sumptuous candy apple red color that I suspect would be beautiful on most, if not all complexions. It's one of those colors that you can't help but look at! Wet 'n' Wild's Manicurve brush is wonderful. It's thick and bristly but it's not quite as dense as I remember the Sally Hansen brushes being. It's incredibly easy to coat each nail evenly and more importantly, QUICKLY, both on very long and relatively short nails. It also doesn't streak terribly if you get impatient while waiting for each coat to dry and I have yet to experience any horrible bubbling that makes your paint job look more like something found on a rickety county fair ride rather than a great manicure (looking at you, Revlon). 'I Red A Good Book' has great lasting power and doesn't seem to grow duller and/or darker with wear like I've experienced with other polishes. It's got a brilliant shine to it that really showcases the lovely color without the use of a top coat as well. The only qualm that I really have is that it seemed to soften and get streaked up by my hair when I was using a blow dryer recently but that very well could have been my fault for being careless. For the price, 'I Red A Good Book' really can't be beaten. The formula and brush seem to be much more superior to other drugstore brands with a higher price point. The wear is excellent and the color is stunning. Wet 'n' Wild really has a winner with their MegaLast line and I can't wait to try more of their shades.