I used to use the Phytojoba regularly, but then I switched to CG method for curly hair and went sulfate-free. I use Phyto-joba still as a clarifying shampoo, because even though it has sulfates in it it's still pretty gentle. I thought that I'd switch to an even lower sulfate product with Phyto-nectar, but I'm not liking this as much as Phytojoba. It is gentler, and it foams up a lot less (it's not supposed to foam up, most low sulfate or sulfate free shampoos won't foam up). I like the smell well enough, but prefer the Phyto-joba, so I think once I finish up this bottle I'll go back to that for my clarifying shampoo. My boyfriend has extremely dry curly hair (4a) and this is great for him. After just one wash he was significantly less frizzy. I think the scent is a little too girly for him though, because he's back using the Bumble and Bumble shampoo I also donated to him when it didn't work out for me. :D Also, I understand why they use the aluminum bottles, with the whole low preservative thing (marketing), and they are an improvement on the glass ones (I shattered one in my tiled shower once-terrible!) but yeah, those slippery bottles and the tops suck. It's so easy to pour out too much product, and spill and blahblahblah. I keep meaning to get a pump, but never do...
Styling Products -TRESemme - Waterless Foam Shampoo for Dry/Curly to Normal Hair
avmanion 5/25/2010 11:07:00 PM
I use the Devacurl low-poo regime regularly on my very dark curly/wavy hair, and am super leery of loading up on product that might weigh down my hair. I go maybe 2 or 3 days between washings, (my hair is pretty dry and any more than that strips it and it turns frizzy) and have been looking for a waterless shampoo for the in-between days. I tried powder shampoos, and if they weren't dark they left a visible powdery residue, or else they require brushing out. I don't even own a hairbrush anymore since going CG, I just finger comb to prevent breakage, so powder shampoos never really worked out, I'd get all this powder all over the place. Anyway, this is great-it's got really gentle ingredients, so it doesn't mess up my sulfate-free regime, and I found that it does clear up oil and refresh body. It doesn't do much to refresh curl, but I wasn't expecting it too-i just wanted it for greasiness or limpness. I didn't have any problems with the dampness. I don't heat-style at all to protect my hair, so I'm used to my hair taking a long time to dry. This stuff dries so much faster than water anyway. I use more than the 3 pumps recommended by the instructions, but I also have very very thick hair and I don't think I'd recommend using a lot of this at one time if you have fine hair. I don't put it all through my hair either, only at the roots since my ends don't usually get oily. I think it works best for a long curly cut, the sort of beachy/bed-head wavy look that had accommodate a little bit of imperfection. I'm not sure how well it would work short, precise cuts, or for a flat-ironed look because it might just get gummy? In other words might not be the best product to prolong a blowdry/straightened style. In any case, I do recommend this for curlies who do conditioner wash or follow the CG method, or people who try to avoid sulfate products. I'm not sure that it's for everyone though. It is cheap, but I took off a lippie because it's really hard to find at the moment-not carried in my local drugstore so had to order online which increases cost.
Lipstick -NARS - Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Forbidden Red
avmanion 5/4/2010 4:09:00 AM
This is a great red! It's definitely warm, so good for warm/golden/olive skin tones like mine. I bought it to use as a lip pencil along with Shanghai Express. The color is a little bit brighter/more orange than Shanghai Express, but they compliment each other really well. It's a little bit more of a lipstick texture than a lip pencil texture-it's sort of soft and creamy rather than hard and precise like a pencil. It does give you the precise control of a pencil though. It is a little bit drier than a lipstick, but you could totally use it on it's own without a lipstick on top. You definitely need to use lip balm either under or over it as it is drying.
This is a great red for warm or golden skin tones. I tried it in the store next to Fire Down Below and Red Lizard. Red Lizard went fuschia and Fire Down Below turned very brown, but Shanghai Express came out perfectly red. It's a darker, classic red, so even though the color is strong it isn't very bright. If you're after an old Hollywood look or a mid-century retro Madmen look then this is a good color. If you want something brighter, more candy-colored 80's, then I think Heatwave is probably the way to go (for warm skin tones). I find that it's really tough to find reds that work for people with warm undertones, so Nars range of reds is nice. I didn't really like the reds that MAC had to offer-too blue or not neutral or warm enough or something. Chanel's red tend kind of blue too I feel. As far as texture, it is very matte, no shine at all, and is also a little bit drying, but it has good staying power if used with a lip balm and a lip liner underneath. It's not a "swipe and go" color, you do need to take care when applying (or at least I do, or else I have red lipstick all over myself). It's totally worth the price and the trouble for a classic red that works with my complexion.
Styling Products -Unlisted Brand - David Babaii for WildAid Beach Spray
avmanion 4/24/2010 6:31:00 AM
I was pretty disappointed with this beach spray. I generally like beach sprays for my naturally curly/wavy hair for giving a bit of texture and volume but not too much. I used to use the John Frieda Beach Blond sea spray, which was great, and had a nice coconut scent. I thought that this could be a replacement for that discontinued product, but it just isn't as good. Every time I use this I don't really get all that much texture out of it, it sort of weighs my hair down, and rather than just a salty, coconut smell it has a pina colada smell that's heavier on the pineapple than the coconut.
I haven't tried the blush, but I heard it complimented any skin-tone so I thought the gloss would do the same. I'm so glad I tried this in the store instead of just buying online because it was just awful on me. It sounds right, a corally pink with gold shimmer, but it just looked terrible. Not natural at all, really pale and frosted. Instead of making my lips look colored it made them colorless and shimmery. Totally gross. It was gloppy, but no more or less than any other gloss. It was sort of bitter too, which I find NARS lip products to be.
I don't really use foundation, but I'm getting older and I wanted something easy that would cover the dark circles under my eyes and the dark acne scars and sun damage I have here and there. I have very acne-prone skin so I was nervous about trying out any foundation. I have a pressed powder from MAC that I'm not very impressed with, and an under-eye concealer that I think is really heavy and no good for covering acne. I have a light, olive toned complexion and I tested this in the store--the light was perfect. I have the beginner set that came with brushes, light, golden light, mineral veil and warmth. I don't really use anything but the light at the moment-but maybe in the summer I'll use the others more. It's really light coverage, so maybe wouldn't be best if you want something heavy-duty, but I wanted something sheer that would just cover little imperfections. I don't think it would cover actual acne. It hasn't broken me out or irritated my skin--I use it with a primer so that it stays even. It does apply creamy--so it doesn't look as powdery as the MAC. I really like it, but I think I agree that it won't be any good for heavy coverage. You can build up the coverage to a certain extent but still, it isn't a liquid, and there's a point of no return where it stops looking dewy and starts looking cakey.
Primer/ Corrector -Laura Mercier - Foundation Primer - Hydrating
avmanion 2/28/2010 10:35:00 AM
I love this. I can use it even without powder and my skin looks and feels evened out. When I use it with powder I can pretty much cover up any flaws, and it does help make powder stay put. It's really gentle, and doesn't feel heavy on my skin. I even use it on my eyelids and it doesn't sting and helps eyeshadow stay on. Sinks right in, although it does take a minute to dry before I can add powder or else it gets a bit pasty. Highly recommend when you want to stay polished through the day and not have to think about it!
My sister swears by this stuff, but I find that it isn't moisturizing enough for me, and it stings when I apply it. I turn a bit red sometimes too. It's strange because I think it really is gentle, just not gentle enough for my kind of sensitive skin.
HG sunscreen. It sinks right in, doesn't leave a film or smell like sunscreen and I swear that when I use it regularly it helps clear up my skin. Sometime chemical sunscreens sting my face a bit (my skin's very sensitive and acne-prone) but I find this to be soothing and even calms redness. Before I found this sunscreen using sunblock everyday felt gross, but now I can do it. I think that if I have a long day sometimes it does get into my eyes and sting a bit, but it's not a deal-breaker. If I forget to wear it for a few days and start up again afterwards, I think there's an adjustment period and I get little breakouts, but it always settles within a week. Also, I have an olive complexion, and sunscreens that leave a white cast or that are tinted (sometimes mineral sunscreens have a weird tint to them) show up ashy and chalky on my skin. I love this because it blends right in and doesn't leave a white-cast. It's so light too that I can wear it both under foundation primer and loose powder and it still feels like I barely have anything on.
Moisturizers -Phytomer - Hydracontinue Instant Moisture Cream
avmanion 2/28/2010 10:22:00 AM
This is pretty much the only moisturizer I can use on my face that doesn't either break me out or give me a rash. I have acne-prone skin that's both dry and oily--my pores clog easily, but my skin also gets dry easily. I tried a few different moisturizers: Dermatologica's Active Moist, drugstore brands like Clean and Clear and Cetaphil, and department store brands like Shiseido-always the oil-free or acne formulas. They either didn't have enough moisture, or they would sting when I applied them. Even Active Moist which is supposedly the gentlest lotion ever stings like crazy and turns me pink. This does not sting when I apply-it's really soothing actually. It smells great-really natural understated scent. It sinks right in and doesn't leave a film or feel heavy. It makes my skin feel normal, not like it's been "moisturized". It's really expensive, but I've been getting it from the same vendor on ebay for years now, so worth looking for there. I get the 100 ml tube, because even though the pot comes with a little spatula, I like squeezing it out of the tube better cuz it's cleaner.
Treatments -L'Oreal - Advanced RevitalLift Night Cream
avmanion 2/28/2010 10:15:00 AM
This cream really works for me. I have acne prone skin that's both dry and oily. I think that this cream works because of my dryness. I didn't notice any greasiness-my skin soaks it all right up. I've been using this for a couple of years now (I originally got it as a sample), and it has helped with wrinkles and discoloration and my skin looks great. I think the pro-retinols fit really well with the rest of my skincare regime (which is very specifically tailored to control my acne) and are a good over-the-counter alternative to prescription retinols if you don't need the prescription strength. The smell is kind of strong, but it's nice, like baby-powder. I wake up with firm, even-toned skin after using this. I do think it might be too heavy though if you're skin isn't prone to dryness, and I once did get a minor breakout from cleansing with an oil cleanser and using too much of this on the same night. I wish they made an night cream for eyes that was similar to this. The one I use now is ok, but if it worked as well as this does for the rest of my face I'd have the perfect system. I'd recommend trying to find a sample before buying the full tub, because it lasts forever and you don't want to get stuck with it or throw away such a big container. Once thing I don't like is that it is in a tub--it's sort of gross to dip your fingers in there every night. I wish it came with a spatula or something or else in a pump bottle instead.
This is my HG cleanser. It was a long and rocky road to finding this cleanser. I have struggled with acne since I was 12 and I went through everything: proactive, antibiotics etc. I changed a whole lot of things about my regime, not just this cleanser, but my skin is the clearest it's ever been now. I did finally break down several years ago and use Tazorac, which did a lot to clear up my skin, but using this cleanser and a specific regime I've managed to keep the acne from coming back. The key is gentle, constant exfoliation. My skin is oily and acne-prone, but also dry so I get dead skin cell build up easily unless I'm constantly cleaning and moisturizing. It is a strong cleanser, and it can be drying. My skin feels a bit tight after using, but I always moisturize afterwards (finding a moisturizer that didn't break me out was another quest). If I forget to moisturize after using this my skin does get oily and I get one or two little white-heads by the end of the day. My skin loves salicylic acid though-just seems to be the acne product that works for me-and this cleanser is the gentlest I've found even with the potential for dryness. I don't turn white and flakey with this. I could go on and on about my skin care regime, but I think it's enough to say this cleanser is an important part of keeping my face clear.
This is my HG conditioner. It's rich and moisturizing, works as a rinse out and as a leave in, rinses clean in any case and smells terrific. I buy it in the huge bottles and just use it like crazy. I use the low-poo shampoo most of the time, but even if I have to use a sulfate shampoo or when I use phytojoba as a clarifying shampoo I feel like this fixes any damage. I have naturally curly hair, so it's delicate and tends to dryness and frizziness in humidity. This conditioner doesn't do much for humidity, but it did protect my hair very well against sun, sea and sand last summer. v. impressed. great, I won't use anything else if I can help it. This is the one deva-curl product that can be used outside of the system (without the low/nopoo and the arc/angell) and still get great results.
I LOVE this shampoo! I love the whole system actually. I have naturally curly/wavy hair that I could never quite get under control. I finally decided to visit a stylist who specializes in curls, and she turned me on to the deva brand. I use this in combination with the one condition and arc-angell. I also use phytojoba shampoo once every couple of weeks as a clarifying shampoo, since I do notice that I get build-up and residue. When my hair was short I didn't need any other products to control the frizz-I was getting perfectly shaped, defined curls every time that lasted for a few days. Now that it's longer though I find that I do need a little creme or something to get those last little fuzzies that seem to always frame my head in the morning. I love the smell-I think it bothers some people because it is strong, but to me it smells fruity but in a luxurious way, like a fancy salon rather than Bath and Body works. I don't think it's that expensive, but it isn't cheap either, but I do notice that I don't have to wash my hair as often on this system. Maybe once every three days or so. Some cons: I think this does need to be used as part of the whole deva system with the conditioner and the gel. It is super gentle and won't strip your hair, but I don't think you can get defined curls using this alone. Maybe if you have very damaged hair it would help, but you might not see any difference. Also, since it's sulfate free, it did take a couple weeks for my head to get used to it. At first it didn't feel very clean, which took some getting used to, and my scalp was itchy sometimes, but after the first few weeks everything balanced out and it's ok now. still the two or three weeks of itchiness may be a dealbreaker for some people.