I'm a biracial curly girl with 3B type curls. I'm always on the search for products that define my curls without leaving them hard, crunchy, greasy, or frizzy by the end of the day. It's hard to get the right balance with a gel sometimes -- too much = crunchy, and too little = frizzy areas. I've been known to use 3 or more styling products (for instance, leave in conditioner, then mousse, then shine serum) to try to get the look I want. I've been using the Curling Souffle for more than a month and so far it's an HG product for me. I originally bought it because I was looking for products without silicones, plus I love the smell of coconut. :) I apply this after washing and conditioning to soaking wet hair and then I gently blot my hair with a microfiber towel. To get an idea of the texture, think of a gelled oil rather than hair gel. It's pretty sticky feeling while wet, but I don't get any stickiness once my hair dries. The jar cautions that a little goes a long way and I agree. Again, treat it like oil, not gel. In addition to well-defined, glossy curls on the day I use it, this product even gives me better 2nd and 3rd day hair. I find that my hair is much less frizzy after sleeping on it when I've used this product.
Concealers -Everyday Minerals - Abbott's Perk Me Up Concealer
bellapoison 12/4/2008 1:25:00 PM
I got this as part of the free EDM sampling kit, which by the way, is a very generous offers with JARS of samples, not just tiny bags. I have sallow/olive skin with purple/blue undereye circles, and when I looked at this product in the jar, it looked way too orange for me. But on my skin, it looks GREAT. The coverage is nice, it's easy to apply with a concealer brush. I use it on my lids also when I don't plan to wear any eyeshadow, and it covers the veins in my eyelids. I deducted one lippie because I don't feel it lasts as long as a cream/liquid concealer. But I recommend giving it a shot as a sample and judging for yourself.
Four shades of Lip Blush are available at Target, and two additional shades are available at pixibeauty.com. I chose Purity, which is depicted on the swatch, tube and box as a “nude,” brownish color. The box recommends that Lip Blush be applied to dry, clean, grease-free lips. They claim that it stays on for three to eight hours and that one tube lasts for 100-150 applications. The Lip Blush tube is shaped like a marker and has a felt-tip applicator like one, too. This isn’t really a new idea; this type of applicator has been used for lip stains by Sephora, Bella Il Fiore, and Avon’s mark line, among others. But I do think this is a more effective way to apply a water-based lip stain than the brush provided with Benetint. This applicator is also the most travel-friendly kind of lip color I’ve found: It doesn’t leak, melt or break easily. You may want to exfoliate your lips before application because any dryness or flakiness will be highlighted by the stain (use a lip exfoliator or just gently scrub your lips with a toothbrush or washcloth); this also helps clean oils and grease off your lips for better staining. Application is simple: Line your lips with the tip of the pen and then fill in. After application, the texture is slightly tacky, which worried me. But after a minute or so, the tackiness disappears. I find lip stains like this (Benetint included) to be a little drying (especially when used immediately after exfoliating), so I usually top with gloss or balm, though the oil in a balm/gloss contributes to the stain wearing off more quickly. For comfort, smooth on a bit of Smith’s Rosebud Salve. For a longer-lasting stain, skip it. Despite the color depicted on the packaging, Purity, on me, looks dark pink. My lips are naturally pink, so this enhanced my natural lip color. I appreciate the matte quality of the stain; it looks very natural. The Lip Blush smells like a fruity cocktail, but the smell dissipates within moments. I didn’t notice a distinct taste. If I use balm, or if I eat or drink while wearing this stain, it disappears within two to three hours. I have not been able to test it past it much past those limits (I yield to lip balm use within the hour, normally). PROS: * Good applicator * Travel-friendly * Natural, matte color * Reasonable staying power (2-3 hours) CONS: * Can be drying * May need to exfoliate before application * Color not as expected * Expensive VERDICT: Though the color wasn’t exactly what I expected, I still liked the result. I wear natural-looking makeup often, so I can see myself using this pen a lot. The dryness is easily remedied, and since the packaging is well-suited to pocket or purse, it’s simple to reapply. I would definitely buy this again.
Conditioner -Dr. Bronner's - Organic Shikakai Conditioning Hair Rinse
bellapoison 11/5/2008 11:56:00 PM
I purchased this product as part of my no ‘poo experiment. Previously I was washing my hair with baking soda and rinsing with diluted apple cider vinegar. The rinse is brown and grainy, with a liquid consistency. Recommended use is dilution of 1 or 2 capsful in 1 cup of water. This sounded like a hassle to try to do in the shower every time I wanted to condition my hair, so I pre-mixed 2 cups of water with 2 capsful of rinse in an empty bottle. The scent is strong and lemony. Over the past couple of months, I have used the rinse consistently as a conditioner, following a wash with Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap or Burt's Bees shampoo. (Application of the rinse from a squeeze bottle is much easier than trying to pour from an open cup.) My hair is short, about collar length, and I used about 3/4 cup of mix per wash. Rinsing thoroughly with water is important because, just as with apple cider vinegar, an incomplete rinse may leave your hair with a waxy feeling. The rinse had an instant detangling effect, making my hair feel sleek and thick. My hair was easy to style following this conditioning treatment; the detangling was as significant as with one of my favorite conditioners, Origins’ Knot Free. I noticed a lingering lemon scent on my hair which dissipated after a few minutes (or after application of styling products). PROS: * Economical (unless you have very long hair, you will use on average 1 capful of conditioning rinse per wash) * Organic/fair trade ingredients * Cruelty-free * Excellent detangling * Possible anti-dandruff properties CONS: * Strong lemon smell during wash (possibly a pro, depending on how much you like lemons) * Unusual procedure (dilution may be a hassle) * Requires thorough rinsing with water (possible residue after a quick rinse) * Lemon juice may irritate cuts or abrasions on scalp * Messy cap (unless you rinse the cap out after every use, product drips down the sides of the bottle) VERDICT: After adjusting to unusual dilution/pouring method, I really like the way my hair feels both during and after use of Dr. Bronner’s Conditioning Hair Rinse. It’s easier to rinse and less waxy feeling than apple cider vinegar, but it has the same conditioning/detangling effect as my conventional conditioner. For no/low ‘pooers who are looking for an ACV alternative—or for any organic-beauty lovers— I recommend this product.
Cleansers -Cosmedicine - Healthy Cleanse Foaming Cleanser and Toner In One
bellapoison 11/5/2008 11:49:00 PM
Instead of investing in the full-size bottle ($35), I snagged a travel-size bottle for $10, because I’m cheap like that. The product is dual-phase, which means that it needs to be shaken well before use (I forgot to do this a couple of times and the product texture seemed oilier than when well-shaken). Application is unusual: You pump the cleansing into your damp hands, but apply it to a dry face. I think this step must be what helps it remove makeup so well. The cleanser lives up to the claim of removing regular eye makeup without stinging. (I did not have a chance to test it with waterproof mascara, which it also claims to remove.) It did not remove metallic liquid eyeliner, though; I had to resort to a separate makeup remover. The cleanser exits the pump as a light foam, but I did not notice much additional foaming on the face (probably because of the minimal amount of water involved before rinsing). The texture is light and slightly oily (which helps break down makeup) but rinses easily. My skin felt soft to the touch with no irritation from the cleanser. Healthy Cleanse also claims that it “leaves skin clean, refreshed, normalized, never tight or dry.” My skin did feel soft, but also felt stretched if I smiled. Granted, my skin didn’t feel as tight as if I’d used a bar soap or a harsher cleanser, but I definitely felt dryness and tightness on my forehead and cheekbone area. Perhaps this is what they mean by “85% reduction in excess sebum immediately after use”? PROS: * Excellent makeup removal * Little to no irritation * Light texture * Rinses easily * Travel size available; pump less prone to leaking than regular bottle cleanser CONS: * Slightly drying * Expensive (The travel-size is actually cheaper, at $5.88/oz. versus the larger size’s $7/oz.) * Didn’t live up to all of its claims VERDICT: I liked the ease of a makeup remover, cleanser and toner in one. It did not live up to all of its claims (I wish it was slightly less drying), and I’m ambivalent about whether I would buy it again, especially at the price. If you want to try this product, and if you’re interested in other Cosmedicine products, consider Sephora’s Cosmedicine Starter Set, which includes the 1.7 oz Healthy Cleanse and four other Cosmedicine products for $24.
Highlighters -Physicians Formula - Shimmer Strips in Vegas Strip
bellapoison 10/24/2008 12:55:00 PM
This looks so pretty in the package that I finally succumbed to buying it, though at 11.95, it was really more than I wanted to spend on a drugstore bronzer. I purchased the "Vegas" compact, which ended up being a little light for me. If I were choosing again, I'd select Waikiki. The colors are attractive, and the powder is smooth and not chalky. It is VERY shimmery. I agree with other reviewers that it's better as a highlighter than as a bronzer. I applied a touch of Mineral Veil over it to tone it down a bit. My biggest disappointment was that the bronzer (not the container) SHATTERED after half a day in my makeup bag. (I don't carry my makeup bag around with me--it was only moved between my office and my car and then between the car and my house.) I've never had a pressed powdered product that fragile. When I purchased this, I saw that Milani had a "Glimmer Strips" product for almost half the price (6.99). Now that I have a bunch of broken bronzer, I wish I'd paid less for it.