Gels/Soaps -Unlisted Brand - Clearly Natural - glycerine Soap
faffner 5/28/2012 3:34:00 AM
I like this soap. I can use the unscented version as a body bar without it irritating my very sensitive skin or causing it to break out. I can't use it on my face, but I've never found a bar that I could, so I wouldn't hold that against it too much. The only drawback it has is that it's not really strong enough to properly clean underarms. I just use another soap for that when I'm in the shower, but that's kind of cumbersome, so it keeps the Clearly Natural from being perfect. Plus, if I forget to use the other soap and wash my underarms with the glycerin bar instead, it gives me a bit of BO for the day. Not really bad, just not what you'd want.
Moisturizers -Unlisted Brand - Pure Nuff Stuff - Cream Dream - Unscented
faffner 5/28/2012 3:28:00 AM
My skin is the queen of contact sensitivity. I have not been able to find a body moisturizer that I can use reliably, so needless to say, eye cream has been out of reach for me. Lately, because the EU seems to be much more enlightened about the ingredients they use and how they process them, I've been giving some foreign brands a try. I kind of did a hail mary by ordering this cream -- I wasn't even sure how I would use it. Well, I've been using it as an eye cream for a two weeks even though it's supposed to be a regular facial moisturizer, and I am amazed to say that it hasn't caused me any problems. None of the bumps, redness, swollen eyes, or generally bad reactions I've had with everything else. In fact, I think it somehow conditions my eyelashes because they've been looking amazing since I started using it. I can't say that it has super duper anti-wrinkle properties because I haven't been using it that long, and my problems in that area aren't too severe. I am excited, though, to be able to use something that moisturizes my eye area and may help prevent such problems in the future. I only see two drawbacks to this product. The first is that it's in a jar, so there's the sanitary issue. The other is that, if you're like me and have to import it, it can get pricey to try. However, if it doesn't go bad quickly, the jar should last me forever.
Shampoo -Unlisted Brand - Green People - Organic Base No Scent Shampoo
faffner 5/28/2012 3:13:00 AM
Meh. Not the worst unscented shampoo I've tried. It didn't give me a rash, cause breakage, or make my dense, fine-structured, curly, tending toward poof-y hair fall out. It did make my hair look a mess -- super puffy, no curl, and fried -- while leaving it cruddy feeling. After only two times using the shampoo and matching conditioner, my hand would feel mucky when I ran it through my hair, even though my hair looked really dried out. It wasn't a matter of build-up: the only thing I use in my hair is a teeny amount of coconut oil, which always washes out easily.
Shampoo -Unlisted Brand - JR Liggett's Old Fashioned Bar Shampoo
faffner 3/3/2012 4:18:00 PM
I've been looking for a new shampoo since they changed the formula of the one I usually use, and I seem to be allergic to most of them. I remember trying the original Liggett's shampoo bar when I was a kid and not liking it, but because the "balanced" version of this bar is unscented, and I am running out of options, I decided to give it a try. I have to say that the problem I usually have with shampoo bars is that I have trouble lathering and distributing the cleanser through my thick, curly hair, and this bar was superior to others in that respect. However, the results I got after washing my hair were...embarrassing. My hair was dry and flyaway, and when I tried to put a bit of coconut oil in to add a little moisture and combat frizz like I usually do, it became stiff and greasy -- which is not a problem I usually have. The next time I washed it, it was even drier and more out of control. I looked like a crazy cat lady. I usually wash my hair every three days, but with the Liggett's, by the second day my hair looked dirty. After washing it only twice, it was weirdly stiff near the scalp, and it stayed where I put it in a bad way, like it was funky sculpting clay. I've washed it several times since then with clarifying lemon shampoo, and I even did a vinegar rinse (shampoo, then vinegar rinse, then shampoo again), and I still haven't been able to completely remove the weird residue. It also seemed to leave a soft, waxy coating on my ears and cause a mild breakout around my hairline. I guess shampoo bars aren't for me.
Cleansers -Unlisted Brand - River Soap Company - Milk and Honey soap
faffner 3/3/2012 4:03:00 PM
I am so happy to have found this soap! Up until now, Olivella fragrance-free was the only soap I could use on my whole body, but it started to have a disgusting smell that would sometimes linger on my body and always in my bathroom. I took a chance and ordered this soap, and I found I could use it without irritation on my whole body. It was a bit weird at first: it seemed a little drying and some of my eczema-prone patches itched a little, so I thought it would trigger an eczema breakout, but instead it seems to have healed them. In fact, one patch of eczema I've had on my back for over a year finally healed when I used this soap (I also used temovate, aloe, and shea butter, but I've been using those for a the whole time I've had the rash and it never quite went away until I started using this soap). In addition, the mild, chicken skin bumps I've had around my collar bone got a lot better with this soap. It also seems to travel fairly well. I'm really happy with it, so I hope that they don't change the formula and my body continues to tolerate it.
Moisturizers -Unlisted Brand - NOW Solutions 100% Natural Shea Butter
faffner 2/14/2012 4:55:00 PM
I had been using Perfect Organics unscented shea butter, which I really liked, but I was running out and couldn't find any more. I don't like to use unrefined shea butter because I don't like the smell and it irritates my skin (I think one of the things that gets refined out is one of the things that bothers my skin). I picked up Now brand, and I've been happy with it. I haven't experienced the grittiness that other reviewers have; in fact, my tub has been the smoothest, easiest to apply shea butter I've used. It seems to sink in more slowly than Perfect Organics, and I can't use it all the time or on areas that can break out like my chest and back, but it is fantastic on dry skin, legs after shaving, and eczema patches.
I really like this as a hand cream. It's very concentrated, so one tin lasts forever, and the minimal, pure ingredients don't give my sensitive skin any problems. I also like that, unlike some moisturizers, it works whether your hands are already damp or dry. The only reason I'm giving it four instead of five lippies is that it's pretty greasy going on and takes quite awhile before it sinks in and you can touch anything.
Cleansers -Perricone - Hypo-allergenic Gentle Cleanser
faffner 1/21/2012 12:11:00 PM
I was all excited to try this product line, hoping to find something gentle and non-irritating enough to allow me to ditch my complicated, medication-ridden regimen. I got two separate samples from Sephora because it often takes awhile for my skin to develop a negative reaction to a product. I needn't have bothered. After one use, my skin was red and itchy, with tiny red pimples forming. Normally, I wouldn't assume that this means a cleanser is necessarily bad because I am so extremely sensitive to so many ingredients. However, along with the irritation, this cleanser made my skin so dry that my skin tightened, stung, and started peeling, even though I diluted it with water before I applied it to my skin. I can't believe this product is being marketed for sensitive skin.
Unlike the matching shampoo, this conditioner had good slip. Unfortunately, it didn't moisturize enough and left my hair fried and crispy-looking after air drying. It also didn't prevent the terrible breakage caused by the shampoo. Not good at all for my 2b-ish curly, fine-textured, frizzy (much more so now after all the breakage) hair.
Breakage!!! Ahhh!!! This was the worst shampoo for my 2b-ish curly, fine-textured, frizzy hair. This shampoo has no slip to begin with and left a film that made my hair feel sticky, which made it come out in clumps whenever I shampooed or ran my hands through it. After using it and the matching conditioner for about a week, I noticed a significant increase in frizz, much of which came from all the partial strands leftover from the breakage. It also left my hair weighed down yet crispy/fried looking after air drying. I will say that the bottles are pretty. I wish I had had the good luck that other MUAers did, but this one's not for me.
Although I do find these easy to use, I'm pretty good at getting my hair in a bun with bobby pins, so that's not why I like them. This is why I think spin pins are great: When I put my hair in an elastic and put it up with regular bobby pins or a clip, the weight of my hair gets pulled by gravity, and by the end of the day the hair on the top of my head is plastered down and my scalp is sore. Somehow, spin pins distribute the tension better and get me more loose height at the top of my 'do. They are also so comfortable that there feels like there's nothing there. I agree with the posters who have noted that you need to catch the hair in the bun as well as some of the hair on your head. I still can't believe that they stay put by themselves without an elastic. I have no problem keeping them in my curly, fine-textured but dense, shoulder-length hair. The one problem that I sometimes run into is that if I don't position the pins properly, the ends of my hair can stick out. But if that happens, I just re-tuck the hair into the bun and reposition the pins.
I had a terrible allergic reaction that sent me to urgent care on both occasions that I used the coconut shampoo and its matching conditioner (I used them twice because I didn't know what had given me the reaction the first time). Those who are interested in the products can stop there. Those who are interested in how the company conducts itself should read on. I filled out a form on the company website to let them know what had happened. I didn't act upset; I just let them know that I was prone to allergies, but I had never had a reaction this bad, and I wanted to let them know just in case other people had the same problem. A woman from customer service contacted me to discuss it, which I was impressed by at the time. She told me that what had probably happened was that I was allergic to tree nuts and, since coconut is a tree nut, people with a tree nut allergy react to it. I have no coconut allergy -- I use the oil in my hair regularly - and I know that coconut is a fruit and not a tree nut because my father has fatal tree nut allergies and can eat coconut. She kept insisting that the company help with my medical bills, and I kept telling her "no" because the reaction could have just been something weird about my system. I only filled out the form to be helpful. Finally, after she kept pushing and made a big deal about how nice the owners of the company are and how horrible they would feel if they couldn't help me out, I acquiesced and gave her my address. That was in February. It is now the end of May, and the only thing I've gotten from them is this email: "Our contracted outside lab tests for anything other than what is listed in our ingredients, including any contaminates. We truly hope you're much improved. Please let us know if we can answer any other questions." I never wanted anything from them, and this response makes me feel manipulated -- like they made all of these promises in case they had a production problem, then acted like I had accused them of contamination and blew me off when they knew they had no liability. If, at the start of this, I had gotten a response that said "thanks for letting us know" or even no response at all, I would have been happy. I have contacted the company again to let them know what happened, that I never wanted their money, and if they sent me a check now I would rip it up. Based on this experience, the best case scenario I see is that Hugo is so disorganized and irresponsible that you can't trust anything that they say about their products or otherwise, but their actions toward me feel more cynical and self-serving. Sorry for the super-long review, but with something this negative, I feel the need to be very specific.
Blush -Unlisted Brand - Susan Posnick Colorme Blush Powder
faffner 9/8/2011 4:29:00 AM
I have this in Lily. Even though it lasts forever (on the scale of years), I just re-bought it. I think it's the only blush I have ever bought twice. I am fairly pale (as the salesperson kept emphasizing to me during a recent trip to Aveda!), and I wear Amber in Jane Iredale's PurePressed Base. Lily makes my face look fresh, healthy, and glowing in a way that seems impossible from just a blush. It really is impressive. The only downside is the sponge applicator jar, although it's not so bad that I have bothered to open it up, get the blush all over the place, and try to apply with a brush. I hope they keep making this color forever.
Skincare - Face -Unlisted Brand - NOW Sweet 100% Pure Almond Oil
faffner 9/7/2011 10:05:00 PM
I haven't used this on my skin yet, so I can't comment on that, but I really like it as an oil for my curly, lightweight hair. I had tried a different brand of food-grade almond oil a few years ago, and it was okay, but not great. I don't know why, but I thought I'd give almond oil another try, happened to purchase NOW, and was surprised how much better it worked for my hair. I didn't expect the brand to make a difference, but it did. I apply a bit of coconut oil to my towel-dried hair, brush through, put a few drops of this almond oil in, scrunch, and air dry. I have received many compliments when I wear my hair down this way. Unfortunately, the formulas of my go-to shampoo and conditioner have changed, so I am having to start from scratch to find another good routine, but I am glad to have found a good product that I'm looking forward to using it in the future.
Cleansers -Desert Essence - thoroughly clean face wash tea tree oil and sea kelp
faffner 2/28/2011 4:24:00 AM
This cleanser was a mixed experience for me. Although it was a bit drying and didn't keep my skin very clear, it did brighten my complexion and leave the skin that wasn't problematic looking very nice. I think it was either too harsh and/or the fragrant essential oil blend was irritating. It was best of the cleansers that haven't worked, if that makes sense.