Styling Products -Paul Mitchell - ExpressStyle Round Trip Liquid Curl Definer
kaydeem 1/13/2012 7:40:00 AM
Let me start by saying I don't have curls. I have 1b/1c hair which is basically straight, but has a little bit of subtle wave if left on its own. No one would ever tell me I have truly wavy hair. But I got this product in a swap and wanted to try it. OK. WOW! This stuff made me look like I just got back from the beach. My hair looks really full, the little bit of wave I have is visible to the naked eye, and I cannot believe the volume! It's like Farrah Fawcett hair...and in the best way possible. It is big, lush, and sexy. The best thing is that getting this gorgeous hair required no heat. I shampoo'd, applied the "round trip" product, scrunched my hair up in a tee to let it partially dry, then air dried the rest of the way. I can anticipate that the cornstarch ingredient might be a little drying over time, so I probably won't use this daily, but it will definitely make it into my weekly routine, and I will definitely buy it again and make it a regular part of my regimen...my hair looks too good not to!
Hair Styling Tools -Conair - Infiniti Spin Air Brush
kaydeem 12/27/2011 9:16:00 PM
This little tool is so cool. Although I have fine, straight-ish hair that SHOULD come out silky and shiny with a good blow dry, it never does when I do it at home. I really try very hard to maintain good technique when blow drying my own hair, but I somehow always wind up with more frizz than I can live with...so then I have to use a curling iron or pass it through a flat iron to get my hair to look smooth or shiny. My old two-tool technique works, but at the end of the day, that's two potentially damaging heat tools cooking my already-dry hair. But the Conair Spin Air Brush gives me silky smooth hair without the need for an iron. It is far superior to a separate brush and blow dryer for the following reasons: -you will never inadvertently blow the dryer UP the hair shaft, roughing up the cuticle when you switch sections (like I always do by accident with a separate brush and dryer) -it allows you to put the proper tension on the hair shaft that gives it a silky texture and high shine -it easily and quickly allows you to manipulate the flow of your hair...you can angle your ends under or give them a sassy flip -you can work the brush in near the root and hold it there to increase the overall volume of your hair. The Spin Air Brush gives me results I could never before do by myself at home, with one tool. I echo the sentiments of other reviewers who say that it makes them look like they just got their hair done at the salon. And with a little hair oil and a careful brushing, I can hold on to my just-blown-out look for a day or two. Definitely couldn't do THAT before with my hair dryer...I'd always have Medusa hair after about 12 hours. The directions that come with the tool recommend that your hair be 75-80% dry when you start. I've used it with my hair more wet than that, but it just takes too long, and pulling too hard (and the brush does create some degree of tension on the hair shaft) on soaking wet hair is not the best idea if your hair is at all fragile. I also recommend doing a youtube search for tutorials, there are a couple really good ones out there. Watching someone else use the Spin Air Brush softens the learning curve...because it does take a little while to get used to controlling the spin action on the brush (it moves in forward and reverse under your control). I wanted this tool for quite a while and am so grateful that I finally have it. It really does deliver salon-fresh hair with less time and far less damage than my previous routine. Thank you, Conair. This tool is incredible.
Moisturizers -Desert Essence - Jojoba Oil - 100% pure
kaydeem 12/27/2011 8:23:00 AM
First, let me say that I am a "dry" person. I don't have acne, oily hair, or an abundance of skin sebum. I understand that jojoba can have some benefits for people who struggle with "oily" issues, but this info will be sort of foreign to me and the way I've used jojoba oil. I originally bought jojoba oil for my dry hair. I figured that a less-greasy oil might be the panacea for my very dry hair with especially dry ends if I used it as a leave-in serum, When I started my jojoba oil, it seemed like it would be my holy grail. My hair drank it up, but did not look greasy at all. However, after a few weeks of use, I got what I will call "The Pantene Effect." Pantene hair products are notorious for putting a coating onto certain types of hair, making a natural moisture exchange impossible, thereby drying out the hair over time. That's what it seemed like the jojoba oil was doing to me. But I had this whole bottle! Granted the bottle was not big, but as with all oils, a little goes a long way, so I didn't want to pitch 9 months of oil, so I started using it on my skin. I quite like it as a daytime moisturizer-booster. I just add 2 drops to a more "luxuriant" lotion that contains some silicones (silicones create a moisture lock on skin and also give a really smooth feel/appearance). At first, I didn't think the jojoba oil was doing all that much. But as time wore on, I began to notice subtle benefits. The addition of jojoba oil to my daytime moisturizer that I apply in the morning seems to allow my skin to hold the moisture in longer, giving me a dewy appearance that lasts all day. I used to feel tight and dry by 3 or 4 in the afternoon and would have to reapply some moisturizer. When I add the jojoba oil to my regimen, I don't have to do this. My skin (including my constantly-washed hands) now appear really smooth all the time...never dry, parched, and wrinkly. I have also read that jojoba oil has some very slight sunscreen abilities. If you live in a sunny corner of the world, jojoba oil alone will NOT replace a good sunscreen protection. Jojoba oil alone may not even be ideal sunscreen for the dark and cloudy climate where I live, but because it IS so dim here, I sometimes forget to apply added sunscreen. If the jojoba oil helps at all, I figure something is better than nothing. If you are looking for jojoba oil to help even out an oily complexion or regulate hair sebum flow, you'll have to consult another reviewer. But, if you have dry skin that can benefit from a little "turbo booster" in your moisturizer, I give it my endorsement. It's also very affordable. I found mine at Whole Foods. The verdict? For Dry Hair--Not the greatest For Dry Skin--You should give it a try to boost your moisturizer For Oily Skin/Hair--???
Hair Color -Unlisted Brand - Shampoo Color Cap (color refresher)
kaydeem 12/3/2011 11:17:00 PM
I like this technique as a toner, specifically because I can marry it exactly to my chosen shade, whereas some of the semi permanents and demi permanents on the drugstore shelves were just "off" enough to make me shy away from using them. The shampoo color cap gives me just a "wash" or "glaze" or "casting" of the exact color I want...so I can control the undertones. Having that kind of control makes me feel like a pro! I read the directions listed below and made the following modifications to use it as a toner: I used my selected color but used 10 volume developer for deposit only. I added a hefty drop of jojoba oil to keep my hair moisturized. I used slightly more shampoo than the color/developer mix and only left it on for 5-7 minutes. The end result is that I have good shine with a very sheer wash of my desired color. Perfect! I'm certain I will use this technique again every few months.
I bought this shampoo as an experiment. I had been reading the hair care product book by author and so-called "Cosmetics Cop" Paula Begoun and, at the time of publication, she gave lots of White Rain shampoos excellent ratings. (I note "at time of publication" because the book was put out over 10 years ago and companies often change formulations and packaging to stay on-trend) I always thought of White Rain as the cheapest of the cheap drugstore brands: certainly inexpensive, but probably not very good. However, Begoun had me thinking...if the science of good ingredients in good proportions are there, then who cares whether or not the company has a big budget for sexy packaging or expensive advertising or exclusive salon endorsements?? If it works, it works, right? Still, I was expecting this drugstore shampoo to fry my hair and strip my color. I took the risk to see if Begoun was right and because I could always pawn this 1.17 mistake off onto my DH, who could shampoo with Fels Naptha and still have fantastic locks. Firstly, I chose the Cherry Blossom formula because it looked light. I wanted a lightweight shampoo that would not weigh down my fine to medium textured dry-ish color-treated hair. I also liked that the shampoo was light in color...no weird bionic green colors resembling anti-freeze (I always wonder if those bright hues are rough on your hair....) Secondly, I was interested in the ingredients. The cleaning agents are ammonium laureth and ammonium lauryl sulfate. As far as sulfates go, our expert author Begoun says the ammonium varieties are far more gentle than the sodium varieties (which seem to be in every other drugstore shampoo out there). Another positive-sounding ingredients was citric acid (to smooth the hair cuticle). When using this shampoo, the first thing you'll notice is that it does not make an abundance of lather. That will make it un-likable to many people out there, but I take it as a sign that the proportion of sulfates is balanced with the other ingredients so it is not stripping the life out of my hair. When I felt like I needed a little more stuff to scrub with, I mixed a tiny bit more shampoo in with a light conditioner (just paranoid about my tendency to dryness) and gave myself a good scalp massage. At the rinse of the shampoo, I didn't feel the usual moist, luxurious "slip" you get with more expensive shampoos, but I suspect that is because this 'poo is not loaded with 'cones. I felt I couldn't complain about that, since I was asking for a lightweight shampoo. Plus, the lack of slip was instantly remedied by using conditioner or a detangling spray. The scent is not powerful, but with slight chemical undertones under the soft cherry fruit topnote, but it is not objectionable and leaves little to no lingering aroma. After drying my hair, I have to admit that my hair had above-average shine and bounce without the addition of product. I have now used this shampoo a number of times and have not noticed any hair color fading, but please note I do not shampoo daily and I tried not to over-use the product in an attempt to increase the lather. My final verdict is that Begoun was right: this is a decent lightweight shampoo that, for the price, they are practically giving away! I only give it 3 lippies as it is so NOT a luxurious experience for the user, neither in feel/texture nor in fragrance, but I will definitely buy this again as it is so hard to find a good lightweight shampoo (they all seem to be creamy, or film-forming, or cone-heavy) and I cannot deny how nice my hair looks after using this.
Styling Products -Unlisted Brand - GroWorks Smooth & Style Mousse
kaydeem 10/27/2011 5:43:00 PM
This mousse appears to be marketed to black hair but can work as a styling aid for anyone with dry or fragile hair. I REALLY like this mousse! I was looking for a double-duty styling aid...something that would deliver soft hold and add shine without the weight of a heavy-duty shine serum. This product claims to do both as well as eliminate breakage. I am not optimistic that a mousse will forever eliminate hair breakage, but the GroWorks ingredients list does contain some protein compounds, so it may lend a little temporary strength and give some degree of heat protection. I also like that it is not full of drying alcohols. But the real selling point is the gentle hold and definite subtle shine I get from this product (I used a ping-pong ball size of product and distributed through my below-the-shoulder-length hair). I will certainly put this product into my routine when I am blow drying or using an iron. There are two "cons" that I can discern---the nozzle is a little cheap/weak and I will have to remember to use it gently to avoid breaking it, and the fragrance, right out of the can, is a little too much like men's cologne for my taste, although I must admit it dissipates very quickly. It was about $9.00 for a 12 oz can I found at a discount drugstore. Looks like some online vendors sell it and possibly WalMart as well.
Lotions/ Creams -Vaseline - Vaseline Intensive Rescue Moisture Locking Lotion
kaydeem 10/20/2011 8:48:00 PM
I keep "inheriting" lotions from a dry-skinned person in my life who seems to be allergic to every skincare line on the market, this one included. When I was gifted with this Vaseline lotion, I was not expecting much...figured I'd have some extra greasy stuff on hand to use in desperation when I finally ran out of other lotions/better options. I was so pleasantly surprised to find out that this lotion is awesome. I have the "Repair" version which is fragrance free, which is neither a plus nor minus for me, but a lot of people care. It absorbs very quickly, dries totally non-greasy, and truly feels like the moisture has been "locked in" to the skin. I liked how it felt so much on my hands, I've applied it to my face as well. The positive, moisture-rich feeling my skin has after applying this lotion seems to last for a few hours. I wash my hands a lot and am involved in many other active pursuits that dry my skin out, so I don't think this lasts for some miraculously long duration, but it's really above average in performance. This lotion probably boasts similar claims to Eucerin and other "intensive" moisturizers, but I like this Vaseline product so much better on the grounds that my skin feels truly plumped up with moisture and I am not left looking or feeling like a greaseball. Eucerin and its competitors always strike me as trumped-up, hydrogenated grease. I'll save the money and use straight Crisco (truly hydrogenated grease!) when I'm in the mood for a richer, greasier sensation, like after windburn or something. But for a superbly effective and non-greasy lotion day in and day out for general dry skin care, this Vaseline formulation is pretty tough to beat.
The coverage and performance of this nail polish is just fine. I have had this bottle of nail enamel for quite some time and it has not gotten thick or de-emulsified and the brush has not clumped up or gotten splayed out. All in all, it's a fine product. So, why did I only give it an average rating? My issue is that when you paint your toenails with this color (a soft, glittery, opalescent gold), from a distance they appear to be suffering with toenail fungus. Gross. I seldom paint my fingernails and really only do my tootsies. I keep giving this color another chance because I keep hoping I remembered wrong...and maybe my toes will sparkle with a subtle glamour in this shade. Not a chance. You girls who like a quiet color on your hands might have better luck. As for me and fellow pedicure enthusiasts, keep this off your toes unless you are trying to make people think you've got a fungus problem.
Misc Beauty Tools -Unlisted Brand - Plus White - 5 Minute Speed Whitening Gel
kaydeem 10/11/2011 7:43:00 PM
One reviewer called this the "poor person's whitestrips". Well, I must confess that I'm one of those poor persons. At one time, I bought the luxury 5-minute Whitening Kits complete with mouth tray. I use it once a week to start, if it has been a while, once a month after I've achieved the brightness I want. Pros: -Inexpensive -Widely available -It gives visible results Cons: -A little cumbersome, messy -Makes my sensitive teeth even more sensitive for 24 hours after whitening (but I think ANY peroxide system would do that) I simply dry-brush my teeth, apply some whitening gel to the tray, put in my mouth for 5-20 minutes (depending on how much whitening I want), rinse, brush, and go. The white it gives you is "organic", not the day-glo blue-white some people get when they over-use harsher whitening systems. AND...my dentist approves of this product. So, give it a whirl and smile, smile, smile!!
Eye Shadow -Bonne Bell - Eye Style Shadow Box in Girlie Pinks
kaydeem 10/9/2011 1:30:00 PM
I have a real soft spot for Bonne Bell, since they are headquartered in the region where I live. That being said, I don't think these eye shadows are great for a sophisticated adult. For a much younger woman or teen who requires and gravitates towards a really light look, these eye shadows are just fine. The bottom line is that the shadows don't have enough pigment for anyone who requires a lush look...they go on really light and have a tendency to fade within a few hours. So again, great for a younger person who just wants a sheer hint of color for a few hours without looking heavily "done up", but not so great for someone over 30 who wants a more intense look that holds up all day long. I am actually keeping these pink tints and using them in my makeup bag as highlighters (I actually prefer a super-sheer highlight), and I would gladly give this type of product as a gift to a teen who is experimenting with different looks and more-or-less just getting used to makeup. So, while I checked the "would not buy again" box for myself, I WOULD buy this for a younger person to try.
Tinted Moisturizer -Wet 'n' Wild - Ultimate Sheer Tinted Moisturizer--Sunkissed
kaydeem 10/2/2011 10:25:00 AM
Oh, Wet 'n' Wild...you confound me! Some products within your line are so outstanding for the value price, while other products are totally worthless. The Ultimate Sheer tinted moisturizer, however, is one of the good ones. This product provides sheer, even coverage. The pigment is good and it spreads without streaking. You can even "warm up" your skin tone without looking like you are wearing the wrong base color, since it's so sheer. It also contains sunscreen, which is a bonus. And it is very inexpensive. It comes in a plastic squeeze bottle that makes it easy to control the amount...and a small amount seems to go a long way, so a bottle lasts a long time. This is an excellent product for daytime wear if you prefer a lighter, more natural look.
Pros: -Really, really inexpensive -Contains a sunscreen -Makes dry skin feel moisturized Cons: -Thin consistency -Because it is so thin, it is hard to apply evenly for consistent coverage -Has a tendency to "pill" or leave little pinpricks of gloppy tint in some places but not others This particular foundation is not particularly useful to presenting a finished face. I am using up the bottle I have on hand to camouflage spider veins on my lower legs.
My experience with foundation makeup has generally been limited to drugstore lines. Over the years, I have found many of them to be perfectly mediocre. But I continue to buy them because I keep a tight makeup budget but I believe that foundation gives a little added protection to bare skin and makes you look finished. Basically, I look for the following qualities: -Can I get the foundation in a shade that matches my skin tone (VERY light, but with obvious yellow undertones)? -Can I mix the foundation with a little moisturizer without it getting all gummy? -Can I get good coverage without looking like I'm caked with stage makeup? Rimmel Clean Finish has satisfied the above requirements. The selection of skin tones seems to be pretty good for a lower-end drugstore line. In fact, I've gotten a close-to-perfect match with one of their shades. This alone makes the product valuable to me. I always have a hard time getting a good skin tone match and I HATE that tell-tale line at the jaw or neck when you've gotten the color wrong. I also like that I have been able to "cut" the makeup with a little moisturizer to ease blending with no ill effects or drastic reduction in coverage...and I like the coverage level. It makes my complexion look really even. It also holds its look and coverage for hours without getting pilled or cracked. I still liked the look at the end of the day as much as I did when I first applied it. It is a thicker product which comes with a little spatula applicator, which I thought was a strange feature, but it is actually quite helpful in getting little dollops out of the bottle. My only complaint is that it finishes in a matte way, which can make me look dry, but I compensate by making sure I mix a bit of a good moisturizer with the foundation and then try not to overload any finishing powder on top of it. Even with that small nit-pick about the finish/sheen, I think the product provides a really good value that works well for my needs. (PS...used shade 240 Soft Beige)
Hair Color -Revlon - Frost & Glow Highlighting Kit
kaydeem 9/29/2011 10:34:00 PM
I've been using Frost and Glow for almost my whole life. When I was a kid, my mother and sister used to have me help pull their hair through a Frost and Glow cap for their monthly ritual of "refreshing" their blonde hair. Highlighting your own hair through a cap is not difficult once you get the hang of it. You can get excellent results 99.9% of the time** (I'll explain in a minute) for pennies on the dollar. I also think that the bleach that Revlon uses is great. It lifts quickly and evenly with minimal damage. If you're inexperienced at at-home highlighting, I would encourage you to watch some youtube videos to get familiar with the technique...it can be scary the first time you do it! **Now, about my caveat of great results 99.9% of the time...what about the .1%??? Well, I've learned a few techniques that makes the very rare concurrence of a disaster even rarer. Here's what I've come up with: -Generally, the first time you highlight, just have your hair parted the way you always do. This will make your highlights really show (in a good way!) After you've been highlighting for a while, watch colorist videos on youtube and experiment with parting your hair in different places so that it continues to look professional, and not overdone in certain spots. -If you like a subtle, natural, un-chunky, un-striped type of highlight, then throw away the plastic hook that comes with the Revlon kit and buy a metal hook at Sally's. I have found that the cumbersome plastic hook can also rip the frosting cap, increasing the potential margin of error. -Experiment with the hook for a while, like dress-rehearsal style. See how far in you have to poke. Find out if it's easier to hold the hook in a certain direction. Hold a mirror with one hand and work on the coordination of pulling from the back. -If you accidentally hit a snarl and pull out a humongous chunk of hair, don't try to roll with it. Just take the cap off, and start pulling all over again, more carefully. I know it's a royal pain and no one has time for it, but having one obviously overly-highlighted section definitely makes it look like you did your hair at home (and not very well at that) -While you are picking up that metal hook at Sally's, also pick up a color brush. You will want to brush the bleach onto the hair you've pulled (instead of glopping it on with a gloved hand) for a couple reasons: Firstly, you will have better control, and secondly, you will avoid overloading the root section where bleach could leak back through the hole and get onto other hair. -If you have longer hair, it is helpful to gather the other hair that's hanging below the cap (stuff you are NOT highlighting) and loosely gather it in an old scrunchie. This prevents you from accidentally nailing the wrong hair strands. -After you've applied the bleach, allow your hair to turn all the way to a lemon-yellow color if you want true blonde highlights. If you have really dark hair and only want a caramel color, then stay near a mirror and keep checking your hair...the moments between "caramel" and "brass-fest" are not a long ones. -When you are ready to rinse, get in the shower with the cap on, get it wet, and put a little of the shampoo that comes with the kit on the highlighted hair with the cap still on...then slide the cap off. Makes it so much easier. I still see a professional colorist once or twice a year, just to make sure nothing gets really out of balance, but I am able to do all my own in-between maintenance. I know that my ramble might be info overload, but I hope it can help someone. Because, when you do it right, a good cap highlighting job looks like you dropped 250.00 at the best salon for hand-painted balayage highlights...and for about 235.00 less. Thanks, Revlon! (I would have given them a full 5 if they still threw in the old-school metal hook!)
Hair Styling Tools -Unlisted Brand - Jilbere de Paris Ceramic Tools Flat Iron
kaydeem 9/24/2011 11:56:00 AM
I bought a used Jilbere Porcelain Series off of craigslist from someone who only used it for 2 months before she cut her hair into a pixie. Before you call me cheap or crazy, let me tell you that I was sort of on the fence about a flat iron. I have what I think is type 1b or 1c hair: It is basically straight, but it picks up the occasional wave pattern here and there. I can get straight hair with a blow dryer and a paddle brush, but I was just curious to try an iron at home...my stylist uses one on me at the salon and I think it makes my hair look especially sleek and nice. I'm not unhappy with my purchase. The ceramic-plated iron, though smallish, glided through my hair nicely enough and did give me straight, shiny hair in just a few minutes. I also noticed that despite being a used appliance, it got sufficiently hot very quickly. My at-home flat ironing results are not quite as awesome as when the stylist does it but a.) her iron probably costs hundreds of dollars that I am not willing to invest right now, and b.) she has the experience to know exactly how to make hair look PERFECT every time. The temperature dial is hard to read, but after you figure it out, it's fine. Although I got a deal on craigslist, I think that the 40$ to 50$ that this Jilbere iron would cost at Sally's would be worth it for someone like me. More specifically, the people I think it would work nicely for are: -people with not-too-curly hair -people who don't intend to iron everyday, but just want another styling option -people with a more limited hair budget