I got this as a birthday present from my husband. I've had one shellac manicure in a salon - just one! - and was converted. I used to do acrylic and "gels" back in the day, but the fake look of it, cost, and time investment turned me off as I now have two small children and sneaking off to the nail salon every other week just isn't in my schedule now. At any rate, I am still working out the kinks. What I loved about my salon shellac manicure was how thick and indestructible my nails were - they felt like they had acrylic on them, but without the damage of application, and lasted for-ev-er! This kit, so far, comes out much much thinner. It really looks and feels just like plain old nail polish. This could be a pro or a con, depending on your preference. The instructions clearly state to do THIN coats. I'm on my 2nd application now and playing devil's advocate by doing the top coats purposely thicker to help in my nails getting that nice "bullet proof" feel. We'll see if it leads to it not lasting as long though. My first application I followed the instructions pretty closely, and on my right hand I had 2 nails crack on Day 10 to the day. Almost to the hour, too. I'm right handed, so that one gets more abuse... it was my index and middle fingers too. So, I got 10 days of manicure out of it, which is pretty good and within advertising paramters. My salon manicure lasted more than 3 weeks before I removed it though. I'm hoping I can get 2 out of this eventually. I would say not to get this kit if you are not good at painting your own nails. I've been doing mine since middle school, and just now, at 30, am I really confident in my technique enough to attempt something like this. Of course, I didn't grow up with "nail blogs" though, so had to learn it all on my own! I think this kit is all about technique. If you can paint your nails without flooding your cuticle, 'going outside the lines,' and know how to seal the tip, you will love it. The sealing the tip part is still tricky for me, especially since my nails are not yet grown past the tips of my fingers. Hopefully this problem corrects in a few weeks' growth, and I can get a nice sealed tip on both hands again (right hand's nails are shorter at the moment - I suspect this is why they cracked/chipped, because I couldn't get a good seal.) I would totally buy again, and this is my new favorite beauty product for sure :) I have 2 colors now, and have a strong suspicion I might have them all soon....! Things I didn't like: The removal setup they advise is stupid. You wrap your fingers in acetone-soaked pads with medical-like tape on them (like the Red Cross puts on your arm if you donate blood.) It's really wasteful, made my fingers go numb, and expensive. I only did it once, on one hand... wound up just soaking my other hand in a ramekin of acetone polish remover. Worked just as well, with no stupid waste and no need to buy expensive proprietary gadgetry. Definitely go to Sally's and pick up a galon, and do like the salons do. Also, I cure mine for a long longer than advised. They claim 30 seconds after each coat will do it... I found my nails to still be tacky to the touch after that short of time. I do 60-90 seconds in between coats and a good 2-3 minutes after the final top coat. THEN I am left with a salon-like unnickable finish. :)
Conditioner -Organix - Moroccan Argan Oil Renewing Treatment
rachaelhubbard 7/2/2012 6:24:00 PM
Pretty "meh" on this one. I can't stand the coordinating shampoo & conditioner, so I will not be keeping the kit it came with. If this is what Argan Oil is like, I really don't get the fuss. As another reviewer mentioned, it reminds me of Frizz-Ease, but smells better. It seems a bit diluted too though - I put a nickle-sized amount in my hair and it was fine, whereas that much Frizz-Ease for my length of hair would have been oil slick city. It doesn't really seem to do anything special for my hair though... it just seems like normal, which is to say mostly healthy while still a little dry. Not worth the bother.
I can see why this is designed to work with the coordinating shampoo. The shampoo it's supposed to pair with is SUPER drying, and not at all moisturizing.... so, of course, this conditioner swings way to far to the other extreme and leaves my hair greasy feeling, like I've just rubbed Crisco on it or something. The end result is OKAYish... I have a feeling if I was going to continue using these (note: I'm not; returning them for my $10 back!) that after a few weeks I would have some serious buildup issues and look like a greaseball. It does smell nice, however.
Shampoo -Organix - Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil shampoo
rachaelhubbard 7/2/2012 6:18:00 PM
This is THE WORST. I've tried a LOT of shampoos in the last 5 years or so; I don't think I've bought the same bottle twice in a row ever since I decided Aveda was to expensive and began The Quest to find a good drugstore product. This is right up there with Prell or Pert Plus or Dawn. I know it's technically SLS-free, but it lathers like CRAZY and pretty much instantly mats my hair - which is impressive considering my hair is currently 6" long MAX. It doesn't quite touch my shoulders yet. Leaves my hair feeling like I have just double-processed it or something. TERRIBLE. Thankfully I just bought the "starter kit" with the small bottles in it... I would be very angry if I had a giant bottle of this crap. The one positive I will say about it is it does smell good - rather like the mall, or Abercrombie & Fitch I guess, but not as overpowering. Smell fades once hair is dry, which is a con for me - if I like the way my head smells, I want to smell it all day, you know? Ugh. On to bigger and better things I guess.
This is the first version of Great Lash that I didn't throw away after one use, so that's saying something. I try it every 5 years or so, thinking "Well EVERYONE loves it..." and then remember why I don't. I did use this tube for a month... the brush is a VAST improvement, and makes it usable... but I still find nothing special here. The brush, while better, isn't great and I poked myself in the eye with it's sharp little bristles more than once (they are different lengths depending on which way the brush is turned... tricksy!). The formula was fine, not clumpy.... but I wasn't wowed either. Will not repurchase, but glad to see that the iconic pink-and-green bottle (which, let's be honest, is at least 90% of the reason why I WANT to love it so much) is getting an update to make it more usable in the 21st century.
Shampoo -L'Oreal - EverCreme Cleansing Conditioner
rachaelhubbard 7/1/2012 4:59:00 PM
Never in my life have I had THIS bad of a reaction with a shampoo product. I've never tried Wen, never been particularly interested in it. I wanted to give this a shot because the L'Oreal Ever-'s always sound so good in theory, but every one I have tried (Pure, Sleek, etc.) has ultimately let me down. I read that this was supposed to be "the one" though. I found the price for this to be reasonable. There was a bit of a learning curve, but I stuck it out and after the first week or so I had it down and was really digging the results. Issues I had to overcome: how much to use (for my shoulder length thick wavy hair 5 pumps is perfect), how to get the pump to work (after depressing, I have to manually push it all the way back up...), how long to leave it on for (longer is better for me), and how much to rinse (a lot.) I use it daily, because if I don't I find my hair starts to get greasy and feel very weighed down and limp (naturally I have crazy volume). So, yeah. For about 2 weeks there I was in hair heaven. Thinking "Could this be The One!?," shaking my head like I was in a Pantene commercial, enjoying how soft and silky it felt and how easily I could run my fingers through it. It styled great, would take to being worn curly or some heat straightening as I saw fit, no problems. Then. Last night. As I was brushing my teeth, I noticed.... FLAKES. I have NEVER IN MY LIFE had dandruff. EVER. The idea of it always grossed me out. Not even when I was a broke college student moving out on my own for the first time and all I could afford was Suave strawberry. I immediately started freaking out and almost burst into tears (I'm currently 36+ weeks pregnant, and the idea of having my baby girl while sporting a flaky scalp just got to me!) Never ever EVER had this problem before. EVER. It doesn't itch, but there are flakes. When I rubbed my head a bit, even more of them appeared. I don't know if it's residue from the shampoo or just plain old dry scalp flakes or what, but it's GROSS and TOTALLY unacceptable. I instantly threw this in the trash. I ditched the receipt after the 1st week so I can't even return it. Now I'm stuck using my husband's Head & Shoulders while PRAYING it fixes the damage this stuff has caused. I will NEVER buy it again, and I think I am done with L'Oreal's hair products.... which makes me sad because I do love Feria, the Ever-styling products I've tried, & some of their cosmetics. And the OCD part of my brain really wants everything to "match." Alas, it's SO NOT WORTH IT. Going to try Head & Shoulders, Organix Moroccan Oil & Aveda next.... I hope they can mend my scalp before the baby comes!
Tried this on a whim today - I love most L'Oreal hair colors, Feria & Coleur Experte being my favorites. I wanted to try the new trend of foam color out... I don't know if it's all foams, or just this one, but immediately after I put it on my hair, it started to feel DRY. (BTW I found the pump dispenser to be harder to use. My counter got messy from having to put it there and pump into my hands... I don't have this problem with conventional dyes, but I've been using those since I was 14, so maybe it's just that I'm more practised at it) I kept putting more and more product on, and my hair just kept feeling dryer and dryer - more straw like with every pump. Most of my hair that was over-processed (double processed blonde for a year on hair that used to be 18" long, chopped it off to a longish pixie earlier this year) definitely felt the brunt of the drying effects, but even the never-bleached sections felt dry too. In the shower, the dry feeling continued. I guess I am used to color leaving my hair silky and healthier-feeling (Feria definitely does this!) but this just felt awful. It was just about impossible to "lather" in order to rinse it out - I just had to kind of rinse it out. When I put the conditioner on it got a little better, but again, not what I was expecting from a L'Oreal product. Also, I found the conditioner to be very smelly, in a bad way. After getting out of the shower and drying my hair, it is definitely brassy. I was going from a Feria Power Red back to my original brunette, so I am not entirely surprised, but a bit disappointed. Dark brown should COVER red, you know!? Also, the color is pretty flat. I was hoping this would be the last coloring I would do for some time, and I could let my natural hair just grow out, but I have a feeling I'll have to do an all-over again in 6 weeks to get rid of the lingering brassiness. I won't be repurchasing this color - back to Feria it is. This isn't the WORST home hair color kit I've tried, but there are definitely better ones out there, especially in the almost $10 range. It seems like if your hair is healthy and not over-processed, you will get much better results with this product. If you've got any sort of damage at all, stick to a more tried-and-true dye.
Mascara -Maybelline - Volum' Express The Falsies Waterproof Mascara
rachaelhubbard 1/20/2011 10:54:00 PM
I wanted to love The Falsies, I REALLY REALLY did. I'm a huge Maybelline mascara fan in general - except for the much-vaunted pink-n-green tube, that is. But this stuff did not work for me at all. It was IMPOSSIBLE to remove. Even after makeup remover and washing my face... I still had thick residue on my lashes. It felt melted on. I didn't notice a super dramatic effect while put on either. Definitely not better than The Colossal, which cleans off easily. Will not buy again.