My stylist recommended this as a great sulfate-free shampoo. I kind of went, "Yeah, yeah..." and forgot about her recommendation. Then I saw it in the store, and thought, "Why not?" I have not been disappointed. This lathers as well as any shampoo I've used, despite being sulfate free. I focus on washing my scalp, and just let the lather rinse down over the ends of my hair, and have been very pleased with how that works. It has a very nice fragrance, kind of citrus, but not so strong that I smell it much once my hair is dry. It is very gentle on my hair, and does not dry it out. I still use conditioner, but I think that's to be expected. Some people have complained about the packaging. I can't find any reason to complain. The consistency is somewhat thick, but even so, it is fluid enough that a quick shake will allow it to dispense easily once you're half way through the bottle. Once you get down to having only a little left in the bottle it isn't THAT tricky to leave it upside down on the shelf in the shower. Seriously. It will surely topple over in an earthquake or during a hurricane, but it isn't THAT hard to get it to balance upside down. It is a little pricey compared to most of what I was using before, but when I consider how a good this makes my hair feel, and how little I have to use... let's just say the bottle lasts me long enough that it ends up being well within my budget.
Crème -Neutrogena - Healthy Skin Compact Makeup SPF 55 Helioplex
three_black_cats 1/2/2012 9:25:00 PM
I've been using Neutrogena Healthy Skin liquid makeup for over a year now, and once I got the color right (all the lighter shades I've tried seem to go on even lighter than they look in the bottle) it has worked really well. And I love the SPF! When I went to purchase another bottle, there was a buy-one-get-one offer, so on a whim I picked up this compact makeup in the same shade I use in the liquid. I was not disappointed. The shade was just as true to my skin tone as the liquid was in the same shade. It isn't as moisturizing as the liquid, obviously, but it was not at all cakey nor too heavy, and the SPF factor is higher. This compact foundation is easy to apply, and the included sponge does a good job. It definitely evens out my skin tone and leaves a nice semi-matte finish, not as dewy as the liquid version. So far, it has not caked, or settled into fine lines, or streaked as my face gets more oily towards the end of the day. Your mileage may vary depending on your skin type. I think the previous reviewer really made some excellent points. Good packaging (although it is a bit tricky) that will NOT come open unexpectedly in your makeup bag or purse. It works well for touchups, doesn't moisturize but doesn't accentuate my dry spots, as long as I have properly exfoliated and moisturized prior to applying this foundation. Love the SPF 55, but I wouldn't rely on that alone, and I always use an SPF moisturizer or base before applying makeup. With the liquid version of this foundation, I always need a powder to set it, but with the compact version, I can see skipping the powder. The application is a bit drier than the liquid form, which makes sense. This particular compact foundation doesn't leave glistening streaks of silicone as I smooth it on, which is a relief, since a lot of compact makeups just seem to either dry me out or soak me in silicone. I can totally see taking this with me when I go out or travel because it is quick and easy and gives good results without being too heavy or cakey or greasy, and it is totally portable and self contained. I would purchase this again, but still won't give up the same product in liquid form. Both are very good products that I enjoy using. Another win for Neutrogena!
Fragrances -Bath and Body Works - Water Blossom Ivy Body Splash
three_black_cats 7/4/2011 3:04:00 PM
I guess I got lucky when I purchased the spray body splash a week or two ago, because when I went back to buy some lotion and shower gel, it was discontinued and/or sold-out. Good thing there are a ton of people making a killing on ebay selling the lotion/shower gel/body spray! This is a very pleasing, pleasant, fresh floral scent. A bit floral, but not too much and you won't think "Hmm. FLORAL." when you first sniff it or after it dries down. A bit green, but not too strongly, and not too tart. Also a bit herbal, but again, nothing overpowering. No powdery notes, either, for which I was grateful. And if there's any kind of musky notes in there, they are so well balanced with everything else that I cannot object at all. Love it. Very good for warm weather when you want something refreshing and not overpowering. If only I'd gotten the matching lotion and shower gel when it was still in stock. Hopefully B&BW will bring this one back. It is part of their "classics" line, after all...
Lotions/ Creams -Paula's Choice - Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA
three_black_cats 5/28/2011 4:37:00 PM
Would I buy this product again? OH, YES. And I have, several times. I often order two tubes at once. I love that it comes with a small foil airtight seal. I think that this packaging is great for preventing the product from degrading until you are ready to use it. Yes, there is no added fragrance (thank goodness) so what you smell when applying might not be roses or vanilla or whatever else you like to slather on for scent, but that isn't a reason to not use this product. After all, you can always add your favorite fragrance on top of this. Whatever scent this product has disappears quickly, allowing you to wear your favorite perfume or scented lotion. Trust me, the slight smell does not linger at all, and you can easily layer other scents on top of it without any problem. But the real beauty of this product is how it performs and what it does for my skin. Rough, bumpy upper arms? This will improve them without irritating or clogging your skin with unnecessary ingredients. Have a tendency towards ingrown hairs on your bikini line or inner thighs? This will help with that, too. Flaky skin around your knees, elbows, or ankles? This product will improve those areas as well. I would venture to say that you could even use this on your face and still be happy. (Just remember to use SPF as well.) It is lightweight, but still tackles my scaly spots with great success. Oh, and I've never had it pill up or create a white mask that doesn't sink it. It absorbs very, very well. As with any product, this does NOT work miracles, but I've learned not to expect miracles from any product. This one, however, works wonders. I would hate to be without it. It never stings when applied, and yet I still see results. I will keep buying this, and keep using it, for as long as Paula offers it.
As with most of the OPI line, I didn't actually "purchase" this one, but I did select it for my first pedicure of the year. I've always been happy with the quality and lasting-finish of OPI polishes, and I'm sure this one will make me happy as well in that regard. As for the color... well, this looked like a reddish pink with shimmer in the bottle. On my toes, it varies widely. In dim or indirect light, it is fuschia or a blue-toned mauve with a subtle irridescent sheen. Under more direct light, it looks more red, but still blue-toned leaning towards dark pink. In my living room, it is definitely red, but with still a cool-toned shine. I'm enjoying it, and all the subtle variations depending on the light. Next time I'll try something different, but that's the great thing about OPI polishes... there's always another great one waiting to be tried on. And you can't beat the quality, no matter what shade you choose.
This is a review of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri fast dry nail color in 05 Mauve It. This has to be the fastest drying nail color I've ever experienced. I first purchased a bright red shade. The red was amazing, not too glossy, not too matte. And it dried in literally under a minute. It was incredibly difficult to take off. though. I thought I'd never try it again. Then I purchased this Mauve It shade, and was even more in love with the color. Subtle, sophisticated, and when it chipped or wore off at the tips of my nails, it didn't look awful. I was worried that I'd have pink fingertips/nails forever, but then I got a very good nail polish remover that was 100% acetone, and all my worries about having these Insta-Dri colors forever staining my nails/fingers went away. This is a very subtle yet sophisticated mauve/pink shade with a slight shimmer. Looks lovely, wears well, and with the right polish remover, you don't have to worry about it staining your nails. The brush takes some getting used to, but it's worth it given how quickly this polish dries and how few strokes you need to cover each nail. One coat (with a clear base coat underneath) gives me at least four days worth of wear. After that, it starts to wear at the tips, and occasionally chips. Par for the course, though, when you're using your fingers for typing, and everyday activities. I'm very pleased with this shade and the almost-instant dry formula. I just wish they offered more sophisticated shades. Right now, the shade range for this product includes some terribly pale and unflattering matte shades, a few sophisticated options (mauve, classic red), and a ton of terrible NEON and garish tones (yellow, orange, pink, blue, green) options that should only be worn on Halloween. Or just as a joke. Please, please, can't there be some more sophisticated subtle grown-up shades in this quick drying formula?
Lips -Cover Girl - Outlast Lipstain - 420 Sassy Mauve
three_black_cats 11/17/2010 5:45:00 PM
I've tried a couple of other shades of this product, and they were all way too neon or bright for the subtle look I usually go for. I kept trying them again and again, but all the shades were were too garish to be worn during daytime. And then Cover Girl introduced this shade. It is perfect. A very mauve, soft pinkish hue, subtle and more neutral than the previous candy-neon shades that came before it, but it still can be built up to a more dramatic look. I didn't find it to be drying, but it doesn't add significant moisture to my lips. That doesn't matter to me, I'm more about the pigment than having shiny glossy lips. This is one of those put-it-on press-your-lips-together and forget-about-it kind of lip color products. Low maintenance, hardly any fuss with application, and viola! My lips look tinted and there's no gloss or mess to migrate beyond my lip line. No need to touch up except after eating. The ultimate in low-effort lip color that makes your lips look like YOUR lips, but better.
Ok, so I didn't actually BUY this product, but I chose it the last time I got a pedicure. It is a pinky-rose, with an emphasis on pink. Still, it's not in the cotton-candy pink or sugary-pink realm. A bit more sophisticated than that. It's not without sparkle, but the shine/sparkle is subtle. I enjoyed having it on my toes as a welcome alternative to mauve/deep-red tones, but I doubt I'll choose it again. At least it didn't stain my toenails! The great thing about OPI... so many hues to try, so many different colors. And when it comes to toes, you can count on your pedicure looking awesome long after you get bored with whatever color you choose. I'd say that Mauving to Manitoba and Silent Mauvie are colors I'd choose again over this one, but it was fun to try it!
Mascara -Almay - intense i-color volumizing mascara - purple amethyst
three_black_cats 11/17/2010 5:10:00 PM
All in all, this is a very basic mascara. Sure, it has a purple hue, which according to Almay will highlight your brown eyes. But it's nothing amazing. The purple tone is subtle. I noticed it when applying it, but even my most observant co-worker (who will notice if I'm wearing even a hint of eyeliner or lipstick) didn't notice the purple hued mascara. That could be a good thing if you want things subtle, or a bad thing if you want a more dramatic look. This didn't clump any more than any other mascara. It also didn't build any more length or volume than any other mascara. All in all, I'd say it was just so-so. Not the best mascara ever, but certainly far from the worst. I still felt like it gave me the little something extra when used as an addition to my every day subtle makeup. It is a nice change from regular brown or black mascara for the days when I'm wanting something with a subtle difference, but it didn't change my life or rock my world.
Styling Products -Garnier - Sleek & Shine Anti-Humidity Smoothing Milk
three_black_cats 11/17/2010 4:51:00 PM
I love this stuff. The fruity (apple-citrus) scent, the creamy-milky texture, and the way it leaves my hair less frizzy and feeling moisturized at the ends... what's NOT to love? It isn't clear if this is a leave-in conditioner or a styling product, but what it does for my hair is very good either way. The name "Fructis Style" suggests that Garnier classifies this as a styling product with "fruit micro-waxes" (whatever that is) that supposedly lock out atmospheric humidity while keeping your hair moisturized and smooth. This is a creamy, fruity smelling cream/milk that aims to calm frizziness. I use about one to two tablespoons of product, rub it between my palms, and spread it out through my damp hair, focusing on the fly-aways around my temples and also on the ends. It works like a leave-in conditioner with the way it locks moisture into the ends of my hair, preventing them from becoming dry and brittle after blow-drying. It also does a good job at smoothing out the frizz and preventing fly-aways without weighing my hair down or making it greasy or slick the way a lot of silicone based anti-frizz products do. Oh, and the scent doesn't linger or interfere with any other scent I'm wearing, and I like that, too. If I grab a lock of dry hair and stick it under my nose, I can still smell a faint scent, but it's not overpowering at all. I haven't used it on dry hair, although the packaging description suggests that you can use it that way. For me, it's best applied to damp hair just before blow drying. I apply this product, dry my hair with my head upside down, and then flip it all up and use a round brush to smooth things out. Lots of body, not so much frizz. I wouldn't skip my regular conditioner, but this product goes a long way to mitigate the damage and frizz I'd otherwise get from blow drying without it. EDIT: This is a MUCH better product than the Garnier Fructis Leave-In Conditioning Cream Sleek & Shine. Don't get them confused!
Treatments -Paula's Choice - Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant
three_black_cats 10/10/2010 2:32:00 PM
I originally bought the gel formula of this product, and it was horrible on my face. The gel was great on the backs of my arms and totally helps with the bumpy skin there, but on my face it was sticky and almost greasy, and definitely left me looking shiny. The lotion formula is amazing, though. It leaves my skin well moisturized, but with a nice almost-matte finish. It sinks in quickly and leaves my skin feeling supple. Over time, it seems like it has improved my skin texture, and cut down on blackheads and minor breakouts. Plus, to my amazement, it has totally minimized any dry/flaky areas as long as I use it consistently under anything else I put on my face. A little bit goes a long way, which completely offsets the price. This makes my skin feel amazing. The only drawback is the shipping cost. I'll try to stock up whenever Paula offers a free shipping event. EDIT: I've found that this sinks into my skin better and gives the best results if I use it right after I shower and/or wash my face. If I let my skin dry before applying it, it takes much longer to sink in. Still, this is my holy grail of BHA treatments. I've ordered it again and again. I still wish Paula offered more economical shipping options, though. Best to grab this in addition to the 2% BHA body treatment when there is a free shipping event.
Sunscreen -Neutrogena - Healthy Defense Liquid Moisturizer SPF 50
three_black_cats 10/10/2010 2:18:00 PM
I bought this when I ran out of an Olay product that also had SPF 50. They were out of the Olay stuff in the store, and this Neutrogena product seemed like the next best thing. Actually, it might just be THE best thing I've ever used when it comes to lightweight SPF for use on the face. Packaging says that it "...is the first daily moisturizer in an incredibly light liquid from Neutrogena that glides on smoothly and works beautifully alone as a lightweight moisturizer or with your existing skin-care products." It turns out that this Neutrogena product is totally different from the Olay product. It is much more of a liquid than any other similar product I've ever used, as the name suggests. So far, it's been wonderful on my skin. If the SPF is as effective as it claims to be, then I'm wondering why anyone would use greasy/heavy SPF formulas when this is available. The SPF comes from purely chemical sunscreen (Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, and Oxybenzone) with no physical sunscreen at all (i.e. titanium dioxide, zinc oxide) so if you're sensitive to chemical SPF ingredients, steer clear. It works beautifully under makeup, and leaves no trace of whiteness or opacity when used alone or under makeup. You have to shake the bottle a bit before applying, and there are even little metallic balls in the bottle (think of the mixing balls in nail polish bottles) that assist with making sure that the product gets well mixed when you shake it. The shaking of the bottle reassures me that all the SPF ingredients will be well-distributed, and the lightweight liquid formula has not caused any breakouts. The opaque packaging with a very small nozzle-type applicator reassures me that there will be few, if any, problems with this product degrading due to over-exposure to light and air. All in all, I'm so happy with this product that I'll definitely look for it the next time I need a facial moisturizer with SPF.
Bath Treatments -Unlisted Brand - Anfora - Rosa Body Oil
three_black_cats 8/29/2010 1:40:00 PM
I stumbled upon this at CVS. They have a variety of unusual and/or ethnic bath and body products where I live. What a find! This is a very light oil, reminds me of baby oil, but lighter, and with a sophisticated rose scent. I'm not sure if it should be classified as a bath treatment, but adding it to my bath has made me very happy. You can also smooth it over your damp skin after a bath or shower. It definitely leaves a lingering (but not overpowering) rose fragrance that seals in moisture from your shower or bath. The bottle says, "After showering, apply directly to damp skin, leave on for a few minutes and then pat dry. For bath, add 2 capfuls to a tub of comfortably hot water and bathe as usual." I'm never that precise, and it comes in a bottle with a screw-on top that has a small nozzle opening. I just add a few squirts to my bathwater, or rub it into my skin after a shower, and viola! A lovely rose-scented body oil for pennies that leaves me feeling smooth and soft. For something this inexpensive, I expected the "rose" fragrance to be cloying and annoying, but oh no, this is lovely. It's probably nothing more than nicely scented baby oil, but it smells way better than baby oil ever did. That said, I would NOT use this on a baby, since baby skin can be so sensitive to fragrance. I love the rose scent and the soft skin feeling I get after using this. I also love that it's so inexpensive. I'll be back to CVS once this bottle runs out... but a little goes a long way, so it is a great value.
LOVE THIS. I was using creme-to-powder foundations, and then mineral foundations, and then mouse foundations... and everything either made me oily or totally magnified the dry spots. And the older I get, the more dry spots I have. But I still wanted a nice smooth foundation, with medium-to-light coverage, and SPF. So far, this is my holy grail. At first I bought one of the lightest shades, because that's what I've always used before in many brands. Fortunately, CVS has an awesome return policy, because I ended up most satisfied with a shade that seemed just a bit too dark in the bottle. Just goes to show that you can never really tell with foundation until you get it home, apply it, and then see how it performs under different lights, etc. With this one, once I got the shade right, I was incredibly happy. Smooth and creamy, not heavy, no "glistening" of excessive silicone, didn't dry me out, didn't turn oily halfway through the day.The shade stayed true, even after hours of wear. It also didn't turn white or leave creases after a few hours despite having a respectable 20SPF. And it does make my skin look me-but-better. After all, if the first thing someone thinks when they look at me is, "Awesome foundation!" then I definitely need to try something else. This smooths out my imperfections, but never looks or feels fake, cakey, or mask-like. I'll definitely re-purchase when this bottle runs out.
To be honest, I didn't "buy" this product, but I did select it the last time I was getting a pedicure. I was tired of the old standby deep cherry/plum/red colors. I wanted something pink, but not something sheer and definitely not something bright or pastel. This was just what I was looking for. Mauve, but not too pink. A bit taupe, but not too brown. Dark enough to look sophisticated, but light enough that I'm not worrying that it'll stain my toenails. It looks different in different lights, too. In broad daylight, it's more of a neutral. Indoors daylight makes it seem more pink-mauve. Dim indoor lighting makes it seem more deep mauve. It definitely has a sheen to it, too, just a hint of metallic, but very subtle. More shiny than metallic, as far as I can tell. I think I'll be looking for this one again the next time I get my toes done...