The Hair Files

August 18, 2011

As of late I love hair products. I will try just about anything that’s repairing, hydrating, smoothing, shine boosting, protective, or restorative. My hair is super long because I’ve been growing it out and it’s also color treated. And, of course, I heat style about four or five days a week. I’ve found many successes and many failures. I’ve also had many lost loves that have been harder to find or discontinued.

This is the first installment of the “Hair Files,” where I tell you what worked for my hair type or style I’m creating, why I loved or didn’t love it, and if I’ve found a cheaper duplicate for a more expensive product.

I wanted to start the first Hair Files off with some dud’s because I like getting the messy stuff out of the way first. So, here are my least faves of 2011, thus far:

Top:

Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner: I loved how the Coconut smelled. It was light and fresh, and the conditioner detangled my hair very well. However, my hair did not feel soft afterwards.

Organix Brazilian Keratin Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner: My hair was left detangled and it also felt dry and coarse. Weird for a product that is supposed to smooth.

All in all, neither product from this brand was great and I’m glad I got them buy one get one free at Rite Aid and didn’t spend a lot on these. I have used other Organix treatments with great success (Coconut Split End Mender and Brazilian Keratin Anti-Breakage Serum) and I suppose the shampoos and conditioners are not a right fit for my hair.

Bottom:

Living Proof Humidity Blocking Flexible Hold Hair Spray: I love that this did not make my hair stiff. It did, however, make my hair feel stringy and sticky.

Living Proof Straight Spray: While I had less static while using this, it did not make my wavy hair any straighter.

Moroccanoil treatment: This oil was OK. It felt nice going on but frankly, there are better options on the market that aren’t as pricey. It is also supposed to reduce hair drying time and it did not. I also seemed to have more breakage while using this, when it’s supposed to counteract breakage.

Phyto Phytokarite mask: It made my hair feel dry, tangled, and something about the smell made me gag. I was told it has a floral scent but to me it smelled like rotten hard-boiled eggs and potpourri.

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I purchased the Sephora Sun Safety kit  this year, just as I always do every year, to see if I can find my new holy grail of sun protection. The 2010 kit included Kate Somerville SPF 55 Sunscreen Serum, my new love. It’s lightweight, absorbs quickly, is great for my oily skin because it’s oil free and non greasy, and does not have a scent. I am so so so so hooked on this product that I had to go buy the full size. I had to order online, though, because my local Sephora only carries three Kate Somerville products. 

 The other suncreeens in the Sephora kit weren’t really anything amazing, though I did like the Jack Black Lip Balm in Lemon and Chamomile. I’ve been using the balm in Mint for several years and might switch to the Lemon version because the scent is uplifting. The kit also includes Bliss Best of Skintentions Moisturizer with SPF, which I have also been using since it launched. Another honorable mention goes to Murad Essential-C Eye Cream SPF 15, for its light weight formula that works well under makeup.

Bandeau swim top pictured above is from Vitamin A.

I’m a busy bee this week so I won’t be blogging again until next week. The photo above is a peak of the show I’m currently working on.

Next week I plan to review Bare Escentials Matte Foundation. I’m generally NOT a B.E. fan (the bismuth oxychloride makes me itch soo bad) but I’m trying to give the new formulation the benefit of the doubt. I’ll  let you all know how it goes after I’ve been wearing it for a few more days.

Also trying to overcome my general dislike of cooking. I’m taking some classes at the foods co op soon, and I’m hoping it is beneficial.

Lush Figs and Leaves Soap

November 18, 2009

 Mmmmmm. I love Lush’s Figs and Leaves Soap because it smells like a little peace of heaven. The scent is light, slightly clean and also a little foody. It also feels divine and exfoliates without being messy or leaving behind a film. Figs and Leaves exfoliates with fig seeds and is scented with essentials oild of ylang ylang, orange blossom absolute, and added fragrance.I love this because it’s gentle, smells divine, feels wonderful on my skin, and doesn’t leave my skin feeling dry. The only downside, for me, are the leaves on the top of the soap. Sure, it’s pretty decoration, but it gets mushy with use and can clog the drain. I just simply peel the leaves off after my first use. I discovered this soap thanks to a little sample that a nice sales lady added into my bag and I’ve been hooked ever since. I love it during fall and winter the most and will sometimes indulge in a bar during other months as well.This soap ranges in price in store depending on the size you get and the online quote for a 3.5 oz bar is $7.60. You can also have the lovely sales people at the store cut your very own custom bar as well.

Lush is best known for its natural approach to skin, body, and hair care. Sometimes synthetic materials (man-made) are used and they strive to use skin and eco-friendly versions. There are several locations world-wide and the online store is the only place to find “Retro Lush” items (previously discontinued products). Many items are also vegan friendly.

7sea

Even though I rarely purchase Crabtree & Evelyn products, I do have a soft spot for everything C & E. My very first job when I was 18 was at the tiniest Crabtree store in the middle of a busy mall. It was holiday and the scent of their seasonal Noel potpourri and candles flooded the store. I still adore the gardener’s and la source lines and will buy my faves when they are on sale (rarely).

This huge jar (32 oz!) is filled with Crabtree & Evelyn’s Aromatherapy Purifying Seven Seas bath salts, $35. Designed to cleanse the skin of impurities, it is also conditioning thanks to hydrating essential oils. The scent is fresh and citrus with a bit of mint.

I feel like this salt might be doing something but I’m a skeptic when it comes to things that promise to “detoxify.” It is relaxing and I like that the salt actually dissolves completely, unlike other bath salts I’ve tried that just end up at the bottom of the tub. The directions for use include soaking for 20 minutes, which I just can’t do. I don’t have the patience to lay in the tub for that long and my water usually turns cool. This was a decent bath product but I probably wouldn’t purchase this again because there are better out there.

The Faux Tan Files #2

May 20, 2009

blisstanscrub

What: Bliss’ A Tan for All Seasons, $36. It sprays out purple to neutralize orange (genius) and gives a hint of tint instantly so you can see where you put it. The nozzle sprays 360 degrees so you’ll never miss a spot.

Rating: 5! I like this better then VS Bare Bronze. It dries super quickly (somewhere between instantly and 3 minutes) and doesn’t feel like anything once it’s rubbed. It’s also very easy to use.

The smell: Not bad at all. There wasn’t really a scent right off the bat. Once it had been on my skin for a few hours I started to smell a little self tanner scent but it was faint.

The color: No orange! It’s a natural looking shade on my fair skin. I actually have color that doesn’t scream, “My tan is from a can!”

Verdict: I love it. If you check Sephora.com the ratings are all very good, too.

Tip: When scrubbing or removing excess self tanner from hands or body, always apply scrub or soap to the area before adding water. Using water first will lock in the self tanner. I wish this tip was of my own genius, but it’s from a super smart Bliss employee.

Tip #2: Before using self tanner be sure to exfoliate! I like Bliss scrubs, like the Lemon and Sage scrub featured above. It also helps to remove tanner from your hands post faux tan session.

PS: I got Bliss’ Fat Girl Slim anti-cellulite treatment today. I will report my results on a later date as this is a product that needs to be used consistently and as directed. Using one time would not make for an accurate review. Also, to anyone thinking of using this product, a little goes a long way. You don’t want to use it like a regular body moisturizer.

The Faux Tan Files #1

May 18, 2009

barebronze

What: Victoria’s Secret Bare Bronze Collection, $32 (free for me thanks to a bday gift card). This set features a full size 5.3 oz bronzing spray for instant color over the course of a few hours, 3.2 oz gradual tan firming body lotion for tanning maintenance, and a 3.4 oz sand and surf body polish to buff away dead skin and provide a smooth surface for self tanner application.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I completely adore the sand and surf body polish. It feels luxurious and is one of the best body scrubs I’ve tried. The bronzing spray was fairly decent. The first time I used it, I was very light handed and didn’t get much color. The second time I it gave me more of a glow and enhanced my skin tone by about 4-5 shades. The gradual firming body lotion was nice but not memorable.

The smell: VS described the scent as “a sweet, creamy Brazil nut scent,” and I would agree. It’s pleasant at first, then the self tanner scent settles in and is covered by the Brazil nut scent. The scent wasn’t as offensive as most self tanners on the market and it also wasn’t the best, either.

The color: Surprisingly not orange. It was a very subtle golden shade. I’m pretty fair so for a self tanner to not instantly turn orange on me was a nice surprise. It did look slightly yellow around my elbow and more exfoliation followed by a bit of regular body lotion would have fixed that issue.

Verdict: Not bad at all. If you are looking for more color, do add more product. I’m always conservative with the amount of products I use because I believe that it’s best to start with less and build up gradually from there. It’s easier to add product then to remove excess.

Tip: So I don’t get tell-tale self tanner hands and help to avoid streaks, I blend with a kabuki brush instead of my hands. The kit is a good way to try the products. I probably would not have purchased the scrub because I have so many, but this one is pretty nice and is possibly worth a repurchase.

 

 

 

vsvs1

I made a small Victoria Secret order recently thanks to birthday gift cards and VS coupon codes. I got one of the new Biofit 7-Way bra (OMG amazing), a self tanner kit (reviews coming when I try it), and a lotion from their new Naturally Victoria’s Secret line.

The scent is Vanilla Sandalwood, which sounded like my cup of tea since I like both vanilla and sandalwood. Have you ever been at a Catholic mass and incense was burned during the service? That’s exactly what this lotion smells like. It is not for me at all and will be sent back. It also doesn’t feel very hydrating. Perhaps other scents within the line are better and this experience reminds me to never buy scented items online without sniffing them in person first.

bliss

I’ve been using Bliss Best of Skintentions SPF 15 moisturizer as my day hydrator for the past few weeks and I’ve been loving it. It’s not heavy, has antioxidants, and features subtle pretty skin illuminators. I also love the Japanese SPF PA++ rating. Bliss Best of Skintentions SPF 15 moisturizer has all of these, plus minerals and omega 3 fatty acids. Finally, a skin care product that gives me everything I want and more! While it is a fantastic formula, the scent is not my favorite. It’s a fresh floral that seems to disappear when I apply my makeup over it. When I go bare faced, the scent lingers for an hour or so. If you are not particularly sensitive to fragrance you probably won’t even notice.

Bliss is carried at Sephora, The W Hotel, select Nordstrom, Macy’s, Saks, and other department stores and boutiques. Check out the Bliss website to find a retailer near you.

tbscranberryhugs

I love The Body Shop, especially the seasonal cranberry items. The cranberry scent is calming, light and not too sweet or tart. Yum! Last year they had cranberry heatable feet hugs and cranberry heatable body hugs, both are cozy, soft material that contain little pouches you heat in the microwave. They retain heat and you can bask in the warmth they give off. I wanted both of the hugs over the holidays but was too lazy to order them. Well, laziness pays off because I was randomly browsing TBS site and found them on sale for $13 each! They were previously $26 each.

My favorite of the two is the feet hugs. They feel divine after a long day of standing and walking. I also have feet that turn cold easily so I foresee these being my favorite thing next winter. I like the body hug and I wish it was a bit longer. I’ve only used it once and it didn’t seem to retain heat very long, although I know with such products it takes a few uses for them to hold heat longer. It will probably be my BFF when I’m crampy or sore.

All in all, at the sale price, I’d say these are both worth it. They are still available on TBS website, and are currently listed under the “specials” tab in “last chance” so they may be gone soon.

I also got a free coconut shower cream. I chose coconut because I adore their coconut body butter (my fave scent, next to mango). When you spend $25 or more (before tax and shipping) you can choose a free shower gel online or at participating stores. This offer is valid until April 19th.