Thursday, June 23, 2011

Maybelline Lash Stiletto® Voluptuous® Washable Mascara

It comes in a stiletto shaped container! How could I resist? I buy a lot of mascara, always searching for the perfect one that will make my eyelashes so thick it will look like I am wearing eyeliner (while looking like I'm not wearing anything, of course). I'm not even sure what made me try this mascara but I'm glad I did. The brush has a strange curve to it but somehow it works. It deposits more mascara on the outer lashes where it is needed. It coats the lashes making them look fuller in just one coat without clumping together. I like to do coats. I do my right eye, then the left, then back to the right, and the left again. You don't want the mascara to dry completely between coats but this allows it to get a little tacky. Although I can't say I have found the perfect mascara, I will continue to use this until the next irresistable ad comes along.

Tip 1: Most women keep their mascara too long. It's better to buy a cheaper brand and get a new one at least every 3 months (I usually get one every 2 months) than to buy a more expensive brand and keep using it.

Tip 2: I highly recommend watching an expert video on how to apply mascara. You could learn something that will totally change your "outlook!"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sephora Body Self-Tanning Tinted Bronzing Mist

I think this is one of the better self-tanners I have tried. The smell is lovely and the color doesn't look too fake (I'm sorry but I just don't think you can completely fake a tan). You have to be careful when spraying it on but I feel like it does go on evenly. (I hold it a little farther away as I press the nozzle and then bring it closer while it is spraying. This keeps you from getting a spot where you start.) The best part is that it dries really fast. Really. Completely dry. I use this on my legs which never seem to tan as fast as my arms!$sessionid$Q55UINOFI1OCGCV0KQNQ5UQ;jsessionid=Q55UINOFI1OCGCV0KQNQ5UQ?id=P188203

Monday, June 20, 2011

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (Bahama)

I am generally a fan of NARS products but I ended up returning this product. I seem to have naturally dry lips and always need to put something on them or they get chapped. The reviews about drying were mixed on this one so I thought I would give it a try. It ended up chapping my lips. However, the color was nice, creamy and it went on smoothly. If you don't have naturally dry lips, this could be a great product. If you do have a problem with chapped, drying lips, please see my review on the NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil.

Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo With Oat Extract - Non-Aerosol Pump

I love the smell of this dry shampoo. It takes a minute to learn to use it but I like that there is no aerosol pump to get clogged. I feel it does absorb oil. You have to be careful if you have dark hair (mine is almost black), but if you follow the instructions and use a light touch, it is fine. One way to avoid the visible powder problem is to do it at night.

Tip: if you are on a budget, you can get similar results with baby powder. Just be careful applying it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Organix Brazilian Keratin Therapy 30 Day Smoothing Treatment

I have been searching a long time to find a way to smooth my thick, coarse hair. I have straightened it with chemical relaxers (usually Ogilve straightener), used a straightening iron, and countless leave-in conditioners and anti-frizz products to no avail. Perhaps it is the humid Washington DC weather that can't be conquered but I keep trying. My latest attempt is this at-home treatment from Organix* I have friends who have had success with salon treatments, both Brazilian and Japanese but I cringe at spending that much money. Especially on the Brazilian treatment which is temporary. While some salons offer an Express Treatment, I thought I'd give it a try by myself.

The product: the box comes with the straightening "cream," pre-treatment shampoo and pastic gloves. The shampoo is just a clarifying shampoo and you could use any brand but I used theirs for the first treatment. It is creamy and smells like coconut. Once you wash your hair (once or twice), you towel dry it 80%.

The application: separate your hair into sections and, using your hands (with the gloves), put the treatment cream on your hair in small sections being careful not to oversaturate. This is important later. Once you have the cream on your hair (you should NOT use the entire bottle), let it sit for 30 minutes. The smell of the straightening cream is quite strong but not bad exactly. It does stay with you for the 48 hours until you can wash it.

Finishing: using a blow dryer and paddle brush, dry your hair while pulling it straight. Then, using a very hot flat iron (they recommend 400-450 degrees), iron the hair in small sections going over each section 7-10 times. My hair was already pretty straight from the last time I used Ogilve and my iron doesn't get that hot. I did 5 or 6 passes for each section at 375 degrees. It takes a lot of time so put on some music or a tv show! The only thing I really didn't like is that there was remnants of the products in my hair, on my brush and flat iron, and on my shirt. However, I think this may be due to using too much on certain sections so I will use less the next time.

The results: so far, pretty fantastic. Once I was able to wash my hair, it felt so much better. It is very straight and shiny. I don't even have to use the straightening attachment I got on my new blow dryer. As far as frizz, it seems to be less frizzy but DC had to pick this week to cool down so it hasn't been throroughly tested. I will update when we get back up in temperatures. All in all, I think this is worth trying if you don't have the money to spend in salons. If possible, it's always nice to have a friend help you.

* Don't let the name fool you. As with any product which changes the structure of your hair, this treatment is not organic or natural. If you are worried about chemicals, I suggest you research the ingredients.

Update 1: After 3 washes (and one "air dry"), I can tell my hair is definitely less frizzy. Even after being in drizzly or humid weather.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Alterna Caviar Anti-aging Shampoo with Sea Silk

I use both this shampoo and conditioner together. However, because of the cost, I am going to try an OTC brand with the conditioner next time. That is not meant to take away from the shampoo though. First of all, the smell, is fantastic. It makes your hair smell very clean without smelling phony. It's a very thick, creamy formula and, although it doesn't lather much, it cleans very well while maintaining the hair's moisture. As with the conditioner, my hair hasn't looked this good in years. A bottle lasts me 3 months (and I have very thick, long hair). I highly recommend this if you have dry and damaged hair or even just coarse hair that needs a lot of moisture.

Alterna Caviar Anti-aging Conditioner with Sea Silk

This is the best stuff I have ever used on my hair. My hair is very thick and healthy but it is coarse and needs a lot of moisture. I got this set on sale at Bubbles salon. The smell is incredible and it really works. I'm 41 years old and my hair hasn't looked this good since my 20s. I use it with the matching conditioner (which I will review separately).

The biggest downside is the price. If you look around, you can find it on sale or as a combo pack. However, 8 oz. lasts at least a couple months for the conditioner and almost 3 months for the shampoo. It seems a small price to pay for something that works so well.