Review: Herbal Essences “Touchably Smooth” Shampoo & Conditioner

I’ve been buying a lot of Proctor & Gamble products lately, because they’ve been doing some rebate programs I want to take advantage of.  Herbal Essences is one of the brands included in the rebate, so I decided to pick up a few different varieties of their shampoos/conditioners…

Pros:  Paraben-free.  Inexpensive.  Smells great.  Didn’t weigh hair down or cause waxy build-up.

Cons:  Didn’t notice much “smoothing” of my hair.  Conditioner didn’t condition/detangle as well as some others.

In Summary:  While I’m not in love with this shampoo/conditioner, I don’t hate it so much that I’m going to swear off all Herbal Essences products.  I think it might work for someone else – it’s just not perfect for my hair.  It’s fine for everyday use, just not when my hair is super frizzy and/or tangly.

Note:  For some reason, when I went to the Herbal Essences website, the only products listed in the “Touchably Smooth” line were “volumizing” shampoo and conditioner, except for the 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner combo, which is “smoothing”.  I’m not sure if this variety has been discontinued.  ???

Overall Review:  3.5 out of 5 stars

Price:  Approx $5 for 12 oz. bottle (larger sizes sometimes available)

Available at:  drugstores, mass merchandisers, drugstore.com

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Beauty Fixes

No, I don’t mean getting your “fix” of beauty stuff.  I mean fixing something that’s gone wrong in your beauty regimen…

 

Problem:  Glitter eye shadow that got everywhere.

Solution:  Use clear office tape to lift off the glitter.  Be gentle and leave the rest of your makeup in tact.

Problem:  Regular eye shadow that got everywhere.

Solution:  Use a kabuki brush to sweep away the excess. Use the side of the bristles instead of the top to minimize makeup mess-up.

Problem:  Eyeliner that’s out of control.

Solution:  Use a makeup sponge (wedge) with a little foundation and gently swipe underneath the lash line to remove the excess.  If you don’t use liquid foundation, use eye cream instead.  You may have to re-touch powder foundation with a small eye shadow brush.

Problem:  Nail polish that’s gone beyond your nails.

Solution:  After a shower, gently scrape away the part that’s on your skin (with your fingernail).  Pull the skin away from the nail gently to get at all the excess.  If you’re not showering soon, soak your hands in water for a few seconds to get the same result.

Problem:  You ran out of eyeliner.

Solution:  Use eye shadow.  Apply with a straight or angled liner brush in dotted lines until it looks the way you want.

Problem:  Your hair has build-up from too many (or just plain horrible) hair care products.

Solution:  Use a mix of half vinegar and half water as a rinse.  Use softened water or bottled water if your tap water is very hard.  Cool water works best.  Note:  Not recommended for chemically treated or colored hair.

Problem:  You ran out of shave gel.

Solution:  Use conditioner.  Especially if you have some lying around that you don’t particularly want to use on your hair.  (Like that stuff you stole from the hotel…)

Problem:  Bad-looking eyelashes (clumpy or “spiky”).

Solution:  Use an eyebrow comb (or any small, fine-toothed comb) to gently catch the clumps, combing from the underside of the lashes.  It works best if the mascara is still wet, but be careful not to get it all over.   If it’s already dried and you can’t get the desired result, try applying a little more mascara and use the comb.  The brush end of the comb can also be helpful in distributing excess mascara.

Problem:  Too many styling products in your hair.  (It looks greasy or gunky.)

Solution:  Dry shampoo.  I love dry shampoo.  It doesn’t have to be high-end stuff, either.  There are “budget” brands that work great, available at mass merchandisers.

An Exercise in Confidence

Many of us have self-esteem issues.  It can be hard to “focus on the positive” when we’re constantly inundated by messages about how we’re supposed to look, act, and feel.  Today, I challenge you to find 5 things you like about your body and 5 things you like about yourself.  (After all, you are more than what you see in your reflection in the mirror.)  Here’s what you do…

1.  Write down 5 things you like about the way you look.  Example:  “I have great hair.  It’s thick, healthy, and usually does what I want it to do.”

2.  Write down all the “I have…” statements on a sticky note or small dry erase board.

3.  Write down 5 things you like about who you are.  Example:  “I am genuine.  I won’t pretend to like someone I don’t, but I will be civil.  I won’t tell people only what they want to hear, but I’m never intentionally hurtful.”

4.  Write down all the “I am…” statements on a sticky note or small dry erase board.

5.  Put the sticky notes on your mirror. (Put the dry erase board near your mirror.)  Your mirror is not your friend.  It works with your brain and all those society-fueled negative messages to trick you into thinking you’re not good enough.  Neutralize it by keeping a reminder that there ARE things to like about yourself and you ARE a worthwhile person.

If you have a hard time coming up with 5 things  for each category (I hope not!), try to think about the things people compliment you on.  People don’t usually go out of their way to compliment someone on their hair, eyes, etc.  Randomly-given compliments are usually genuine. 

Hopefully, finding 10 things will help train you to focus on the positive.  By finding the things you like, you can learn to accentuate those things, too, which can help boost your confidence even more.

 

Review: Philosophy “The Microdelivery” Exfoliating Wash

I’ve been using Philosophy’s “Purity Made Simple” cleanser for a while now, but have decided to find something else – since it contains parabens.  I had kind of written off all Philosophy products, assuming that one product having parabens meant the rest would too.  However, that’s apparently not the case, so I tried the free sample I had of this product…

Pros:  Consistent exfoliating.  (Some products have random beads here and there, so they don’t work too well.)  Paraben-free.  No discernible fragrance.

Cons:  Expensive.  Can be a little hard to get every one of the exfoliating beads off your face.

In Summary:  I really like this cleanser.  It’s a little more gentle than the “microdermabrasion” stuff I’ve been using.  However, that product got discontinued so it’s getting hard to find.  This would be a good replacement – if it didn’t cost twice as much.  I’ll probably just end up using facial loofah discs…

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars 

Price:  $25 for 8 oz. bottle (Larger and smaller sizes available – it gets cheaper “per ounce” as the bottle gets bigger.)

Available at:  Ulta, Sephora, beauty.com, philosophy.com, select military exchanges

Quick Rundown: Facial Cleansing Wipes Reviews

You may be a big fan of facial cleansing wipes/towelettes/cloths.  Whatever you call them, they’re very convenient.  I try to only use them when I’m wearing mineral makeup, because my “regular” foundation is too hard to remove with a wipe.  So, here’s a quick list of the ones I’ve tried, along with a brief review…

Olay Wet Cleansing Cloths (“Normal”)

Price:  $5 – $6 for 30

Pros:  Works pretty well.  Smells nice.  Non-drying.

Cons:  Fragrance is a little strong.

Overall Review:  4 out of 5 stars 

Olay 2-in-1 Facial Cleansing Cloths (“Combination-Oily”)

Price:  $6 for 33

Pros:  Smells nice.  Cleans very well.

Cons: Not “1-step”. Leaves soapy residue on face.  (You’d might as well just wash your face.)

Overall Review:  2.5 out of 5 stars 

Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes

Price:  $7 for 30

Pros:  Gentle.  Pretty effective.  Made of (mostly) natural ingredients.

Cons:  Not the most effective.  More expensive than many others.

Overall Review:  3 out of 5 stars 

Yes to Blueberries “Brightening” Facial Towelettes

Price:  $8 for 30

Pros:  Made of (mostly) natural, anti-aging ingredients.  Works pretty well.  Smells nice.

Cons:  Irritates sensitive/dry skin.  Expensive.

Overall Review:  3 out of 5 stars 

Up & Up (Target brand)  Exfoliating Cucumber Cleansing Towelettes

Price:  approx $5

Pros:  Exfoliating beads help scrub off makeup.

Cons:  Contain parabens.  Over-drying for skin.

Overall Review:  1 out of 5 stars 

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes

Price:  approx $8 for 25

Pros:  Smell nice.  Work well.  Doesn’t dry out skin.  Soft but durable.

Cons:  Kind of expensive.

Overall Review:  4 out of 5 stars 

Review: Yes to Carrots Daily Cream Facial Cleanser

Yes, it’s another “Yes to…” product.  I ordered a lot of stuff because the deal was amazing…

Pros: 96% natural.  Petroleum and paraben-free.  Inexpensive.  Smells nice.  Removes makeup.  Available almost everywhere.

Cons:  A little greasy.  It doesn’t really feel like it on your face, but when you try to rinse it off your hand, it’s kind of waterproof (like old-school Noxema or Pond’s cold cream).

In Summary:  This cleanser is probably best for normal-to-dry skin, but not for oily skin.  It’s from the “Carrots”/”Nourishing” line of products, so I probably should have kept that in mind when I ordered. I should have gotten something from the “Yes to Tomatoes” line instead, which is designed for skin clarification.  In the meantime, I can still use this one when my skin gets too dried out from the retinol cream my dermatologist prescribed.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars  (for non-oily skin). 

Price:  $7.99 for 6 oz. container

Available at:  mass merchandisers, drugstores, drugstore.com, yestocarrots.com

Review: Origins “Perfect World” Age-Defense Moisturizer

I got this moisturizer with Origins’ Earth Day promotion.  If you brought in a recyclable beauty product container, they gave you a free moisturizer.  Sephora was also doing the promotion.  Yes, I went to both places to get the freebie.  No, I don’t feel bad.  I’ve spent enough money at both stores to get something for free once in a while…

Pros:  UVA & UVB sunscreen in SPF 25.  Oil-free.  Formulated with organic ingredients and 100% natural essential oils.  Paraben and animal ingredient free.  Manufactured using renewable energy. Made in USA.

Cons:  Very expensive.  I’m not fond of the fragrance.  It might be the white tea (I don’t care for that scent).  Feels a little heavy.  (You know – like sunblock…)  While the tube-type container I got as the freebie is great, the actual product (normally) comes in a “tub” type container.  This is a pet peeve of mine because I have fingernails and digging into it would result in the product getting under my nails.  Also, it seems unsanitary to me.  (The upside is you can see how much is left and you have a chance of getting it all out of the container.)

In Summary:  This isn’t a bad moisturizer.    I don’t like how heavy it feels and am not fond of the fragrance, but I don’t hate it.  For me, the container it normally comes in is more of a deal-breaker than anything (even the price).  I mean, what if I wanted to use it at the beach?  I guess I could transfer it to a travel-sized bottle, since it’s such a small amount, anyway.  Also, I’m not actually convinced that it’s a good choice for oily skin, even though it’s oil-free.  (It contains shea butter and some other stuff I would normally shy away from because of my oily skin…)  I don’t really need the SPF so much, since I almost always wear makeup when I’m outside my house, and all my makeup has SPF built-in.  I’ll probably just use it as facial sunblock when I go to the pool.

Rating:  3 out of 5 

Price:  $39.50 for 1.7 oz container

Note:  This product is available in the “Fight Aging Kit” at Sephora.  It costs $39.50, but comes with a cleanser and “skin guardian” in addition to the full-size moisturizer.

Available at:  Sephora, sephora.com, Origins stores, origins.com, beauty.com

Happy Belated Earth Day

Earth Day always makes me reflect a bit more on my daily activities.  As I went around collecting “Free Earth Day” promotional items, I made sure to put them into my purse or a bag I already had, trying to be more eco-friendly.  I’m fortunate enough to live somewhere with the easiest recycling program ever.  We have a designated trash can (with wheels!) that’s collected weekly AND you just toss anything that’s recyclable into it. While you may not have such a great recycling program, there are some things you can do to “green your beauty routine”…

Choose Carefully: Try to buy products that come in recyclable packaging.  RecycleD is nice, recyclABLE is better.  Learn about what chemicals are bad for the environment and avoid buying products that contain them. (Sorry, I couldn’t find a good “quick reference guide” resource to give you.)

Break It Up:  Some packaging will have parts that are recyclable and parts that aren’t – like those boxes that have the plastic “window” to showcase the product.  Tear off the plastic pieces and recycle the cardboard.

Don’t Be Lazy:  If a product is expired (or unwanted), it’s easy to just toss the whole thing into the trash.  Empty the container and recycle it.  Lotions and cleansers can be put down your bathtub drain easily enough.  Do it while you’re taking a shower to save water.  Just set it in there with you and let the shower water rinse it while you shave your legs or whatever.

Reduce:  Try to find ways to use less stuff.  Body scrubs are nice, but you can do the job with an exfoliating glove, too.  The glove is washable, so it’s a more eco-friendly choice.

Reuse:  Chances are, you still get some bags that aren’t recyclable.  Try to reuse the ones that aren’t and recycle the ones that are.  Re-purpose product packaging bags for other things.  Example:  I use the zip-top bags that come with Sephora online orders to dump my brow/lip pencil shavings into.  (Otherwise, they end up all over the place when the trash gets emptied.)  When the bag is full, I throw it away.  I also use these types of bags to collect empty printer ink cartridges for donation to recycling programs.  Pretty much any zip-top bag that doesn’t have food reside in it gets reused in some way.

Recycle:  Seriously, people – if you have a recycling program where you live, use it.  If it’s one of those “once a month” type of programs, set a reminder for yourself.  Think of it as a cost-saving measure.  (You’ll have to buy fewer trash bags.)

In Summary:  Even if you don’t believe that global climate change is real and don’t care much about the politics of environmental issues, you have to consider the reality of all the trash we’re creating.  There’s only so much space for it.  If you can find a way to reduce, reuse, and recycle you can help us have more space for parks and shopping centers and fewer places with big, stinky piles of garbage.

It’s Time to Say Goodbye

“They” say we should throw out makeup every 6 months.  Some of our makeup is expensive or hard to find or something else that makes us keep it longer.  Here are some tips to help you figure out when it’s time to say goodbye…

Use Your Nose:   If it smells anything other than fresh (close to the way it smells new), it’s probably going bad.  Some products have preservatives and some don’t.  You can bet if you’ve been putting a makeup brush into it day after day (even if it was only once a week), that bacteria has gotten into it.

Take a Look:  Has the texture changed?  This can also be a sign that it’s no longer a good idea to use it.  Eye shadows can start to get “cakey” as they age.  Other products might just dry out, while some will separate.  If they no longer resemble the product you saw when you first opened the package, it’s time to get rid of them.

Try to Remember:  When did you buy it?  Where did you buy it?  If you can’t remember, you’ve probably had it too long.

“But I Love It”:  Some of our favorite products get discontinued.  It’s part of life.  If you go to the beauty store and the clerk tells you “Oh, that’s been discontinued for about a year.”, you’d better start shopping for a replacement.  Don’t take it as a sign you need to keep that (old!) product any longer.  Almost nothing is indispensable – except maybe your health.  (Get the point?)

Deal-Breaker:  If you’ve had an eye infection, any eye products you used during that time could be contaminated.  You should seriously consider throwing things out.  If you get cold sores and try to cover them with concealer, lipstick, whatever – same thing.  If these are recurring problems for you (hint: it might be your contaminated makeup), modify your makeup application by using disposable applicators.  Q-Tips or cheap eye shadow wands will work fine.  And don’t put them back into the product after touching your face with them!

In Summary:  Yes, it can be hard to let go.  After all, you probably spent a decent amount of time selecting these things and you spent your money on them.  But ask yourself:  “Is keeping this product worth getting an eye infection, allergic-type reaction, or acne?”  Don’t think of it as throwing away money – think of it as saving money on the products you’ll need to take care of the problems caused by using old beauty products.

Review: Urban Decay De-Slick Oil Control Makeup Setting Spray

I have uber-oily skin.  For some reason (hormones?), it’s gotten worse over the last year or so.  If facial oil could be used as fuel, I’d really be saving on gas right now.   I’m seeing a dermatologist, but I’m still trying “over the counter” products to control the shine, including this one, which I bought in a “travel size”, because it was less of a financial committment…

Pros:  Smells nice.  Convenient container.  Leaping Bunny approved.  Paraben-free.  Feels nice and refreshing.

Cons:  Expensive.  While it says it delivers a “micro fine mist”, it comes in a pump-type spray bottle, so it doesn’t exactly come out perfectly even.  (I’m not sure why they don’t make it in an aerosol.)  Smells like hairspray – I hope this is a coincidence.   You kind of have to use a lot of it to get it to work.  Per instructions:  “Apply just before and again after makeup…2 – 4 times”.   That’s a lot of spraying.  This little bottle won’t last long.

Notes:   This product is made by Skindinavia.  Their “No More Shine” spray is probably the same formula. (It’s the same price.)  This works best if you put it on after foundation and follow up with powder. If you try to put it on after powder, it doesn’t work so well.  I only tested it with liquid foundation.  I suspect that it might affect the application/finished product if used with mineral foundation.  I haven’t tested it in really hot, humid weather yet, so I can’t attest to it’s “weather-proofing” ability.

In Summary:   It helps control my shine somewhat.  (Instead of being shiny in 2 hours, I get shiny in 5 hours, which is an improvement.)    I don’t think it’s a life-changing product or anything.  Basically, I’d buy it if it weren’t so expensive, but I can’t really justify the expense.  I’m going to try using it with the already-purchased “De-Slick in a Tube” lotion (applying lotion before foundation and spray after) to see if that works out.  Wish me luck.

Rating:  3 out of 5 stars  

Price:  $26 – $29 for 4 oz. bottle

Available at:  Sephora, Ulta, urbandecay.com, beauty.com (only $26 here), other online retailers