What’s in a Name?

Ever wonder what those funky acronyms on your beauty products stand for?  Here’s a list of some of the ones I was able to find…

eos:  Evolution of Smooth

TIGI:  Named for founders Giuseppe (Toni) and Gaetano (Guy) Mascolo

DDF: Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula

GHD (hair straighteners):  Good Hair Day

KMS (California):  Named for biochemist Jamey Mazzotta and partners Kornfield and Smith.

LORAC:  “Carol” spelled backwards, after founder Carol Shaw. (Not an acronym, but still interesting…)

OPI: Named after a dental supply company (Odontorium Products Inc.) purchased by founder George Schaeffer. (He realized the products being used for dentures and other dental products could be used for artificial nails!)


So there you go.  Random information you’ll probably need.  Not even on Jeopardy!  🙂




Review: TIGI (Bed Head) Brunette Goddess Shampoo

I’ve never minded being a brunette.  Sure, blondes doget more attention sometimes .  But I like my hair and have never been tempted to bleach it (unless you count the 2 times I got highlights).  Just because I’m a brunette, it doesn’t mean I think all the products that are allegedly made for brown hair are the best products on the market.  To be honest, I haven’t noticed them making my hair look any different.  However, I happen to like some of them anyway…

Pros: Paraben-free.  Seems to contain less sulfates than some other shampoos (I’m guessing it does, anyway, because it doesn’t get very “foamy”.) Smells nice. Doesn’t weigh hair down.  Keeps hair looking healthy.

Cons:  Moderately expensive.  Very “sweet” fragrance.  If you don’t like stuff that smells like sugary food, it might not appeal to you.

In Summary:  I like this shampoo.  While I was using it, my hair looked consistently shiny and healthy.  Although it’s a little expensive, I would continue to buy it if – especially if I could get it on sale.  The uber-sweet fragrance is a little off-putting sometimes, but I don’t mind it too much.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars  

Price:  $10 – $15 for 13.5 fl oz. bottle (depending on where/when you buy)

Available at:  salons, Ulta (not online), various online retailers

Giving Thanks

For those of us in the United States, today is Thanksgiving.  Although some of us use it as the kick-off for the holiday shopping season, many of us choose to spend it with friends and family eating seasonal foods (some of which we only eat on Thanksgiving!)  As I think of the things I’m thankful for, I am also celebrating the one-year anniversary of registering on WordPress.  So, today I’m thankful for the chance to rant and advise here on my humble little blog…

Happy Thanksgiving!

OK, not the most beautiful creature, I’ll admit. But, he was almost our national bird AND he tastes delicious, so let’s not be too critical…


Thumbs-Down: Jergens Daily Moisture (“Dry Skin Moisturizer”)

I got a sample of this product in the latest Target Beauty Bag.  I don’t usually buy Jergens’ lotions, because I’ve never been impressed by them.  This one hasn’t done anything to change my opinion…

Pros: Inexpensive.  Not strongly fragranced.

Cons: Doesn’t absorb well.  Not long-lasting (despite the “24-hour hydration” claim.)  Contains parabens – rather high in the ingredients list, too, so there are more than some products contain.

In Summary:  Like other Jergens products I’ve tried, this one is unimpressive.  I tested it on my leg (which is what I would call a “normal” level of dryness for this time of year) and when I compared that leg with the other several hours later, there was no discernible difference.  I’m very confused about the ingredients:  It contains lemon, grapefruit, and pineapple juices.  How are acidic citrus products supposed to help moisturize?  Weird.  At any rate, I definitely wouldn’t buy this product.  There are so many moisturizers on the market that work better than this one that I wouldn’t waste my money on it.

Budget-Friendly Alternative to This Product:  Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Lotion  (It also contains parabens, but it works much better.)

Rating:  1.5 out of 5 stars 

Price: approx $6 for 21 fl. oz. bottle

Available at: mass merchandisers, drug stores, online retailers

Weird Beauty Advice

In theory, I love the idea of trying “home remedy” things.  My most recent foray was an attempt to cure my allergies.  I heard that if you have a teaspoon of locally-made honey, it will help with allergy symptoms.  So, I bought a rather large bottle of honey and tried it out.  The result:  A massive sneezing fit that rendered me almost incapable of breathing.  I tried 3 days in a row and got the same result each time.  So, sometimes when I see advice about home-made beauty products, I’m a little dubious…

The Latest Wacky Beauty Advice:  (From Self Magazine’s November issue)

Wait, What?  So, if my hair color is a little “brassy”, I should put grape Kool-Aid in it?  A:  Kool-Aid is not permanent.  If I get rained on or sweaty, I’m pretty sure it’s going to end up all over whatever I’m wearing.  B:  I really don’t want to smell like Grape Kool-Aid.  I think I’d be better off getting a $6 box of Natural Instincts color to tone down any “brassy” effect I may be dealing with.  (Not an issue for me, since I don’t color my hair brown, but still…)

Other Weird Advice:  I read an article (or blog post, I don’t remember) once by a woman who had tried some of these other “at home” beauty remedies.  My favorite:   Using cherry Jell-O mix to make a lip stain.  The result was moderately disastrous for her, since she tried it before a party-type event.  She ended up with a very red tongue and red teeth as she licked her lips, drank beverages, etc. throughout the night.

Maybe the Food Products Should Stay in the Pantry:  I’m not saying that all at-home beauty fixes are a bad idea.  (Read my posts about tea tree oil and other household products.)  I just think of some of them might not be thought through very well…

“No Name” Products

Like many people, I have favorite brands of beauty products.  I can’t say that I have one brand that I love so much I’d buy anything they make.  (I don’t think I have more than 2 items by a single brand in my collection of beauty products!)  Some fancy brands are worth the price, while others aren’t. Every now and then, I’ll try a “no name” brand (not the same as “drug store” brands like Revlon, Maybelline, etc.) just to give it a shot.  I usually find these products at discount stores.  Sometimes, I even like them more than the stuff that costs twice as much…

OK, So The Packaging Might Not Be Great:   Sometimes these products have really boring packaging.  Other times, they’re trying SO hard to make the packaging look nice that it looks odd (or just plain tacky).

Limited Availability:  Since items bought at discount stores are usually there as a result of some sort of “closeout”, store going out of business, etc., you may never see that item again.  Keep this in mind when you buy the no-name product.  Even if you love it, you may not be able to buy it later.

Examples:  There are certain things I just don’t want to spend a lot of money on.  The main 2 things that come to mind are cleansing wipes and makeup sponges (“Cosmetic Wedges”).  These items are disposable and it seems silly to me to pay a lot for them.  Here are some budget-friendly options I’ve found:

Facial Cleansing Wipes (pkg of 25) by Bellecare Switzerland

Paraben and sulfate free.  Contains Aloe & Vitamin B5.  Made in Italy.

purchased at Ross for $2.99


Cosmetic Wedges by Designer Perfect (pkg of 32)

Latex Free.  Work great.  Made in USA.

purchased at Big Lots for $1.50

In Summary:  If you like to shop anywhere you can get a good deal, you might be able to find products you need that will help you save some money.  You just can’t have it in your head that name brands are the only way to go…



The other day, I was gushing over some of the adorable new holiday gift sets being offered by my favorite cosmetics companies.  After a trip to Ulta, I have decided to “un-wish” for some of them…

Made in China:  OK, I’m not one of these crazy left-wing people who think China is trying to take over our country and have boycotted all things made in China.  However, there have been so many reports of unsafe levels of lead, cadmium, and even more hazardous materials in products made in China (never mind the potential human rights issues…) that I’ve decided to no longer purchase anything made in China if it comes in contact with my skin or food.

Quality?   It’s been my experience in the past that some of these gift sets that are offered at a too-good-to-be-true price usually are.  Some of the ones I’ve tried are made of cheaper materials and/or aren’t as finely-milled, which make them go on less smoothly.

Increasing Trend:  There were certain brands I noticed doing the “made in China” thing with their holiday gift sets (Yes, Stila, I’m talking about you…) but it’s happening more and more.  I guess as the economy took a downturn, people were looking for ways to save money, both on the corporate and on the consumer side.   In either case, I can’t blame anyone for trying to save money.  But when people expect a certain level of quality and you compromise that to save money, it’s a little shifty.

Very Sad:  I’m fairly devastated that the Lorac gift set I really wanted is made in China.  Of course, I may very well have been disappointed in it anyway, so I guess it’s better to be disappointed about not buying something than to be disappointed after you’ve bought (or received) it.  After all, I don’t buy brand name makeup just to have brand name makeup – I buy it because it’s (usually) better quality.  Lorac makes some of the best eye shadows I’ve ever used.  Either they’re normally very over-priced, or someone “cut corners” on making these – a set that contains 4 mini palettes with 4 eye shadows each.

Only $36 at Ulta. What a deal! (Maybe)

My Modified Wish List:  So, I have to update my wish list.  No more shopping online to find all the stuff I love.  I’m actually going to have to go to a beauty store and check out all the stuff I think I want before I add it to my wish list.  I already look like a crazy person going around taking photos of everything I want.   (When I get the “Can I help you?” question with the sideways glance, I explain that my husband and children need a wish list from me and taking photos with my phone makes it easier for them…)  So, I’ll only look slightly more crazy by turning the products every which way to find out where they’re made…


Review: Sebastian “Laminates” Conditioner

I recently placed an order at Overstock.com (one of my all-time favorite websites!) and needed to add a under-$2 item to my order to use the rest of a gift certificate.  Although I don’t usually buy beauty products from Overstock (they’re not always a great deal), this was the only item I could find in the price range, so I ordered it, thinking “Well, at least I can review it for the blog…”

Pros:  Works fairly well as a conditioner.  Not heavy or “gunky”.

Cons:  Contains parabens.  Fragrance reminds me of cheap products you get from “budget-friendly” hotels.  Doesn’t detangle.

In Summary:  No way this is worth the $2 I spent on it. (It’s a travel size – 1.7 fl. oz.)  It’s definitely not worth the $20 “list price” if you were to buy it through one of those salon-products-retailers.  It’s not bad conditioner, but it’s nothing to write home about.  If it didn’t contain parabens, I might be more likely to give it a kinder review.  But it does contain parabens and is over-priced, in my opinion.

Rating:  2.5 out of 5 stars 

Price:  varies by location, up to $20 for full-size bottle

Available at: amazon.com and other retailers

Service is Beautiful

Veterans Day is officially recognized on the 11th day of November in the U.S.  However, today is the day when it’s “observed” for the purposes of giving people a day off work.  So many people enjoy the day off without thinking about its meaning… 

A Heavy Price for Service:  People who answer their country’s call (whether voluntarily or by not choosing not to avoid mandatory service) all do so at some personal cost.  Thousands have been lost in the wars our country has waged.  Despite your personal beliefs about the various conflicts the U.S. has been involved in, it’s important to remember the sacrifices made.  Over 600,000 U.S. service members have died serving our country in wars since World War I.  Countless more returned with serious injuries that changes their lives forever.

Some Gave All, All Gave Some:  Every single member of the U.S. military in the post-Vietnam era has chosen to serve their country.  Almost without exception, this means time spent away from family,  moving from place to place regularly (often on very short notice, rarely with very little choice as to where you’re going), and other hardships most will never know.  It’s not an easy lifestyle.  (I did it for 10 years is some of the easiest circumstances possible, and it was still challenging at times.)

“Service Before Self”:  That’s a catch-phrase used by the military.  It pretty much sums up what’s expected.  However, what people may not realize is that you’re not only making that choice for yourself.  Families pay the price too.  Spouses face the prospect of having to live the life of a single parent at a moment’s notice when their spouse is deployed.  Birthdays, anniversaries, and other holidays are missed.  Some people don’t even get to share the joy of giving birth to a child with their spouse.

Thank You, Veterans:  For those who came before me, and for those who served beside me:  Thank You.  Your willingness to serve sets you apart and your sacrifices are appreciated.


Review: Ulta brand Beauty Wedges

I use beauty wedges (or “makeup sponges”, as I call them) every time I apply liquid foundation.  They allow for better coverage in those definitely-needs-more-coverage areas.  I’ve tried many brands of “makeup sponges”.  My opinion of them has ranged from “meh” to “horrible!”  (Despite my love of Target, I pretty much hate their Up & Up brand makeup sponges. Read review here: http://wp.me/p1Z8Rq-54)  Here’s my opinion of these…

Pros: Latex-free.  Hypoallergenic.  Made in USA.  Very affordable.  Washable.  (allegedly – I haven’t tried it)  Not so “sponge-y” that it soaks up all your foundation and/or makes “texture” marks where you try to use it.

Cons:  Bigger than the normal cosmetic wedge, which makes it a little harder to use in some areas.

In Summary:  I’m actually impressed with these wedges. (To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much – I was out of makeup sponges and needed some ASAP on a day I happened to be at Ulta.)  They  are pretty much the best ones I’ve ever tried.  I’ve found similar-quality ones, but they were at bargain stores and I couldn’t find them later when I wanted more.  I don’t like how big they are, because it makes them harder to use and it seems kind of wasteful, but the texture is very nice for the kind of foundation I use.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars 

Price:  $1.99 for 8, $2.99 for 32, $6.99 for 96

Available at: Ulta