Why So Secretive, Origins?

So, I recently expressed my irritation (emotional, not physical) with the Origins Modern Friction scrub.  Another sample I got on the same trip was a moisturizer that made me break out.   So I started searching around online to get ingredients lists.   Guess what?  They’re nowhere to be found…

That’s Odd:  When shopping online, most major retailers have ingredient lists available.  It’s commonplace on Sephora and Beauty.com’s websites.  However, the Origins products listed on their websites don’t have complete ingredient lists. Origins items on Sephora.com do have a list of select ingredients, explaining what they do for the product.  (Those aren’t the ones I’m concerned about.) Even the Origins website has no ingredients listed for the products – not even “select” ingredients, unless you count the “Ingredient Gallery”.

I Thought I Should Ask:  Not wanting to assume they were intentionally trying to hide their ingredients lists, I reached out to Origins on their Facebook page with this question:  “Is there someplace (online) I can get a COMPLETE list of ingredients for Origins products?  I prefer to shop online, but can’t find anywhere with complete ingredients listings, so I can make sure to avoid things that are problematic for my skin.”

Their Reply:   “Hi Bridgett–Our Origins Global Consumer Care Team will be happy to provide you with the most current list of ingredients for our products. Simply call us at 1-800-ORIGINS (1-800-674-4467) option #4 between the hours of 9 am-5pm (EST) Monday- Friday or via email anytime at  consumercare-us@gcc.origins.com.  We’ll be in touch to assist.” 

What the…  It’s 2014.  Why do I have to call or e-mail someone to get information I should be able to get online when I’m shopping for the products?

For the Sake of Convenience:  I went back to the Origins store – since I was already in the area – wanting to see what ingredients were in the samples I received.  The moisturizer in question was also labeled with the wrong product name, making it even harder to figure out what I was putting on my face. (The offender was glycerin, by the way.)  When the store associate saw me picking up and reading a bunch of different containers, she asked if she could help.  I explained the predicament and she was very annoyed, saying the Origins website used to have complete ingredients lists available and she had been telling customers they could go there to get them!

I Guess I Shouldn’t Complain:  The samples were free.  The store associates are always helpful and generous with the freebies.  But I honestly wouldn’t have put a moisturizer containing glycerin on my skin, because I know it clogs my pores and causes blemishes.

But…  People shopping online should be able to see the ingredients (and country of origin, in my opinion) for the products they’re buying.  It definitely doesn’t look good when you’re one of very few companies who doesn’t share this information freely with your online-shopping customers.  Even stranger that you expect them to call during business hours or e-mail and wait for a response to get the information. Not cool, Origins.

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Love This! The Balm Hot Ticket Nail Polish

I’m a sucker for beauty products with cute-sy, sarcastic or punny names.  Recently, I was making a purchase on drugstore/beauty.com and needed to add something to get free shipping.  This nail polish was on sale, and the color names were clever, so I picked it up in “Don’t Metal in My Business”.  It’s the first product I’ve ever tried by The Balm, although I’ve certainly been intrigued by their stuff in the past…

Pros:  Goes on pretty evenly.  Good color options.  Paraben-free.  Cruelty-free.  5-free (no formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin, or camphor listed in the ingredients – at least on the one I bought).  Doesn’t have a strong “nail polish” odor.  Didn’t chip or wear off as quickly as some (cheap) nail polishes I’ve used.

Cons: A little expensive.  Doesn’t have my preferred type of brush (flat with  a rounded tip).

In Summary:  It took 2 coats of this to get the “look” I wanted (I don’t like nail polish to be even-sort-of-sheer), but I think the result was very good.  I like the color a lot because it’s darker than the other silver nail polishes I have – it’s almost a “gunmetal” color.  If I see some more of these nail polishes on sale (or other stuff by The Balm brand), I’ll definitely be interested in buying them.

Shown in "Don't Metal in My Business".  The flash on my camera is making it look a little lighter and sparklier than it looks in normal lighting.

Shown in “Don’t Metal in My Business”. The flash on my camera is making it look a little lighter and sparklier than it looks in normal lighting.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars  4.5-stars

Price:  $10 (USD)

Available at:  beauty.com, thebalm.com

Made in:  USAthe balm hot ticket

Review: L’Oreal EverCreme Cleansing Conditioner

(Yep, it’s another L’Oreal review.  Although their makeup doesn’t always impress me, I really like their hair care stuff.) 

“Cleansing conditioner” is a strange concept.  Although I love L’Oreal’s line of “Ever”(pure, crème, strong, sleek) sulfate-free products, I was hesitant to try this one.  Obviously there’s a market for it, since The Wen product advertised massively on TV and online is the same thing, and seems to be popular.  Truth be told, I’ve never been too intrigued.  I don’t even like the idea of 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner products because I think you should clean your hair before you put conditioner in it.  In reality, cleansing conditioner is just a sulfate-free product designed to gently clean your hair without being so harsh that it removes all the healthy oils.  It also has ingredients to smooth/condition your hair.  But honestly, I wouldn’t have tried it if I hadn’t been able to get it very inexpensively…

Pros:  Smells nice. Affordable.  Vegan.  Sulfate-free. Paraben-free. Contains botanical ingredients.   Makes hair softer and more manageable than shampoo alone. Great for normal, color-treated, and/or chemically-treated hair.

Cons:  Very thick.  Lack of foam can be hard to get used to.  If you use a lot of “product” in your hair, have oily hair, or regularly skip days of washing your hair, it may not cleanse well enough for you.

In Summary:  The “pump” dispenser on mine was broken, so I had a hard time getting it out of the container.  I actually might have to see if I have another pump I can use, because it’s VERY thick and the bottle isn’t made in a way that you can get it out easily any other way.  Once I managed to get enough to clean my hair, I had to remind myself not to expect too much foam.  After (insert number) years of expecting soap, shampoo, etc. to get all lathery, it’s very strange to use a product that doesn’t.  Distributing it through my thick hair was also a challenge.  After washing, I didn’t feel like my hair was clean, but it looked OK and felt really nice.  However, it wasn’t so thoroughly cleansed that I was going to skip washing the next day as I sometimes do.  Overall, I think this is a good product for occasional use, but I wouldn’t want to use it every day and definitely can’t use it after “skip” days of hair washing. However, cleansing conditioner seems to be a good option for people who want to improve the health/appearance of their hair.

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars  4-stars

Related:  EverCreme Nourishing Shampoo Review   – EverCreme Intense Nourishing Conditioner Review

Price: approx. $7 (USD)

Available at: mass merchandisers, drug stores, Ulta, lorealparisusa.com 

Made in: USA

loreal evercreme cleansing conditioner

Bargain Store Mini-Haul

While I love “prestige” beauty stores like Ulta, Sephora, and L’Occitane, I’m no snob when it comes to buying beauty products.  If you told me I could get products I love at a significant discount but I had to drive into the worst neighborhood in town to get it, I would probably go.  One of the stores I regularly check for bargains is Big Lots.  This is a very-not-upscale chain of stores that carries everything from dog food to furniture…

Drugstore Brands:  Big Lots regularly carries a good selection of drugstore brand products, sometimes ones that have been discontinued and are often in atypical packaging.  Typical brands carried:  Revlon, Maybelline, Almay, CoverGirl, and e.l.f.

Prestige Brands:  While this probably isn’t the type of store you imagine yourself shopping at, you might be missing out on some great deals. Every now and then you can find amazing deals on prestige brands of beauty products.  In the past, I’ve gotten/seen products from Philosophy, China Glaze, eos, and Stila.

My Recent Mini Haul:  Managing to control myself somewhat, I only picked up a few items.  (Unable to resist the deals, I’ll probably be returning in the next couple days to get some more.)

Note:  Selection varies greatly from store to store.   If you have more than one Big Lots store in your area, it might be worth your time to browse a couple of them.

My Mini Haul:

– e.l.f. eyeshadow brushes – 95 cents each

– Sephora/O.P.I nail polish – $1.80 each

20140212_102428

Review: L’Oreal True Match Blush

I kind of went on a L’Oreal shopping binge recently.  A couple different stores were doing promotions and L’Oreal always puts coupons out, so I was able to get a bunch of stuff very inexpensively.  I still haven’t found a replacement for my favorite (and very old – and discontinued) blush, but I need a better selection of colors, so I thought I’d give this one a try.  I just forgot to read the ingredients…

Pros:  Has a mirror and brush underneath the blush.  I don’t personally ever do blush touch-ups, but if you do, this could be handy.  Good amount of pigment.  Generous container size.  Affordable.

Cons: Colors shown in online product images aren’t even close to the actual product colors.  Contains parabens – a LOT of parabens.  According to the L’Oreal product page, it also contains glycerin, which can be problematic for people with acne-prone skin. (Ironic, considering the product description says “hides blemishes”.)  However, this ingredient isn’t listed on the one I purchased. (???)

In Summary:  Yet again, I find that I’m angry with myself for not reading the ingredients before making a purchase.  If I had realized it had so many parabens (or researched online and found out it had/might have had glycerin) I probably wouldn’t have bought it.  It is a good quality product – unlike many drugstore brand blushes – but I’m not impressed with the ingredients and won’t be buying any more of this particular product.  It wasn’t THAT good of a sale.  That being said – if you don’t have problematic skin and don’t care about parabens, this is a decent blush.

Rating:  3 out of 5 stars  3-stars

Price:  Approx $10 (USD)

Available at:  Ulta, drug stores, mass merchandisers

Made in:  USA

Shown in "Rosy Outlook" which is MUCH lighter (more of a pink/peach) in real life.

Shown in “Rosy Outlook” which is MUCH lighter (more of a pink/peach) in real life.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Here in the U.S., we’ve been getting lots and lots of cold/snowy/icy weather.  People who have lived their whole lives never having seen snow are getting to experience it for the first time, due to some strange weather patterns that have brought snow to the southern states.  It’s been horrible – tons of school closures and delays, power outages, accidents.  Nightmarish.

I actually live in the South because I hate this kind of weather.  I grew up in the North and call myself a “refugee” of the cold.  When family asks me when I’ll move “back North”, I say: “When the equator shifts”.  The only day of the year I miss snow is Christmas.  I’d love to have a white Christmas.  I just want it to be 75 degrees.  Is that so much to ask?

Although I hate snow and have NO desire to live in it, I think it’s pretty.  Since we don’t get snow here except on a very rare occasion and in very limited amounts, I decided I could wear some snow – on my nails.

My very talented daughter did this nail art for me around the holidays:

(not a great photo - I took it with my phone...)

(not a great photo – I took it with my phone…)

20131221_172613

I’m not usually a fan of nail art on myself.  I tend to think it should be reserved for much younger, trendier people.  But my daughter really enjoys doing it and everyone who knows me knows this is as close as I want to get to having snow.  🙂

Review: L’Oreal Studio Secrets (Wear Infinite) Eye Shadow Single

L’Oreal is a brand that has been hit-and-miss for me.  When I bought this, I totally forgot that I gave the Studio Secrets Eye Shadow Quad a “Thumbs-Down” review.  Other L’Oreal products have been just so-so for me, while there are some I adore.  So, there was about a 50/50 chance I was going to like this.  50/50 was good enough for me, since I basically got it for free because of a sale that was going on…

Pros:  Inexpensive. Goes on more smoothly than some drugstore brands.

Cons:  No ingredients list on the package.  Contains parabens.  Not a huge range of shades available.  Not deeply-pigmented, so the color you see in the container is much darker than what you get when you put it on.  When you put on enough to get a good amount of color, it creases within a few hours.

In Summary:  While this isn’t a horrible eye shadow product, it’s not even close to being one of my favorites.  If it were pigmented more deeply (like the L’Oreal H.I.P. line was!), it would be better.  I guess the only L’Oreal products I can rely on are the ones in their hair care line.

Rating:  3 out of 5 stars   3-stars

Price:  Approx $5 (USD)

Available at: drugstore.com, drug stores, mass merchandisers

Made in:  USA

loreal studio secrets single

Shown in “Deep Mocha”

Other L’Oreal Product Reviews:

EverStyle Dry Shampoo

EverCreme Intense Nourishing Conditioner

EverCreme Nourishing Shampoo

EverSleek Finishing Crème

Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base

Studio Secrets Eye Shadow Quad

Magic Lumi Primer

Telescopic Explosion Mascara

Sublime Bronze Self Tanner

Review: Laura Geller Blush N Brighten

I had been hoping for a “free gift with purchase” deal from beauty.com to come before I wanted to make my next order (before my rewards credit expired!), and I got it when I received an e-mail about a free Laura Geller blush.   Having never tried Laura Geller’s stuff (and needing new blushes), I was excited for the free item offer…

Pros:  Paraben and sulfate-free.  Deeply pigmented.  Smooth texture.  Contains antioxidant ingredients.

Cons:  Expensive.  The mirror on the inside of the lid is only on half of the lid, so it is a little small to use (even on the full-sized product).

In Summary: This is definitely not something I would have purchased without trying it first.  I don’t like “swirled” colors in products – I just want to see what color it will be when I’m ready to put it on my face!  Also, it’s a “baked” product, and I haven’t had good experience with those. (They’re often gritty and don’t provide enough color, in my opinion.)  While I would never spend $30 on a blush, I’m very impressed by the quality of this one.  If it’s ever on sale, I’ll probably buy it.

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars   4-stars

Price:  $27 – 31 (USD). Price varies by vendor.

Available at:  LauraGeller.com, beauty.com

Made in:  Italy

laura geller blush n brighten boysenberry

Shown in the color I got: “Boysenberry”.

Have You Heard?

FINALLY Ulta is going to have a rewards program I like.  In the past, your spending has determined what free item you’d get after each quarterly spending period.  There wasn’t a birthday gift (who doesn’t love a free birthday item?), and you had to wait for your rewards certificate to come in the mail – a certificate that could only be used in a certain time frame – usually for stuff I didn’t really care about.  Here’s a quick rundown of the changes, according to the information in the most recent Ulta advertising flyer

Birthday Gift.   Members will receive a free birthday item and double points during their birthday month.

Platinum Status.  Spend $400 in a calendar year and get upgraded to platinum status, which earns you points faster, and they never expire.

Better Rewards.  You can use your points toward anything in the store, not just a selection of a half dozen items.

No More Certificates.  You won’t have to wait for your reward certificate to come in the mail, and you can redeem your points when you want. (Points are good for a year.)

So, Basically:  Ulta is trying to compete with Sephora by having a much better rewards program than they’ve had in the past.  I’m very happy about this because I shop at Ulta more often, since they carry “drugstore brands”, have a clearance section, and offer coupons for store purchases – sometimes even on “prestige” brands.

Unknown:  I’m not sure if points can be used in-store only, or you’ll be able to use them for online purchases as well.  Unfortunately, the Ulta Rewards website still has the information about the old rewards system.

Important Info:  This program is only available with e-mail signup.  Make sure you have your birthday listed in your profile information to get your birthday gift. All current Ulta Rewards members will be moved to the new system on February 23rd.

 

Review: Revlon (powder) Blush

Blush is – by far – the most difficult product for me to find.  Apparently, I’m picky about it.  I want it to be smooth but not shimmery and provide a decent amount of color without having to put so much on that it starts to look “cake-y”.   Revlon seems to make consistently decent stuff, so I was willing to try this.  Plus, it only cost me 11 cents…

Pros: Contains some natural/botanical ingredients (extracts of ginkgo biloba, green tea, grape seed, panax ginseng root, and aloe barbadensis leaf).  Paraben-free.  Affordable.  Smooth texture.  Good amount of pigment.

Cons: I don’t think the color name of the one I bought is very accurate.  The packaging is a little difficult to open, especially if you’re trying to maintain a manicure.   As with most drug store brands, the brush is practically useless.  The mirror is very small.  And, apparently this is discontinued.

In Summary:  I was surprised by the quality of this blush, because I wasn’t expecting much from it.  I actually put WAY too much blush on my brush, expecting “cheap” quality and had to blend it with some neutral powder to tone it down a bit.  Considering I practically got it for free, I’m extremely happy.  Sadly, it looks like this particular item has been discontinued, as there’s a new formulation of the product .  It has a different style of packaging, and no botanical ingredients.  😦  Hopefully, the store will have some other colors on clearance when I go tomorrow!

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars  4.5-stars

Price:  Approx. $7 (USD)

Available at:  ??? apparently discontinued.  (Got mine at CVS drug store.)

Made in:  USA

Note:  Mine is in different packaging and didn't come with the cool slide-out mirror. :-(

Note: Mine is in different packaging and didn’t come with the cool slide-out mirror. Color shown: Smoky rose.