Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jergens gradual tanning lotion and express formula

So now that it is summer those of us that are pasty white are looking for a tan. I don’t advocate tanning beds. Has anyone ever seen the PSA commercial where the tanning bed turns into a coffin? Creepy but it gets the point across. I’m not trying to bash anyone who goes to a tanning salon, but lets be real the truth is out there. Tanning beds increase your risk of skin cancer, premature wrinkling and general sun damage. I would much rather be pasty white than pay for any of those consequences. Not to mention the fact that when I was growing up tanning beds were strictly forbidden, in my family. The only UV rays we were allowed to receive were natural ones from the sun, and even then my mom insisted we wear sunscreen. Unfortunately, I hate sunscreen with a passion so I’m very glad that they have spray forms now. So how does one get a tan? Now self-tanning lotions, gels, sprays, and mousses are everywhere. There are a lot of brands in a lot of price ranges, that all claim to be superior. As much as I would like a nice tan I don’t feel like spending $45 dollars for 8 oz of anything, unless is a self-replenishing pot of gold. So I’m perusing through the self-tanning aisle at drugstores, and online reviews. I have found a few brands that are reasonably priced and have rave reviews. One of which is Jergens brand of self-tanning products. Last year I used Jergens Natural Glow on my arms. It was okay. The smell was tolerable. It smelled fine when you first put it on but after a while got a bit of the stereotypical self-tanner smell. It was a decent moisturizer as well. The color was pretty believable, not orange but sometimes it looked a bit like dirt was on your skin. Also when you first put it on it has some sparkles in it and is a bit glittery. This didn’t bother me as I put sunless tanner on at night, and most of the glitter disappears by morning. It was very blotchy when I stopping using it though, and it looked ridiculous until it all faded. This year I wanted to tan my whole body, or at least the parts that show when your wearing shorts and a shirt (legs, arms, shoulders, neck, face). So since I had some success with Jergens and everyone raves about it I figured I would try their express formula. 
The good: it is a very natural color, more so than the regular version. It works fast. I only used it twice and was much darker (and healthier looking). A third time and I have no doubts I would be a full shade darker than I started (as advertised). It dries relatively fast. About 5-10 minutes after applied I put on my clothes and after maybe another 20 it is fully dry. It didn’t rub off on my clothes or sheets even though it wasn’t fully dry when I got dressed and went to sleep. The bad: the smell. The smell. The smell. Ew. Ew. Ew. Seriously the biggest complaint and the reason I stopped using it after two uses despite all the good things about it is the smell. It reeks. I understand that self-tanners smell, but this one smelled ten times worse then the regular formula. The original moisturizer formula smelled a bit. I would occasionally catch a whiff of it and wonder what the smell was until I realized it was the self-tanner. This one however smelled so bad, that I’m pretty sure everyone in the room could smell it. And if you sweat even slightly it makes the smell ten times worse. despite the fact that it worked well on my legs and arms the smell annoyed me so much after two uses I gave the bottle to my mom. The other cons are the formula is heavy and greasy. The first time I used it I exfoliated with a sugar scrub which left my skin moisturized and when I put the Jergens express on it made my skin so greasy and took 40 minutes to dry. Which is not okay. The second time I used it I didn’t exfoliate which helped but it still took 20 minutes to dry. Another con is although it tanned my arms and legs well it didn’t tan my neck collarbone or shoulders at all. Which made me look awkward. I also used Jergens face and had the same pros and cons as the express body version. It did even out my skin, which is nice because I have a lot of redness. But it smelled like sunscreen (because it contained sunscreen, which is pointless when most people self-tan before going to bed). And it was pretty thick and greasy like the body version until it fully dried. It also made my skin rough and gross feeling, when a moisturizer should leave it soft, and silky smooth. Overall not impressed and like I already said I gave it to my mom and basically said, “Good luck, with this stuff it stinks.” If it dried quicker, didn’t smell and tanned my neck and shoulders I would absolutely buy this stuff all the time because the color was great and lasts a long time. If Jergens comes out with a new and improved version I would be excited to try it. Now I’m trying another gradual moisturizer by a different brand, I also thought I grabbed a complimentary quick building self-tanner by the same company but grabbed a one day wash off tan. Which at first greatly annoyed me but might actually be good for days when I go somewhere out of the ordinary where I might want a bit more of a tan for at least that one day. So I haven’t decided if I will exchange it or not. But when I figure it all out and try out the products I’ll post an update.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control (Power cream wash, Power clear scrub, 3-in-1 hydrating acne treatment)

So as I said before I was looking for a new face wash that had salicylic acid in it to help with my clogged pores. I have been using Neutrogena for the last few months and it has helped my skin a lot and I’m pretty happy with the results. It didn’t get my skin flawless, but it significantly helped to clear my pores and keep my skin free of blemishes. I used three of the oil-free Acne stress control products. The Oil-Free Acne Stress Control- Power Cream Wash, Oil-Free Acne Stress Control- Power Clear Scrub, Oil-Free Acne Stress control 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment. I thought that the combination of all three products really did help my skin. The face wash smelled really good (like a fruity melon-y scent) it didn’t irritate my skin, it had a cool menthol effect and did a good job at cleaning my face without over-drying it. It left my face smooth and soft. The exfoliator (which I used initially everyday but switched to three times a week) is really good a removing dead skin cells and clearing pores without irritating skin. It has a stronger menthol effect but nothing that is irritating. The Three in one hydrating treatment, is my favorite of all three products. Like the face washes it smells good, is almost serum-like in consistency, is light and really made my skin soft and smooth. It dries very quickly and surprisingly is quite hydrating. Because it is an acne treatment and in serum form I assumed it would be drying, especially for my already dry skin. A few other reviews I read said that it irritated their skin and dried it out. It didn’t do that to my skin which was a pleasant surprise. Its suppose to 1) treat acne even before it emerges 2) hydrates and softens 3) reduces redness. It does these things well. Well I used the hydrating treatment with the other two products the salicylic acid in the treatment really helped my pores. As opposed to the face wash which washes off and has little contact time with your skin. The cream helps heal blemishes, prevent new ones, and help unclog pores. It also makes skin soft and smooth and does a good job at reducing any redness that you might have. Its actually hydrating enough that I haven’t been using my Burt’s Bees radiant creams (day and night versions). The three products also helped to reduce oiliness (especially in the T zone) and to smooth and even out my skin removing excess skin cells and rough patches on my face. Overall the three products really worked well together in unison but are also good standalone products. I’m currently trying out two new products, a face wash and exfoliator and when I finish them I’ll compare them to the Neutrogena products. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Avon Nail wear Pro Nail Enamel

Avon Nail wear Pro Nail Enamel

I seriously could rave about this nail polish all day, but promise I won’t. Over the years I have tried hundreds of different types of nail polishes in a variety of colors and price ranges; however, Avon is by far the best I have ever tried. When I was younger I was a bit of a nail polish fiend and was Always painting my nails a wide range of colors. Then for a few years I stopped wearing nail polish because I became too impatient to wait for it to dry. I would only wear nail polish every once in a while when I would go and get it professionally done. However in the last year I have become obsessed with nail polish again! I don’t know what it is about nail polish but it always makes me feel pretty and well put together. It’s also an awesome and subtle form of self-expression. You can dress conservatively and still rock out a fierce shade of nail polish. When it comes to nail polish colors I’m always open to trying a new shade at least once. Anyway now that you can tell I’m passionate about nail polish… on to the review. Now I’m very picky about what I mean for “how long nail polish lasts”. My idea of it is nail polish goes on flawless, the second it shows even the slightest chip or wearing I consider it no longer lasting. Unless of course you do something out of the ordinary that causes it to chip, like opening a can with your nails. So to make myself clearer, if I paint my nails, and three days later find a chip on two or more nails, the nail polish only lasts three days. Most companies claim their polish lasts 10 days. And you think dang that’s awesome only to read the fine print that says “with regular touch ups.” I don’t know about you guys but that seriously irks me. It’s one of my pet peeves. If I spend two hours painting my nails perfectly and letting them dry completely I want them to last a few days (remember for me that means Zero chips/cracks/signs of wear.) I don’t do touch ups. It’s so pointless to me. You spend two hours doing your nails only to have to “touch it up” a day later. Which basically means you spend another two hours waiting for a small patch of polish to dry. It irks me and is a waste of time. I want nail polish that actually “last long” I let it naturally wear/ chip off/grow out until it’s noticeable to other people, and then I remove the nail polish and start over (usually with a new color). Most cheap drugstore nail polishes (think Sally Hansen) dry very quickly, cost about $7/8 dollars, and lasts anywhere from 1-3 days. More expensive brands and better known (think OPI) costs about $10/11 dollars, takes a bit longer to dry and lasts about 3 days. Now Avon, (to be honest I thought would be junk and last the same as a drugstore) But oh my gosh was I wrong! It lasts so much longer and cost half the price at full retail. It’s ridiculous. It costs five dollars (when it isn’t on sale, which lets face it OPI and Sally Hansen never are). So, as I said before I have a strict way of determining how long nail polish lasts (10 days, yea right!) and Avon nail polish is the closest I have gotten to nail polish lasting 10 days (including professional manicures). Avon lasts easily 5-7 days. All of the information I have given above is based on my experience with the nail polish alone (No base or top coats). However if you were to add a topcoat I have little doubt that Avon wouldn’t last 10 days. As in legitimate 10 days, NO TOUCH UPS. If going from 3 days to 7 days at half the price isn’t a holy grail beauty find, I don’t know what is. I’m obsessed with this polish now, and it comes it colors I would and will wear. It goes on smooth and evenly and dries in a moderate amount of time. It isn’t super shiny when dry (personally I don’t care about that) but it is definitely much shiner than Sally Hansen and probably equal to OPI or maybe even a bit better. I’m so glad I found this stuff. I was seriously considering buying a bunch of OPI at 10 dollars a bottle (because I have always been told it’s the best.)  Now I plan on buying a bunch of colors of Avon (it’s even on sale at the moment). So now it’s like a third of the price of OPI and twice as good. It almost seems like too good of a deal, but it definitely isn’t! I hope if you guys try this you like it as much as I do!

Formula 10.0.6 Deep Down Detox Ultra Cleansing Mud Mask

Formula 10.0.6 Deep Down Detox Ultra Cleansing Mud Mask

I haven’t used too many facemasks. In fact this is only the third I have ever tried. I have used Proactiv Sulfur mask, which is okay but not amazing. Not to mention the fact that it smells of sulfur which is a gross smell, and the scent of the mask lingers even after you wash your face with cleanser. The Proactiv mask is good for pimples, however I don’t have a problem with pimples so much as I have problems with really clogged pores (blackheads and whiteheads). The other mask that I have used is Burt’s Bees Pore Refining Mask. Which was also okay but not amazing. I won’t be reviewing either mask. I won’t review the Proactiv mask because I haven’t used it in a long time and it wasn’t my favorite mask.  I won’t bother reviewing the Burt’s Bees Pore Refining mask because they actually discontinued it, so reviewing it would be useless.

However, Formula 10.0.6 Deep Down Detox Ultra Cleansing Mud Mask is an exceptional mask and I really liked the results. The first time I used the mask I was a bit skeptical, despite its high reviews. The mask kind of burns a bit when you first put it on. However it only last a few seconds and doesn’t irritate your skin (I have sensitive skin). Your suppose to leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, however I find it isn’t usually dry by then and I leave it on for much longer. In fact I have left it on for longer without any adverse side effects (although I strongly advise you to follow the directions on the bottle). It leaves your face very soft and smooth and really does clean out your pores if you use it frequently. I try to use it 3 times a week (as the package suggests 1-3 times a week) and if I can’t use it 3 times I try and use it at least once. It really clears my pores, which helps to eliminate the blackheads and whiteheads and also makes my skin care regimen more effective. I was really surprised how much it cleared my blackheads. If you use it frequently it really makes your skin near flawless. I may try other masks just to see what’s out there but at least I know this is a really good staple if there isn’t anything better.
Overall I highly recommend this mask, it does a great job at clearing pores and eliminating blackheads. It also helps with blemishes. I am usually skeptical because every mask claims to be the best but this mask really does what it claims. It refines pores and makes them smaller. Despite a slight burning when first applied, it leaves skin soft, smooth, and not irritated, red, dry or flaky.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wen Cleansing Conditioner

Wen Cleansing Conditioner 

The information below about the product is information I have gained from watching the wen infomercials and QVC presentations along with reading the informational pamphlet that comes with wen, when you buy it through QVC. It also contains my personal opinions and experience with the product. Because my knowledge of wen comes from so many sources and acquired at many different times I'm not going to site every piece of knowledge. I will however use an * when using a direct quote from the pamphlet. So you will know it is a definitive statement from wen. Everything else should be taken with a grain of salt as it is my secondary relaying of information, and because I am going from my memory (which is generally very good) I apologize if there are any inaccuracies in information. 

Wen is used to wash your hair like a "shampoo" however it is a cleansing conditioner. Which basically means it cleanses your hair while conditioning it and it doesn't lather or contain sulfates and other harsh chemicals. There are 5 different scents/types of wen. They all work towards making your hair healthy, shiny, and strong but each one varies slightly in its ingredients and purpose. Because Wen doesn't lather, it doesn't strip your hair of its natural oils. I have found that because it doesn't strip your hair of its natural good oils you need to wash your hair less. Since your scalp is moisturized and not striped it isn't overcompensating  and making excess oil as a result. Thus your hair stays less oily and overall cleaner for longer. I have also found in my experience that if you blowout your hair after you wash it that it prolongs the results and you can wash your hair less often. When I was using regular shampoo the most I would go without washing my hair was probably a day, maybe two. After that my hair would be dirty and oily and I would need to rewash it. Every hair stylist I have ever been to would tell me that I should wash my hair only two or three times at most a week. I use to think they were crazy, to not wash their hair. But after I found wen I saw that if you use a sulfate free cleansing conditioner that you can indeed go more than a day without washing your hair. Although Wen is significantly more expensive than say a drugstore brand, it keeps your hair healthier, and you need to use less of a variety of other hair products. Both because your hair is healthier and because Wen acts as a cleanser, conditioner, deep conditioner, leave in conditioner, and you can even use it as a shaving cream. It also should retain your color well, because there are no harsh detergents stripping your hair of its moisture and color. Wen works on all hair types and ethnicities, and each one can be used for a targeted purpose. Here is a description from the pamphlet that describes in one sentence who should use each type/scent of wen.

*From Wen pamphlet that I got when I bought through QVC*

*Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner: A universal cleansing conditioner beneficial for all hair types. Works exceptionally well on fine to medium hair.*

*Wen Tea Tree Cleansing Conditioner: Designed for dry, sensitive, flaky scalp issues and thinning hair.*

*Wen Fig Cleansing Conditioner: Wonderful for medium to coarse, wavy to curly, and ethnic hair. Works exceptionally on dry, dehydrated, color-treated, damaged hair.*

*Wen Cucumber Aloe Cleansing Conditioner: A clarifying cleanser for all hair types, though extremely beneficial for oily scalps and dry hair.*

*Wen Lavender Cleansing Conditioner: A universal cleanser for all hair types though extremely beneficial for fine to medium, dry, damaged, and wavy to curly hair.*

So here is my opinion of each scent. Sweet Almond Mint, I would rank as a 2 of 5, five being my favorite Wen cleanser and 1 being my least favorite Wen cleanser. I would rank it as my second to least favorite because it wasn't anything special. Granted all Wen makes your hair soft, hydrated, shiny, healthy, silky and nice, but other than that Sweet Almond Mint didn't do anything special, and I didn't care for the smell either. It's not a bad smell it's just kinda boring and not really what I would want my hair to smell like. I like to use fruity and/or very perfumed scents for haircare. 

Tea Tree ranks 3 of 5. It's my third favorite. Tea Tree really does help with your scalp woes. Whenever my scalp feels dry or itchy or flaky I use Tea Tree and it really helps to remedy the problem. It also is very moisturizing and does seem to make your hair a bit thicker. The smell isn't bad, it might take a bit to get use to but it has a very earthy smell which I don't mind at all.

Fig is a ridiculously close 4 of 5. This is by far the most moisturizing and makes your hair so soft and silky and hydrated even more so than the others. Every time I use this it feels like you have had a high end hair treatment. The only reason it isn't my number one favorite is because unfortunately my hair is on the normal to fine end of the spectrum and after a day or so my hair needs to be rewashed because it becomes a bit overwhelmed with the moisture and gets weighted down and a bit oily. I wish I had thicker hair because then I would use fig because I love it.. mostly I use it when my hair needs a pick-me-up. Also when I first smelt it I thought it smelt bad as others have said but after I used all of them multiple times I liked the strong smell of Fig and actually thought it smelled good. I guess it is an acquired smell.

Cucumber Aloe ranks 1 of 5. It is my least favorite. I don't dislike the smell of cucumbers or aloe, but I was not a fan of the smell of this. I bought one of each scent in a discovery kit and used each for a few days before switching so I could see when to use each based on my hair type. When I got to Cucumber Aloe I used it I think twice before I switched to another and I wasn't too thrilled when I went back to it to use up the bottle. Also since it is made for oily scalps it isn't very moisturizing on your scalp which made my scalp over compensate and become oily. It was very moisturizing for the rest of my hair though.

Lavender ranks 5 of 5 and is my favorite. It moisturizes almost as well as Fig which is good for my normal to fine hair. Lavender and fig are both good a giving the hair nice volume and body. I also think that the lavender smells really nice and is my favorite of all the scents. It also moisturizes enough without weighing my hair down or making it oily, it's the perfect combination. With lavender I can get away without washing my hair for two or three days before it needs to be washed again. If you blowout your hair and don't do anything like workout or anything else that would make your hair dirty, you should be able to decrease the amount of times you need to wash your hair. Also because you wash less and because the formula is thick and comes in a pump bottle, a little goes a long way. So although it may be about 4 times the amount of drugstore brands it last 4 times longer and makes hair 4 times nicer. So it ends up costing close to the same amount in the long run.

LA Splash Glitter Mascara

LA Splash Glitter Mascara

I bought this mascara because I wanted to try a fun colored mascara. After looking for colored mascara at a couple of retailers I thought I would try this brand. I bought it from Ulta which has a money back guarantee, so I figured I had nothing to lose. I bought the colors: Electric Eel, and Envy. Which are really just purple and green. When I got them I put the purple on one eye and the green on the other to compare them and see how the colors looked. I have dark colored lashes. I really liked the purple colored one immediately. Purple eyeshadows look good with my hair and eye color and the purple mascara fit in well. From straight on the purple looks black. But if you look at it from even a slight angle you can definitely see the purple. It's also a nice darker colored purple so the color pops without being obnoxious. The green one I'm not sure I love it like I love the purple, but I don't quite hate it either. It's a bit brighter. From straight on the top lashes look black and the bottoms you can see the green, from an angle you can see the green on the top lashes. I wish the green was a bit darker, I think thats the problem I have with it. If it was a darker shade of green I think it would look nice and go better with eyeshadow that is darker. However as a fun day shade I think both the green and purple work well. I had two people look at my lashes and see if they noticed a difference. One said no and couldn't see the colored mascara and the other saw the mascara from over a foot away. So I guess it depends on the person as to how obvious it is. I was contemplating returning the green, but since the price was reasonable, (I got both of them on sale,) I'll probably keep it. Their both noticeable enough to see, (at certain angles and in certain light) without being overpowering or looking childish. I thought since I have dark lashes they would be less noticeable or barely noticeable but I was surprised that they stood out enough. I read other reviews that people with blonde lashes couldn't even see the color well. Besides the color, the mascara formula itself is mediocre. It does clump a bit if you apply too much or aren't careful when applying. I didn't curl my lashes when I put them on so I can't say whether they hold a curl well or not. They claim to be naturally waterproof and I didn't have a problem with them flaking or smearing off. They were also easy to remove with a makeup removing wipe. Overall they are cute fun colors that are good for day time, especially now that its spring. I don't think I would wear them at night, because the colors aren't sophisticated enough, but for day time they work perfect.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Remington T-Studio Ceramic Pearl Professional Curling Wand

Remington T-Studio Ceramic Pearl Professional Curling Wand

So far this curling wand is pretty awesome. I have naturally curly hair, however my hair needs to be scrunched in order for my curls to be well defined. Unfortunately when you scrunch your hair you don't have much control over how the curl forms and ultimately how it looks. Also my hair is very picky with the type of products I use to scrunch it and how much I use. If I use too much or too little it ends up looking different from how I intended. I read really good reviews about this so I was convinced that it would work well for my hair.
    When I got it I half-heartedly tried to curl my hair while being distracted by numerous things, and after 15 minutes gave up. I was a little annoyed that it didn't seem very easy to use, as I'm pretty good at using hair tools. Awhile later when I wasn't distracted I decided to retry using it giving it my full attention. Again at first it seemed a little awkward to use. Then again I didn't read any directions nor did I even bother to see if it came with tips or directions. But after about 5 minutes or so I started to get more comfortable with how to use it to achieve the type of curl I was trying to achieve (big loose curls). By the time I had finished half my hair, I was much more comfortable with how to use the wand and by the time I finished all my hair (maybe after 15/ minutes? I wasn't diligently counting) I had figured out how to get waves, big loose curls, and tight small ringlet curls. I was really impressed with the overall results. 
   I have had my hair professionally curled numerous times, and by various methods. Not to mention I have used so many different types of hair rollers, that off the top of my head right now I can think of at least 5 different curling roller-type products I have used in the past, not to mention a regular curling iron, crimper and other hot tools I have used for curls. So when it comes to curling your hair I have a good idea of what I'm talking about, although I'm not an expert. Anyway I really liked the results I got from this curling wand, and after I sat down with my full attention it was actually really easy to use. It was quick too. Part of the reason it took me 15 or so minutes to curl my medium length hair is that I was trying to achieve different types of curls (big loose, waves, tight ringlets).
    The Remington T-Studio Ceramic Pearl Professional Curling Wand also gave my hair lots of body and it made my hair look very natural as oppose to a very styled look. It was also easy to get lift and curl pretty close to the roots, which gave more body and looked more natural. As for how long it lasted a few hours after I curled it my hair still looked like I had just curled it, but when I woke up in the morning the curls were completely destroyed, which is a little disappointing considering my hair is naturally curly and therefore holds curls well. I would have to try it again early in the morning to really figure out how well the curls stayed, but until I slept on it my hair looked like I had just done it. So overall I would say it will last at least a whole day. (I'll probably try it on someone else who has very straight hair so I can compare how well it works for straight hair.) 
   Another thing that I liked is that it comes with a heat-resistant glove. It was a very thin glove so it made it easy to section and hold hair, while still helping to keep a barrier between the wand and your hand. I didn't even come close to burning myself. Of the reviews I read about people burning themselves they either didn't use the glove or touched the barrel of the wand with the glove. (which it says on a warning sticker on the glove not to do). So I would say it is pretty safe, although I didn't use it on full heat (which is over 400 degrees) my hair didn't need it on that high to curl and I  wanted to keep the hair damage to a minimum. Overall I would say this is the best curling method for me, if not then a very close second to special rollers I have.