Thursday, December 4, 2008

Spray Yourself Gorgeous

I have heard the Aquafina Advanced Hydration Hydrating Spray praised by many for various reasons. Some have compared Aquafina Hydrating Spray to MAC’s Fix+ for its ability to finish makeup and provide lasting power while others like the way it can be combined with mineral foundation to make it more dewy instead of powdery. As for myself, I’m thrilled to have found a moisturizer that doesn’t cause me to break out!

This was part of a Big Lots haul and quickly obtained Holy Grail status. I use my Aquafina spray prior to makeup application, spray my MAC 187 with it before applying foundation and give myself another good mist after I have finished applying. I get a bit of a glowy finish, makeup that lasts all day long without fading and absolutely no oiliness. Needless to say, I purchased many backups!

If you manage to locate a bottle, BUY IT! Trust me, this is one purchase you will never regret. And yes, you can spray it on your face throughout the day during hot weather (as per bottle instructions) too.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua Purificata) Purified, Nitrogen, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Propylene Glycol, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum).’

Image Credit: Aquafinaskincare.com

Monday, November 24, 2008

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap—Oily Skin Formula

Why would Spend or Save review a facial cleanser that costs $14.50? It’s that good. I am all for scrimping and saving on superfluous items but skincare items that make a difference merit the extra expense. If your skin is normal and not prone to acne, you are lucky in that you needn’t be as selective in your skincare regime; a good sunscreen, a cleanser that actually removes makeup and an anti-aging product (if you need it) are the bare necessities.

Those of us with oily or acne-prone skin need to be cautious of the ingredients in our cleansers. Did you know that there’s glycerin in the Cetaphil face wash designed for oily skin? That’s right, glycerin--the sticky, gooey, oily stuff you use to create Mixing Medium. For many years, I wondered why Cetaphil was leaving my skin feeling oilier than before I washed it despite the fact that everyone else was raving about how wonderful a cleanser it is. Different people react differently to different ingredients so what may work for me may not work for you and vice versa.

The best part about the Clinique Liquid Facial Soap is the fact that the “Oily Skin Formula” does not leave my skin feeling tight or stripped the way some cleansers can.

Did I mention that a tiny blob of product goes a long way and makes tons of foam? The only thing that makes this product fall short of Holy Grail status is the fact that it does not seem to remove my eye makeup even though it does a great job with the rest of the makeup on my face. I do tend to use a separate makeup remover on my eyes and it’s probably best to avoid using anything created especially for oily skin on one’s eyes since it may be too harsh or drying. The gelatinous texture also makes it a perfect match with Aspirin.

Image Credit: Clinique.com

Friday, November 21, 2008

What a Difference Scrub Can Make!

We’ve all heard of Aspirin’s role in preventing heart attacks and even the less than stellar side effects it can have on one’s stomach lining. For better or worse, this post will not delve into the relative utility of Aspirin in the medicinal world, opting to discuss Aspirin’s potential contribution to our beauty arsenals instead.

I’m sure many of you have heard of an “Aspirin mask” or “Aspirin scrub” before, so for the sake of sparing you a boring read, I urge you to move on. If you have not, prepare for a potentially skin altering experience!

As I may have mentioned in previous posts, I am prone to a bit of snobbery when it comes to purchasing skincare items; I presume that better quality ingredients are pricier. I have had negative experiences with drugstore scrubs such as St. Ives and while my experience with Dermologica’s Microfoliant was marginally better, I never saw a dramatic difference in my skin until now.

I can honestly say that dissolving five or so uncoated Aspirin pills in a bowl moistened with water has created the best scrub I have ever tried. My skin has become a lot less blotchy and has developed a bit of a glow. Even a bit of the fine lines on my forehead have diminished.

I originally learned about the beauty benefits of Aspirin through Makeup Alley but was quickly turned off when my first experience with it proved negative. Let’s just say that it’s a very, very bad idea to mix Tea Tree Oil, a known skin irritant, with salicylic acid.

Aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid, breaks down to create salicylic acid in the body. This is likely the reason some experience stomach irritation upon consumption. Salicylic acid also happens to be the primary ingredient in many skin care items designed to slough off skin or fit acne.

If you’d like to try an Aspirin scrub, purchase the cheapest uncoated Aspirin you can find—this will dissolve better. You can mix honey, face wash or any other liquid with your Aspirin provided that you use caution when combining potentially irritating active ingredients. I suggest you experiment with using Aspirin as a scrub prior to leaving it on your face for a significant amount of time as would be involved in a mask. It is best to stagger the frequency of use since the scrub is very potent; you don’t want to slough off your epidermis in its entirety, do you?

Is Aspirin your favorite skin care product? Tell me all about it!

Image Credit: drugstore.com

Monday, November 3, 2008

Beeautiful

I woke up this morning with a terrible cause of the oilies despite having washed my hair last night. Apparently I am guilty of the same error as most women: not washing the conditioner out of my hair well enough. Ladies, please take the extra time to rinse and rinse well if you want to avoid washing your hair two days in a row.

This review isn’t about a problem as much as the solution: Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Dusting Powder. Yes, this is yet another solution to bad hair days and an oily scalp, I’m sure you’re beginning to see a pattern. I promise I am not a disgusting, smelly pig (most days); I just happen to enjoy how much texture I get from dry shampoos and powdery products on my scalp and find them to be more gentle solutions to hair spray and gel.

Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Dusting Powder has been an H.G. (Holy Grail) product of mine for multiple reasons, the first of which is the fact that unlike most face powders, it contains absolutely no talc. If your skin has ever felt itchy or raw after using a face powder, I’d be willing to bet you’re allergic to talc. Even though I have no such allergy, at least that I’m aware of, I find that powder products that do not contain talc glide on more smoothly, have better color pay off and do not emphasize fine lines and wrinkles the way other powdery products can. And since kaolin clay is often used in acne-fighting face masks and oil zapping products, this ingredient makes Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Dusting Powder even more effective.

Now that I’ve already interrupted the linear sequence of my little anecdote, I will hurry up and get to the point: my love of Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Dusting Powder stems from the fact that I’ve been able to find many uses for the product. It zaps the oil on my scalp, makes my hair look lighter, works well as a highlighter or under one’s eyes to catch eye shadow fallout, cooks, cleans and does the dishes!

How To Use:

  1. Hair

Dust the powder on your hairline or just shake it into the parts of your scalp that are oiliest. If your hair is a level 6 (light brown) or lighter, Baby Bee you need not concern yourself with brushing the powder out very well and can even expect a subtly lighter appearance to your color.

Platinum blondes that need a root touch-up can expect some (temporary) assistance from this product until you’re ready to hit the bottle (or salon chair) yet again. Using a fluffy face brush, apply the products to the visible portion of your roots.

For hair that is level 5 (medium brown) or darker, be sure to brush the product out really well; the powder combs out very easily so you will not look like Marie Antoinette unless you want to.

  1. Face

Pale lovelies can use a light dusting of Baby Bee as a finishing powder; most skin tones can use this to highlight cheeks, the bridge of the nose and just about any area of the face where the light would naturally hit. Baby Bee is absolutey matte so the highlight will look very natural rather than shimmery—just as if that part of your face is slightly lighter than the rest.

Baby Bee is also effective as an under-eye powder for use while applying eye shadow. Not only does it dust away dark shadow particles easily but it does not irritate the delicate under eye skin nor does it settle into those little lines most of us have in the area. I find that the brightening effect of the powder (under my eyes) often makes concealer unnecessary. I warn you against using eye creams prior to application: the powder will stick to the cream.

Ingredients: Corn Starch, Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda), Kaolin (French white clay), Bentonite (Natural clay), Rosebuds (Powdered), Myrrh (Powdered), Slippery Elm Bark (Powdered), Fragrance

Scent: Baby powder without the cloying, sickeningly sweet aspect.

Price: $6-$9 for a 7.5 oz container but worth every penny. Aside for the multitude of possible uses, the product goes a long way.

Availability: Anywhere!

Image Credit: drugstore.com


Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Got Tagged?

I have been tagged by Anastasia's Ball of String and now you get to learn things about me that you may or may not care about, lucky you!

Rules: Each player answer the questions themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leaves them a comment letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you've answered the questions on your blog.

10 Years Ago (1998):

1. I was 16-- man, I'm an old fart!

2. I was (and still am) the only one of my friends that didn't drive a car

3. I was a year older than my peers because we moved here from the USSR; as I did not speak English, I had to start first grade when I should have been in second grade (based on age).

4. My favorite class was Honors English.

5. At this point in time, I got my very first job as a tutor for a second grader. Desi, if you're out there, I'd love to know how you're doing in Mathematics ;).

5 Things on Today’s “To Do” List:

1. Find a tall building with minimal security

2. Jump.

3. *Splat*

4. ...

5. ...

5 Things that I would do if I were a millionaire:

1. Buy a modest home and tell my fiance to quit his job; pay off his student loans and give him a huge chunk of change for any future academic plans.

2. Finish the repairs on my parents' house and set aside money to make sure neither of them ever have to work again.

3. Get my engagement ring adjusted to fit my finger and run off to Vegas!

4. Buy a car and pay a chauffeur to drive me around.

5. Donate money to ASPCA and/or establish my own charity for animals.


5 Places I have lived:

1. Zhitomir-- it was part of the USSR at the time but is currently part of the sovereign country of Ukraine.

2. Various parts of West Hollywood with my parents; also #3 and #4.

5. I currently reside in Culver City with my wonderful fiance and evil cat, Bojangles


5 Jobs I have had:

1. Tutor

2. Ice Cream Scooper for Ben & Jerry's; I gained no less than 10 pounds in the three months I was there.

3. Intern at a local newspaper where a few of my articles made it onto the cover.

4. Paralegal (don't ask).

5. Bum.

Now I’m tagging the following lovely ladies:

1. Stephanie

2. Fabuless Beauty

3. Bigboo

4. Lady Beccie

Friday, October 24, 2008

Life and Beauty Lessons from a Cat

Felines have often been used as a symbol of femininity—they are elusive, fickle, and far more selective with who they trust than they’re canine counterparts. In truth, a cat is only ever loyal to his or herself. Although I don’t really agree with the women-to-cats comparisons, I am an avid cat (and dog) lover and think there is a lot to learn from feline grace.

Groom For Yourself-- Anyone that has ever been around a cat has probably had the pleasure of seeing that cat’s extensive and often incredibly intricate grooming rituals. They can “wash” the same spot for hours without a care for what anyone else thinks, aside from the occasional irritated glance if interrupted.

Taking hours for personal grooming is certainly ill-advised, but the ritualistic aspect of caring for oneself can be a great boost to self-esteem; it reminds us that we are worthy of the effort. I often find that I get dressed up and apply makeup to impress others rather than to make myself feel great. I am trying to change my perspective to become more like my cat. I hope you enjoy the picture of Bojangles having her own beauty moment.

Stay Determined-- One of my cat’s more annoying habits is her ferocious sense of focus. Once she’s decided to climb onto the kitchen counter and knock down all of my cleansers, nothing can deter her. Humans tend to lose sight of a goal, particularly when failure is eminent, but cats understand that a little patience goes a long way. My cat just waits until I’m not looking.

Ask For What You Want-- I am of Eastern European decent and have been raised to be extremely polite, to a fault. My parents have taught me never to ask for what I want because it will be offered to me if and when I deserve it; I have come to learn that this is not generally the case. In contrast, cats never think twice about whether they are worthy of what they want and they know that a little bit of gratitude, like rubbing against a leg or purring, can go a long way.

Don’t Compare—It can be hard to maintain one’s self-esteem in our beauty and media-driven world. There are just so many beautiful, talented people out that using them as a meter stick for one’s achievements is inevitable. Members of the feline persuasion have interesting survival tactics in this respect: when another cat is favored above them, they fight to re-establish dominance. Cats use feeling threatened by others to motivate themselves instead of feeling inferior. I’ve never seen feel badly about not being pretty enough, smart enough or thin enough, have you ;)?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Trends I Just Can't Understand

We often hear that “You can never be too rich or too skinny” but Ms. Beckham is among the many (female) celebrities that tend to prove otherwise, at least when it comes to “skinny.” I know it’s rude to criticize someone’s body type since it’s often a matter of natural predisposition but I assure you, I have seen Victoria Beckham look much better than this. I doubt she is a member of the small portion of the population whose metabolism makes it difficult for them to put on weight try as they may.

I suspect that becoming so skinny that she resembles Christian Siriano is a matter of personal preference here. And since so many of us have a tendency to idolize celebrities, I felt compelled to encourage all of the Victoria Beckham fans to please, please eat a sandwich in her honor. Yes, you do have to be slender to wear haute couture but there’s something amiss when your hangers have more curves than you do.

Now if only I could figure out the disadvantage of being too rich--aside from the tremendous amount of work it would take to get to that point.

Image Credit: Peoplestylewatch.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

NYX Doll Eye Volumizing Mascara, A Strange Affair


Do you ever buy something and love it so much that you buy two when you run out, only to discover you don’t love it that much any more? Well, this is at the crux of my relationship with my once beloved NYX Doll Eye Volumizing Mascara.


I chased her down all over Los Angeles, checking one store after another, until I finally found her at a store in the Citadel Outlet--I think it was Perfumania. Love can be a fickle thing; once I discovered her true nature, my little NYX mascara no longer had the same appeal. She’s the type of girl you would only take out at night, you know, one of those.

I like a full fan of lashes but the NYX Doll Eye Volumizing Mascara is a drama queen in a bad way. She has the tendency to clump and flake off at the end of the day, leaving you broken-hearted with raccoon eyes. The effect is very similar to fake lashes so if you have a mascara comb handy to brush out the clumps and are diligent in checking for and removing any consequent flakes, you may like NYX Doll Eye Mascara for a night out. I don’t remember it being this flaky in the past, perhaps they changed the formula or I got a bad tube?

Alas, I must return to my old, faithful Jane.

Image Credit: NYXcosmetics.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A New Beauty Dialogue

Is it just me or is society far more open towards womens’ grooming habits than it once was? I was watching an episode of I Love Lucy and couldn’t help but notice the huge taboo surrounding Lucy and Ethel’s hair color—do they dye or don’t they?

There is such a stark contrast between this type of secrecy and our modern attitude. We discuss everything ranging from Highlights to Breast Augmentation, often entering into the gray area of too much information. Do you think the honest attitude is a sign that the general public has become more open? Could it be a consequence of women’s increased role as working members of society and the resultant boost in buying power—are we more viable consumers now that we have an income of our own?

Or perhaps it is far more sinister, like cosmetic companies exploiting insecurities to create a greater need for products by constantly advertising, thereby raising our social awareness of the necessity of grooming? I certainly have my opinion but I’d love to hear yours! What do you make of willingness to discuss grooming habits that were once only whispered amongst girlfriends?


Image Credit: TVLand.com

Monday, October 13, 2008

Inexpensive Solutions for Sensitive Ears

My sensitive ears made it nearly impossible to find cute, affordable earrings that didn’t hurt or cause an infection so I hope my “discoveries” help those of you with a similar affliction. The first step in the process is determining what type of metals one’s ears are not sensitive to—for some, this may only be gold or sterling silver; the only way to know for certain is to experiment and gauge for a reaction. The majority, like myself, are only sensitive to nickel. Also, please don’t dismiss the role of proper hygiene, such as disinfecting your earrings with alcohol, in the prevention of infection.

Be on the lookout for earrings labeled “nickel-free” or “for sensitive ears” when shopping for earrings that are not at least 14k gold or sterling silver, they shouldn’t cause problems for all but the most sensitive of ears. Obviously, you should remove your earrings at the first sign of discomfort or infection no matter how cute they may be.

Target— The Xhiliration line of earrings is labeled nickel free and features constantly updated stock that reflect the trends of the season. Target would be my first choice when searching for something funky or vintage-inspired. The majority of the pieces are no more than $10 per pair.

Claire’s—My only qualm is Claire’s limited and frequently juvenile stock. I have found a few great pairs of simple hoops and studs but for the most part, the earrings here do not really fit my taste. The pairs I have purchased have gotten a lot of use and have not caused me any problems. Claire’s often has buy two, get one free offers so you can everything you want at once.

Sally Beauty Supply—I’ve recently discovered that Sally’s stock of hypoallergenic earrings meant for piercing is also rather cute! While the variety is limited in comparison to Target’s, the studs and small shapes tend to be more practical for daily wear. The best part is the price, most pairs are significantly less than $5! The earrings are typically located within a plastic display case but don’t let that fool you, the Sales Associates will gladly open the case to allow you to see the earrings inside.

If you should discover that you are only able to wear gold or sterling silver, you can still find great deals on 14k jewelry at retailers such as Ross, Marshall’s and TJMaxx.



Image Credit: Target.com, Sallybeauty.com

Thursday, October 9, 2008

To Your Season Be True

Rumor Willis is a lady I can definitely relate to, especially since she's had just about as many hair disasters as yours truly. Remember that atrocious, bleached-out, nearly shaved pixie? Just when I thought she'd finally gotten it right with her glossy, black bob, she throws me for a loop with this new color.

Don't get me wrong--auburn hair can be stunning on the right person. What's the problem here? The fact that warm shades are completely wrong for Ms. Willis' cool-toned skin. She is what is labeled as "Winter" due to the pink undertones in her pale skin and sharp contrast between her skin tone and (natural) hair color. Winters are the Snow Whites among us.

Notice that no amount of bronzer or fake n' bake can make this color look flattering? In her attempt to copy Ashlee Simpson, she veered into Oompa Loompa terrain. Staying within a color palette that is flattering to one's natural coloring is a valuable lesson that will spare the majority of us from looking like Morticia Adams or Bozo The Clown. As for Ms. Willis, a true red with blue undertones or even a burgundy would be far more flattering. I guess even celebrity hair pros can lead their clientèle astray.

Image Credit: JustJared.buzznet.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Huge Halloween Sale At Sally's!

Ready? Set? Get to clipping! Sally Beauty Supply's circular is full of amazing discounts on their already low prices. If there was a Sally's product you've been waiting for a sale to purchase, it will likely be on sale now! Just navigate to the "In Store Specials" section of the Sally's website, www.sallybeauty.com, and see all the great deals. Did I mention the 2 for $10 deals on eyelashes? Perfect for Halloween, right? It sure beats the paying more than that for one set...um...elsewhere. And in case you were wondering, the lashes are great quality.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Clairol Color Boosting Glaze--A Review

If you read nothing else, I leave you with these words: don’t bother. I saw this at Big Lots and thought I’d give it a go, hoping it will help blend what’s left of my highlights with my natural hair, virgin hair color.

I purchased Light to Medium Brown, the color is recommended for those whose color is an ashen or neutral tone. I thought it may help to cancel out some of the warmth my hair has gotten from the California sun this summer. The results were absolutely non-existent, for better or worse. No shine, no color, no nothing. This product contains neither ammonia nor peroxide so perhaps only previously color-treated or porous hair will be able to absorb the pigment.

Generally speaking, there must be some chemical to “open up” the hair cuticle in order to allow pigment to be deposited. Nevertheless, I have experienced a significant deposit using vegetable dyes--Manic Panic and the like--which also act as stains on top of the hair shaft. Did you get better results? Tell me all about it!

Image Credit: Clairol.com

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Very Scary Halloween

Halloween has always been a special time for me as it was the only time of the year I was allowed to wear makeup while growing up. As a result, my costumes would always be pretty instead of scary, but not this year! I plan to show my ambivalence towards society and scare some kiddies by dressing up as a zombie. For the record: I will be a zombie that hobbles, not runs.


I found this great tutorial on Youtube by MikeTheHowToGuy and had to share it with you! Not only is he cute as a button but he is able to create very realistic zombie makeup using inexpensive, readily available items; right up my alley. He even shares his recipe for making fake blood at home! Watch his other videos for solutions to common problems like figuring out how to wash a non-compliant dog to organizing your mess.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Please, Wish Me Luck!

I am sitting for the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) on the 4th of October and will be studying (or panicking) until then. I'll be back with nothing but beauty on my mind thereafter! I'll be keeping my fingers crossed and a paper bag handy for now.

Image Credit: Techzoogle.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Coiffed Like a Superhero

Have you noticed the plethora of Sex and the City inspired television shows lately, most featuring teenagers wearing ridiculously pricey designer ensembles? Much as I may love fashion and the fantasy of designer labels, I can’t help but feel that the debutantes, snooty girls and serial bed hoppers are out of touch with America’s current socio-economic reality.

Meanwhile, I’ve been admiring the tough, ballsy women on Fox’s Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and their Kickin’ Butt and Takin’ Names hair. I imagine it’s a tad ridiculous to concern yourself with the latest side pony trend when the fate of the world rests in your hands. And while I do appreciate the intricacy and historic accuracy of the makeup, hairstyles and costuming in AMC’s Mad Men, it’s a little difficult for me to get excited about trends that revolved around women being present primarily for the satisfaction and edification of the men in their lives—whether they are bosses, husbands or what have you.

The majority of the female characters on Terminator are beautiful in a strong and powerful way. Their makeup and hairstyling seems effortless, as if to cement the fact that they do not rely on their looks. Without further ado, here they are:

Lena Heady as Sarah Connor

Lena’s haircut is the sort that looks its best slightly tousled. As you can guess, that makes it a wash-and-go cut for anyone with a curly or wavy hair texture and medium to thick hair. Ask your stylist for a shoulder length shag with disconnected layers. The cut is an updated version of Joan Jett’s with just as much bad ass appeal. The layering will take the weight out of thicker hair and may encourage a more uniform curl or wave pattern. Do tread carefully if you wish to replicate this cut on straight hair or you may resemble Mrs. Partridge—if it didn’t look good on Scarlet Johansen, it probably won’t look good on you.

Summer Glau as Cameron Phillips

When you have a massive amount of long, gorgeous locks like Ms. Glau, there really isn’t much need for excessive styling. The subtle layering is appropriate for medium to thick hair of any texture. You can opt to curl the ends for a more bohemian feel or do nothing at all; long, healthy hair tends to speak for itself. Brush the lengths daily to avoid tangles and be sure to use a good conditioner since long hair is prone to damage. This simple cut lends itself to an infinite amount of styling options ranging from intricate chignons to basic ponytails but the best part is how infrequently it needs to be trimmed; if your hair is free of split ends, you can get a as rarely as a few times a year to adjust the shape and maintain the layers.

Shirley Manson as Catherine Weaver

Even though Catherine Weaver is actually a shape-shifting Terminator in disguise (sorry if I ruined it for anyone), she is still a relentless, determined woman; it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it well, right? Shirley Manson is known for her vibrant red hair and flawless alabaster complexion and her polished ponytail showcases both attributes perfectly. This style is great for fine, wavy hair because the pompadour shape at the crown creates a bit of volume.

You could tease and use hairspray but here’s my short cut: Use a comb to separate the front of your hair, approximately an inch in thickness, and part it parallel to arch of your eyebrow on both sides as you would for a half up/half down style. Gather the hair (where you would place the ponytail holder) and twist, then push forward. You should notice a bit of a poof at the front. Secure the hair with bobby pins (in the area where you twisted) and be careful not to flatten the front. Next, take the loose ends and incorporate them with the rest of your hair in a ponytail.


Now get out there and take on the world!


Image Credit: Fox.com, Bestlifeonline.com

Monday, September 22, 2008

Better Tools, Better Results

Typical discussions about the “perfect” eye shadow brush normally involve the same slew of criteria: How soft is it? How densely packed are the bristles? Very rarely does anyone ask how small the brush is. If you are new to eye shadow application or have small eyes, little eyelid space or hooded eyes—anything that makes eye shadow application challenging—a smaller brush will serve you well. Why? A small brush makes for precise application, so you can reach every area of your eye with ease. And if you’re having a problem defining your crease, it will allow you to deposit the darker shade only where you want it.

The densely-packed brush by Studio Tools (a Target brand) also makes it easy to “pack on” the color to create vibrancy. Of course, the Studio Tools Smudge brush can also be used for smudging eyeshadow or eyeliner to a smoky effect. And the price is just under $2, nowhere near the typical range for brushes. This brush is not soft, nor is it meant to be; denser, precision brushes are supposed to be stiff so that you can move your eyeshadow around and control the application whereas fluffy brushes deposit a sheer amount of pigment to larger areas. The Studio Tools Smudge brush has been an integral part in my learning to create complicated, multi-toned looks and I hope it helps you as much as it has me!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hazel, the Best Witch of Them All

Do forgive me for cheesing out on you with the title, I couldn't help myself. I'm sure a lot of you have heard of and/or tried using Witch Hazel as an astringent for your face but I am just so impressed with the improvement in my skin! The alcohol content is 14% which significantly less than that of most branded toners, making it extremely gentle. I am prone to hormonal breakouts but this has somehow kept them at bay.

The main ingredient in Witch Hazel is tanic acid--a known vasoconstrictor--enabling Witch Hazel to reduce swelling by constricting blood vessels. This is the reason it is often used to treat hemorrhoids. Tannins help to heal burns and stop bleeding; they stop infection while healing the wound internally while forming a protective layer over the exposed tissue to prevent further infection. Based on my informal research, I suspect that the cause for the progress I've experienced is the fact that Witch Hazel is able to cleanse my skin without drying it. The toners I've tried in the past contained so much alcohol that my skin felt tight after use and produced more oil to compensate, this doesn't seem to be the case with Witch Hazel.

I use this in the morning and before bed to either remove any soap buildup after cleansing or just on its own (in the morning) to refresh my face. I purchased the generic Rite Aid brand so you needn't seek out Dickinson's or any other specific brand of Witch Hazel as this seems to work just fine. Please note that I have oily, acne-prone skin so your experience may vary.

Image Credit: Drugstore.com

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Save on Fall Accessories

Fashion is fickle and so am I, which is why I am not the type to invest in a designer handbag. While I can see the advantage of something that is made of high quality material, I always find them to be too trendy to reuse and too expensive to toss.

Target handbags have been the perfect solution for me because they are made of durable material--I have not torn or broken a single purse despite the fact that I tend to put them on the floor, burden them with weighty objects and just use and abuse 'em to my heart's content. Unfortunately, a great selection is not always a guarantee. Luckily for you, Target has a rather fetching shape for around $23 this season and in all those impractical (but adorable) trendy colors that you'll likely regret investing big bucks on. I prefer the cobalt blue but other available colors include purple, gray, green and black. This Mossimo Hobo Bag is great for those who, like myself, like to carry all of their belongings with them wherever they go.

Want to save even more money? It will likely go on sale in a few months, although there is always a possibility that the color you want will be gone if you wait too long.


The Facts on Mossimo Large Hobo Bag--

Fabrication: Faux Leather, fully lined
Styling: Snap closure and short strap handle
Dimensions: 24x14x1
Availability: Target stores and Target.com

Image Credit: Target.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hair and History


I knew their was something familiar about Karalyn, one of the models on Bravo's series Project Runway. And now I can finally place where I've seen her ultra chic haircut before: Twiggy! Both cuts are tapered close to the head and wedged in the back. Looking for a pixie cut that's classic? This one is a sure bet! As you can tell, the styling effort required is minimal (on straight hair) since the cut falls into place on its own.








Image Credit: Bravo, Dailymail.co.uk

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Wet n' Wild At Your Local Drugstore!


Wet n' Wild fans, specifically those who missed out on their favorite quad from the previous I-Sparkle collection, are in for a treat! A new I-Sparkle collection called Starstruck is currently available at your local drugstores. Said collection features rich, autumnal colors and consists of three eyeshadow quads, two eyeliners (black and grey) and an I-Sparkle mascara. I purchased the Celestial Realm quad (pictured below); due to sub par camera quality, the swatches reflect only a rudimentary idea of the eyeshadow colors but none of the shiny finish nor pigmentation. Celestial Realm is an earthy palette of dark golden brown, warm olive green, copper and light mustard yellow, all infused with a gold micro glitter. I find these to be more shimmery than the last collection of quads after comparing my newest purchase with the Starlight I-Sparkle palette I bought this summer. The other two color schemes are both somewhat cool-toned: one is shades of berry and pink and the other plums and gunmetal with a pearly white "background." I'm easily swayed by cute packaging so I appreciate the fact that the flower design is three dimensional and an integral part of the eyeshadow rather than an overlay.















Monday, September 15, 2008

Wanna Be On Top?

The Fiancé and I have had a very Outlet Bound couple of days. This picture was taken Saturday, September 13th at the Citadel Outlets in Los Angeles where I managed to capture America's Next Top Model hopefuls waiting in line to audition. The ladies photographed were part of a smaller group (of either latecomers or rejects, decide for yourself); there must have been 300 or so attendees in total. I did my level best to avoid capturing anyone's face to avoid legal ramifications.

Nothing makes for awkwardness quite like being surrounded by a myriad of women that are 6 feet tall, weighing just under 120 lbs and wearing dangerously unstable stilettos, timberrr. The air was filled with the stench of arrogance and a more than usual amount of I'm Hotter Than That Girl oneupmanship. I live in Los Angeles and have experienced my share of random celebrity sightings but this was too surreal even for me. It was like being on a safari whilst surrounded by baby giraffes. Some of said giraffes were being trailed by their significant others who were already fading in the limelight, just imagine what will come of them if she makes it on to the show!

There were also a lot of very average, girl-next-door types that were either not tall enough or just plain boring and a few women that were so stunning that their time would have been better spent in the waiting room at a modeling agency, portfolio in hand. It begs the question: what exactly is the ideal Top Model Candidate, someone who could easily get representation on their own or someone who doesn't stand a chance in hell with most agencies?

I caught a glimpse of many interesting fashion choices: one gal was wearing a tube top as a skirt; tug on it as she may, I know we'd see bootay if she sneezed! There were also a lot of those faux leather leggings the celebrities have been wearing lately. Tyra's Glam Team may have their hands full next season.

All joking aside, I do admire the amount of confidence it would take to be judged based on, and potentially rejected for, one's appearance. I know I could never do something like that. Bravery points all around!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Any Los Angeles Locals Looking for MAC Emote?

I have been studying like a good girl *cough* so my wonderful fiancé rewarded me with a trip to the Camarillo Outlets. He even stayed with me the entire time I tested one product after another at the Cosmetic Company Outlet store, how lucky am I? Thanks sweetie, you are far too good to me.

I will not list the items that I purchased for fear of boring you but if you have been looking for the discontinued MAC Emote blush, jump in your car as quickly as you can and head to the Camarillo Outlet's Cosmetic Company Outlet store! I also spotted, and purchased, a Sculpt and Shape duo. Good luck and happy hunting!

Perfect, Glowing Skin

Guerlain Meteorites in "Mythic" were my very first high-end cosmetic purchase. I read about them in multiple magazines and was certain that they held the key to perfecting my complexion despite the fact that I'd neither seen nor tested them in person. When the box arrived, the gorgeousness of it all left me awestruck. The box was hidden away for the perfect occasion only to emerge several months later.

I swooshed a big, fluffy brush into the shimmery, powdery pearls only to be overwhelmed with a very strong scent of rose. I applied the powder to my skin, cloistering scent be damned, and noticed nothing at all. And then my Guerlain Meteorites were relegated to the junk drawer of my collection.

I decided to give Meteorites one last chance, this time applying on top of foundation, before getting rid of them entirely and the results were infinitely better; the red remnant of my teenage acne was nearly all gone and my face looked healthy but not fake or "made up." My beautiful Meteorites, please forgive me. How could I ever have dismissed your glowing balls of perfection?

I've concluded that while some may come very close, beauty products cannot work complete miracles. It is important to know the optimal use for a product in order to experience the maximum benefit. Perhaps those with a complexion superior to my own will be able to get great results using a Highlighter/Complexion Corrector on its own.

Now that I've provided you with a brief overview of my life story, I will hurry up and get to the point: Physician's Formula Highlighter achieves a remarkably similar result for approximately 1/5 of Guerlain's price. I purchased the powder for daily use, my Meteorites feel too special for the drudgery of daily wear, and have been using it somewhat regularly ever since. It would surprise you to know that the main ingredient in both products is Talc but the Physician's Formula version contains no fragrance so it may be best for those who are allergic (or just hate a strong rose perfume). Both items use a palette of multiple shades to even out discoloration while the white, pearlescent pieces add a subtle glow to the skin. The Physician's Formula powder is preferable for travel; Meteorites are extremely fragile and turn into powder at the slightest provocation.

I apologize that I was unable to get effective swatches or pictures of the product on my face because it is too faint for my cheapo camera. If you are considering purchasing Guerlain Meteorites and don't know whether it will be a worthwhile investment for you, experiment with the Physician's Formula Highlighter to determine if this is something that will improve the appearance of your complexion.

I still adore my Meteorites and will continue to use them when I want to feel special but I may reconsider spending another $51 when it is time to repurchase. May that day never come!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Save Some Calories!

While mine is primarily meant to be a Beauty Blog, I realize how large a role dieting often plays in one's general Beauty Ritual. I'm a huge proponent in enjoying your food, enjoying your life and your body rather than constantly dieting and using precious brain power to obsess over the number on your scale so this is in no way meant to encourage ANYONE to diet.

This post is geared toward letting others (who may not be aware of it) know that there are yummy, junk food items available to them whether they are watching their calories or not. I am not a nutritionist so I cannot vouch for how healthy or well-balanced any of these offerings are; some of them may be full of other undesirable ingredients such as Sodium. Please, do take advantage of the Nutritional Value information available on most fast food websites. Here are my favorites:

Taco Bell

1. Zesty Chicken Bowl (featured image): Beans, Chicken, Fiesta Salsa, Lettuce, Red Strips, Rice, Three Cheese Blend, Zesty Dressing. Pretty appetizing, right? The caloric damage is 640 with the dressing or 440 calories without. I tend to find that the dressing overwhelms all the different flavors and replace it with a tablespoon of sour cream. I presume it's at least 100 calories less than the dressing.

2. Chicken Quesadilla:
Chicken, Creamy Jalapeno Sauce, Three Cheese Blend, Tortilla; 520 calories

3. Pintos n' Cheese:
Beans, Cheddar Cheese, Red Sauce; 128 calories and less than $1, so you'll also save a bit of money.

McDonalds

1. Cheeseburger: 300 calories

2. Hamburger: 250 calories

3. Small French Fries: 230 calories

4. Vanilla Ice Cream Cone: 150 calories; you didn't think I'd forget the sweets, did you?

5. Hot Caramel Sundae: 340 calories

There are many low-calorie options available at every eating establishment so counting calories is no reason to give up the occasional dinner out or fast food treat.

Image Credit: Tacobell.com

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Trends I Just Can't Understand

I guess the PeopleStyleWatch Beauty section boggles my brain no less than the Fashion section for here I am, writing another post about a Celebrity Trend I cannot understand. Doesn't this look like some misguided trend Rachel Zoe would talk her poor clients into? Then again, the three pictured here are not skinny enough to be affiliated with Zoe. Unless you're Pocahontas or protesting the Vietnam War, please, do save your money and skip this one.

Image Credit: PeopleStyleWatch.com

Yes, You Can Get A Great Mascara For Under $10

Jane MaxLash 2 offers twice the mascara, a Colored Mascara as well as a regular, Black Mascara for approximately $5. The somewhat chubby wand ensures that each lash is coated without the dreaded tarantula lashes; I always wipe off excess on a sponge or paper towel prior to application just in case.

Unlike some mascaras, the Colored side of Jane MaxLash 2 actually delivers a visible amount of color (with or without applying the Black side first to prime). My favorite colors are Deep Ocean (pictured here) and Aubergine as both make my green eyes stand out. If you guessed that Deep Ocean is a deep, royal blue, you are correct. Aubergine is a red-based burgundy hue; it may not be the best color for those with allergic tendencies or visible red veins in their eyes. Available shades also include: Black and Brown to Black, for the color shy.

Jane was my favorite brand for affordable Colored Mascara long before I had discovered that the Black side was equally great. I happened to try the Black side on a lark when I'd had just about all I could stand of my Almay One Coat Triple Effect. I figured that anything had to be better than having to comb out the mess it left on my lashes every morning and the raccoon effect I came home to every evening. Sure enough, Jane MaxLash was not only better, it was great! While this mascara is available in most drugstores where the Jane line is sold, I have noted that not all of the shades are equally available at all locations.

This is only one of my favorites, be on the lookout for more mascara reviews to come!

Image Credit: Drugstore.com

Monday, September 8, 2008

Short, Punky Hair Styles


I saw these cool, punky cuts on BellaSugar and couldn't resist singing their (and Bella's) praises. I think I love Natasha Bedinfield's most of all! I could never muster enough courage to pull it off, although I've had cuts similar to Pink's and Rihanna's; the asymmetry would be too difficult to grow out but I love it nonetheless.

I'm so thrilled to see celebrities doing something other than the same old long layers or Bobs! And while I love Rihanna's makeup in this picture, I think I prefer her usual hairstyle to the faux hawk--just being honest. Can you tell that I'm a short hair aficionado?

Short hair is a breeze to style with the proper products and saves a lot of time (wink, wink, this is me tying it into the blog theme) in the morning. It's important to consider your hair's texture in deciding what type of cut and how short you'd like to go. If your hair is very thick or very curly, it needs the weight of its own length to prevent it from sticking up. You can still have a (punky) pixie cut but you may want to keep it at a minimum of 3 inches or so if you wish to avoid spikes or a 'fro.

So, what's the verdict? Is Fall going to be a back to punk/return to the 80's season? I know some of you are hoping that leggings don't return. How about the leather variety?

Image Source: Teamsugar/BellaSugar

Freckles, Freckles Everywhere!


When I was a little girl, my mom told me that my freckles were a sign that the sun loved me and I've had a fondness for the little golden specks on my face ever since. Some attribute freckling to sun damage and signs of aging while others argue that they are genetic; whatever the case, I urge you all to embrace the freckles on your face! As India Aire said "Every freckle on my face is where it's supposed to be."


Reasons to Love and Ways to Enhance Your Freckles:

1. They really do add character to your face (and not in a negative sense the way a big nose does---trust me, I have one of those as well). A lot of famous people (like Lindsay Lohan) are distinguished from other equally famous starlets by the uniqueness of features such as red hair and freckles. Admit it, you too preferred L.L. as a freckle-faced redhead.

2. No matter how sick or pale you may be, the freckles will keep you from looking ghost-like and washed out.

3. Freckles give your face a healthy, golden glow without the need for bronzer or self-tanner but a little bit of bronzer (for contouring) can turn a freckled face into a natural looking tan without the use of tanning beds or even leaving the house.

4. Bronzers and self-tanners tend to look less fake on a face with some natural pigmentation (i.e. freckles).

5. If you love your freckles the way I do, try using a makeup palette of bronze, golden or tan tones. This will enhance all the subtle tonality in your skin and create the illusion that your cosmetics were designed especially for you.

6. Golden, copper and true red tones in your hair color will increase the visibility of your freckles.

If You Stand Unconvinced and Still Loathe Your Freckles:

1. Any blue or violet tones in your hair color (by virtue of being complimentary) will decrease the appearance of freckles on your face. Note how the dark (ash) brown hair color makes Lindsay Lohan's freckles less visible despite the fact that she's wearing bronzer.

2. Avoid wearing warm, terracotta and peachy tones on your face as they may increase the overall warmth of your skin tone and freckles.

3. Use a primer or finishing powder designed to correct yellow tones but don't buy a shade of foundation with cool undertones (for the purpose of concealing freckles) as this may look fake on your skin.

4. Wear sunscreen to avoid getting more freckles!

5. Draw attention to the non-freckled features of your face like your eyes or lips.

Image Credit: Instyle.com

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Elusive "Casablanca"

NARS Casablanca, that is. And I am riddled with guilt over having purchased my most expensive lipstick to date. I swear, I only approached the NARS counter with the intent to get a glimpse of the lipstick I have been unable to find at any Sephora (or anywhere else for that matter). It all started with the Coral Lips excerpt in the March 2008 issue of People Stylewatch magazine and I've been trying to find the exact shade that Leighton Meester is wearing ever since. I've tried all of the lipsticks recommended in the article and believe me, it is none of those. Boots No. 7 in "Sienna" comes fairly close, at least on my pigmented lips.

Unfortunately, NARS Casablanca isn't it either but it sure is gorgeous. On me, it is a very subdued coral-red. It would be appropriate for any occasion and gives my lips a my-lips-but-better dose of pigment. Although it can look orange (or even mauve) in the tube, depending on the lighting, it truly is just as Sephora describes it: Classic Coral. There is no overbearing orange undertones as tends to be the case with most corals.


Is it worth $25? I'm not sure. While it is long lasting, I find NARS Casablanca somewhat drying and while the packaging claims the net weight is 3.4 g, it doesn't look like much product (to me) when compared to my MAC lipsticks. Perhaps I just expect more for the extra $10? If you're wondering whether I plan to return it, the answer is no. I hate returning cosmetics and I do love the color but this may be my only treat for a while.

Image Credit: People Stylewatch (March 2008 issue), Hqhair.com

Friday, September 5, 2008

Save On China Glaze With Coupon!

I'm feeling a little down in the dumps today so I will keep this entry short and sweet. I received this coupon in an e-mail and decided to share it with all of my (2) readers. It's a pretty great deal considering the fact that China Glaze already retails for only $3.25 (with a Sally's Card). If you have yet to try the China Glaze line this is the perfect excuse. I will be buying one of the vampy shades from the Rodeo Diva collection to match my dark mood.


Coupon Source: Sally Beauty Supply

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Great Foundation Brush for Under $2


I intimated (in an earlier post) that I use a foundation brush to apply my Shiseido Sunscreen and this E.L.F. Foundation Brush is my favorite for that purpose. The fiber is synthetic which prevents it from absorbing a lot of (expensive) product. It features a rounded head with flat, elongated bristles that pick up a good amount of product and enable one to apply quickly and evenly. I have used the same E.L.F. Foundation Brush for several years now, washing it daily, without so much as a hair shed or out of place. And the brush has more than paid for itself as it has prevented me from using too much of the more expensive skincare products I own.

While I would wholeheartedly suggest the E.L.F. Foundation Brush for use with moisturizers, primers, sunscreens and masks, I don't find that its as good for achieving its intended purpose (applying foundation) because of the very fact that it does not absorb much product. In the case of foundation, all of it ends up on your face and makes for a caked on effect. Since I'm an advocate of the "airbrushed foundation" look, I prefer to use stippling brushes such as the MAC 187.

Image Source: Drugstore.com

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Trends I Just Can't Understand



I will be the first to admit that I am not on the cutting edge of fashion. I have neither the figure nor the funds to wear the latest designer item but I do stay current and adopt pieces that fit in with my wardrobe and "who I am." Nevertheless, knowing that I am not a sartorial maven has kept my mind open to trends worn by others. And by others I mean others; anyone ranging from celebrities, to the looks I see on the pages of my favorite magazines (and I read entirely too many) and last but certainly not least, the amazingly stylish women I see shopping at the Melrose Trading Post. I am the sort to appreciate something that looks good whether or not I believe it would look good on me.

Is it just me or have celebrities been pushing the envelope a little too far lately? Case in point: Sandal Booties. Why would anyone intentionally wear a shoe that made their foot look like it belongs on Scrooge McDuck? Is this meant to be a tongue-in-cheek, anti-fashion fashion statement that just went over my head?

Image Credit: Peoplestylewatch.com

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Rimmel Eye Twist for Shadestick Users


MAC Shadesticks are generally used as an eyeshadow base or to create an all-over wash of shadow in a hurry. If you are looking for a less expensive alternative or have eyelids that are too oily for Shadestick, give Rimmel's Eye Twist a shot! There is a creamy eyeshadow on one side and a matching eyeliner on the other for only a fraction of the Shadestick price; Eye Twist retails for approximately $4 in drugstores. The cream shadow applies easily without pressure, dries to a shimmery, powder finish and managed to stay crease-free on my oily eyelids all day long (without a primer underneath). Unfortunately, the eyeliner side has not seen much action because it is too thick to draw a precise line. I have tried the NYX Jumbo Pencils and found that they crease without a base whereas the Rimmel Eye Twist does not. The color I own is Double Trouble: A peachy, champagne shadow on one side and a dark, coffee brown eyeliner on the other.

Image Credit: Rimmel (the color featured is Two's Company).

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Best of Bobs





















For better or worse, Victoria Beckham brought the Bob (or "Pob" if referring to the A-line, tapered nape version) back into the fashion spotlight and now it appears as though it's here to stay--at least for another season. The Bob can be a great, low-maintenance hairstyle and save you time and styling products if you pick the right shape for your hair type.

I particularly love the cut (in the images above) on Leigh Lezark because it is the epitome of low-maintenance if you have medium to thick, straight hair. Just ask your stylist for a blunt, shoulder length, angled bob without any layering ; part it on the side and let your hair's natural texture do the rest! If you have a round or heart shaped face, the length and angular construction of the cut will reduce the fullness of your cheeks and create a more balanced look to the face.

The best part is having a unique but trendy style that doesn't look like every other gal's floppy-eared "Pob." And please, don't bother with a round brush since this cut's appeal is in its swingy, I'm-not-trying-too- hard mod shape. Glossy? Professional? Yes, please!

If your hair isn't as glossy as Leigh's, you can use a silicone serum (i.e. Paul Mitchell's Skinny line) to create the illusion of silky shine. As with all silicone products, be sure to clarify once a week to avoid buildup in your hair.

Image Credits: Elle Uk, JAMD

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gloss, Anyone?

A friend recently mentioned purchasing a gloss from the MAC Cult of Cherry collection when it occurred to me: I hate lip gloss! Strong statement, right? But I've never had what I would call a good experience with gloss. I find them sticky. I hate reapplying them every 3 seconds and quite frankly, I fail to see the point. Most lipsticks are moist and have a glossy finish anyway, right? If you are reading this, won't you be so kind as to educate me? There could be a wonderful, glossy world out there that I'm missing! I used to hate matte eyeshadow but now I'm a matteholic; I'm capable of change.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Wet N' Wild Has Changed...




For the better! Can you believe that the brand that once produced stinky, waxy lipsticks and dry eyeliner that was impossible to apply has now become one of the better brands among drugstore cosmetics? If you haven't tried them yet, these colorful eyeliners are a wonderful bargain for $1 a piece. This is especially good if you normally wear neutrals and wish to experiment with a bit of color.

I cannot vouch for the staying power as I have only worn them with primer underneath but (with primer) they remained smudge free and just as vivid as when first applied for a minimum of 6 hours. They were a breeze to use and did not tug on my delicate eye skin at all. It goes without saying that I was pleasantly surprised after purchasing one; I bought three more!

My crappy camera doesn't do these pencils justice but I assure you, the colors are bright. I have:

653E Cool Green: The "cool" is a bit of a misnomer. It is a medium tone, clear green with a hint of yellow and shimmer (not glitter) thrown in for good measure.

650C Lilac: Pastel, light lilac/purple. This one has the tiniest bit of blue-violet gleam and reminds me of a light version Urban Decay's Deluxe eyeshadow in "Fishnet" or MAC's "Stars N' Rockets".

659C Turquoise: A deep, dark forest green, no shimmer.

654B Sky Blue: Pastel sky (or robin's egg) blue with shimmer.

Also available in Taupe, Dark Brown, White, Silver Blue, Bronzed, Mink Brown, Black Black (not a typo), Charcoal, Deep Blue and Violet.

I don't need to tell you where these are sold (nearly everywhere) but I hope I've enticed you into giving them a chance! Wet n' Wild is an animal cruelty-free brand, making this a guilt-free buy on multiple levels.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Maintain Your Hair With Cream of Nature

Exorbitant prices at the salon combined with a terrible economy has made some of us dye hard "blondes" return to our natural brunette; what else can be done to trim the proverbial fat off our maintenance routine? If you haven't considered it in the past, now is the time to keep your hair as healthy as possible to extend the life of your hair color (if you dye) and increase the interval of time you can go without a trim by guarding against split ends.

How frustrating is it to see your expensive dye job go down the drain every time you wash your hair? How tired are you of seeing your highlights turn yellow or orange a month or so after getting foils? The reason for this happening is the harsh ingredients (such as sulfates--any ingredient with the suffix "sulfate" such as sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, etc.) that strip the color out once your hair cuticle is opened with the heat and steam when you shower. These harsh detergents attach to your hair shaft and wash away your natural hair oils along with the color resulting in hair that feels dry and flat.

Creme of Nature is designed for relaxed hair and is sulfate-free. It truly is a creamy, conditioning shampoo and delivers upon its claims to condition and cleanse all at the same time. While it does leave one's hair feeling conditioned, I suggest you use a moisturizing conditioner anyway because the protein in the formula may build up and leave hair feeling dry otherwise (*An Aside on Protein: it is good for your hair in small quantities and absolutely must be followed by moisture since the hair structure is a combination of a protein layer combined with moisture--water. If you use a protein mask regularly, it may not be necessary if you plan to wash your hair with Creme of Nature more than a couple of times per week). This is another one of those inexpensive miracle products that one expects to find in a designer haircare line but it can be purchased at Sally's at a price of $6 for a 15.2 ounce bottle. Be sure to get the REGULAR FORMULA (for normal hair) as the other variations in this line have inferior ingredients. Speaking of ingredients, they are:

Water, Trideceth-7 Carboxylic Acid, Decyl Glucoside, Glycol Stearate, Polyquaternium-10, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (this is just plain ol' aloe), Hydrolyzed Milk Protein (*don't forget to moisturize!), Honey, Citrus Medica Limonium (lemon extract), Triticum Vulgare (wheat germ oil), Abies Balsamea Resin, Pectin (according to Wikipedia, pectin helps to bind cells together and regulates water in the plant), Lecithin, Foeniculum Vulgare (fennel extract), Barosma Betulina Leaf Extract, Commiphora Abyssinica Extract, Origanum Marjorana Leaf Extract, Iris Florentina Root Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Quarentium-15, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Red 4, Yellow 5, Red 33, Blue 1

Creme of Nature made my hair feel clean but not the slightest bit dry. But on a less than stellar note, this does smell like your grandmother's old Chanel No. 5 (a.k.a. rat poisoning). Luckily, the scent did not remain in my hair after it dried. All the more reason to use a conditioner afterwards ;).