Friday, December 22, 2006

Coconut Milk Hair Soak

Since today is pretty crazy and I am gearing up for the holiday break, I leave you with a tip from a member at one of my favorite beauty boards, MakeupAlley. I personally have not tried this tip yet, but I intend to when I am bored out of my skull next week.

I will not be posting again til January. Merry Holidays everyone!

:: Coconut Milk Hair Soak ::

Get a carton of unflavored/unsweetened coconut milk from your local supermarket. (Coconut CREAM is fine but it will be a lot thicker. I do prefer CREAM as it is not as watery.) Rub it into your dry, unwashed hair gently and carefully as the coconut milk will drip. (You can wrap your neck/shoulders with a towel to catch the access.) Cover the hair with a shower cap. Blow the hair through the cap with as much heat as you can tolerate or leave it alone for an hour or two. Wash the hair with shampoo and follow with conditioner if you use it. When doing the coconut milk hair soak regularly, you will have super soft and shiny hair. And you will not need any expensive shampoo or conditioner!

Courtesy of Jojoba from MakeupAlley

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Who needs concealer?

Not that my skin is imperfect :| but I do enjoy a good concealer to brighten up the places that are pissing me off (blemishes, eye area).

My holy grail concealer is:

:: L'Oreal Air Wear Long Wearing Concealer ::

I like this in fair and they also have a "brightener" which is quite lovely. Some days, I will just use this concealer and some powder instead of using foundation.

Good things:
This is an amazing drugstore product. Ranks up there with the department store brands.
Veils moderately dark areas. Brightens under eye areas.
Never looks cakey.
Superb staying power.
Goes on dry (make sure you moisturize if you have dry skin.)

Bad things:
There are rumors this is being discontinued. A lot of ladies are angry. Scoop up a tube if you can find one.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Clearly Wet

There's nothing quite like the look of a nude, shiny, naturally healthy fingernail. Once a week or so, I will indulge myself with a self-manicure. It usually involves cleaning, filing, buffing, and finishing off with a shiny top coat. My favorite, by far, is:

:: Maybelline Wet Shine Wet Look Nail Color in Clearly Wet ::

Good things:
Your nails literally *do* look so shiny that they appear wet. Genius!
Dries fast and hard.
Lasts a long time, prevents chipping.
Makes all other nail colors look fabulous when used as a top coat.

Bad things:
The brush isn't the best, but what can you do?

I love some of the colors in this line as well, especially the Juicy Tomato on toes in the summer (a red that looks good even on my pale skin) and the I-Scream Ivory on nails under the clear coat. The shine is so perfect when it catches the light. It looks like a professional manicure.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Witchy Woman

A lot of people use toner on their skin. It's not a necessary step, but I think it is leaves us all with that ultra-clean feeling. There are SO MANY toners out there that are actually bad for your skin. Please don't ever use a toner with alcohol in it. It's way too drying to put on your face.

Here's my favorite...witch hazel. I like all of the Thayer's varieties.

:: Thayer's Alcohol Free Witch Hazel ::

Good things:
Cleans your face and leaves it feeling refreshed.
Not harsh at all...this will not strip your face.
Lightly moisturizing (not like you applied moisturizer, but like your face is naturally moist.)
The scent is light and nice. (I use the rose one in the winter, and the peach one in the summer when my skin is less dry.)
Great for sensitive skin and acne prone skin.
With daily use, it may leave your skin more even and brighter.

Bad things:
The cost seems a bit much, but considering the volume of the package, it's very economical in the long run.
Hard to find...I get mine at the local Granary natural food store.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mascara that won't smudge.

I had a request for non-smudging/melting mascara. There are some *great* drugstore mascaras out there. But a lot of the quality lies in process, not product, much like a great Julia Child recipe.

With any mascara, you should follow these rules to get a goof-proof application:
1. If you have oily eyelids, wipe them a bit with toner first.
2. If you don't have toner, put on a good layer of loose powder before applying mascara or any eye makeup.
3. When you pull the wand out, use a clean tissue to squeeze it and remove excess product. This is KEY! You will not believe how much better the mascara goes on if you do this.
4. Use Waterproof mascaras to prevent smudging and raccoon eyes.
5. Apply several coats, starting at the base of your lashes and *slowly* move the wand through and *wiggle* the wand back and forth as you go to the tips.
6. Don't blink too hard before allowing the mascara to dry completely.

Top picks for drugstore mascaras:
Max Factor Lash Perfection Waterproof
(I want to try the Volume Couture mascara from Max Factor but haven't yet.)
Cover Girl Lash Exact Waterproof
L'Oreal Voluminous Waterproof

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Please hold

I won't be posting any products for the next day or so because I am currently swamped. However, I am very interested in knowing what kinds of products you are looking for recommendations on. If you have a request, please post a comment!

Monday, December 11, 2006


My featured favorite product today is a biggie! The Q-Tip! I swear I couldn't live without these things. They're not just for cleaning your ears.

:: Q-Tips brand Cotton Swabs ::

Good things:
Very economical.
Hygenic (throw away after one use).
Good for application of makeup (see tips below).

Bad things:
Sometimes it's not the most precise of applicators.

I love to use Q-Tips to apply eye makeup. I have a bevy of brushes to choose from and still go for Q-Tips most of the time, simply because they're great at smudging eyeliner. OR, you can use them to apply eyeSHADOW as a liner. (This weekend, I used the darkest shade in the Mojave Mauves from Wet n Wild and it made SUCH a great smokey liner for my hazel eyes.) They're also great at applying highlighter to the under-brow area and to the corners of your eyes to brighten them. One more thing: I use Q-Tips to dip into foundation or powder and use it as a concealer.

All bow to the power of Q-Tips! Feel free to gush about your love of Q-Tips in the comments section.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Shine Free

I have loved this item and this brand since junior high. I like to try new things in terms of powder, but nothing ever beats this so I always come crawling back.

:: Cornsilk Natural Matte Pressed Powder in No Color ::

Good things:
Finely milled, not cakey
Matches any shade of skin/foundation
Nothing controls oil as well. Nothing.
Matte finish lasts for hours.
Doesn't come off on your clothes, or other people's when you hug them.
Minimizes acne scars and large pores.
Cheap! Can be found at Wal-Mart, Target (I think), and at Big Lots for like $2.

Bad things:
Has a faint smell to it, which I don't find wonderful, but I put up with it.
If you have perfect skin, this may be too much coverage for you.
I don't like the pad that comes with it, so I use a powder brush for a more natural finish. (Sonia Kashuk's Powder Brush to be exact.)

Thursday, December 7, 2006



Sorry for shouting but this one really is great. And lots of other ladies out there agree. Best moisturizing drugstore shampoo is.....*drumroll*

:: Aussie Moist Shampoo and Conditioner ::

I use this stuff in the winter mainly because the dry air makes my hair frizzy and static-y.

Good things:
Very moisturizing without weighing hair down.
Hair feels buttery soft and satiny smooth, and bouncy.
I love the smell (some people hate it).
The name. I like seeing the word "moist" in the morning.
Cheap! You can get a bigfattypumpbottle for next to nothing.

Bad things:
As mentioned above, some people are not as turned on by the smell, and it's not for everyone. If you have very dry hair you might need something more intense.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Sssssuper LustroussssS

Love this gloss. Magnificent!

:: Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss ::

Good things:
Sticky but not too sticky.
Good staying power.
Shades are wonderful. I like Cherries in the Glow. It's a wonderful "YLBB" shade for me (makeup lingo for "your lips but better").

Bad things:
As with all glosses, doesn't stay on forever. That's why you should carry one with you at. all. times.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Oil slicks.

A handy-dandy packet to keep in your purse! Just swipe over your face when you're feeling mid-day greasies. Soaks up excess oil and leaves you with a matte finish.

:: Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets ::

Good things:
Doesn't use powder, like some sheets, which feels cakey.
Doesn't take off makeup.
Even guys can use them, and are usually tickled at the sight of their own oil.
Doesn't strip or dry out skin.
Cheap! ($5 or less at Target, etc.)

Bad things:
Packaging could be better, but for the price you can't expect much.

Smell my hair.

I'll be honest about today's product: it's not the best shampoo in the world. I was really excited when Dove announced they would be coming out with a hair care line. They really had an opportunity to raise the standards for drugstore shampoos because they have an established brand and a history of great research and development. Thus far, I've been underwhelmed with their offerings. There's nothing being put out there that isn't already available. Come on, Dove! Give us what we need!

:: Dove Advanced Care Sheer Moisture ::

Okay so why am I on here promoting some Dove 'poos? Because I like the fricking smell. It's that simple. I don't use this stuff everyday cause it does cause some buildup, but used intermittently with a clarifying shampoo like Suave Daily Clarifying, it's a pretty nice -albeit average- poo/conditioner set. I use the whole set including the leave-in mist.

I like saying poo.

Good things:
The smell. Love the classic Dove scent. Makes me swoon over myself when I flip my hair around.
Moisture without weight. Nice for fine-haired girls like myself.
Leaves hair clean, manageable, soft.

Bad things:
Sulfates in the shampoo.
Ingredient list is mediocre at best. There are way better formulas out there.
Shouldn't be used every day without clarifying at least once a week.

Monday, December 4, 2006

You'll Poke Yer Eye Out

I've been out of commission with illness. Apologies for not posting in days. Won't happen often.

Okay right to it: Holy Grail Mascara! I like the black 905.

:: Cover Girl Lash Exact Mascara ::

Good things:
Nice formula.
Brush is awesome.
No clumping.
No irritation (for me, anyway)
No flaking.
Lengthens and volumizes without drying out lashes or making them spidery.

Bad things:
Can dry out quickly...must repurchase often.

This product has gotten a lot of hype in magazines and on the Today show, et al for being a great product. It *is* a great product, but don't expect miracles. It's a great daytime mascara that will give you definition and some length and volume, but if you want high-impact lashes you're gonna have to put on falsies.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dyeing Hair

I've colored my hair countless times, with countless hair colors, and my holy grail at-home kit is the Garnier Nutrisse line. Nothing comes close to it.

:: Garnier Nutrisse Permanent Creme Hair Color ::

Good things:
Colors are wonderful: they look natural but also vibrant
Gives subtle tones throughout, not flat color.
Hair stays healthy: soft, shiny, silky.
I love the grape seed/avocado oil packet.
The conditioner that comes with it is fantastic.
I'm not the only one who loves this, people rave about this product all over beauty forums.

Bad things:
I've never used this hair color and been unhappy. That being said, all hair color damages your hair in some way, and all hair color fades, which is why I usually stick to something close to my natural shade.

Do not choose your color by looking at the lady on the front of the box. She is an illusion. Use the photos on the side that show results for different hair colors to predict the results.
Have someone else apply it if you can. The application will be more even.
Rinse for longer than you think you should. Rinse, and rinse some more.
Your hair will be a little darker than expected the first few days. This is normal.
Continue to use a good conditioner daily. Your hair will be more dry than usual.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wet n Wild

I have fond memories of going to the Widmann's in my town as a little girl, looking at the makeup and dreaming of the day when I could wear it. My mom would buy me Wet n Wild makeup to play with because it was so darn cheap.

The thing about this line is that there are actually some remarkable products that cost next to nothing. The pigmentation is as good as (or better than) the pigmentation in brands like M.A.C., etc.

:: Wet n Wild Mega Eyes Trio ::

Good things:
Highly pigmented.
Finely milled.
Soft and blendable.
Long lasting.
Colors are great!
Cheap! (~$3.00)

Bad things:
I can't think of a single bad thing.

I like the Egyptian Sands and Belgian Chocolates trios.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Brush-Brush Here, Brush-Brush There

I recently got hooked on a great brush that I never thought I'd need: the foundation brush. I've used fingers and sponges to apply foundation in the past, both with good results, but nothing beats using a foundation brush to apply your foundation cleanly and strategically.

Good things:
Apply foundation and blend exactly where you want it, not all over.
Small enough to use under the eyes and on blemishes to use foundation like a concealer.
Uses less product because it doesn't absorb like sponges or fingers do. (I usually just use whatever is in the cap.)
Sanitary, if you wash your brushes frequently.
Gives you the polished, smooth look (like you had your makeup done professionally).

Bad things:
Can be a bit small for large areas like the cheeks.
Washing the brush every day can be a nuisance.

I really love the Sonia Kashuk makeup brushes available at Target. I use the Foundation Brush with Cover Girl's Clean Makeup (Fragranace Free) and the Powder Brush with my pressed powder for a natural look.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Soft Hands

When I worked at Frito-Lay as a cheeto packer, I got a "Soft Hands" award for having the least amount of breakage in my bags of Tostitos. My secret:

:: The Body Shop Almond Hand Products ::

I use two products out of this line: the Almond Oil Nail and Cuticle Balm, and the Almond Oil Daily Hand and Nail Cream. I have a bad nervous habit of picking at the skin around my nails and cuticles, but using this every night helps to keep my hands looking healthy. I put them on while I watch soft porn in bed.

Good things:
The scent is amazing.
Very emollient, but absorbs quickly and gives you a healthy sheen.
Has wonderful water-binding agents to maintain moisture.
Consistency is great, not gritty like some cuticle balms.
Makes you feel like a princess.
Contains Community Trade shea butter from Ghana.

Bad things:
A little on the expensive side.
Hard to find if you don't live near a BS, which I don't.

Using these products and keeping my nails trimmed and buffed, I usually find that my nails look healthy and sexy enough without polish. Sometimes I'll slither on a coat of clear polish. My favorite is OPI Top Coat.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Keeping Pimples Away

In my teens, I was blessed to not have problems with acne beyond the occasional pimple. In my twenties, I've not been so lucky. I've spent the past few years trying to keep away the demons on my face. I've seen a dermatologist for prescriptions, tried every product I could get my hands on, all to no avail. The most success I've seen is with using the combination of products recommended by Paula Begoun.

In a nutshell, what Paula advises (and what others have recreated in overpriced products like Proactiv, et al) is that you use a gentle cleanser, a chemical exfoliant (BHA or AHA), and a disinfectant (Benzoyl Peroxide) on your face twice daily. Click Paula's link above to read more about this process and the research and science behind it.

You can buy products like these in a kit, some of which contain these ingredients in the cleanser, professing to save you time but what you're really doing is washing those ingredients away so they do nothing for you. Paula sells kits, and I've bought them, but they really aren't any better than the cheaper drugstore versions. I read ingredient lists like a maniac to achieve the same goal. Here are some of my current faves, though I switch products with the same basic ingredients from time to time.

I've already posted about Basis being my favorite cleanser. Cetaphil is also good if you have dry skin. There are many others out there and you can read on Paula's site about how to find the good ones.

Chemical Exfoliant (put on after cleansing and drying):
I have used both BHAs and AHAs but currently favor the latter. Right now I like the Alpha Hydrox brand AHA Souffle, a 12% AHA cream. It's perfect for my somewhat sensitive skin, though I wish it didn't come in tub form, which is less hygienic. I've found this locally at Wal-Mart*...sometimes I order it online. It always come with a mail-in rebate which is nice. You use a small amount and put it all over except for the eye area.

Disinfectant (allow exfoliant to dry before putting this on):
I use the Equate brand Acne Treatment Cream that says 10% Benzoyl Peroxide on the tube. It's $1.84 at Wal-Mart*. It will bleach your clothes/towels if you don't wait for it to completely dry before touching things to your face. Make sure you apply it to your entire face and not just to blemish areas. This prevents pimples from forming if you use it this way, which is why I like buying a big tube for $1.84.

Because you're using some powerful stuff on your face, it's gonna get dry even if it's normally oily, so I recommend using a light moisturizer with these products. I only use the moisturizer once a day (morning) and I apply it after all of the above products are on my face and it's dry. Anything that is oil-free and has SPF-15 (without added ingredients like retinols) work for me. I like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 30, Purpose Moisturizer with SPF 15 (unscented), and Clean and Clear Morning Glow Moisturizer with SPF 15.

Notice I am a stickler for sun protection. If you look at all the sexy ladies in the world that are older (Michelle Phillips, Julianne Moore, Demi Moore) they are all PALE. Pale is sexy, Paris Hilton is not. Embrace it.

When I use these products religiously morning and night, my face stays clear and radiant. Sometimes I get lazy though, and I find myself breaking out like a mother. This *really* works if you find the products that work for your skin and stick to them. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better.

*Disclaimer: I hate Wal-Mart...but there are a handful of products that I can only find there, so I time my trips accordingly. I am a hardcore Target girl because Wal-Mart makes my blood boil.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sulfates Suck

I usually have at least 3 sets of shampoo/conditioner in my shower, and rarely use the same one day to day. My current fave comes from Ken Pavés, Jessica Simpson's man-bitch slash hairstylist.

:: Ken Pavés Flawless No Sulfates Allowed Repairing Shine Shampoo ::

I use this with the Pavés Undamaged Goods Deep Conditioning Repair Cream. They work well together. The shampoo can feel a bit drying when you rinse, but once you put the conditioner in and rinse it, your hair feels healthy and soft without feely greasy. It's really hard to find sulfate-free shampoos in a drugstore, so I love that this is out there at such a great price.

Good things:
No harsh detergents (sulfates) to strip your hair = less lather but also less damage to your hair.
Keeps buildup and oil away.
Very high-end ingredients.
Drugstore price. (I found it at my local Weis for 75% off. I bought 6 bottles.)

Bad things:
A little hard to find.
I'm not a big fan of the scent.
I'm not a big fan of supporting any friend of Jessica Simpson's, but I'm making a rare exception here.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Wet to Straight

I hate doing my hair in the morning. I have very fine, poker straight hair. For it to look presentable, I have to blow-dry completely and run a flat-iron through my hair so it lays right. Most days, I leave the house with half-wet hair because I just cannot stand the time it takes to do all that.

ENTER: The Remington Wet to Straight Flat Iron

The idea of this product is that it drys your hair and straightens it at the same time, eliminating the need for a blow-dryer. I bought this from because I had a credit to use, it was on sale for $20 with free shipping, and I hoped that it would make my morning routine easier.

Verdict: Mornings are a whole lot lovelier now!

Good things:
Truly does what it says it will do.
Like all flat-irons, gives you that silky, shiny look.
Gets HOT as HELL (30 heat settings).
Beeps audibly when it's ready.
Has a wide plate (also available in a slim version).
You only need one tool in the morning--LOVE THAT!
Has a lock feature to close it for travel.
Safer and healthier for hair.
Makes your hair feel so good you want to rub your head all over yourself.

Bad things:
Takes several passes to dry hair completely, and you have to go slowly down your hair.
If you have really curly hair, not sure how this will work. I already have straight hair.
Steam burns if your hand gets in the way.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Squeaky Clean Face Wash

No matter how many times I try new face washes, I always come back to this one Holy Grail Facial Cleanser.

:: Basis Cleaner Clean Face Wash ::

Good Things:
Ingredient list is solid. Oil-free and Soap-Free
Lathers well. All makeup gets removed.
Rinses very clean, but doesn't leave your skin feeling dry.
Cheap! About $4.99 for a bonus-size tube.
Nice squeeze tube packaging. Gel-like consistency.
Smells clean (though I would prefer fragrance free).

Bad things:
Sometimes it stings my eyes.
If you have dry skin you will definitely need to follow-up with a moisturizer.

Runners-up in Face Soap Category:
Purpose Gentle Cleanser
Clean and Clear Daily Pore Cleanser
St. Ives Apricot Face Wash - Blemish and Blackhead Control
Olay Daily Facials Night Cleansing Cloths
Dove Sensitive Skin Bar Soap (with a washcloth)
Cetaphil (both the lotion-based cleanser and the Oily Skin pump-version)

I tend to use different cleansers because I like variety and I think my face likes it too.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Is this thing on?

*clears throat* check one, two. check. check. I can't believe I'm blogging.

I'm going to start out by telling you about one of my recent faves.

:: badger lip balms ::

Good things:
They come in all sorts of flavors (my favorite is chai rose).
They glide on smooth. Kind of like the Neutrogena lip balms but with better flavor.
Not too waxy like Burt's Bees or Kiss My Face brands.
Only $1.99 at Wegmans.
They moisturize well.
Cute packaging.
100% Natural and Organic

Bad things:
Moisture doesn't last longer than an hour or so. (But that's true of most lip balms.)

Those who know me well know that I have been obsessed with lip balm since junior high. I carry about 4 and own at least 50 at any given time.

If you have truly chapped lips, get Aquaphor and put it on every night and morning until they are healed. Lip balms are better for maintaining already nice lips.

Now go put those smoochable lips to good use.