Empties (Spring 2015)

I did one of these a couple months ago, but I have used up a few products that I really want to give shout outs to, so I’m doing another one. So deal with it.

Just kidding. Thanks for reading part or all of this post! Onward!

I want to start with is the Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque (I got the 8.5 fl. oz but it also comes in 16.9 fl. oz.) because it is the bomb. This stuff is fantastic. I mentioned it in my recent post about healthy hair and (BONUS!) my hairdresser just yesterday told me that my hair has grown so much and is so healthy and shiny!

Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque

I recently realized that the brand has been re-vamped and the name is now “Macadamia Professional”, which I’m sure is just a scheme so they can jack up the price. Ulta no longer carries any “Macadamia Natural Oil” products in-store or online. I think other stores that still have any of these products in stock are discounting them heavily, and you can still find it on Amazon for a decent price.

Anyways, I use this product every time I wash my hair, which is about every 3-4 days. I use a little bit of my regular conditioner more at the roots, and then I take a glob of the Deep Repair Masque and smooth is all over, mostly concentrating on my ends. I leave it on while I shave and wash my face so that it really soaks in, and then I make sure and rinse it out really well. I haven’t had a problem with my hair looking greasy, even when I put it on my roots and it smells great. I bought a tub of Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil deep conditioner to replace my Macadamia one but have yet to use it, so I’m really hoping it works just as well. If not, I may have to bite the bullet and pick up the Macadamia Professional one.

The next item is the Marvelous Moxie lip gloss by Bare Minerals. I bought it after going to one of their stores and having them do my makeup to get an idea of what color products I should use. Mine was in the color Show Off, a nudey pink with teeny tiny glitters. I really liked the color because it was subtle but gave a hint of color and made my lips glossy. It’s a bit sticky, but I’ve had stickier so it wasn’t that bad.

I am actually really proud of myself for having used the whole tube. I don’t think I’ve ever used up a makeup product fully in my life – I either don’t like the quality to begin with so I don’t use it, I find better products/colors so I forget I have them, or they expire before I have the chance to finish them. I recently purchased a Buxom lip gloss in the color Kristen because it looks very similar and supposedly plumps your lips.

Batiste Hint of Color dry shampoo in Dark & Deep Brown is a holy grail product of mine. I’ve tried a few different dry shampoos and it’s safe to say that they don’t hold a candle to this one. I recently got a bottle of the Medium/Brunette for my friend and co-worker Amanda to try and she told me the other day that she realized how well it worked in comparison to other brands. The nozzle of hers broke (or maybe just got severely clogged?) so she used a different kind and she said it just wasn’t the same.

Batiste Hint of Color Deep Dark Brown dry shampoo

I was out at my in-law’s house last weekend and only had my travel-size Batiste in Blush, so I used it and was immediately regretting this decision. I mean, I really needed some dry shampoo because I didn’t have time to fully wash and style my hair. But, the gray streaks it left were not going away, even after extensive rubbing at my roots. I had to use some water to get rid of it, which is kind of missing the point of the dry shampoo in the first place. Also, I dislike the smell of the Blush formula because it’s really florally which is my least favorite scent.

Next up is a supplement. I’ve tried the Hair, Skin, and Nails and Biotin supplements before, but A) I hated that they required me to take 2 or 3 pills per day, B) They smelled/tasted horrible, and C) I didn’t notice a difference while taking them. I understand that it takes awhile to see the benefits, but 4-6 weeks should be enough. BUT, I found a great new version by NatureMade that A) only requires you to take 1 pill per day, B) They don’t smell or taste horrible, and C) I have noticed a difference already!

NatureMade Hair Skin Nails Supplement

I’ve been taking them for 6 weeks but started noticing a difference in week 3 or 4! The effects have mostly been noticeable in my hair; it seems to be growing faster! I was usually able to hold off on coloring my roots every 6-7 weeks, but I started noticing them more prevalently after 4 weeks of coloring. I ran out and got a new bottle as soon as I noticed my first one running low and wouldn’t you know it, Walgreens was having a BOGO sale at the time! So I got two bottles because why not?

The last two items are not so much “I loved the products so I used them all up!” type deals. The first is a night cream that I just wanted to use because I payed money for it. It’s the Botanics Age Defense Replenishing Night Cream. I disliked the smell right off the bat – it’s like really earthy and reminds me of being in a bunny’s cage, minus the poo. I don’t really see any positive results from night creams at the moment, so the smell alone is enough to keep me from re-purchasing it.

The second (and final product) is Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat nail polish. I’ve heard people swear up and down that this product is amazing, drying fast and keeping nails chip-free for days, but I wasn’t super duper impressed. It may have dried pretty quickly, but I still had chipping within 24 hours of painting my nails. I also didn’t even use the whole thing up because I think it expired before I had the chance. I went to paint my nails one night only to be greeted with a really foul-smelling Seche Vite. The bottle was only half-used and I definitely didn’t get the 36 months out of it that it claims.

Hope this helped anyone curious about these products. Let me know your experiences with them or tell me what products you’ve been using up!

Empties/Favorites for late 2014

For the past couple months, I’ve saved the empty containers of a few products that I’ve wanted to share. Now that I have a spare second, let’s do it so I can finally throw them away! I love watching “empties” videos on YouTube because it’s really informative of whether people enjoyed these products enough to repurchase them. So I’m hoping this post is also helpful in your quest for some of these kinds of products!

First and foremost, let’s talk about a shampoo and conditioner duo that I have repurchased several times now. Tresemme’s Expert Selection Keratin Smooth line helped my hair get through the spring and summer, and my hair grew a lot while using this combination. Now, I know experts say that hair doesn’t grow according to the products we use but how healthy our hair is and that we have a preset growth speed yada yada. So I think this duo helped my hair stay healthy and strong so that it could continue growing, while staying soft.Tresemme Keratin Smooth

It didn’t cut down frizziness totally, but then again my hair gets frizzy at the slightest sign of humidity no matter what products I use, so whatever. The packaging says that it is meant as a ‘once-a-week’ system to keep hair silky smooth, but it also notes that it is gentle enough for everyday use. I typically wash my hair every other day, so when I was using this duo, I would use both shampoo and conditioner every wash.

After my last two bottles of the Keratin Smooth ran out, I wanted to try something different. When a friend introduced me to a subscription service called Melaleuca (mel-a-loo-ca), I signed up and decided to give some of their hair and skincare items a try. You probably haven’t heard of this brand (unless you have and found my post by searching the name) because they don’t advertise like typical brands do. They get their name and reputation spread by word of mouth, through representatives (kind of like Avon or Mary Kay, minus the awkward parties) and through happy customers.

Sei Bella Luxury

I purchased a haircare set from a brand called Sei Bella that is sold through Melaleuca. I tried their “luxury” line and got the volumizing shampoo, moisturizing conditioner, and the hot iron prep spray. Overall, I wasn’t impressed. I used about 3/4 of each of the shampoo and conditioner (so technically these containers aren’t empty) but didn’t see an improvement or difference in my hair. And as for the heat protectant, I’ve only used it a few times because I prefer using Tresemme’s Thermal Creations Heat Tamer for a heat protectant instead.

So about a month ago, I was in the market for a new shampoo and conditioner. I picked up Tresemme’s Smooth & Silky line and let me tell you – I AM IN LOVE. Again, the bottles aren’t empty, but once they are, I will no doubt repurchase them.I was nervous to buy it at first because Tresemme sells huge bottles of shampoo and conditioner – what if I didn’t like it? Then I’m stuck with two industrial size bottles that won’t get used up? But now that I know I love it, I’m so glad I have so much because it’ll keep my hair looking good for that much longer!Tresemme Smooth and Silky

I have gotten so many compliments on my hair since I started using it; yesterday, one of my students asked to touch my hair because it “looks so smooth and soft.” I let her touch it and she was excited that it was even softer than she expected. You’re welcome? So yeah, I’ve been weirdly happy with my hair the past few months – I’ve always had a huge beef with my hair for good reasons. Since I started getting gray hairs at 15, dying my hair every few weeks for over 7 years has made it dry and unhealthy. I’ve never gotten as many compliments in the last 24 years than I have in the past couple months, and that makes me really happy. Thanks Tresemme!

Not only that, but I’ve been getting 3 days out of my hair (except when I workout, then I only get two) which helps it stay healthier. So it makes it smooth and silky without making it oily! I have finer hair, so as soon as it starts to get a bit oily, it looks flat and scraggly. But this combination doesn’t make it that way!

Enough about hair, let’s move on to a face moisturizers. I have never had luck with skincare. My skin is super sensitive and I’ve noticed that any moisturizer with some sort of sunscreen makes me break out (whether it’s meant for sensitive skin or not). My skin is also on the normal to dry spectrum (usually more dry) so I can’t go without moisturizing or it’ll become tight and flaky. Also, I’m super pale, so I need some SPF protection. Oy vey.

In the past, I’ve tried Olay’s daily moisturizer both for normal/dry and sensitive skin types; both caused me to break out. I have also tried Cetaphil’s facial moisturizer but it also broke me out. What the heck?!

So I ordered a facial moisturizer by Sei Bella (again, carried by Melaleuca) and could not have been more pleasantly surprised. The moisturizer was the Daytime Delivery Creme with broad spectrum SPF 15 – it never broke me out, it kept my skin moisturized without making it greasy, and apparently kept my face safer from the sun. Boom. Boom. Boom. All good things.Creams

Because I had such good luck with Sei Bella’s day cream, I decided to give the night cream (technically called the night firming treatment) a shot, and yet again I was so happy with it. Since running out of the both creams, I purchased a day cream that has SPF from No7 and a night cream from Botanics and again haven’t had problems with either. Woot, finally finding good products!

How about a mascara? I tried Rimmel’s new Lash Accelerator mascara and have mixed feelings. My first tube was pretty nice, and I thought I saw an improvement in my lashes after a few days. I have pretty long lashes to begin with, but I’m always in the market for a good volumizing mascara. I liked the brush because I usually prefer plastic bristles instead of the “hair” bristles.
mascara

My beef with this mascara is that it dried out really fast – I noticed an increase in clumpiness within the first two weeks, so it became unusable within three. I’m not one of those excessive mascara wand pumpers who thinks that pumping the wand in the tube a hundred times before popping it out actually makes a difference (other than drying out the mascara faster) so it was simply the formula that was on the dry side.

How about two non-beauty products? Kind of random, but these Glade solid air fresheners in Apple Cinnamon are fantastic. I am hypersensitive to smells – as soon as I smell something that I deem as stinky, I instantly get put into a bad mood. I’m sure this is normal but I don’t think the extent to which my mood swings when I come in contact with smelly odors is.

Glade Apple Cinnamon

Needless to say, I use these in my classroom to freshen the place up (especially with some of the freshmen who still haven’t quite grasped the concept of deodorant or general hygiene. I always get compliments on how great my room smells; students and teachers alike love the smell. And, they’re really inexpensive!

Finally, I have been loving the Purely Elizabeth Pumpkin Fig granola. Oooooh goodness is it tasty. And healthy! It’s gluten free, vegan, and free of refined sugar. AND I CAN PRONOUNCE EVERY SINGLE INGREDIENT! Plus, the majority of the ingredients (a whopping 9 out of 11) are organic. I picked up 3 bags at the grocery store to stock up because I’ve been eating greek yogurt for lunch every day and wanted to make sure I had enough granola to last for awhile.

Purely Elizabeth granola

So that’s it for the past couple months for new products that I’ve enjoyed and some that I didn’t enjoy so much. I hope this was helpful in giving you new ideas of products to try or products to stay away from. If you have any recommendations or similar experiences, be sure to let me know – I’m always looking for beauty and non-beauty products to try!

Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse – Skincare Series

If you haven’t heard of Nuxe, I would suggest you look into it. This brand originated in France and holds three core values – nature, performance, and sensuality. Sounds good to me!

Nuxe has multiple lines of products, each dedicated to a different skin category. For example, they have the Crème Prodigieuse* line that targets fatigued and dull skin. The Nuxuriance line is targeted to mature skin while the Crème Nirvanesque is formulated for those experiencing their first expression lines. So Nuxe is really great for targeting your personal skin issues.

[* for those of you who don’t know French outside “yes”, “hello”, “thank you”, and counting to ten (like me) that is pronounced Pro-dih-joo. Except the j is not as harsh as we Americans would say a j. I took Spanish for 11 years, so I’m still shocked at some of their letter combinations vs. pronunciations.]

Not only do they have multiple lines, but also each line has a product for everything you want for your face. There’s also a whole line of face washing products infused with rose petal water and even a men’s line!

These products are a bit on the pricey side if you are buying them anywhere but France. I was shocked to find that it costs about 5 times more to purchase these products here in the States than it does in France. So if you’re planning a trip to France, you could totally score a great deal! If you want to plan a trip just to snag said great deal, I have a feeling that the travel expenses kind of outweigh the savings of the skincare products.

Anyway, I want to focus on the Crème Prodigieuse day and night creams. These creams are so wonderful if you want a little extra TLC for your face after a long day at work or a long night that you didn’t sleep well.Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse

The day cream comes in two formulations: one for dry to very dry skin and one for normal to combination skin. Nuxe really understands that not all skin types are the same, not just age-wise but also dryness-wise.

This anti-fatigue moisturizing cream is infused with the blue everlasting flower which, “to protect itself from its hostile environment (sun, wind, salt), it has developed exceptional resistance to stress and possesses anti-free radical and anti-oxidant properties superior to those of vitamins C and E.” Cool!

It smells amazing and feels so luxurious on the skin. My skin feels so smooth and hydrated and carries this light fragrance with it, so I feel amazing after putting it on.Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse Nuit

The night cream (Creme Prodigieuse Nuit) is very similar; after using this at night, my skin still feels smooth in the morning. And not an oily smooth like some creams I’ve found give me, but a nice still-moisturized feel.

Overall, although a bit pricey, these two products smell great and definitely give you the moisture your skin needs, especially after a restless night or a long day at work. There is no SPF protection, so a separate product should be used in conjunction to give you that extra protection from the sun’s rays.

You can check out the Creme Prodigieuse line here, or see their full line of products here.

Ahava Something To Tell You…Get It? {Skincare Series 1}

Okay Skincare Review Series, episode 1. How about we start with my favorite of the moment: Ahava.

Ahava LogoNot only is Ahava the Hebrew word for “love” (aww) but it is also a skincare line from Israel whose products are made from Dead Sea minerals and plants as well as other all-natural ingredients. Depending on what type of skin you have and what you want out of your skincare regimen, you can pick which line is right for you.

All products are:

  • Paraben free
  • SLS/SELS free (sulfates)
  • Allergy tested
  • Approved for sensitive skin
  • Not tested on animals
  • Produced without petroleum, harsh synthetic ingredients, or GMOs

My favorite line of products from this brand, Ahava Deadsea Plants, is heavenly. Honestly I hope heaven smells like this. If so, Lord take me now.

Our store carries all four products in the Plants line – you can distinguish them by their green lettering. Overall, the scent of the Plants line is so refreshing. It’s like…plants. Duh.

The Caressing Body Sorbet makes your skin feel so silky smooth and completely moisturized, without feeling heavy, oily, or sticky. This stuff smells so wonderful, I honestly want to eat it out of the tub. And then, when it’s on my hands, I want to eat my hands.Body Sorbet

The Firming Body Cream is similar to the sorbet, except it seems a bit thicker and smells a little less amazing. I’m unsure why that is, but I prefer the smell of the body sorbet to the body cream.Body Cream

The Dry Oil Body Mist is awesome. Apparently oils are all the rage nowadays for skincare, even for oily skin. Weird, right? I actually tested it side by side with another brand’s body oil spray on my legs. I joked with my coworker that we were going to be so oily we could just slide right home after work.Body Oil

But they aren’t like putting on baby oil where it’s just thick and goopy and makes you look slicker than the hair of a 1920s mobster. It’s a light mist that you spray on your body, gently rub so that it soaks in thoroughly, and you are left with glowing, dewy-looking skin. And it smells absolutely fantastic.

The last product, the Smoothing Body Exfoliator, does not smell the best. This would be my least favorite of the four products based on smell alone. It is not harsh or super gritty since Moroccan Argon shells serve as the exfoliators. I have not tried its actual exfoliating power since I am at work and would most likely try it on my legs. Or feet. And that would be weird to do at work. Right?Exfoliator

If you read my Hair, Skin, & Nails post (if not, do it to it my friend!) my skin is super dry and sensitive. Something else that is sensitive: my olfactory nerves. My mood will change drastically if something smells bad; like, I transform from Happy to Grumpy in a nanosecond. Although, side note, Once Upon a Time taught us that Grumpy was originally named Dreamy.

Long story short: I need intense hydration that is gentle and that smells divine and Ahava Deadsea Plants definitely provides that.

Apparently Duane Reade and Target both sell Ahava products, although they go by the name ‘Dead Sea Essentials’, are not found on their website, the packaging is much different, and the prices are much lower. This is definitely something to look into if you don’t want to splurge on the “real” stuff. I’ll admit that Ahava products are pretty pricey and not as readily available as the less expensive alternative.Dead Sea Essentials

For more information on their products, the company, or to order some shweet stuff, you can go to their website, www.ahavaus.com. Also, let me know if you’ve tried Dead Sea Essentials and what you think; I may try it out myself…

New Series: Skincare Reviews

I’ve been working at a small local pharmacy here in New York City for 3 weeks now. Along with the every day brands, we sell salon and other high-end products. We have facial cleansers, moisturizers, soaps, perfumes, candles…and we have testers for most of the products.washing face

“You mean, you get to test all those amazing products AND smell like a goddess every time that you go to work?!”

Yes. And yes.

I’ve been trying out as many of the products as I can. Shortly after arriving at work, I get a little pump of some brand and scent of hand lotion. After using the bathroom and washing my hands, I go for something different. I’ve even tried face crèmes on my hands to get a feel for their consistency, smell, and (if any) noticeable effects.

I’ve also staked out my favorite scented soaps and candles and (more importantly) I’ve been able to keep myself from blowing my paychecks on everything I want in the store. I think I deserve a present for my strength. Palmarosa Wild Mint candle by Caldrea, anyone?

No, Holliday, focus.

Anyways, by the end of my workdays, I have been able to test out at least 10 different skincare products. So I figured I could make a mini-series out of my experiences with them. I’m doing this with the hopes that it will help those looking at trying the products while introducing others to an entirely new line of products.

Who?

Oh and I’ve tried the whole ‘splash your face with water like they do on the commercials’ and found that it is a very impractical way to wash your face. Cheers to skincare!