Archive | June 2009

Beauty Pet Peeves

I love make-up and beauty treatments, but I have my share of beauty pet peeves as well. Judging from the results of my most recent poll (on the right side of this page), a lot of you do too!

My top pet peeves are:

1. Too much make-up (like the young lady pictured, but not always so over the top!)

2. Fuzzy spider lashes from glopping on mascara

3. Visible lipliner…what is that about? Why liner but no color?

4. Crappy highlights. Good lord, ladies, back away from the bleach already.

5. Flip flops. Maybe this doesn’t really fit here, but I hate these sloppy, annoying shoes!

6. While we’re discussing footwear…people (including men!) who wear sandals and flip flops but don’t take care of their feet! Yuck!

7. Clothes that are too damn tight. If you have to tug, yank, stretch, and fuss, then please realize the damn thing doesn’t fit.

8. Nail polish that looks like a mouse has been nibbling on it. When it starts to chip, just take it all off!

9. Visible foundation and/or powder. This one is really creepy close-up. I don’t wear foundation because nothing says “breakout” like slathering my face with foundation, and if I ever look like I used chalk dust to powder my face, I hope someone tells me to go wash my face.

10. Chickens! One person’s beauty pet peeve may be another person’s expression of themselves. If you want purple hair or green lipstick, hey, go for it. Don’t let the magazines and so-called experts stifle what make-up should ultimately be: a unique reflection of what is inside.

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St. Ives Whipped Silk

What’s not to love about a body wash that is purple and is called “whipped silk”? I am a fan of other St. Ives products (namely, the Apricot Scrub), so when it was time to replace the body wash in my shower, I chose St. Ives Whipped Silk.

The product claim: “Whipped with natural silk proteins, this formula creates a luxurious lather that rinses clean, leaving skin silky soft and moisturized.”

The reality: This stuff smells wonderful, a subtle, pretty smell that is hard to describe…not really floral, but definitely feminine and soft. It lathers up and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth before I even leave the shower and apply any lotion.

I love it, but I have to admit to not being exactly impartial to this product. When I first started spending the night at my boyfriend’s place before we lived together, he bought this body wash for me to keep in his shower. I liked it then, and now the scent of it reminds me of when we first got together, and I like it even more.

But, even without sentimental value attached, this is a great body wash, a treat for skin, and a great buy. This product sells for $4.89 on drugstore.com, but I found it even cheaper at Wal-mart.

My verdict: five stars out of five, and I would definitely buy again!

Skin Tight Jeans + High Heels = Stupid

The concept that being fashionable, attractive, and trendy is vastly more important than being comfortable is age-old with women, a notion I don’t subscribe to but can’t help but notice all around me. (Just try to buy a simple pair of shoes in the women’s department that doesn’t pinch, narrow to a pinprick at the toes, or totter about on 4 inch heels.) Comfort? What for? It’s women’s jobs to look good and worry what other people think about what they look like, isn’t it?

Take it one step further: there are reports that the trendy, Cosmo-approved skinny jeans are actually causing nerve damage called meralgia paresthetica. The condition happens when constant pressure cuts off the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, causing numbness and a burning or tingling sensation along the legs.

How about pushing it even further and pairing those skinny jeans with ludicrous but oh-so-fashionable, sky-high heels? High heels push the pelvis forward and increase pressure on the nerve, increasing the risk for aggravating this nerve.

But hey, as long as you look good, right?

“It doesn’t make me hesitate to wear my jeans— the same way I don’t hesitate to wear the shoes I wear,” proclaims Abby Gardener, editor of Fashionista.com.

I have the overwhelming desire to slap this woman until her sense returns, if she indeed ever had any, and every woman like her.

Why is it relevant to me what other women wear? If you are dying to wear jeans that pinch your nerves and shoes that whack out your knees and back, be my guest. Knock yourself out! (And pass out, as the case may be, when those nerves are pinched long enough.)

My bone to pick? Because 99.9% of women are apparently senseless enough and stupid enough to buy pants that are too damn tight, shoes that damage their knees and plain don’t fit a human foot, and because designers and manufacturers profit from this mindless devotion to fashion instead of common sense, then I cannot walk into a store and find a reasonable selection of shoes or clothes that a woman with active brain cells would actually wear. Because of other women’s ignorance and mindlessness, my options are limited.

Another woman in this article gushed that she has purchased shoes that are 2 sizes too small—because they are “cute”. Oh, and “on sale”. The word “imbecile” comes to mind.

Causing physical damage to your body in order to feel attractive should leave you wondering what, exactly, you are trying to attract.

Cute? Hardly. Try foolish and idiotic.

Oscar Blandi Trattamento al Fango Marine Mud Treatment

After sitting in My Favorites on my Sephora account for a long, looooong time, Oscar Blandi’s Trattamento al Fango Marine Mud Treatment finally graced my bathroom counter. I couldn’t wait to try this deep conditioner for hair, since so many of the reviews of this product hailed it as a miracle for hair, and so many users practically set up alters to worship this stuff.

What does Oscar Blandi have to say for this conditioner? The product description claims, “Trattamento al Fango brings an element of earth’s healing power to your haircare regimen. Fango was originally used to soothe and heal sore joints and muscles, and has now been formulated to provide the same healing benefits to hair. This treatment is a unique and intense curative formula based on marine mud that rapidly improves the condition of the hair.”

One thing I will give it right off, this conditioner smells great. I tried this conditioner a few times before writing this review, for various amounts of time in my hair during my shower, and once with the recommended instructions of working through the hair, wrapping a shower cap around the hair, and then wrapping a hot, wet towel around all of that for 15 minutes. (This gave the kids, and my boyfriend Gary, many, many laughs at my expense, with cries of “You look like a lunch lady!” when I donned the shower cap.)

By the way…a hot, wet towel is heavier than you would think when perched precariously upon your head for 15 minutes…

I rinsed my hair and combed it out, eager to see these awe-inspiring results like the reviewers on Sephora claimed to behold.

What did I get? To be honest, not a hell of a lot. This stuff smells good, helps to relieve some of the tangling my hair is maddeningly prone to, and…well…that was really about it. Nothing glorious, nothing spectacular, and nothing more than a $3 Pantene deep conditioner from Walmart can do. Actually, I would prefer the Pantene.

My conclusion? I would not purchase this again, particularly considering its $26 price tag. For a conditioner priced so high, I certainly expected more than mediocre, ho-hum results.

I give this conditioner one star out of five. It doesn’t do anything more than a basic, run-of-the-mill drugstore conditioner would do…you will just pay six times as much for it.

Sally Girl Mini Lipstick: "1st Crush"

Sally Beauty Supply carries a fun line of cosmetics called Sally Girl, mini-sized items like lipstick, nail polish, and eyeshadow in classic and non-traditional colors. Almost all of them are 99 cents, priced just right for experimenting and playing.

I did just that recently and bought a Sally Girl Mini Lipstick in 1st Crush (pictured). The color appears deceptively dark in the tiny tube, but I was pleased that the color goes on almost sheer, allowing its intensity to be built up or played down depending how much you apply.

I love this color! With fair skin and dark hair, I have to be careful choosing lipstick colors. Too dark, and I resemble a goth-wanna-be. This color is just deep enough for impact, sheer enough to not overwhelm.

I haven’t tried any of the other lipsticks, but I also picked up a Sally Girl Nail Color in Surf’s Up. The nail polish is cheap, thin, and runny, but it was worth some patience and 3 coats of polish, because Surf’s Up is a gorgeous turquoise color that I have received several compliments on already. Just be prepared to apply 2 or 3 coats for even, opaque color.

Avon Spectra Lash Mascara

Avon recently had several mascaras on sale, 2 for $7.99. Since Spectra Lash’s regular price is $9.50, I decided to try this one out while the price was right.

This mascara has a dial at the bottom, ranging from 1 to 3, so “you can customize your lashes to build volume for any occasion or mood. More volume. More options”, per Avon’s website.

I remember Maybelline’s Dial-A-Lash, and this seemed to be the same premise. For nostalgia’s sake, I had to try it!

I wound this baby up to level 3 for its first test run. I noticed right away that the brush is super-saturated with mascara at this level…not a good sign. I don’t like simply coating my lashes with caked-on mascara. It will get you noticed, but not in a good way.

I noticed a lot of flakes as I curled and combed out my lashes, another not-so-good sign, and the black flakes continued to rain down during the rest of the morning. Hmmmm.

Let’s try reducing the dial to 1 and see if that works out better. The brush wasn’t quite as loaded with mascara, but I still noticed the same clumping and flaking.

The sad thing is, this mascara did a good job defining and volumizing my lashes. But considering the sole function of mascara is to make my lashes look good, I can’t stand the flaking and clumping that this mascara brought along for the ride.

My verdict? One star out of 5. The concept of a dial to control the intensity is fun, and the price is great, especially if you catch it on sale. The mascara defines the lashes no problem…but it’s not worth the continuous, tiny black flecks under my eyes or the trouble of separating the clumps from the brush being overloaded.

I won’t buy this mascara again, but something good did come of my purchase. The mascaras were on sale, 2 for $7.99, and the other mascara I selected was Supershock mascara. This one impressed me and more than made up for Spectra Lash, and I will write a review of that one very soon!

Burt’s Bees Shea Butter Hand Repair Creme

I am a bit of a hand cream fanatic; I keep at least 3 different kinds in my desk drawer at work, keep hand cream in the bag I carry to work, and keep a stash in the bathroom and at the kitchen sink at home too. What can I say? I can’t stand the feeling of dry hands.

I was excited to see Burt’s Bees Shea Butter Hand Repair Creme at a great price recently, so I bought a tube to keep at work. I’ve read glowing reviews of Burt’s Bees products, though I have only tried their lip balms (didn’t like them). But surely you can’t screw up hand cream, right?

My first impression of this hand cream is that I was certainly going to develop ripped forearms trying to squeeze the cream out of the tube. It’s very thick and may as well come in slices. My second impression was that you will become very intimate with every inch of your hands, as it takes forever to rub, rub, rub this cream in, and it still has a persistent oily feel even after you’ve rubbed your hands raw.

My third impression, after exhausting my hands trying to rub this stuff into my skin, is that the smell is horribly unpleasant. I imagine it is intended to be a natural, organic scent to go with the reputation of the company, but it reminds me of pesticide, citronella, medicine, and dandelions…no, not a compliment.

I give this product zero stars out of 5. Its regular price is about $12 a tube, and for a hand cream, that is in a price range that should be far more effective, pleasant smelling, and non-greasy. My favorite hand cream is still Avon’s Silicone Glove, which I have reviewed before. With mini tubes starting at 99 cents, a great scent, and lasting softness, it kicks Burt’s Bees ass in the hand cream department.