Tag Archives: beauty

Beauty in the Movies: The Devil Wears Prada

I had a job interview this week, and on my way I couldn’t help thinking of The Devil Wears Prada. That might sound silly, but it was reassuring to know that even if the interview went badly, it couldn’t possibly be as bad as finding Miranda Priestly (or Anna Wintour) sitting at that desk across from you.

The Devil Wears Prada is the story of Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway), a Midwesterner in New York, fresh out of college and desperate for experience. Andy wants to be a journalist, but she finds herself at the world’s top fashion magazine, Runway, interviewing to be the assistant of Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), a job a thousand girls would kill for. Miranda isn’t just an editor at a fashion magazine, she is the voice of fashion. Her word is the last word, and all other opinions be damned. She is cold, brutal, and unsympathetic, but also elegant, successful and respected beyond compare.

Miranda hires Andy despite her “frumpy” (ahem, I have the j. crew coat she wears in the opening sequence—it’s cute, ok?) appearance in the hopes that she is different from the fashion obsessed girls who usually land the job. While Andy is up for the challenge, the demands of her new position put her relationship with her family, best friend (Tracie Thoms), and boyfriend (Adrian Grenier) into jeopardy. Andy has to choose what’s important to her, but in the process of self discovery there’s also a bunch of montages, a few Madonna songs, a makeover, and some great designer clothes.

This is not the most unpredictable film, but it certainly has its charms, most specifically Meryl Streep’s perfectly frightening portrayal of Miranda. It’s hard to take your eyes off her, everything from the way she enunciates her words, to the cruel flicker in her eyes while torturing Andy with impossible tasks, further propels the believability of her character. Miranda Priestly makes Working Girl‘s Catherine Parker look like a whiny, disheveled brat. Rumor has it the character was based on Anna Wintour, the notoriously steely editor-in-chief of American Vogue, but Streep creates her own Miranda and delivers a woman who is both vicious and awe-inspiring in her approach to life and business.

Emily Blunt is fantastic and funny as Miranda’s other assistant (the 1st assistant), she is the stand-out among the supporting cast and steals all her scenes right out from under Anne Hathaway. Stanley Tucci is also charming, while stereotypical as Nigel Runway’s Art director who is adored by both Miranda and Andy. Simon Baker plays a roguish writer and Valentino and Giselle (proving she shouldn’t quit her day job) make appearances as well.


Most people have had a boss or supervisor whom they’ve found less than pleasing, but this film takes it to new levels. Miranda’s treatment of Andy could be seen as character building—a tough love of sorts, after all she does learn a lot and come out on top in many ways. Unfortunately the ugly side of that coin is that her sadistic treatment virtually ruins Andy’s life, and as we learn, Miranda’s personal life isn’t all roses and sunshine either, leading the viewer to believe that great success comes only with great sacrifice. It’s an issue I wish the movie explored a bit more, because it feels like we’re meant to believe Miranda must be evil in order to be respected, which forgives her cruelty just a tad too much. There is too much of a shine put on everything in this film and the minute you think you might get to look deeper, you’re placated by pretty clothes, which is fine and can be really enjoyable, but it doesn’t make you think too hard either.

The Devil Wear Prada is a fun, entertaining, possibly unrealistic look at the fashion world. It’s also a coming of age film, and a film about figuring out who you want to be as a professional and as a person—but most of all it’s about really pretty clothes, Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana and Patricia Field’s beautiful styling. I’d take a film like this over a bland rom-com with Jennifer Aniston or Katherine Heigl any day, because while it might not be groundbreaking, it’s about something other than just men and cliches. Don’t expect to be surprised by the twisting plot or unconventional characters, just get lost in the brilliance of Meryl Streep and the beauty of Chanel while you sit back and wish you could afford designer clothes.

The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada by justinez featuring peep toe shoes

PAUW SS10/42330 009 COTTON –
172 GBP – farfetch.com
Wrap blouses »

Trimmed Cardigan by D&G Dolce&Gabbana
153 GBP – my-wardrobe.com
Knit cardigans »

Whyred Pasca pleated mini skirt
145 GBP – brownsfashion.com
Pleated mini skirts »

Lanvin T-Strap Sandal
$955 – barneys.com
Peep toe shoes »

Bianca Patent Platform Pump
$735 – bergdorfgoodman.com
Christian louboutin pump »

Christian louboutin shoes BLACK
535 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Peep toe shoes »

Gepa Vitello Daino Tote
$1,650 – bergdorfgoodman.com
Prada handbags »

Marc by marc jacobs bags DARK BLUE
440 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Leather totes »

Susan caplan vintage jewellery GOLD
475 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Gold jewelries »

CA & LOU Bracelet
315 EUR – colette.fr
Couture bracelets »

Chanel Gold Medallion Chain Belt
$900 – cmadeleines.com
Chanel belts »

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Beauty in the Movies: 200 Cigarettes

Tonight is New Year’s Eve! So in celebration of another year ending, it seems appropriate to feature one of the best (and only) New Year’s Eve movies out there, 200 cigarettes.

200 Cigarettes takes place in New York City on New Years Eve in 1981. It’s the story of how a group of people, who are invariably connected in different ways, all make their way to the same New Year’s Eve party. Among the many characters there is a hostess anxiously awaiting the arrival of her guests, two teenage girls from Ronkonkoma Long Island, a smooth cab driver, punks, yuppies, artists, art-world snobs and many more. It’s a movie that I’ve loved since it came out in 1999, it has a great soundtrack, and a fun plot line with the costumes to match. Sure, it’s silly, but that’s what I think makes it so great.

It’s nice that this is a movie about New York on New Year’s Eve but without all the ball dropping hoopla. The whole movie takes place in and around The Village far from the times square madness. It’s a great little movie about people and characters doing their own thing and living life and it features many prominent Village landmarks, some that no longer exist. It’s fun to see how these people’s lives entwine and cross in strange ways, all culminating in a party we never really get to see—because you know, the interesting part is how they get there right?

This movie features some actors who were already big names—Courtney Love, Christina Ricci, and some newcomers who would soon shoot to stardom, Kate Hudson, Casey Affleck, even Dave Chapelle. Sure, Christina Ricci’s accent is almost an insult to Long Islanders, but she’s cute and tries hard so I’ll forgive her. It’s also nice to see Courtney love at her most pulled together and displaying her own sense of goofy charm. Most of the film consists of great indie actors like Martha Plimpton and Janeane Garofalo who are always amazing, plus there are cameos by 80s music icons like Elvis Costello and David Johansen of The New York Dolls.

I love this movie because the characters are actually relate-able despite how over the top they may act. Every time I have a party I think about Martha Plimpton’s character in this film, and I feel exactly like her. Nobody shows up at the designated time, you’ve worked your butt off making way too much food that people might never eat, and by the time everyone does arrive (if they ever do) you’ve worked yourself into such a state of worrying, drinking and rationalizing that you question why you ever decided to have a party in the first place. The desperation of New Year’s Eve, the excitement of the city, and the anticipation of a party all come through in this film.

I actually hate New Year’s Eve, it’s depressing, I have post-christmas let down and since my birthday is the 30th I have post-birthday let down too. New Years is the last celebration before we descend into January and the epic cold darkness of that long winter stretch until Spring. New Year’s Eve makes you look back on the last 364 days and think about everything you’ve done and haven’t done and reflect on what you want the next year to be. It can be a time of regret, but also a time of hope, but before we make our lists of resolutions and promises for the coming year, we can agree to put it all aside, and just for December 31st, indulge one last time and celebrate another year lived.

200 Cigarettes is one of my favorite movies because it shows the timelessness of the New Years tradition, the need to be with people, loved ones or anyone, and enjoy the fact that we made it through the year and are given another chance to start again. Come January real life picks back up—it’s back to work, back to school, and it all starts over. So, just for tonight, indulge a little, pat yourself on the back for making it through the year and let those you love know you’re glad they made it through too—drink some champagne, tell someone you love them, and let all the old year’s troubles be forgotten, tomorrow is a new year and a new beginning.

Happy New Year Everyone! May 2011 bring you all happiness, love, joy and success!!

200 Cigarettes

Cashmere turtleneck dress
$237 – theoutnet.com
Cashmere dresses »

Tiered Strapless Dress
$148 – jessicasimpsoncollection.com
Vintage dresses »

Black feather fur coat
65 GBP – dorothyperkins.com
Fur coats »

Metal Studded Motorcycle Jacket
$30 – canada.forever21.com
Motorcycles jackets »

Peacock
$85 – reissonline.com


Hot pink 70 denier tights
5 GBP – dorothyperkins.com
Leggings tights »

clockwork ring
20 EUR – shopfriiscompany.com
Rings »

Button Clip On Earrings 2cm – Black Faceted
$7.31 – make-me-beautiful.co.uk
Black earring »

Fingerless Lace Gloves w/ Bow
$4.80 – canada.forever21.com
Fingerless gloves »

Plum Glitter Nail Polish
$2.80 – forever21.com


badge The Cure
vkontakte.ru


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Beauty Grab-Bag: Makeup Fun-time

I haven’t done a beauty grab-bag in a while so I thought I’d do a quick one today and feature some random things.

Before my wedding when I was desperate for blogging help I put a call out to anyone who could do a guest post or had something to share. Sara over at makeshift vanity sent me these makeup collages she put together for fun—and they’re pretty fun to look at too! Things got so crazy before the wedding that I never got a chance to publish these, but I’m happy to feature them now, thanks for submitting these Sara! I love a good makeup collage, and these backgrounds are awesome.

In other news—If you haven’t heard of it yet, there is this site called Birchbox,  you pay $10 a month (or a flat $110 a year) and they send you a box of 4-5 cosmetic samples, shipping is free and apparently most of the samples are deluxe. Since I was good and forced myself out of Sephora without buying the $30 YSL lipstick last week, I figured I could splurge and spend $10 to try this out for January. Birchbox combines two of my favorite things—sampling new products and getting stuff in the mail! I often find myself wishing stores sold products in sample sizes for just a few dollars so I could try them out before buying the full size. Dealing with scuzzy, over-used testers and crowds at retail stores has gotten really tiring, so I hope this works out. If you don’t like the service you can cancel, it seems too good to be true doesn’t it? I’ll let you know how it goes and share pics in January when the box arrives!

Speaking of getting things in the mail, I participated in my first nail polish swap last week with the above mentioned Sara. I’ve been behind on my nail polish purchases and missed most of the Fall launches, so I was very happy when Sara sent me 4 mini shades from Essie’s fall line—Sew Psyched, Little Brown Dress, Limited Addiction, and In Stitches. I wouldn’t wear these in summer, but they’re great neutrals (except Limited Addiction). Amanda from mandabear did a guest post in October and featured Sew Psyched as one of her favorite picks for fall, and I have to agree with her, it’s a khaki gray-green and a nice alternative to griege. Swaps are fun! I apologize that you have to look at my incredibly dry winter skin, yikes—I really need to start moisturizing.

(from left to right, Little Brown Dress, In Stitches, Sew Psyched, Limited Addiction)

For the requisite cute animal part of the grab-bag, I present you with this cute video of baby otters.

I would like a baby otter for Christmas please, he would fit in with my cats just fine:

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Beauty in the Movies: Mystic Pizza

I’d planned to feature this movie three weeks ago when it would have been more seasonally apropos, but sometimes Netflix disks malfunction and you just have to deal with it. It’s technically still Fall though, so I ask you to hold off on your holiday mood for a moment (I promise a more seasonally appropriate film next week, barring any Netflix complications) while you celebrate the last of the fallen leaves with a 1980s classic, Mystic Pizza.

Mystic Pizza is one of the few coming of age stories about women, and despite being a “chick flick” (god I’m sick of that label) it doesn’t follow the typical formula. Although many critics falsely state that Mystic Pizza is about three high school girls, or three girls who’ve just graduated from high school, it actually takes place during that limbo period after high school, in your late teens and early twenties, where you’re trying to figure out your place in the world as an adult.


The story centers on three women in the port town of Mystic Connecticut where they work at a pizza parlor known for it’s mysteriously delicious sauce and owned by mother figure Leona (Conchata Ferrell). Daisy Arujo (Julia Roberts) is a free spirit, she is sexy and sassy and looking for a way out of Mystic, any way she can. Her younger sister Kat (Annabeth Gish) is slinging pizzas to save money for tuition at Yale, where she has recently been accepted. Kat is bookish and lacks the big hair and chunky jewelry of her peers—that’s how you know she’s smart. She also likes astronomy and wears pleated pants. Jojo Barboza (Lili Taylor), is practically a third sister, and just as confused about her future as Daisy, especially after fainting at her wedding, much to the surprise of her fiancée (Vincent D’Onofrio).

The three girls, and most of the town, are Portuguese, which plays largely into the story. During the off-season Mystic is blissfully free of the wealthy folks who “summer” in the quaint seaside town. So when Charles Gordon Windsor, Jr. (Adam Storke) shows up at a local bar having been exiled to his parents beach house after getting kicked out of law school, Daisy can’t help but take notice. The two then embark on a whirlwind romance, despite the hindrance of their economic and class differences. The relationship is a far more convincing portrayal of cross-class love than has been explored in other films (ahem, Pretty in Pink, ahem).

At the same time, Kat finds herself in a seemingly doomed relationship of her own. In an effort to score more tuition money she takes a babysitting job watching the child of Yale-educated, ginger-haired architect Tim Travers (William R. Moses). From the minute he steps on-screen you know this pairing is a bad idea, but Kat is naive enough to think a babysitter-employer romance can turn out well.  Although it’s a clichéd situation, it is acted with such conviction by Gish that your heart goes out to her. After all, the reason clichés exist is because they happen often in real life. Everyone likes to think they’re the exception, but rarely is it true. It’s an incredibly common disappointment which requires a willing blindness that so many of us have been guilty of—but it’s learning from our mistakes and experiences which signifies a coming-of-age.

Unlike the others, Jojo and her fisherman fiancée Bill’s relationship, is a cliché turned on its head. Jojo loves Bill but would rather have sex than talk about marriage. When Bill renames his boat “nympho” after her, Jojo screams at him from the dock “you can’t force me to do something I’m not ready to do…and until I am, if I am, the answer is NO!”. It’s an empowering moment, and one that should be equally noted by men who are hesitant to walk down the aisle. Forcing anyone to get married is a bad idea, and if it comes to that, it’s probably best that both parties step back and think about what they’re willing to compromise for the happiness of the person they love, sometimes it’s worth the compromise, and sometimes it’s not—yet another major life lesson thrown into this atypical “chick flick”.

Based on the reviews on IMDB (an fascinating way to see how differently people see the world) a lot of men seem utterly confused by Jojo’s character, as if the idea of a woman who didn’t want to get married but wanted to have sex was entirely fictional. What that says to me is that some men really don’t know women at all, maybe that’s why we keep getting the same tired “chick flicks”. It’s also pretty enlightened that, despite being called a nympho by her fiancée, Jojo isn’t slut-shamed, or made into a caricature of a sex-crazed women (à la Samantha in SATC).

I have to point out Matt Damon’s brief film debut in which he plays a preppy rich kid by the name of “steamer” whose only line is “mom, do you want my green stuff?”. When Roger Ebert reviewed this film in 1988, he said “I have a feeling that “Mystic Pizza” may someday become known for the movie stars it showcased back before they became stars”. I don’t think he was talking about Matt Damon, but Ebert was correct in predicting a lot of big talent would get its start in this film. Obviously Julia Roberts, but also Lili Taylor, Vincent D’Onofrio and even the lesser known Gish (who has continued to work steadily) got their first leading roles in this film.

While Mystic Pizza might not be the most unpredictable or solidly written film, it has endured because of its honesty, which at times may seem saccharine (youth is often sweet as well as sour though isn’t it?). For a lighthearted romantic film, it deals with some big issues; racism, classism, sex, friendship, and figuring out who you are and who you want to be with. If the acting weren’t so earnest, if the clichés weren’t present, the story wouldn’t ring as true, because the most charming part of the film is its smallness. It sucks that when this movie is mentioned it’s emphasized that the characters are blue-collar, hard workers, blah, blah, blah, because what does that say about most films out there? Everyone is inexplicably rich, and how they came to be that way is casually thrown aside (especially in the “chick flick” genre). It’s sad that we don’t see more films about people like the rest of us, because there are just as many interesting stories to be told about everyday people living and working through their “little” lives.

MARILYN CABLE TUNIC
$30 – alloy.com
Pullover tops »

Melrose Heights Jacket
$105 – modcloth.com
Cropped jackets »

Acid Wash Jegging
$70 – metroparkusa.com
Denimocracy jeans »

15 Denier Sheer Tights
$8 – topshop.com
Sheer hosiery »

Cropped Leggings
6.99 GBP – uniqlo.co.uk
Cropped leggings »

HEPBURN
55 GBP – kurtgeiger.com
Peeptoe shoes »

Snake stretch waist belt Black
10 GBP – houseoffraser.co.uk
Snake skin belts »

Moncler Fairisle Sweater
$340 – barneys.com


Gap Keds Slip-On Shoes
$40 – gap.com


Black Lace Bow Scrunchie
3.50 GBP – missselfridge.com


pizza box
tumblr.com


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Celebrating 100 Darts

Ok, so I guess it might not be all that exciting for anyone but me, but I was pretty surprised to see this was my 100th post. I thought a little celebration was in order—which really means taking a look back at some highlights from the last 100 posts. I’m sorry if this is like when TV shows have a “new” episode, which is really just clips from old episodes, but I always secretly kind of liked those shows.

My Lovable Lipsticks post still reminds me that I should wear lipstick more often, it can be a great way to change-up your everyday look and try something new. I’ve been planning a blush post for a while, so you can expect that somewhere in the next 100 posts.

My nail polish ode is one of my favorites, it was so much fun to do, and my collection has since been weeded out and replenished, so there will probably be another one of these in the future!

What else happened in the last 100 posts?

I got angry about fashion magazines calling me a fruit:

I talked about popstars:

…and body image/acceptance:

I admitted my deep fear of dressing rooms:

…and my frustration with finding an exercise routine I could stick to:

I got married and talked about it a lot:

I wondered what the hell a “conventional beauty” was:

…and what “good hair” was:

And in June I started the feature ‘Beauty in the Movies’ as a way to explore films that showcase prominent, interesting, female characters (since there unfortunately aren’t too many out there). Since it started, ‘Beauty in the Movies’ (and sometimes on Television) has featured some pretty great films, and I hope to feature many, many more. Check out the 25 ‘Beauty in the Movies’ posts by clicking on the thumbnails below!

 

 

 

I’m really looking forward to the next 100 posts, and I want YOU to help me! Send me your suggestions for posts, or movies, or questions that need answering (I am compiling a Q&A post and hope to do an eyeshadow tutorial once I reformat my persnickety Flip camera) remember—there are no stupid questions!


More than anything I want to thank all of you for reading, without you I don’t think I would have had the motivated to keep writing, so I bestow on all you readers the most magical and wholehearted of thanks and good wishes. This blog has introduced me to some awesome, beautiful, intelligent, amazing people and I can’t wait to hear from more of you! Here’s to all you readers!

Kisses!!

xo

Justine

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Filed under acceptance, cosmetics

Beauty in the Movies: Princess Caraboo

Part of the reason I started Beauty in the Movies was to bring unknown or under-appreciated films to the attention of you readers out there, so today I’m featuring a lesser known movie which I hadn’t watched in years, but was happy to revisit.

Based on a true story, Princess Caraboo is spun on the question of “is she or isn’t she?”, so I will do my best not to give anything away while I impart a brief idea of the story to you. In early 19th century England, a girl (Phoebe Cates) is picked up and brought into the magistrate for committing the crime of begging. It was a common occurrence for the time, but this girl wasn’t like anything the inhabitants of the village of Almondsbury had ever seen before. She wore a turban and strange clothes, and she spoke an unrecognizable foreign language. When she is put before the magistrates, one of her fellow prisoners comes forward and states he can understand her language, he then tells the court her father is a king. At the plea of a local aristocrat’s wife, Mrs. Worrall (Wendy Hughes), the magistrate gives the girl into the care of the woman and her husband (Jim Broadbent). The Worall’s Greek manservant Frixos (Kevin Kline) believes she is a fraud, but her captivating presence seems to enchant everyone she encounters, including a journalist (Stephen Rea) who is determined to confirm or expose her amazing story one way or another. One thing is for sure, the question of the girl’s true identity will keep you watching until the end.

This was the last film Phoebe Cates made before she retired from acting in 1994  (although she did come back for the 2001 film The Anniversary Party). Cates avoided the path of the typical starlet and chose to raise her family and leave the industry, judging by her 20+ year marriage to Kevin Kline (quite an anomaly for Hollywood) it’s a decision she appears happy with. While it was a loss for the film industry, having appeared in some much-loved films (Gremlins, Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Cates still has a huge fan base, including me, who will always love her for making the movie Drop Dead Fred. In this film more than any other we get to see her acting chops, and they’re quite impressive. Cates manages a charming, regal, innocence in this film and gives a mesmerizing and memorable performance as the Princess. The film is also filled with notable British actors, and strangely Jerry Hall makes an appearance, I’m not sure why, but she wears a pretty costume.

The art direction and cinematography in Princess Caraboo are beautifully done, especially during the Royal Ball sequence (I’m such a sucker for a good ball sequence) which features some really gorgeous and interesting sets and costumes. The mix of the early 19th century Austen-era style with the Asian influences makes for some gorgeous visuals.

This film is about imagination, and that’s not to say whether Caraboo is or isn’t a “real” princess, it’s about what other people believe, and what we choose to believe. Princess Caraboo leaves you wondering what makes a person who they are. In My Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle tells us that “The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated” and Princess Caraboo presents us with the same dismaying reality that often a person’s worth is based on what they’re born with, rather than who they are as a person.

The story in the film is surprisingly true to the real adventure of Princess Caraboo, although as with all historical fiction, the film makes many suppositions and takes ample liberties. The real Princess Caraboo was quite a fascinating character with a remarkable story, and she is definitely worth looking up, just make sure you watch the film before you investigate her tale, because part of the pleasure of this film is not knowing the truth up until the end.

Whether she is or isn’t doesn’t matter as much as the way others react to Caraboo when they believe her to be princess or fraud. At nothing more than the mere suggestion of noble blood, disgust is replaced by awe in an instant. Watching the characters flicker between belief and doubt makes you ponder the notions of how we value one another. What makes a princess any different from a beggar? Is it who she is as a woman, or is it the way we perceive her that makes her who she is? One thing I know for sure is if you are in possession of a vivid imagination, you’re luckier than most, and if you can open up the minds of those around you and draw them in to the world you’ve created, well then anything is truly possible.

Embroidered cotton-blend shirt
$194 – theoutnet.com
Sheer tops »

JACQUARD KIMONO CARDIGAN
185 GBP – toast.co.uk
Kimono tops »

Feather Print Kimono
$55 – topshop.com
Tops »

turn the page boyfriend vest
$35 – shopruche.com
Pinstripe vest »

Twill Harem Pant
50 AUD – generalpants.com.au
Twill pants »

Nine West Kender Boots
$60 – piperlime.gap.com
Vintage boots »

Pearlescent Teardrop Earrings
$6.80 – forever21.com
Teardrop jewelry »

Vintage Beige Turban
135 GBP – mysugarland.co.uk
Beige hat »

Bedouin Scarf
$65 – allsaints.com
Striped scarves »

Louis Mariette Alexandra crystal tiara
$207 – net-a-porter.com


Missoni Turban Multicolor
169 EUR – jades24.com


Gieves and Hawkes Military Belts and Sashes
gievesandhawkesmilitary.com
Belts »

Sarong.com: Pomegranate Sheer
registeredsite.com


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How to Dye

For those of us who are going gray, or want to jazz-up their color without making a permanent change, today’s post is devoted to semi-permanent dyes. There aren’t too many options out there for ammonia-free hair color, which lasts about six shampoos before it starts to fade. Permanent dyes contain ammonia which can cause breakage, and they they don’t wash out, they need to be stripped out of your hair using very strong chemicals, so you’d better make sure you’re in love with that color before you apply it to your head. Trying a Semi-permanent dye can be helpful since it lets you do a trial run, and if you don’t like it, just shampoo until it fades.

Let’s take a look at three of the options for semi-permanent dyes on the market today.

Garnier HerbaShine Color Creme, $7.99

Herbashine was unfortunately a let down for me. First off, I wasn’t a fan of the smell, maybe it’s the bamboo extract and I’m a crazy person for thinking chemicals smell better than plants, but the scent really got to me.

It’s a cream formula rather than a liquid which is helpful, and the bamboo extract is supposed to make hair stronger and shinier which is also a plus. Garnier is actually describing this product as a “soft lift” rather than a semi-permanent dye, but sorting out the difference between the two gets very chemical, and since I dropped my high school chemistry class (in favor of art classes to the dismay of my guidance counselor) I really couldn’t explain any of it to you.

Herbashine did leave my hair shiny, soft, and bouncy, but it didn’t cover the grays very well, there were more than a few stragglers. I’ve read some other reviews of this and it seems that a lot of people have had bad allergic reactions—so remember to do a strand test before you dye!

Pros: Creme formula, soft hair, comes with nice conditioner packet (which smells much better)

Cons: Uneven gray coverage, strong smell

Clairol Natural Instincts Rich Color Creme, $8.99

I tried Clairol Natural Instincts when it first launched in 1999, I was in high school and I thought the color Egyptian Plum was totally amazing. I hadn’t tried it since then, but when I started dyeing my hair again this year I went back to it. The rich color creme is especially good because you don’t have to worry about dripping. The only problem with the creme is it’s only available in 10 shades rather than the 54 available in the original formula.

I find this stuff covers my gray pretty darn well, the smell isn’t great but it isn’t bothersome either. It also always seem to be on sale at my Stop & Shop so that’s a bonus. This is an ammonia-free dye, and I’ve found it lasts 4 weeks if you wash your hair about twice a week.

Pros: Nice gray coverage, creme formula, shiny, soft hair

Cons: Limited shades in creme formula

Lush Caca Noir Mama, $22.00

If you can’t stand the idea of putting chemicals in your hair, or if you’re vegan, or if you aren’t going for a dramatic color change, you might want to try one of the all natural henna hair dyes from Lush.

I personally can’t endorse this product since I don’t have the time or money for it. In theory it’s a great idea, and I was excited to try it, but I’ve found with Lush I either love their products or I regret buying them. Dyeing my hair with this stuff became a full day ordeal. After researching the proper way to melt it, painstakingly chopping it up as fine as possible, and then trying to apply the gloppy, drippy, muddy substance to my hair, by the time it was ready to wash out I was glad to be rid of it. Sadly, rinsing this stuff out isn’t as easy as one might think. I must have gotten the chemistry of mixing it wrong (maybe I shouldn’t have dropped that class after all?) because although it was smooth when I first applied it, it dried in big clumps on my hair, which not only hurt but also made me fear clogging my sensitive shower drain with mud. This fear resulted in me furiously shaking my head out in my backyard at 10pm, freezing my ass off while my fiance (now husband) alternately cracked up and painfully pulled chunks of henna out of my hair. In the end after struggling to get it all out, I guess my hair was softer, but it didn’t cover my grays at all which was the whole point. These dyes have a very strong, earthy smell, not necessarily bad, but definitely distinctive.

The hair hennas get mostly great reviews on the Lush website, so I have to guess it takes some practice and patience to get the application correct, but I have neither the time nor the money ($22) for this hair dye. If anyone else has tried it and liked it, I’d love to hear about it.

Pros: Vegan, all natural, gentle

Cons: Difficult application, cost, poor gray coverage

Whatever method you decide to go with for dyeing your hair, here are some essential tips:


1. Do not do your nails first! – It seems obvious, but the number of times I’ve ruined a manicure from dyeing my hair makes me question my intelligence. It’s usually not until I’ve shaken the bottle up that I realize I have pastel nails which will soon be stained brown. Obviously you should be wearing plastic gloves when you apply hair color, but it’s the wash-out process that always ruins my polish.

2. Vaseline – Before you dye, rub some Vaseline all around your hairline, try not to get it on any grays you want to cover, but definitely rub it around your ears and your forehead, it really cuts down on staining.

3. Witch Hazel – If like me, you still somehow end up with dye everywhere (how do I always get it on my forearms?) Witch Hazel is your best friend. After you’ve rinsed out the dye, just dab a cotton ball with some of it on any stained parts of your skin, it really fades the color. You can get it at the drug store, it’s usually with the astringents.

4. Brush your hair – This also seems like a no-brainer, but you should brush your hair before you apply hair dye, especially if you have long locks. Struggling through knots with dye in your hair is not only messy, but can cause your dye job to look uneven when sections of your hair are so knotted they avoid saturation by the dye.

5. Wear a shower-cap – I’m a big fan of shower caps, not just because they protect your hair from frizz in the shower, but also because they trap in heat when you’re dyeing or deep conditioning your hair which supposedly helps penetrate the hair faster and better, it also keeps you from dripping dye all over the place.

6. Shampoo – You may notice the instructions on these hair dyes tell you simply to rinse the product from your hair and then apply the conditioner without shampooing. Some might disagree with me here, but I always shampoo after I dye. Maybe the color doesn’t last as long, but it saves my sheets and towels from turning black (which has happened to me numerous times), so if you have dark hair, it’s something you might want to consider.

If you have any of your own hair dyeing tips and tricks let me know about them! Don’t forget to come back for Beauty in the Movies tomorrow!

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