Tag Archives: CVS

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips

Last week I finally tried out Sally Hansen Salon Effects Polish Strips. Since they’re kind of pricey I’ve been waiting for a special occasion to use them (this past weekend was my sister’s 30th b-day party, a worthy event). There are two sets of 8 strips in each package, I’m totally confused as to why they don’t just give you an even 20 to assure that you get two uses out of each purchase—I mean most of us have 10 fingers right? Am I missing something?

If you have relatively short nails you should easily be able to get all 10 fingers covered with the 8 strips, using a scissor just cut off the top part of the strips you place on your thumbs and apply them to your pinkys. If you do that you can set aside the other 8 strips for another use. Once you’ve opened the vacuum sealed package, these will dry out and won’t stick to your nails as easily.

I followed the directions on the insert, but I added a top coat which makes for a shinier finish and adds extra protection. The hardest part of application is fitting the strip on to the cuticle line. If, like me, you have small nails you might have to trim off some of the excess around your nail bed, but for the most part I was surprised at how easily these fit on my nails. Just remember to press down and smooth out any air bubbles. Also note that application can be a bit messy due to the discarded bits of polish getting everywhere, as you can see here:

…but it’s worth it because they’re really f-ing cute!! I couldn’t stop looking at my nails and have received many compliments. I especially like this pattern (Check it Out), because the black and white make it sort of (a crazy) neutral as compared to some of the other patterns available.


I don’t see why you would buy these in the solid colors, you might as well just use regular polish, the patterns are pretty awesome if you love nail art though. Apparently they can last up to 10 days, but I may be harder on my nails than anyone on the planet so as you can see from this picture by Tuesday morning (I applied them Thursday night) they’ve started cracking and chipping.

I will be buying these in more patterns, especially when there is a promo like buy one get one half off at CVS. They sell out quick though, so when you see them be sure to snap them up, they’re definitely worth a try!

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The Basic Beauty Essentials Everyone Should Have—For Real

There are a lot of fun items involved in beautification, there’s lipstick, eyeliner, deep conditioners, toners, and hundreds of other “important” things for you to buy and use, but sometimes it’s the simpler items that are essential. You always keep them stocked, you use them more than pricey products, and they’re available at your local drug store. It’s not usually that exciting when you re-stock them, but if they ever stopped making any of these products (god forbid) you know you’d be really upset. If I run out of any of this stuff, or lose any of these tools, I have to make a rush visit to the drug store to replenish ASAP.

A lot of these items also have multiple uses, they’re tools, honest to goodness tools, just like hammers and nails. Who needs a pliers when I have a cuticle clipper? I’ll never forget working at MAC and listening to one of the very masculine stock guys going on and on about the wonders of nail polish remover and how it could erase sharpie marker. He was impressed by the untold usefulness of beauty products, and so am I, most women have an arsenal of tools disguised as beauty products sitting on their bathroom shelf—we’re savvy like that.

Hair elastics are about as essential as it gets if you have hair past your chin. I’m a Scünci girl, Goody is alright, but I don’t find them as well made. I like the no damage elastics without any metal on them, and they’re strong too. Hair elastics have many purposes, I never have rubber bands so they end up being used for a multitude of things, like bundling pencils or keeping shutters closed, oh yeah, and putting your hair in a ponytail too.

Scünci Elastics, Medium Black, $2.69 for 28

My hair is a battle ground for hair accessories, only the strong survive. My strands snap hair elastics like nobodies business and they laugh at silly little hair clips. I’ve tried dozens of hair claws and clips, so when I found these heavy-duty, no-slip gripped clips, my hair finally met its match. They still break sometimes, but they stand up to my hair like nothing else. They’re also essential for keeping curtains closed and you can clip them all over your bathroom so you always have one on hand.

Scunci No-Slip Grip Jaw Clips, $3.19 for 2

There is always one of these looped over my bathroom doorknob, if you have bangs or even long layers around your face, you need one of these to push your hair back when you put on a cleansing mask, or just wash your face everyday. I treat them like crap and they always end up looking ratty, but you can throw them in the wash, and whenever I lose them I realize how much I need them, especially if I’m in need of a bang trim.

Scunci Hairband, Assorted Colors, 5 for $5.69

One of my favorite things about beauty supply stores is the huge tub of bobby pins you can get for like, 2 bucks, so cheap and they last forever. Unfortunately when you can’t make it to a real beauty supply, you have to settle for the slightly more expensive (but still pretty cheap) Conair or store brand bobby pins. If you’re growing out your hair, or you like to wear up-dos, you need bobby pins. They’re also great for cleaning up nail polish in the corners of your nails, unlocking doors, and so many other little things.

Conair Brush Styling Essentials Matte Minis Bobby Pins, Black, 60 for $1.29

Ok, so this one is hard to use as anything but soap, although Wendy does try to re-attach Peter Pan’s shadow with a bar of soap, but mostly I just love this stuff because it’s extra gentle and I have very sensitive skin. I try to get someone with a BJ’s membership to buy it for me or let me tag along on a trip because they have it there in bulk. I’ve been using it forever and it never disappoints in making my skin soft and irritation-free.

Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar, Antibacterial, $4.49

A cardinal rule of skin care is “don’t touch your face”, and it’s really true, my skin has gotten so much better since I started following that rule, I should have listened to my mother when I was teenager. If you must pop a pimple or squeeze a blackhead, use this loop, it’s worth the $9.00 to keep your skin clear and satisfy the urge to pop. It looks like a torture device, and you can go a little squeeze-happy with it, but it’s a great thing to have on hand when you need it, always clean it off with some rubbing alcohol (another essential) between uses too.

Tweezerman Skin Care Tool, $8.99

These are an ultimate essential product, I actually buy mine in bulk at Costco, but I’ve tried these Johnson’s wipes and they’re good too. I know that Terrence Howard thinks they’re essential for other reasons, but they’re great for cleaning out your makeup cases, and they can be critical for makeup application. If it’s hard to get a straight line on your eyeliner, or if you screw up and need to wipe it all off, you need some of these babies on hand.

Johnson’s Baby Hand & Face Wipes 25 for $2.99

I don’t know about everyone else, but I don’t wash my hair that often. It takes literally six+ hours to dry and it doesn’t get greasy very quickly. So when I shower I need to protect my hair from the water, otherwise the steam has a field day creating frizz. I like these Goody shower caps because they’re super cheap, brightly colored and they last a long time. My fiance things that shower caps are hysterical, which is why I’m considering ordering one of these immensely silly caps from Urban Outfitters, because he’ll get a kick out of it, it’s fun—and who cares? You’re in the shower anyway!

Goody Shower Cap Large, $1.49 or

Urban Outfitter Shower Caps, $8.00

This tool is probably the most essential of my essential products. It’s meant for clipping cuticles and it does an amazing job with its super sharp edges, but it’s also great for clipping the tags off clothes. To me, it’s a standard do-everything tool. I use it to open stubborn products and I pretty much use it as a pliers most of the time, I have a toolbox with a legit pliers, but this guy works better for everything. I’ve had mine for about six years and it’s still pretty sharp, I think I might send it back to Tweezerman for a sharpening and re-aligning though, because they let you do that, so it’s worth the investment too.

Tweezerman Stainless Steel Cuticle Nipper, $24.99

We all need a nail file sometimes, especially in a nail emergency—this is a no-brainer. I’ve also used them to sand wood, but I’m weird, I use a lot of these products for art projects. These Trim boards are the way to go. I’ve bought cute nail files with hearts and patterns on them, and they’ve given me cuts under my nail, seriously—those things can be dangerous. Stick to these, they’re effective, last a long time, and the price is right.

Trim Salon Boards, Grit Heavy Duty/Medium 2 for $2.29

Ok, so now I want to hear about your essential items, I’m sure I’ve left some great products out, but I think it’s different for everyone. These are items that are either very cheap, or last forever and are used often, you can get them at the drug or beauty supply store, and you always need them, extra points for products with multiple uses! Let’s hear what you got!


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Keeping Cool at the Drugstore

It was so hot here yesterday, it hurt to move. My poor cats were laid out like fluffy pancakes on the floor, one of them looked like he was stuck in Dali’s Persistence of Time melting off the windowsill. They stared sadly at me and I thought, “cats are desert animals, they’ll be fine” and I gave them some water and left in pursuit of air conditioning.

The bank was nice and cold, but after I made my deposit I couldn’t stand around without calling attention to myself, so I headed to one of my favorite places—the drugstore.

I’m usually a CVS girl, mostly because it’s around the corner from where I live. Recently I’ve been thinking they’re slacking with their stock so I wanted to try the new Walgreens which is a whole mile away from me—it’s pure laziness that I haven’t been before. It seemed like the perfect time to try it, unfortunately I wasn’t impressed. I think I’ve become a drugstore snob. When I lived in Manhattan I could go to three different drugstores in a block, and they were always well stocked. Now it seems I can never find anything I’m looking for.

It drives me nuts when I see products in magazines that say things like “$6 in drugstores” because firstly, they’re always more expensive than that, and second, they never stock them. I know I’m a crazy person, but I have gone to dozens of drugstores in pursuit of a product on multiple occasions. When the Sally Hansen nail art pens came out, I went to every drugstore on the lower half of Manhattan, and three drugstores in Brooklyn too. I’m well aware that is a bit obsessive but most of those stores were on my walk home from work, I swear.

Unlike the grocery store which gives me panic attacks, I can waste a whole afternoon in a drug store. The people waiting at the pharmacy usually start to look at you funny, but you just avoid walking past too often. The drugstores in Canada are even better, they have mini department store make-up counters! I bought a whole bunch of Anna Sui cosmetics at a drugstore in Canada last fall, it was so exciting it almost made me want to move to Canada, but it’s way too cold there, I like my temperatures moderate.

I might make a regular feature of drugstore vs. department store makeup.  I play this game with myself where I see if I can replace something I buy at Sephora with something I can get at CVS (usually with a coupon). It’s really satisfying when it works out.

For example, I’m a personal believer that (unless you have allergies or are really sensitive) you should use drugstore mascara. YSL mascara is $30, and CoverGirl Lash Blast is about $8 depending on the store—I happen to get mine in a 3 pack at Costco for $12 which is amazing, but I’ll save that for my “ode to Costco” post. Unless you have a lot of money and don’t mind paying for it, spending that much on mascara is bad also since you should replace it every three months or so, and you’ll feel better doing that if you spend less on it. Seriously though, don’t waste your money. Also, I know they’re scary but an eyelash curler will do more for you than most mascaras will, and they sell them at the drugstore too.

So look out for other posts on comparable drugstore items, I love a bargain and many cosmetics are so overpriced it’s insane. Let’s check out what I got at the store yesterday.

Curad Sesame Street Bandages

One of the reasons I love drugstores so much is because I have an unhealthy obsession with band-aids. Children often have this same obsession and it seems that I never got over it. The reason kids, and myself, like band-aids is because it’s like a sticker you can wear on your skin! This is why those flesh-colored band-aids will never do. Actually band-aid is a brand, just like Frigidaire, so I guess I’m actually obsessed with bandages, which somehow sounds much more creepy. I even have a little collection with some from Holland, and some from the 80’s and 90’s that they don’t make anymore, alright I know, I’m weird, moving on.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Daily Scrub

Next is Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash Daily Scrub, it’s a re-stock for me, I’ve finally found an exfoliating scrub I really like. It’s not too scrubby and I like the smell, plus it has salicylic acid, and this time of the year with all the sweating, I’m prone to breakouts.

What I really wanted to find yesterday was this Revlon Lipstain, which has a chap-stick on one side and a lipstain on the other.


But of course it’s impossible to find because it only just came out recently. As I’ve done before, I regrettably bought a different lipstain since I couldn’t find the one I wanted.

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstain

The Maybelline stain I bought is pretty similar to the CoverGirl lipstains that everyone loves, but I’m not a huge fan of those either, they’re both really drying. I settled and I was disappointed. The packaging deceived me (as it often does) and I thought it might be less stain-y. Boo.

I was also in search of the new Liquiline Blast Eyeliner from CoverGirl that is all over the magazines.

Again, no dice.

Maybelline Line Stylist Eyeliner, Black Sparkle

Since they were having a buy one get one 50% sale I bought the Maybelline Line Stylist Eyeliner instead, it’s actually pretty nice, it’s very smudgy and I actually like it so far. I’ll pretend I paid full price for this and got the lip stain for $3.

Walgreens Moleskin

I love that the Walgreens store brand of moleskin is called “super moleskin plus”, that has got to be some good moleskin. I’m apparently not the only one who needs this stuff in the summer because there was only a pack left in the store. If you don’t know what moleskin is, it may save your feet. It’s flesh-colored (they should really make it in different skin tones) and it comes in sheets so you cut a little piece out and then peel the back off like a sticker and put it on your foot where your shoe is rubbing. Apparently hikers use it a lot, but it’s a very handy thing and can make a pair of shoes much more bearable.

I’ve been looking for this Nivea Lip Care A Kiss Of Protection, SPF 30 since April and I can’t find it anywhere, I’m seriously starting to think someone is playing a trick on me, I can never find it anywhere. I would think it doesn’t really exist, except that my sister has it.

Obviously, they didn’t have this at Walgreens either, in fact they didn’t have any Nivea chap-sticks, so once again I bought a substitute (this is what happens when you spend your afternoon in the drugstore).

Blistex Lip Protectant/Sunscreen SPF 15, Deep Renewal

It’s pretty good, it’s SPF 15 instead of 30, and it’s not as creamy as the Nivea chap-sticks, but it smells good and is a bit minty.

Am I the only drugstore nut? I think a lot of women spend a lot of time in drugstores, especially on hot days!

I have to apologize if any of this post is incoherent because it’s still so hot here that I’m having trouble forming logical thoughts. The weatherman said it was going to be cooler today, it’s not. I’m praying for it to be lower than 85° tomorrow, my eastern European and Irish blood is not meant for this weather.

I hope the rest of you are staying cool wherever you are!

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