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Winter Survival

Last week I wrote about how to stay moisturized in dry, freezing weather, but keeping in moisture is just one small part of winter survival. As the harshest of seasons, winter wreaks havoc with our bodies, our hair, and our emotions. As much as I’d love to break out the floral prints and pastels, we still have quite a bit of winter to get through, so here’s a few things that I’ve found help me make it through until the trees bud again.

Lush Lip Scrub

One of my absolute new favorite things is a product I didn’t even know I needed until my sister was nice enough to gift it to me. Balm will only help so much when you have flaky, cracked, winter lips, but this stuff will scrub and smooth, plus it’s so delicious (and all natural) you’ll want to eat the whole tub!

Static Guard

I’ve always had trouble with static-y hair in the winter, I’ve tried a bunch of different products, but I always end up returning to regular old Static Guard—it doesn’t smell great, but spray a little on your hair brush and you’ll zap way more static than most of the fancy hair products ever do.

A Puffy-Coat

I know there are people who don’t want to sacrifice fashion for warmth, or who don’t enjoy feeling like they’re wearing a sleeping bag, but after many years of wearing wool coats over layers upon layer, my first down coat felt like warm, fluffy, lightweight heaven. You can catch great sales on these babies this time of year, and you’ll definitely be thankful for your investment for many winters to come.

Wool Socks

Like the puffy-coat, the wool sock (though certainly not high-fashion) is an essential for winter warmth. Nothing feels worse than cold toes on a freezing day, especially when there is such an easy solution.

Netflix Subscription

I’ve never been more grateful for my Netflix subscription as on days when there is more than a foot of snow outside. If your car is buried, or your street hasn’t been plowed, having a good movie to watch can be your saving grace—and if you can stream it to your television, you won’t even care that you can’t leave your house!

What are you guys doing to survive the Winter?

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Fight Winter Dryness

It’s Groundhog Day, and despite what that rodent in Pennsylvania says, I think we still whole lot of winter ahead of us (I know the little guy didn’t see his shadow, but have you seen it outside?). Aside from the freezing weather and the mounds of snow and ice which have moved in for good, dry skin is one of the most irritating parts of this season. Unfortunately we can’t control the weather, but we can control the dryness of our skin, amen for that.

Winter is bad enough without dealing with flaking, cracking, chapped skin. Magazines make a big deal about changing your routine, but I’ve always found that doing the same thing—and often doing less, is what helps skin stay healthy. Too bad the harsh weather and the dry air can change the way skin and hair feel, which means sometimes a change is necessary. Here are the products I find keep skin feeling like June even in the midst of bitter February.

Herbal Works Moisturizing Salt Scrubs

The shower is the best place to trap much-needed moisture on your skin—you’ll also avoid constantly slicking on goopy moisturizers later on. I’m obsessed with this scrub my mom gave me for Christmas from Herbal Works (their online store is closed at the moment, but should be back soon). I couldn’t believe how using just a small amount could completely eradicate my flaky winter skin. It also has an insanely good smell that lasts all day long. My mother is so obsessed with this scrub that she bought it in the bulk size available for spas and salons:

(Cat used for scale)

If that’s not an endorsement I don’t know what is.

Lush Massage Bars

If you prefer to moisturize after you shower, Lush massage bars are an excellent and wonderful smelling way to keep the moisture on your skin. I love Fever, which smells like jasmine and sandalwood. These bars melt in your hands, so you can rub them on yourself—or get someone to help you out (Valentines Day is just a week away!).

Aquaphor Healing Ointment


I talked about it over the summer, but this stuff is even more essential in the winter. As someone who has often found themselves out in the winter chill without a good pair of gloves, I know the only thing to cure my cracked, irritated hands is Aquaphor. If skin gets to the point of bleeding, angry, discomfort, regular moisturizers will do nothing, you need Aquaphor.

Nivea Lip Balms

I’ve tried a lot of lip balms in my day, and nothing goes on smoother and moisturizes more than Nivea lip balms. They’re an affordable essential that can repair even the most chapped winter lips.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

Cetaphil is a drugstore classic, it’s an alternative to more expensive skin moisturizers and great for sensitive skin. In the winter when we need moisture more than ever, so the bargain price tag is especially appreciated. No need to deprive your skin and ration out expensive creams, Cetaphil gets the job done at a quarter of the cost.

Burt’s Bees Avocado Hair Treatment

Winter means dry hair, which if you fall prey to frizz, is actually a good thing, but shiny hair needs moisture and in the winter that can require some work. Wet your hair first, and then brush in some Burt’s Bees Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment, leave it on for five minutes or a whole afternoon, when you finally shampoo you will find yourself with a shiny head of frizz-free hair.

Happy Groundhog day everyone—if you wake up to another ice storm tomorrow morning I hope you eventually find your way out of the time loop!

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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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Beauty Grab-Bag: Lush, Sparkle, & Kittens

So for this week’s Grab-Bag I have a few fun things to share. Firstly, my parents were recently in Quebec and my wonderful mother brought me back some Lush goodies (they’re cheaper up there because you don’t have to pay the import tax), including a new cleansing lotion called 9 to 5, and I love it.

It’s made with almond oil and dove orchid extract so it makes your skin really soft. It’s also supposed to be a make-up remover, but if you wear a lot of eye make-up it’s not strong enough to get all of it off. As a cleanser it’s really nice. I usually use a cleanser you have to rinse off with soap, but this one just needs to be wiped away with a face towel—and I tell you, it’s gentler on the skin. So far I’m really liking it.

Another great recent Lush product (recommended by my sister) is this Coconut deodorant powder. I’m a bit powder crazed, so when I saw this was a deodorant I was a little disappointed, but when I found out you can use it like a powder, and it has smell stopping deodorant-like properties, I got excited about it. It smells really nice and coco-nutty, similar to Lush’s trichomania solid shampoo. For the summer, just to be safe, I’ve still be using a real deodorant along with this powder, but I think in the cooler weather I’ll be able to use it alone. Also, as much as we like to pretend it’s not true, we sweat in other places but our underarms—and for the particularly dreaded boob-sweat, this stuff really works wonders!

In a post last week I discussed my search for purple wedding flats, well I found a pair, but they’re not purple. I was at DSW, and I came upon these. They were the most comfortable pair I tried on. Obviously if they were in purple it would be ideal, but silver kind of works too, I just can’t decide if I should keep looking for something similar in purple, or just stick with these.

They were $60, they’re gray suede, and they’re a perfect mix of cute (with the bows) and dress-up (with the sparkle). These pictures don’t do them justice, the sparkle is really nice, and since my dress is tea length and fifties inspired, the pointed style works too.

What say you readers? Keep looking or keep these?

Another recent purchase is this MAC eyeshadow, the color is ‘filament’, it’s very shimmery. It’s the first real eyeshadow I’ve bought at MAC since I stopped working there. I used to only buy the palette size, but for everyday use the palettes get unwieldy and it’s nice to have some that are stand alone. It’s not a new color and it sort of looks like fairy dust, which is appropriate since tomorrow for Beauty in the Movies we’re saying farewell to Summer with a bit of Shakespearean magic in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


Oh right, I promised kittens, my sister recently adopted a couple, and they’re excessively cute, one of them is a Maine Coon named Thora and I think she’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Her paws are enormous, which only add to the cuteness. I didn’t get a good pic of the other guy, so I’ll save him for another day.

She’s pretty darn cute isn’t she?

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for Beauty in the Movies, and also don’t forget to tell me about your best beauty buys!!

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Beat the Summer Gross

If you live in the New York City area, you’ve been either sweating your butt off for the past couple of weeks, or adding money to your electric bill by cranking the AC day and night. Earlier this month records were broken from Central Park to La Guardia Airport. Just this past weekend more heat records were set across the area, and we still have another 2 weeks of July. Even when records aren’t being broken, the temperature has been sitting at an average of 90 degrees each day, so it’s hard not to feel like this:

Maybe you’re one of those people who thrive in the heat, who soak up the suns rays with pleasure and feel invigorated by the sweat—if that’s you, I’m in total awe.

If you see a girl looking sweaty, angry, tired, sunglasses slipping down her nose, a halo of frizz around her head, blisters on her feet, and using her skirt as a means to fan herself, well that’s probably me. I was not made for the heat, I am of hearty eastern European and Irish stock, I flourish in winter and was born in December, heat and humidity have always felt foreign and unbearable to me.

What drives me nuts about the heat is that you can’t escape it, the air just bears down on you. When you’re cold you can add on more layers, drink hot tea, start a fire, snuggle up with a buddy, do some vigorous exercise—you have some (usually inexpensive) options besides turning up the thermostat. When it’s nearly 100 degrees outside and the air is wet with humidity, all you can do is turn on the AC, or bathe yourself in cold water.

What’s worse is dealing with the back and forth between superficially freezing places like office buildings or supermarkets and the baking heat of the outdoors, it makes you nauseous. Then you have the constant worry of bringing a sweater wherever you go, and having to carry it around since it won’t fit in your bag—and maybe you should just bring a bigger bag, ugh, frustrating.

I recently read in a magazine (I have no idea which one, I can’t keep them straight at this point) that around 75% of women feel more beautiful in the summer, I found that sort of shocking. I guess it makes sense when you think about it, people work out more because you end up showing off your body more, and if you tan then you feel better about yourself too. For me though, the summer means frizzy hair, shiny skin, visible sweat stains and eww—chafing.

Chafing is gross, and while it’s stigmatized as something that only happens if you’re overweight, it can happen to anyone at anytime. It occurs from sweating and rubbing and it can happen anywhere on your body. It can even happen on your feet when you’re wearing cute new sandals and decide that even though you haven’t broken them in, it will probably be OK to walk around the city in them all day—big mistake.

The summer makes me long for socks, and boots, and comfy sweaters, but come February it will be a different story. Anyway, it’s hard enough to bear the dumbing heat, but trying to look attractive on top of it—who even cares? Unfortunately there are also a lot of events in the summer; parties, BBQs, weddings, and when you attend these events you want to feel you’re looking your best. So, I’ve put together a list of a some products that help keep me feeling human when I can’t sit around the house in my underwear with the fan blowing on me.

If you’re going to wear make-up in the summer, you have to be prepared for it to slide off your face, so what I suggest is a tinted moisturizer with SPF because it’s very light and gives you sun protection too. Now the problem for me is that I’m incredibly pale, so even the “fair” shade in most tinted moisturizers is too orange for me. I don’t think I’m alone here, a lot of these products only come in 1-3 shades and people come in a lot more shades than that. Laura Mercier makes this one in a variety of shades, it has a nice light coverage, but is a bit pricey, there is also an oil free version available.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, $42 for 1.5 oz.

I like to make my own tinted moisturizer by using my normal moisturizer and mixing it with concealer. This way you have control over how light you want your coverage to be, and it’s much cheaper. You can just mix it together on your hand and then apply it, or you can get fancy and actually mix it up in a container, just make sure it’s well sealed.

M.A.C Studio finish SPF 35 concealer, $16.50

Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15, Fragrance Free, $11.49 for 4 fl oz

I’ve spoken before about my love of powder, specifically Lush dusting powders, but they’re $11.95 for 3.5 oz and in the summer I go through powder fast. I always keep this Johnson & Johnson powder on hand because it’s inexpensive and with the lavender and chamomile scent you won’t have to smell like a baby either.  If you dust yourself with this stuff after a shower you will stay smelling sweet and you’ll minimize sweat too!

Johnson’s Baby Baby Powder, Lavender & Chamomile, $5.49 for 22 oz.

Frizz is the enemy. During the summer months it can be completely unavoidable, but I’ve found that if I use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, a leave-in conditioner, and then while my hair is wet I work in an anti-frizz finishing creme, I manage to keep the poof under control. I also give my hair a blast of ice-cold water right before I jump out of the shower, it’s supposed to seal the cuticles and increase shine or something, also the cold water feels invigorating when it’s this hot out. I’ve also decided that the Fekkai glossing conditioner is worth the hefty price tag, because it really works. I’m still on a quest to find a conditioner that works as well for less money. That all sounds complicated, but avoiding frizz is a battle people!

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Secret Weapon Flawless Finishing Creme, $5.99 for 4 oz.

Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Shampoo, $35 for 16 oz

Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Conditioner, $35 for 16 oz

Nexxus Humectress Luxe Ultimate Moisturizing Leave-In Spray, $11.49 for 5.1 fl. oz.

Remember when I mentioned chafing? Yeah, it happens whether you want to admit it or not, and Aquaphor ointment is a great way to sooth yourself after you’ve fallen victim to the rub. I love this stuff, it is great for chapped skin in the winter, chafed skin in the summer, burns, small cuts, even bug bites.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment $5.99 for 1.75 oz.

This one is more for after you’ve been in the heat and you’ve forgotten your sunscreen and are now suffering from a painful and unattractive sunburn. When you get home from the beach or a walk in the park and notice that your skin is turning a brighter and brighter shade of pink each moment, you’ll be very glad you bought some aloe gel and put it in your fridge. My mom always kept a bottle in our fridge year round, and it remains to be one of the most comforting things for a bad sunburn, you can also just put it on if you’re really hot, anything helps right?

Up & Up Green Aloe Gel, $3.49 for 16 oz.

Lastly, but most importantly—put your hair up! Seriously, this seems like a no brainer, but when I see girls with their long hair sticking to the back of their necks, it instantly makes me feel hotter. I think sometimes we’re willing to sweat our butts off and be miserable to avoid ponytail bumps in our hair. But for real, this instantly cools you down, unless you’re lucky and can sport a cute short hair cut, then you have us all beat!

Goody Ouchless Hair Elastics, $2.99 for 14 pieces

I’d love to hear what other tips people have for managing to feel human when you really just want to seek out the nearest air conditioner. Please give me more tips, I need them!!

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Live a Lush Life

Have you heard of Lush? I’m assuming most of you have, it’s been around for a while, but if you haven’t heard of it you should. Let me tell you why.

Firstly I want to say I think more advertising should be done by people who genuinely like the products and are happy to promote them. I’m not saying companies should ask anyone to do this for free (although I’m about to do that right now), but if you can’t find people to promote your product who really like it and use it, then maybe it’s time to change the product.

Lush seems to understand this, they put out a great newspaper called Lush Times every season with new products and tons of reviews by real people who love the brand and are happy to talk about the products they use. They share their stories and pictures and It feels both authentic and fun, two things not seen too often in normal cosmetics promotions.

In the cosmetics world, Lush is a very unique brand. Although they don’t sell makeup, they do sell lip balms, hair products, and perfumes as well as bath products. It’s all organic and natural (like actually totally, not just labeled that way to appear “green”), has quite a selection of vegan items, and they make products that do amazing things while smelling absolutely delicious without the addition of chemicals. They also tell you exactly what is in the products they’re selling you, wild idea right?

It’s  nice that Lush doesn’t use model or celebrity endorsements or feature them in their ads, in fact they don’t seem to advertise much at all from what I can tell. They seem to function mainly on word of mouth and getting people into the stores—and it should be a lesson to other companies that if you make a good product, you don’t need to spend millions of dollars on ad campaigns.

One way that Lush cuts down on the cost of their products is by making their packaging from recycled plastic. Sometimes it’s a little wonky, but for the cost and the green factor it’s worth it. So often with cosmetics 75% of the cost goes into the packaging, so I’d rather get more product for the price anyway, although I can be a sucker for good packaging. Some of their products don’t use packaging at all, like their bath bombs.

My sister and I first stumbled on Lush when we were visiting family in Ireland in 2002, we took a day trip to Dublin and the most fun we had the whole day, aside from Dublinia! an interactive exhibit for children in the basement of Christ Church, which we played in like we were four-year olds, was discovering Lush (we made the mistake of going on a day when all the museums were closed). We could literally smell Lush from down the street, and wandered into the shop mesmerized by the colorful products and friendly staff. I think our Irish relatives thought we were crazy when we came home that night, each with a big bag of bath bombs and bubble bars, but it was exciting, we had never seen cosmetics sold in such a way before.

When we arrived home in New York, our whole suitcases, all our clothes, everything, was filled with the beautiful aroma. From then on, every time someone was going overseas we begged them to get us some Lush—I’m sure this was incredibly annoying, but we couldn’t get it in the states, so what could we do but beg? Finally after several years they opened stores across the U.S., unfortunately they don’t produce products in the states so they have to import them from Canada which drives the prices up a bit, but the cost still doesn’t touch what other cosmetics brands charge, so it’s worth it.

I’m going to run-through some of my favorite products, and if any of them appeal to you I hope you’ll check them out!

if you haven’t discovered Lush yet, or even if you have, you can find a store near you here. And if there isn’t one near you, they’re opening new shops all the time.

Let’s start with a soap that is great if you like your products earthy, scrubby, and delicious smelling. If you don’t like little bits of leaves in your soap you might not like it, but if you don’t mind bringing some nature into your shower you’ll love it.

Also a note on Lush soaps, at the stores you can get them cut into any size for you, so if you only want say a $5 piece to try, just ask them. Isn’t that nice?

Figs and Leaves Soap,$7.60 for 3.5 oz.

This is my favorite moisturizer, and it’s so much less expensive than a lot of department store creams. It smells like vanilla and cream and it is specifically made for sensitive skin which is great for me, also a little goes a very long way.

Celestial face moisturizer, $22.95 for 1.5 oz.

I’m very upset that I no longer have a bathtub because it means I can’t use Lush bubble bars anymore. I love bubble baths, and these bars create so many bubbles and leave your skin so smooth and sweet-smelling it’s perfect for the end of a stressful day. You can cut one bar up into pieces and save them so it lasts longer too, because they really do produce a lot of bubbles.

Creamy Candy Bubble Bar, $7.25 for a 3.5 oz. bar

Probably my all time favorite Lush product. If I could afford it I would put this on my hair every week. It’s one of the products my sister and I were completely hooked on as soon as we discovered Lush. It’s a hair mask, you put it on your dry hair (you need to saturate your head, I usually end up using half the container on my hair) and then leave it on for 15 minutes, or put on a shower cap to keep in the heat, and leave it on for hours. After you wash the treatment out you’re left with shiny, lovely, amazing, spicy scented hair. I love it, but I love most things that smell spicy, so if you do too, you will definitely love this. Your hair will smell like a spice market in some beautiful far-off eastern country, yum.

H’Suan Wen Hua Hair Treatment, $18.95 for 7.9 oz.

Do you like Almonds? I love almonds, I love marzipan, I love the smell of almonds, I love almond milk, and I adore this soap. The only downside is that it is so creamy it melts away fairly fast, but it leaves your skin smelling heavenly, so it’s worth it.

Alkmaar soap, $7.95 for 3.5 oz.

Since I can’t take baths anymore, I have re-discovered shower gels, and this is one of my favorites. It’s great if you shower in the morning and have trouble waking up because it has a bright, cirtus-y scent that gives you instant pep for the day.

Happy Hippy, $26.95 for 16.9 oz.

I’m a little obsessed with body powders. Especially in the summer, I cover myself in powder every-time I get out of the shower, the cloud of dust scares both my cats and my fiancé, but I wouldn’t stop it for the world. If you don’t powder I highly suggest it, I love that in yoga class once I start to sweat, instead of smelling gross, the people around me are treated to a gorgeous vanilla aroma, lucky them. I love Lush’s Silky Underwear, but I just bought this new scent and it’s making for some serious competition.

Vanilla Puff Powder, $11.95 for 3.5 oz.

I did a whole post about shampoo because I’ve been questioning my whole hair care procedure recently. So I went back and tried Lush shampoo bars again, and now I can’t remember why I ever stopped using them to begin with! They can get a little crumbly in the shower once you get near the end of them, but no more so than a bar of soap. It is amazing how much lather these things produce, I mean seriously, I had enough lather on my head for three more people, and like everything Lush, they smell spectacular (except for the soak and float bar which is for dandruff, and kind of stinky, but supposedly effective).

Karma Komba, 9.95 for 1.9 oz.

If you’re lucky enough to have a bath tub, you should definitely try one of Lush’s bath bombs. I love the Butterball which smells (obviously) buttery and creamy and has little pieces of coca butter that melt into your skin, ugh, it’s so good.

When you go into a Lush shop they will give you a bath bomb demonstration, that way you can see how it fizzes and buzzes around your bath tub, sometimes changing the water colors, or releasing sparkles, but always smelling amazing.

The next time you’re feeling romantic, or sharing a bath with someone else, I recommend trying out this bomb. It releases a whole jumble of flower petals into your bath, as well as the incredible smell of roses and lavender. You may have to clean the petals out of your drain, but who doesn’t want to bathe in rose petals?

I like to buy bath bombs (or bubble bars) just to keep them in my drawers, they make all my clothes smell incredible.

Softy, $6.25 for 6.3 oz.

Anyone else have some Lush product recommendations? I’m sure I could go on forever because I’ve sampled most of their products, so feel free to ask questions too! Happy bathing!

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Filed under cosmetics, shopping

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

I need to talk about shampoo. Last time I had my haircut, I was scolded (though nicely, because my stylist is very sweet) for using Pantene shampoo and conditioner. I’ve been using Pantene off and on for a long time now. Recently, I’ve been using it because they sell massive bottles of it at Costco for really cheap, and I’m broke.

Pantene always gets written up in fashion mags as the best shampoo, it seems like it is advertised everywhere and that everyone uses it. So I was really surprised when after asking me what shampoo I’ve been using, my stylist squeezed my hair in her fingers and said “yup, I knew it was Pantene, I can feel it”. She assured me that I did not have to buy any of the expensive luxury salon products, but that I should be able to find inexpensive alternatives at the drugstore. She also suggested I use a clarifying shampoo to get out all the residue Pantene had apparently left behind.

Well, I did stop using my Pantene, and I even went out and spent money on some new fancy shampoos excited that maybe my hair would finally be tamed and less frizzy. I used my clarifying shampoo, and then my new expensive ones too, but despite my hair being softer, I can’t say that it made a huge difference, all of which led me to wonder, does shampoo really matter?

I trust my stylist, and I’m pretty sure she was correct that my hair was feeling waxy and weighed down, but I also have really thick hair that soaks up everything, so I think that’s why Pantene wasn’t working for me. She mentioned that Pantene isn’t so bad for thinner, less coarse hair. My real question is, what is the difference between an $8 bottle of shampoo and a $25 bottle? I’ve learned that it’s worth it to pay more for certain eye creams or hair styling products, but I’ve always thought that shampoo was mostly just shampoo, I’ve tried tons of them and never really noticed an obvious difference in what my hair looked like in the end.

My stylist recommended Sebastian Drench shampoo and conditioner, and I obligingly bought it. 

Did I expect a miraculous change? Of course. Did I get one? No. It’s ridiculous how excited we get over something so silly. I actually thought using this shampoo was going to completely change not just my hair, but my look, and my confidence all in just one washing. I don’t think I’ve ever found a product that was able to do all that for me, because it’s never that simple.

There are products that I love that I might even say I can’t live without, and I would be devastated to find any of them discontinued, but I would be lying to myself, and also not giving myself enough credit, if I really believed they were solely responsible for my confidence. The Sebastian shampoo is good, it smells nice, it’s a bit pricey at $14 for a 250 ml bottle and I haven’t decided if I would buy it again. Obviously being unimpressed by one shampoo didn’t stop me from continuing to look for a better one.

I tried going back to using Lush shampoo bars, which I really do love, sadly they get a little messy in my shower, but they’re a really great stand-by and smell amazing. If you haven’t tried them I totally recommend that you do, especially the Ultimate Shine Solid Shampoo Bar, $9.95 at Lush.com.

A few weeks ago I was psyched to find that Costco (are you starting to notice I’m obsessed with Costco?) was carrying a Frederick Fekkai glossing set. I had always wanted to try his shampoo, but at $25 each for shampoo and conditioner, it was always way too pricey. The Costco set has a bottle of each, plus a tube of glossing creme (which I already use and love) so I bought it. I used it. and I have to say, it was pretty good. My hair felt really soft and glossy. Unfortunately it made my hair (which is usually pretty dry) greasy after the second day. I usually only wash my hair 2-3 times a week, so that was a little disappointing. It is a good product though, and I am contemplating going back to Costco and stocking up before they stop selling them, because I know I’ll never be able to bring myself to spend the full $50 to buy them again.

So now I’m back at square one, no idea what to wash my hair with, no idea if it even matters. I feel silly for even writing this post, but I do it in the hopes that I’m not the only one who frets over my shampoo. I want to have healthy hair, I love my hair, I’m willing to put time and (some) money into it. I just get sick of all the promises, all the excitement and then the let down when it always looks the same. Obviously if I had more confidence maybe I wouldn’t care so much, so I’ll be working on that too. I know that I’ll never stop looking for that magical shampoo though, the one that creates perfect, glossy, frizz-less waves, it might be as mythic as El Dorado, but my quest will never cease.

On a more fulfilling cosmetics note, my lovely soon-to-be sister-in-law Alison, got me an adorable little present. It’s mini bottles of the new summer Essie line, YAY! Un-like shampoo, I know that I can use these guys and see an obvious result!

From left to right, Knockout Pout, Pretty Edgy, Demure Vixen and Haute as Hello.

Thanks Alison! Can’t wait to try them all!

Ok, so I really want to hear what shampoo people use, seriously, let me know, I’m at a loss! Does anyone have one that they swear by? Suggestions, stories? Am I the only one who loves Costco? Let me know!

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Filed under hair