Sunday, July 12, 2015

Dry Shampoo

I use a lot of dry shampoo because I only wash my hair about once a week. It does get pretty greasy by the end, especially when I'm working out, or biking, or it's summer. So by the end of the week it's usually about 50% dry shampoo. I've tried Klorane since it came highly reviewed by every blogger and magazine and website, but to be honest it didn't seem anything special, and the bottle went super fast. I felt I only got a few uses out of it, and for the cost, it was not worth it. 

I got a three-pack of these batiste dry shampoos at Ulta on sale. They have horrible scents, like "sassy and striking mamba." I have no idea what these smelled like besides artificial. However. They soak up oil like a boss and make my hair magically look clean and fluffy again, which is the job of dry shampoo. They also barely leave any white residue and I can just fluff and go rather than rubbing it in a lot and brushing. Despite being tiny, I feel like they lasted longer than the Klorane, and they were super cheap. Batiste in general is cheap and I would buy it again, in an unscented version.

Except, I've been using plain cornstarch and it actually works fine. It's much messier and takes longer to apply, and it doesn't make the hair as fluffy as an aerosol can of dry shampoo does, but it works. I either keep it in an Altoids tin, where I just put my fingers in there and pick some up sticking to my fingers, then work it into my hair and repeat and repeat, or in an old cleaned out spice container with the little holes so I can sprinkle it in my hair. But cornstarch is kinda clumpy and it tends to not come out and then dump a ton out. The cornstarch also tends to really need a lot so it builds up if you are using it a few days in a row. However it is basically free, and it's travel-friendly as it is not a liquid, gel or aerosol. The internet also suggests using arrowroot powder which I also purchased fairly recently, and might try out. I think the same issues would apply. Although it's cool to go DIY, save money, and reduce the waste and chemicals associated with aerosol and packaging, though they no longer destroy the ozone layer, sprays tend to work better for me. I'm still looking though, and might try the Bumble and bumble Prêt-à-Powder.

Another similar product I've tried is Sally Hershberger Caffeine for Major Body 3-in-1 Volumnizing Spray. I read this review and went to a bunch of shops until I found it at CVS. At first I really thought it was working, but recently I've noticed if I spray it on hair that maybe already had some dry shampoo in it, it leaves this horrible sticky white residue. So, I no longer recommend. Maybe it's best to add volume to clean hair but that's not why I need dry shampoo.

tl;dr Dry shampoo is a life-changer.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Skincare Empties & Blue Lagoon

Good for me, I have been using up more products! It drives me crazy having four shampoos with half an ounce left in each, but that's where I am, so hopefully I can finish those soon. Here are some that I finished while on vacation in UK & Paris, because I'm fabulous.
Clinique Comforting Cream Cleanser - good but kinda greasy. I have had this for ages, I think it was another product I got from my grandma's house. I have never bought a Clinique product in my life and I don't think I will, I'm too snobby and they come from the mall. Turns out this product has been discontinued, so, it was pretty old. However, for my dry skin this was a pretty good cleanser, but it didn't make my skin feel clean. It is like putting on a thick lotion and then rinsing it off, with the residue you'd expect. The residue wasn't there if I wiped it off with a cloth but I'm not a huge fan of using a cloth, I feel it makes my skin a bit red and irritated. Started to smell funny by the end of the bottle which was probably about 5 years past its expiration date but don't judge me. I really do recommend a cream cleanser for the super dry-skinned like myself, maybe a cold cream?
Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen Lotion: My mom left this at my apartment when she visited, and then she didn't want it back. I realized why later when I was in Target and a nice lady was giving them out for free! So now I have another one. I like travel sizes for my daily products -- SPF face lotion, concealer, mascara -- so I can take them to the gym in the morning and not carry something big around all day, but, it makes my skin sting a little. I have no idea why, even the new one does. I'll finish it off since it's so tiny but, no thank you, lotion shouldn't hurt. I don't really have sensitive skin either, and I put it on in the morning when I don't even wash my face so it's not like it's getting into overly-exfoliated irritated skin or anything. I guess I could use it on my body but it would cover maybe one leg.
Blue Lagoon Algae and Mineral Body Lotion: this lotion was just OK despite the Blue Lagoon's status as the most magical, other-worldly, lunar landscape spa which is simultaneously bizarre, packed with people, relaxing, and good for your skin. Oh and also you can drink booze while in the pool/spa. The Blue Lagoon is a natural hot springs, the likes of which are everywhere in Iceland, and the water and the sediment in it (not sure how to describe this) is full of minerals like silica and algae that are really good for your skin and extra-relaxing. It has been turned into a huge super-modern spa and it is extremely popular. We only got to spend an hour or so in there due to arriving at the same time as about 5 other coach buses, long lines and somewhat poor planning by the travel company we booked with, but it was a magical hour. And then my brand-new-fiancé left his iPhone by the pool and I had to race back through the maze that is their locker rooms, fully clothed in my boots, to retrieve it minutes before the bus to the airport left. Anyway what was I saying... yeah, we got cheap flights to Iceland that included hotel, transport to and from the hotel via the Blue Lagoon, and while that was easy, really, the hotel left a lot to be desired and we didn't even stay there one night as most of the interesting bits of Iceland are more than a (5 hours of daylight in winter) day's drive away. But, I got engaged there! And Iceland is a fantastic, beautiful, near-perfect place. I think our travel package came with a coupon for $10 off something at the Blue Lagoon store so I got a small travel set which was $10.

Here I am in the Blue Lagoon, with some white silica mud stuff on my face. You can kinda swim/wade up to areas with buckets full of it and you put it on your face, then it just goes back into the water, and you can feel it around your feet all squishy. It's very clean and white so it doesn't feel disgusting like you would think. Afterwards my skin was all soft and smooth and wonderful. However the packaged products do not deliver the same effect. You have to go to Iceland for that.

Gratuitous second picture of the Blue Lagoon lotion, and Jergens Natural Glow lotion: I had an old bottle of this from, you guessed it, my grandma's house. I don't think gma was the fake-bake type so some other female relative must have left it there. I used it up but didn't feel like it actually delivered any color, gradual or otherwise, to my super-pale skin. I chalked it up to an old bottle and irregular use, but I was disappointed. Later I tried Target-brand Up&Up gradual tanning lotion and I was very impressed, but that's a subject for later. I went to Austin for a friend's bachelorette weekend and I wanted to look tan, so all the outdoorsy fit tan Texans would accept me as one of their own. I fake-baked using a serious, all-at-once self-tanner, which turned out horribly splotchy. I had to soak most of it off and scrub some of it off, which led to skin abrasion disasters. I reapplied much more carefully using a lotion instead of a spray, which turned out less dark but more even. I saw this travel size at Walgreens before I left and decided to buy it to use in place of my normal body lotion to keep my tan topped off and keep it from fading too quickly if I was in the pool or shaving frequently. I felt it did a good job for that purpose but in my experience, this won't help you actually get darker over time, even with daily use. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Empties: Yes to Carrots, L'Occitane & Lanoline Beauty Product Reviews

I'm writing this while I make this carrot recipe, which uses 14 carrots (!) but I only have two, so this will have to substitute:
Yes to Carrots Nourishing daily facial moisturizer with SPF 15: I got this at Target when I ran out of my old SPF moisturizer, not remembering I have two or three more of the same thing in the cupboard. But I had it at my fiance's place where I spent most nights (now I've moved in and having all my stuff in one place is amazing) so I used it up pretty quick. It got good reviews on beautypedia/Paula's Choice and the price was right. At first I really liked it, it was light and had a nice texture, but it did take a long time to rub in and not have a white cast to my skin, so I probably won't repurchase it. There's really not that much in the little jar, but it has a great dispenser that pushes up from the bottom as you go.
L'Occitane en Provence Verbena Shower Gel: this was a hotel sample. I love L'Occitane because I love the south of France and I'm a sucker for nice smells. However this was just shower gel, really lemony smell, really annoying bottle. I like either a bar soap or a more moisturizing, creamier (gross?) shower gel.
Shine by Bliss body lotion: another hotel sample, way too thin and watery, I expected better out of a brand sold at Sephora? However I use body lotion every day, all over, and I am really tall so there's a lot of area to cover, and this got the job done.
Comfort Care ultra moisturizing lotion: even less memorable
Lanoliné Manuka Honey Skin Renew Firming Serum: I got this along with a Lanoliné moisturizer at TJ Maxx, my new favorite place for beauty product shopping because I see higher-end stuff for so cheap. I also wanted to try out something with manuka honey because it gets a lot of buzz (see what I did there) as well as collagen and vitamins, however I don't believe the latter ingredients did much at all. Also, it's from New Zealand, so that means it's good. Please, travel gods, I want to go to New Zealand! I used this through the colder months usually as a serum under my usual moisturizer. I think it helped keep my skin happy in the arctic desert that is winter in Chicago, but I went pretty heavy on the moisturizer too, so it's hard to know. It was a clear gel and went on a little tacky, and the bottle went really fast. Tactilely and aesthetically, I liked the heavy frosted glass bottle, but I suppose it isn't the best for active ingredient stability. Since I didn't see any major improvements in my skin I wouldn't repurchase. I know antioxidants are more a preventative measure to make up for sun damage now and hope things look good in a few years, but it felt like nothing and wasn't a real pleasure to use, so I'm moving on. Other reviews says this really tightened up wrinkles, so I probably shouldn't buy things made for people 20 years older than me.