Friday, August 30, 2013

everyone needs dry shampoo

Once you have tried a dry shampoo you will find that you can't live without it.  Not only does it extend your time between regular washings, but it also is great for refreshing before a night out, waking up too late in the morning to do your hair, adding a little volume, or fluffing up your ponytail.  Dry shampoos are basically powders that absorb dirt and oil, and some even do a bit of detox as well.  They come in aerosol form or loose powder, and it's basically personal preference which type you like to use. I think the aerosols are easier to manipulate but occasionally they run out of air before the contents are gone so it won't work anymore (ie. a waste of money).

I have tried countless dry shampoos, both expensive professional brands and cheap drugstore brands.  A few of the drugstore brands are fantastic but I think the expensive ones are more refined, so it's up to you. Here's the best of the best and all of them have worked on my dark brown hair:


Rene Furterer Naturia Dry Shampoo has got to be the best dry shampoo around and it is in high demand - total cult following.  However it is a little difficult to get a hold of.  Usually it is only available online or in a few hair salons that carry the brand.  If you don't mind paying a little more for your dry shampoo this is the one to get.

Easier to find is Alterna Bamboo Style Cleanse Extend Translucent Dry Shampoo and it is also pretty wonderful:  nice and dry and fluffy with no sticky residue.  It blends really well into darker hair.  There are some dry shampoos out there that contain color to supposedly blend better into your natural color but I'd watch out for them because if you get at all damp the color will run down your face.  So Alterna: a good bet.


Oscar Blandi the king of hair care, makes Pronto Dry Shampoo, a very popular item indeed.  Many hair stylists prefer to use a loose powder like this because they feel it is easier to control and gives better results. It may be easier for them but not so easy if you are applying it on yourself.  That said, plenty of people buy it.  This stuff is fantastic for creating those teased, poofy crowns that look so cute with a ponytail.


Aveeno Active Naturals Dry Shampoo is the best smelling and gives you the fluffiest hair.  It is pretty darn powdery but I find that with some significant brushing you can work it all through.  I always keep it on hand for when I am particularly greasy.  A bonus:  it is sulfate free.

Garnier Fructris Haircare Volume Extend Instant Bodifier For Fine Or Flat Hair is a wetter consistency but in the end gives good volume.  It also has a very strong, but not too bad smell (many dry shampoos can be pretty stinky).  It is the least expensive of the lot and if you are on a tight budget it certainly works well enough - I think you would be very pleased.

all products reviewed were either bought or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's website. I am not financially compensated for my reviews.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

explaining and comparing CC creams

If you have ever wondered what those darn CC creams are, I can tell you.  A CC cream is a five-in-one product that is used to replace your many steps of skincare and make up.  A CC cream provides 1. moisturize 2. treats the skin for uneven skin tone and dark spots like acne scarring or sun damage (CC usually stands for Color Correction) 3. sunscreen 4. primer. 5. light foundation.  It's a get up and go product.  And it varies from BB creams in that it has color correction treatment and in general tends to be a little thicker and a little more hydrating.  See - problem solved!  Now, to know which ones are good.....  After using almost a dozen of them, I feel like I can guide you a bit in the right direction.

Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact broad spectrum spf 50+ is simply gorgeous.  Furthermore, it is a luxury Korean brand and the Asian market excels at skin brightening.  I love that it has a high level of sunscreen, creamy dewy coverage, and is made with bamboo sap which is super nutritive and anti-aging.  It comes in a handy compact so that you can keep it in your purse for touch ups throughout the day.  A little pricy, I find it to be absolutely worth it.

Stila CC Color Correcting Cream Broad Spectrum spf 20 is truly unique.  It comes out of the tube light green but once you blend it onto your skin it turns flesh-colored to match your own skin tone.  It provides 72 hours of continuos hydration with a semi-matte finish.  I particularly love the consistency and coverage that this one gives - absolutely flawless.

Peter Thomas Roth CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Complexion Corrector is the perfect choice if your primary concern is skin brightening and eradicating hyperpigmentation.  While not as silky as the other two, it packs a serious wallop with its surprisingly natural skin brighteners.  Plus it is filled with anti-oxidants for protection and includes vitamin C for firming and tightening.  Also paraben free - yay.

Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream SPF 30 Dark Spot Correcting may very well be the best selling of the bunch.  Renowned for their superior cosmetics, Smashbox has taken things one step further and launched itself into the realm of skincare.  Thickish and buttery in texture it will make your skin glow like a baby's.  Many people like this one because in addition to everything else it does, it also helps control oil.  You just can't loose with this little number.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

sampling niche fragrances

I am head over heels in love and it is not with a man.  It is with my new obsession:  perfume. Anything about fragrance fills me with the giddiness of a new crush and I can't stop thinking about it. I have always had an interest in fragrance and my favorite bog posts to review and write were the ones about fragrance but now, now I have 'fallen down the rabbit hole' as my fellow fragrance enthusiasts say.  Of course this can be a very, VERY expensive passion (addiction) so I am making do for now with ordering online samples of the niche perfumes that I read about and am dying to smell.  There are of course forums for trading samples and I am getting up the nerve to try those too but for this post I just want to share with you my four new 'great loves' and the places I have found them.

So far my perfumes sampling (and of course shopping) sites are Lucky Scent and Surrender To Chance.
Barney's is a treasure trove of unusual perfumes and Saks comes in a close second - sometimes if you visit them they will sample, sometimes not, but you are always encouraged to try anything and everything out in the store.
There are quite a few wonderful established fragrance bloggers out there but I want to give a nod to the fantabulous blog EauMG, from whom I have learned a lot and the luscious, enjoyable, and very informational writings of Alyssa Harad in her book "Coming To My Senses".

While I still adore my traditional fragrances like Ralph Lauren Blue I am falling hard for the perfumes from smaller more artful perfume houses, known as niche fragrances.  Here is a brief rundown on the sexy samples I can barely contain myself about:

To say I have a grand passion for Arquiste Anima Dulcis is not even close to describing how entranced I am with it.  When I first smelled it it bowled me over and I was scared to take a second sniff in fear of being completely overtaken.  While usually categorized as a gourmand fragrance because of its notes of Cocoa Absolute, Mexican vanilla, cinnamon, and chili infusion, on my skin I thought it smelled like sex.  Why I get this association I cannot tell you but it was that exciting to me.  Others have described it as reminiscent of an old-religion type fragrance suggesting ancient Mexican convent walls, but for me it was flat out seductive.  However I am willing to concede that if Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz were playing the nuns it would be convent-like.

If I were only allowed one fragrance for the rest of my life (God forbid!) I might possibly choose Liaisons Dangereuse By Kilian - it is just so damn likable.  In fact the sales girl at Saks said everyone likes this scent, which I tried to not take as an insult that I was common, but really I get her point - how could anyone not be besotted by it?  With notes of peach and black currant,  geranium and rose, and oak moss and musk - to name a few - it achieves the perfect balance of juiciness, warmth, and naughtiness.

Rossy de Palma Eau de Protection by Etat D'Orange Libre makes me feel bold and in charge, leading with a iron fist inside a velvet glove.  It is a rose scent - dominatrix style.  It is utterly utterly provocative.  With notes of ginger, black pepper, Bulgarian rose, frankincense, patchouli, and cocoa it is both powdery and spicy giving it simultaneously a vintage and modern feel. On top of all that I'd say it is also somewhat fresh, not just like the honey but like the bee.

Charenton Macerations Christopher Street is truly unique.  It is leather and lime, beatniks and dive bars, and the damp tree-lined streets of Greenwich Village.  You can't get any cooler than that!  It makes me feel like my old art school self and I can't seem to stop wearing it.  It uplifts me in the morning and gives me stimulating things to dream about at night.  Of the four I would say this sample has the most masculine leanings - which is why I feel so erotic when I wear it!

While not nearly as eloquent and knowledgable as the fragrance bloggers and aficionados out there, I simply had to say something and maybe turn on a few other beauty vixens who are curious, and like I was a few weeks ago, unaware.