Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Moisture, Moisture, Moisture!

Even the best conditioners are only designed to work for about 4 days. If your wash cycle is longer than 4 days or if your hair is in need of a boost during this time, a good quality hair moisturizer is key. Regularly moisturizing my hair and following with a light coat of oil, have made an incredible difference in the manageability, texture, and elasticity of my hair.

A good moisturizer is water based and void of cheap fillers such as petrolatum and mineral oil. However, finding a moisturizer without these ingredients can be more elusive than finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But, you know your hairmakeuplove guru would not leave you hanging, now would I?

Here are my faves:

1) Organic Root Stimulator Carrot Oil Creme - This is my staple moisturizer. I love how light it is and how it really gives my hair moisture without weighing it down. I apply it to my hair in dime-sized amounts as needed.

2) Giovanni Direct Leave-In Conditioner - This may not have been designed as an everyday moisturizer, but leave-ins work great as moisturizers. They generally have higher quality ingredients and they have light enough formulations to be used on a daily basis. Giovanni Direct Leave-In is one of the best that I have tried and who doesn't love a multi-tasking, overachiever?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

40% Off Sale at Trade Secret and Joico Moisture Recovery Conditioner Review (updated)

I went to the mall on Saturday with my husband, since he actually wanted to go shopping (minor miracle probably due to the fact that he wanted buy Rockband). So, while he indulged his obsession at Gamestop, I indulged mine at Trade Secret. I don't usually shop at this store, however, I was lured in by the word "clearance." Before I could even make it to the clearance rack, I saw that they had all of their liter sized shampoos and conditioners on sale for 40% off.

Even though I have my set regimen, I am still curious about a few products that I have always heard rave reviews about. Two of these products are the Joico Moisture Recovery condtioner and the Kenra Moisturizing conditioner. So, I picked up a liter of both of these conditioners, originally $29.95 and $30.00, respectively, for about $38.00 after tax. I can't resist a deal!

Since, today was wash day, I decided to try out the Joico. This conditioner is specifically designed for dry hair and contains Hydramine Sea Complex, Quadramine Complex and jojoba oil to provide the ultimate in moisture replenishment. It promises to leave dry hair revitalized, hydrated, smooth and manageable with increased elasticity.

My two cents:

My hair already felt wonderful after doing a pre-shampoo treatment with Mizani's Fufyl conditioner. I applied the Joico to my hair after rinsing and lightly towel blotting as usual. The smell is pleasant, nothing particularly outstanding or offensive. After deep conditioning my hair for 20 minutes under my hooded dryer, my hair felt wonderful. It felt really hydrated and my hair was extremely easy to detangle. I always use high quality products for my hair, so I wouldn't say this was an enlightening hair experience but it worked very well. The true test will be in the coming days. I will have to see how long this well moisturized feeling lasts before I fully give it my stamp of approval.

Either way, this sale is great opportunity to stock up on some staples or try something new.


Well, it's been a few days and this stuff is the truth! My hair is still incredibly soft and moisturized and I have only applied my moisturizer once since I washed my hair. Tomorrow is supposed to be wash day, but my hair feels so great I think I can go another day. Joico Moisture Recovery has officially achieved hairlove status.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Save the masks for Halloween

Why is that most cosmetics companies have yet to realize that Black women come in a beautiful array of colors too? You look at most cosmetics lines and they have such wide array of choices for women of other races, with options ranging from very fair to olive skin tones. However, they seem to think that Black women come in just a few-black and very black.

This can make finding the right foundation match an extremely frustrating process. And what can make the process even more trying is the fact that how a foundation looks in your bathroom mirror can be very different from how it looks outdoors. Most of you probably know to check your foundation color on your jawline and to check the color in natural light. However, did you know that you should also check your potential match in a photo? I have seen enough pictures of celebs and other women with an off looking foundation to know that the mask look is definitely not in, unless we are talking Halloween... and even then, who'd want to go as an ashy version of themselves?

So, my foundation matching musts are:

1) Check the color against your jawline and be sure that it disappears completely.
2) Review your color choice in natural light.
3) Say cheese... fromage... queso, whatever. Just be sure that the first test click you take with your new foundation is not while you're out on the town with your girlies.

And, oh yeah, make sure your store of choice has a great return policy because this could take a while.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Minimal Makeup Must-haves

When you are running late for work, what do you grab? Your lunch, your keys… your blush? What are your absolute must-haves in terms of makeup before you will step out of the door?

Even though I adore makeup, I seldom have time during the week to pull together a full look. Full face makeup, eye shadow experimentation, and all-around attempting not to look like a bum are reserved for the weekends. However, I have this ever growing stash of makeup that I’m starting to feel guilty about not tapping into a daily basis. As a result, I have been trying to incorporate small, quick steps into my daily routine that will help me look more polished without having to whip out a ton of makeup brushes and products every day of the week. Plus I am a big fan of letting my face breathe. I really get the feeling that wearing a ton of makeup too often can wreak havoc on your skin, no matter how gentle it claims to be.

Anyway, my makeup must have has always been groomed eyebrows because they make such a world of difference. No matter how beautiful your clean skin or makeup is, if your eyebrows are jacked, your whole look is… whack (when did I become the Black Dr. Seuss?). So, before I head out of the door, I am sure to pull out some clear mascara (the one pictured above is by Covergirl) and groom my brows. I have recently also been experimenting with adding a touch of blush (Everyday Minerals blush in Wake up Call) or bronzer (Mabelline Dream Matte mousse in Glistening Sun). I pride myself on my clear skin, so I’ve just been looking for something to add a little punch to my otherwise plain Jane look. I always have a plethora of lip gloss choices in my purse (my fave everyday gloss is C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine in Magenta Mint), so I swipe that on in the car and I’m good to go! What are your minimal makeup must-haves?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

makeuplove: BOGO Sale!!!

I just got back from Rite Aid (yes, at 10:00pm at night... in the middle of a thunderstorm. I'm sick, I know) and they have an awesome BOGO sale going on. You'll want to check your local circulars but at my store all L'Oreal HIP products are buy one, get one free. Free!! If you have not tried the L'Oreal HIP collection, where have you been? These products are hyperpigmented and of such high quality. If you're looking for your typical neutral brown eye shadows, this is probably not the line for you. But if you are looking to experiment and are not afraid to stand out, this line has your name all over it.

They also have all of the Revlon products (yes, all of them) on sale as buy one, get one free as well. I love the Revlon Colorstay line. They have wonderfully wearable eye shadow quads and eye liners. These really do last all day, even without the use of an eye shadow base. Genius! Oh yeah, the sales ends July 26th.

Post-relaxer hair care regimen

I just got my hair relaxed on Saturday, so you know I am feeling myself right now a la gorgeous Gabrielle Union in this photo (well, at least in my own head). But then comes time for the often dreaded first wash. Will the same shine and "swang" I had after I left the salon still be there? Should I do anything special for this wash? Well, your hairmakeuplove guru has come to the rescue with my battle tested post relaxer hair care regimen.

You all know that with the added ease and versatility that relaxing our hair gives us comes the need for greater diligence in caring for our hair. In order for relaxers to “relax” our hair’s natural curl pattern, they must break the protein bonds in the hair. If you do not attempt to restore some of this lost protein, you will be left with weak, dry, brittle hair. In order to combat this problem, I have come up with a special wash regimen that I use for the first wash after my relaxer.

I normally wash my hair every 3-4 days depending on how it feels. I will do a pre-shampoo treatment (or prepoo… yes, I said poo), shampoo my hair, do a quick in shower conditioner, then deep condition my hair and set it. For the first wash after my relaxer, I do a pre-shampoo treatment with a mild protein based conditioner. Last night I used Aphogee’s 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor. This stuff is wonderful and restores some of the protein lost in the relaxer process while not leaving your hair hard, as some other protein conditioners can. I then wash my hair with a neutralizing shampoo to ensure that there is no residual relaxer still active on my hair. I follow that with a shampoo with a clarifying shampoo to remove any other buildup from the relaxer process. Since, the neutralizing and clarifying shampoos can be so harsh and strip your hair, I then use a moisturizing shampoo to restore some of the hair’s moisture. I like Nexxus Therappe and Keracare Hydrating Detangling shampoo. While I finish the rest of my shower I apply Nexxus Humectress to my hair for a quick in shower conditioning step. I know this process sounds long and possibly unnecessary but I have had great success using this method.

Now that I am a mere pruney shadow of my former self, I hop out of the shower and apply my deep conditioner. I like to use the Organic Root Stimulator Replenshing conditioner as my deep conditioner. (I just did a review on this conditioner.) I apply this to my hair in sections, cover my hair with a plastic cap and sit under my hair dryer for 20 minutes. If you do not have a hooded dryer, you can wrap your hair with a moist, hot towel prior to placing the plastic cap on your head and then let it sit for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Once, this is done, I rinse out the conditioner, apply my leave-ins and style.

For your hard work and dedication, you should be rewarded with soft, strong, and shiny hair and a new appreciation for your hair stylist. Oh, the things we do for beauty.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

hairlove: Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Pak

Lest you think that I've only been thinking about makeup lately, it's time for some hairlove. My favorite conditioner right now is Organic Root Stimulator's Olive Oil replenshing conditioner. It is sold in these handy little packets, which are perfect for commitment phobes.
  • Deep Penetrating Conditioner.
  • Helps restore, moisturize, & rebuild damaged hair.
As an African America woman with relaxed hair, I need a lot from my conditioner. Our hair can be some of the driest and most damaged around, so extra care must be taken to maintain the proper moisture and protein levels to prevent breakage. This conditioner does just that with a wonderful balance of moisture and protein. I use this as my moisture based conditioner once or twice a week during my deep conditioning treatments. (I apply this conditioner in sections to my towel dried hair and cover with a plastic cap then sit under a heat source for 15-20 minutes.) It has a nice citrus smell that is not overpowering and leaves my hair incredibly soft and easy to detangle.

The "paks" can be purchased at your local drugstore, Target, Walmart, or beauty supply store for prices ranging from $.99 - $1.49. For those of you who are ready to settle down with this wonderful conditioner, it is also available in full sized bottles at your local beauty supply store and soon in stores everywhere.

Water Aqua , Soybean Oil Glycine Soja , Glycerine , Olive Oil Olea Europaea , Hydrolyzed Collagen , Quaternium-80 , DMDM Hydantoin , Amino Silk Acid , Dimethicone Copolyol , Orange Oil Citrus Aupantium Dulcis , D'Limonene , Panthenol Vitamin B5 , Dimethicone , EDTA , Chamomile Extract Anthemis Nobilis , Sage Extract Salvia Officinalis , Nettle Extract Urtica Dioica , Rosemary Extract Rosmarinus Officinalis , Aloe Vera Gel Aloe Barbedensis , Yarrow Extract Achilea Millefolium , Kiwi Extract Actinidia Chinensis , Polyquaternium-37 , Trideceth-7 , Triethanolamine , Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans , Methylchlorosothiazolinone , Methylchlorothiazolinone , Yellow No. 6 CI 15985 , Yellow No. 5 CI 19140

Monday, July 21, 2008

ELF- Yeah, I vaguely remember ordering this.

Well, the people ELF must have been listening because I finally got my package!!!! Yes, finally- 3 WEEKS after I placed my order. 3 WEEKS! I didn't know that a company could do business in this century with such horrible business practices. Oy! Anywho... wanna see what I got??

I actually faired better than most and received 12 out of the 13 things that I ordered. They did not have the Earth & Water Mascara Duo in Noire that I ordered. It's a double ended mascara with one regular end and one waterproof end. They however have (pictured clockwise):

Shine Eraser blotting sheets
All Over Color Stick in Toasted
All Over Color Stick in Lilac Petal
Candy Shop Lip Gloss in Mocha Maniac
Natural Lash Kit
Candy Shop Lip Gloss in Cherry Bomb
Wet Gloss Lash & Brow Clear Mascara
Plumping Lip Glaze in Champagne
Lip Gloss Cell Phone Charm Duo (free gift)
Duo Eye Shadow Cream in Black Licorice
Waterproof Liquid Liner in Plum

As for the missing item, Elf did give me a credit. This is the other downfall of shopping at Elf. They simply return your funds and ship what they have in stock rather than shipping the missing items once they are in stock. Humphf!

So, why bother ordering from Elf at all? The hope of finding something wonderful, a little buried treasure, shall we say. Case in point? Their liquid liner!!! As you can see from the list above, I did order one of their liquid liners in plum, a really pretty deep wine color.
This stuff is wonderful. It is very pigmented and it works as promised. It really is waterproof and I plan to get one in every color. I normally use L'oreal Lineur Intense Carbon Black liquid liner which runs about $8.49 at your local drugstore, so you can imagine my excitement at being able to replicate the same fabulosity for $1.00. And what of the money spent of shipping, do you ask? Well, I found a coupon code online that saved me $6.00, basically the cost of shipping which is a flat $6.95! Try code "Carolina." (Tip: Before I order just about anything online, I do a quick Google search for a coupon code. You'd be surprised how often you will find one.)

So, my tips for ordering from Elf:
1) Do your research!! Look for reviews online to tip the hit/misses odds in your favor. Youtube is wonderful for reviews and tutorials. Youtubers Lostris143 and EmilyNoel83 have great Elf reviews.
2) Order what you want, not what you need. Do you not place an order for items that you are almost out of or need right away. My order took 3 weeks to arrive and from what I have read, this is no aberration.
3) Have fun and try new things! This stuff is only $1.00 so this is the perfect time to go outside the box. I already have a great black liner I love, so I took this opportunity to try one in a different color.

I'll be reviewing the other items I received in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Nice to meet ya

It seems like almost overnight I have become completely enveloped by hair and makeup sites. I shudder to think how much I have spent on hair and makeup products in the past six months… especially in these recessionary times (but we’re not allowed to say the R word, are we?) Anywho, all work and no play yada-yada, you get the gist. So, I have decided to see if I channel my love into more writing and blogging and less buying, which will indeed benefit my wallet and perhaps my marriage. =) So, if anyone finds this the least bit interesting, please let me know. And if not, let’s just pretend this never happened, okay?

Now that the pleasantries are aside, let’s talk. I just ordered the sample kit from Everyday Minerals. As part of my rampant obsession, I have gotten into watching makeup tutorials on Youtube and many of my favorite makeup mavens love Everyday Minerals. They say this stuff is just as good, if not better, than Bare Escentuals for a fraction of the price. The only deterrent is that they do not sell in stores. However, you can order samples for just the cost of shipping. The sample kit includes 3 foundations, 1 blush and face Color, and 1 concealer. For shipment to Maryland it cost me $3.09 and I also ordered two eye shadows for $2.50 each because what the heck? I’ve still only spent like 8 bucks and I get tons of stuff to try. So, according to their site my makeup has shipped (yay!) and as soon as I receive it, I will post my review.

I also placed an order at ELF since I’ve heard some good things about their makeup as well. They are the kings of cheap makeup as most everything they sell is only $1.00, but alas, there is always a “but”, their shipping SUCKS!!!! I placed my order on 6/30/08 and still no word. Nothing. Nada. I’m not sure how a company can do business like this. Yes, I get that this stuff is cheap and you can’t expect much but I can expect decent customer service. I digress. If I receive these products before I am old and gray and have completely forgotten what makeup is, I will review this stuff too.

I could really go on and on but I will save some for another day. Happy Friday!!!