Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Party Look

Holiday Party Look
Holiday Party Look by sidraa on
Here are a few tips to look radiant at the holiday parties you attend this winter. 

First, prime the eyes with Smashbox's primer. Then brush the lightest shadow in Smashbox's "Eyelights" kit color all over the eye, then brush gold shadow (Bobbi Brown) on just your lids, blend the darker colors in the creases. Then place false lashes, like MAC's #36s, apply liner and coat with mascara to give the lashes a more blended look. Without mascara, lashes can look painfully fake. On your face, use a tinted moisturizer like Laura Mercier, and cover the apples of your cheeks with a mineralized blush like MAC's in "Dainty". Finish off the look with a bright red lipstick. Lovely!

The above look is kind of like Beyonce in this photo....Super cute!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Beauty Wish for the Holidays

Oh the holidays, a time of joy, a time of giving, and a time of treating oneself to fabulous holiday sets at Sephora and Ulta!! With single pots of eye shadow running me $14.50 a pop (hello MAC!) or $18 a pan (ouch Stila!), who can resist the fabulous deals on eye shadow kits out around this time? I have two faves, and both are AH-MAZING because not only do they include a ton of shades, but they have a little tutorials too for beauty queens in the making. Now which one should you get? Well, that’s completely up to you and where your loyalty lies with brands...but I went ahead with Smashbox.

Smashbox's Eye Wish Set

Smashbox’s Eye Wish palette is making me wish I met this eye shadow brand before I met MAC. Their vibrant colors go on smoothly thanks to Vitamin E, and this $45 palette includes Smashbox’s famous Photo Finish Lid Primer—an amazing sample (and almost as good as Urban Decay’s Eye Shadow Primer Potion…check back later for reviews!) and their incredibly volumizing lash DNA Mascara (still, Maybelline is great and less pricey). With 12 incredible shades, 4 cream liners, AND 8 tutorials on how to apply them for the bombshell in the making, this is a deal I could not resist. Ok fine…I really didn’t know about the tutorial until about five minutes ago…but I plan on using them!

Stila's Color Wheel

Do I regret my purchase after I saw Stila’s $38 beauty deal, the Color Wheel Eye Shadow Palette? I’m not so sure now. Stila’s individual eye shadows retails at a whopping $18 a pan, this 37-color wheel is an outstanding deal and a big competitor. Smashbox includes primer and mascara, but no brushes. The color wheel includes a 16-page tutorial, two double-ended eye shadow brushes, and 37 vibrant shades. I sound like I’m in regret heaven (or hell?)…but I’m pretty pleased with my Smashbox Eye Wish palette. Maybe if I make it on Santa’s Nice List this year he’ll get me the Stila set for Christmas? *HINT HINT TO MY FIANCE*

There is no denying that both brands offer solid colors and are both incredible sets to share or purchase for oneself. I personally find them to be a better deal than MAC’s Holiday “A Tartan Tale” collection which has just 6 shades and retails at $36 at Nordstrom. Not worth the money at all! Their holiday brush set is $49.50 and sells out QUICK!, however, since their brushes retail at about $18 each, I think these are totally worth the price. I’ve had mine for over two years and have had no complaints.
MAC's A Tartan Tale Collection

For all the beauty geeks out there who are suffering still from this recession, the holidays are the BEST time to get amazing deals on palettes and sets like this, so I highly recommend you stock up now.

Next post: me trying to use the tutorials that Smashbox includes!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rudolph in June

hat’s what you can call me. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and I both have the red, shiny nose thing in common (minus the cuteness factor). Even though I apply Neutrogena SPF 100+ generously to my face as I recommended in a blog post, I have apparently missed the tip of my nose, causing it to burn and flake. (picture below) The only place on my entire body that I burn is on my nose!

Last year, after my three-day trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, I went to Pakistan and my outspoken niece flatly asked me why my nose was so red. I was so embarrassed at how noticeable the red burn was on my brown skin. In Pakistan, I had no idea what to do about this reddened nose, so the tip of my nose flaked and eventually scarred. I was determined to avoid any scarring this year, so as soon as I noticed that the very tip of my nose made me resemble a very cute reindeer in a not-so-flattering way, I did a Google search on sunburn remedies. I realized that liberally applying my Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer would only cover up, not treat.

I found many, including applying white, plain yogurt, oatmeal, a baking soda mixture, vinegar and finally Aloe Vera lotion. The thought of applying food to my face freaked me out so I immediately crossed oatmeal and yogurt off my list. I knew that white vinegar had some magic healing qualities so I located some in our cupboard, soaked it into a cotton ball and applied it to my nose. And boy, did it burn and sting!! I immediately applied my cool, Vitamin E face cream from the Body Shop to my nose to curb the burning, and it subsided after about 10 seconds. I found that I was supposed to dilute the vinegar in cold water before applying, oops.

Still, the white vinegar helped reduce the redness of my nose overnight. While I am still flaking a bit, I hope that continuous application of facial lotion will help curb it.

So for all of you who want a quick, at home remedy for sunburns, vinegar is one of the many quick fixes! If you have body burns, you can take a cool bath with a bit of white or apple cider vinegar mixed in your water. You might smell like a pickle, but it will take away the pain.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lost-Lasting, Lucious Liners

I can be quite lazy with my makeup, and that is especially true when it comes to my eyeliner. I can’t be counted on to have a sharpener on hand no matter how many I buy, and I never, ever seem to be able to locate mine, so for that reason, I stick to liquid eyeliner. First, because I am so angry about this product, I will talk about the one I absolutely loathe with a passion. I hate this $16.50 eyeliner so much that I returned it within a week. It looked so cool, but this eyeliner stirs up nothing but negative feelings. Mostly because I feel bad for the poor girls who think this type of liquid liner will convert them to the liquid side of liners…but it really does nothing but disappoint.

I’m talking about you, MAC Penultimate eyeliner ($16.50). Here you come on the scene, a nifty pen type liner with a felt tip that reminded me of the felt pens my teachers used to grade my homework in elementary school. You seemed so easy to apply, and sure, compared to the gel pot liners, you were. You didn’t require extra effort or thought, it was a quick swish and there you were lining my eyes. Sometimes it was two swipes. But by lunchtime, this sneaky product faded to gray. Having to reapply did not go well with my laziness. It made me hate you, MAC Penultimate eyeliner. I needed a liner that lasted the entire day! Not an awful product that lasted just half a day.

  • Cons: Didn’t last all day, not as dark as I’d like, required two applications to be dark
  • Pro: Easy to apply, fast-drying

So of course, I took the advice of my cousin who showed me her fantastic L’Oreal Paris Telescopic Precise Liquid Eyeliner that lasts all day! The pointed brush wasn’t too soft or too long like some liners, and the texture of the liner was great. It didn’t smear or smudge which was so important to me. The best part—it did last me all day. I only had to reapply if I was going out at night, which I didn’t mind. The "brush" is actually quite stiff, similar to the MAC Penultimate, but it may take a while to get used. The price can’t be beat! It is just about $8 at your local drugstore, less than half the price of MAC’s Penultimate liner.

  • Cons: it can go on thick and it doesn't dry fast, so if you aren't careful and blink right away, you'll end up with liner on the top of your lids. It's happened to me before.. not pretty.
  • Pro: long-lasting, thick texture, rich, easy to apply, the black is super bold, matte finish

Another liner I love is the Sephora brand liquid liner. It is only $10, and while it is a bit more “watery” than the L’Oreal Paris liner and has a thin, long brush, I still did enjoy this product greatly. I am more loyal to the L’Oreal, but the Sephora brand is great too.

  • Cons: Not water-proof like it claims to be, doesn't last all day (you might need a touch-up)
  • Pro: good color, goes on super thin thanks to the brush

Stay tuned for my NEXT POST: Pencil Eyeliners

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Bottom Line

Like most Middle-Eastern/South Asian women, I have a love affair with eyeliner. I am constantly on the quest for good eyeliner, and I refuse to leave my house without it. Coco Chanel may have famously advised women never to leave home without lipstick, and while I admire and respect her, eyeliner is the product I will never leave my home without.

And because of my love affair with this product, I am constantly on the lookout for eyeliner that lasts me all day. I used to play with my mother’s Kohl eyeliner (kajol) from Pakistan when I was younger, and while this lasted long, it smudged easily and was too messy to apply. I could never master it like the women overseas have. Apparently, Japan loves eyeliner too, and I’ve noticed a trend in the Japanese style eyeliners that come in cute little pots that are applied with a brush.

MAC has a line of eyeliners that are very popular, not only because their products are famously used for film productions, but because they typical sell long-lasting products that are rather affordable. MAC’s Fluidline liquid gel pot is probably the most popular of the dip-and-line type products, and it does take a while to get used to applying. It runs for $15 for the pot, and an additional $17.50 for their eyeliner brushes (the 209 or 210 work fine with this product). I prefer to use a thin, angled brush when I use the gel pots only because I prefer a winged look. What is great about this eyeliner is it really does stay on all day and o
Boldnce you get the hang of applying it, it’s a flawless look.

I found a less pricey alternative when sister-in-law came to visit. She had the L’Oreal Paris HiP Studio Secrets gel pot liner (at this point, I didn’t know that L’Oreal sold one!) and then I saw it at Target for $12…and it included a brush! This product is certainly a more economical version of the MAC one. I personally haven’t tried it, so I can recommend Sumita Beauty’s Gel Pot liner in black, which runs for $11 (no brush included). These products are available at Ziba Beauty stores in California or online. It doesn't seem like the black is in stock online now. However, this product is a bit watery and doesn't go on as dark as the MAC Fluidline.

Here is a photo of my with the Sumita Beauty Eyeliner. (the mascara is Benefit's BADGal Lash while the eyeshadow is by MAC Cosmetics and was hastily applied for the purpose of this photo.)

It looks effortless, but applying the eyeliner using a brush definitely took a lot of practice!!

So, in my opinion, the only downside to using these eyeliner pots with a brush is that for one—they tend to go on rather thick if you aren’t careful, and two, you need to practice in order for it to go on well. I have been in a hurry and ended up with badly lined eyes, or mismatching eyes.

But a benefit of the gel pots--the liner lasts ALL DAY! I don't have to reapply and it is just so much easier than some other pencil or liquid liners.

In my next post, I’ll talk about other types of eyeliners for those who wish to stick to pencil or liquid liners. I’ve tried all three kinds now!

*imaged via MAC Cosmetics and Google Images, while the two last ones are my own.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Clear Skin, Clean Face

Ever walk into the facial cleanser aisle at your local drugstore and find yourself utterly confused? Why does Clean & Clear sell so many different types of face wash? What if you want to use the Morning Burst at night, is that ok? Or do I have to buy two different kinds of face wash? If this brand is more expensive...does it mean it's a lot better?! Will this dry my skin out?

That’s what goes through MY mind when I’m there. I used to always end up going home with a different product after each visit, and for that reason, I can share some good insight with you all! I have tried Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, Clearasil, Aveeno and many other drug-store facial cleansers, and here is a rundown:

I have rather sensitive skin, so I always have a bit of trouble finding something that doesn’t dry my skin out. It seems everything is too drying for me these days! My dermatologist recommended Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser (about $9 for an 8 oz pump) to me a few years ago and I was really pleased with it. It did a great job keeping my acne at bay and evening my skin tone. I liked the pump better than I liked the squeeze out tubes, and the cleanser didn't leave my face dry.I have always enjoyed the Johnson & Johnson’s Purpose Gentle Cleansing face wash so much more. And who can resist this $4.74 price tag for a 6 oz bottle?! (taken at the Target in Diamond Bar, CA).

Purpose feels like it is doing a better job cleaning my face. I also feel my face is a lot clearer after I use this product and it certainly doesn’t dry out my skin. What’s great about Purpose is it claims to be fragrance free and free of other drying ingredients. It’s a great face wash! It is soap-free, 100% oil free, hypoallergenic, and claims to not clog your pores like other products might. What this means to you is basically this product won't leave stuff behind on your face that might clog your pores and make you look ugly. Good deal.

If you refuse to use drug store brands, I highly recommend The Body Shop's Vitamin E Cream Cleanser. It is pricier--$14 for a 6.7 oz bottle, but it eliminates the need to moisturize after washing your face. It contains Vitamin E (which is a natural antioxidant) soy oil, shea butter & wheat germ oil. I enjoy this product tremendously but I opt to use The Body Shop's Vitamin E night cream to moisturize my face in combination with Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash.

*photos courtesy Cetaphil & The Body Shop websites

It's All About the Eyes!

Did you know that you’re supposed to change your mascara every 2-3 months? I definitely didn’t know this until a few months ago. The moist tube is a breeding ground for bacteria, ew! You can get a sty from this, and I might go so far as to blame my pink eye a few years back on my mascara (I know, TMI). Why do we spend SO much money on our mascara when we have to throw that tube out every 3 months?

I started asking myself this when I tossed a perfectly useful tube of Dior Show out recently. A $24 tube, might I add. I loved my Dior Show mascara; it went on nice and dark, and was better than the other stuff I’d used before. It really is a great product and I recommended it to everyone. My only complaint is it does get a little stiff sometimes. It plumped like it said it would, it curled like it said it would, but it put on a fight when it came time to removing it at night. I like my mascara to make my eyes pop while making my lashes feel soft.

I visited the Fresh makeup store in New York, and the sales girl knew right off the bat I used Dior Show mascara because of the way my lashes looked. She recommended I try her Fresh Supernova Mascara. I was hooked! This went on softly, and it made my thin lashes appear full and lovely. I felt that it did a bit more curling than my Dior Show. And the tube is super cute!! It runs for about $25, and up until a few months ago, was only available at their boutiques. Now, Fresh Mascara is available at Sephora so I planned on getting my new one there.

Then I heard the awful “change your mascara every 2-3 months or you’ll get some crazy eye disease” story (like pink eye!), and I realized that my expensive mascara habit would cost me $100 a year! (and that’s before LA’s 9.75% sales tax!!).

So of course, I was on a quest for less expensive mascara at my most favorite store, Sephora. (my stories always involve me ending up here!)

Did you know that Sephora sells mini products in their check out stands? They sell mini glosses, creams, and mascara! Fresh sells their mini-mascara duo here for just $10! This comes with the Supernova Mascara and the Firebird Mascara, which the product detail claims:

Lashes are scientifically proven to have 34% more eye-opening curve after applying Supernova and to be 44% fuller and more voluminous after applying Firebird. For your best lashes, apply two coats of Supernova followed by one coat of Firebird.
All that scientific talk is making my head spin and sounds convincing enough to me….so I went for it. If we have to replace our mascara every 2-3 months, why are we buying such huge tubes? I have never finished a mascara tube and I’m not sure most women have. Actually, I used to be a habitual breaker of the 3-month rule and I used my mascara for way more than 3 months. The mini tube saves $15, I am down with the $10 duo pack and I highly recommend it!

If you are one of the rare women who actually runs out of mascara, then you can always go for these low cost alternatives.

When I was a little money-strapped, I caved and tried to Maybelline Great Lash Mascara that famously sells for under $5 at stores like Target or Wal-Mart. I actually really liked it. I felt it was more like Dior Show than it was like Fresh Supernova. It’s also the self-proclaimed #1 selling mascara. And at just five bucks, I don’t even feel bad throwing this thing out after 3 months. It does the trick by really lengthening and darkening your lashes, though it does feel a bit dry. This product is widely available and it really is a good alternative to the $100/year Dior or Fresh mascara habit. It only sets you back $20 a year! That’s an 80% savings with little to no compromise. (Well, the bright green bright pink packaging is a little distracting and childlike to me, so I keep this at home when I go out).

For those who prefer a soft finish to their mascara, I recommend trying Sephora Collection Triple Action Mascara for just $14. This sets you back $56 a year, so about a 50% savings over the pricier brands. I do love the Sephora Triple Action Mascara it’s what I’ve been using! I got this as a free sample and I have been hooked! It claims to offer “long lush lashes with full volume thickness, and deep rich pigment.” It certainly delivers!

Happy shopping!

*all photos from

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fun In The Sun!

I am clearly neglecting my blog! I got 200 hits within 2 weeks of launching this thing, so I guess my blog addresses a rather popular subject and I know I should post the posts that I had planned. So, I will post at least once a week about fabulous money-saving tips for you gals!

It's April, and though in some parts of the world it's all about "April Showers," we here in California have only seen rain twice this month and have been otherwise blessed with 70-80 degree weather. We have had weekends where it's been in the mid- to high 80s, which of course allowed for fabulous beach trips.

Because Coachella is this weekend (a 3-day outdoor music festival) and it seems like everyone from LA uproots themselves and travels to the desert, I want you all to be prepared for the extra sun-exposure. I know most girls are super stoked to get their tan on, but can we please just be a bit careful? After all, skin cancer isn't a made up a disease, and if that isn't enough to scare you... you WILL get wrinkles from extra sun exposure.

Now fine, I can hear the complaints now. Who am I to tell you guys NOT to tan? I know, I know I am lucky and I'm all tan and brown and all that fun stuff and that I shouldn't be advising people to slather on the sunscreen when I never have had to worry about looking "pasty" in my life... and who am I to tell you girls to slather on sunscreen and stay pasty? Honestly, I don't like seeing ghosts like Nicole Kidman or Kristen Stewart as much as you girls don't like being super pasty-white in the summer. Those actresses need a bit of color to look un-dead. But there are safer ways to get tan without getting skin cancer à-la Izzie Stevens in Grey's Anatomy. I'll save those tips for another blog post!

For now, I just want to set the record straight that I agree with my melanin-deprived friends who want to look alive in the summer. I just think that girls today have no excuse not to do it in a more healthy way.

So here, for now, I just want to encourage everyone (dark-skinner or not!) to put on sunscreen before you leave your home for prolonged sun exposure.

The brand I am in love with right now is Neutrogena for their Ultra-Sheer Dry-touch line. It is great for your face because it does not leave the skin with an oily or greasy feel like other sunscreens do. I only paid about $10 for mine at Target, and it's a good enough size to last me all summer. I use this on my face and arms, and I'm pretty sure they sell one that is waterproof as well. I tan really easily, and as rare as this is for for someone of Pakistani descent, I actually BURN too. My nose and cheeks are prime areas for sunburns. So, I go the extra mile and actually get the SPF 70. I have no idea what "Helioplex" is so I guess I should ask my Dermatologist cousin what is is for those of you who care.

Since I always feature expensive counterparts (for the style-snobs and for kicks) I will share with you a $34 bottle of sunscreen. I just came across this in a magazine and was a bit intrigued by it. It's La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60. I read one review on it and was unable to find much more info about it. It has some chemical called "Mexoryl" that apparently protects against short UVA rays and thus prevents wrinkles. If anyone is interested (or if anyone has used it) leave me a comment, I'd love to see how this product is and if it indeed is worth the extra $20+. They have a whole line of skin care that I'm interested in trying, since Allure magazine rated their daily moisturizer as one of the best of 2009. I'm a bit intrigued by them and will have to check their stuff out.

For now, be safe in the sun!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cakey make-up is out, flawless effort is in!

Caked on, overly noticeable makeup on anyone’s face is not at all attractive. I prefer soft foundation doing what it is supposed to be doing—evening skin tone and concealing blemishes, while looking effortless. I cannot stand girls who have caked on foundation, and what bugs me more is women who have a one colored face and a different colored neck….ladies, find someone to assist you in the search for foundation!!I’ve tried MAC foundations and found them to be a bit heavy. While MAC offers many different shades and one is sure to find an ideal match, oftentimes MAC leaves women looking overdone. What’s worse is I’ve noticed in some photos that you can see how much foundation I have on! Flawless, effortless beauty is what we should strive for on a day to day basis.

I tried Dior Skin AirFlash Spray Foundation last year, and this product is just amazing. The AirFlash delivered a great even skin tone while providing me with a healthy glow. I only ever used this product while getting my makeup done for events and always wanted to purchase it. It comes in a little spray can, and you can either spray this directly onto your face (don’t recommend it) or onto a disposable makeup sponge and apply to your face. It’s nice and moisturizing too, leaves my skin feeling soft and healthy. This product comes with quite a steep price tag--$60 for a 2.3 oz can. Another set back--it only comes in 5 shades which can be quite limiting. Their darkest shade would not even accommodate dark chocolate African American skin tones, which I think is just shameful on Dior’s part!

A good friend of mine introduced me to Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer just last year, and this product is absolutely fabulous and a good alternative to Dior. It’s just $18 less than the Dior Skin AirFlash Spray Foundation (for those who are arithmetically challenged--$42), but the Laura Mercier product boasts twice as many shades and even has an oil free alternative. The Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer is equally as fantastic and I definitely recommend this product as a suitable alternative to the Dior Skin AirFlash Spray Foundation. I know the $42 price tag is a bit steep, so I assure you I will try and find another less pricey foundation. While I was on a budget, I used the MAC Studio Tech foundation, which was just $29. Oh but I forgot to add--the Laura Mercier has SPF20!!!! Awesome skin and UV protection! I have never tried a drug store brand foundation though I fully intend on it just for the sake of this blog and for my readers. I am quite intrigued by the Maybelline True Match makeup line because they claim to give you an effortless look. I’ll make myself the test dummy and show you all how it compares to the Laura Merciers and Diors of the makeup world!

*photos courtesy

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Acne Problem

I've been one of the lucky few who had very minimal issues with acne and pimples in my teens. I only recently started getting any blemishes, and last year when a few became a little too noticeable on my cheeks, I completely freaked out because at age 23, I had no idea how to treat acne.

I drove over to my favorite store Sephora for some assistance. Sephora carries tons of make up products, but I knew they would have acne treatments for me too. After speaking with a sales clerk for a while, she pointed me out to a brand called Peter Thomas Roth and showed me that their Acne Spot And Area Treatment supposedly stops pimples from before they even appear. What? There are products for that? I was sold! I don't like acne, I didn't like it on my face, and if I can stop it from before it comes heck ya! So... I took it to the register, and found out that itcosts $32!!! For Acne Medication. I know right, what kind of a crazy person spends $32 on Acne medication? I was honestly just determined not to walk around with any zits on my face and thought this expensive product would do this trick.


At first I thought I was just thought God was out to get me and was determined to make me go through break outs at 23...but then I realized this $32 product just really sucks. It did absolutely nothing for my acne, not even after 2-3 continuous days of use. Worst of all, if I put it on in the morning before work, there was visibly white filmy residue on my face. Not at all attractive.

So I went to Target and looked through the acne aisle and found a little tube of Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Gel for about $8...huge savings. I took it home and used it on the same acne spots and am so grateful to have discovered this product!! I now understand why it's the dermatologists recommended brand, this little tube helped save me. As a matter of fact, I got a little pimple on my chin tonight so I used this Gel and I am confident that by tomorrow the pimple will be gone. It contains 2% salicylic Acid which apparently is one of the strongest sold OTC, so good deal Neutrogena!

Verdict: Buying expensive OTC acne treatment is not always in you best if you have mild acne stick with brands like Neutrogena. However, I'm no Dermatologist, so see one if your acne is really bad for a prescription for something stronger, or better recommendations.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Goodbye FRIZZY hair, hello gorgeous locks

In keeping with my hair discussion, and to give you gals more tips on hair, I’d like to share another group of fantastic products that help ease the frizzies in your hair.

So I am Pakistani, and with that comes frizzy, dry hair. In India and Pakistan they use coconut oil every night as a conditioner…but that smells awful and I am not about to put oil in my hair every night. Too much effort and no one wants to sleep with greasy hair. My mom had me do this when I was younger, and washing out the coconut oil took FOREVER, and your hair still smells like coconut. Not like tropical island fun-in-the sun coconut, but fob status coconut. Not attractive—don’t recommend it at all. (even if “Temple Hair” is only as beautiful as it is because of the coconut oil…I am still not a fan!)

I picked up Bumble & Bumble DeFrizz hair serum when I was a junior in high school after a stylist recommended it to me. It was about $16 for a 4 oz bottle then…but like all good things in life, inflation caught up and now that same 4 oz formula costs $25!! Seriously?? Yes, it lasts me 6 months (I also have very short hair), and yes it protects my hair from my Hai Flat Iron and Hair Dryer…but $25? I only had to use a small dime-sized amount because it had a thick consistency that spread evenly through my hair, and it did not cause my hair to be greasy at all. You can use this product on wet or dry hair—I usually used it right after my shower.

So then…Summer 2009 when I was on a major budget, my Bumble & Bumble DeFrizz ran out!! I swore I would never, ever use John Frieda Frizz-Ease…but I picked up a 1.67 oz. bottle at $8 for Target. This product claims to have “thermal protection” to protect your hair against heat styling. I’m not sure if my hair was protected—I don’t know how to tell, but my hair sure was less frizzy after using this product. I had to use two drops because of its thin consistency, but I really didn’t think the John Frieda Frizz-Ease was that bad. It was a good stand-in for my Bumble & Bumble Defrizz serum, and I do recommend this product to my friends. It is a 1.67 oz bottle, so it’s considerably smaller than the Bumble & Bumble Defrizz, however, it works fine and I don’t mind it.

Verdict: Downgrade is ok!
(however, I will be switching back to Bumble & Bumble Defrizz since it contains silicone which protects your hair against heat styling and I do a lot of that! 4 oz of this product costs about $16, so what’s an extra $8?)
*photo credits: myself

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sulfate-Free Shampoos, Salon Style and Drugstore Brands

I’ve been dying my hair for over 4 years, and I know the importance of buying shampoo that is solely for color-treated hair. I’ve had the awful brassy hair because I used regular shampoos. So my stylist at Savoie Hair, Brenda, recommended that I use Enjoy Shampoo and Conditioner a few years back. It is a special sulfate-free formula that prevents your hair color from stripping away and turning brassy. I loved it! It came in a bottle that lasted me 2-3 months and I felt the Shampoo Conditioner combo really worked! They sell a ton of different shampoos, from hydrating, volumizing and rejuvenating. (I used the hydrating because my hair gets frizzy).

But it was super pricey! It is about $18 for a 10.5 oz bottle from the salon, so it came to be $36 for a 2-3 month supply of shampoo and conditioner. Kind of out of control, but I was very loyal to this product and my hair didn’t turn brassy, so I stuck with it. It also smelled really good! But at almost $40 for just shampoo, I had to rethink my approach to hair care.

So glad that L’Oreal caught on to the need of sulfate-free shampoos for color-treated hair!! L’Oreal last year released their Ever Pure line made especially for hair dyers like me. I couldn’t wait to go to Target and pick it up—it was only $7 a bottle! A huge savings, and it smelled really nice too. They too have different types of Sulfate Free shampoos, from the Volumizing type, Smoothing and Moisturizing.

I think this product is a great alternative to Enjoy! I’m saving a lot of money and the shampoo and conditioner combo works really well. It comes in different scents, Rosemary, Juniper, and Mint...but I could not stand the smell of the mint so I avoided that one.

Definitely recommend this as an alternative product for avid hair-dyers like myself who wanna save money on shampoo.

*photo credits: & L'Oreal Paris

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lip Gloss is Poppin'

Oh Givenchy, how I love my Givenchy Pop Gloss in Impertinent Nude. It goes on so smoothly and the colors Givenchy offers are beautiful. The cube tube is too cute, and the gloss glides on my lips perfectly.

I've been using my Givenchy Pop Gloss since my freshman year of college...but now at $25.50 a pop, I had to find a good alternative! I used to use MAC Lipgloss before I discovered the glory of Givenchy, so I took a trip to the MAC make up counter to find a suitable alternative.

I forgot how inexpensive MAC was compared to Givenchy lipgloss!! It is only $14 for a tube of lip gloss and the applicator is a lot better because it's not a brush and it helps prevent gloss coming out in big goops like Givenchy.

The new color I use is Lust (accurately described as a "soft, muted pink" on their website), and it's really pretty and smooth. I saved $10, and MAC has a ton more shades than Givenchy...and they have fun names like "Enchantress" and "Nymphette" for their glosses. SO cute and fun!

Verdict: Downgrade OK!

*note, the pictures on this post are not photos of the colors I've described.
*photo credit, MACCosmetics and

Meet Me

I was inspired to begin this a year ago, when I quit my job and had a bit of trouble landing a new one (thank you recession). My savings was depleting and I refused to go out in the world looking like a mess. I had to cut costs without cutting my beauty regimen, and I thought I might share my experiences with those who might be looking for great alternatives for otherwise overpriced products.

There are many blogs about dressing chic in this economy, but far too few about personal care in this economy.

I overheard Ryan Seacrest on KIIS FM one morning and he was suggesting we women cut down on our Sephora shopping trips. And you know what, I was absolutely appalled just like you readers probably are. But then I realized that I've been frequenting my favorite store a lot less lately, and it's because I've found comparable products with far lower price tags!

I used to be a hair care product JUNKIE! Just like I swore I would never give up my designer jeans (and still have not!), the thought of giving up Enjoy hair products and my favorite Bumble and Bumble hair serum was far too depressing that I balked at the idea of buying--gasp!!--hair care from Target. True story.

My hair still looks pretty darn good, and I've been maintaining the flawless skin I've been complimented on for ages. My blog will detail some of the things you SHOULD do, and some things I absolutely recommend leaving up to the professionals.