Entries Tagged as 'SOS'
Splurge. Two summers ago, Miss M sold the entire D.C. area out of St. Tropez Self-Tanning Mousse ($32). She promoted it to her clients, to her friends, to strangers on the street and the readers of this blog. Within two weeks, I was having to import self-tanner from other cities because no one had ever seen a self-tanning product that went on so flawlessly with such realistic-looking color.
Because it’s a mousse, application is a cinch. It doesn’t run or glob up like other tanners do. I still recommend, however, that no matter what product you use, you exfoliate (esp. around knees, ankles, elbows, etc.) and moisturize 30-minutes before hand.
Save. In a pinch before a trip, I stopped into the Bed, Bath and Beyond in PQ to pick up some self-tanner for my “Hi, it’s January!” whiter-shade-of-pale legs. I ended up with this Jergens Natural Glow Lotion ($7).
Unlike the St. Tropez, this isn’t a one-and-done self-tanner. This is a lotion that builds gradually to create natural-looking color that won’t leave you doing a Snooki impression. It also has SPF to help protect your skin, which is important since nearly every woman I know has forgotten that her fake tan can easily result in a real sunburn.
To apply this product, exfoliate well at the beginning of the week and then let it go. If you exfoliate every day, then the color will never build up and you’ll be just as pasty as before.
Verdict: Mixed. If you’re a dedicated self-tanner, buy the St. Tropez. It’s better for regular users because the color is deep and lasts for days. Basically, you can apply it on Monday morning and move on with your life.
However, the Jergens is a decent alternative for women who want a less expensive option or for those who only use self-tanner for special events. (Just remember to start applying one week in advance, a single application gets you nowhere.) The only thing I can’t stomach about this product is the god-awful smell, it’s treacly like a bad scented candle with a hint of chemical plant. It doesn’t bother everyone, but it is a vile assault on my olfactory glands.
Do you have a favorite self-tanning product? Leave your suggestions in the comments.
Since moving to Washington, D.C., I’ve struggled to find hair products that can stand up to the heat, humidity and air pollution. Nothing ruins your morning quite like spending an hour in hot rollers only to have your style deflate like a poorly-made souffle the second you step outside. So should you splurge or save on your volumizing hold hairspray?
Splurge. Years ago, I used a wonderful, powerful hairspray called Freez-It. Shortly after L’Oreal brought its Elnett hairspray to the States, Freez-It disappeared from shelves. Now, I would hate to think that these two events were connected…but it always struck me as curious.
Whatever the reason for the loss of my beloved Freez-It, I started using Elnett but my heart was never in it. And while it stood up to the humidity better than most hairsprays, I was never truly happy with it.
Last month, I switched to Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play Harder Firm Volume ($18). I spray a bit on the roots before I roll up my hair in curlers, and then, I spray it afterwards. It holds the curl and the volume, even when it’s wet outside. I’ve had more good hair days during the past month than I’ve had since I moved to D.C. in 2005.
Save. I was looking for a drugstore alternative to my $18 hairspray, when I came across Herbal Essences Body Envy Max ($4). The Interwebs touted the sprays “weightless hold,” its ability to stand up to humidity and its lustrous sheen. Unfortunately, I didn’t experience any of that.
I was struck first by the overwhelming, artificial citrus scent. After two days of use, I noticed the acne forming around my hairline and the residue build up on my locks.
Verdict. The Big Sexy Hairspray is great. I love it. It isn’t sticky or smelly. It doesn’t weigh my hair down, and it preserves both curl and volume well. So I would definitely splurge and buy the $18 hairspray.
If you need something less expensive, hopefully, some other readers will have a suggestion. Because I’ve used a lot of drugstore hairsprays–and salon hairsprays–and none can touch Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play.
During the chilly months, my skin looks a little bit dull and lifeless. I exfoliate, I moisturize and yet, I cannot fully recover from the paleness of winter. And so, I turn to brightening and correcting powder.
Splurge. A few years ago, a friend gave me a Guerlain Meteorites Voyage Compact ($170), the original brightening powder. The mix of colors and minerals in the powder give the skin radiance and life. Apply it over foundation and you go from matte and dry to vibrant and bright. It’s kind of miraculous.
Also, if you have combination skin, this powder and it’s pearly counterpart will remove even a hint of shine from your skin even in the sweltering August heat.
Save. Obviously, Guerlain is not for those on a Hill Staffer budget. I couldn’t believe when I went to replace the compact how much it cost. So I went searching for a cheaper alternative. After a few Google searches, I came upon Physician’s Formula Mineral Correcting Powder ($14).
The concept and the products are very, very similar. Apply multi-colored powder over foundation and transform matte, lifeless skin into radiant, vibrant, supermodel skin. And if you have a little acne or rosacea, the green in this powder will help tone that down. It’s not a miracle cure, but it helps.
Verdict. $170 for face powder? Will it clean my house and bake me cookies? No? Then, of course, I am going to choose the drugtore brand. It doesn’t work quite as well, but it’s not 92-percent worse. So if you need a little perking up, don’t pay too much for it.
Splurge: NARS Pro Prime Eyeshadow Base ($24) and Urban Decay Primer Potion ($20) Save: NYX Eyeshadow Base ($7)
Every time I write about eyeshadow primer, someone jumps into the comments to tell me how great Urban Decay’s Primer Potion is. So when I spotted it at Ulta earlier this month, I decided to give it a try. I also grabbed a tube of NYX Eyeshadow Base to compare.
NARS Splurge. A great long-wearing eyeshadow primer. The white color creates a flawless canvas that intensifies the color of your shadow. No matter the heat, humidity or length-of wear, this primer holds your shadow in place like super glue.
Urban Decay Splurge. Unlike the NARS, this primer is a bisque color. As a result my go to shadow colors (Stila Oasis, a gold shimmer, and Stila Chinois, an off-white) less vibrant.
Also, by five o’clock, there was a noticeable crease in my eyeshadow. The lid and brown bone would be smudge free, but there, in the crease, would be a large vein of displaced shadow. Not exactly what I would consider long-wearing.
Lastly, I wasn’t crazy about dispensing the primer from a tube. I vastly prefer having an applicator or wand to use. Using my finger, I felt like there was a lot more wasted product.
Save. For a drugstore product, I was fairly impressed with the formulation of the NYX Eyeshadow Base, since these products are usually too watery. The creamy consistency spread easily using the applicator, and the formula didn’t feel drying or greasy.
On the day I first tried this product, my day started with an 8:00AM breakfast and ended at 10:00PM after an event. When I got home, the eyeshadow had creased near the inside of my eye, but given that I’d been wearing it for 15 hours, I was pretty impressed by how little the product had moved.
Verdict. After trying the Urban Decay product, I’m not sold. I’m sticking with my NARS Pro Prime.
Unlike the Urban Decay and NYX products, the NARS product’s white color really brings out the true color of my shadows and makes my eyes stand out. And in my experience, the NARS product lasted significantly longer with less creasing and smudging.
However, if you are looking for a cheaper product, in my opinion, the NYX did as good a job as the Urban Decay Potion for one-third the price.
Benefit They’re Real! ($23 for full size, mini $10) vs. CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara ($7)
Writing about mascara is difficult because different women have different needs. Some women need length, others need volume. Some women like a bristle brush, others prefer a wand. But most of us are still searching for our perfect mascara.
Splurge. My Mother and I took a little trip this weekend to see Bonnie Raitt in concert (ah-may-zing) and stop at the Ulta store. I had never been in an Ulta, so I spent a lot of time roaming the aisles. One thing I spotted and just had to try was this Benefit They’re Real! Mascara.
I had heard great things about this mascara. It’s supposed to give you lashes that are beyond belief by volumizing, separating, lengthening and curling. But the second I opened the bottle, I knew this mascara would disappoint me.
The hair on my lashes, like the hair on my head, is baby fine. I need LOTS of bristles to grab all those skinny little follicles, and this brush has just a few plastic bristles scattered across the surface. So while I loved the formula–super dark, lengthening and volumizing–the brush just didn’t do it for me.
My other complaint is that the mascara was difficult to remove. Even after hitting it with my face wipes, using olive oil and rinshing with water, I still woke up with black smudges on my pillow cases. Blast!
Save. I may stray, but I always come back to the Covergirl LashBlast Volumizing Mascara. Always.
The formula is good–dark, volumizing, not sticky. (Though I do wish it didn’t smudge.) The brush has enough bristles to grab my itty-bitty lashes. And at $7 a tube, I can replace it every 90 days as recommending without feeling like I’m throwing money into the trash heap.
Verdict. Benefit’s They’re Real! Mascara is a solid B+ performer. So if you want to try it, buy the $10 mini version and see if it suits your needs. If you don’t think it’s for you, or you don’t want to become beholden to a $23 mascara, stick with the Covergirl LashBlast. I am.