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Pardon the Interruption

bar-exam-caseSorry I’ve been totally missing in action and slacking on the bargain beauty posts. As some of you know (and many of you don’t), I’m in the middle of studying for the bar exam. My free time involves sleeping, showering, eating a bunch of junk that I’ll regret in a month and calling my loved ones in the middle of mini-meltdowns, wondering why I ever went to law school in the first place.

I’ll be posting on a MUCH more regular basis as of August 1st and have several interesting products coming up, including some seriously spicy products that will keep your love life (particularly long-distance love lives) hot. Orgasms are the best (and cheapest) beauty product there is!

Burt’s Bees is Highly Overrated.

Ok, maybe not completely, but I have a total love/hate relationship with the brand.  Today, I broke down and bought a jar of their Beeswax and Banana Hand Creme that I’ve been looking at forever because I lust after anything banana-scented or flavored (insert obvious sex joke here).

Burt's Bees Beeswax and Banana Hand CremeWhat it does: Who cares?  It sucks beyond belief.

Why I hate it: This stuff is everything I hate in a hand cream.  Its thick, sticky, and heavy.  It’s so thick that you can’t even rub it around your hands to distribute it evenly, so you may as well give up on trying to massage it in.  And the stickiness?  It feels like you let an ice cream cone melt into your hands– only the ice cream is thicker than wax.  And forget about washing it off.  I scrubbed my hands for a good 5 minutes without removing any of the product.  I guess thats the only good part of it– if you’re washing a lot of dishes, this may help keep your hands from drying out.  Oh, and it doesn’t even smell like bananas.  It smells like melted crayons with a little bit of Vapo-Rub thrown in.  Yuck.

Their lip balm has the same qualities as this hand creme– it will seal out moisture, but is so thick and sticky and uncomfortable (without actually moisturizing) that it’s only worth wearing if you’re a swimmer or something.  I vastly prefer Carmex (in the pot, not the stick– the pot balm is much more healing for some reason).

The Amount of Money I should’ve thrown into the Toilet: $8.99. Damnit.

On the other hand, Burt’s Bees Hand Salve is pretty great.  Actually, it may be one of the best hand creams I’ve ever tried.  My ideal hand cream is highly moisturizing and healing without being sticky or heavy.  It keeps your hands soft, even after washing them (particularly because I’m a chronic hand-washer; not because I’m afraid of germs but because I despise sticky, sweaty feelings hands).  Burt’s Bees Hand Salve does just that.

Burt's Bees Hand SalveWhat it does: From Burt’s Bees: “Our all-purpose protective hand salve is made with botanical oils, herbs and beeswax, specially formulated to deeply penetrate dry, chapped hands and other areas that need extra moisturizing.  For best results, gently massage the salve into the skin daily before and after gardening and other outdoor activities.”

Why I love it: It’s not thick or sticky!  This salve is easily massaged into skin and absorbed, leaving hands feeling soft without any of that heaviness and stickiness that the other hand creme left behind.  It keeps hands moisturized even after a washing.  It smells like eucalyptus like Vapo-Rub, but its bearable without that horrible burnt crayon smell.  Also, one 3 oz. tub lasts a long time, even with frequent use.

Where to buy it (and how much): You can buy it at any drugstore, like CVS or Walgreens, but also in some grocery stores, beauty supplies, and even my school bookstore!  It costs $8.99 and is actually worth every penny.

Bottom Line: The Hand Salve is totally worth it.  Steer clear of the Hand Cremes in jars and the lip balms in stick form.  (I also think the Cuticle Creme is a little overrated, but it’s not too bad if you’d like to try it.  I just think Creative’s Solar Oil and Gena’s Healthy Hoof are better).

Miracle Product of the Month!

Aphogee Two-Step ReconstructorWhat it is: From the Aphogee website:

“This unique treatment is formulated with magnesium and modified proteins which fuse into the hair with the application of heat. The result is that breakage is drastically reduced. ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment is a salon service product unlike any product available for at-home use. During the process, ApHogee treatment hardens into the hair, dramatic evidence that something special is occurring. For best results a hooded dryer is required. After rinsing and moisturizing with ApHogee Balancing Moisturizer, clients are astounded with the results. ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment can help improve other salon services as well.

This remedial process is highly recommended for hair that:  is too weak or fine to take a perm or relaxer (use the week PRIOR to service);  is over-bleached;  will not hold color (use PRIOR to color application);  Breaks when combed or brushed;  and/or is mushy when wet and brittle after drying.”

Why I love it: I bought this product at the behest of the hair board after pleading with them for a miracle product to fix my sticky, porous, brittle hair, a product of overuse of evil Sun-In while at the beach and daily heat-styling. My hair was damaged from the tips to four inches below the roots– I would have had to have a bowl-cut if I wanted to cut out all the damage to prevent it from spreading further! There was no way I would allow this to happen.

Enter Aphogee. After shampooing my hair with Aphogee’s Shampoo for Damaged Hair, I shook up the Aphogee Two-Step Reconstructor and generously applied the yellow, watery product with my hands  (warning:  it smells like floral dirty kitty litter, but its totally worth it!). I used a wide-tooth comb to distribute it evenly through-out my hair, making sure the extra-damaged areas were thoroughly soaked. When my hair was combed into a position where I felt comfortable with it stay that way, I turned on my hair dryer with the setting on hot, but the fan on low. You do not want your hair to move at all once it starts becoming hard, as it may break more (although slight movements didn’t seem to harm my hair). The heat from the hairdryer bakes the protein into the damaged areas of the strands. Once the hair can’t get any harder (generally after an hour or two), rinse it out in the shower, and apply a very thick, deep conditioner. Leave in the deep conditioner for 5-15 mnutes with a towel wrapped around your head. Use the wide-tooth comb when you’re rinsing it out to detangle it. Let your hair air-dry; don’t heat-style afterwards– give your poor, damaged hair a break– and wait to see the miraculous change in your hair!

My hair was almost completely repaired! There is such an incredible difference in my hair that I can barely tell it was ever damaged. Its a little rough in the places that were incredibly damaged, but there was a 90% improvement in my hair. I’ll continue using the product monthly until the damage has grown out enough to be cut off. I’d highly recommend this product to ANYONE with brittle or sticky hair that is prone to breakage. It brought my hair from the brink of disaster!

(I really wish I took before and after pics of my hair because there is a visible difference in the amount of roughness/frizz/damage to the cuticle of the hair shaft.  My hair is super-shiny and smooth now!)

Where to buy it (and how much): Sally’s Beauty Supply or any other hair supply store for $19.99 for 16 oz bottle or about $5.99 for a 4 oz bottle.

All-time Favorite Drugstore Lip Gloss

Bonne Bell LipLites in Mocha Mousse

Bonne Bell LipLites in Mocha Mousse

From Bonne Bell: “Lip LITES® is the ultimate lip gloss! It provides smooth, glossy color and moisturizing shine. Sponge on 17 delicious flavors and shades.”

Why I love it:  It’s the PERFECT pink-brown lip color that looks great on lots of skin tones– including my fair, neutral, freckled skin-tone (with or without a tan).  It’s what I’d call a “natural-lip-but-better” color.  It’s not sheer, and yet is much more wearable than it appears in the tube.  The color is buildable to a darker shade with more coats.

The gloss is moisturizing, but less sticky than lots of other drug store brands.  The smell reminds me of a mocha latte and it has a slightly sweet flavor.

Comparable Product:  Smashbox Lip Enhancing Gloss – True Color in Protege.   Bonne Bell’s version is cheaper, more pigmented, and larger (.20 vs. .26 oz).  Oh, and way cheaper ($18 vs. $3.50).

Where to find it:  Drugstores, Walmart, Target, etc for about $3.50.  Can’t beat that!

Manicure of the Day: Watermelon Nails!

OPI Charged-Up Cherry and Gargantuan Green Grape with Essie Licorice.

OPI Charged-Up Cherry and Gargantuan Green Grape with Essie Licorice.

Here, I am wearing OPI Charged Up Cherry, a bright (but not neon) pink with a bit of coral undertones as my main nail color (or for the inside of the watermelon).  The green peel (and coordinating ring finger color) is OPI Gargantuan Green Grape, a sheer lime creme (needs 4 coats to achieve opacity).  The black “seeds” are Essie Licorice.

Weird Product Crush of the Day: Healthy Hoof Intensive Protein Treatment

Gena Healthy Hoof Intensive Protein Treatment

Gena Healthy Hoof Intensive Protein Treatment

Yes, you read that right.  Gena’s Healthy Hoof Intensive Protein Treatment was originally created by equestrians to keep horses hooves conditioned and strong.  It is now recommended to keep nails and cuticles healthy and strong.

Why I love it: Healthy Hoof really conditions and softens dry, cracked cuticles and nails.  It makes nails less brittle and more flexible, thereby helping prevent breakage.  It sinks into the skin and nail bed relatively quickly and is less greasy than a cuticle oil (like Creative’s Solar Oil, which I also love).  It doesn’t seem to stain clothing like a cuticle oil would.  Just message it into your nails and cuticles daily (make that several times a day) to nourish and moisturize.

Where to find it: I discovered this amazing product in the manicure section in CVS for about $3 for 1 oz.  It can also be found here.

Essie is really branching out! Yay!!!

Not just sheer pinks and red cremes anymore!!!

North Fork and Neon Collections!

North Fork and Neon Collections!