Products I’ve Repurchased


I always find it interesting to know what products people have repurchased time and again. It truly says something when even beauty addicts, who are consistently trying new things, return to old favorites. So why not return to blogging with some tried and true faves of my own? I’m breaking them down into categories.


I definitely have the most repurchased items in the skincare category, so let’s start there.

Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Triple-Action Toner ($8.49, Ulta)
I couldn’t even tell you how many bottles I’ve gone through of this stuff, but it’s several. I love that this product is so good, even though it’s really inexpensive. The price is really great considering you get a huge 8 oz bottle. The active ingredient is 2% salicylic acid, which helps keep breakouts and clogged pores at bay, but since it is in a formula with camellia and cucumber, it isn’t irritating or stingy on my face. If you have very sensitive skin this may cause a little irritation because it does contain alcohol, but it has worked out fine for me.

Pixi Glow Tonic ($15, Target)
Another fantastic, inexpensive skincare find that I have purchased more than once. This is another acid toner (generally I would use this in the daytime and the Neutrogena toner at night). Pixi Glow Tonic contains 5% glycolic acid in a very gentle alcohol-free formula with aloe and ginseng. I experience no stinging, no redness, and no irritation, and I’m about 2/3 of the way through my second bottle. This toner is designed to keep your skin looking even and radiant. I definitely notice a difference!

Murad Acne Spot Treatment ($18, Sephora)
Murad has two acne spot treatment products. This one is not to be confused with their “fast fix” product, which is a benzoyl peroxide-based product. The one I’m in love with is simply called acne spot treatment and it is a 3% sulphur active ingredient treatment. There are only a few different actives that treat acne, and for me I prefer sulphur treatments to benzoyl peroxide. It’s way less drying and irritating. I only see a teeny bit of drying with this product, whereas benzoyl peroxide has more than once given me itchy dry patches. Not cute. Anyway, I am on my third tube of this handy stuff, which is great at helping to reduce the inflammation of breakouts, which is ultimately what causes them to be so painful (and noticeable!) and also what causes scarring. A little bit goes a long way, so in order to get through multiple tubes I have been using this product for years.

MAC Cleanse-Off Oil ($32 & free shipping, Nordstrom)
When I’m wearing makeup and/or sunscreen, I prefer to double cleanse. I use MAC Cleanse-Off Oil as my first cleanse. It’s great at removing even the heaviest makeup (even waterproof mascara or bits of lash glue). This cleanser emulsifies with water, so you don’t even really need to do a second cleanse if you don’t want to. If you have dry skin, you may not feel the need. The oil is formulated with no mineral oil, and contains soothing oils like olive, evening primrose, and jojoba. If you’re at all acne or clog prone, you may want to follow up with a second cleanser. I do just because I like to be extra squeaky clean, and because my skin has been more normal-to-oily than dry lately. As an added bonus for this product, you can recycle the packaging with Back 2 MAC.

Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel ($14, Ulta)
For a cleanser with chemically exfoliating actives in it, this cleanser is so very gentle. I think it would work well for just about any skin type. This cleanser exfoliates with hydroxy acids from papaya and grapefruit extracts. It’s gentle enough that I have even used it with cleansing devices like the Foreo Luna or Clarisonic and had no irritation. If you have dry skin that is prone to clogged pores, this will help to keep them clear without irritating your skin. I love that the packaging is no-nonsense and without any frills that would drive up the price, too. I’m on my second bottle, and still loving it!

Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream for Dry Skin ($8.99, Ulta)
Do you think this moisturizer has a long enough name? Because I’m not sure. This moisturizer is sold in a dry skin formula and a normal skin formula and I have tried both. Though Garnier says the dry skin version has 2x more moisturizing agents, I don’t notice a huge difference. This moisturizer is better for people who have normal to slightly dry skin rather than those who have very dry skin. I think it actually works great for skin that is dehydrated and producing too much oil to compensate, because it is so very light weight. The name says gel-cream, but it is very much a gel texture. It’s not going to give you a heavy night cream feeling at all. I think it wears very well under makeup, and on days when I need even more hydration I just use a serum first.

Hair Products

Hair products are another area where I am pretty settled into a routine and I know what I like.

Psssst! Dry Shampoo ($6.99, Ulta)
I wait ’til this stuff goes on sale and buy them a couple at a time. This is a very basic, yet well-performing dry shampoo. I have bangs–dry shampoo is a necessity. I flip my head over and spray it at the roots, or spray it into my bangs and then comb through and sort of “fluff” them out for refreshed hair.

Alterna CAVIAR Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner ($32 each, Sephora online)
Once upon a time several years ago, the good folks at Alterna sent me a PR package with these two products in it, and thus began my love affair with really pricey haircare. I used both bottles up and then totally willingly forked over the cashola for my own more than once because this stuff is amazing. I have fine, color-treated hair. It tends to be on the dry side vs. oily, and I also heat style with a blow dryer and flat iron very regularly. I try to take very good care of my hair because if you’re going to pay $100+ to color it, you want to preserve that color or it’s throwing money away. These products are luxurious and sulfate-free, and make my hair feel oh so silky. Even the ends of my hair are in great shape and I believe I owe it to Alterna! It’s tough to swallow paying $64 for your hair care, so I do sometimes stray with L’Oreal’s sulfate free products, and I stock up on Alterna during events like Sephora’s annual VIB 20% off sale.


Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup ($40, Sephora)
I’ve purchased this bad boy twice, even though it is far from cheap. The shade range is pretty extensive, and shade 0.5 matches me very well. It is described as a radiant finish, and looks very skin-like. The coverage is medium, and somewhat buildable. If you are looking for something to even out your skintone and wear well without looking like a mask, you’ll probably like this. If you have extremely oily skin or a lot to cover up, probably not as much. I loved this the most when my skin was normal to dry.

L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation ($12.99, Ulta)
As my skin became more normal to oily, I wanted a more matte foundation. The hype was huge surrounding this foundation’s launch, and for good reason. I love this foundation, possibly even more than the Urban Decay. It has easy, hygienic packaging that is travel friendly, a decent shade range (I wear 101 Classic Ivory), and wears very well throughout the day. The coverage is medium to high medium and buildable. Though it says matte, it’s not a dry or flat looking matte. It’s like your skin but better. At the end of the day I can feel oil on my t-zone, but the foundation doesn’t break up or smear, etc. It may require a bit of touching up around hour 12-13, so I raise my eyebrow at the 24HR claim, but you should never really wear foundation for 24 solid hours anyway. For less than half the price of Urban Decay, I am sold!

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer ($28, Sephora)
While the Urban Decay foundation has been replaced in my go-to lineup for the moment, the accompanying concealer remains a favorite. This concealer does wonders for brightening up my under eye area and inner corners of my eyes. It blends out nicely and the fact that it is light enough to brighten even on my pale complexion is impressive. I wear shade Fair Neutral.

Maybelline Volum’ Express The Rocket Mascara ($6.99, Ulta)
I’ve repurchased this mascara easily 3 to 4 times. I love that it not only volumizes, but also lengthens. Most recently, I’ve been trying out the waterproof version of this (picked it up when I went on a cruise), and it is VERY waterproof.

Sedona Lace Synthetic Round Top Brush (480) ($18.95, Sedona Lace)
Simply put, my favorite foundation brush. It’s so dense, so soft, and blends foundation out like a dream. It also washes very well, and looks freaking adorable with the pink and black ombre bristles. They do not bleed or shed. Awesome all-around brush. I love it so much I needed a second one in my arsenal so I never have to be without it, even when one of them is drying from being washed.

Sedona Lace Synthetic Small Round Dome Brush (217) ($16.95, Sedona Lace)
My favorite concealer blending brush ever. It’s pretty much a smaller, less dense version of the 480. It’s a small, compact fluffy brush that blends concealer out even better than my fingers. Worth every penny, and I just had to get another one.


What are some beauty products you love so much that you’ve purchased them more than once?

Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Shampoo/Conditioner Review


Sometimes it’s taking a break from a product that really makes you realize how much you love it. That has definitely been my experience with Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy shampoo & conditioner. [Read more…]

Amika Shampoo & Conditioner Review


Well the image above kinda says it all, haha. I have a tough time writing about products I feel ‘meh’ about. It’s been a long time since I’ve tried a product I flat out hated, and because I am pretty good at picking stuff usually, I don’t have too many bad experiences. This wasn’t a bad experience per se, but… well let me get into it.  [Read more…]

October Favorites

So what it’s a week into November already…I’m doing my October favorites and you’re gonna LIKE IT. :) As usual I don’t know what to use as a picture for my ‘favorites’ post so in keeping with tradition, here’s a random fun picture. This time it’s Barack Obama holding a book. :D My favorites for October are pretty simple, because I was SICK during October. That means my favorites all kind of go along with that…read on to find out more!

[Read more…]

July Favorites

Seeing as how it’s a week into August, and I’m now a week into being unemployed I’m taking the time to do an actual favorites post. I can’t even laughingly call these monthly anymore because they’re so…not monthly. But I feel like now that I have the time I might as well do a favorites post. Will they start being monthly? Nobody knows.  [Read more…]

Suave Keratin Infusion Dry Shampoo

It’s not very often that I write negative reviews. Most often, I try a product and either like it (positive review) or just feel “meh” about it. Who wants to take the time to read my review of simply “meh”? I don’t like writing them (*snooze*) and they aren’t very interesting to read. 
However. Once and a while I use a product that I really don’t like. This is one of those products. Now, I’m kind of surprised and/or disappointed at not liking this, because some of my other fellow bloggers really like it! I feel left out of the Suave party. Oh well…
Why don’t I like this product. Well, I can explain it best by letting you know those photos above are the AFTER pictures. AFTER using the ‘refreshing dry shampoo’. EWW. My hair became greasier than it was before! This was sprayed the morning of the third day (I wash my hair on the evening of the third day). I do not have oily scalp/roots by any stretch of the imagination, and had not overloaded my hair with product. And this is the result? EWWWW. I was trying this out on a whim before work and hadn’t planned on taking pictures for my review, but it just was so bad I had to snap a few with my camera phone to document the experience. I still have the can, and I might give it another shot sometime, but wow. 
FYI my hair:
– fine, but lots of it
– color treated
– normal-to-dry
– is shampooed with Alterna
– is conditioned with Alterna and Sojourn 
Just. Ick. Ew ew. Maybe I got a dud, I don’t know. But this did NOT work for me at all. :( That makes me a sad panda.
Sample provided for editorial purposes.

Tips for Voluminous Hair from Nexxus

What they don’t tell you is that the bird lives in her hair.

Okay, so the trend of having the biggest, poofiest hair possible may not be what women these days are going for, but nobody likes limp, flat hair either. My mom’s hair is baby fine, and she loves knowing anything extra she can do to give it some more volume.
So what does Kevin Mancuso, Nexxus’ creative director, recommend for voluminous hair?
1. Choose the Right Shampoo. Kevin recommends Nexxus Diametress to those looking for more volume for its high concentration of panthenol (a vitamin B derivative). What you want is a clear formula that can gently rid the hair of impurities, but won’t leave a residue behind to weigh down your hair. 
2. Condition Sparingly. I was shocked to read that Kevin actually thinks some women with especially fine hair may want to skip conditioning altogether. My mind = blown. He suggests skipping conditioner and opting instead for a conditioning styling product like Nexxus Mousse Plus
3. Pay Attention to Texture. Thick, curly hair stands up more at the roots. To get your limp fine hair to do this, creating more volume, Kevin suggests massaging your roots after applying a volumizing mousse. This roughs up the cuticle of the hair and causes more of the standing up action we’re looking for.

Bonus Tip!

This one just comes from my experience with hair. For more volume, we often blow dry our hair upside down. However, I have noticed that this often causes a little too much poof and frizz. So what I do is this:
1. Lean forward as if you were about to blow dry your hair upside down. 
2. Bring all your hair together (as if you were making a ponytail, or putting your hair up in a towel) and twist it loosely around your fingers (just one or two times). 
3. Hold this twist of hair loosely while blow drying upside down. Use your dryer to blow at the roots of your hair, and up and down the twisted length you are holding. Twisting the length of your hair helps avoid frizz.
4. Stand up and let go of your hair.

Nexxus Phyto Organics ChromaLife Reviews

The ChromaLife line from Nexxus Phyto Organics is made up of ultra-mild, sulfate-free hair products formulated with Fade Block Complex. Fade Block Complex is a special proprietary blend of ingredients that claims to keep your color up to five times longer than if you just used ordinary shampoo & conditioner. They are said to help replenish nutrients that are lost during the coloring process, formulated with blue lotus root. I have no idea about blue lotus root and its effects on hair, as my research only turned up that apparently the ancient Egyptians used it to induce an ecstatic, hallucinogenic state as well as remedy many illnesses. Um, interesting…
These bad boys will run you about $13-$17 each for a 10 oz bottle.  They are a little difficult to open in the shower if your hands are wet and/or soapy, but nothing that made me want to throw them against the wall or anything. The scent is fairly insignificant if not sort of generic; the point is it doesn’t bother me. The texture is pretty run of the mill as well.

What I found odd is that the conditioner feels watery once it’s in my hair. Normally conditioners feel creamy. Weird, but whatever. After using these on my hair I wasn’t that impressed as the conditioner is too mild and too lightweight for my hair. I felt like I needed to attack it with leave-in conditioners afterward because my hair felt really dry. But I decided to give these to my mom (also colors her hair, but very different hair!) and see what she thinks!

To begin, I have baby fine hair and not much of it, so keep that in mind as you read. I use a very small amount of this shampoo, about 1.5 teaspoons of it. It has very little smell, which can be a plus for me, as I don’t want a lot of competing scents on me. I had to practically put my nose into my palm to smell the light pleasant scent. There is very little lather, which is also fine by me because it rinses out quickly, but there is a little residue on my hands after it has rinsed out of my hair. Hair felt very silky and healthy after the shampoo.

On the other hand, with the conditioner, which I also use very little of, there was no filmy residue at all; hands felt very clean. There is the same very faint smell in the conditioner. I like the conditioner because most conditioners leave my hair feeling weighed down and greasy before I even get out of the shower. This conditioner does not feel that way at all. It just feels healthy, silky, and tangle free. I put a very small amount in my hands and rub them together before rubbing them through my hair.

After towel drying a little, I use a very fine brush (actually it’s for babies) to separate the hair while blow drying, which is what I always do to dry my hair, about 2-3 times per week. Brush sails right through my hair with no tangles. Less frizziness while drying. It feels silky and salon healthy. I was able to run a brush through before it was completely dry, which is unusual.

In terms of drying time, I don’t think it makes a difference what I do, as my hair is so fine that it only takes a few minutes to blow dry no matter what. In terms of retaining the color, I hadn’t really considered that, which is a good thing because I colored it on Mother’s Day, and the review was done a week after Father’s Day, and I don’t notice any roots or need for re-dying the red at this point. That’s a huge plus. It does appear that the color is holding better.


This was a classic example of why I always think reading as many reviews of a product as possible is a good idea – the same product often works really well for one person, and not so much for another. If you have fine hair like my mom does, you’ll probably love these products!

Samples provided for editorial purposes.

Kids Get The Coolest Stuff

When I was a little kid and I went trick-or-treating, I’d always come home with my besties and we’d dump out all our candy, swap favorites, and sort out things (like anything opened had to be tossed!). I eventually learned to make a pile of “Parent Favorites” because those would end up mysteriously disappearing anyway even if I didn’t. ;) I learned pretty quickly that tootsie rolls and milk duds didn’t exist in my trick-or-treat world anymore. They belonged to mom. I suppose it’s the least I could do after she followed me around all night going door to door.

When I have kids, I look forward to continuing this tradition of raiding their trick-or-treat haul. I also look forward to another perk of parental thievery- stealing their hair products. Wait, what? Yes. I’m using three products right now that, although marketed towards kids, are completely awesome and I am not ashamed to say I love them. Kids’ hair products typically smell the best and also come in cute packaging, and these are no exception!

The new shampoo and conditioner I’m loving right now are from Monkey Brains. They have the cute monkeys on the bottles, and the bottles are shaped like bananas! How delightful. I was thinking they might smell like banana too, but they just kind of smell like generic fruit? I love the smell though. It’s refreshing and yummy. But most importantly, they leave my hair super clean without being stripped at all, and very soft. When testing a new shampoo I like to wait til I have seriously dirty hair. Monkey Brains Goop Out Shampoo ought to be great for very dirty hair because it says it’s a deep cleansing shampoo – and it’s designed to get the hair gel and other wonderful styling products from Monkey Brains out of your hair. It lathers up really well and it cleaned my hair completely in one wash. No need to rinse & repeat with this guy. For the conditioner, they recommend leaving it in your hair for a couple minutes before rinsing, which I did. Result? Super soft, gorgeous hair. I love it! These products together can be purchased for less than a lot of other hair products I have used in the past. I could get 2 sets of them for the price of one bottle of my beloved Alterna shampoo. Does that mean I will stop using Alterna? No, probably not…but at least I have something awesome to use in between bottles while I’m poor and jobless haha. Monkey Brains is available at CVS, and probably other drugstores too (that’s just the only one I have actually seen it in so far). It’s also on amazon for $4.95 a bottle.
Suave Kids’ Detangling Spray is a product I’ve heard mentioned on other blogs/YouTube videos before, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. It’s about $2 at the drugstore (my bottle came from Rite Aid) so why not? What really sold me is the scent. It comes in several scents but Double Dutch Apple is all I need. It smells so good. I love apple scented things. Well you know what? This is a great detangler! It’s basically a lightweight leave-in conditioner. The bottle says it will tame bed head and flyaways while enhancing hair’s natural softness and shine. Does it do all of those things? Yes, yes, and yes! All while smelling delicious and being really cheap.
Overall I’m pretty happy I don’t have to fight any children for use of these products so far. When I’m a mom I will want to share. Or maybe I’ll just get my own. ;)
Have you ever pilfered products from your kids (or siblings)?
Sample of Monkey Brains provided for editorial purposes.

Philip B Haircare Review

I don’t even want to start with an introduction here. I can honestly say this is the worst experience with a hair product I’ve had in a long time.

Philip B is not cheapo haircare. It’s expensive stuff. When someone invests in expensive haircare I think they deserve to get what they pay for. The first product I tried was the Lavender Hair & Body Shampoo, which is a steep $30 for a 7.4 oz bottle. I was using a little 2 oz, which retails for $14 – why is about 1/4 of the product still half the price? I don’t know. But the problems began almost immediately. The bottle itself is really hard sturdy plastic. Great for travel, not so great for actually squeezing the shampoo out into your hand. I actually had to twist off the cap and just pour some because I was getting nowhere trying to squeeze this bottle. (Yes I removed the safety seal, lol…) The smell is fabulous. I was willing to forgive the packaging issues.
Then I put it in my hair. Now, I have fine hair but I do have a lot of it. The directions say to apply a liberal amount, so I did. I began working it into my hair, and… nothing happened. This shampoo is supposed to be mild but clarifying, and build into a “luxurious lather”. Supposedly the amino acids in this shampoo will fight static and leave you with silky smooth hair. But here I was, working it in, and nothing was going on. No lather, no feeling of my hair being cleaned, nothing. I kept working on it. Sometimes sulfate-free shampoos don’t lather too well, so I was trying to be diligent. Finally I gave up and started rinsing. That is when something did start to happen. My hair started to feel dry and worst of all, tangled. My hair never tangles. Okay, very, very rarely. I couldn’t run my hands through it without feeling like I had to pull sections apart. And my hair didn’t feel clean. At all. 
So, I thought, I’ll give it another go. Sometimes when your hair is really dirty (as mine was, I’ll admit) it takes a couple shampoos. So I poured some more into my hand and went at it again. Same. Thing. No lather, nothing going on with cleaning my hair. I thought maybe I wasn’t using enough, so I added more, and really worked it into my hair. Once I rinsed, the same damn thing. Tangly, straw-like ends and greasy roots/scalp. I went in to the shower with greasy roots and hair that was recently conditioned and feeling actually not too bad. 
Deciding to really be a trooper, I went for the second product – the Lightweight Deep Conditioning Creme Rinse. I applied it and combed it through with a shower comb, just as the instructions indicate. I left it on for a few minutes and then rinsed. My hair still felt straw-like, tangled, and awful. I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed, wanting to be absolutely SURE I got all of this stuff out of my hair.
After the shower comes step 3 – pH restorative toning mist. This product is meant to be a detangler (a-HA!) and lightweight conditioner. It’s supposed to be ideal for those who have dry frizzy hair and want to have smooth silky hair. At first I was dubious – the only reason I had any need for a detangler was because of the shampoo in the first place. Coincidence? There goes my conspiracy theorist brain again. But I really wanted to do a review based on my experience using this whole “system” correctly and according to the instructions, no matter what! So I sprayed it on and then “styled as usual” (which this time just consisted of using a hair dryer). 
The result? Well, let me show you.
Does THAT look like freshly washed hair to ANYONE? I look like I’ve been sweating all day and in dire need of some dry shampoo! And notice how frizzy my hair is and how many flyaways I have going on. And shine? What shine? My hair is totally devoid of shine. Mr. Boyfriend described it as looking “blah”. Yeah, no kidding. 
For $30 a bottle you too can have hair like mine.
The ends of my hair were somewhat better (not greasy looking anyway) but still pretty dry and dull. The hair around my crown felt fried, like I’d torched it. I wasn’t even using the hottest heat setting on my dryer (I rarely do). 
So yeah, this wasn’t a love match for me. If any of you have tried Philip B, especially these particular products, please share your experiences! 
Sample provided for editorial purposes.