Amika Polished Perfection Mini Straightening Brush. Game. Changer.

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I rarely try something once and form an opinion on it, but this little gizmo has changed my life.  Seriously.  It’s really changed my life.  Ok, maybe it’s only just changed the way that I do my hair, but that’s a game changer if I’m saying it.  For the most part, I could care less about how my hair looks, and this thing has almost changed that for me.

I’ve had my eye on the full-sized Amika Straightening Brush since I noticed it on Sephora’s website months ago.  It looks like a total gimmick, and it’s $120.00.  When reviews first started to roll in, they were pretty mixed, so I decided to sit on buying that thing.  I don’t do anything with my hair before I go to work, so I only really make an attempt to style it on my days off, which, given my profession, can sometimes be few and far between.

A couple of weeks ago, however, I was bored and looking at the website again right before I went to sleep, and there was a mini version of the full-sized brush.  They were selling it for $35.00, too!  I thought this was a total steal, so I bought it along with some foundation that I was beginning to desperately need.

When the package showed up on my doorstep, I ripped right into it and tried it out.  My hair was already dry, but I figured what the heck.  If this little purse-sized, electric brush could work on the rat’s nest I had at that time, it could work on anything.

Here’s how I dry my hair on work days or any day when I’m just too lazy to care:  I lie on my bed with my hair hanging over the edge and let my ceramic heater do the work for me.  I have really wavy hair, so it’s usually a frizzy mess by the time that I’m done with it, but I just throw it in a pony tail and go about my day.  I love my makeup, but I really don’t care what my hair looks like most of the time.

That’s what I had just done before the Sephora package with this gadget in it was delivered.  There were not knots in my hair, but it was nice and frizzy.  If this thing could make that mess presentable, it could do almost anything.

I plugged it in, waited five minutes, and set to brushing.  That’s all you have to do with this.  You don’t section your hair or anything.  You literally just brush your hair with a brush with hot, metal plates for bristles.  To my great shock, it worked.  It didn’t just work.  It worked well.  After only a few minutes of brushing my hair with this thing, it looked like I had actually used a dryer and brush to fix it.  I was floored and speechless.  I was honestly just standing in the middle of the bedroom with this thing in one hand, staring at my husband, and unable to form words for how amazed I was.

To be sure, my hair looked far from perfect, but it looked like I had actually “tried” with it.  There were still a few flyaways, and I had some trouble working the brush on my bangs, so they looked a little flat, but it worked when my hair was at it’s worst.  Awed by this straightening brush’s potential, I resolved to actually dry my hair and properly use it on my next day off.

Fast forward to my next day off, and I kept my promise.  I dried my hair with my blow dryer, and set to work figuring out the best way to use this thing.  At first I was just brushing my hair like I would with a regular hair brush, and the results were much the same as when I first used it.  It was smoothing my hair, but there wasn’t much styling going on.  I finally just took pieces of my hair and held them taut by their ends, and brushed.  When I did this magic happened.  My hair was straight and the ends were pointing the direction I wanted them to go.  It took a matter of minutes to get my hair straight and smooth.  I still can’t get over how good this little thing is.

I may buy the full-sized version this, but this little one works so quickly and so well, that I don’t know if there is any real need for a bigger one.  The full-sized straightening brush has temperature settings, which, I suppose, could be helpful, but I’m that girl who just uses hair styling tools on high.  My hair is so thick that anything other than full temperature seems to take forever.  The mini just has an on and off switch, so if you need a temperature lower than somewhere around 400 degrees Fahrenheit, you might not want to buy this.

I also have to compare the results of this to the results of a traditional straightening iron.  With this tool, you don’t end up with the pin-stright results you get from a regular iron.  That isn’t a look that I’m super into, so I don’t mind the results from this.  This doesn’t leave my hair flat, and it doesn’t tame every single little flyaway that I have.  There’s still volume and body and life in my hair when I finish using this.  This makes my hair look like I won some kind of genetic lottery and wound up with straight hair that is, for the most part, cooperative.  If you want stick straight hair, you’re not going to find it with this thing.  If you just want to look polished in a hurry, this is a god-send.  My hair tends to want to frizz regardless of what I do to it, so for me, the results of this and the results of a flat iron look the same at the end of the day.  With flat irons, I can start my day with stick straight hair, but my hair never finishes the day that way.

I really can’t recommend this enough if you’re just lazy with your hair or have next to zero time in the morning.  Heck, if you want to just spring for the big one, I say do it.  My hair doesn’t feel fried, and it looks like I actually put effort into my look.  I don’t have to use a hair dryer before I use this.  I can actually just roll out of bed and brush my hair or let the ceramic heater do its thing or whatever.  As long as there aren’t tangles in my hair, this thing works.  As long as I just pull the ends of my hair tight while I’m brushing, this works.  If I want my hair to go in an opposite direction than it usually goes, I pull the ends in the direction I want my hair to go.  That’s how I get my bangs to look polished and hide the cow-lick that I have on the left side of my head.

The Amika straightening brush wins my vote for product of the decade.  I have nothing negative to say about it.  If it breaks in the first three months of my owning it, I’ll let you guys know and I’ll change my tune, but that’s the only thing I can think of that could be a potential negative.  This thing is truly a game-changer.  I never thought I would love a hair styling tool, but given how much affection I have for the effectiveness of this, I may just forgo buying the Dyson hair dryer I’ve been pining over since its launch.  This is so quick and effective, I don’t see how that dryer could make it work any better.

Amika Polished Perfection Mini Straightening Brush:  buy this.  Now.

–Jackie

The Foundation Purchase that Turned into a Mini Haul.

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I’ve been getting low on foundation for some time now, and I’ve been going back and forth on what kind I should buy.  I’ve used Diorskin Nude since 2008 or so, and it’s amazing.  It works extremely well, doesn’t break me out, and I always come back to it after I try anything new.  The coverage I get from it is medium but buildable, it looks natural, and it lasts all day on me.

My skin has decided to be unusually cooperative for the last couple of months, so I’ve not had many acne scars or discoloration I’ve had to worry about.  I started using tinted moisturizers for work (I favor Tarteguard) because I see no point in wearing foundation to work when it costs fifty bucks for a bottle, my skin already looks good, and I’m just going to sweat off whatever foundation I came in with by the end of the night.

I got a sample of the Vanish foundation stick from Hourglass in a Play box a couple of months ago and was blown away by how good it was.  To my pleasant surprise, the shade they sent was a perfect match for my skin, so I’ve been using it to death.  The coverage I get from this foundation is extremely full, yet so natural-looking and so lightweight when it’s blended that I can’t understand how it works.  I used the sample all over my face, blended it out with a brush, and went back in to use it as a concealer under my eyes and around my chin.  It works as a concealer yet looks completely natural.  It’s bizarre.  To be sure, there were a couple of cons, so I went back and forth on deciding between Vanish and Diorskin Nude for a month before I took the plunge and cheated on my old, faithful foundation.

To be quite honest, this stuff ain’t cheap.  It’s $46.00 for a quarter ounce versus $50.00 for an ounce of my usual from Dior, but given how full the coverage is, a little should go a long way.  I also refuse to wear this to work because it HAS to be set with powder, and I don’t wear powder to work.  I find it gets a little slippy on me, otherwise, so I’m just going to stick to Tarteguard for work and Hourglass for my days off.  That will buy an even longer product life.

Part of what also influenced my decision is that Sephora online was running a limited time special and threw in a mini of the Veil Mineral Primer for only a few bucks more than the foundation stick.  A mini of this retails for $19.00, and I got both for $52.00.  I’ve tried it before and hated it at first, but after the second deluxe sample I’ve gotten of it, I think I kind of like it.  The mini version here should give me enough product to form an actual opinion on this.  Like everything from Hourglass, a full-size isn’t cheap.  It’s $54.00 for an ounce, and I already love their Ambient Light primers, so I doubt I’ll commit to a full-size of Veil.

I also bought the mini version of a hair tool I’ve been looking at for months.  I’ve wanted the Amika straightening brush since I saw it ages ago, but couldn’t commit.  The mini one popped up in Sephora’s “Just Arrived” section, and I jumped on it.  I figured if this works decently, I may just buy the full-sized one.  It was $35.00.  There’s a review of it coming in the next few days.  It’s changed my life, and I love it.

I also used 100 points for an UD Naked Skin liquid highlighter in the shade Sin.  I’ve heard mixed reviews on the highlighters, so I’m happy to get a smaller size to try, and Sin is one of my favorite shades of all time from the brand.

I rarely get the 500 point rewards because I think most of them are marginally okay, at best, but I decided to spring for one from Boscia:

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It has a number of products that I’ve already used and knew that I liked and the Charcoal Pore Pudding that I’ve had my eye on for some time.

Included in the reward are the following items:
–Luminizing Black Mask (love it)
–Thermal Black Cleanser (love it)
–Porefecting White Charcoal Mattifying Treatment Primer (like it)
–Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel (love it)
–Charcoal Pore Pudding (new to me)

I’ve already taken a hard dive into using the things in the reward box, so I’ll post reviews as I finish them up.

The total for this online shopping trip was $94.73, so that brings my yearly total to $908.88.

–Jackie

Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil. I Don’t Technically NEED This.

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Okay, I suppose I should be honest about this.  I’m going to buy it regardless of whether I lie to myself and you or not.

I use frizz serum pretty much daily.  If I leave my house on a humid day without any in, I’ll start to look like a poodle within minutes, so frizz serum has been a staple in my life since, and I kid you not, sixth grade.  I’ve used a lot of them.

The first was good old Frizz-Ease that was all the rage in the mid-nineties.  After that I moved onto trying various others, but none of them really stood out as anything exceptional.  They all basically feel like an oil that coats your hair and keeps it from going too crazy when the humidity goes up.  I finally settled on one from L’oreal, and I’ve used it for the last four or five years.  It’s cheap, I get a ton of product, and it lasts forever.  I need only two or three bottles a year.

This stuff doesn’t work any better than my L’oreal, and that one doesn’t work any better than Frizz-ease or any other frizz serum I’ve tried, and it’s stupifying to me that I’m seriously entertaining buying it when a 3.4 ounce bottle costs $38.00.  I mean, there’s a smaller 0.85 ounce option available for $20.00, but why not just go all in.  It’s way cheaper.

The only reason I’ll buy this when my L’oreal serum runs out, which will likely happen some time in December or early January, is the SMELL.  I know I’ve said this every single time I’ve finished anything by Living Proof, but I wish they would bottle this smell as a perfume.  I dearly love it.  It’s so fresh and citrusy and just generally wonderful.

I don’t mind supporting the company, either.  Overall, their products do exactly what they claim to do.  Sure, they’re expensive, but I find with this you truly get what you pay for.  I don’t spend a ton of money on shampoo because my oily hair necessitates that I wash it daily, but every so often I splurge, and their shampoos and conditioners are fantastic.  And there’s that SMELL.  They make my hair manageable and soft.  Yeah, there are a few dud products in their line, but the vast majority of the time, I know I’m going to get a product that performs when I shell out the cash.

I feel like their shampoos, conditioners, and styling products (especially the Night Cap Overnight Perfector) genuinely outperform anything else on the market that I’ve tried.  I can’t say the same for this.  It works as well as any other frizz serum I’ve used, but it’s not noticeably better.

My thick hair requires an amount the size of a quarter.  This works great when I use a dryer and a flat iron on my hair, but I still need extra curl cream or wave spray when I let it air dry.  My hair gets REALLY frizzy when I do nothing with it, and it’s been that way since I was a child.  If it’s not humid out, this keeps my hair looking sleek and smooth all day.  On a hot summer day in the city in August, not so much.  As soon as I start to sweat, my hair begins to frizz, but this helps control it more than if I used nothing at all.  It eventually reaches a point where the frizz doesn’t get any worse, but that’s generally when my hair starts to get obviously sweaty and begins to gross me out.

The honest truth of the matter is that I can say the same thing about virtually any frizz serum I’ve used over the last twenty years.  I’m going to replace the L’oreal one with this one that costs five times as much for half as much product purely because I love the way it smells, and the smell lingers in my hair.  Although, now that I just typed that last sentence and really put things into perspective, maybe I won’t shell out that kind of cash.

There you have it:  This frizz serum is great because of the way it smells, but you’re going to be hard-pressed to call it obviously better than Frizz-Ease or any other similar product.  I can’t tell you to not buy it because I’m most likely going to own it soon, but just accept that you, like me, are just buying it for the smell.

Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil:  I don’t need you, specifically, but I’m going to buy you.

–Jackie

Sephora Play September 2017.

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This day has been a complete and utter bust, so allow me to wallow for just a bit before I start talking about this month’s Play box.  More than likely, I mean yesterday was a bust, since I’m probably finishing this up, putting it away, and editing it when I wake up in the morning.  Right now, all I really care for is a beer and doughnuts.  If you don’t want to read this part, skip down a ways.  I promise I won’t be offended.  How can I possibly be offended when I’m sitting above a doughnut shop?

I’m sitting down to type this about seven or eight hours after I planned on typing it, and I’m neither at my house nor my friendly neighborhood coffee shop on my day off work, so let’s talk about how I arrived at a tea shop across from the Time Warner Center on a rainy day instead of sitting at home doing the periodic lip product purge I had planned on undertaking today.

A couple of days ago, my husband had a stitch break in his eye.  You see, he had a cornea transplant about ten years ago, and the stitches are permanent.  Every few years, one will go, and he has to go to an eye surgeon and have it removed.  Sunday he woke up with a red, scratchy eye and immediately knew what was going on.  He had to work yesterday as he was the only chef in the restaurant, so he sat in the office during his down time with his scratchy eye and looked for a surgeon to go to who would take our insurance and would allow him in today and not some time in October (Thanks, Columbia Presbyterian), and ended up at the outpatient eye clinic at Mt. Sinai this morning.  They weren’t taking new patients until February, but they did allow walk-ins.  He got there around 10:00 a.m.  I abandoned my day-off plans to take him a phone charger (sometimes I’m a nice person) around 4:00 p.m. because he still hadn’t seen a doctor, and ended up sitting there until around 6:00 p.m. with him until they finally took him back to dilate his pupils and check everything out.  When he came back out to wait for the eye drops to start working, I said goodbye and went to the Sephora at Union Square.  He sent me a text later to say that it actually wasn’t a blown stitch, and the doctors don’t know if the irritation was just from some extremely dry eyes he had or if it’s an early sign of rejection of the cornea.  They sent him on his way and told him to come back if he has anymore problems.  By this time I was feeling really jittery and kind of manic, and I just really needed to buy things at this point.  I get this way sometimes and ANYTHING looks appealing to me.  Tools for the KitchenAid?  You got it!  Four hundred dollar toaster oven?  Sure!  If Jared really wants a RoboCoupe, he should know by now to ask me when I get the way that I was this afternoon.  (For those unfamiliar with kitchen lingo, a RoboCoupe is a food processor that has enough power to run a boat, and will outlast the apocalypse and will set you back about a grand.  Basically, it’s not really something you need outside of a professional environment, but my husband really wants one because they’re cool.)

Sephora didn’t have the Smashbox holiday set that I want in stock, which, in retrospect, is probably a good thing, but I was annoyed and hungry, and it was windy and rainy, and I just wanted to buy things.  I decided to swing by the Columbus Circle Sephora on my way home because they usually get the new releases pretty early, but first I HAD to eat.  Fried chicken is my go-to when I’m stressed and feeling kind of manic, and that was in the cards today–calories be damned.  I stopped for chicken strips and gravy on the way to the train, and they were over-fried and gross, and they were out of gravy.  Fail on all counts, but I was starving, so I ate it and got on the train.  At least the rain had stopped.

I took an M to the 57 Street and 6 Avenue stop and was greeted by rain when I got aboveground.  The wind had picked up again, too.  Fun fact about living on an island as small as Manhattan that is made of concrete and steel canyons set up in an orderly grid system:  umbrellas are useless most of the time.  The wind manages to somehow come from all directions.  By the time I got to Seventh Avenue, I had given up and put the umbrella away.  At last I made it to my second Sephora only to be told that they didn’t have what I wanted either.  I went to the restrooms in the Time Warner Center and looked in the mirror.  I had never planned on being out this long, and I didn’t have on that much makeup.  My mascara was runny, my hair was frizzy, and I looked like I would just rather be home.  At least with the Sex Pistols shirt I have on today, the look seems like it may have been planned, but, I assure you, it wasn’t.  When I walked back outside, it was still raining, and the wind was having a go at my hair again.

At this point, I gave up on buying makeup.  I forgot all about instant gratification.  If I decide that I still want this thing in the morning, I’ll buy it online.  I walked across the street to the Argo Tea, bought a cup, and planted myself in a chair by the window.  I’m watching it rain as I type this and hoping it stops before I’m done with my tea and have to leave because I am OVER THIS DAY.  I feel exhausted, and I haven’t even really done anything.

I connected to the Internet here and decided to give blogging a try.  Between it and this delicious tea I’m drinking, this is the first time my nerves haven’t been on edge for hours.

This month’s Play box arrived a few days ago, so I’ll give Sephora credit where credit is due:  they did well with the shipping time this month.  I’ve tinkered around with the contents of the box over the last day or two, and I’m going to say I think they did a good job choosing the products this month, as well.  The idea of this box is to get you ready for a makeup revamp with the onset of fall, and the product selection is a decently wide range of things.  Let’s get started:

Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in Medium:  This is the slightest bit dark for me, but not so much that I can’t overlook the color discrepancy.  It’s designed to tint your brows, make them look fuller, and hold them in place.  I’m wearing it right now, and can attest it has performed quite well in the water-resistant category.  My brows still look as dark as they were when I left the house today, and I’ve been rained on three times.  It doesn’t look quite as natural as my go-to–ABH Brow Wiz, but it still doesn’t look like my brows are painted on.  It doesn’t feel crunchy once it sets, either.  I think I may like this.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Black:  I love Stila’s Stay All Day line of liquid lipsticks, and this liner seems like it has been around forever, so I was kind of excited to see this in my box.  After swatching it, though, I’m a bit less excited.  I prefer actual brushes for my liquid eyeliner application, and this comes with a felt tip applicator.  I still seemed to get good control, though, and I like that this makes it pretty easy to vary the thickness of the line.  I’m not about to call this waterproof, however.  The marks I made on the back of my hand came off with soap and water and very little effort on my part.  Will I use it?  Yeah, it’s black eyeliner, duh.  Will it replace my Kat Von D Tattoo Liner?  Not likely.  When they call that stuff waterproof, they mean it.

DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask:  My initial reaction when I pulled this out of the bag was, “Oh great, another hair mask that I’ll never use.”  When I started reading the instructions, though, I discovered you could do a three-minute quick application of it, so I got really excited.  I used it in the shower last night, and up until I got rained on today, my hair looked great.  It felt really soft and smooth and manageable.  This stuff smells amazing to boot–exactly like matcha tea, which the tea drinker in me enjoys.  I may have found the first hair mask that I actually like.

Laura Mercier Velour Lovers Lip Colour in Happy:  Every subscriber received a lip color this month to help them find a new shade for fall, according to Sephora.  I put this on today before I left the apartment, and I wouldn’t call it a “highly-pigmented” pink.  The pigment is decent enough, but I had to work at it to get the color to build up.  What I do love about it, strangely enough, is the GLITTER in it!  It’s a uniquely fun color, and the glitter particles are fine enough that I don’t feel like I’m walking around town with a sign around my neck that says, “Stare at my lips, EVERYONE.  If I turn my head just so, you can see them from space!”  It feels nice–more like a lip balm than a lipstick.  For my taste, this shade is a little too pink for a something I would wear late into fall, but I’m going to keep it in rotation for the next month or two.  It’s lovely.

Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb:  I love, love, LOVE The Aqua Bomb.  It’s been my go-to for the last year or so.  I always keep a jar on hand.  This cream seems more suited to dry skin than the Aqua Bomb, but I’m curious to see how I will take to it.  It doesn’t absorb quite as readily as the Aqua Bomb but still feels nice.

Stella McCartney Pop:  I know this has been out for a year or two, but I confess that I’ve never smelled it.  I can’t believe I’ve avoided it for so long, since I read the scent notes on this one and fell in love when I spritzed some on last night.  It’s right up my alley.  One of my favorite scents is Fracas by Robert Piguet, and I’ve been obsessed with tuberose since I discovered that one many, many years ago.  It’s one of my favorite scents in a perfume.  It’s almost guaranteed that if a perfume contains tuberose, I will love it.  This one has middle notes of violet, tuberose, and plumeria, and believe me when I say you can smell the tuberose.  It is divine.  The top notes are tomato leaves, violet leaves, and green mandarin, and the base is sandalwood, cedarwood, and musk.  The problem with tuberose is that it can get overwhelming if it isn’t done properly (and one might argue that Fracas is overwhelming), but that’s not the case here.  This is a bright floral, and it is beautiful.  I would consider buying a bottle of this if I didn’t already have so much perfume lying around.  It’s glorious.

Well, there you have it.  There’s the recap of my terrible day and the low-down on this month’s Play box.  I’ve been quite happy with what I’ve received the past few months.  Earlier in the year, I was so unhappy with the offerings that I was considering canceling my subscription.  Now, I’m glad that I stuck it out.  I feel like Sephora has worked the kinks out, and they have consistently been knocking it out of the park.  Even if I end up not liking some of the products they send from month to month, I no longer feel like the choices were phoned in.  If you haven’t already signed up for Play, I would suggest giving it a shot.  Like I just said, they’ve gotten pretty good with their product selections now.

Well, I’m about to venture back into the wilds of Manhattan.  The rains seems to have stopped for now even if the wind hasn’t, so maybe I can make it home without getting rained on for a fourth time, and the urge for beer and doughnuts seems to have passed.  The makeup purge will have to wait for another day.  I think I’m just going to call for pizza delivery and call it a night.  I sort of fell off watching Game of Thrones a couple of years ago, so I have been binge watching the old seasons so I can have some clue what’s been happening before I finally watch the latest season that everyone keeps talking about, and tonight seems like a good time to blaze through another half season.

Goodnight to all, and may your tomorrow be wonderful (and may you not get rained on…three times or even once)!

Total spent at Sephora this year: $781.49

–Jackie

Edit:  It’s the next day, and I’ve had time to think about the Smashbox gift set that I trooped all over town in the rain yesterday to acquire.  If I buy it, and that is an IF now that I’ve had time to cool off, I’m going to do an eyeshadow declutter.  There’s no reason for me to buy more when I have a dozen Z-palettes around here full of shadows I don’t use.  There will be a blog post to accompany this, and maybe a (gasp) video of me looking panicked that I’m forcing myself to get rid of pieces of my security blanket and making swatches and trying to justify keeping things I never use.  This is a big step for me.  Lipsticks and liners and other things I can toss without much thought to it, but shadows are harder than hard for me to get rid of.  They really are like pieces of a colorful security blanket that has taken a ton of time and thousands of dollars to stitch together. Anyway, that’s for another time, but considering the Smashbox set is a holiday item, I had best make a decision soon.  Where are my friends?  They could be getting a ton of unused makeup quite soon.

Bumble and Bumble Repair Blow Dry. Good, but not for Me.

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I don’t dry my hair regularly, but if I did I would seriously consider shelling out for some of this.  When I do break out the heat styling tools, I go all out.  Hair dryer and flat iron–always.

It took me months to go through this tiny little tube because, like I said, I don’t really blow dry my hair that often, so I can’t speak for how well the heat protection actually works.  It does REALLY smooth out my strands, and makes my hair feel really soft.  The feeling lasts throughout the day, my hair doesn’t feel weighed down, and it doesn’t look stringy.  It helped keep the frizz down during the humid NYC summers.  I ALWAYS use a separate frizz serum when I heat style my hair, but this seemed to help keep things a bit smoother than usual.  My naturally wavy hair tends to want to frizz when I go out in the rain or humidity regardless of what I put on it.

It requires such a tiny amount to see results, too.  I have shoulder length, super thick hair, and a quarter-sized amount worked just fine for me.

It’s $32.00 for a five ounce tube, and I think that even if you used it every day, it would last an age.  As I said at the beginning of the post, I can’t speak for the heat protection it does, but as far as a hair smoother, this stuff is solid.  If I heat styled my hair more often, I would definitely pick this up.

So, there you have it.  I don’t need it, but this is really quite good.

–Jackie

Rahua Omega 9 Hair Mask. Garbage.

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I’m going to briefly go over my hair type for anyone new to this blog, but if you’ve been around since the beginning, you know the drill.  I have very thick, wavy, and super oily hair that I have to wash every single night.  If I don’t it looks a mess after 36 hours.  I don’t do hair masks because for normal people who wash their hair two or three times a week, the results of hair masks last a week.  For me, however, I’m lucky if I can get four days.

I’m also not blessed in the patience department, and the idea of shampooing my hair, putting this mask on, and sitting around for twenty or thirty minutes with drippy hair sounded like my own personal hell, so some actual planning had to go into when I would finally get around to using this.

I decided to give it a shot after I went out for a run and kind of overdid it.  You know the kind of workouts that you KNOW you’re going to feel the next day.  I got back to my building, thanked the powers that be for elevators, and crawled into my apartment with every intention of taking a bath.  Perfect, I thought!  I can finally use that stupid hair mask that’s been sitting in the bathroom for a month while I sit in the tub so I’m not dripping water and hair product all over my living room.

I had to use the entire tube for my hair–22 milliliters.  I combed it through, tied my hair up, and set to reading in the tub for thirty minutes.

It smells like eucalyptus, and I loved it.  “Hmmm, maybe this will actually be good for my hair,” I thought as I sat there enraptured with the smell.  It was heavenly.

At the end of thirty minutes, I got up, rinsed it out and waited for my hair to dry.  That’s when my confusion set in.

How does a hair mask manage to make your hair simultaneously stringy and dry?  I was at a loss.  The package purported to make my hair shiny and repair damage, but it just made the ends look like I neglected to cut and wash my hair for a couple of years.  I feel like I’m being dramatic, but my hair was genuinely gross.  By the time it had dried, it was too late at night for me to wash it again, so I just had to brush it and toss it in a ponytail.  I had work the next day, anyway, so it wasn’t the end of the world.  I couldn’t wait to get home and shampoo my hair.  Twice.

Fortunately, as I said earlier, the effects of hair masks don’t last long on me at all, so by the third day my hair was back to looking normal.  At $58.00 for 200 milliliters, there’s no way on Earth I would ever buy this for myself, but with the way it made my hair look there’s no one in the entire universe I would have the nerve to recommend this to.  It was awful.  So very, very awful.  I’m actually getting kind of irritated just sitting here thinking about it.  I hate this stuff.

Rahua Omega 9 Hair Mask:  I actually hate you.  I would never buy it.

–Jackie

Sephora Play August 2017.

20170816_174630I suppose I should start this post with a bit on an explanation as to why I have been AWOL for most of the previous month.  The vacation bit was obvious, but vacations don’t last forever, and upon my return to New York, I was basically thrown back into work full-force.  I worked for almost two weeks straight, and by the time I got around to a day off, I didn’t feel like doing anything aside from reading a book.  All of this was coupled with a nagging suspicion that a depressive episode was coming on, and I really wasn’t one to talk about makeup or anything to anyone.  I started running more and eating better in an attempt to stave off the flood of negative emotions I knew was inevitable, and that helped to a point, but still.  The last couple of weeks have been pretty rough.

I managed to land three days off this week, and that’s gone a long way to help.  I vowed to do whatever I wanted to in an attempt to feel better, as I know this, too shall pass.  Yesterday, I ran six miles, ate a giant salad, went shopping, swung by a protest in the city, and caught up on some television.  Today, I laid in bed until 2:30 in the afternoon, made myself shower, and trooped over to my coffee shop.  The intent was to just read a book and binge on lattes, but I broke out my keyboard and am making a stab at this whole typing thing again.  The knowledge that there is ‘nduja pizza within walking distance is tucked safely in the back of my brain, and the promise that I’ll have some if I can make it through one blog post is at the forefront of my gray matter.

I actually got this month’s box three days ago, so I must commend Sephora on not taking forever to get the latest Play box to me.  This one seems to be a great one, too.  I played around with a couple of the products while I did my makeup today, and, on first impressions, they hit this one out of the park.  Without further ado, let’s get to it.  There’s pizza waiting for me.

Beauty Blender Micro Mini:  I like Beauty Blenders, but I’ll be honest.  I like the Sephora Perfectionist better.  The density of the sponge is roughly the same, and I like that it is pointy on both ends of the sponge.  This makes it easy to do foundation and concealer with one end and highlight and contour with the other.  It’s also half the price of the beauty blender, and if you check the sale section of Sephora.com right now, you’ll find that they are on sale for five bucks.  Those are amazing.  I also like the one from Real Techniques.  I find it to also be roughly the same density as the Beauty Blender.  Why do I bother bringing those two up when Sephora sent a Beauty Blender?  Easy.  I will never pay $20.00 for a sponge that I have to replace every three months when there are options on the market that are cheaper and just as good, if not better.  With that being said, I’m going to use this for concealer and highlighting, and I’m going to love it because Beauty Blenders are as good as everyone makes them out to be.

Clinique Dual-Ended High Impact Mascara and Primer Duo:  I’m wearing this on my lashes now, and I’ll say that I like the primer, but I’m on the fence about the mascara.  The primer does a good job of adding length to my lashes, but I’m not so sure about the mascara wand.  It’s pulling my lashes together and making them look a little spider leg-like.  There’s not much volume to speak of.  Granted, I’ve only used it once, so I’ll keep at it and see if the problem lies with the operator and not the tool.  The black color of the mascara is VERY black, so I’ll give it that plus.

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick:  I’m so glad I finally got my hands on some of this without having to pay for an entire tube.  I do not say this lightly.  If this stuff doesn’t break me out (that’s a big IF…everything seems to break me out sometimes), it will replace the Diorskin Nude foundation that I have used since 2008.  Yes, I realize that this stuff is expensive, but it is nothing short of amazing.  It is EXTREMELY pigmented, so it requires very little product to get coverage.  It feels like a liquid going on, and not some thick, greasy mess that some sticks can feel like on me.  The best part is that it blends out to look like skin.  Not skin covered by makeup.  Skin.  I have no idea how something this full coverage can look this natural.  I find the use of concealer isn’t necessary with this product.  If I want extra coverage, I just add an extra dot of foundation on places like acne scars or under eye circles and blend.  It hides EVERYTHING.

KORRES Golden Krocus Ageless Saffron Elixier Serum:  I find KORRES to be a bit of a mixed bag.  I love their body lotions and washes, but their skin care usually winds up in a disaster on my face, meaning most of it breaks me out.  This is an anti-aging serum that purports to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.  I’ll give it a try, but I confess to being a bit nervous about it.  It is much thinner in consistency than most of the skincare products that I’ve tried, so I’m hopeful.  Plus, it smells amazing and is a lovely golden, shimmery color in the bottle.

Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Miracle Multiplying Volume Mist:  This is supposed to be moisturizing and volumizing, but I could care less.  As I’ve said before, for as much as I love makeup, I really could not care less about my hair.  As long as the frizz is under control, I’m good.  I keep it in a ponytail at work, and don’t really do much heat styling on my days off.  I also have a ton of hair, so, thankfully, I don’t really have much need for a volumizer.  My hair is pretty voluminous if I do say so.  This stuff smells really good, so, of course, I’ll use it, but most hair styling products don’t really do much for me.  I’m not super excited about this one, and if I’m being totally honest, I would really like to make it a month without some kind of hair styling product showing up in my Play box.

Burberry My Burberry Black:  I’ve not given this a spritz yet, but I generally like Burberry scents.  This is a floral, so points there.  Top notes of jasmine, which I like.  Middle notes of candied rose and peach nectar.  I like one of those.  Base notes of amber and patchouli.  I HATE patchouli.  That’s mostly why I haven’t tried this one out yet.  I’m a little scared.

So there’s the breakdown of this month’s box and also the explanation of why I have been so scarce.  Hopefully, I’ll get back to regularly posting sometime soon.  I have quite the back log of products I’ve used up and need to talk about.

Total spent at Sephora this year: $637.77.

–Jackie