Product of Interest: Neutrogena Wave Sonic Power Cleanser

I am in love with this oil, dirt, makeup and shine blasting machine! My skin has never looked and felt so healthy. I try not to over use the Wave Sonic (I use it maybe 3-4 times a week) because it is an exfoliater but it’s hard to resist once you feel how smooth your skin is after just one use. The little wonder machine has two speeds for it’s spinning power pad cleanser and I usually start with the slower speed for a moment then move to the higher speed for a really deep clean. It comes with 14 cleanser pads and the refills are around $6 for 30 at Walmart. The Wave Sonic is so worth the money, especially when you use the coupon on the Neutrogena web site. You can get the Neutrogena Wave Sonic Power Cleanser at your local drugstore or super store, $14.97 at walmart.com. Give it a “whirl” – it’s so worth it! (From what my friend Maggie told me it’s seems much better than the $30 Olay version, which is a knock-off of the $150 Clarisonic cleanser brush. I’ll stick with the $12 Wave Sonic, thank you!)

Neutrogena Wave Sonic Power Cleanser

Neutrogena Wave Sonic Power Cleanser

1 comment August 9, 2011

3 Uses of a White Eyeliner

White eyeliner is so underrated – here’s why… On a day you look super try lining your bottom eyelid with white eyeliner. This will give an instant “awake” effect. Also line your “cupids bow”/middle of upper lip with white liner (or shadow) to give lips and instant plumped look. Last but not least, highlight under your brow with a thin smudged line of white to give the effect of perfectly arched eyebrows. My favorite white liner: M.A.C Eye Kohl in Fascinating, $14.50, maccosmetics.com.

M.A.C Eye Kohl in Fascinating

M.A.C Eye Kohl in Fascinating

 

Add a comment July 23, 2011

DearGabby’s Top 10 Must-Haves for Every Woman

A few days ago I read a Beauty Riot article on 10 Products Every Woman Needs (Check it out here!) and it made me think. Could I possibly narrow down only 10 beauty products I think every woman should own? Well here it goes… (In order from least to most important!)

10. Coconut Oil or Olive Oil – for skin, hair and nails!

9. The perfect hair tool – weather you have curly hair and you use a curling iron to perfect a few curls around your face or a flat iron to tame the frizz, make sure it’s a quality tool that gets the job done with minimal breakage. On my wavy hair I use Conair CD117 Infiniti You Curl Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron, around $30 at amazon.com, and when I wear it straight I use my FHI Heat Technique G2 Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Flat Iron, around $90 at amazon.com. Both worth the price!

8. The world’s absolute best hairbrush. Stand aside Mason Pearson brush with your over-the-top price tag! I love the Cricket Smoothing brush for a mere fraction of the price, $23; amazon.com.

7. A good body moisturizer – one specifically for summer and spring (the warmer months) and one for fall and winter (the cooler, and itch-ier months). I love Nivea Smooth Sensation Daily Lotion for all year long. (See link for details!)

6. A really good hair conditioner, especially if you have medium to long length hair. Go for the Salon splurge (I’m loving Aquage Biomega Moisture Conditioner, $22 for 5 oz.; amazon.com) or my drugstore fave Suave Naturals Almond and Shea Butter.

5. A really good face scrub and gentle everyday face wash. For the scrub I like Neutrogena Deep Clean Invigorating Foaming Scrub, $7.49, and for the everyday face wash Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask, $7.99; both available online at drugstore.com or local drugstores and superstores. (I use St. Ives Apricot Naturally Clear Blemish & Blackhead Control Scrub, $4.29, once a week, any more than that is too harsh for delicate skin!)

4. A go-to neutral nail polish. You need one you can wear to interviews and to the beach. It has to match everything (even if you’re the only one who thinks it matches!) My shade is Topless and Barefoot by Essie, $8; available at essie.com and some colors available at WalMart and Target.

3. Mascara! Mascara! Mascara! Who doesn’t love thick, lush lashes? My favorite is Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Mascara in Very Black, $7.99; available at drugstore.com or local drugstore and superstores.

2. A tinted moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or higher. I love my Clinique Moisture Sheer Tint SPF 15, $27; available at clinique.com and local department stores.

1. A go-to shade of lipstick. Any brand and any color, just make it your signature. Mine is CoverGirl Lip Perfection lipstick in 380 Dazzle. (See link for more details!)

Compile your own list of your top 10 favorites and share it with friends – you might just come across some new favorites. As always I bid you happy shopping!

Add a comment July 3, 2011

Product of Interest: L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Clear Self-Tanning Gel

I am crazy about this product. Period. Not only does it smell amazing (one of my bff’s, Jordan, referred to it as smelling “Aveda”) but it really works. It doesn’t leave a streaky mess like most gradual tanners and rubs in easily. The spray bottle helps get an even distribution of product without worrying about getting it to close to ankles and knees. Like for most self tanning lotions I highly recommend washing hands immediately after use to avoid staining (tip: if you do get stains on wrists or in between fingers try scrubbing with baking soda). It’s around $10.50, (I saw it for $8 on sale at Target) but if you an avid Ulta shopper, like me, use your $350 off a 410 purchase and get it for $7.50. Either way it’s definitely worth the price. Try alternating it with Target brand Up&Up sunless tanning lotion for super sexy bronzed legs (and arms, too!)

L'Oreal - Sublime Bronze Clear Self-Tanning Gel

L'Oreal - Sublime Bronze Clear Self-Tanning Gel

1 comment July 2, 2011

A Pretty Pout for Under $5

I am madly in love with make up and these must-have lip glosses are great for the summer plus they are all under $5!

Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers Lip Gloss in Dr. Pepper, $1.99; available at local drugstores or drugstore.com: This adorable swing back to middle school not only looks great by adding just a sheer tint of pinkish-red but it has a kissable flavor that doesn’t leave goopy-gloss all over your guys face.

NYX Mood Lip Gloss, $4.49; available at ulta.com: This gloss gives the absolute best “bitten” look. Your lips looks soft and full with a boost of color. Great for day or night. The only downfall is the product is very “runny” so it comes out of the tube fast but on the positive side you don’t need much to get the desired look.

Ulta Extreme Wear Lip Stain, $4.00 (on sale); available at ulta.com: I love this stain as a base under any sheer lipstick or gloss, it’s also great on it’s own. It has a pleasant taste but a slightly sticky texture (you have to wait a few seconds for it to dry!). I like it best under a sheer gloss or lipstick.

The price tag makes these glosses so worth it. Can you go a whole day with out lip gloss/lipstick/lip balm? (I know I can’t!)

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Add a comment June 28, 2011

Olive Oil: A Beauty Must-Have

I come from an Italian family and we use olive oil for basically everything. I was flipping through a magazine yesterday (First for Women; They had the Dr. Oz endorsed hCG diet – Oh, gimmie a break, I was intrigued) and I came across a great use for olive oil: help treat cellulite.

Here’s how: Combine 1 Tbs. of unflavored powdered gelatin, 1 Tbs. of water and 2 drops olive oil. Rub a pearl size amount of the mixture into your palms and apply to cellulite prone areas. “The collagen –packed gelatin helps skin appear more toned. Plus, the moisturizing olive oil plumps skin cells, so skin looks smoother and softer,” said Scott-Vincent Borba, author of The Personalized Solution for Healthier, Younger, and Flawless-Looking Skin.

More Uses of Good Ol’ Olive Oil:

1. Mix about one tsp. sugar with 1 tsp. olive oil to create a paste and smooth over lips. Using fingers or a soft tooth brush gently slough off dry skin leaving lips super smooth and ready for your favorite lipstick.

2. Mix about 2 Tbs. salt with 2 Tbs. olive oil and use as an all-over exfoliator (can be used with sugar too).  It works great on elbows,  knees, hands and feet. Rinse off the salt but leave the oil and let it soak in for extra smooth and hydrated legs. (If using on face follow scrub with a mild face wash.) Also, rub olive oil on hands and feet before bed. Wear cotton sock and gloves and awake to softer post-pedicure/manicure looking skin.

3. Strengthen brittle nails and rough cuticles by soaking them in a cup of olive oil. To help yellowing nails add lemon juice or scrub nail beds with baking soda before the olive oil soak.

4. Before you shampoo massage scalp with 2 Tbs. warmed olive oil. Brush through hair to coat ends. Shampoo hair twice to avoid greasy roots. Hair will be shiny and manageable. (I don’t recommend this for people with thin, fine or limp hair unless you shampoo hair once then add baking soda to second shampoo to remove the excess oil.)

5. Olive Oil Hair Mask: Take 1 to 2 egg yolks and beat them well. Add 2 Tbs. olive oil and beat mixture until blended. Apply to hair for 20 to 30 minutes and shampoo as usual.

6. Some swear by using olive oil in place of shaving cream. Smooth olive oil over legs, underarms even face and shave as usual. The oil creates a barrier for a close shave and hydrates the skin leaving it smoother and younger looking.

7. In a pinch you can use olive oil as a makeup remover. Rub a cotton ball dipped in olive oil over eyes and lips to help remove stubborn eye makeup or long wear lipstick. Make sure your wash your face afterward with face wash to avoid breakouts.

Not in love with olive oil? Try substituting olive oil with coconut oil for nearly the same effect. I like coconut oil better for hair but nothing trumps the olive oil scrub.

1 comment June 20, 2011

My At Home Pro-Manicure

I am addicted to nail polish. Anyone who knows me knows I sport the “sassy nail,” meaning the ring finger nail on my left hand has some sort of design or different color. I think it’s super cute and a fun way to showcase some nail art without going overboard. Many people think I wear acrylics (which I did for a long time but they completely ruined my nails – it took about a year for them to grow back healthy!) because my nails are long and my polish stays on forever… literally it takes me a good half hour to remove my polish when I want to change the color. I rarely get polish chips but my polish will grow-out looking as if I have acrylics. So how do I get my polish to stay so well? Here is my coveted nail polish routine… (Click the links to buy the products on Amazon.com)

Step 1: Remove old polish and file nails. Buff rough edges and keep corners slightly rounded. Remember not to “saw-file” (going back and forth too fast in small saw-like motions) it will lead split nails.

Step 2: Apply a layer of O.P.I ChipSkip ($9, amazon.com) to each nail. This is a nail dehydrator meaning it removes all oils assuring the base coat will adhere properly.

Step 3: Apply a coat of O.P.I Natural Nail Base Coat ($4.80; amazon.com). This is hands down the best base coat I have ever used. It dries super-fast and leaves a smooth finish under polish.

Step 4: Apply two coats of your favorite nail polish. Make sure you allow two to three minutes of dry-time between each coat to prevent smudging. Let the polish dry for 5 to 7 minutes before applying top coat to avoid polish bubbles.

Step 5: Apply a top coat. Lately I’ve been using O.P.I Top Coat ($4.65; amazon.com) which is good but I also like Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat ($4.30; amazon.com) and Nail Tek-Maintenance Plus I ($6.99; amazon.com. This is actually a nail strengthener – but it works great as a top coat!)

Step 6: Use the hair dryer on a cool setting and “blow-dry” your nails for about 10 minutes. This will help prevent smudging. A good trick to know if your nails are dry if to touch your two pinky nails to each other – if you feel them stick a bit then and wait another 5-7 minutes, if not you’re good to go.

Hot Polish Colors for the Season: I am always a lover of bright pink on toes in the summer. What’s your go-to summer shade?

Add a comment June 16, 2011

Splurge: Hair Mask You Will Love

I LOVE DEALS… but I love my hair more. Maybe that is why I am fascinated with this new hair mask. I originally bought it because I had a coupon but now I’m hooked. This thing about me and hair mask is I’m obsessed with my hair and it’s the best way to maintain a nearly split-end free mane, especially in the humid and sunny summer months (Yes, humidity is drying to hair – Google it!).  So this new miracle hair mask is from Wella Profesionals, meaning you can’t just run to the drugstore and pick it up but there is a reason why it’s worth the trip to a salon (or amazon.com) – Um, It’s amazing! The product is Moisturizing Treatment for Fine to Normal Hair from the line ENRICH. Wella also makes a mask for thick and unruly hair (which I would recommend for ethnic hair, not your average thick-haired girl; it may be over-kill making your main pancake flat). What I love most about the product is its ability to smooth down frizz while maintaining volume and serious shine. Oh, did I mention the effects last. I it used the mask about a week ago and I still feel and see the results. The label says the product is “infused with silk extracts” and the ingredients mention silicone; which I don’t normally like if it’s the first ingredient because then I look at it as the only ‘good for hair’ ingredients and deem the product as a detangler/smoother and not a treatment mask. So, we know that the product is amazing but what do we do about the $11 price tag? I suggest finding your local Wella salon and asking for a sample then if you fall in love with it shell out the cash ($11 isn’t so much for beautiful hair). The container is a little over 5 oz. but if you use it sparingly you can stretch it well over a month, maybe two. It’s a splurge totally worth it, trust me!

CLICK HERE to buy the product on amazon.com.

To find a Wella salon near you CLICK HERE.

Wella Professionals - Enrich - Moisturizing Treatment for Fine to Normal Hair

Wella Professionals - Enrich - Moisturizing Treatment for Fine to Normal Hair

Add a comment June 14, 2011

I’m all about “generics” – The truth about money wasting brand names

I have always been a fan of generics for things like cough syrup and other medicines. Now I am a strong believer in generics for some of my beauty products. I recently ran out of face lotion and I am a lover of Olay Complete but since the weather has been so muggy I opted for a lighter formula for acne prone skin. I usually reach for Clean and Clear Dual Action Moisturizer, $6.49; available at drugstores. Next to the the mircale bottles (I really do love this stuff, my skin feels hydrated and oil/shine free) was the Target brand Up&Up Dual Treatment Moisturizer, about $3; available at Target stores and www.target.com. Not only is it in a similar bottle (both are pumps, which is great becuase you never waste) but I scanned the back and the ingredients are exactly the same. I just saved myself a few dollars for the exact same product. So, just think if you did this for more of your beauty products. In a year you could save hundreds… and that means more money to spend on important things… like shoes, purses and accesories!

Do you love deals? Read my review on Suave Naturals compared to Aveda.

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Add a comment June 9, 2011

Product of Interest: The Best and Worst of Hair Removal Products

With Summer comes nice sunny weather, beaches… and dreaded hair removal. I have compiled a list of the my favorite hair removal products and the ones that aren’t worth the money.

When it comes to summer I like to be hair-free for as long as possible however that is not always the best thing for our skin. Hair removal procedures, like waxing and shaving, help exfoliate and exfoliation leads to the reduction of cellulite. Who doesn’t love that in the summer?

Schick Quattro for Women Trimstyle Razor and Bikini Trimmer, around $13; available at drugstores: I love this because of the trimmer. It makes it easy to keep “everything in check” if you know what I mean. The razors are pricier then my go-to disposables but they do last. It may be a splurge on some budgets but if you got the extra cash it’s definitely worth the investment.

BIC Soleil Original for Women, around $4 for 4-count; available at drugstores: These are my absolute favorite razors. They are cheap, they last and they don’t “clog up” after two swipes. I get a close shave and best part is I toss them when they get dull. If you are not a disposable razor lover like myself then think of them for a vacation. The bright colors are adorable too!

Sally Hansen Lavender Spa Wax Hair Removal Kit, around $11; available at drugstores: Hands down best was product I have ever used. Not only does it smell great but it’s easy to use and the kit comes with everything (wax pot, sticks, removal strips and after wax oil, hint: put the oil in the freezer while you wax so its cooling effect is doubled). I suggest keeping the wax at a creamy consistency, not too liquidly, because with this kit is it hard to tell the temperature and it’s the best way to avoid burns. I recommend this for the bikini area and underarms, it’s too time consuming for legs.

Here are a few items that I feel are so not worth the money:

Nair Hair Removal products, Veet Hair Removal products or other depilatory products like it: In any form I am not attracted to it. I have used it once or twice and I am not impressed. I “like” Nair for face because it’s less irritating to the skin (I use it on my upper lip, Gimmie a break – I’m Italian!). Other than that I don’t think these types of products work. They literally melt the hair away by using chemical and they claim to remove hair below the surface? Not likely. If you left it on long enough to “remove hair below the surface” then look forward to chemical burns.

Schick Intuition Plus (razor and shave bar in one): So not worth the price, even with a coupon. The “shave bar” melts in the shower and refills are a fortune. Venus came out with a version of this too, Venus Spa Breeze razors with moisture rich shave gel bar.  They are much smaller than this version and I am assuming easier to handle but again the steep price tag hardly seems worth it. Stick with a regular razor and…

Hair conditioner instead of shave gel: I buy cheapie Alberto VO5 brand conditioner (around $1 at the drugstore, the “white tea – tea therapy” scent is my favorite) and use it in place of shaving cream. I feel like shaving cream just clogs my razor and it such a waste of money. I multipurpose this conditioner by using it as a shave gel in the shower and as a leave-in conditioner when I’m hanging out by the pool. It’s such a light formula that I don’t recommend using it as a regular conditioner unless you have super fine hair.

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Add a comment June 7, 2011

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