This seems like a rather girly post to put before you--where's my list of favorite Stallone movies or my tribute to grunge rock or a list of best moments in sports history? Sorry, not this week folks I'm needing all the beautification help I can get and here's my list of things that seem to do the trick for me.
1. Camille Beckman Glycerin Hand Therapy. I love this stuff because not only is it thick and rich but it doesn't grease up my hands and will stay in place, doing its wonders, for hours. There are a bunch of great fragrances but my favorite is Hyacinth-Bluebell which--horrifying to behold--has been discontinued as of May 2008. Where's the justice in that? Just as my jar runs out they discontinue my favorite scent. I'm going to have to find another favorite I suppose. Maybe I'll try the Passion Pear or Pink Grapefruit. I don't care for the stronger scents like Lime Leaves which I tried one time and it left me with big ol' Man Hands the way it smelled.
2. Clinique Blended Face Powder. A friend of mine recommended this stuff to me a couple years ago and I've used it ever since in total bliss. Even better? I've used the same jar for the entire time and it's like the miracle pot that never runs out, I've still got at least half a jar left. That's the best $18.50 I've ever spent--on my face at least.
This powder is a great all-purpose bronzing powder that gives my pasty flesh the sign of life it needs to keep people from sticking mirrors underneath my nose to see if I'm still alive-- I could not get paler if I lived in a cave. It doesn't take much of this stuff and it really gives a nice glow.
3. Large Velcro rollers. Now these aren't exactly some well-hid beauty secret but if you have long hair they're excellent for giving you body and enough curl to make your hair soft and shiny, I use mine all the time.
Blow dry your hair until it's nearly dry--pretty darn close to dry in fact. Then separate a piece of hair, spray a shot of root volumizer at the roots underneath and roll it up. Once you've got it all up (the first time or two you do it will feel pretty clumsy but it's easier the second time) finish drying it. But don't take the curlers out of the warm hair. Wait until the hair has cooled down or give it a blast of cool air to help it along but it will keep the curl better when it's been cooled around the rollers. That's all there is to it--well, except of course taking out the rollers and giving it all a good comb.
4. Sally Hansen Cuticle Oil. This too is pretty simple but my nails love it. It could be all in my head but when I regularly give them a brushing of cuticle oil they don't split as much and I don't get hang nails. The trick is to put a bit of the oil on and then rub a little lotion on your hands over the top and you don't get that greasy problem you would have if you just left the oil sitting on your skin.
5. OPI Nail Envy. Never figured what OPI stands for but I will swear on a stack of Bibles that this stuff is the best I've ever used. I have the world's thinnest, brittlest nails, they're just pathetic. I'm always breaking my nails--or rather they tear, they're not strong enough to break--and this polish which I wear all by itself in two coats will resist chips for days and has really worked for me. I told my Mom about it and she said she'd tried it but that it hadn't been as thrilling for her as it had for me but you can be the judge for yourself I suppose. I liked it.
6. Nail buffers. But when I'm not wearing Nail Envy I usually just buff my nails. I'm not really into wearing colored polish, even on my toes. Not sure why, I should try it some time--it would definitely shake things up around here--I usually just wear clear polish but wearing polish all the time can make your nails yellow. Seems like I read that it does that because it deprives them of oxygen but I'm skeptical because nails are dead skin cells and don't breathe or metabolize. Maybe I had the details wrong but at any rate they do turn yellow. You can fix this by rubbing some lemon juice on your nails and it will take away the stains (good also for removing garlic and fish odors by the way) but supposedly it's good for your nails to go without polish from time to time. I love my nail buffers that have multiple surfaces where you can file down the ridges and smooth out the nail and then buff them. If I keep my nails filed and buffed they are much stronger too--not sure why but I'll swear by it.
7. Clear mascara. This isn't so much for me but for my daughter. When she first started wearing makeup she started with clear mascara and it was such a great thing for her because it taught her how to apply it without the heaviness of a colored mascara. The clear coating gave her some body to her lashes and separated and defined them a bit but more with that "teary eye" look rather than the "I'm applying make up with a shot gun" look. Very helpful in first introducing her to the stuff and I'd highly recommend it.
8. Clinique Kohl Shaper for Eyes. I've become rather loyal to this eye liner for a couple reasons: first, the texture is perfect--not too "moist" (heh, like my word? I'm trying to break out of my shell here) and not too dry. Second, unlike some liners this stuff seems to last a good long time. The cap has a sharpener built-in and it helps to keep the point sharp every time you replace the cap.
9. Duralash by Ardell False Eyelashes. Doesn't this just seem so Lucille Ball? Well I'll tell you that I love these little fake guys. Actually, to be more accurate I don't wear the false eyelashes as a full set, Ardell makes trays of eyelash pieces like you see here where you can glue a section of eyelash in to fill out your own set. They come in brown and black and three different sizes: short, medium and long--some are combo packs with all three sizes--and I've worn them happily for special occasions ever since my college days. The glue keeps them in place and you just gently rub it with a little baby oil on a cotton swab when you want to loosen it at the end of the day. They stay in place pretty well. Except for that one time I was on a date to El Azteca and right in the middle of the appetizer I felt my eyelash take a dive and suddenly in the middle of the conversation I was trying to explain why I was doing this gimpy eye move and picking things out of my salsa.
10. NovaLash Eyelash Extensions. This might take some explaining so make yourself comfortable. A couple of years ago my cousin--who is a beautician--told me about the latest thing: eyelash extensions and how they can make your eyelashes longer the same way hair extensions can make your hair longer, by gluing fake pieces of hair to individual pieces of real hair. She liked the idea so much she took classes to become trained in this procedure.
Well as good fortune would have it she moved back to Anchorage just recently and has brought her new super-cool skills with her so that after all my moaning and groaning about the sad, sparse, thin, pathetic little eyelashes I was born with I can finally do something about it.
Tuesday I got the extensions put on and they're sweet. They'll last about 4-6 weeks and it can be rather expensive to have them put on the first time--I've heard as much as $250 or $300 but that's from rumor and not confirmed fact and Emily charges about half of that. Once you have them on they'll require touch-ups much the same way that acrylic nails require filling but the follow up visits are much less expensive because they don't take as much time as the initial visit.
Anyway, how was it? Well she had me laying down, listening to relaxing music so I wouldn't twitch while she quietly applied the hairs and though some people might have a problem with lying still for nearly two hours when comparing it to what I could have been doing at home it was a like a day at the spa. If you go to the NovaLash website it will show you pictures of what the extensions can look like and I'll tell you mine aren't nearly so whopping huge as that--what you end up with will be determined by what you start out with naturally and as I said my lashes are thin but now they're fun and I really like them. You can wear mascara with them but not the waterproof kind and you're not supposed to get them wet for the first 12-24 hours.
Anyway, now that I've told you about them you'll notice women here and there who have these gorgeous long lashes that look so real and you'll think to yourself "Now I know their secret!"
I'll finish my list of favorites with a couple extras: I was recently sent a some other lotions to review, Skin MD, Curel Youth Defense Moisture Lotion and T'Fivve Anti-Aging Moisturizing Hand Treatment and I picked up the new Vaseline Intensive Care Vitalizing Body Gel with Brazlian Nut and Almond Oils after reading about it in a magazine.
I didn't like the Skin MD because it was thin and didn't smell particularly good. It didn't smell bad but I usually like little bit of something for fragrance and this had no smell at all. If you're someone who prefers unscented lotions that could be a bonus. As for protecting my skin it did a fair job though I had a hard time seeing any significant moisturizing or shielding going on. A small bottle can run $25 so I thought it didn't seem to be worth it but then I've read other reviews that were favorable so take your pick.
The Curel was fine, it reminded me of the Camille Beckman lotion I've already extolled and worked well. The price was a lot more reasonable than the Skin MD--around $6 or $7 at the drugstore--and the lotion seemed to do the job.
T'Fivve was fine too, thick and creamy (though quite expensive at $35/tube) but I don't know that I could tell any difference between the effectiveness of the Curel, T'Fivve and my own Camille Beckman favorite--except that I liked the way my lovely Hyacinth Bluebell lotion smelled.
As for the Vaseline with the ENORMOUSLY long name? Hated it. After applying that stuff I felt so greased up I could audition for Baywatch--and I smelled just like the beach too because it smelled like tanning lotion with all that cocoa butter in it.
So the moral of the story is? I'm a dunce when it comes to reviewing lotions and will go for the pretty smelling one every time.
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