Archive | February 2012

Jersey Shore Style . . .Toned Down

Ok, so there is a reason people make fun of the Jersey Shore gals. They are out of control, in more ways than one. Recently, however, my friend and I had been discussing whether or not you could take a little of the crazy and tone it down. We took it slow, starting with clip in extensions and fake eyelashes. The result . . . massive fail. You should have seen how hilarious it was poking each other’s eyes with tweezers trying to get them to stay on. Eventually we gave up, learning that false eyelashes take practice and patience.

On to the clip in extensions. I took issue with spending tons, so I got a set on eBay for around $30. They were actually great, blended well, stayed in nicely (once I figured out you have open and close the clips, not just stick them in.) However, my hair is currently just above shoulder length and even after I curled it all, it was still painfully obvious that my hair was not long enough to use the extensions. I ended up doing a side pony. I got lots of compliments, but I can’t wait to see how they look once my hair gets past shoulder length.

So overall, the conclusion is yes, you can find a medium ground between glam and gory with the “fake” products – it just takes some patience and a learning curve. Watch for future testing on “tan in a can” and press on eyeliner.


If I Raved about Every Product, My Opinion Would be Worth Very Little

I just wanted to reiterate my open honesty in this blog. I try my best to express the good and the bad and my explanations for why, to truly give you a useful and well rounded review. Not to be mean, but some people are impressed by everything, and it’s very difficult to see differentiation between awful and awesome. If took that approach, it would not help my readers at all. Sooooooo . . .in that light, I thought I’d let you know about a couple of products I was completely unimpressed with.

The first, Matrix Amplify Full Body Texturizing Spray, prompted me to write this post when I realized it had been taking up space in my medicine cabinet forever because I am too cheap not to use something for which I paid good money (is there bad money, really?) On that note, there will be an upcoming blog on uses for products you don’t like, have too much of, etc.

I just feel like this does little to nothing for me. It might be because I have so much hair. Someone with very fine hair could probably experience a different result. I bought this on a buy two, get one free Matrix deal at Ulta. I love their Sleek and color care lines, so I thought I’d give the amplify a shot – fail.

The second, Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray, I found to be a huge disappointment. I had read so many positive reviews about this being the perfect product for beachy waves and I found it to just add mediocre texture and not hold very long or well. Maybe my hair is not long enough to hold the wave with this type of product, but at $25, I felt like it was money poorly spent.

Vegas Evolution – Bleaching Your Own Hair and Teeth

Are you one of those people who likes to read the last page of the book first? Well, here you go. Bleaching your own hair and teeth are doable and save a lot of money, but are not as enjoyable, so you will want to consider the tradeoff.

So back to the beginning, I have this quirk. I want to look my very, very best when I know there will be photos taken – vacation, birthdays, etc. I am not a “can’t leave the house without makeup” kind of girl (although I usually at least have foundation and mascara), but when I know my look will be recorded into photographic history, I become a little more high maintenance.

As I prepared for my trip to Vegas, I realized it was time to step it up with my hair and teeth. I have a growing relationship with bleach, but don’t worry I won’t be going Girl Next Door fake any time soon.

Bleaching Your Own Hair

First, it is important to know that if you are going platinum, it is not going to lift in one round. Mine took two rounds, and I am naturally dark blond and had already lightened it once. If you have really dark hair,  it may take many, many rounds. If your hair is any darker than light brown, I would not suggest going blond on your own.

Second, DO NOT expect platinum out of a box. You pay for what you get. Without toner you will get straight up YELLOW or GOLD, and sometimes (depending on your starting color) a funky orange.

So, here’s the financial breakdown:

Home Bleaching – about $20 – includes lightener,

developer, and toner – you will have plenty of lightener and developer left for future touch ups, but will need to buy more toner

Hair School – a high lift design with cut is about $45

Salon – this will cost you about $ 60-150

My suggestion: go to a hair school to get it lifted to the level you want, then maintain the platinum you want at home. You may need to tone it every few weeks to keep the gold down (you can apply toner without bleaching first and toner and does not damage hair like bleach does).

How I came to this conclusion – I did a round of highlights on my own and though it looked nice, it wasn’t as platinum as I wanted. Also, I wanted to add dramatic color peekaboos and I wanted to watch them to learn the technique. I chose the hair school not only because of the significant cost savings, but also because as a school, they will refund your money or redo the color free of charge if you hate the outcome.

Bleaching Your Own Teeth

I have tried various bleaching in the past – the strips (both over the counter and the super strength ones you get at the dentist’s office), custom molded trays with take home bleach from the dentist, whitening toothpaste, etc. They all worked pretty sufficiently, but nothing like getting it professionally done in an office (which I have not brought myself to splurge on yet.)

So I was very excited when I got a Groupon deal for an Elite Bright kit for $39 – regular cost is $299. This kit includes trays, bleach, and a blue light. It seems to work pretty well, but the directions on how long to leave them in are pretty vague. I planned on two hours and quit at an hour because it’s kind of inconvenient but beauty is pain, right? I am not going to lie to you. You will drool and it will be gross. And it’s a little bit of a stretch to fit the light and the trays in your mouth, but it’s not that bad, although I have a pretty big mouth.

So generally, to get this done in the dentist’s office or at  a spa it costs a couple hundred dollars and up. Sometimes you can find specials for just over $100. However, I can get multiple treatments out of the home kit, so I’d definitely say it’s worth it. I still may try an in office visit some day to see if the results are even better.

CVS v. Walgreen’s: The Search for Cleansing Conditioner

In the land of bargain drugstores, there two giants: CVS and Walgreen’s. Much like the Pepsi and Coke debate, most people come down clearly on one side. Personally, I’d pick Pepsi and CVS nine times out of ten. CVS tends to have better deals overall – that’s basically what it comes down to. But in two recent instances in my life, Walgreen’s came out on top. The first, unrelated to this blog, was on Christmas Eve when serving as designated driver to my brother, who insisted we find food at 11 p.m. Walgreen’s was the ONLY place we found open. Of course, there is no CVS close to our places (it’s actually under construction), so that may not be a fair assessment.

The second was a win for carrying new products. I learned about the new L’Oreal Evercreme Cleansing Conditioner in, ironically, a CVS email but when I went to CVS, they didn’t have any of the line. But Walgreen’s did. And they got extra bonus points for having the new Dove Style + Care line (I got the amplifying mousse which I am super excited about trying).

So why was I consumed by finding the cleansing conditioner? Well first, what is it?

Cleansing Conditioner
The king of this fad is Wen. Basically it’s mostly conditioner, with a little shampoo. Much like conditioning your hair every day and only shampooing once or twice a week, it restores the natural oils and makes your hair healthier. I still shampoo mine once a week so I can tone the blond with the violet shampoo but virtually you can use the cleansing conditioner every day if you have normal to dry hair. If you have oily hair, it may not be the best for you or you may have to alternate between cleansing conditioner and shampoo.

Ok, so I love cleansing conditioner. I have naturally normal  to dry hair, much drier due to my ever growing relationship with bleach. Also, I am growing out my hair, so the healthier it is, the better. However, Wen can get quite expensive and they autoship it to you, you can’t cancel online if you don’t like it, etc. I just don’t appreciate slimy sales tactics like that.

So I was very excited when I learned about this product. Plus I love the products in its sister line – Everstrong.

I was not disappointed. It was approximately $6 for eight ounces. It felt nice, smelled nice, and worked well. I can always tell how well a conditioner works by how much by waves bounce up when I get out of the shower.


It was really almost a dead tie with the other cleansing conditioner I’ve tried, Hair One by Sally Beauty Supply, which runs about ten bucks for 12 ounces. Hair One is a little thicker and does a little heavier conditioning, so if you tend more toward normal hair than dry, I’d actually go with the Evercreme. (PS I believe the Wen is about 30 dollars a month and they just keep sending it.)