Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tried and True (Blue)

remember Bath and Body Works? i know you all do, because you went there during high school everytime you hit up the mall to get your Cucumber Melon lotion and your favorite Juniper Breeze body splash! then, like me, you probably outgrew B&BW and moved on to Sephora, Nordstrom's, etc. for your bath and body needs. what we didn't know was that while we were ignoring B&BW all these years since, it was growing up right along with us!

although it's still not my most beloved store, there are definitely some things worth checking out at the old B&BW. what i'm really into right now is their True Blue Spa line, an in-house brand of goodies that is supposed to give you a spa experience in the comfort of your own home. they have tons of products ranging from lotions to hand creams to scrubs and even self tanners (one of which The Beauty Addict is a big fan of!). the product that's getting the most love from me at the moment is their I'm In The Mood For Scrub Foaming Body Buff With Shea Butter Beads, $20 (for 16 fl. oz.). this bright blue scrub works overtime at getting your body smoothed, exfoliated, and softened. i don't know about you but i like a really good buffing from my scrubs, and it seems that a lot of them don't get the job done at all! they're either too creamy with not enough beads, the beads are too gentle or they just plain don't work any better than a washcloth! definitely not the case with I'm In The Mood For Scrub, which really attacks that dry, scaly skin and leaves your body as smooth as glass! it only takes a small amount massaged into wet skin, making sure to really hit all the dry areas like elbows, back of arms, knees and shins, to leave you as soft as a baby's bottom. it's the perfect thing to use before self tanning because although the shea butter beads leave you moisturized, they never leave you greasy or with a film lingering on your skin. this scrub rinses clean and as an added bonus, it smells great! although $20 might seem like a lot compared to the scrub you use now, it's worth it to have a product that really does it job and lasts for a long time. i'm planning to try more things from the True Blue Spa line, and i'll report back on what other gems there are waiting for us at B&BW!

what are your favorite scrubs? any tips or tricks on how to get your bod in tip top soft and smooth shape? let me know in the comments!


can someone PLEASE tell me what in the f**k is going on with Katie Holmes these days?! girlfriend went from an adorable, super stylish and age appropriate young mom to a 75 year old crazy lady circa 1986! i don't care if she's shooting a movie or not, i wouldn't look like this in public (or private!) for 10 million dollars a DAY! how can you go from looking like this (right) to that scary 80's Mary Kay grandma up above? she needs to straighten out that HIDEOUS hairdo, wash off all that theatre makeup and start from scratch. has anyone else been wondering what's up with her lately besides me?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

ISO Summer Moisture

it's officially summer, and i couldn't be less thrilled. YES! i said it. i am not a big fan of the summer anymore! when i was younger and summer meant no school, running around free with no responsibilities and swimming and sunbathing all day, me and summer were very close. now that i'm all grown up and responsibilities never end and i don't get to swim, to me summer is just a hot, annoyingly long stretch of feeling sweaty and extra pale. plus, in the summertime wearing makeup isn't half as much fun because no one wants to feel anything heavy on their faces. because of this, the first thing that has to change about your summer routine is your moisturizer! you've got to go lighter, sheerer, and for most people, less moisturizing.

during the colder months i love to slather all kinds of luxurious, thick, super moisturizing creams on my slightly combo skin but in the summer that would be a recipe for disaster. instead, what i like to look for is a product that is light and easily absorbed but still does it's job making sure my skin doesn't get flaky without also turning it into an oil slick. one of my newly discovered favorites for this job is Clean and Clear's Dual Action Moisturizer, $5.99. now i know what you're thinking; Clean and Clear is for teenagers! and yes, it is a line marketed towards younger people, but this moisturizer is worth venturing into teenybopper territory. it's oil-free formula is perfect for hot, humid summer days when your skin needs hydration minus the extra greasiness and the small amount of salicylic acid included helps to clear pores and fight breakouts without drying out your skin. it's light, absorbs quickly and leaves your skin feeling soft, smooth and ready for makeup. an added bonus? after applying, the Dual Action Moisturizer gives your skin a refreshing cool tingle! it might surprise you at first but it's a very nice pick-me-up on a muggy morning!

if you're looking for a lighter moisturizer but don't need salicylic acid or a tingle, another great, affordable option is Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion, $10.99 (for sixteen ounces, a LOT of product!). i've had my bottle of Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion for almost three years now and still haven't finished it up! i absolutely adore this lotion and it's heavier, cream counterpart for moisturizing my thirsty skin and creating a perfect canvas for makeup (especially when used under the eyes, it really sets the stage for a smooth concealer application). the lotion is a perfect summer choice because it's light, soothes and plumps up the skin without leaving it greasy and absorbs without leaving behind any stickiness. it's important to use only a small amount of this lotion because applying too much could leave you shiny, but when used in moderation it's great! non-comedogenic and perfect for sensitive skin, Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion contains no lanolins, parabens, and is fragrance-free.

if you're looking to treat yourself to something special, then Ojon's Tawaka Ancient Tribal Rejuvenating Cream, $55, is the product for you. this 99% natural cream is chock full of wild-crafted antioxidants including savage cacao, which has the antioxidant equivalent of 204 pounds of blueberries! hypoallergenic, preservative and color-free, Tawaka moisturizes the skin and protects it against damage from free radicals. why do i love this so much? first of all, although it has a hefty price tag, you're getting 6.1 ounces of product in this jar--a humongous amount! most face creams of the same price give you 1.5 ounces if you're lucky, so if you look at it the right way, Tawaka is a bargain! the cream itself is almost the texture of a balm but somehow manages to completely disappear once you've applied it to your skin! now, let me tell you, your face is left unbelievably soft and hydrated, but there is absolutely no trace of any kind of 'product' left behind on your skin. it makes the most amazingly PERFECT base for mineral makeup of anything i've ever tried, acting as a kind of natural primer that holds the minerals and makes everything look smooth and glowy. i've never had it cause any kind of irritation or breakouts, and on the contrary it actually seems to soothe troubled skin. although i reserve this cream for my face, you can use it all over your body and even in your hair! it's a perfect do-it-all product for summer and even better for traveling since it eliminates lugging along a moisturizer, makeup primer, body cream, and hair smoother. i've had my jar for atleast 6 months now and still haven't put much of a dent in it, so it'll last you quite a while if you can make the initial splurge.

using a lighter moisturizer in the summer will help to prevent all kinds of nasty occurrences like clogged pores, mid-day oil slicks, and makeup meltdown. what are your favorite products to use when the temperature rises? let me know in the comments!

Clean and Clear and Cetaphil products can be found at your drugstore and grocery stores and Ojon's line can be purchased from QVC.

Lash Stash

i just happened to come across this on Sephora's website and wanted to share--swoon! SEVEN mini mascaras for the price of one expensive mascara ($28)?! now that's a collection i can get on board with! there is nothing i enjoy more than buying/testing new mascaras so of course this Lash Stash really gets my blood flowing. only problem is, i've found in several cases (such as Too Faced Lash Injection and Benefit BAD Gal Lash) that the mini versions of some mascaras are NOTHING like their full-sized counterparts. i have no idea how this could be, seeing as how i'm sure the formula is the same (how could it not be?) and the brush is also the same design, but i'm telling you it's the truth. there is no comparison between the mini Lash Injection and the regular one! the mini gives no volume whatsoever and you're left with the most average results you can possibly imagine. i've never tried the full-sized BAD Gal Lash, but the mini didn't give me any volume or length, either, and i know that the original is supposed to give you mega-lashes. any ideas on why the smaller packaging changes the final results of the mascara?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More Chi for Me!

you know how sometimes you're using a product that you're totally thrilled with but after you've been loyal to it for awhile you start to notice your eye wandering over to something else? this is exactly what happened to me recently after using my beloved Kiehl's Heat Protective Straightening Cream,$15, for a little over a year. it works wonderfully, is top tier in my personal Hair Product Hall of Fame, and does everything i need it to do, but...i want to try new things that work even better! and so goes the life of a beauty junkie.

when i was doing research on before purchasing my Babyliss Pro NANO Titanium Flat Iron, i read a lot of customer reviews that recommended using CHI (pronounced "chee", i always thought it was pronounced "kai"until my hairstylist embarrassingly corrected me!) haircare products and they really peaked my interest. i had never tried any of CHI's products before except for one of their flat irons, and with all these rave reviews i figured it was high time i give them a spin.

since i like my naturally wavy hair to be as flat, straight, and silky as humanly possible, CHI's Silk Infusion seemed like the product for me. Silk Infusion is a serum that was designed to be used as a leave-in treatment to smooth, soften, and strengthen the hair using ingredients like silk, wheat and soy proteins. it doesn't cause build-up (supposedly, i'll have to report back on that claim after further use), leaves the hair super shiny and protects against heat-styling. now i used serums when they first came out back in the original Frizz Ease days, but for quite a few years since i've moved on to hair creams, so i was very nervous the first time i used Silk Infusion since we all know that if you use even a drop too much of serum it can ruin your whole blowout and leave you with a total grease mop! because of that fear, i didn't use enough and my results were only so-so. the second time i used Silk Infusion (always on damp hair before blowdrying) was last night and i conquered my serum overload fear, used the right amount (i'd say about a dime-sized drop distributed evenly throughout my hair but concentrated more towards the ends), and got the most amazing, exciting, jump-up-and-down results from a hair product that i've gotten in years! my hair was literally as smooth as silk and as shiny as glass! and remember, it was just last week that i got my hair dyed, bleached, and highlighted, so it's not in it's most naturally shiny state. i only had to run my flat iron over each section of hair one time and it fell completely flat and silky, as straight as a poker, just the way i like it! and the smell- the SMELL! it's the most luxuriously expensive salon smell i've ever smelled. total haircare heaven! the only not-so-heavenly part of Silk Infusion is that it can be pretty pricey; i got my 2 oz. bottle at Walgreen's for a wallet-breaking $13.50, and let me tell you that 2 oz. is not a lot of product! the only good things about this are 1. you only need a tiny bit so a 2 oz. bottle should last you a long time and 2. you can definitely buy bigger bottles or find better prices online.

as if one amazing product from CHI isn't enough, i also recently acquired their Shine Infusion Thermal Polishing Spray, $10.99, which is a weightless shine-enhancing finishing spray that leaves your hair soft, de-poufed and perfectly 'done'. it's a miracle fix for your second day hair that is feeling a little dry and fuzzy and needs something to make it look brand new again! now i know that just a few posts ago i went on and on about how my L'oreal Studio Line Shine Seeker Glass Shine Spray is such a great product for such a great (low) price and how i felt no need to use something three times as much just because it was high-end but...well... isn't there room for more than one shine spray in every girl's bathroom?! ok, now i know i'm rationalizing, and if i was ever low on funds my L'oreal shine spray would be just fine, but i think i like the Shine Infusion just a little bit more! i really prefer how Shine Infusion comes in an aerosol can that sprays out an extremely fine mist as opposed to the pump spray of the L'oreal product. and once again, the Shine Infusion has that amazing expensive salon smell that i just can't get enough of! the point is, they're both fabulous products and i will continue to love and use them both.

after trying and adoring these two products from CHI, i'm wondering what other things i'm missing from this incredible brand! what are your favorite CHI products? have you ever tried Shine or Silk Infusion, and if so, what did you think? let me know in the comments!

Egg Crazy!

ok readers, today i have two little words for you: PED EGG! this little contraption has completely won me over and now i am ready to get on top of buildings (or on my webpage, same diff) and sing it's praises! this amazing little tool is my newest must-have and just might be my favorite purchase of 2008 so far!

you know how after a spring and summer of wearing nothing but sandals your feet get all heinous and hoof-like? well, mine do. since i basically start wearing sandals in April and never go back to shoes until after September, my feet start to resemble those of a Cro Magnon. my heels get rock hard and all scratchy, i get a bump on the outside of each big toe, and i am horribly embarrassed to wear cute, strappy sandals when my feet are the texture of concrete. i mean craggy concrete feet don't exactly beg to be put into a pair of Manolos, do they? or, in my case, a pair of really cute sandals from Target! i have a heavy-duty pumice stone that i keep in the shower and even though i go crazy on my feet every few nights, they never get smooth or soft like i want them to be. i've tried those salicylic acid creams, metal exfoliators, sandpaper-like devices, and nothing works well enough. enter the Ped Egg!

the Ped Egg is actually a plastic egg-shaped device that has stainless steel micro-files on one side and a little area to catch the dead skin that you remove when you use it (and a truly wonderful thing-- once you wear out the blades on the file that comes with the Ped Egg, you can purchase three replacement files for only $9.99!). it's quick and easy to use, fits comfortably into your hand, is easy to wash with soap and water, costs only ten dollars and works better than ANY OTHER FOOT SMOOTHING TOOL I HAVE EVER SEEN BEFORE IN MY LIFE! even after a top-notch $40 pedicure my feet have never been half as smooth as they are after using the Ped Egg for under ten minutes. it basically just shaves off the old, hardened, dead skin that accumulates on your feet and is impossible to remove any other way. it gets rid of years of craggy heel build-up and leaves your feet perfectly smooth and soft! and the best part? it doesn't hurt a bit. not even a teensy little bit, and believe me, i would be willing to put up with a little discomfort to get results this amazing, but i don't have to!

since i'm a weirdo person who enjoys things like facial extractions and Biore Pore Strips, my favorite part of the Ped Egg is taking off the lid when you're done and seeing all that dead skin that you've just removed! it's highly gross and super satisfying. i thought since i try to practice full disclosure with my blog and really give you my honest opinion on the products i write about that i'd show you what was in my Ped Egg after the first time i used it. reader beware!

i really hope that if you have any roughness on your feet, you'll give the Ped Egg a chance. you will fall in love with how simple, painless, and easy it is to have baby soft feet again after suffering from hooves for so long! i bought mine (a limited-edition pink version supporting breast cancer) at Walgreen's and you should too because if you end up not liking it, you can return it with no questions asked. now go get Egging!

the Ped Egg and it's replacement files are available at drugstores like Walgreen's and Rite Aid, Target, WalMart, and at their website.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hair Color Upkeep

HOLA readers! i'll just jump right in and tell you that the odd mystery-face picture you're seeing above is The Kitty herself! last Tuesday i had an appointment for a cut and color by the fabulous Katie at Wack Salon here in Portland, OR and after over four hours in her chair, i emerged a brand new woman! well, a brand new looking woman that is. does anyone else seem to find that every time they go for a major cut/color it takes them this long before they're finished? i feel like i'm the only weirdo out there who's hair always takes over four hours to do! anyways, i had my shoulder-length, faded auburnish-brown hair transformed into a mid-neck length A-line cut with some cute bangs in a fresh auburn shade with some bright coppery highlights! and i LOVE it. i would highly recommend going to see Katie if you're ever in the area, because she is amazing!

now that i have my naturally mousy dishwater blonde hair cleverly disguised as a gorgeous deep red, i'd like to prevent it from fading and becoming boring, so i thought today i'd give you my tips on how to keep newly colored hair looking as good as the day you left the salon! if you're interested in maintaining your own freshly dyed hair, read on!

most traditional shampoos contain harsh detergents and Sodium Laurel Sulfates (or SLS) which are the ingredients that give you the lather that you think is responsible for cleaning your hair. problem is, SLS can strip the healthy natural oils from your mane and also destroy your expensive color! i know the thought of using a shampoo that doesn't lather is very weird to most people, as it also was to me, but i swear, you can get your hair clean and soft and full of body without the suds! one of my favorite ways to cleanse my hair without the suds (also posted about here) is by using WEN Cleansing Conditioners, $28. created by L.A.-based hairstylist Chaz Dean, WEN Cleansing Conditioners clean your hair without the harsh chemicals and detergents that most shampoos contain. by using natural astringent and antibacterial qualities, WEN leaves your hair soft, silky, clean and healthy, all the while perfectly maintaining your dye job! there are several different WEN formulas, but my favorite is the Fig Cleansing Conditioner that was created for dry, damaged, or ethnic hair. it leaves your hair super hydrated without weighing it down at all, and it (like all of the Cleansing Conditioners) can also be used as a leave-in treatment! so put away your shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, and styling cream and just get yourself a bottle WEN, stat!

if you just can't part with those beloved suds, another great shampoo and conditioner set you can try is Pureology's Anti-Fade Complex Hydrate Line. these formulas are not only gentle, hydrating, and super concentrated, but they're also sulfate and salt-free, 100% vegan, and are never tested on animals. their Anti-Fade Complex Hydrate Shampoo, $23.95, produces tons of luxurious lather that deeply but gently cleans your hair, leaving your color as rich and beautiful as the day you got it done. it's also extremely concentrated, so although it's pricey, this shampoo will last you many months used a few times a week. and if you're paying good money for quality hair color, isn't it worth it to buy good products that will help to maintain your look? their Anti-Fade Complex Hydrate Conditioner, $23.95, uses jojoba oil, shea butter, and a multiweight protein complex to restore moisture to your hair and leave it soft, smooth and bouncy. an added bonus is the stimulating tingle you get on your scalp from the peppermint oils that this conditioner contains! i LOVE it!

to keep your colored hair in tip-top shape, a deep conditioning treatment used once a week is also essential. right now i'm loving Redken's Smooth Down Butter Treat, $14.25, for extra hydration. it uses an ionic smoothing complex of macadamia oil, candelilla wax, and cationic refiners to restore your hair's lost oils, smooth roughness and unruly texture, and zap your frizzies with a humidity resistant finish. this deep conditioner is thick, smooth, and seems to melt right into your hair, leaving it super soft with just the right amount of slip. for strengthening hair that's lost some of it's muscle due to coloring, i adore Joico KPAK Deep Penetrating Reconstructor, $16.95. this intensive protein treatment has a balance of 19 essential amino acids that adhere to your hair to reconstruct it in the places it's weakened and protect it from further damage. it smells absolutely amazing, like clean, fresh bananas, and there is a noticeable and visible difference in the health of your hair after ONE treatment! after my last hair dying debacle where the stylist messed up my color and had to dye my hair TWICE and tone it THREE times, Joico KPAK DPR was my savior! in one ten minute treatment, my hair went from over-processed straw to the soft, silky texture i'm used to. this is one little tube that i cannot live without!

other tips for keeping your hair color from fading? using a leave-in product with some sunscreen in it, wearing a hat or bandana when you know you'll be out in the sun, and saturating your hair with conditioner before going swimming in either chlorine or saltwater. if you're dedicated to being vigilant about protecting your color, you'll save yourself a lot of money the next time you have a hair appointment and end up only having to get your roots touched up! good luck from The Kitty, and i'll let you know how the products i've recommended here today work at keeping my red bright and fresh! meow!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Electro Flash Mineralize Eye Shadows

well readers, you may want to remain seated before you read this next bit of news, seems that MAC has a new collection out! LOL! how shocking, right?! i'm only joking, i adore all things MAC and i love their many, many collections and never miss a chance to run to the nearest counter to check them out! which brings us to this post, which is on the stunning Mineralize Eye Shadows that are in the Electro Flash collection. check out all nine of these beauties, below...

aren't they gorgeous?! i looked at all of them in person today at the MAC counter and i have to say, although all nine are really amazing, my favorites are Sea & Sky and Odd Couple (which looks much prettier and brighter in real life)! these shadows are incredibly pigmented and look gorgeous used as both shadow and as liner (i even tested some out wet! they were fab!). for $17.50 a piece, you're getting a large amount of shadow, several different colors, and endless eye shadow combinations! not a bad deal.

there are also lipsticks and glosses in the collection, which you can see here, but the eye shadows are the standout product. have you tried or purchased any of these shadows, and if so, how are you liking them?

above photo of the eye shadows was borrowed from ebay.

Iconic Show

so readers, today i got the scoop on a new DiorShow mascara, and i'm not sure but i think i might be the first person to be reporting on this! i just saw it today at Nordstrom's and my eyes almost popped out of my head because it looks VERY PROMISING!

Iconic Show is it's name and it's housed in a very sleek, glam silver tube (it looks a lot like the white tube pictured to the right except it's silver) and it has a silicone brush that has bristles on it in rows at an angle...kind of like rows of little silicone bristles spiraling around the wand! i didn't get a chance to try it on my lashes (because by that time i had already piled on about 15 different mascaras!) but just the appearance of it looks very exciting! the silicone bristles are short, small, and placed very close together, which makes me think that it would be EXCELLENT at lengthening, separating, and fanning out your lashes instead of spiderfying them like the original DiorShow. now i know i might get flamed for that prior statement because many, many people adore the regular DiorShow, but i've tried with three different tubes and several formulations (regular, waterproof, Ultimate, Blackout) and none of them have really wow'ed me the way they're supposed to. i have searched far and wide online and can't find one picture of Iconic Show or any information on it, but i did call a Dior employee and they told me that this new mascara is slated for a Fall release and isn't available for purchase now; it's currently being displayed in the stores to create a buzz and so people can lust after it (i'm guessing). strange because i don't remember the Dior SA i talked to today in Nordstrom's telling me i couldn't buy it...but that's what the Dior person said on the phone. so, very exciting news for those of us who don't yet have a DiorShow mascara to call our own!

if anyone has tested out Iconic Show at their local Nordie's, let me know how you like it! and remember, you heard this fresh-off-the-counter news here, first! ;D

Monday, July 14, 2008

Drugstore Buys

hello readers! boo, it's Monday! Monday's are the worst because they're the very first day of a long, 5-day work week that seems to stretch on and on forever. my prescription for a way to get through a never-ending Monday? planning an evening trip to your local drugstore to haul some fun, inexpensive beauty goodies! lately i've realized that my recent posts have been mostly about drugstore items, and i wanted to let you know that i have not shunned high-end beauty booty, i've just been on a drugstore streak lately. i promise lots of pricey, high-end reviews in the weeks to come!

to begin my recommendations for great guilt-free drugstore buys, we'll start with my new favorite cleanser, Garnier Nutritioniste Nutri-Pure Detoxifying Gel Cleanser, around $6. i decided to pick this up on a whim last week because it was on sale for the ridiculously cheap price of $3.19, and because i've been curious about the Garnier skincare for a while now. let's just say i was not disappointed! this cleanser is chock-full of good-for-your skin ingredients like vitamin E, grape extract, green leaf extract and vitamin B5. it's also oil-free and non-comedogenic, so it's safe to use for those who are acne-prone as well as those who aren't. it's allergy and dermatologist tested, and it gently cleanses without drying the skin. i am in love with this cleanser because it lathers up nicely with one pump, smells clean and fresh, takes off every speck of my makeup (including eye makeup) and doesn't leave my skin feeling tight and dry. the apple green packaging is cute looking and super convenient with it's pump dispenser that can be turned to the 'closed' position so that it won't leak product if you have to throw it into your purse or travel with it. i feel that this cleanser really gets my skin squeaky clean in a way that some others don't, and i like that especially right now in the hot weather that makes my skin feel more sweaty and oily than usual. so far after using it for about 3 days, my skin is calm, clear, and soft. i'm sold!

next up is something that i'm very excited about finding! Dove's Cream Oil Ultra Rich Velvet Beauty Bar Soap, $3.89 for two bars, is the second version of this hydrating Dove soap formula. first there was the body wash version, which i own and like except for the fact that the lid traps water from the shower and won't let it out, so when you pick it up to use it, old, cold shower water squeezes out along with your shower cream! this really grosses me out, so much so that it prevents me from using the body wash, because i just imagine that there are all kinds of nasty germs and bacteria brewing in that trapped water! not the kind of thing i want to rub all over my skin. such a shame, because the formula has oil in it and really helps to moisturize dry, flaky skin. i'm so happy that now i can use it without the gross water problem since Dove has introduced the bar version! now that i've washed with both formulations, i even think i like the beauty bar better because it's lather seems fluffier and i feel slightly more moisturized and smooth after my shower.

if you're like me and are always on the lookout for that perfect lip balm, i would highly suggest giving Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, $3.49, a shot! this 95.29% natural lip balm is packed with healthy, hydrating ingredients like ultra-emollient lanolin, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and beeswax to seal moisture into the thin, delicate skin on your lips. what has me hooked on this lip balm is it's light, smooth texture. when i first applied, it seemed like i wasn't really getting enough of the balm to transfer onto my lips no matter how many times i swiped! this frustrated me, and i almost wrote it off as a miss, but it was after i went on with the rest of my day and noticed that over an hour later the balm was still perfectly in place and my lips were very soft and smooth! i guess i'm used to a more heavy, waxy feeling texture, but this featherlight balm stayed intact for longer than any other balm i've ever used. it has no taste, which is a huge plus for me, and no artificial smell! score! and, since this balm is so thin while still being very effective, it makes it perfect to layer underneath glosses or lipsticks when your lips need some extra hydration. a great buy for under $5, these balms also come in different flavors and formulas, like Medicated, Lifeguard's Choice, Honey, and Replenishing Balm with Pomegranate Oil!

last but never least, if you're looking for a waterproof mascara to keep your lashes looking lovely in the rising temperatures, i would highly recommend Cover Girl Volume Exact Waterproof Mascara in Blackest Black, $7.50. as i've written before, i'm a big fan of the regular version of this thickening, lengthening, non-clumping mascara, and the waterproof version doesn't disappoint. i decided to pick up a waterproof mascara because it's been ungodly hot here and i didn't want to risk having a mascara meltdown, so i went with a trusted favorite, and i'm glad i did! although the waterproof version of Volume Exact seems to be a tiny bit less volumizing, it still gives the same great results as the original, and it comes off easily with my Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes, and Lips, $16.50. i've used Take the Day Off exclusively since i was a teenager, and it works so well that i've never even felt the need to experiment with other makeup removers! i usually tend to avoid waterproof mascaras like the plague because i think that all that extra pulling and tugging to remove them wreaks havoc on delicate lashes, but sometimes it's a necessary evil, and as long as you remove the mascara correctly, your lashes should be ok. my tip for tug-free waterproof mascara removal is to take a cotton pad (NOT a cotton ball, i don't think they work half as well), saturate half of it with makeup remover, and press it onto your lashes for a good 1-1.5 minutes for each eye. this will begin to melt and loosen up the bond the mascara has created over your lashes, so that you will only have to use the most minimal pressure to remove the pigment. after holding the pad over your lashes for a minute, apply gentle pressure and sweep the pad straight downwards, repeating as necessary. never, ever wipe back and forth over your lashes with the pad, it will cause unnecessary pulling and tugging on the fragile skin around your eyes and damage to your lashes. it's my personal belief that unless you have major mascara smudging problems, you should only use waterproof mascaras on special occasions, and your lashes will thank you for it!

what are your favorite drugstore guilty pleasures? your favorite, cheapest finds? let me know in the comments!

Friday, July 11, 2008


after what seemed like an eternity (but was actually only 8 days), my Babyliss PRO Nano Titanium 1-1/4" Straightening Iron arrived at my doorstep this afternoon! i have been so insanely excited to get it that when i actually saw the package sitting at my doorstep, i was overcome with a gut-wrenching terror that i had chosen the wrong iron, it would suck and i would really hate it which would then result in me spending even more money to send it back in and wait another decade (or 8 days) for a new iron. but...turns out i was wrong!

i ran upstairs, plugged it in, selected my heat setting of 375 degrees (one great quality about the PRO Nano Titanium is that it has five heat settings ranging from 300-450 degrees, so you choose the one that's hot enough for your hair, and don't have to use a temperature that's too high and potentially damaging to your hair type) and was amazed at how insanely quickly it heated up! now i've had other high-end flat irons, and they also heated up pretty quickly, but it seemed like the moment i pressed the ON/OFF button, the Babyliss was already hot! this is a wonderful thing for those times when you're rushing around like a scalded flea, trying desperately to get out of the house because you're running late. do you remember the days of waiting for 20 minutes for your flat iron to heat up? i used to get so mad at my friend Tara when we were getting ready to go out and she'd sneak into the bathroom and used my iron when it was at the peak of it's hotness! the next time Tara comes to visit me, there'll be no fighting over the flat iron and waiting around for it to heat up, because this Babyliss is white hot in seconds!

after the iron got hot, i took a small section of hair and, mentally crossing my fingers, slid the iron down the locks. what i noticed immediately was how smooooothly the iron glided down my hair, there was no skipping or tugging required, and not ONE hair snagged in the irons plates. this was a huge annoyance to me when using the CHI, because unless you had your hair perfectly centered on the plates, it would snag and rip out strands of your hair. not only was this painful and annoying, but extremely damaging to my hair! after straightening my whole head of hair with the PRO Nano Titanium, there wasn't one strand snagged. so far, so good!

as far as the actual straightening goes, i was majorly impressed with the results i achieved! although i consider myself a hair-straightening guru, i have NEVER gotten my hair straighter than i did using the PNT. even my ends, which are rightfully fried after 6 months without a trim, are pin straight. that is quite a feat at this particular time because my hair is at that weird, in-between short and medium length where it's just skimming my shoulders, and it's impossible to keep it straight when it's constantly being pushed up by my shoulders (does that make sense to anyone?). although it got my hair completely straight, the PNT didn't make it feel dry or fuzzy like some irons can. it left it very smooth and shiny! although some people skip using products altogether when straightening their hair, i think it's extremely important to use something that protects your hair from the heat and also makes it soft and silky. my pick for a straightening styling product is Kiehl's Heat Protective Straightening Cream, $15, which i've reviewed before. it's an amazing product, and currently the only thing i have to use to keep my hair looking great!

so far, the Babyliss PRO Nano Titanium 1-1/4" Straightening Iron gets a 9/10 from the Kitty. the reason for one point being subtracted is the price, which is very expensive! although it is extremely pricey, it is a quality product and it does come with a 4 year warranty, something unheard of for a hair appliance! (the CHI only has a ONE year warranty) if you consider that you'll get atleast 4 years of use out of the Babyliss iron, the $130 pricetag doesn't seem as bad. all in all, it seems that i picked the perfect model for my straightening needs! this Kitty is one very happy cat! meow!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Shine On (A VERY Cheap Thrill)

you know how there's some days when you've done your whole hair routine and you're getting ready to walk out the door but your hair just looks bleh? it might be kinda fuzzy or poufy, or the ends are looking parched, or it could just be lacking sleekness and shine. well my dear readers, i have the perfect inexpensive product to solve all these hair dilemmas. L'oreal Studio Line Shine Seeker Glass Shine Spray, $3.99 (at Ulta), is the perfect final touch to hair that's not quite behaving. it's your typical silicone-based shine spray, but what's different about Shine Seeker is the fact that it's super light weight and doesn't weigh down your hair in the least bit. a lot of shine sprays can give you that greasy, heavy-feeling hair that looks like it hasn't been washed for days and leaves you with comb tracks after brushing. gross! not the look i'm ever going for. Shine Seeker just gives weightless gloss, smooths flyaways and gives a sleek look to fried ends that are in desperate need of a trim (i should know, it's been almost 6 months since my last cut! don't worry, i have an appointment on Saturday). just to be extra careful that i don't overload on any particular section of hair, i spray two spritzes in my palm, rub my hands together, and then smooth my hands over my locks, starting around my ears and going down, concentrating the bulk of the product on the last 2 inches of my hair. it always gives my hair a little sleekness, and you just can't beat the price! i've had the bottle i'm using now for atleast 3 months and haven't even put a dent in it. you could always use a high-end shine product and spend 6 times more, but why do that when L'oreal's is holy grail material? this is a definite must-have for any beauty queen, whether you're a straight girl or a curly girl (when my hair was long and i air-dryed it loose and wavy, this gave me great shine, which can be hard to get on curly hair). an easily awarded 10/10 from this Kitty!

L'oreal Studio Shine Seeker Shine Spray can be purchased at most grocery stores, Target-type stores, and Ulta, where i've found it's the cheapest. enjoy!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Colossal Lashes

the other day as i was strolling through Walgreen's my eyes focused on a giant, neon yellow display of new mascara! as you may guess, my heart started beating double-time and i was shamefully running to the checkout counter moments later, new mascara in hand. what was this mascara you ask? none other than Maybelline The Colossal Volum' Express, $7.99! this is obviously Maybelline's version of Cover Girl Lash Blast; after that mascara's wild success they must have been desperate to put out a competitor! i wish Maybelline would have had the guts to go a different way, though-- everything from the chubby, neon tube to the huge brush and the promise of super thick lashes just screams "Lash Blast copycat!" however, in my opinion Colossal Volum' Express easily beats Lash Blast hands down! it is a much better mascara.

we'll start off with the brush: it's fairly big, but not so big that it's impossible to use (i'm talking to YOU, DiorShow!). surprisingly, Colossal Volum' Express did not follow suit with all the newer mascaras and use rubber bristles, it has a regular 'teddy bear' brush with old-school bristles. i bought Glam Black, and i'm not sure how it differs from Classic Black or Soft Black (the other color offerings in this mascara), but it's a very nice, dark and sooty matte black, very pleasing! there is nothing worse to this Kitty than a dull gray mascara that claims to be black. as for the application, after i carefully curled my lashes (a must!) i swept this on without wiggling as usual, and had no problems with clumpage or overloaded lashes. it took me two coats to get the coverage i like, and although sometimes two coats results in thick, spiderly lashes with other mascaras, Colossal Volum' thankfully didn't go that route. the results i got were very long, very dark and just-thick-enough lashes that looked nice and feathery and stayed curled fairly well. all in all, i would give this mascara a 7/10. it's very nice, and i will definitely throw it into my mascara rotation, but it didn't WOW me the way i was hoping it would. i still prefer my drugstore favorite, Cover Girl Volume Exact, over Colossal Volum' Express, but that's not to say that this isn't a very worthwhile mascara. it's definitely worth a try at under $10, and i'd happily recommend it.

above picture of the mascara wand courtesy of peacegiraffe on Make Up Alley.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July!!!

today is the 4th of July, and in it's honor i thought i'd do a fun, quick post on one of my favorite red, white, and blue products! so enjoy, and have a wonderful 4th!

  • Aquafresh Extreme Clean Whitening Toothpaste, $3.99 (red, white and blue!). Aquafresh is a brand of toothpaste i've been loyal to for years now because of it's mild taste and fantastic tooth-cleaning abilities! most other toothpastes are just too strong and minty for my taste-- some actually burn my mouth and that's no good! Aquafresh cleanses your teeth without discomfort, whitens them significantly and the Extreme Clean formula foams up to release thousands of germ killing bubbles that refresh your whole mouth! the price is definitely right for under $4, and one tubes lasts forever since you only need a little bit for each brushing. all the makeup in the world can't help you to look good if you have mossy, yellow teeth so go to your dentist regularly and brush atleast twice a day!!!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

We Have a Winner!

after much back breaking research over the Great Flat Iron Debate 2008 (haha!), the one i settled on and ordered was this gorgeous icy blue number, the Babyliss PRO Nano Titanium 1-1/4" Straightening Iron, $129.99! although i'm still in sticker shock over the heinous price, i'm very, VERY excited about the arrival of this couture flat iron. it has longer plates than normal to make straightening easier and comes with a 4 year warranty, which i think says a lot about the quality of the product because if it wasn't well made and fairly durable, they wouldn't give you a warranty that lasted that long! it also has amazingly positive reviews on both Folica and MUA, so that gives me great hope that it will be a match made in hair straightening heaven. since i ordered s&h free from, the price wasn't as bad as it could have been if i'd purchased from a salon or highend haircare store, so let's just hope it was worth the loot. it should be arriving within a few days, and i'll be reviewing it immediately if not sooner. wish me luck!!!

Cheap Thrills

lately i have been extremely interested in body washes, scrubs, and other shower goodies which is odd because i've been a strictly Dove soap girl forever! it was the Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castille Soap that i bought a while ago that sparked this latest fixation and ever since then i've been sniffing around for other interesting bathing products. this little gem pictured above is from a line available at Target called Soap and Glory. it was actually created by Marcia Kilgore, the genius behind Bliss products, but Soap and Glory comes at a more affordable price for those of us who can't pass up a good!!!

the Clean On Me Creamy Clarifying Shower Gel, $9.99, is a fantastic bargain at under ten dollars for a whopping 16.2 fluid ounces! the 'gel' itself isn't actually a gel at all; it's more of a rich, moisturizing shower cream that foams up to produce satisfyingly fluffy lather! it cleanses your skin thoroughly without stripping it and leaves it fairly hydrated once you've dried off, even without using an additional moisturizer post shower (quite a feat for my very dry skin!). to my nose it smells pretty but some reviews i've read said that it's floral fragrance can compete with your perfume, so sniff before you buy if you're sensitive to that kind of thing. the 2 ounce travel size bottle i bought was only $3 so if you're not sure, pick up that size and test it out. i'm definitely planning on buying the regular size! not that it really matters, but even their packaging is adorable in a retro, 50's housewife, Benefit sort of way! it would definitely look adorable sitting in your bathroom. besides the shower gel, i'd also like to try some of Soap and Glory's other products, like their Righteous Butter Body Lotion, $9.99. even better yet? pick up the Scrub Triangle Mini Gift Set, $9.99, to get mini bottles of the shower gel, body butter and their body scrub! it would make a great gift for any of your girlfriends...or if you're me, for yourself! ;D

the next time you're at Target, stop by the cosmetics department and check out their whole line of products, which includes a much applauded lip plumper called Sexy Motherpucker! yes readers, shocking 'sex' marketing sells, much to the dismay of little old ladies at Target's nationwide! meow!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

To Grow or Not to Grow & How to Look Like Bardot

ever since i saw the sleek new haircut Michelle Monaghan has been sporting lately, i've been wanting to grow my hair out and run to the nearest salon! i love the shiny, perfectly straight shoulder skimming length and the heavy, eye flattering bangs. VA-VA-voom! as i've been mulling over the idea of trying this haircut out, i realized that this isn't the first time i've been infatuated with this look, i loved it on Heidi Klum a few years ago, too! i think the reason that i'm so taken with this particular kind of haircut is that in my opinion it's very modern-day Brigitte Bardot, and i looooove all things Brigitte Bardot. i mean, has there ever been another woman who even came close to being as sexy as she did?! i don't think so!

on the beauty side of this post, if you'd like to incorporate a little bit of Brigitte sexiness into your life, i'd start out in the shower with some majorly volumizing shampoo and conditioner, making sure that you only condition from mid-shaft down, as you don't want to weigh down your roots. after towel-drying, you'll need a volumizing product like Aveda Volumizing Tonic, $14, to rub into your roots for some lift. then take your blow dryer and a round brush and blow out your hair without making it too straight, you want it to look messy and sexy! hold your hair straight up from the roots and blast them with the hot air, it will help them hold their height and give you luscious volume. after you're done blow drying, skip your flat iron and tousle your hair into shape with your hands.

for the makeup, you'll want to paint on a thick, sharp, winged line of black liquid liner to give you irresistible doe eyes! my favorite liner for this kind of look is MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, $15, or for a less expensive liner, try Physician's Formula Eye Definer Felt-Tip Eye Marker, $6.95. either one will give you the perfect look, just make the line thick enough and be sure to get it right down into your lash line to avoid the gap-between-the-lashes-and-liner look. rim the lower lashes also, but only bring the line in halfway to the inner corner of your eye to avoid closing your eye up and making it seem smaller. skip eye shadow, and instead give your brows some natural definition with a pencil like Maybelline's Define-A-Brow Eyebrow Pencil, $6.50. for your lashes, you'll want the biggest, flirtiest, lushest results you can possibly get, so i'd recommend falsies if you're going to be sporting this look at night, or a mascara like Christian Dior's DiorShow Mascara, $24, if you aren't a false-eyelash guru. for the lips, you'll want a soft, petal pink color that gives you the nude effect turned up just a notch. i'd recommend either MAC's Blankety lipstick, $14, or NARS Chelsea Girls Lip Lacquer, $24, to get the perfect pout. last but not least, Brigitte always had the perfectly tawny, sun-kissed skin, and although natural always looks best, we certainly don't want to court the disaster that laying out in the sun brings. for a faux beach bunny look, try a bronzer like Benefit's HOOLA, $28, Guerlain's Terracotta Bronzing Powder, $42, or if you don't like powder, NARS The Multiple in Palm Beach, $37. sweeping any of these across your cheekbones, forehead, nose and chin should give you a beautiful golden glow without any damage being done to your skin.

no matter what look you're going for, confidence is key. don't wear clothes that make you feel uncomfortable, don't wear makeup that you think isn't you, and don't do anything to compromise the most important beauty rule: be yourself, because you are beautiful! au revoir, mon cheries!

CHI Goes Kaput!

there are few things in life that i truly consider myself an expert on, but flat irons and hair straightening is one of them. i've been straightening my hair in some form since the tender age of 13 and have learned quite a few lessons, tips, tricks and NO-NO's over the years, thereby earning the expert status in my opinion. i was the first one of my friends to own a flat iron and i'll never forget the exciting results i achieved with that magical Helen Of Troy tool!

over the years i moved up in the world of flat irons, eventually going from ones bought at Sally Beauty Supply and Target to the CHI iron which i've been using faithfully for the past 6 years. YES! you read it correctly, six long years. i've read many reviews where people say that they hate CHI irons because they die so quickly but with mine this was not the case. this flat iron lasted me six long years of daily use and so let's just say i wasn't exactly surprised yesterday when it up and died on me, the little red light giving one sad flicker before going permanently dark. this was a death i had been long expecting, and instead of being upset, i'm actually very excited that i now get to pick out a new flat iron! today i'll be giving you my recommendations on some of the models i've used and also asking for your help picking out a new one. so please readers, use that comment feature and give me some feedback!!!

if you're just now contemplating purchasing a flat iron and aren't sure you'll use it all the time, i would recommend buying an inexpensive one to play around with. if you find you don't really like it or only use it on special occasions, it would be kind of silly to spend over a hundred dollars on it, right? there are several very good flat irons out there that won't cost you an arm and a leg, and i especially like Conair's Professional 2-1/2 Inch Ceramic Straightener, $52.99. it has nice, wide plates that work well on long or short hair, heats up in 60 seconds, has 25 heat settings, is comfortable to handle and straightens hair quickly. this is an iron i used for a while when i was bored with my CHI, and i now keep it on hand as a back-up for times like right now!

another inexpensive option is the Helen of Troy line of flat irons i previously mentioned that are sold at Sally Beauty Supply (and can also be found online and many other retailers). for a starter iron, these get the job done without massacring your wallet. they have a wide variety of sizes and features, and usually last atleast a year or two before burning out. if you decide you really love sleek, straight hair and want to upgrade, you can always splurge on a more expensive iron, like...

one of the models i'm trying to decide between. although the CHI served me well, i have brand ADD and would really like to try another type of flat iron. so far the candidates for purchase are...

1. the Sedu Ionic Ceramic Tourmaline Flat Iron, $115.95 (and free S&H at!). clocking in at 1-1/2 inches, this iron is the model rated #1 by all the customer reviewers at Folica, and that's something i take very seriously. who better to trust about the integrity of a product than the actual people who have bought and used it? and when 3,145 reviewers give a flat iron a 5 star rating, that makes this Kitty stop and take notice. the only problem is, from all my QVC watching i've been slightly seduced by...

2. the T3 Narrow Tourmaline 1" Flat Iron, $129.95 (also free S&H at Folica!). this sleek, slim black iron seemed to work wonders on the super curly hair of the QVC model, but we all know how television can skew the realities of certain things (heLLLLLO, Tarte EmphasEYES eyeliner!). for some reason i feel that T3 makes the Rolls Royces of flat irons, but the reviews on MUA are throwing me it worth the money? $130 is a LOT of money for a person like me, and i don't mind making the initial investment if the iron is going to work wonders and last a long time. i mean, there are just some things that you need to spend some money on to get the best, and flat irons are one of them, in my opinion. if it's not going to be the T3, then my next option is...

3. the HAI Convertable Ceramic Flat Iron, $70.95 (free s&h at Folica). this iron also gets amazing reviews on Folica, but for some reason the lower price is throwing me off and making me think that it won't be as high quality as the others (stupid, i know!). it seems to get really great reviews on MUA, and like i said before, i put a lot of faith into those people's opinions. the most important qualities i look for in a flat iron are that it doesn't snag and rip out strands of my hair (an annoying fault of my CHI), it straightens and flattens my hair completely, it seals the 'straight' into my hair and helps to maintain the style all day, and it's comfortable and easy to use. so this is where i need your help!

what is your favorite flat iron? if you've used any of the three i've mentioned above, which one do you like the best? what's the worst flat iron you've ever wasted your hard earned money on? let me know in the comments!