L’Oreal Superior Preference Mousse | $14 at Ulta (use a $3.50 off $10 coupon!!)
WEN cleansing conditioner | $30 at Sephora
Lavanila deodorant | $14 at Sephora
Smith’s Rosebud Salve | $6 at Sephora
Oscar Blandi pronto glossing creme | $21 at Skinstore
I don’t know anyone else who’s so picky/frustrated with her hair as I am. I always HATE it. Not hate it, hate it, but I definitely go through phases where I like it, and then I really really hate it. I never really LOVE it. Right now, I’m hating it. Less after I covered my roots, but still. I decided I’m going to grow it out quite a bit longer (it’s been a long time since my hair was long, I’d like to try it again) – at least to my collarbone or beneath. And I think I’d like to color it darker now that I’ve been lighter for more than a year.
Anyway, my hair grows incredibly fast, which is both a blessing and a curse, because well, it grows fast, but then, my roots need touched up more frequently. And my natural hair color right now is a mix between silvery strands and an ugly dark brownish gray. The money situation being what it is, I don’t have the ability to get my hair colored as often as I used to, so even though I saved and made an appointment for a root touch-up on Friday, I wanted to try doing it myself. And as luck would have it (haha!), I found a little bit of wisdom in this month’s Lucky magazine I thought sounded easy. Even for me.
Basically, the beauty editor suggested using hair color on a comb to touch-up roots, which sounded pretty simple, and no-fail. I was intrigued by the new L’Oreal reusable hair color, so decided to try that (she also says to use that in her article), and went with color 630 (lightest golden brown) and got a rat tail comb at Ulta.
I did my root touch-up last night, and generally I’m happy with the way it turned out, and how easy it was to do. Happy enough I can cancel my appointment and hold off until I can save enough money to make a bigger change. I did only the top of my head, which is what bothers me the most, and the color blended in quite nicely, looking “natural.” There are still some golden/silver strands that refuse to take color, but that always happens. I did neglect around my ears & my temple because those areas were harder to get to, and I was nervous about how the color was going to turn out, but I’m going to do those today. (you can really only see those when I put my hair up in a pony tail)
Anyway, I feel like this was a good temporary solution for me, and might work for you too if you’re looking for cheap & easy (but overall the hair color does NOT get good reviews on ulta), and since the color is reusable, I can do it as often as I like. The only thing that bothers me about that is the chemicals in the color. But that’s another thing altogether…
WEN cleansing conditioner
On to the other hair products I tried. First, the WEN cleansing conditioner. I did like this, but I really don’t see a dramatic difference in my hair from using it for a little over a month. I used less than it recommends (as per Monica’s suggestion), and that was enough. I also only wash my hair every 3-4 days, so it lasts quite a while. I do like the smell, and it goes on and rinses out well, but so does my Fekkai stuff, and again, I haven’t noticed any significant change, so why stick with it? The spray that comes in the kit is interesting, and I love the scent, but I’m not sure what it does.
Oscar Blandi Glossing Creme
I do LOVE the Oscar Blandi pronto glossing creme though; I’m definitely going to buy another tube when this one runs out. I’ve had this for a few years actually; Oscar Blandi’s PR team sent me some products to review about 3 years ago, but I only really started using it regularly recently. My hair on the ends is very dry and frizzy from the bleach, and this is really the only stuff that makes it look remotely NOT dry and frizzy, and honestly it’s the only thing that’s saved me from getting the ends all cut off. I use it when my hair is damp and then again when it’s dry, and I don’t notice that it weighs my hair down at all, which is usually a problem with any product I use. I highly recommend this creme (and Skinstore usually has coupons, so you can get it for 20% off) if you have dry hair.
I bought the lavender-vanilla Lavanila deodorant over the summer to try since my beloved Lush powder deodorant didn’t seem to be holding up to the 100+ degree heat and multiple trips outside once we got Dagny. I think it was generally effective, but then again, I did use it a few times during the day. I do like the smell of the vanilla lavender one, and I really don’t like vanilla, but it does leave marks on clothes. Once it cools down, I’ll switch back to my Lush powder deodorant, because it never leaves marks on clothes, and I thought it worked in cooler weather. Overall, it’s a good “natural” or at least aluminum-free deodorant to try if you haven’t yet, but I’ll keep it mostly for summer use.
Smith’s Rosebud Salve
I’ve used Smith’s Rosebud Salve for years (I have 5-6 tins in my bag/around my house at any given time), but discovered a couple of new uses for it recently that make it absolutely essential. First, Dagny gets quite overzealous at play time, or upon waking up in the morning (she’s not yet a year old) and will scratch me quite frequently with her nails. Mostly on the face, but never actually breaking the skin. One morning I had particularly bad marks on my face, deep & red, and didn’t know what else to put on them so I tried the salve. And literally, the marks were gone, like they never existed, within an hour or so.
I also read recently in Into the Gloss that someone (I don’t remember who, or the article I read) uses rosebud salve as a luminizer/moisturizer after long flights. I thought that sounded intriguing, but didn’t want to use it all over my face (too heavy, I think), so I tried it just a bit on my cheeks and the bridge of my nose and I was pleased with the slightly dewy look I had. I do also have the RMS living luminizer, which I love, and is slightly different, more shimmery, but don’t use much, because I want to save it for “special” occasions (*rolls eyes* – why do I do that??), but see this as a much more affordable and multi-tasking option if you’re so inclined.
And now a request. I have noticed, on the eve of my 42nd birthday, that my skin does seem to be getting a bit “droopy.” Do you have any suggestions for “firming” or lifting products to try? That actually work? I love that my skincare routine now is so streamlined (I probably don’t do enough), so I don’t want to really add a lot of steps, but if I can use a serum or something to just lift a little, I’d love some help. I did try a sample of the La Mer lifting stuff a while a go and thought it seemed to work, but I can’t spend that much!!
What have you tried and loved, or not loved recently?
In a convergence of several Grechen’s Closet themes, I have the La Mer Lifting and Firming Mask. I really can’t afford to keep it…but if I do, I will happily report back and tell you if it has restored all my droop.
The story goes like this: I’ve been doing a decent job with my minimal closet personal journey. I have identified several things I don’t need to buy anymore and I have donated a load of lovely things that were weighing me down for one reason or another. I even returned several items that I purchased on deep sale! The problem began when I went into my Bloomingdales store because of a credit I had on my account. As I walked by the La Mer counter (so that I could stare at their eye concentrate for just a moment) I heard someone shout my name out with great joy. And there behind the La Mer counter at Bloomingdales was my “friend”, the La Mer spokesperson from Saks. Now, I cleverly avoid Saks at all costs because I cave when I interact with people who are really nice to me. But here she was, temporarily filling in at Bloomingdales, asking me why I haven’t returned her calls.
Now, I did tell her I was following a strict budget these days…but I also mentioned it was my birthday month and that I was buying something for myself as a present. She and the charming gay man at the La Mer counter immediately identified that I might be interested in things for drooping, aging skin (oh no, really?) and plopped some of their new mask on my hand. Here’s what happened: The mask felt wonderful. I have been lonely and was completely receptive to positive human attention. The salesperson mentioned my old dog and how sad I was when he died. La Mer was offering triple points. AND, they pointed out my aging, sagging face. So on the eve of my 43rd birthday when I am particularly susceptible to these revelations, I bought the mask. She gave me a hug (yay) and eye concentrate samples. And the cool La Mer manager guy waved goodbye to me, calling me by name.
It was a perfect storm. I was powerless against it.
So now I have this mask, still in its wrapper. I am too embarrassed to return it. I have worked retail…they will know I returned it and I will never be able to walk past the La Mer counter again. My problematic solution is to frantically try to sell things on eBay to see if I can cover the cost. But with my Inhabit sweaters going for $20, it is a long road ahead. So far I feel too sick to open the mask. I tried to get my husband to return it for me, but he refuses. If only I had a sister, I could at least give half to her! If I bring myself to use it, I will let you know how it works. 🙁
Happy birthday! Today is mine. No wonder that I like you. I always get along with Libras. I’d highly recommend anything by Algenist. It’s an expensive line, but I’ve seen real results. I have always had issues with my “Jewish hair.” It’s wavy but not curly, and it never seems to hold its shape. Oh well, “first world problems.”
Grechen Reiter says
oh no! i meant on the eve, as in getting closer, not literally 😉 my birthday’s not until november 2. how do you feel about scorpios??
happy birthday to YOU though!!
thanks for your recommendation!
I recently finished my Wen and although I like the product, I’m in no rush to repurchase. I really love the Alterna Caviar Moisture shampoo/conditioner and although it’s expensive, I’d rather purchase this over Wen.
Ah, drooping skin .. yes, I’ve tried it all .. but recently started doing facial massage after seeming Lisa Eldgride’s video on the subject: http://youtu.be/CdkgqXBXprY Not sure if it works .. but hey, she looks darn good.
MonicaP´s last blog post ..Merona Plaid Blazer
Grechen Reiter says
i LOVE her. i spent many an afternoon watching her tutorials…i’m still not comfortable with makeup, but i love how “real” she seems.
Grechen Reiter says
oh man…i’d return it for you if i was there! i hate that though, and now i avoid going into stores where i’ll be pressured to buy stuff. most of the time the SAs aren’t pressuring me, i just feel that pressure inside, you know? like i came in here, why am i wasting their time and not buying anything? which is ridiculous. and i’m a sucker for attention too 🙂
do you know that the mask works? it might be worth it if you feel like it really makes a difference…can you return it if you try it and you don’t like it? or do you already know you’ll like it?? i have returned quite a few beauty products I couldn’t get samples for, although only as a last resort, and if they’re just really awful…but i know sephora is great about taking product back that’s been used. obviously not with half the jar gone, but a day or two’s worth…
i tried the lifting and firming serum, and damn if that stuff didn’t work…i got a sample that lasted a few days and i really thought i could tell a difference. (is that what you got? i don’t see a mask?) but i’m not at the point yet where i could reasonably think about spending $310 on one product.
Thanks, for the birthday wishes! My wonderful hubby is making my favorite meal tonight: roasted lamb, red potatoes, with a blueberry pie instead of cake. I like Scorpios, but have been “bitten and stung” by a few. As just female friends, there are no issues. But past romances with two Scorpios, have left me a little wary;).
Thank you for this post. I wash my hair every 2-3 days and tried the Wen. I could not stand it. Seemed like a lot of time and product for something that did not do anything to my hair. Same experience with the deodorant too. I have had to switch back to Secret since training for my half..
As for skincare – since you are on a minimalist journey and like natural – I recommend Kari Gran’s products. I am 47 and used to work as a SA at numerous beauty counters. Also have had quite a stash of product and have tried just about everything. I have to say, my skin has never looked better since using just 3 simple product (oh and my Clarisonic a few times a week). I like the make up too – just 3 products – makes getting ready easy. In fact, I minimized my morning routine first. I believe it spurred me to move on to other things in my life.
And use your RMS Luminzer girl. I use mine everyday and have had it for almost a year – on my cheek bones, a little above my brow and above my cupid’s bow. It’s fabulous and you deserve a little fabulous EVERY DAY!
Having to return something in person is the worst! I can completely relate to this. Currently I’m dreading returning an item to a local boutique…and I can only get store credit…not even getting money back! I too get so sucked in when I know the individuals and when they give me attention, are social, etc. I hate to avoid these store entirely, but until I can become more resistant to their charm, I might not have a choice! Lol. I have returned expensive purchases in the past and just been honest that it was more money than I should/could spend. I’ve also told a white lie and explained that unexpected expenses just came up, etc. I hate that we as consumers should feel badly about making a return, especially when it’s a perfectly valid return (i.e. not abusing a return policy).
Grechen Reiter says
yes, why do we feel so bad about making returns? i’ve gotten better about this lately, but i used to be so bad…i would feel so guilty for not doing anything wrong!!! i try to avoid tempting stores in the first place (H&M, Zara, Splendid…) now, but i also remind myself that it’s MY money, and i should spend it only on things i love and that are good quality. period.
and don’t even get me started on “store credit” exchanges only. GAH. i hate those, and of course james perse does it. but i mean…i can always use SOMETHING at james perse, so, no big deal, but i try not to shop anywhere else that doesn’t offer returns.
Grechen Reiter says
do i need a clarisonic?? i keep hearing good things, and it seems like everyone has one, but why do i need one? someone please explain 🙂
thanks for your recommendations! i will use my luminizer more often, i promise! i love it, i just feel like it’s overkill sometimes for my super-casual lifestyle!!
Based on the theory that if you like/use a cheap version of something, consider that a test and splurge on a more expensive version, I got the Olay face brush last year (with cleanser and with microdermabrasion cream but you can buy those granules on Amazon and add to any cleanser…). Anyway, I am bad about using it because I’m lazy with my skin care at night and because when I do use it I don’t notice a difference. I’m sure it depends on your skin status at start, so…..(I think it costs $30 and I had a $10 coupon or something) I’m still trying to address my pores – I can’t bring myself to try a BB or CC cream (I have never liked “coverage”) so I got Miracle Skin Transformer at Costco last week (coupons 😉 so I’ll see if I like a serum…
Gretchen, The Clarisonic is the most effective/gentle way that I have found to exfoliate my skin (I use the soft bristled brush). Exfoliation clears away all the dead skin that sits on top and dulls the surface. It also allows whatever oils/lotions and serums you may be using to sink in better and be more effective. Also whatever makeup you may wear looks better. I have found that I wear less make up since using the Clarisonic and simple skincare.
Texas Aggie Mom says
I”m in my mid-50’s and get lots of compliments on my skin, as it apparently doesn’t look my real age. I have been using mostly L’oreal products since I was about your age. The one I could never give up or substitute is the Revitalift combination serum/moisturizer. It’s in a red box and the bottle is split vertically in half. Not too expensive, especially if you keep an eye out for coupons. Another one that seems to actually work is Olay’s night cream – the lavender one in the short, wide jar. I can’t find L’oreal’s Golden Balm eye cream anymore, but it worked better than anything I’ve ever used for eyes, and I also used it on this weird wrinkle that occasionally pops up under my left eye. I can also really tell a difference if I take the time to use L’Oreal’s miracle blur across the bridge of my nose and cheekbones – the first time I wore it, my receptionist shrieked “OMG – your face is FLAWLESS” when I walked in the office door. I’ll take that for a product that runs around $20! At one point I invested in the entire Clarins line because a friend had such dramatic results with it, but the only one of their products that I felt was irreplaceable was an eye gel that really does wonders for undereyes, but is $80. I am carefully rationing the little bit I have left for things like big dates and times I’m going to be on camera. Hope that helps – I would never have guessed you were past 40, so whatever you’ve been doing must be working!
Grechen, have you tried any Paula’s Choice skincare products? I can vouch for the retinol in the silver bottle, which I mix with the C15 serum. I use that cocktail nightly, usually layered atop a 2% BHA liquid. Consistency is key and changes have been gradual but after a few months with this routine, my skin looks a lot healthier, plumper, more alive. Old acne scars are fading, I break out less and find that I can go much lighter on the makeup. It’s a light retinol, just .1%. She also sells a 1% retinol cream (10 times stronger!) that’s pitched as a less-irritating alternative to Retin A- type Rx products. My skin is on the sensitive side so I’m sticking with the gentler version for now. I also love the Moisture Boost Hydrating Treatment Cream as an everyday moisturizer with a little something extra. Her stuff is reasonably priced as well and not tested on animals. Fragrance free too, which is a personal priority for something that’s going on my face.
Agreed! I am OK with store credit at my local boutique for this reason too…I can always find something and I like to support them anyway. That being said, I still kick myself for buying something I didn’t need in the first place!
I felt like the Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion made a difference for me. It’s about $80.
I think the Clarisonic is good for those who have tough skin that benefits from exfoliation, like me. I love it. My skin is not dry or sensitive, it’s oily and thick, which in my 50s turns out to be something of a blessing, since I am usually thought to be in my late 30s. I still get clogs and bumps and breakouts but don’t really have wrinkles (a few small forehead ones) and the Clarisonic is great for getting rid of the bumps. I don’t know if I would recommend it to to someone with a different skin type, although they do have a variety of different brush heads, etc.
Grechen Reiter says
thank you gloria!
I read an article recently on how returns really damage stores — I think the article was specifically referring to people who buy and purge as a habit, but as someone prone to feeling guilty, I try to be careful and responsible. This makes a lot of sense to me for small stores, but I don’t think I need to worry as much about huge ones. I appreciate the empathy on the mask fiasco. 🙂 It has great reviews (“la mer lifting and firming mask”), and is cheaper than the serum.
I have the clarisonic and it didn’t give me enough tangible results to stick with it. It has been sitting in my drawer for two years. I did, however, do the Lisa Eldridge facial massage last night and loved it! I might need to find a good oil…
Do I need a luminizer? I don’t understand them.
I think I would agree – I had combination skin when I was younger but didn’t have a lot of break outs, and now (41) it’s just “normal” – not dry, not oily, not sensitive. I tend to use masks quite a bit – clay or moisturizing, or chemical. I love the Kiehls overnight biological mask! I think a weekly or twice a week mask is enough exfoliation for my skin.
Grechen Reiter says
see, i feel like my skin is pretty sensitive and very dry, with redness on my cheeks and forehead.. but i do have blackheads and you can see more pores a mile away. so i guess that’s why i’ve hesitated with the clarisonic…mostly the redness. because i have a feeling it would help with the blackheads, etc…
and then how do you tell what’s “enough”? i exfoliate in the shower whenever i wash my hair, so 2-3 times a week i guess. and i use wipes to remove makeup in the evenings sometimes.
ugh. why does all of this have to seem so complicated?? and expensive???
Grechen Reiter says
christine, you may have mentioned paula’s choice before, or it was someone else, but i remember hearing about her products. i’ve thought about trying a retinol, but have been very nervous – good to hear your review of the .1% cream…that sounds about right! thank you!!
Grechen Reiter says
oh, definitely returns damage stores. i have a friend who works retail and have heard stories. BUT a certain amount is built in to the cost of doing business, and having a generous return policy seems to work out better in the end (uh…nordstrom!). i am much more careful though, when i shop at smaller boutiques; i don’t want to mess with their margins, you know?
gotta try that lisa eldridge massage!! i haven’t even watched the video yet…so behind…
i like the RMS living luminizer, but i don’t quite understand them either to be honest. i do like that it gives my skin a little glow and it sort of radiates, but i’ve really not been able to tell a HUGE difference whether i wear it or not.
The alterna caviar is so good. It makes my dry hair feel so smooth.
I’ve purchased liters on eBay. For major discounts.
I’ve been using a clarsonic Mia (sensitive skin brush head) for about a year now & my skin has never been clearer. All the little build up in my nose pores (the biggest pores I have), is gone. I use it every morning in the shower with my neutrogena face wash (I’ve tried them all and like this as much as $$$ stuff). I don’t have to buy exfoiliater anymore, bc the Mia already exfoliates my skin.
My mom, sister & kid now all use one too.
I feel your paIn, Christina! Having been on both ends of the makeup counter retail transaction, I can say, yes, there will momentarily be some discomfort. But I had clients I genuinely liked, and I would have rather had them be happy with their purchases, and be long-term customers rather than feel embarrassed. It’ll be OK. TRUST ME!
*Re: Luminizer…Yes, it’s a trend now, but I honestly get more compliments on my “lovely skin” at age 54 than I did when I was 34! And that’s because of luminizing products. They’re very versatile: use on lids, inner corner of eye by the tear-duct to look more awake, brow bones, tops of cheekbones, center of lower lip, cupid’s bow to enlarge the appearance of your lips, and even collarbones and cleavage if you’re going out at night! I’m looking to add Kjaer-Weiss Radiance to my repertoire, but my mainstay has been Bobbi Brown Shimmerbrick. Try it! RMS gets great reviews!
Happy birthday, my friend! You’re just getting better 🙂
All true! But dermatologists are warning women not to use them everyday. They’re seeing damage due to overuse. (We all think if a little is good, more must be better!). Stick to a gentle cleanser and use your Clarisonic 2-3 times per week. Work up to more if your skin can handle it…you be the judge.
That L’oreal product is on this list of “Best Firmers” and it’s rated highly!
Grechen Reiter says
thank you for that!! i think i’ll try it 🙂
Not my dermatologist – he suggested the sensitive brush head & daily use.
I bought one and was hooked!
I’ll get the sensitive head and try it, Jo. Thanks for mentioning it!