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Apotheke:M Replenishing Bath & Shower Oil Review
Body Care - Comments Off - November 8th, 2012

Apotheke:M is a brand found at Target, making bath and body products in some really nice scents. I don’t know the specific history of the brand, but a recent search turned up a website linking them to the same company that produces TokyoMilk. Needless to say, there are three scents so far, and my favorite is the Blackcurrant Fig. I picked up a bottle of the Replenishing Bath & Shower Oil to review, and I love it.

The Bath & Shower Oil is one of those oil-that-turns-into-a-cleanser type products that are really cool. You can squirt some into the bathtub for a moisturizing soak, or apply it in the shower as a body cleanser. The scent is really nice. It’s rich and deep, as fitting something called Blackcurrant Fig. It’s one of the best fig-type scents I’ve come across in a while.

It’s a nice body cleanser if you tend to have dry skin, as it’s more moisturizing than soap or shower gel. It does make the tub a smidgen slippery, however, so be careful! The scent lingers for a bit on your skin, but not all day. There is a matching body spray and body cream if you want the scent to last longer!

At $12.99, it’s not the cheapest body wash out there, but it’s nice for what it is, and how great the scent is! Two thumbs up!

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Suave Kids 3-in-1 Shampoo Review
Body Care, Cheap Thrills, Hair Care - Comments Off - October 15th, 2012

I really have a thing for stuff that smells like Jolly Ranchers. I was cruising through Target, and was sniffing shampoo and hit upon this one to sniff. “This one” is Suave Kids 3-in-1 Shampoo, in Wacky Melon, and it smells just like watermelon Jolly Ranchers. I love it!

The 3-in-1 part of the product refers to the fact that it’s a shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in one. On my normal, no longer color-treated hair, it’s perfect. It leaves my hair clean, but soft, and I don’t need to use conditioner regularly. I use a deep conditioner once or twice a week and that’s enough.

It works great as a body wash too, with a lot of lather. It’s also not drying on my skin, although it’s not the most moisturizing body wash I’ve used. The scent doesn’t linger long, so if you don’t want to smell like candy all day, you won’t.

I don’t have any children, so I can’t comment on how it actually works for kids, lol. But if you are a grown-up who likes fun smells once in a while (I find it really cheerful), this Suave shampoo is a perfect cheap thrill. I give it two thumbs up! Now I want to try the apple version.

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L’Occitane Bonne Mere Gentle Body Wash Review
Body Care, Reviews, Splurge Worthy - Comments Off - August 23rd, 2012

I’ve been using L’Occitane’s bar soaps for years because I like how mild they are and I like the fragrances. The Bonne Mere line of soaps are a particular favorite of mine, so it’s really cool that L’Occitane has expanded the line to include body wash, hand wash, and lotion. I got to try out the body wash, and it’s really nice!

I tried out the Bonne Mere Gentle Body Wash in the Milk fragrance. First, the bottle is HUGE. This is going to last for a while. It’s also probably the most economical of the L’Occitane body washes, at $34 for 20 fl. oz versus $20 for 8.4 fl. oz. I still consider it a splurge-type product, but it’s a good value for sure. The milk scent is a clean, fresh scent, and should appeal to most everyone. The formula is also really nice – lots of soft lather, and it leaves your skin feeling soft and moisturized. I like the pump bottle, it’s very easy to use.

In addition to the milk scent, there is also a honey scent which I’m sure is great. I haven’t tried it, but I’ve always liked L’Occitane’s honey scents so I’m sure it’s great. The new Bonne Mere products also include a hand wash and a gentle cream. I really want to try the cream!

The new Bonne Mere Gentle Body Wash is totally splurge-worthy! I give it two thumbs up!

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St. Ives Naturally Smooth Body Lotion Review
Best Of, Body Care, Cheap Thrills, Reviews - Comments Off - July 25th, 2012

I love it when I find products at the drugstore that not just work, but work REALLY REALLY WELL. St. Ives Body Lotion in the Naturally Smooth formula is the bomb, yo. I was in the market for an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) lotion that didn’t cost the earth, and I’m happy to say I found one.

St. Ives Naturally Smooth Body Lotion contains a fruit AHA complex, that works to gently exfoliate the skin, improve skin cell turnover, and smooth the appearance of rough uneven skin. It really works! I have had a rash on my left shin for 20 years. I am not kidding, 20 years. It’s been a patch of thick, scaly, rough, itchy, red, and irritated skin that I’ve never managed to clear up. I have tried just about every emollient I could think of on it, as well as cortisones. Nada. I noticed a few years ago that it’s often better in the summer, and eventually a light went on in my head. I shave my legs almost every day in the summer, hence the skin gets exfoliated more regularly in summertime. So I tried using physical exfoliators regularly, but that was a no go too. It finally occurred to me to try a daily AHA-type product and see what happened. WHOA. After a month of using this lotion daily (combined with a secret emollient & antioxidant product I can’t tell you about yet!) the rash IS GONE. Cue an image of my jaw on the floor.

This story is, of course, just an anecdote, and I can’t promise that your rashes will be magically cured. (This disclaimer is for the lawyers, lol.)

ANYWAY. The lotion has a very light texture, and sinks in very quickly. It’s not the most moisturizing lotion, hence the secret emollient I use with it on The Rash That Is No More, but St. Ives has other formulas that probably are more moisturizing if that’s your thing. It doesn’t contain mineral oil or parabens, a major plus for a drugstore lotion. The fragrance is also quite light, a sort of citrus and fruit scent that I find pleasant. It doesn’t linger.

What’s quite possibly the best part is how affordable all this amazingness in a bottle is. It’s under six bucks for a 21 fl. oz. bottle! I was looking at another brand of AHA lotion and didn’t feel like spending $13 or so bucks on a little bottle, so I was really pleased to see that St. Ives is a reasonable price.

Overall, I definitely recommend St. Ives Naturally Smooth Body Lotion for anyone looking for smoother, less rough, less dry, and less flaky skin. It gets two thumbs up!

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Sunscreen: Eyes, Lips, Hands
Body Care, Skin Care, Splurge Worthy, Sun Care - Comments Off - June 23rd, 2012

Most of us are pretty good at using some kind of sunscreen on our faces on a daily basis. After all, using sunscreen daily is probably the easiest and most effective way to slow down the signs of aging. Remembering to put sunscreen on the delicate eye area, on your lips, and on your hands is another matter entirely. Today I wanted to mention some sunscreens specifically for those areas that I’ve tried (and some that look good, although I haven’t tried them yet).

L’Occitane’s Immortelle Brightening Hand Care SPF 15 is a really nice daily hand care product that is basically anti-aging for the hands. With regular use, your hands will look smoother and if you already have age spots, they’ll diminish. I really like the texture of this hand cream. It’s a bit splurge-y, but otherwise it’s great.

I haven’t tried this one yet, but for a more budget friendly option, Boots’ No 7 Protect and Perfect Hand Cream SPF 15 looks interesting.

I’ve revised my opinion of Lavanila’s The Healthy Lip Screen SPF 30. It’s luxe, but I really like it. It’s the texture – I like it better than other mineral-based sunscreens I’ve used. It has a much more weightless feel on the lips than other products I’ve tried.

I haven’t tried this yet, but a very budget-friendly option to check out is Nivea’s A Kiss Of Protection, SPF 30. It’s really inexpensive, and combines chemical and mineral sun protection. It’s also readily available in drugstores.

I liked this L’Oreal Revitalift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream quite a bit. It’s a two-fer – it has an SPF 15 day cream and a non-SPF night cream. Considering it’s two products in one, the price is pretty reasonable. I liked that the SPF 15 cream didn’t sting or irritate my eyes. I don’t have much in the way of deep wrinkles, so I can’t comment on that, but overall I was pleased with the product.

This Clarins Sun Wrinkle Control Eye Contour Care SPF 30 is more splurge-y, but their products are always so nice. I haven’t tried it, but if I was going to a sunny place for vacation or spent all day in the sun regularly, I totally would.

What are your favorite eye, lip, or hand sunscreens?

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Vaseline Total Moisture Lotion Review
Body Care, Cheap Thrills - Comments Off - June 19th, 2012

As much as I love my fancy-pants lotions, sometimes Real Life intervenes and a super-budget-friendly option is necessary. When bills need to be paid, sometimes you have to cut back in other places, and often the beauty budget is the place to cut. Finding budget-friendly options that work well AND smell good makes me very happy. Vaseline’s new(ish) Total Moisture body lotion fits the bill nicely.

The Total Moisture formula contains pure oat extract and something Vaseline calls Stratys-3 multi-layer moisture complex. This Stratys-3 is designed to infuse moisture at the top, core and deepest layers of skin. The oat extract is for soothing the skin – and it’s pretty high on the ingredient list, so presumably the product contains more than just a whiff for label appeal.

The lotion has a nice texture. You can be pretty generous with the slathering, and it doesn’t feel greasy. My cranky rash-prone skin likes it a lot. It also smells really good. It reminds me a lot of various companies’ Cucumber Melon smell, kind of fresh and just a little bit fruity. I wasn’t sure I liked it at first, but it’s definitely grown on me. However you feel about it, the scent doesn’t particularly stick around so it won’t clash with perfume. It’s nice to smell when you’re putting it on though.

At the end of the day, the fact that this stuff is amazingly easy on your budget makes it a real winner. You can get a 20 fl. oz. bottle for under seven bucks! It’s hydrating, it’s soothing, it smells good, and you can slather it on without breaking the banks. This is the true definition of a cheap thrill. I want to try the Aloe and Cocoa formulas now. Two thumbs up, Vaseline!

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Desert Essence Coconut Lime Hand & Body Lotion Review
Body Care, Reviews - Comments (3) - June 2nd, 2012

I was wandering through Whole Foods Market recently, and came upon a display of Desert Essence products, on sale. This is a brand that knows what it’s doing – the pictures on the packaging are so appealing (coconut! almond! vanilla chai!) and the fragrances are very well done. Needless to say, when you open a tester to give it a try, it’s not a disappointment. I picked up a tube of the Coconut Lime Hand & Body Lotion to try out.

Desert Essence actually has three versions of coconut scents. The Coconut is pretty much straight-up coconut. The Tropical Coconut has a bit of a sweet, floral aspect to it, and the Coconut Lime is equal parts lime and coconut. The day I was shopping, I was definitely feeling like the tangy lime thing was my favorite, so that’s what I bought.

The lotion is a nice, thick formula. It has aloe vera juice, shea butter, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and jojoba oils for extra nourishment. The formula contains a high percentage of organic ingredients, and contains no parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrances or colors, silicones, EDTA, glycol or petroleum based ingredients. It’s cruelty-free, vegan, and gluten free. As with all organic products that are lightly preserved, you want to use it up promptly (within 12 months). The tube packaging is ideal, as it exposes less of the product to light and air.

Sometimes products that claim to be hand AND body lotions aren’t ideal doing double-duty. This one does just fine! I slathered it on my arms and legs and enjoyed soft skin all day. The scent lingers but isn’t knock-you-down strong. I really like this for hand cream though. It doesn’t feel too greasy for the hands, and it actually works to keep my hands from feeling dry. I have terrible dry hands, and with some products, it feels like you can keep applying them all day long and not feel relief. This one stops the dry feeling for a few hours. It’s great!

Overall, this is a really nice lotion. It’s pretty middle of the road, cost-wise, at around $9 a tube (less if you find it on sale). I look forward to trying some of the other fragrances! Two thumbs up.

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Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Continuous Spray Sunblock Review
Body Care, Sun Care - Comments (2) - May 28th, 2012

Since I’ve been outdoors a lot more recently (and will continue to be) I needed to get a sunscreen for the body. I’ve been wanting to try a spray-on one, so I decided to try out the Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Continuous Spray in SPF 30.

I’ve tried other spray-on sunscreens and I find that I generally like the method of application. One of my objections to sunscreen is the texture – it tends to be thick and greasy and just not very nice. The spray formulas have a lighter feel on the skin. My second objection is usually scent – even “unscented” ones have that sunscreen smell which is what I really dislike.

The Hawaiian Tropic formula didn’t disappoint, texture-wise. One of the “user errors” most common with sunscreen is not using enough. With a spray formula it’s pretty easy to really go to town with the product and make sure you’ve got a really good coat on your skin. It’s also easy to spray harder to reach places. It feels a little sticky for a minute or two, but once it’s really dry it doesn’t feel like much on the skin.

The scent is definitely a selling point for me. It has Hawaiian Tropics’ signature coconut scent – and it’s pretty nice! You can smell it while you’re applying the sunscreen, but it doesn’t really linger. It doesn’t have much of that “sunscreen smell” that I dislike, so it’s all good.

The formula has broad spectrum sunscreens (it protects against both UVA and UVB), as well as some botanical ingredients. I’m not sure that the botanicals are present in a quantity that’s significant, but they come before fragrance on the list, so I figure they are a plus. It’s an alcohol-based formula, as most sprays are, for quick evaporation. I don’t notice that it dries my skin out particularly, but if you have really dry skin, you might prefer a lotion formula. It does have some aloe in it which probably helps to balance out the drying alcohol. It is a chemical sunscreen (as opposed to a physical sunscreen like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide), which some people might not like. Myself, I’m comfortable with the safety record of both kinds of sunscreen.

Overall, I’m quite happy with Hawaiian Tropic’s spray formula. I bought the SPF 30 version, and there is also an SPF 50 version, as well as a fragrance-free version. I’m curious about the Hawaiian Tropic lotion formulas, so I will probably check one out too. Just for science…

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