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Freeman Chocolate & Strawberry Facial Clay Mask
Cheap Thrills, Complexion, Reviews, Skin Care - Comments (1) - October 19th, 2013

After trying the Avocado & Oatmeal mask, I decided I needed to branch out and try some more Freeman masks. I picked the Chocolate & Strawberry Facial Clay Mask, because I figured it would probably smell good – and I was right!

The Chocolate & Strawberry mask contains cocoa and strawberry extracts, kaolin clay, shea butter, and cocoa butter. It’s got the oil-absorbing and purifying qualities of the clay, but it’s also not super drying thanks to the butters. It smells chocolate-y, as promised. Don’t leave this in reach of little kids – it smells like food! My face feels soft and smooth after use. The directions say it’s good for normal to dry skin, but if your skin is quite dry, I wouldn’t use it. Oily to normal to slightly dry skin? Perfect. I like clay masks because they seem to reduce how oily my skin feels, without completely stripping my face (which is counter-productive). Clays are deep cleansing and the minerals are good for your skin.

If you are in the market for a nice clay mask that’s ridiculously affordable, this one is worth checking out. Two thumbs up.

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The Body Shop Eau de Toilettes: Cheap & Cheerful
Cheap Thrills, Perfume, Reviews - Comments (4) - September 1st, 2013

The Body Shop is often my go-to place for fun smelling stuff that is a step up in quality from drugstore, but not too pricey. They started carrying eau de toilettes in fragrances that matched their ever-popular body butters, like Moringa, Brazil Nut, Strawberry, etc. At only $14 each, they’re a fun, cheap thrill to wear simple, yet pleasant scents.

I recently snagged Brazil Nut and Mango, two of my favorite body butter scents. The Brazil Nut EDT smells like waffle cones! It’s a yummy, gourmand scent. The lasting power isn’t great (about 2 hours at most) but that’s about what I’d expect for under twenty bucks. It lasts a little longer on clothing.

The Mango EDT is tangy and fruity and fresh, almost a bit pine-y, just like a real mango. It also is light on the lasting power.

Overall, I think these are a fun addition to The Body Shop’s fragrance lineup. I suspect they would last longer if you layered them over the body butters.

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Desert Essence Natural Roll-on Deodorant Review
Body Care, Cheap Thrills, Earth Friendly, Reviews - Comments (1) - April 7th, 2013

It’s not often that I write a truly negative review. Most of the time, if I didn’t like a product it’s because the product wasn’t right for me, not because the product wasn’t good. But sometimes, I run across a product that I just think isn’t going to be effective for anyone, which is the case with Desert Essence Natural Roll-On Deodorant. I had high hopes for this natural deodorant, but it falls flat.

I prefer to use deodorant rather than anti-perspirant if I can, just because I do think it’s healthy for the body to perspire. It’s one of the ways the body rids itself of toxins, after all. But I also work with the public, and let’s face it, body odor just isn’t socially appropriate, especially if you work in the beauty industry. So far, the only deodorant that actually worked was Lavanila’s Healthy Deodorant, and it’s $18 a tube. Finding a less expensive deodorant that really works has been something of a search for the holy grail for me.

Desert Essence Natural Roll-On Deodorant contains lavender, coriander, and tea tree in a roll-on base that also contains rice starch and corn starch, as well as aloe and allantoin. It’s defintely gentle. However, after about two to three hours I can smell myself. It’s NO BUENO. TOTAL FAIL. I do perspire a bit more than the average woman because of the medication I take (yay side effects!) but this is deodorant fail after two to three hours of non-strenuous activity. Like, sitting in a classroom activity. I shudder to think how it would hold up to actual exercise.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with Tom’s of Maine’s nice anti-perspirant, and continue my search for the holy grail.

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Review: Everyday Shea Moisturizing Shampoo
Cheap Thrills, Earth Friendly, Hair Care, Reviews - Be the first to comment! - April 4th, 2013

Everyday Shea is line of shea butter products brought to you from the fine folks at Alaffia. It’s an affordable line of natural shea butter products, combining great value with great quality. I loved the lotion, so I decided it was time to give the Moisturizing Shampoo a whirl.

The shampoo comes in large 32 oz. bottles with pump tops, in Lavender, Vanilla Mint, and Unscented. I chose Vanilla Mint, because I liked that fragrance best. It’s still a light fragrance, not super-strong at all. The shampoo contains liquid shea butter soap, two surfactants, shea leaf extract, vanilla extract and spearmint essential oil. It’s a very simple formula. It doesn’t contain any SLS or SLES, if you ware avoiding those ingredients.

It’s quite low-lather. If you like (or feel you need) a lot of lather, you will not like this shampoo. I’m pretty accustomed to low lathering shampoos, so it doesn’t bother me. It’s pretty effective at cleaning, but not drying at all. It’s also not too moisturizing. After lightly bleaching my hair, I still only used conditioner once or twice a week with this shampoo, because I didn’t feel my hair needed it more often.

Now, I just (as in, two days ago) pretty thoroughly bleached my hair and colored it blue, and haven’t tried this shampoo on that yet. My hair is a lot drier now, having been more heavily bleached, so I will probably want to use more conditioner. I’ll update this review if that’s the case!

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this shampoo. It’s a good value, it was around $10 for the 32 oz. bottle, and it’s gentle and effective. Two thumbs up!

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Maybelline Instant Age Rewind The Perfector Powder Review
Cheap Thrills, Complexion, Reviews - Comments (8) - February 11th, 2013

So, this was originally an EOTD post, but yeah. The eyeshadows have mostly been discontinued, so while it turned out super fabulous, it was going to be a terrible EOTD post from a blog perspective. Instead, you’re going to get a review on Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind The Perfector Powder. I’ve been meaning to review this for about a month now, but just haven’t gotten to it. So, here it is!

I love pressed powder foundation, but it’s been years since I tried a drugstore version. Way back in the day, like, seven or eight years way back, I wore Prestige’s Wet/Dry Foundation. It was actually pretty good, and I went through two compacts of it before switching to something else – mostly because it got hard to find. I haven’t used a drugstore powder foundation since then. I was doubtful about this new Maybelline one, but I really couldn’t resist.

The powder comes with a “primer” built in – it is, I presume, the white swirl in the powder. Once you open it and swipe it, it becomes apparent that the swirl IS something different from the pigmented part of the powder, as it has a slightly different texture. Swiping the included foam sponge across the surface will pick up an even amount of both, and it applies to the skin without any weirdness from the white part. The overall texture on my skin is lovely. I LOVE THIS POWDER. LOVE IT.

It has a medium coverage when applied with the included foam sponge. It evens out my skin tone, provides ample coverage for my taste (I like the medium coverage, I don’t need it to be bulletproof), and doesn’t settle into fine lines. This is a HUGE deal for me. I have a different (much more expensive) brand of compact powder foundation to review that does settle into lines, which is why this Maybelline one is now my go-to product. (Mr. Expensive Formula has become my carry-along-for-touchups product.) Even when applied with a concealer brush, the Maybelline formula really doesn’t offer as much coverage as I want for concealing, however. I use what’s left of the mineral foundation I was using (now discontinued, boo hiss, and the reason I needed a new foundation) to conceal, and get the coverage I want. Mr. Expensive Formula works nicely as concealer as well.

I kind of want to just summarize this product as “I LOVE IT GO BUY IT” but that doesn’t give you much info. Besides the not settling into lines thing, The Perfector Powder also wears quite well. It really doesn’t fade, and does provide an adequate level of oil control, what you’d expect from a powder. I’m using the second lightest shade, Light 02, which is a great match for my skin. It doesn’t oxidize orange-y. The texture is very silky and lovely. One caveat – the finish is on the sparkly side. It advertises that it “adds a touch of radiance for a younger looking skin instantly,” and that means some sparkles. Some people are not going to like the bit of disco-ball effect it gives the skin. I personally am all about the sparkles, so it’s cool. But it’s something to keep in mind before purchasing.

Like I said, it comes with a foam sponge, which works just fine for applying a medium coverage layer. It also looks nice if you use a chubby brush like the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush to apply it – which I like to do around the nose and chin. The compact has a secret compartment for the sponge, as well as a mirror tucked in there.

So, the pluses – relatively inexpensive (under ten bucks), looks great, wears well, love the sparkles, love the sponge applicator, love the texture. The minuses – it sparkles. I’m in love, and giving it two thumbs up.

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J.R. Watkins Lemon Cream Hand Cream Review
Best Of, Body Care, Cheap Thrills, Earth Friendly, Reviews - Comments (2) - February 4th, 2013

It’s really hard finding a good hand cream. My gold-star favorite is L’Occitane’s Shea Butter Hand Cream, but at $25 a tube, I have to admit it’s pricey. (In its defense, a full-size tube lasts for like six months, so it’s not that bad, which is why it’s still my gold-star favorite.) BUT ANYWAY. I’m picky about hand cream. I really, really hate that slippery feeling you get on your hands when a lotion or cream contains a lot of silicones. I don’t mind it on my body, but I hate it on my hands. I picked up a tube of J.R. Watkins Shea Butter Hand Cream to try out because of its IMPRESSIVE ingredient list and more reasonable price.

So, what does it have in it? What doesn’t it have in it? Seriously, this hand cream reads like a who’s who of awesome ingredients – shea butter, jojoba oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter, babassu oil, apricot kernal oil, aloe, calendula, chamomile… it goes on. It doesn’t contain mineral oil, petrolatum, silicones, or parabens. It’s pretty darn close to an all natural product. The scent is a delightful lemon frosting/cookie smell, very refreshing and very yum. Seriously, I almost wanna lick my hands, it’s that good. It is knock-you-down strong though, so if you don’t like a strong fragrance, steer clear. It’s more dessert-like, as opposed to fresh cut lemon juice.

The texture is quite thick. If you want a light hand cream, this isn’t it. It’s thick, it’s rich, it’s going to leave a feeling on your hands for a while after you apply it. It won’t be a slick, slippery feel though, which is why I like it. It definitely relieves dryness like a champ. A little goes a long way, so this tube is going to last for a while.

Overall, I’m quite pleased to have given this a try. The 3.5 oz tube is on the large side to want to carry in my purse, but it’s fine for the tote bag I drag to school every day. It’s also a perfectly good size to keep on your nightstand or on the bathroom counter. Price will vary depending on where you shop, but it should always come in under ten bucks for a tube. I give it two (no longer dry!) thumbs up!

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Queen Helene Oatmeal ‘n Honey Natural Facial Scrub Review
Cheap Thrills, Complexion, Reviews, Skin Care - Comments (1) - January 31st, 2013

I love face scrubs. I’m kind of an addict, since I always want to try new ones. Queen Helen Oatmeal ‘n Honey Natural Facial Scrub is inexpensive, smells nice, and works well. I’m pretty pleased!

The Oatmeal ‘n Honey Natural Facial scrub uses walnut shell powder to get the scrubbing done, and also contains oatmeal and honey (shock!). Unlike some scrubs that use walnut shell powder, this one is pretty fine and doesn’t seem too rough. It doesn’t leave my face with that thoroughly scrubbed feeling I get from a silica-based scrub, but it gets the job done. It does have a little bit of foaming action to it, but it’s not overly drying. My face feels soft and clean when I’m finished.

The scent is kind of sweet, and vaguely bread-like. It’s quite pleasant. Overall, I like to use this in the shower once or twice a week. It’s really inexpensive, four or five bucks a tube, depending on where you shop. For a cheap thrill, I give it two thumbs up.

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Nivea A Kiss of Olive Oil & Lemon Lip Balm Review
Cheap Thrills, Hot Lips - Be the first to comment! - January 17th, 2013

I’ve never tried a Nivea lip balm before, but I needed something cheap to toss into my Drugstore.com cart on my last order to get free shipping. I tossed the Nivea Olive Oil & Lemon Lip Balm into my cart, and have been giving it a whirl.

I’ve tried Nivea’s shower gels before (and really liked them) but I haven’t tried the lip balm until now. The formula contains a lot of synthetic ingredients (although no petrolatum or mineral oil) and the olive oil and lemon are towards the bottom of the list. But whatever, man, at $2.99 a tube I’m not expecting much. It’s got a lot going for it!

The stick is one of those easy twist-up style balms. It’s a pale green color, but doesn’t impart any color to your lips. It’s silky-smooth going on your lips, and it’s got some decent hydrating power. Lasting power is on par with my favorite lip balms, which is to say, during the winter I’m applying some about every hour. The scent is interesting. It reminds me of lotion, but fresher. It’s really hard to describe, but I will say it’s not particularly lemon-y. If you want something that screams LEMON, don’t buy this. It doesn’t taste like much, and I like the scent, so it’s all good. If they made a lotion with this scent, I’d totally buy it. As it is, it’s pretty decent for a lip balm, but it’s not at all food-like, which may put people off.

I bought mine from Drugstore.com, and it arrived looking just like the picture – which is to say, just the tube with shrinkwrap around it. I’ve seen it pictured on other blogs with more packaging that emphasizes the words “pure & natural” and makes it look more “organic” than it is. I hate it when companies do that. The bottom line is, if you want something all plant-based and organic, this isn’t it. If you just want an affordable lip balm that’s a step up from Cherry Chapstick (which I pretty much loathe, by the way, it’s so waxy and greasy and ICK), than Nivea Olive Oil & Lemon Lip Balm is totally your friend. I give it one solid thumbs up.

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