Month: November 2012

Product review: Kiss Ever Pro Lashes Starter Kit

When I got the Kiss Ever Pro strip lashes in my Influenster VoxBox, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to use them–a glass candle in the box broke and it looked like glass might have gotten into the eyelash packaging! Luckily upon closer inspection I saw that there was some inner packaging protecting the lashes from any shards of glass, so I got to try them out when I dressed up for Halloween–and now I have a review for you!

The product: Kiss Ever Pro Lashes Starter Kit, $5.99 at drugstores

The claim: The lashes are supposed to give you the salon look in a snap, with easy application and 24-hour glue.

I tried it: I must first confess that I’ve never tried strip lashes before, so I can’t say whether these are any easier or harder to apply than other brands. I will give you my opinion of these versus individual lashes at the end, though!

These lashes are very thick and full. They’re quite soft and lush, which makes them look very natural (or as natural as false lashes can ever look). Unfortunately, they have a very thick black band at the base. You can’t really see it in the packaging, but it’s impossible to miss once it’s on your lid. To wear these lashes, you will absolutely need an ultra black liquid liner to line your top lids and hide that strip.

I tried using the little lash tweezer and finally gave up; I found it easier to use my fingers to press the strips into place. The glue seems very nice and as a bonus it is latex-free!

Let’s look at my lashes before application, with just a touch of mascara. I do recommend brushing on a bit of black mascara because unless your natural lashes are ultra-black, they will show up oddly against the falsies.

My natural lashes are pretty long, but not overly thick. Now, let’s look at what happens when I add the Kiss strip falsies. I used black liquid liner to finish lining my top lids to disguise the strip, which I think worked very well. Then I curled the strip lashes and my natural lashes together with a lash curler, and added a couple of swipes of ultra black mascara to blend them. Finally, I used a black pencil liner to lightly line my lower lash line and added some waterproof black mascara on my lower lashes to balance it all out.

Now those are some movie star worthy lashes! The glue worked pretty well to keep the lashes on during my evening out and it didn’t irritate my eyes at all. I noticed that after about six hours the corner of one lash strip was starting to come a bit loose, but since this was my first time applying strip falsies I’m blaming that more on my application technique than on the glue.

When it came time to take them off, I found that they peeled off fairly easily, though I did press a makeup remover pad to my eyes for several seconds first to loosen everything up. I cleaned off the lashes with makeup remover and put them back on their tray for storage. They look undamaged and ready to wear another night.

Okay, I promised I would compare these to individual lashes; so, which do I think is better? Honestly, I have mixed feelings about the strips. I didn’t like having to disguise that thick black strip, but I suppose in all honesty, if you’re wearing these than you’re not going for subtlety. The biggest reason I would choose small clusters of individual lashes over heavy strip falsies is simply the feel of them: I felt like I had two caterpillars perched on my lids all night long!

That is certainly not the fault of Kiss–the lashes are actually very lightweight and lovely. It’s just an exceedingly odd sensation to be able to see your lashes in your peripherals, and feel that you have giant fuzzy things on your lids. After wearing them all night, I wasn’t as weirded out by the black veil in my upper peripheral vision, but if you’ve never worn strip falsies of this thickness before, it will take some getting used to!

On the other hand, after I took off the strips, my natural lashes looked so sad and thin! I wouldn’t wear these every day, but for a big night out when you want a super-dramatic eye look, they definitely deliver. I don’t think it’s easier or harder to apply either type of lashes; they just require a slightly different approach, though if you’re new to strips, you might want to practice aligning them first to be sure they don’t wind up crooked.

The verdict: Buy them! I think you’d be hard-pressed to find another pair of such soft, thick, nice strip lashes for such a low price–and I love that the glue is suitable for those with a latex allergy. Like I said, for everyday wear individual lashes might be better for a lush but more low-key look; however, I’ll definitely be re-using these for my extra-glam date nights, and I’ll be sure to repurchase them in the future. It just goes to show you that it’s good to try something different–you might end up really, really liking it!

If you want to see my full Halloween look, click here!

Disclaimer: I received these lashes courtesy of Influenster for testing purposes; however, that does not affect my commitment to providing you with an honest and thorough review.

October 2012 empties

I’ve seen lots of other bloggers doing monthly “empties” posts, so I thought I’d jump on board with my own! I meant to post this a little sooner, but between the election, all of the news about Hurricane Sandy, and other things, I just haven’t gotten the chance.

I only have four empties this month: Jason Aloe Vera Body Wash, Giovanni Tea Tree Shampoo, Alba Botanica Plumeria Hawaiian Conditioner, and Queen Helene Olive Oil Hot Oil Treatment.

Thoughts on these products: The Jason body wash is vegan-friendly and chemical-free and comes in a jumbo liter size for about $14 at Target, which is a fantastic deal. I’m going to try to put up a review of this product soon. This body wash has a fairly gender-neutral, light aloe smell and gets you clean without being harsh on your skin. I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the smell simply because I prefer more girly body washes, but my husband likes this stuff so I will keep buying it for him. I know that it does come in other fragrances.

The Giovanni shampoo is one of my favorite hair products ever; I actually just wrote a full-length review on this, so I won’t repeat myself unnecessarily. Suffice it to say: I will definitely buy this again. It leaves my hair super-soft, shiny, and smelling like mint, but doesn’t strip away moisture or color. Love! You can pick it up for $8-$9 at Target or ULTA.

The Alba Botanica was another Target buy and was actually on clearance–but don’t worry, you can still find it for $10.50 at the company’s website. This is another product that I really need to review soon, because as cheesy as it sounds, it was a life-changer for me. The extra $$$ for a conditioner that is chemical-free is really a worthwhile investment; I think it’s safe to say that my color lasts twice as long with this formula as opposed to a regular drugstore conditioner! It also leaves my hair very soft and shiny. I’ll definitely repurchase this in the future.

The final product is the Queen Helene hot oil, and out of the whole batch of empties, this is probably the one that I am least impressed with. To be fair, I look for products that will make my hair silky and moisturized, and this is geared more toward people worrying about strength and breakage. However, the product was a bit difficult to use (compared to conditioning masques) and after using the three tubes, I just didn’t feel like it made enough of a difference for my hair to buy another package. If you’re interested, it costs about $5, and I will be doing a full review of it soon. It’s not a bad product, just not one I’ll rush out to buy again.

So those are my empties for October 2012! If you are doing monthly empties posts leave me a link in your comment so I can check them out!

Random Thursdays: If I Didn’t Have To Work…

Oh, that’s something we’ve all thought, right? I would be less stressed and have time for all of the things that I want to do. All of those projects would suddenly get done: the knitting, the scrapbooking, the mountains of little DIYs that I add to my Pinterest boards but don’t find the time to complete. I would be cooking and baking up a storm. I would have time for all sorts of art events and visits with friends. My house would always be clean and spotless.
Mainly, though…if I didn’t have to work, I would be writing up a storm. I’ve been making microscopically slow process trying to write my first novel, and I do blame my hectic work schedule. It’s very hard to come home from work in the morning, complete chores and errands and a half a dozen other to-dos, work on the blog, play with the cats, visit with the husband (if he’s not at work that day), and then sit down to work on a chapter. With everything in life, there is very little time to write–and when I do sit down to write, half the time, I’m too tired to even type.
As it is, I scrape out a few sentences or a few hundred words as often as I can, but the going is slow. Sometimes I think it will take me years to finish this book! But I’ll keep trying. Who knows, maybe someday I will be able to make a living from writing–and then I won’t have to work, because work and my hobby will become one. Wish me luck!
If you didn’t have to work, what would you be doing? Tell me in the comments!

Product review: Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Invigorating Shampoo

I don’t think I’ve posted a full-length product review in some time, have I? Well, today I have a full product review on one of my Holy Grail beauty products: a shampoo that’s not only vegan but can be found at almost any mass retailer in the country (gasp!).

The product: Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Invigorating Shampoo ($8-$9 for 8.5 fl oz)

The claim: Invigorating formula is designed to clarify and alleviate flaking scalp. Sulfate-free formula is safe for color-treated hair. Suitable for all hair types.

I tried it: I should first tell you that this review almost didn’t happen. Why? I didn’t buy this for myself–I bought it for my husband! I was trying to find cruelty-free substitutes for his favorite products, and this was the least girly-looking shampoo bottle in the natural beauty section at Target. I figured that if he didn’t like it, I’d use it eventually, since it is a vegan formula.

Flash forward a few days, and he’s raving about how much he likes it. When he recommended I try it, I thought, Why not? I can review it for the blog later. As it turns out, not only did I try it and like it, I LOVED it. I love it so much, I’m going to condense my love down into list form for your convenience.

I love that this shampoo…

  • Is vegan!
  • Smells like candy canes! Even my husband called it “a breath mint for your head”. I love minty-smelling stuff and this one is delightful.
  • Leaves my hair super-shiny and bouncy, but not dry! It’s a delicate balance between clean and over-clean, and I find that shampoos that get your hair and scalp squeaky clean and shiny can also make it feel dry.
  • Cleans so well while remaining sulfate free! I’ve tried sulfate free shampoos in the past that worked okay, but didn’t clean well enough to let me skip a wash on the second day. Again, this shampoo nicely walks the fine line between clean and over-scrubbed.
  • Is affordable! On top of the low price, you can often find sales and/or coupons for this brand at stores like Target and ULTA.
  • Is color-safe! Some shampoos dull your color (whether natural or processed), so it’s great to find one that is color-safe while still so effective.
  • Relieves flaking! If you’re switching over from an animal-tested formula like Head and Shoulders, give this a try. I can’t promise it will be a perfect match for your old dandruff shampoo, but it’s worth a shot; the tea tree oil does a lovely job of clarifying your hair and scalp while remaining all-natural!
  • Is so easy to find! Vegan shampoo that can be purchased at Walmart?! Yes, it’s possible!

My verdict: Buy it in bulk! I actually have trouble staying stocked up on this item, since both the hubby and I use it. This is hands-down my favorite shampoo ever and the scent alone makes me happy every time I wash my hair. I definitely feel like my hair is healthier since switching from a regular chemical-laden formula to this one and I’ll continue to stock up on it every chance I get!