Month: July 2013

Product review: Bath and Body Works Rome Honeysuckle Amore shower gel and body lotion

Amy from Small Budget Beauty asked for a review of this shower gel and body lotion, which I picked up during my birthday haul–so here it is!

Product: Bath and Body Works Rome Honeysuckle Amore shower gel and body lotion; $11 each at Bath and Body Works stores or

Claim: Take a romantic stroll through the cobblestone streets of Italy’s most glamorous city with pink honeysuckle, golden peach & cyprus woods immersed in our exclusive hydrating formula.

Ingredients/ingredient info: There was no comprehensive ingredient info available on the website. Bath and Body Works lists their products as not tested on animals and these products do not contain any animal-derived ingredients, so they are vegan-friendly. However, you should be aware that they do contain sulfates, parabens and dyes, as well as linalool and limonene (both of which are allergens).

I tried it: If Wild Honeysuckle is the fresh, slightly bohemian scent of spring, then Rose Honeysuckle Amore is her sassy summer cousin. Notes of peach, mandarin and berry lend a fruity twist while hints of amber and sandalwood kick it up a notch. I feel like this scent lasts a little longer than the original Wild Honeysuckle and it will probably have a wider appeal among people who find straight honeysuckle to smell a little too strong.

I feel like this scent does a great job of capturing the romance of a trip through an exotic European city on a warm summer day. I like it even better than the original Wild Honeysuckle and I’m really hoping this doesn’t disappear to the clearance table on me!

My final thoughts: It’s definitely amore, but it might not stick around forever–and it’s currently marked way down–so grab it while you can! You won’t regret it!

Product review: Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

Here’s another SPF review for you: the sunscreen I’ve relied on lately to keep me burn-free. I bought this one because it was on sale at Walgreens and had a decidedly unoffensive odor. I’m not gonna lie, wearing sunscreen daily is a big challenge for me; I hate the feel and smell of it and I hate the potential to break out like crazy, so even though I’m a big sunscreen advocate and always lather up at the beach, I’m still on a journey to find the perfect formula. I’m open to suggestions for your favorite!

Product: Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50; $8-$10/8-oz. at drugstores

Claim: Full coverage, very water resistant and an island scent for a more pampering sunscreen experience.

Ingredients: Avobenzone (2%), Octocrylene (5%), Oxybenzone (4%) (sunscreens); Water, Ethylhexyl Benzoate, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dicetyl Phosphate, Ceteth 10 Phosphate, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), PEG 8 Dimethicone, Sodium Proxyhydroxylpropyl Thiosulfate Silica, Octyldecanol, Silica.

Ingredient notes: Energizer Personal Care (they also own Schick) lists their products as not tested on animals and I don’t see any ingredients here that are animal-derived so theoretically the product should be safe for vegans. The EWG and Skin Deep give this product a 7 out of 10 for the inclusion of several ingredients, most notably fragrance, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, and methylparaben.

I tried it: This is what I’ve packed along to keep me burn-free at the beach and while hiking, and it does a great job. It absorbs without leaving a white cast and doesn’t stink like many cheapie sunscreens. I do apply every hour or so as a matter or precaution (I burn very, very easily) but in any case, I can stay out for hours without burning. I like the high SPF.

Now, the flip side. I did use this on my face and I felt like it didn’t provoke any bad breakouts. However, it STINGS like crazy when applied around my eyes! I have sensitive eyes and some products just sting really terribly if they get into my eyes, and even if I’m careful with application, it seems that inevitably this sunscreen finds a way to get in my eyes and start burning. Either I’ll sweat or rub my eyes or something. It’s so bad I have to rinse my eyes out!

My final thoughts: As far as mass market drugstore sunscreens go, this one is much nicer than most. It smells good and isn’t too costly. However, I just can’t use this on my face; the tears aren’t worth it!

The ingredients list is another matter. I do use some products that have less natural ingredients and I’m okay with it as a part-time thing, but given that this sunscreen is already irritating my eyes so badly it makes me think that perhaps switching to a more natural formula would be a good idea all around.

In the end: as with the SPF lip balm I reviewed yesterday, it wasn’t bad, it’s wasn’t good, it was just okay. I’ll use up what I have but I’ll probably start looking for something else to use in the future.

Product review: Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo

Happy Friday, beauties! I’ve been starting to test some of the items I bought in my big birthday haul, starting with this dry shampoo, which I’ve been eyeballing for months. I try to only wash my hair twice per week to protect the color and keep it from drying out, but my roots still get oily, which leaves my hair flat. Dry shampoo is suppose to soak up the oil, allowing you to skip a wash, and also add a little volume and texture to your hair so it’s easier to style.

Product: Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo; $6/7 oz. At drugstores, mass market retailers, ULTA, and online through sites like and

Claim: “A salon formula dry shampoo that will have you and your hair ready for a night out on the town.”

Ingredients: Isobutane, Propane, SD Alcohol 40-B, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Isopropyl Myristate, Silica, Fragrance.

Ingredient notes: Not Your Mother’s lists their products as not tested on animals and this particular product contains no animal-derived ingredients, so it is vegan-friendly. This product gets a 6 out of 10 from Skin Deep for containing irritants like fragrance, isobutane, propane and alcohol.

I tried it: To understand how this stuff feels and smells during application, imagine spraying men’s shaving cream on your roots. Yep, not that appealing. I’m not sure what “fragrance” this product contains, because I certainly couldn’t detect one masking the crappy smell of the main ingredients.

To apply, you’ll want to lift up sections of your hair with a brush and spray directly on the roots. Once you’ve done your whole head, let it sink in for a minute while you brush your teeth, pat on foundation, or whatever else you can do in a minute for your morning routine. Then use your fingertips to massage the dry shampoo into your scalp. Once you’ve done this, get out a firm bristle brush and brush, brush, brush that dry shampoo through your hair.

This dry shampoo does a great job of sopping up the excess oil on your scalp, but it goes a step further. Want big, bold, voluminous Adele hair? This is your ticket. This product gives me more root lift and thickening power than any other product I’ve tried, and it lasts. Whether you’re doing an updo, a braid or hot roller waves, this product adds bounce, fullness, and hold without the stiff look or feel or hairspray. I tested out a few different styles and loved all of them.

Oh, and even if you don’t care all that much about mimicking Adele–yes, you can use this product to stretch the time between washes to a week. I tried it. It works. Not that I’m only going to wash my hair on a weekly basis, because I love the feel and smell of clean hair; but if necessary–it could be done.

Okay, now that you know I think this is a miracle product, a few tips which may or may not seem super-obvious, depending on your level of expertise with dry shampoo. Do not spray this all over your hair. The can says it leaves a “matte” finish, and while this doesn’t leave a grey skunk stripe (yay!) it will make your hair look a bit “dusty”. Spraying at the underside of the roots and brushing vigorously is a start, and you can also rub a bit of shine serum between your palms and smooth over the top after styling to help restore the glossiness to your ‘do.

I don’t feel that the smell lingers, but all the same I choose to spritz on some perfume just in case. The hair doesn’t feel stiff, sticky or greasy but it is obvious there’s some product in there–sort of a tacky feel, I suppose. Just an FYI that this product is not going to make your hair feel and smell freshly shampooed!

Finally, for the love of all that is beautiful–wash your hair brush! This stuff will build up in the brush, so wash it weekly.

My final thoughts: LOVE IT! As someone who tries not to lather too frequently to preserve my color I love it. And as a fine-haired gal who dreams of bodacious hair, I love it. I never used to understand why stylists would recommend using this stuff before styling even if your hair had just been washed, but now I get it–it makes all the difference between flat roots and a full, lush ‘do worthy of a shampoo commercial. I foresee using this on a very regular basis, greasy roots or no!

Product review: Giovanni Street Chic Premium Lip Balm SPF 35

I probably should have done this sooner, but since summer is here I thought it would be a good time to review some of the SPF products I have around the house. Today I’m reviewing a lip balm I picked up some time ago. I’ve heard that this is now discontinued but I’m not sure if that’s true.

I decided this week that I’m going to change the way I write up my review info. I’m becoming more interested in including ingredient information and notes on vegan formulas and possible toxicity issues, so I’m going to start including notes on the ingredient lists when possible.

Product: Giovanni Street Chic Premium Lip Balm SPF 35 in Tropical Punch, $3 through health food stores

Claim: Soothes chapped lips and protects from sunburn.

Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, octisalate 5%, oxybenzone 4%, avobenzone 1% (sunscreens); *sunflower oil, *beeswax, *jojoba oil, *cocoa butter, tocopherol, *aloe vera, *mango oil, *pineapple oil (*organic).

Ingredient notes: Vegetarian formula (contains beeswax). Leaping Bunny certified. Octinoxate has been rated a 6 by Skin Deep and Oxybenzone has been rated an 8 for toxicity, because they sink into the skin, as opposed to a physical barrier sunscreen like zinc oxide. Skin Deep rates products and ingredients on a scale of 1-10 for toxicity and other concerns; learn more about the Environmental Working Group and Skin Deep here.

I tried it: This is a standard waxy balm with very little scent or flavor. I was expecting the Tropical Punch flavor to be, I don’t know, punchier somehow. On the one hand, I was disappointed, but on the other at least it’s a good neutral balm for use alone or under lipstick.

I like the high SPF, though I don’t love the ingredients (see above). I feel like this balm doesn’t last as long as I might like; it’s better than the Burt’s Bees stinker I tried this winter (sorry, Burt’s!) but I do feel like I have to reapply every hour or so. I guess with SPF you should be reapply anyway, right?

This formula did leave my lips soft and smooth and I like that it’s lanolin free. I don’t mind the inclusion of beeswax, but that does mean that the formula is not vegan, for those of you who are interested.

My final thoughts: This was just an okay balm. Not bad, not good, just okay. I would not repurchase.

Ten on Tuesday: 7/9/13

1. So first of all…I am so happy Lin’s back for Ten on Tuesday. I’ve missed her posts! Go say hi to her and check out the funny GIF she posted this week–that’s totally me when I’m “watching calories”.

2. So I had my annual eval at work and I got the good review I was hoping for. (Insert small happy dance here.)

3. BUT! My mouth got ahead of my brain and I agreed to work tonight! So on my first week back from vacay, I’m working six days and only taking one off. I know, I know, someone call the wahmbulance.

4. Baby Jiao has a new hobby: bringing cicadas into the house for her sporting pleasure. Do you know how freaky it is to find them under my rugs?! Especially when I have a phobia of bugs! Ugh.

5. There are few things quite as joyful as tucking a bar of dark chocolate in the back of the fridge, forgetting about it, and then rediscovering it at an opportune time.

6. This is basically how last week felt. Now it’s cooler and rainy, thank goodness.

7. I managed not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES to get bits of dried glue in my eye last night while opening shipping boxes. This totally killed my plan to test drive some new eye makeup items since I wound up washing it all off while rinsing my eyes out in the bathroom. Better luck tonight, I hope.
8. I think I might finally join Tumblr, so if any of you guys are on there leave me a link so I can go check you out!
9. I know I posted this in my vacation series, but it’s too strange and funny not to share again. (These are, by the way, quite tasty, even if the package is odd!)
10. I started listening to this band after finding some of their videos posted on Katrin’s blog, so here’s one for you to enjoy too. I will totally admit that I initially thought the group was actually a duo of a girl named Belle and a guy named Sebastian. Erps.