Product Review: Jergens Wet Skin Body Moisturizer

Does this describe you?

Hate the effort of putting on lotion but loathe dry skin?

Easily get cold when getting out of the shower so you rush to the finish line sans adding back needed moisture?

Use lotion but just never feel like you have enough moisture afterwards?

Although embarrassed by your snaky scaly self, you somehow do nothing about it?

Hate the feel or smell of lotion?

Think lotion is just for women?

Introducing your new best friend and my favorite product I’ve stumbled upon in 2018 – Jergens Wet Skin Body Moisturizer

What it is

Jergens Wet Skin Body Moisturizer is a silky, non-sticky feeling lotion (boom! #5) jam packed with additional emollient moisturizers and oils (bang! #3) that you use IN the shower (ca-chow! #2) that allows you to quickly slather it on (bye Felicia! #1 and #4) and makes your skin soft like a well-oiled cabana girl (or boy) plus smell like a tropical coconut paradise that is both appropriate for men and women (I got 99 problems but #5 or #6 ain’t one).  The technology in this is slightly different than the other in-shower lotions I’ve tried which instruct you to use during your shower and wash off, like an extra-moisturizing body wash.

This in-shower moisturizer is used after you turn your shower off and while you’re still wet.  Then, you just simply pat dry.  It works by entering your pores while they are open from the steam, and the oils trapping moisture into the skin.

Not having to stand in my bathroom freezing your coconuts off while slathering lotion on? Now THIS I can get on board with.

Packaging

The packaging comes in a soft blue plastic bottle, similar to what you’d experience with any body wash.  The bottle tapers to a wider bottom which also has the flip-top lid.  This provides a sturdy base to keep it from tipping over and eliminates any need for shaking to get the product out.  It looks appropriate for a man or woman’s shower.  The blue although pale, does not come across as overly masculine and there’s no flowery imagery which shouts girl-power.  It’s edges are rounded and although no frills packaging, it was well-thought out and is nice for the category. It’s a utility product which easily blends in with all your shower basics.

Application

When I squeezed the lotion out, it was a consistency you’d expect.  It’s a lotion, but much more oil-based.  It’s thinner, but not runny.  The creamy color also has some transparency to it. I put about a silver dollar-sized dollop in my left hand, and then scooped a little here and there to place on my arms, legs, stomach, chest, and back area so that it was evenly spread.  Next, I got to work rubbing it in everywhere.  My hands slid around like I was putting oil on, but there was no sticky/oily/tacky feel.  It was almost as if it dissipated into water.

I lathered myself up for about 30 seconds, making sure to pay special attention to my knees, elbows and decollete area which tend to get dry.  It too so little time that I hadn’t begun to freeze in the shower yet and ta-dah!  I was finished.

I purchased the coconut which caused some apprehension on my end.  I do not like overly sweet or sugary smells.  This was great.  It smelled like coconut oil without the sugar and reminded me of being at the beach getting a tan (without the fake Banana Boat waft).  It also wasn’t overpowering that it would interfere with other stronger scents.

The first time I tried it, I wiped myself down after the shower.  I then tried it again with patting, and this seemed to work better, allowing the moisturizer to remain a bit longer and penetrate deeper.

Overall

If you can’t tell by my review, I absolutely love this product.  I find myself touching my shoulders and my decollete which have been blasted by the sun over the years and they are soft as a baby’s behind.  It’s not going to solve all the dry skin problems (please don’t use this on your face), but if you’re like me who’s shower water is may be heated by nuclear reactors and ANYTHING better will be an improvement, this is a great option.  If you’re already using great products, this will also help kick it up a notch.

For 10 oz. at $5.59 on Amazon or availability in just about any drugstore which always carry sales, you can’t beat the price and convenience on this product. Ulta typically has buy one get one half off sales, so I plan to stock up.

I highly recommend that men and women alike give this one a try! I’m rating this one as a Certified ReadHead Best!

Overall: 5/5 

*Certified ReadHead Best 

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 5/5

Have an in-shower moisturizer or lotion you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

Tips for layering products

These days there are so many products out there.  Add in getting older or troubled skin and you end up having a bed time routine that rivals painting the Sistine Chapel.

I believe that effective multi-taskers which give you everything you need in one or two steps is like a unicorn that will never be found.  Buy really good products that target what you’re solving for, and layer ’em up.

What actually seems like a straightforward idea is the cause for much confusion.  How do you know what to put on first? Readhead to the rescue!

Getting Started

There are two really great ways that can help you remember how, and which products, layer well and in which order.  One, determining what the individual products are supposed to do and two, the consistency or viscosity of those products.  Read on for more.

Step 1: Determine what the individual products are supposed to do

You’ve got targeted serums high in actives?  Those should go closest to your skin so they can get in there and do their job.  As you layer, the ones closest to your skin are generally more concentrated.  You’ll want your acids, retinoids and peptide powerhouses to be slathered on before your heavier products.

Concentrated serums —> moisturizers —> protectants

Make sure to check out ingredients that play well together and during certain times of the day, and those that don’t.  For instance, vitamin C helps with photoaging and is best used during the day.  Retinoids can make skin photosensitive and may have negative effects if used during the day, especially without a proven form of SPF.  Others, like glycolic acids and salicylic acid work beautifully together to remove and declog layers of the skin but can be irritating to those with a compromised skin barrier or sensitive skin.

It can seem like your local beauty associate is selling you up the creek by suggesting different products for a day and night routine, but if you’ve got the resources (read time and money) you should tailor those routines as much as possible for the most efficacy.  Be aware of products that are high in ‘ones (i.e. silicones) that have a silky or waxy slip as they create a barrier that may be harder for other actives products to break through.  Use those towards the end.

Step 2: Feel the viscosity to know what goes first to last

This trick rings tried and true for me if I get a new product and I’m not quite sure where it fits in the continuum.  The more watery (and usually clear) your product is, the closer to the front of the line it should go.  As products get more occlusive (meaning thicker and sealing down) less and less of the goodies will be able to penetrate it.  For example, my Skinceuticals C E Ferulic is straight like water.  That goes on first.  My retinoid is a slightly thicker watery gel consistency.  The SkinMedica TNS product I use is slightly thicker and my moisturizer the thickest.  Easy!

How long do you wait between steps?

Ideally, you’d want to give each layer 5-10 minutes of dry-time if you can spare.  With busy schedules I say as long as you give time between the different viscosities, you’re OK to speed up using a few products together.

What about oils?

This one is up for debate and tricks even the savviest of skincare connoisseurs, however if you think about the science of oil, it makes sense that oils should be the LAST piece to the puzzle (except for SPF).  If you think of the old term “oil and water” you know that they don’t really mix.  Moisturizers, although made of oils, are meant to hydrate the skin and generally contain water-friendly ingredients, including hyaluronic acid which helps to draw water into the skin.

If you put oil on first, then a moisturizer, your oil is working to keep anything water-friendly out.  By using oil afterwards, it seals the moisturizer in by repelling it until it’s absorbed, and then the oil continues to hydrate. And there you have it, Readhead readers.  Moisturizer first, oil last.

How many steps do you have in your routine? Drop us a line in the comments.

Product Review: Sara Happ’s The Lip Scrub

Since the first step is admitting, here goes.  My name is Stacie, and I am a lip picker.  Yes. My lips have been chronically dry since before I came out of the womb I suppose. Since I have sensitive skin that is prone to clogging, scrubs either weren’t enough or balms too rich or just flat out didn’t work.  So there they remain, dry, and totally pick-able.

I received Sara Happ’s The Lip Scrub as a gift from a co-worker (hayyy Angie!) and the same night I took it home I used it with such enthusiasm. I had never heard of this brand but Sara Happ touts herself as “the lip expert” and word-of-mouth from a friendly beauty enthusiast is priceless to me. I appreciate when a product developer is focused on a certain area.  It gives me confidence that they know what they’re doing if they can be successful in one area.

The Sara Happ brand’s promise is conscious-friendly: “No animal testing, ever. 100% paraben-free, always. Using the highest grade essential oils and extracts, every time. Dressing our gems in eco-friendly packaging. Manufacturing in the USA, proudly.”

Off I went to scrub the day away!

Ingredients:

Unlike your run-of-the-mill gas station last minute buy, this one has few ingredients that are natural.  I didn’t see anything that caused me pause, or made me afraid to try it given my acne prone skin. Plus there were some nice additions of vitamin E and oils that both moisturize and pack an antioxidant punch.

From the box: Sucrose, Petrolatum, Caramel, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) seed oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (jojoba) see oil, Oryza Sativa (rice) Bran Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Helianthus Anuus (Sunflower) seed extract

Packaging:

This comes in a clear glass jar with a silver top, adorned with the moniker of sh.  It looks sleek, and higher end.  The box it came in was a gorgeous dark, rich caramel-y brown that appropriately paid off the name of the flavor I was gifted – brown sugar. It is small but well-crafted.  On top the box had foiled Sarah Happ in a cute script and her claim to fame, “lip expert” with a lip smooch. I did have to frown there. So sophisticated until that last bit.

Application:

I opened the jar and saw a tightly packed concoction of dark brown sugar.  However, there’s no whipped or gel about it.  It’s a super condensed and somewhat hard to dig out of the jar.  I had to use my ring finger with some gusto but I found that works because you really don’t need that much.  *You may want to invest in a tiny spatula for sanitary reasons. Then, spread it on around in circles with my ring finger even outside of my lip line to exfoliate where those little lines like to creep up.  Around and around I went for about 2 minutes, making sure to get the creases and the driest parts of my lips.  The product held on for dear life, didn’t dissolve, didn’t feel too scratchy but wasn’t a fine grain, either.

I tasted the brown sugar and it was pretty good.  Not artificial or overly sugary.  You could taste the caramel.

Overall:

Once I was complete I wiped it off with a tissue and voila! Moisturized, buffed lips that felt buttery and smooth.  They, and the area around my mouth didn’t feel roughed up or slathered in oil.  It felt, well, just nice.  I’ve used this a few times and follow up with a lip balm (currently using Hempz Sweet Pineapple and Honey) to which my lips stayed moisturized, happy and flake free.  I didn’t notice myself picking because there was no dry skin!

It is on the pricier end at $22 for .5oz.  It states on the box 30 uses, but after using it a few times I’ve hardly made a dent.

If you’ve got dry skin and enjoy a glass of red wine (but not the leftover evidence) then this is a great option to try!

Overall: 5/5

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 5/5

Have you tried a Sara Happ product or have a lip product you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

New year, new items: What’s in my beauty bag

Happy new year to all the ReadHead readers!  I can’t believe it’s been almost a year to the day that I’ve written my first post.  A big thank you to all who have supported my passion project.  If you’ve learned something new or tried something you liked, I’d love to hear it through the comments!

As a skincare fanatic, I try a lot of different items.  My goal is to give it to you straight, and to show you that more money doesn’t always mean better – but sometimes it does.

I took a look at the things that continue to be my staples over time, whether it be my other items didn’t continue to work for me anymore, or I found something to replace it.

If the new year means new you, here my go-to items to give you some inspo for your own makeup and skincare routine.  Happy reading!

Skincare items I can’t live without (everyday routine):

Cerave SA Renewing Face Wash – has ceramides, niacinamide and hydrators, plus removes all my makeup and has a kick of BHA to keep my pores clean and has a friendly drugstore price.

L’Oreal Hydrafresh Toner – while there may be options with better ingredients (i.e. sans denatured alcohol) this one boasts 99% alcohol free, is hydrating and you can’t beat the drugstore price & availability. It helps to remove any traces of dirt and makeup, is refreshing and has added BHA to help with clog-prone skin.

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum – is perfect for someone with skin like me – clog and milia prone (ultra rich eye creams are a no-go), anti-aging and reducing puffiness.  Luckily dark circles aren’t a problem for me (yet) but the ferulic acid will help.  This is a gel serum so it won’t be ultra hydrating if that is important to you. Pro tip: If puffiness is something you struggle with, put this in the fridge to get some extra benefit!

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Treatment – much like the above, it has fantastic ingredients that help to brighten, protect and refine skin, and is gentle yet effective.  I have other retinol products that pack a bigger punch (Peter Thomas Roth 3% for example), but I can use this consistently and layer with other acids with no irritation, and notice brighter, clearer skin.

Skinceuticals CE Ferulic Serum – I did a ReadHead 2 Head on this vs. Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma (which continues to be my most reviewed post on ReadHead).  I recommend reading it if you’re new to vitamin C.  The vitamin C and additional layer of ferulic acid helps to give an extra layer of sun protection (key for someone with fair skin and correcting sun damage) while destroying free radicals and helping the skin function at its healthiest.

SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum – this is my ultra splurge item which utilizes growth hormones and antioxidants to trick older skin into think it’s a younger version of itself. This helps to regenerate new, healthy and less wrinkled skin.  It’s not surgery (nor should you expect the same result), but it’s one of the best topical cosmeceuticals on the market with clinical trials to boot.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Serum – a nice AHA acid that I alternate at night with my retinoids to keep my dead skin and clogged pores at bay. If I start getting little pimples, this removes the top layer of skin and away they go.

Neutrogena’s 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment – this is my ride or die BHA serum that I use when I’m needing an extra dose of pore cleaning and Neutrogena discontinued it.  I have absolutely no earthly idea why as this has a cult following that may have some feeling one would need to pry whatever’s left on the market from their cold, dead hands.  I think it’s because it worked so well people didn’t need their products anymore! Anytime I can find this, I snatch it up and use it like it’s as precious as 24 carat gold.

Belif’s the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb – this has become my HG moisturizer.  Calming, hydrating, basic and effective.  It leaves my skin feeling awesomely dewey and minus the clogged pores of overly heavy/silicone feeling.

Dr. Jart Premium BB 45++ – the last step in my skincare routine, this is similar to foundation but has amazing ingredients, helps to cover redness and has an awesome amount of SPF in  it.  Talk about a multi-tasker!

Obagi Professional-C Sunscreen – I use sometimes under my Dr. Jart, or on days when I’m going makeup free.  It has vitamin E and the most stable form of vitamin C, l-ascorbic acid.  I like this formulation, but I received it for free from a promotion.  I like that it leaves me matte, but I wouldn’t say it’s an HG.  Great ingredients, and a good finish for oily-skinned folks who don’t want to layer makeup on as I find that it does pill up.

Rimmel’s Lash Accelerator – great lash conditioner which helps lashes grow by keeping them healthy.  I put this on at night (and not under mascara like it says you can do). It won’t compare to a Latisse or other lash growth items on the market, but it will help keep hairs conditioned and strong – plus you can’t beat the drugstore price!

Nature’s Bounty Hair Skin & Nails + Alive Whole Food Energizer  + Vital Proteins Collagen Peptide Powder – these supplements/powders help to give me the added amino acids, proteins, and goodies I need like B vitamins, biotin, collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin to boost my beauty routine from the inside and give me a little pep in my step.  The combination of these help my hair grow strong and my nails like a weed.

Just for fun (rev up that routine!):

There’s the steps that I take as an avid skincare connoisseur with skin that changes like the weather.  If you notice there’s a lot of de-clogging, brightening and exfoliating happening here.

If you’re new to the game don’t get overwhelmed – any steps beyond what you’re doing will bring improvements and take these slow.  You don’t need top of the line either, you just need to know helpful ingredients.  But, if you’re in the prime anti-aging years, it may be worth it to give your beauty counter a boost. And, if dry-like-the-Sahara skin is your concern (different than dehydrated) you may need to incorporate some extra moisture here.

I hope you got excited to try something new!  Have a favorite routine? Drop us a line in a comments.

 

 

 

 

 

Product Review: Milani Strobelight Instant Glow Powder

While perusing the makeup aisle at Walgreens looking for some fun additions before a work holiday party, I wandered over to the Milani section which I must admit, I’ve never taken seriously because it’s all the way in the back.  I pass my trusty go-tos long before I reach their products, which is next to the off-brands and hodge podge of nail/tweezers/cotton balls.

I have been hearing more and more about Milani’s quality drugstore items and I was in the mood for a new highlighter, so I snatched this one up.  And I must say, if this product is an indication of Milani products in general, well it’s time I get on the fan-girl bus!

What is Milani Strobelight Instant Glow Powder

Milani’s Strobelight Instant Glow Powder is a finely milled highlighting powder that comes in an impressive array of colors – seven to be exact. There’s a great chance that you can find one that works with your skin tone, and that you can experiment with for different looks. It’s best used to highlight the high points of the face and body (much like bronzer, you use it where light would reflect off your skin) and to give you a soft – or high wattage – sheen. Highlighters provide a “dewiness” effect which can make skin look younger, more awake.  It is also a nice final trick to a contour job to help further emphasize the good – eyes, bridge of the nose, lips – and divert the eyes away from problem areas.

I tend to have dehydrated, oily skin and use a lot of emollient products, so highlighters aren’t something I use everyday.  But, when I’m going glam or feel winter dryness sucking the life from my face, I appreciate the look that a good one can provide. I surprised myself by reaching for a powder because I’m borderline obsessive about not putting anything powdery by my impending crow’s feet so I’ve gone the liquid route in the past.  But for the price and the sheer curiosity, into my basket it went.

First Look & Packaging

I went with the color 01 Afterglow because I’m fair-skinned and I believe it was the last one left which hints at its popularity.  The presentation of the product itself was nice; it has a raised swirl pattern to it which picks up light and also provides additional texture to help lift the product from the pan onto the brush. Typical to your average drugstore product the packaging is just fine.  That’s it.  Just fine.  No frills here but it was sturdy enough at the hinge and was easy to hold.  It didn’t come with a mirror or a brush which is not a deal breaker for me.  I don’t do my highlighter on the go and the brushes you get are generally junk but if you’re looking at a convenience factor and those things are important to you, what you see is what you get.

Application

I used a typical blush brush and first lightly swirled it in one circle around the pan.  I do this for all products especially the first time because I had no idea how sparkly or opaque this would be and to make sure I pick up any variance in color throughout the pan. I then started at my upper cheek bones (and cringed while putting powder here…I digress), swiped it back and forth in a diagonal line to follow my cheek bones and then blended by changing that to a C shape –  bit under my eye area and up around my temples and brow.

I was impressed at how buttery this came out.  No glitter, no dusty chalkiness.  Because I was feeling frisky I did one more light pass just the same and came out with an impressive “lit from within” look to my skin.  I then proceeded to do the same down the bridge of my nose, a dot on my chin, a smidge in the middle of my forehead by my nose, and my collar bones.

Pro tip: use a shadow brush, dip it into your highlighter, and trace your Cupid’s bow (where your top lip dips) and bottom lip, and add a dab to the middle of both of your lips.  Make sure to blend it out.  This will help accentuate your lips without using a gloss. Get multiple uses by using it as a brow highlight or inner-corners of your eyes.  You can also give yourself some quick dimension and all-over glow by using a big brush and running it down your shoulders/arm, and front of your legs.  I recommend using a different pan for your face and body, however.

I did use this another time and added more than a light second layer.  It gave me that Instahighlight that really caught the light.  It was more bold than I like to go with my highlighter, but wasn’t garish, still blended nicely and proved you can get some serious color pay-off with this little gem.

Overall Thoughts

For $10 at .3 oz which will last me forever, and the convenience of finding this at any drugstore (if it’s in stock) I think this is a fantastic buy.  The highlight is versatile to fit lots of different looks for different occasions (yes, you’ll light up the floor at your unce unce unce club if you want!).  It’s fun for baby-faced glowsters, and also very age-appropriate for the um shall I say “slightly more matured” woman or man.  It has no glitter or sparkles, and was very buildable.  You will want to be moisturized before using this, but it did not dry me out, settle into fine lines or accentuate texture issues.  This is #1 of importance to me as an aging woman with large pores.

New Year’s is right around the corner and is a perfect opportunity to have some fun with your routine to ring in the new year.  I may grab up one of the golden colors to try something new.  In the meantime, I’m going to keep Milani on my radar as a strong contender for amazing drugstore finds!

Overall: 4/5

Packaging: 3/5

Price: $$$$$

Have you used Milani products or have a highlight tip you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

Five tips you should start today if you want to look younger

Google “tips to look younger” and you’ll see a million different tips and tricks. 75% of them will follow the same mantra – drink water, use SPF, get sleep, don’t smoke, don’t sunbathe…the list goes on and on.  Those are absolutely things that you should be doing that will certainly aid in at least preserving what you have.  I’ll take it a step further to talk about some other ideas you might not have thought of.

  1. Take 3 minutes to look at the sky (or ceiling) per day.

A weird little suggestion, eh?  No, it’s nothing philosophical although taking a break throughout the day can have it’s benefits.  Too often we are sitting staring down at things – our computer, phones and tablets. There is actually a thing called “smartphone face” or “tech-neck.” Doctors and experts (which I am not!) are saying that due to our constant frowning, looking down and faces stern with concentration, we are giving ourselves wrinkles and a sagging lower face faster than ever before.

Try it for yourself.  Put your finger under your chin and look at your phone.  You’re smashing your face and chin by constantly looking down.  You’re also causing your neck muscles and ligaments to shorten, which can pull your lower cheeks and neck down and loosen elasticity at an accelerated rate.  Scary?  Absolutely.  The fix? Make sure you take a break and stretch your neck muscles throughout the day.  Taking a break will also pull you away from constantly squinting of frowning at your computer.

2. Invest in a good razor….for your face

The secret, unspoken “s” word.  Shaving your face. I may have just ruined the mental image for men everywhere who believe that women are born like a hairless cat in all the places we choose to be.  Not the case. Call it dermaplaning or whatever fancy name you want so as to not let on that you are, infact, shaving your face, but it can do wonders for your skin.

A professional dermatologist or esthetician will take a little scalpel-like razor to your whole face to remove dead skin cells.  In the process, it also removes peach fuzz and leaves a bright, glowing and smooth canvas.  I say to save your money and talk to a guy friend who won’t spill your secret (or just check out reviews) and invest in a run-of-the-mill razor.  By regularly shaving your face, you remove the top layer of dead skin and encourage skin cell turnover while removing any peach fuzz that can impede on a great foundation finish.

As we age, hormones change which can create more of those whiskers than we care to admit, and our skin gets drier while shedding itself less.  This type of exfoliation will help give you a smooth, bright complexion and will help your skincare products get deeper into the dermis. Make sure to use a base so that you aren’t tugging or causing irritation to your skin, and follow up with a good BHA to get into the pore to keep from ingrown hairs or infections.

3. Ditch the eyeliner under your eyes

As we age, we develop fine lines around our eyes and a general lacking of elasticity in our skin.  The skin around the eye is one of the most delicate of the body, and generally is the first area to see the signs of aging.  This also means that eyelids can start to become hooded when once we had big, round, youthful eyes. Knowing this, we can use optical illusions to help stave off the look of aging as much as we can.  Lining your eyes underneath draws the visual down, and especially if you’re also lining at the top, closes in your eyes emphasizing sagging, circles or puffiness.

The goal is to make the eyes feel lifted and wide.  If you like to line your eyes, stick to the top with a sultry smudge at the outter corners to give some dimension or a cute flick of a winged cat eye. If you absolutely can’t forego it, try a light eye shadow that gives you some lining capability but is soft and reflects light.  Be careful to choose a neutral color with light relecting properties but steer clear of metallics or glitter which can have the opposite effect. Applying these products to the top-only also applies to mascara.  Unless you’re going for a specific dramatic look, adding mascara to your bottom lashes creates the opportunity for black smudges throughout the day which make you look tired and can settle into fine lines.  Using a white pencil to tight line your eyes can also help brighten the whites of your eyes and make them look more open, awake and youthful.

4. Invest in a good hair stylist

I love people watching at the airport because I see some of the most stylish women roll through.  Two things I notice about a really well put-together woman of any age is a trendy yet age-appropriate hair style and clothes that reflect a classic style with a flavor of trendiness – meaning that it’s not trying too hard .

There are so many amazing choices these days with color and products and my favorite…the tools. It’s worth spending the $10-20 more for a hair cut or color for someone who really knows what they’re doing and for your type of hair.  If someone doesn’t break out a pair of thinning shears on me, I wonder how they graduated hair school.  I’m still paying for an ill-fated cut from 8 months ago. You just cannot cut my hair properly without them. Someone who can give you texture and a playfulness that fits your personality, while looking refined just has that extra set of confident polish to them.

Don’t underestimate a good stylist.  They are not all created equal, NOR do they cut all types of hair with the same expertise.  If you like someone’s hair that is like yours, snatch ’em up.

5. Lotion & lip balm are like American Express.  Don’t leave home without it

This one is where I should listen to my own advice.  I cannot stress how important lotion is and yet I despise the whole process so much it’s laughable. As we grow older our weight tends to fluctuate.  Our skin stops shedding and rejuvenating itself. All of our past sins are starting to show themselves.  This is when fine lines around the lips reveal their evil ways all of a sudden when your lipstick bleeds for the first time, or you ate too much turkey on Thanksgiving and your love handle starts to itch.  It’s because…it’s dry skin…stretching.  Which can cause stretch marks and skin that’s just flat out tired of bouncing back.  You can read about my rubber band analogy here.

This is where the ounce of prevention quote comes into play.  Ladies and gents in your late teens and 20s?  Fall in love with moisturizing your whole body.  Hands, feet, lips, you name it.  A good workout routine, some leafy greens and fruits, and a healthy obsession with your favorite moisturizer and you’ll maintain beautiful skin well past your peers.

Find something that was interesting or have a tip of your own? Drop us a line in the comments.

Product Review: Nars Lip Pencils

It quite possibly took me 25+ years to wear a colored lipstick out of the house that wasn’t either for Halloween or some shade of nude/clear/light pink/balm.  Lipsticks can be tricky and ESPECIALLY when you are a natural redhead (hello clown face) and uncomfortable with the wrong formulation.

There are less than five lip colors that I own and have purchased with my own money.  Two of them (and my favorites!) are Nars lip pencils: the Satin Lip Pencil in Palais Royal and the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella (gasp – a red!!).

The Difference:

The names are pretty indicative of what you’re getting with each. The Velvet Matte is a true matte (meaning without any shine) that gives you that sultry-looking pout.  The Satin Lip is a bit more buttery – closer to your standard lipstick – but still maintains the pencil application.  It does have a slight satin shine finish to it.

Velvet Matte Lip Pencil: Cruella

Color – this is a great classic red that is versatile. It is in between vampy and ring the alarm red. Highly rated by almost every beauty blogger out there, it goes on with precision due to it’s chubby pencil formula which means you can go without a lip pencil if you like.  It provides a brightness to the face, a whiteness to your smile, and is daring enough for those like me who have typically steered clear of reds in the past, while still approachable for an everyday red for those who are used to pulling it off. It can withstand the idea of either playing up your eyes or your lips so that you can go from girl next door to glam.

Application & Wear- as mentioned it goes on really easily with it’s pencil-like tip that isn’t as thin as a typical lip pencil, but easy enough to grip, creates a defined line and you can hold it with ease and no worry of breakage.  It glides on smoothly without much tugging, which can happen especially with matte lipsticks.  This is not meant to be a 24-hour lasting formula, and it doesn’t but I find that it has enough staying power to last you a few hours and it’s fade, although lighter, doesn’t become a blotchy mess.  Typical to most matte lipsticks, it was a bit drying on me so it would require some good exfoliating and moisturizing before application.

Satin Lip Pencil: Palais Royal

Color – this one is a beautiful sangria color, perfect for the winter months or glamourous night out on the town. To me, this one feels more at home than a typical red, and is probably my favorite lip color I’ve owned to date.  It goes on a true burgundy color, but can be softened or fades on it’s own to a brighter plum.  It’s the perfect color to bring some pop and brightness to your face, while bringing an elegance and refinement.

Application & Wear – similar to the above matte version, this goes on as a pencil which has precision to it.  However, the final product is noticeably different.  The Satin Lip comes out with a sheen.  Not a shine, but will reflect some light.  Whereas I see the matte as giving you a smoky, sultry look, these will give you some added moisture and a brighter look without any high wattage.  This one also wears and fades very well but can tend to cling to dry pieces on your lips. Both options should be removed with a good oil-based cleanser.

Overall

I really like these options, and in particular, these colors.  This blog is geared towards redheads, but these colors would look gorgeous on just about everyone.  At $27 for both options, they rival your typical higher end beauty counter purchases. The matte has slightly more to the pencil (.086 oz vs .07 oz per Sephora’s website) but it wouldn’t be enough to sway me either way given the varying finishes.  They look sleek in a black outer package with the color block at the tip.  I will say that these are slightly tricky to sharpen, but contrary to what you think it can be done.  That is the only con in it’s presentation in my opinion.  I will also say that Nars was cruelty free for a while, but seems to have dipped it’s toes back into no longer being so.

Overall: 4/5 

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 4/5 

Have you used Nars Lip Pencils before?  Drop us a line in the comments.

Why I don’t wear makeup to work everyday. And it’s not what you think

Makeup and skincare is a beautiful thing.  It’s something that I love (clearly, since I’m devoting my precious little free time to proclaiming to anyone who will listen to me how awesome it is).  As much as I love makeup, I also shy away from it.  Why you ask?  It’s pretty simple.

Yes, not wearing makeup saves money and time, but it’s not really about that for me.  It’s more of a philosophy.  When you grow up with skin that turns on you at any second, you make conscious choices – almost negotiations – before you layer up on the next product. A sort of quid pro quo, Clarice – ok that was a little creepy but if my skin had a voice it would be something that would instill a bit of fear of the unknown.  I just know if I wear that amazing full-coverage foundation that makes me look airbrushed that I’ll pay the next week with breakouts.  Constantly curling and adding 5 coats of mascara will eventually cause my lashes to be brittle and break.  So, because my level of effort to keep my skin calm caused me to make some choices, I developed a new relationship with makeup that is purely serving a need want of self expression.

Doing so became my own beautiful thing.  If I don’t feel like enhancing myself that day, I don’t.  I don’t know if my work friends appreciate my down to earth vibe when I show up with no makeup on (is she sick?) but it does something for me physically – by letting my skin calm down – and emotionally.  It forces me to be comfortable in my own skin and almost always creates this subtle approachable vibe.  I run the same meetings, and talk to the same people. I may have a rager on my forehead, and speaking of, let’s talk about that cowlick that looks like it’s thinning…but I am still there just like I always am to get *ish done.

Why am I posting about this?  Because tis the season where people get down in that dark cold place of the holidays.  Where you start folding in, instead of branching out.  And it’s true that you are just beautiful the way you are.  This amazing thing happens to me when I haven’t worn mascara in a while.  I decide to curl my lashes and do my thing and BOOM I feel like Adriana Lima. I cover up my redness with a great primer and foundation and wow…I look flawless – cha- ching! I fill my eyebrows in and it’s me against the world.  But I don’t need it to feel like me. It’s the same face I was staring at but I got used to the done-up drag that becomes routine. I got rid of half my gadgets and extras. I realized that people don’t really care.  And if they do, well, they probably aren’t my cup o’ probiotic & protein infused tea.

So I challenge you this wintry season to focus on the things that helps your skin heal and thrive.  Try a few days or weeks without the full face of makeup and see how you feel.  Go up and talk to a stranger at the bar when you just would NEVER if your hair and lip liner wasn’t tip top.  You’ll be surprised how liberated you’ll feel (so many guys loathe lipstick anyway) and when you decide you want to do you and pamper yourself up to the hilt you’ll just know you look so. dang. fine.

Don’t believe me on the benefits? Check out what this writer at Cosmo had to say.

What do you think? Could you do a makeup-free challenge? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Product Review: Urban Decay Brow Box

As you would have read in my earlier blog post touting that eyebrows are the new LBD, the eyebrow industry has exploded not only because if the increased attention to a perfectly arched brow, but also capitalizing on those poor souls growing up in the 90’s when pencil thin brows were in – and just never filled back in.

There are a ton of great products out there, but where I find a common denominator that separates the winners from the losers is color.  Many fall either too ashy or too red (and that’s coming from a redhead!).  Smashbox discontinued my fav brow shadow, so off to find a new BFF (brow friend forever) I went.

About Urban Decay’s Brow Box

Urban Decay is well known for their primers and shadows, and while on the hunt saw a bunch of high ratings which landed this in my beauty basket.  They have this alt-rock glam/grunge thing going on, targeting those who are into beauty and associate with the fringe, apparent with palettes called “Naked,” photography more goth than glam and bright, bold colors. As a rocker at heart, I enjoy the demo they are going after.  I also happen to love them because Gwen Stefani is a spokesperson and she’s my all-time fav. I digress.

Packaging:

They have done a great job of putting this brow kit into a beautiful and functional design. The outer shell is a textured black and deep purple metallic plastic with that although small, has some weight to it.

Their Brow Box kit is one of, if not the best, value as far as handy tools and an all-in-one you’ll come across. The top lid opens up to reveal the brow powders, and then sort of opens like one of those Caboodles from back in the day to present you with some tiny yet helpful tools.

For those who travel a lot, have limited space for beauty tools, or are type A and like everything packaged nicely, you’ll really enjoy this one.  You get your choice of three brow powder color options to choose from, and each has an accompanying color to give you some blendable variations.

Here’s what comes in one box:

  • 2x colors of brow powder
  • Brow wax
  • Mini tweezers
  • Mini angled brush & spoolie
  • Mirror

Isn’t that awesome? The tweezers and brushes won’t replace a higher end version, but they are fantastic when you have that one hair you just need to get and don’t want to go digging, are new to the brow game, or if you’re attempting to pack light.

Application:

Even though I’m a redhead, my brows pull more to a brown. I also deepen my root so I sometimes go a little darker on my brows. I use the color “Brunette Beauty” and mix the lighter color in my inner brow closer to my nose, and then go darker.  I’ve had mine for about two years at least, so it’s lasted me a lonnnnng time and I’d say that if I wasn’t running out of wax, it could still go on for another year.

These are also best used for a defined and filled-in brow look. For those who like a more natural tamed look, or just want to fill in a spot here or there, this may be too dramatic for you.  Finding a good middle ground between filled in and drawn on, it’s more typical of your Insta brow consumer.  Because of that, it also takes some time and care to apply. I do LOVE that it comes with a wax, though. It adds that one extra step of definition and hold.

The down sides are that over time it does become a bit crumbly vs. buttery and the colors don’t blend as well.  This also creates some fall out which is easily brushed away, but annoying.  Those of us oily-skinned gals may also have some trouble on the most humid days.  It certainly isn’t budge-proof.

Overall:

Overall I really like Urban Decay’s Brow Box and would recommend it for the right type of buyer considering the type of look it will give you mentioned above. At $30 for one box, it isn’t the least expensive but certainly approachable for a brow-conscious buyer, and does provide everything you need in one place which is a great selling point.

It isn’t bullet-proof and does have some down sides, so I may venture out to try something else next time.  But, I have a feeling I’ll be coming back to my trusty Urban Decay because it is really that good.

Overall: 4/5

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 5/5

Have you used the Brow Box? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

 

Product Review: SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum

Here at ReadHead, we’re just a tad bit (a lot) nerdy about science in skincare.  I will start this post off with saying three things right off the bat before you read on: 1) this is clinically proven to work 2) you will never get over the sticker shock 3) there are some funky ingredients.  Ok now that that is settled, read on!

SkinMedica is a physician-only skincare line – meaning you have to get it from a place that is licensed like a dermatologist, medical spa or plastic surgeon’s office.  Their products contain top-of-the-line ingredients, and a price tag to boot.  Their #1 flagship ingredient is TNS, which I’ll talk about more in a second.  This line, and TNS Essential Serum in particular, is well known, top-rated and a part of the daily skincare routine by just about any certified dermatologist/plastic surgeon/medispa professional out there.

The science behind SkinMedica’s TNS

Major contributors to both intrinsic (meaning the actual aging process we all go through as part of our biology) and extrinsic (meaning things like diet, improper care and damage that humans expose themselves to) aging are splotchiness and freckling, wrinkles and loss of collagen.  You can read my post about drinking collagen to learn more about the role and effects of losing collagen here in my blog.

SkinMedica has done research that founded and brought to the commercial pharmaceutical landscape the importance of stem cell and human growth factors into topical skincare.  TNS includes a patented and to some, shocking and confusing ingredient called Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media.   This ingredient, which is sourced from discarded neonatal tissue (i.e. foreskins…and here’s usually where the confusion/shock/intrigue/distain sets in) is housed in chambered solutions that allow it to function and generate as our natural bodies would.  This growth factor and other cytokins mimic the skin’s natural production of elastin and collagen synthesis to promote younger-looking skin over time.

As also stated in my post about collagen, there is speculation on how much penetration these molecules have due to their large size.  There is agreement that it can penetrate pores and hair follicles, but that they function at their best after skin has been compromised i.e. microneedling, a strong peel, or laser, to get deeper and get more of the benefits of the technology.

Unlike many skincare products out there, this one has been proven in multiple clinical studies, and as mentioned, is THE choice for doctors and specialists to have access to just about anything in the world to choose from.

If you want to learn more about growth factors and clinical studies, you can find sourced information from the NIH here.

Ingredients

This SkinMedica product dispenses in a dual chamber, so that you get two different “sets” of product that you mix together.

I’ve already mentioned the Human Conditioned Fibroblast Media which is the differentiator in this product, but it also has an impressive array of vitamins and extracts.

Here’s the info from SkinMedica’s website:

Chamber 1:

TNS Recover Complex – Human Fibroblast conditioned media. A physiologically balanced, naturally secreted and stabilized growth factor blend that helps improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, skin tone and texture.

Chamber 2:

APS Corrective Complex made up of peptides and antioxidants like green tea, vitamin E, alpha-arbutin and hyaluronic acid.

Full list of ingredients: Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media, Water/Aqua/Eau, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Unsaponifiables, Alpha-Arbutin, Isoceteth-20, Arachidyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Ethoxydiglycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Dimethicone, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Ergothioneine, Hydrolyzed Sericin, Phospholipids, Ubiquinone, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Leaf Extract, Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate Filtrate, Aminobutyric Acid, Phytosterols, Tocopherol, Tocotrienols, Squalene, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax (Oryza Sativa Cera), Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Steareth-10, Steareth-20, Butylene Glycol, Maltodextrin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Parfum/Fragrance, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool, Coumarin, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Geraniol, Isoeugenol

Packaging & Application

The packaging that this bottle comes in is top notch.  It’s a presentation, as it should be with a $280 MSRP price tag. It has SkinMedica’s signature taupey-gray color with the silver chromatic lettering.  While the box it comes in is substantial, I wouldn’t call it or the bottle the product comes in as beautiful.  SkinMedica wouldn’t compete with a Lancôme or other products that spend a lot on marketing and packaging.  It’s straight-forward and appropriate, but you know you aren’t paying for a beauty bottle on your counter.  I care more about the science than the look of packaging, so that doesn’t bother me.  But, if you like to be delighted with your packages, this one may leave you wanting more.

The chambers are also a bit annoying.  Over time, the two products can misfire so that you get more of one product vs. another.  I end up having to store it upside down, or forcefully tap it on it’s top to get the chambers to work properly.

I dispense a shockingly strange color of white and bright orange onto the back of my hand, dollop them around a bit to mix them up, ad put it on my skin.  I’m a terrible baker, but I envision when you use a spatula device to layer in whipped egg whites – scoop and flip gently. The look, nor the smell will take you anywhere close to organic or botanical.  It’s a kick you in the ass real-deal “if you don’t like it oh well” type of thing.  It smelled to me like whatever chemicals they use in a Port-o-Potty.  I can’t even make that sound any more refreshing.  I’d turn my head and “whiff.”  Not my favorite. At all.

But dammit if it doesn’t work, and then you have to suck it up on the painful price tag, it’s faulty mechanics and it’s awful smell because your face glows, your skin is tighter and your wrinkles less.  And such is life.

Final Assessment

This is a supreme luxury treatment and is right for the right type of consumer.  This is prime for someone in your 30s or 40s (who can afford it) before you start to see the full signs of aging.  This is a bit overkill for anyone younger.  I’d suggest a drugstore or Sephora-like buy of the beautycare basics an exfoliant, moisturizer, retinoid and sunscreen for that age range.

There are other products that will do great things for your skin.  But, they won’t do great things like this.  Growth factors are the future of pharmaceuticals, but they also have their risks.  It’s new and groundbreaking, but it is also not tested over time.  I also maintain that no topical product is a replacement for surgery or injections, so you have to be realistic about what it can do for you.

For now I’m going to hold my breath and wait until my local spa has it on sale.  For $281 MSRP for one oz, that is a bit of like breathing in smelling salts (or Port-o-Potty chemicals) and feeling like you need to go o confession each time you press “buy.” But I’ll give it a ReadHead best and save my pennies to purchase this little dose of the fountain of youth.

Consumer warning: this is a product that is certified to be sold at licensed skincare professionals only.  You buy at your own risk from Amazon and other sellers.  In my opinion the savings is not worth the risk.

Overall: 5/5

*Certified ReadHead Best

Packaging: 3/5

Price: $$$$$

Have you used SkinMedica TNS? Drop us a line in the comments.