Aveda Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight: First Impression

I purchased this almost immediately after watching MsGoldGirl’s video on how this product changed her hair life.   :wink:   I’m in need of a new hair life and I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it.  I ordered it online because I’m impractically impatient (waiting for it to arrive when I could have picked it up on a Sunday and used it that night).  Oh well.  It arrived on a Monday and after my workout, I took a shower, shampooed and conditioned with Kirkland products (Pureology knockoffs that are sulfate- and paraben-free) and anxiously awaited my results.  I was really not expecting much, as I know a lot of these products only work on certain hair types.

Before I continue with my story, I should tell you that I have very long, very coarse, and very frizzy hair.  I wear my hair up 363 days of the year and on the other days, it ends up in a bun or ponytail within a few hours because the frizz and texture are unbearable.  My hair isn’t curly, but it isn’t straight, either.  I have ringlets underneath my hair, waviness in the “middle layer”, and the top is just a poufy, frizzy, semi-straight mess.  Sounds really sexy, right?

Okay, so after showering, I towel-dried my hair and sectioned it into two, neck-level ponytails.  I looked at the circumference of my ponytail and applied the appropriate amount of product.  You can watch this video to see how the pro does it.  I dried my hair with a round brush and hairdryer and then gave it one final brushing/smoothing with my Tangle Teezer (must have!).  My hair was about 93% better than it is when I just use a hairdryer and brush.  It was minimally frizzy, pretty smooth, and straight.  When I lifted my hair up, I had a few light waves underneath, but I used a flat iron and it straightened them out without issue.

My hair normally takes a very long time to dry and it typically ends up poofy, frizzy, and worse than if I had just let it dry naturally.  With this product, the process to dry my hair straight was probably 20-30 minutes.  I was left with hair that I would confidently leave the house with.  I didn’t want to fuss with it too much, so instead of spending time flat-ironing it, I just went to bed.  (Keep in mind, I took about 5 minutes to flat-iron the underneath wavy bits.)

After my second application in four days, I will tell you that I could not be happier with this smoothing treatment.  I was very skeptical, as I said, but it really works well with my difficult hair.  My hair dries quickly, straightens to a great look, and I’m able to keep my hair straight for three days before washing, even with pretty heavy workouts.  When testing this product out, I’m not using a dry shampoo or any other products (i.e. hairspray, serum, oils, heat protectant, etc.).  I’m not sure if I will continue to avoid other products for the five total uses, but for now, I really don’t need much else.  I did use a flat iron on the bottom layer of hairs after the first application, but I just didn’t need to after the second application.  My hair would look even sleeker with a flat iron, but it isn’t necessary and I want to avoid the heat if possible.

If you have hair like mine or if you’re always flat-ironing your hair, definitely give this product a try.  I purchased it from Nordstrom (because I received a lot of free samples and used a 5% off gift card) where you can return beauty products if you aren’t satisfied.  I know it’s a lot of money for one hair product, but you really don’t need that much and if you extend washes (I know some people find this icky and I used to, too), it will last a long time.  This product might just change my hair life; it’s already changed my hair week.  :wink:

⌘ Pricing & Availability: A 5 fl. oz. bottle retails for $26.00 on Nordstrom.com.  Aveda products can be purchased from Aveda salons.  Pricing and availability are subject to change. This post does not include an affiliate link.

Aveda Smooth Infusion

Amazon Subscribe & Save July 2014

Well, it’s that time again and this month I needed a few things and then found one that really worked out for me. Below I list what I purchased, sometimes sharing why, and also providing a price list on competitors’ current pricing. The Amazon pricing is the price I paid this month.

1.)     Marshalls Creek Spices Dill Seed Whole, 10 Ounce        

I make homemade pickles and found that I was going through a lot of dill seed. After finishing my first jar within a couple of months, I decided to purchase a larger bottle. Amazon had a great price for it, compared to anything I could buy locally, so I purchased it there. I have already used it on a batch of pickles and they taste great.

2.)     Navitas Naturals Organic Goji Berries

I purchased these on a whim and I’ll tell you right now, I won’t do it again. They are imported from China, which is something I just don’t and won’t do when it comes to food items. I didn’t realize it when I purchased it, but noticed it when the item arrived. That’s simply a personal preference thing, but I wanted

3.)     Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Fragrance Free Shampoo & Wash

I use this and shampoo from The Honest Company for my children. They like it, I like it, their skin handles it well, etc. It isn’t the most natural option out there, but I’m happy with it. I found a great deal on the 3-pack through Amazon and with the coupon savings and Subscribe & Save discount, it ended up being pretty reasonable.

4.)     Jack Link’s Beef Jerky

I purchased this with my husband in mind. He takes some snacks to work to keep in his office and I figured this would make a nice addition to his not-so-healthy candy stash. :smile:   This stuff isn’t cheap and isn’t all that great in terms of ingredients, but I still went for it and my husband was happy I did.

5.)     CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 1 Kit Shadow, Champagne

I needed an extra filler to take me to five items for the month and at 33 cents, I couldn’t resist. I might use this as a highlighter for my face, I might give it away, I’m really not sure. But, I love finding cheap makeup deals that bring me over the five item limit to receive a 20% discount on everything in my monthly order.

      • Amazon:  $0.33 for a .09 ounce pan
      • Ulta:  $3.99 for a .09 ounce pan
      • Walmart:  $3.09 for a .09 ounce pan

⌘Disclaimers:  This post does not include an affiliate link. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

Amazon Subscribe and Save

June Jacobs Papaya Enzyme Masque Review

I received a deluxe sample of this product as part of a beauty box I subscribe to and after reading a little about it and perusing the various reviews, I was excited to try it out. The product is said to be a “body masque that gently digests dead skin cells and impurities as it moisturizes and tightens the skin”. I love the idea of a body mask, but the expense of this item would really prohibit me from using it as such. I figured I would stick to my face and just use cheaper exfoliators for my body, so that’s what I did.

The mask is a creamy white consistently and smells slightly fruity, though there is a hint of something else, but I can’t quite figure out what it is. Overall, the scent is pleasant to me and not overpowering. You leave this mask on for 3-10, as your skin allows, and then rinse it off so you can apply your serums, moisturizers, etc.

After using this mask for over a month (once, sometimes twice a week), I have come to the conclusion that it really works well for my skin. This mask makes my skin really soft and supple. This mask isn’t as moisturizing as the Befine Warming Clay Mask, but that could be a good thing for summer months or those who aren’t prone to very dry skin. I didn’t see any tightness, but I don’t really struggle with sagginess yet, so I can’t fault the product for that. This product really does give my skin a nice boost and I love having it on hand for when I need extra hydration.

Have you used any June Jacobs products that you love?

⌘Pricing & Availability: A 3.7 oz. jar retails for $62.00 on Dermstore. Alba Botanica makes a 3 oz. papaya enzyme mask that retails for $10.36 at Amazon. I purchased it recently via Subscribe & Save and I hope to do a review of it after I’ve tested it several times. I may even compare the two masks to see how they differ. This post does not include an affiliate link. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

June Jacobs Mask

Burt’s Bees Healthy Treatment Repair Serum Review

I picked up this item while looking at Amazon reviews for skincare products. I haven’t heard anyone talk about it, but with such high reviews, I had to try it. I had been eying the Tarte Maracuja oil, but I wasn’t willing to splurge on it without waiting for a good discount. This Burt’s Bees oil was one-third of the price of the Tarte oil so I went for it.

They market this as a serum, but I would consider it a facial oil. It’s a very light, non-greasy oil that I apply onto my skin prior to applying any creams. I find that it sinks into my skin well and though it has an earthy scent, it isn’t overpowering or too earthy.  I did not use this product with a night cream because I wanted to see how it worked on its own and I am really impressed. I do use it under my CoTZ sunscreen and I have no problems combining the two, although I wait a little while for the oil to sink into my skin before applying my sunscreen.

In terms of results, I wasn’t sure what to expect, as there are a lot of claims – diminished lines, sun damage repair, etc. I didn’t notice any diminished lines or reduction in sun damage, but I found that it gave my skin such a wonderful glow, a natural softness, added moisture, and a great base. I don’t have a lot of wrinkles, but I do have a tiny bit of freckling on my right cheek and this didn’t correct it or change it in any way.

If you are looking to try a facial oil, definitely take a look at this one. The results are good, the ingredients are pretty impressive, and if you don’t care for it, you can always use it as a cuticle oil.

⌘Pricing & Availability: A 1 fl. oz. bottle of the Burt’s Bees Healthy Treatment Repair Serum retails for $15.97 on Amazon. Pricing and availability are subject to change. This post does not include an affiliate link.

Burt's Bees Serum Review

Burts Bees Serum


St. Ives Renewing Collagen Elastin Advanced Body Moisturizer Review

I saw this in a drugstore one day while I was puttering around the aisles. I noticed it was inexpensive (around $1.50 for a small tube) and had a green label that said “100% Natural Moisturizers”. I am always looking for a small tube of hand cream to keep in my purse and this was the perfect next victim.

This lotion really leaves my hands feeling soft without that feeling that you’re picking up dust and dirt along the way. I’m not the only one that experiences that, right? I often use lotions that feel like they sink in, but leave me with dirty-feeling hands because the lotion just attracts dust and/or dirt. This lotion is marketed as a body moisturizer and since I haven’t tried it on my entire body, I can’t speak to how well I would like it. But, I really can’t imagine it would surpass my love for the Gold Bond Ultimate Skin Therapy Lotion. I have dry skin and that is my holy grail body lotion.

The St. Ives moisturizer is quickly becoming my favorite hand cream, specifically to keep in my purse. It is inexpensive, lightweight, non-greasy, and really does moisturize my hands.  In fact, I loved the small tube so much I purchased a large bottle on Amazon.

⌘ Pricing & Availability: A 2 fl. oz. bottle retails for $1.43 on drugstore.com. This item is also readily available at most local drugstores, Target, or Walmart. This post does not include an affiliate link. Pricing and availability are subject to change.


Amazon Subscribe & Save Monthly Order

I have been absent after having a few house guests over the course of the last few weeks.  Things got a little hectic between that and trying to get my home in order so I had to take a few days to relax.  Anyhow, I decided to do another one this month, as I purchased some body/skincare deals and received 20% off each item on my order.

Below I list what I purchased, sometimes sharing why, and also providing a price list on competitors’ current pricing. The Amazon pricing is the price I paid this month.

1.)     Nurtured by Nature Environmentally-Sensitive Diapers

I cloth diaper during the day, but I use disposables at night or when we’re away. I don’t always purchase environmentally-sensitive diapers, but this was a pretty great deal so I wanted to give them a try. I can’t vouch for how well they work, but the reviews are pretty good.

2.)     Thinksport SPF 50 Plus Sunscreen

I used this for my children last summer and I really liked it. My husband also used it and was pretty content with it. This time I purchased this sunscreen. Both get great reviews, they are well-reviewed on the Environmental Working Group’s safe sunscreen list, and both are pretty reasonable.

3.)     Seventh Generation Nourishing Body Wash

I’ve never tried this, but the price was too good. I love plain glycerin soap, but my husband likes body wash, so I try to have it on hand for him.

4.)     Pond’s Luminous Clean Wet Towelettes

I haven’t tried these before, but they were so reasonable, I just had to try them.

5.)     Olay Normal Wet Cleansing Cloths

Because, why not?  I don’t really care for these, myself, so I may pass them on or have my husband use them, as he isn’t terribly picky.


Pangea Organics Facial Toner in Italian Green Mandarin & Sweet Lime Mini Review

I’ve been using this product off and on for a few months, so this isn’t a first impression, but it isn’t an in-depth review. I was excited to try this product, as I’ve always loved the idea of a toner. The biggest problem I’ve encountered with toners is that they often contain alcohol, which is drying. As someone with combo/dry skin (specifically in the winter), my skin needs hydration.

I like this product – the ingredients, the fresh feeling, and the way it works, but for this particular item, I just didn’t care for the smell. I can’t even describe it because I do smell mandarin and maybe a hint of lime, but together, I just didn’t care for it. Since fragrance is subjective, I can’t completely knock this product for the scent. Not to mention, the light scent does fade very quickly, so it would probably work well for people who are sensitive to fragrances.

Aside from the scent, it’s a pricey toner ($24 for 4 fl. oz) compared to the benefits. My skin does appreciate the small amount of hydration from this product, but I just don’t think it warrants such a high price tag.  And, I didn’t feel energized, something this product claims to do.  There are a lot of recipes for DIY/homemade, alcohol-free versions and I would probably play around with a few recipes before splurging on this toner.

⌘ Pricing & Availability: A 4 fl. oz. bottle of Pangea Organics Facial Toner retails for $24.00 on Amazon. Pricing and availability are subject to change. This post does not include an affiliate link.

Pangea Organics

Pangea Organics Review

Algenist Retinol Firming & Lifting Serum Review

I don’t usually like to do reviews of samples, but I do when I notice a difference with a product. I received Algenist’s Retinol Firming Serum in January’s New Beauty Test Tube and recently decided to try it out. I didn’t notice a difference at first, but after three weeks of using this product, I woke up one morning and my skin looked smooth, subtly glowy, and some of my breakout scars had diminished.

Now that I have shared my results, I will share what the product claims to do:

In self-assessments of 100 women using product twice daily:

- 91% saw tighter-looking skin after 10 days
- 90% saw visibly toner and firmer skin after 10 days
- 94% saw boosted skin radiance after 28 days
- 93% saw a minimized appearance of fine lines and wrinkles after 28 days

In terms of these results, I definitely agree with tighter-looking skin. So, whilst my skin wasn’t tighter, it definitely looked tighter because it appeared smoother and clearer. I would consider toner/firmer-looking skin to be similar to tighter-looking skin, so I would agree with those claims. I also noticed boosted radiance in my skin, which I’m sure is due to the exfoliation. I agree with all three of those claims. In terms of minimizing wrinkles, I just did not see a difference in fine lines and wrinkles because my fine lines are concentrated in my eye area. So, I can’t really comment on that and I certainly wouldn’t use my experience as evidence on the last claim since I won’t use a product like this around my eye area.

I know my skin handles retinol well and I know I have received similar results with acids, but if you’re looking at this line or already use products from this range, definitely check out the firming serum. I know QVC sells Algenist and I’m sure they run specials from time to time. If you haven’t had luck with similar products, I would definitely give this one a try.

⌘ Pricing & Availability: A 1 oz. tube of the Algenist Retinol Firming & Lifting Serum retails for $97.00 (including shipping) on QVC.com. Pricing and availability are subject to change. This post does not include an affiliate link.

⌘ Paula’s Choice rates the Algenist Retinol Firming & Lifting Serum in the best category. Please click here to read more.

Algenist Skincare Review

Eminence Lip Plumper in Cinnamon Kiss Review

I received this product in a (now defunct) BeautyFix box eons ago.  I never gave much thought to it because I’m not much for lip plumpers.  However, after reading about the brand a bit, I whipped it out and tried it.  And, I keep on trying it, hoping for more than just a burning, tingling feeling.  But, that’s all I get.  Which, mind you, I actually like that feeling.  I know a lot of people don’t, so be aware that I do get more than just a little tingle with this product. It goes away after a few minutes, but it’s there.

I’m pretty sure these products work by making your lips look glossier and naturally pinker, which can add a certain full look.  If I’m being honest, I wouldn’t spend $26 on this product.  Instead, I would melt down an inexpensive balm I like, add a drop or two of cinnamon bark oil, mix it, and then apply it when the balm hardens again.  Or, I would just wear glosses I already own that I really like wearing.  I happen to like a couple of Buxom colors from Bare Escentuals.  I don’t really see a plumpness with my lips, but I feel more polished when I wear gloss or lipstick.

⌘ Pricing & Availability: A .25 fl. oz. tube retails for $26.00 on Dermstore. Pricing and availability are subject to change. This post does not include an affiliate link.

Eminence Lip Plump Review

Eminence Lip Plump Review

Korean Skincare Haul at Dollar Tree

I am a Dollar Tree enthusiast.  I just love walking into a Dollar Tree and perusing the aisles because I often end up finding something great!  This time I found some single use masks that I hadn’t seen before.  I looked on the bag to see the ingredients and noticed they were made in Korea.  Who knew?  They had three varieties, so I picked up one of each and left feeling giddy.  I have yet to try these masks, but I wanted to share in the event that other people wanted to try these masks.

Dollar Tree Haul