Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Product Find

I'm almost out of cleanser (this is my current favorite), so, despite the fact that Big Lots almost never has cleanser in stock, I went there in search of some good stuff cheap. As usual, they had almost nothing, but I did find these, Epielle Cucumber Cleansing Tissues. I've never heard of Epielle products, but at $1.00 a pack, I couldn't pass them up. I decided to splurge, and I bought two packs. I know! Living on the edge, I am.

The good stuff: They're pretty great. They're not flimsy, they remove grime and make-up, and they smell nice and fresh. My face feels clean after I use one, and my skin stays damp long enough to apply moisturizer, so they sort of double as a toner. They're not messy, which beats the hell out of having water running down your arms while you're trying to wash your face at a too-small sink.

The downside: They're a one-shot and throw-out product, so they're not environmentally friendly. They're also a little rough, which is good for mild exfoliation, but I don't think anyone needs to exfoliate every day. And, at the full price of $15.85 for a pack of 30, they're not cheap. I usually buy 2-3 bottles of the Aveeno cleanser a year, at around &7.50/bottle. Big difference in yearly cost, don't you think?

Other uses: They're very nice for cooling off when it's hot. Use one on your neck and you'll feel better for a little while.

They're also good if you don't want to take a shower but do want to reapply deodorant. Again, they clean nicely, but it takes forever for your skin to dry. After using one, I tweezed my eyebrows and brushed my teeth, and my underarms were still a bit damp. It's a good feature if you want to moisturize your face, but bad if you want to apply deodorant.

The Verdict: When I have a few minutes, I'll go back to Big Lots to get more. They're great for occasional use, and a god send for travel. I would never pay full price for them, but they're definitely worth a $1.00 a pack. For regular cleansing, I'm going back to Aveeno Positively Radiant Cleanser.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

TLo, The Arbiters of Fashion

Speaking of TLo, I started reading that blog about a month ago. Originally started by Tom and Lorenzo to do hilarious, catty commentary on Project Runway (and formerly named Project Rungay), it's morphed into one of the go-to blogs about all things fashion and beauty. Like Go Fug Yourself, once you start reading, you can't stop.

So I love The Boys. They're funny and they love fashion. They actually recognize every woman featured in this post, which is more than I can say for myself. I mean, who the hell is Jenna Dewan and why is she dressed like a space girl from the original Star Trek series? "Brain? Brain? What is brain?"

Because I like to comment on the blogs I visit, the attitudes of other commenters matter to me. Most of them are almost as smart and funny as The Boys. There's a real camaraderie among them, and, unlike some of the food blogs I go to (Michael Ruhlman sycophants, I'm looking right at you), TLo's followers aren't desperate to impress their leaders. Like Tom and Lorenzo, and girls everywhere, they just want to have fun.

My only complaint is Tom and Lorenzo seem to think that "bitch" and "woman" are synonyms. If you read the post I linked to my last entry, you saw that they think it's OK to refer to someone as awesome as Cate Blanchett as "bitch". Yeah, not so much. Call her girl, dame, broad, skirt, chick, tomato. I don't care. Just stop with the "bitch", please.

You have to care a lot about fashion to care about TLo. (I'm sure Joe will be mesmerized.) And you need a high "catty queen" tolerance. The readers are called "ladies", except when we're called "poodles" or "kittens", the last being my favorite. But if you love fashion, kittens, you must check out The Boys. They're faaabulous.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cate Blanchett

If anything can get me back here, it's this layout of Cate for In Style Australia. (I'm linking to TLo's [formerly Project Rungay] post because it's easier than figuring out how to post the photos. I'm still a techno-idiot.)

Look at her. She's perfect, isn't she? If I were a mean girl, I would hate her. But I'm not so I don't.

She's exquisite, fabulous, heavenly.... Screw it. There are no words.

Friday, February 6, 2009

It's Like When Tom and Nicole Broke Up

You can't count on anything anymore. Is it possible that my #1 fashion victim, Chloe Sevigny, has realized the error of her ways? The Fug Girls think there's hope for her. But then there's this. I have something just like that. I got it at K Mart in a pack of three, and I wear it to bed.

The world is set right again.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Nails 101

I like to pass myself of as an expert on make-up and hair color, and I do know something about both. But nail care is my true area of expertise. Here are a few tips:

1. Think long and hard before you get artificial nails. Any time you immobilize your nails and expose them to harsh chemicals, they're going to atrophy. Even nail glue, an absolute necessity for a real girl who gives a damn about her nails*, weakens them. And if your nail tech tells you there won't be any damage, she's either lying or doesn't know what she's talking about. In either case, find a new tech.

Artificial nails are for women whose nails are hopeless. Before you go to the time and expense of fake nails, start getting manicures every 2-4 weeks. Sometimes they just need a little TLC.

If you have fakes, and want to remove them, you'll have a long road of healing ahead of you. The best therapeutic nail products I've worked with is Nailtiques. They are most definitely not inexpensive, but they do speed up the repair process quite a bit.

2. A clean nail will hold polish longer, but using nail polish remover to clean them pretty much defeats the purpose. Use a non-alcohol toner, or just wash your damned hands.

3. If you want your polish to last, you have to use a base coat. The polish needs something to hold on to, so the base coat should be a little tacky when you apply the first coat of color. After that, you can wait as long as you want to apply the second coat. Here's my favorite base coat. (The top coat also rocks.)

4. Wear gloves when you do housework. Do I even have to say that?

5. Don't saw at your nails like they're pieces of wood. File them in one direction.

6. A 3- or 4-way nail buffer is your very, very cheap friend. Start with the coarsest side and work your way to the finest. Or use whatever sides work best for the job. Ten to 20 seconds on each nail is fine. A buffer is also perfect for removing all that raggedy stuff you get after filing.

7. Far be it from to tell you how long and ornate your nails should be, but do you really want to look like you work at 7-11?

8. The best way to remove polish is with pure acetone. Unless you have artificial nails, gels or nail wraps, non-acetone remover is for sissies. (Acetone eats through all the above, in which case you're excused. Except why do you have that crap on your nails in the first place?) Acetone is very drying, but it works really fast and you'll be washing your hands anyway.

9. The only thing that really, truly dries nail polish is time, and by "time" I mean hours. A great top coat like Seche Vite helps, and there is some credence to stuff like sticking your hands in ice water for a few minutes. But you have 4 coats of lacquer on your nails. My point? Don't do your nails and then decide to wash the dishes.

My favorite professional polish is OPI. Essie is also great. My favorite drugstore brand is Revlon. It takes a bit longer to dry, but it holds up better, and it could go under Good Stuff Cheap. I don't have any favorites in the higher end beauty lines, because I'm too cheap to $20 on a bottle of polish.

Or You Could Just Use Mascara

Because we don't have enough dumbass shit to worry about, now there's a pill that will give you longer, thicker darker eyelashes. We've already tanned ourselves into leathery skin and melanoma, and whitened our teeth so they're brighter than the sun. What else can we feel bad about?

I'm not even sure what to say about this. It's rendered me almost speechless. I told geology byotch about it, and then sat there with my mouth hanging open and my eyes open wider than I thought possible. Lucky for me, I hadn't bothered to remove my eye make-up the night before. Otherwise I would have felt agonizingly inadequate. We stared at each other, both of us eyeing up the relative loveliness of the other's lashes. Except not really. There was, however, a lot of head shaking going on.

There is one use for this pill that doesn't make my head feel like it's going to explode:
The FDA panel also recommended further studies to assess Latisse's use in certain groups of patients, such as young patients and people who lost their eyelashes because of chemotherapy, according to an Allergan news release.
Because losing the hair on your head is bad enough. At the same time, cripes, people on chemotherapy have plenty of poison going into their bodies already. Do they need more?

I love this:
Side effects, which were generally temporary and mild, included eye redness, which stopped when the use of the drug was discontinued, according to Allergan documents submitted to the FDA.
You have lovely long lashes, but what's up with your eyes, honey?

I imagine this will appeal mainly to women like The Real Housewives of Orange County, and its various incarnations. Too much money to spend, and too much time on their hands. I wonder how this pill will mix with a martini or seven.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Good Stuff Cheap

Might as well start with the basics. I hate to pay lots of money for beauty products, partly because I'm cheap, partly because I'm poor, and partly because for many years I didn't have to pay full price for anything except mascara (too many swollen eyes resulting from cheap mascara. Great Lash was one of the worst. So much for the most popular mascara in the world). I got all my products wholesale. I've let my cosmetology license lapse, so for the last couple of years, I've had to resort to my savant like ability to sniff out a bargain.

Smith's Rosebud Salve is my favorite new product. I put it on my hands every night before I go to bed. It's also a nice lip balm, and it heals small cuts and burns. I put it on my upper lip immediately after waxing, and massage it into my nails to keep them flexible. It also calms small amounts of the frizzies. You only need the tiniest bit for most uses. I've had mine since last March, and the surface was barely cracked until someone in my house discovered it.

It's apparently difficult to find in stores, but is very easy to find on line. It generally costs anywhere from $4.99 - $6.00. I just ordered several tins from drugstore. com for $5.59/tin, with no tax and free shipping. Sephora has it for $6.00, but they send lots of samples too. However, they only provide free shipping for orders over $75.00.

I found Cream of Nature hair color at Big Lots. It's $3.00 a box there, but even the price at GMBShair.com is pretty cheap - $6.99, a few bucks less than what you pay for most drugstore hair colors.

I realize it seems weird that an Irish/Italian girl who's whiter than the Queen would use hair color marketed to women of color, but I like a lot of pigment in the hair color I use. It's nigh unto impossible for me to find hair color at the retail level with a high enough pigment content to make me happy. Cream of Nature comes very close. The colors are intense, and the reds don't get brassy when they fade. The only complaint I have is, instead of including one of those heavier than hell conditioners that most hair color provides, it includes a conditioning shampoo. It's nice, but any woman who buys hair color at the drug store knows how valuable those conditioners are; also that you shouldn't use the entire tube in one shot. That's even too much for my hair, which I pretend is like Kim Basinger's circa 9 1/2 Weeks, but is probably closer to Janis Joplin's after a concert.

CVS' version of Neutrogena's Alcohol Free Toner. I'm generally skeptical of drugstore brands, but there is absolutely no difference between Neutrogena's toner and CVS', except the difference in price. I was paying $7.99 for Neutrogena's toner at the store; the CVS version is $5.59. A nice, cheap alcohol-free toner is a necessity for me. Besides its normal use - applying after face washing and before applying moisturizer - it's also good for calming irritated skin, a mid-day freshening, and removing a light layer of make-up (although washing your face again is the best way to go). I use only alcohol free because there's no reason to put alcohol on your skin. If your skin is dry, it will just dry it out more. If it's oily, it will over-activate your sebaceous glands, making your skin more oily.
If you want to go even cheaper, witch hazel is great.

Dep styling gels. I know, they're totally 1960s, for those of you who are old like I am. I picked up a sample size (2 oz.) of the Dep Endurance Intense Hold gel for $1 at CVS, and, as you can see, even the full sized containers are really cheap. The Intense Hold works as well as the Rusk gel I used to use, and treated like gold. They both give me hair that's as close to Kim Basinger's as I'll ever get.

Speaking of Big Lots, which I was a moment ago, it's the place to go for good stuff cheap (just in case there's anyone here who doesn't know that). Like most clearing houses for overstocked products, it's full of crappy stuff, so you have to devote some time and be willing to dig. But I've gotten everything from Mitchum's Smart Solid Antiperspirant for $2.00 to Johnson's Baby Wash for $1.00 (nice for bathing and for washing your face). Forget Target. Big Lots rocks.