Category: Haircare Reviews

Why Haven’t There Been Any Recent Posts? Where Have I Been? My struggle with High Blood Pressure and New Allergies

longer title

Are you still blogging?” I get this question a lot.

It is not an easy question to answer because I feel a bit of shame over it, but I feel like I owe it to you to be vulnerable and honest about my shortcomings in the blogging arena. I love my blog. I love doing it. It brings me such joy to purchase new products, try them out, test them under the harshest Louisiana heat, and report back to you where your money is best served. However, I have not been able to do that lately due to some health issues and my work schedule.

First, I am a full time litigation attorney, which requires a great deal of my brain space. I love my job, and I love advocating for clients, but it wears on you emotionally, mentally, and physically at times. I took a new job in May 2015 that significantly increased the need for my brain space causing increased emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. When I got home, I just didn’t have the energy to pull out my laptop and work on my blog. It felt like I was working 100+ hour weeks, which left no time to take care of myself and no quality time for me and Justin.

During this transition, I became suddenly ill and was in the hospital for four days with blood pressure that would not come down. (It was 265/165 – surprisingly I wasn’t having strokes or heart attacks.) I was placed on new medications, and sent on my way. On top of that, my physical activity decreased because I was not allowed to work out until the doctor’s cleared me to do so. As a result, I quit eating healthily and managed to put on nearly 30 pounds! (This is crazy to me.) What came next was, and to some extent still is, the most frustrating situation with which I’ve ever dealt. I began having allergic reactions to everything skincare, body care, and hair care. My skin began to break out into dry patches on my face, neck, and lips, then crack and bleed. It itched, it burned, and worst of all it hurt to eat. Any time anything vinegar-based, alcohol-based (even wine), or spicy touched my lips, I wanted to scream out in pain. I stopped wearing makeup and using skincare because everything burned. EVERYTHING was searing my horribly ill skin like a steak on a grill.

It is difficult for me to share these photos. But these were all taken in January when the staph was at its worst. You can see the swelling and dry red patches.
It is difficult for me to share these photos. But these were all taken in January when the staph was at its worst. You can see the swelling and dry red patches.

So, I set off to the dermatologist to begin our journey to healing this skin issue. We began treatment and after a month, it had not gone away. Eventually we figured out that I was experiencing a staph infection on my face. I had never heard of such a thing, but apparently it is very common in children. I had to throw out all makeup, skincare, makeup brushes (including my Beauty Blender!), makeup/beauty tools, etc. that I had used during the staph infection. I was forced to purchase prescription steroid and antibiotic creams instead of skincare. I didn’t feel like myself, but I thought it would be temporary; that we would treat it for a few weeks and everything would be fine because we finally had an answer. We treated the staph accordingly, and a month later, the dry patches, cracking and bleeding came back. This time, there was no staph present, and therefore, no real answer. I was heartbroken. I felt like screaming “What gives? What is happening to my body? I want my body back! How did all of this happen so quickly? Why can’t we fix it?

In an effort to find the culprit, my doctor did the T.R.U.E. Patch Testing to determine if I was allergic to the most common ingredients found in skincare, body care, makeup, etc.

Here's what the TRUE Patch testing looks like.
Here’s what the TRUE Patch testing looks like. I had to wear this stuff, covered in tape (which I was allergic to because of the carba mix in adhesives) for two days. It itched like crazy.

It turned out that I was reactive/allergic to fragrance mix (synthetic fragrance to mask other chemical smells) and carba mix (synthetic accelerator in manufacturing rubber and agricultural chemicals) — which are in nearly EVERYTHING! Here’s a quick list of what products contain each component:

  • Fragrance Mix — perfume, body lotions, face lotions, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, dry shampoo, eye cream, foundation, mascara, detergents, dish soap, candles, cleaning products, soap, bath gel, etc.
  • Carba Mix — shoes, flip flops, rubber gloves, pesticides, tires, underwear with rubber elastic, swimwear, toys, balloons, condoms, garden hoses, waistbands, slippers, mattresses, earphones, rubber bands, some soaps, shampoos, and adhesives, etc.

Let me tell you, these are the two components to which you DO NOT want to be reactive. Justin and I had no idea what we were doing and how to purge our home of these substances in the most practical way. After the staph diagnosis, we used regular cleaning products to clean up the entire house only to later learn that I was reacting to those products the entire time. So, we spent a great deal of money on replacing all soap, detergent, dryer sheets, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotions, etc.

Here are a few of the fragrance free beauty products I have been using.
Here are a few of the fragrance free beauty products I have been using.

At this point, we are maintaining. Every time I have tried to get off the antibiotic that keeps the inflammation at bay, it comes right back. So, we are slowly trying to taper off, and more extensive testing will be done soon. Having gone through this whole story with you, I hope you understand my absence. I felt that since I was unable to try new products, I couldn’t bring you valuable worthwhile information. Months of watching my skin crack and bleed became depressing. I didn’t feel like me anymore. I felt unattractive, unworthy, and I even began fat shaming myself with my internal dialogue. I am working through that by eating healthy, working out again, and slowly tapering off medications. I’m finding that the more healthy I become, the better my skin gets. I honestly believe that a great deal of this bodily inflammation is a result of weight gain and unhealthy food choices. If you’re interested in my health, food, and workout journey, let me know in the comments, and I can start working that in as regular posts.

Here are two shots of my skin during the antibiotics without makeup. You can see the redness on my cheeks on the left still present. On the right, you see a great improvement, except for the lines and wrinkles around the eyes due to extreme dryness.
Here are two shots of my skin during the antibiotics without makeup. You can see the redness on my cheeks on the left still present ( I promise that’s not blush). On the right, you see a great improvement, except for the lines and wrinkles around the eyes due to extreme dryness and a little redness on the upper cheek bones.

In another light, I now have some insight into what it’s like to have really reactive and sensitive skin. I can help more people than I could before this experience. I have found great products that work and are readily available at drug stores and Sephora. I’ve learned how to read labels better, because manufacturers will try to trick you! Fragrance mix alone has 42 legally usable names. Forty freaking Two!! Carba Mix has 45! Manufacturers are even allowed to advertise a product as “fragrance free” if the fragrance mix added is to mask another scent or chemical smell, but not if it is used to perfume a product. Y’all, that’s insane! My attorney brain gets very angry over the ways our FDA is regulating (or rather not regulating) the labeling of products.

So, as I lay ALL MY MESS before you, I want you to know that I will be blogging again. I will be featuring new products that I have found that I know are safe for ALL skin types. And, as I continue this journey, I will share what I’m learning about labels, the FDA process of approving (or lack thereof) cosmetics and skincare, and how to find the safest products for you. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna go all crazy on you and swear off everything because trust me, I have refused to give up my dry shampoo which contains fragrance mix. I won’t do it. It’s the only one I like that works. (I may be a bit stubborn. lol)

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I’m happy to talk about this with you. A month ago, I was not in a place to do so, but I have pulled myself up by the bootstraps with the grace of God, Justin, some really amazing friends, family, and my medical team. Thank you for reading this. Please accept my apologies for being absent. I truly love writing this blog, and it has been difficult not having this community of beauty lovers in my life. I will resume regular posts again soon! Stay tuned for some cool new products!

Hope you have a wonderful day!

xoxo,

Candice

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Empties III: Part 2 Haircare

Empties III Haircare Composite

Last week we talked about bodycare empties, so let’s move onto haircare! As you can tell from the photo, I don’t go through many hair products quickly, except dry shampoo. But who doesn’t love dry shampoo?

Miss Universe Style Illuminate ReStage Dry Shampoo, $12.99
Miss Universe Style Illuminate ReStage Dry Shampoo, $12.99

1. Miss Universe Style Illuminate Restage Dry Shampoo, available online only

This may be one of the better dry shampoos I have tried. I learned about it when I covered the Miss USA pageant in 2014, and you can check that post out here. It’s no longer available at ULTA, but you can grab bottles online at Overstock.com. This dry shampoo is lighter than most, and will give you that “white out” look to your hair if you spray too much in a concentrated area. I love the weightlessness of this one! It smells great too! Definitely one I recommend trying if you’re a dry shampoo junkie like myself.

Batiste Dry Shampoo for Dark & Deep Brown Hair, $8.99
Batiste Dry Shampoo for Dark & Deep Brown Hair, $8.99

2. Batiste Dry Shampoo for Dark & Deep Brown Hair, available at drugstores and ULTA

I have ranted and raved about this dry shampoo in every single empties post I have done, so I won’t beat a dead horse here. It comes in different hair colors to avoid the “white out” problem and in different scents. The ones for hair colors are $8.99 and the scented ones are $7.99 It’s cheap and easy to find, and I go through it fairly quickly. This is my primary go-to for dry shampoo. I use it after I blow dry my hair to aid in styling, and nearly every day for the same reason. It’s also great to keep in your gym bag or use post-workout if you have to run errands or be somewhere. Check out my previous posts on it — Empties 1 and How to Use Dry Shampoo Properly.

Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Mineral Hair Rescue Masque
Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Mineral Hair Rescue Masque

3. Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Mineral Hair Rescue Masque, available in the UK only, £5.99.

I absolutely love this hair masque, but I haven’t been able to get my hands on it since a friend brought it from England. I have searched high and low on all the international retail sites, but I haven’t had any luck.  I thought Amazon carried everything, but alas, I have found the few products they do not carry. Don’t worry, I have made a formal request to Amazon and written to Boots for more information about U.S. availability. 🙂 Nonetheless, it’s a very hydrating, smoothing, and brilliant hair mask that leaves your hair silky smooth and shining like a freaking commercial. The packaging is perfect because you can keep it in the shower without damaging the product. The lid snaps shut tightly, so you can grab it and use it up to 3 times a week. I was so sad when I ran out, as I knew it would be hard to replace. I will update this post as soon as I can find it online or in a store. If anyone knows, PLEASE leave a comment!

Charles Worthington Style Setter Dry Shampoo
Charles Worthington Style Setter Dry Shampoo

4. Charles Worthington Style Setter Dry Shampoo, available in the UK only, £5.99

Obviously, I have the same issue with this one as I do the Mineral Hair Rescue Masque. Oh, the tears….I should mention that this Salon at Home line by Charles Worthington is in UK drugstores and is super affordable at less than £10 for most of the line. Nonetheless, this dry shampoo was on par with Batiste’s, but I would rate Charles Worthington a half-star higher because of its weightlessness, lack of white out, and refreshing scent. It feels like the Batiste and Miss Universe dry shampoos had a perfect little dry shampoo baby in England. That’s such a weird way to put it, but it’s definitely a combination of those two! I’ll update this one as well as soon as I can find it!

Charles Worthington Volume & Bounce Texturising Spray
Charles Worthington Volume & Bounce Texturising Spray

5. Charles Worthington Volume & Bounce Texturising Spray, available in the UK only, £6.99

It truly broke my heart to finish this product! I would say that it’s definitely up there in my top 5 products of all time. This is, by far, the best texturizing spray I have used. I have tried others to find a replacement, but nothing works as well. According to other trusted bloggers, it is a dupe for the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, (available on Amazon for $42!!) but I haven’t dared to spend the cash on the Oribe because I’m still holding out for the Charles Worthington version to miraculously appear in the US. Until then, I’ll keep trying to locate affordable comps and report back to you!

Infiniti by Conair i Series Folding Handle Hair Dryer, $28.99
Infiniti by Conair i Series Folding Handle Hair Dryer, $28.99

6. Infiniti by Conair i Series Folding Handle Hair Dryer, available at Target, WalMart

This little inexpensive blow dryer lasted me ages!! I think I had it for nearly 6 years, which is pretty long for a blow dryer in my opinion. I definitely feel like I got my money’s worth. It came with a diffuser and the concentrator attachment. The Infiniti features three heat settings and two speed settings with a cool shot button. It also had a little dual voltage button that you could slide over for when you travel internationally with proper adaptors. I thought that was a pretty cool feature, especially if you travel often. I loved the folding handle with the retractable cord! That made it great for packing in luggage and storing in the bathroom. Last, it was super easy to clean with the hot pink removable filter — snap off, clean, and you’re done! I would’ve purchased it again, but I wanted to branch out a little. Hair dryers aren’t something you generally buy a lot of; you just have one that works and that’s it. Though, if the one I purchased to replace this one dies or explodes, I’ll definitely go back to the Conair!

This installment was short and sweet! I apologize that it’s several products that aren’t available in the U.S. I will keep searching to try to locate them online. To date, I have not heard back yet on my inquiry with Boots regarding availability to ship to the U.S., so check back for updates! Next week, we will be talking all about skincare empties!

xoxo,

Candice

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What’s In My Travel Bag? (Packing for France – TSA Approved Liquids)

 

I am leaving for France this week on a two week wine and beauty trip with my friend, Myrna, and her company, Roux Wine Tours. I decided early on that I would only be taking a carry-on and a large tote/purse so I don’t have to heave luggage through the streets of Paris and on trains! In an effort to keep everything compact and simple, I’ve been rummaging through my beauty collection to see what travel sizes I have on-hand and what I really need to purchase.

If you’ve traveled at all in the United States, you are likely aware of the TSA’s ban on liquids over a certain size. The rule is 3-1-1, which means no liquids more than 3 oz., in 1 quart-sized clear bag, for 1 person. The quart-sized bag I’m using today came with my London Fog Carry On, and it has a loop to strap into the case. I was pretty excited to find that included with my luggage, so I didn’t have to purchase one. So, here are a few tips and a peek into what’s in my travel bag and packing for France.

TSA approved liquids composite

Top Row from Left to Right:

1. Using an old empty Korres moisturizer container (1.35oz) and a beauty spoon, I transferred my Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm into the container for easy transport. I always save the sturdy containers for traveling when I’m finished with a product. Good ones to keep are glass pots and the LUSH fresh facemasks pots! In this situation, I transferred it because the regular Emma Hardie packaging is over the approved limit for size and is quite bulky to travel with. Plus, this is plenty enough product to get me through 2 weeks. (For my review of the Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm, click here).

2. Travel size Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet  (0.33oz) as my moisturizer. I love this stuff! It has a great mousse-gel texture and just quenches skin’s thirst using a blend of grape water, grape seed extract, and shea butter extract. (I actually purchased this kit from Sephora, which includes the sorbet, the serum, and the spray.)

3. Regular size (2.2 oz) Women’s Mitchum 48 Hour Protection in Shower Fresh. Because, sweat and body odor. Nobody wants that.

4. Weleda Skin Food (2.5oz), available at Target, as my in-flight skin saver. I have not tried this yet, so I’m really hoping it works. Since this is a long-haul flight and air cabins contain a 80% deficit in the proper humidity for skin, it’s necessary to moisturize in-flight. Because I already have such dry skin, I’m taking Skin Food since it is super thick and nourishing (or is supposed to be!) I’ll certainly update you as to my feelings on this product!

5. Shampoo & Conditioner. First, I bought a set of these cute little polka dot travel containers at Target to put my products in. You can find those here. I’ll let you know if they leak or not. Next, I simply transferred my current shampoo and conditioner into the bottles, and packed them up. Right now, I am using Proganix AntiFade Cherry Blossom shampoo and conditioner. I’ve only been using it a few weeks, and so far I really like it. It is sulfate free color protection, and I like that it claims to protect against UV damage. You can find them at Ulta, Walgreens, and CVS. Here are the links if you want to check them out: shampoo and conditioner.

6. For my in-flight skincare regimen (on flights over 4 hours), I like to use a hydrating facemask to lock in moisture. Obviously, a clay mask would be quite conspicuous, so I opt for one that goes on clear and can be used as a sleeping mask. Because of its size, I chose the Nuxe Masque Crème Fraiche de Beaute for 24 hour rehydration. I got this in my Glossybox, and you can actually purchase it from their website, here. I love this mask so much! It’s one of my favorites for hydration.

7. Of course, I cannot travel without a micellar cleansing water, so I used a smaller bottle to use for some of my Bioderma. I have the 500 mL size at home, so that is not only against the 3-1-1 TSA rules, but also it’s just way too bulky to travel with anyway. I will be restocking on this when I’m in Paris. It’s the only place you can get the travel-sized Bioderma, so that will replace this little dinky bottle for future travel. (If you’re interested on some different micellar waters, have a look here.)

Bottom Row Left to Right:

1. Perfume samples. I didn’t want to pack a large bottle of perfume, and I’m actually running super low on all my favorites at the moment, so I couldn’t decant them into my Travelo. Since I have so many samples on stand-by, I opted for three sample sizes : Oscar de la Renta’s Coralina, Tocca’s Bianca, and Joya’s Composition No.1 mini-rollerball.

2. Navy Pots: Like I mentioned earlier, sometimes it is easier and more convenient on space to decant some of your liquids, creams, and gels into smaller containers. I thought the set I purchase from Target came with a good selection of container sizes, so here we have 2 small pots.

  • Smaller Pot — coconut oil. I cannot do skincare without coconut oil, so I liquefied about a tablespoon, and put it into the little pot to solidify. I use it for so many things, so if you’re interested in that, I’ve done a full post here.
  • Larger Pot — my heavier overnight moisturizer, which is currently the Vichy Liftactiv Nuit. I love this moisturizer. It’s not too thick, and it sinks into your skin almost instantly. When I wake up in the morning, it’s completely obvious my skin got a heavy dose of much needed hydration.

3. Toothpaste (0.25oz). I did not get super picky here; I just picked up what was available in the travel section at Walgreens.

4. Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer. This is my favorite concealer. It has great coverage, staying power, and it’s brightening. Oh, and it’s cheap! Another great UK drugstore find. (I’m still searching for an online retailer. I’ll update this post as soon as I get a viable link that will ship to the US.)

5. NYX Butter Gloss in Strawberry Parfait (0.23oz). This color is a great everyday gloss that also goes over most lipsticks well for added shine. The formula is very moisturizing, but because it’s so slippery, consistent reapplication is necessary. You can find NYX at Target, CVS, and Ulta.

6. Garnier Ultra Lift Miracle Sleeping Cream (0.5oz) as my eye cream. I just started using this based on a recommendation from a friend. So far, I like it, but I haven’t been using it long enough to report on the effectiveness. It’s a jelly consistency eye gel for overnight use, and is very cooling on the skin! It contains hyaluronic acid in to boost collagen production, increase moisture, and help to slough off dead skin cells. (available at drugstores)

7. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster (0.25oz) for my serum. This another product I’ve just recently started using, but so far I like it. And again, I haven’t been using it long enough to report on effectiveness or results. It contains Vitamin C for boosting collagen production, brightening skin tone, and reducing fine lines. (This is another one I’ll get back to you on via an update right here). This product is available at Sephora.

8. Foundation. Right now I’m using the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation (in No.54). It comes in a TSA approved size, but the packaging was too bulky and took up too much room, so I opted to make room by decanting it into the small pot. (The foundation is available on Amazon, as it is only sold in UK drugstores.)

So, I was able to get 16 products into my 3-1-1 TSA Approved Travel Bag. Here’s the final result.

Side A of the quart-sized liquids bag.
Side A of the quart-sized liquids bag.
Side B - final pack
Side B – final pack

I hope you found this post helpful or interesting. Check back tomorrow to see what I managed to fit into this makeup bag!! If you have any travel/packing suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

travel makeup bag

xoxo,

Candice

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Video Tutorial: How to Use Dry Shampoo Properly

I get asked a lot about which dry shampoos do not leave white streaks in your hair, and in my experience, if you’re applying them properly, NONE of them should! So, I wanted to give y’all a quick video tutorial on how to use dry shampoo such that you don’t end up with the white streaks in your hair. Follow the tips in the video, and I promise, you’ll never see white streaks no matter what dry shampoo you use!

 

Products featured in this video:

  • Miss Universe Restage Dry Shampoo ($16, available for purchase here)
  • Batiste Hint of Color Dry Shampoo for Dark and Deep Brown hair (comes in various hair color options, $8.99, available at Ulta and some drugstores)
  • Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion (available here or where Aveda is sold, $24)
  • Macadamia Natural Oil Healing Oil Treatment (available here or at Ulta and some drugstores, $6.99)

General tips for using dry shampoo:

  • apply underneath sections of hair
  • apply at night before sleeping so that the product has time to soak up any oil production overnight
  • use just after a fresh wash/blow dry as a styling product to “dirty” up hair, create texture, help add volume, and/or give a good base for teasing (aka back-combing) hair.
  • clean hair brushes regularly so as not to introduce old oil (from the fall out strands on your brush) into your hair
  • spot treat as necessary
  • spray on a bobby pin for a secure all day hold
  • if you accidentally use too much, massage in well and then use your blow-dryer to rid the excess
  • because dry shampoo soaks up oil, be sure to add the oil back into the ends

Hope you enjoyed these tips! Let me know in the comments if you try it or if you have any other dry shampoo tips!

 

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Empties II: Haircare Empties

Hair Composite

Welcome back to the third part of the empties series — haircare! This will be short and sweet, as for some reason I don’t have many this go round. So, let’s dive right in.

Herbal Essences Chamomile Shampoo, Shine Collection

Herbal Essences Shine Collection - Chamomile. $3.99, available at drugstores
Herbal Essences Shine Collection – Chamomile. $3.99, available at drugstores

Let’s all say it together, “I used that shampoo in junior high!” Me too! And honestly, it’s been a shampoo staple of mine since I was 13. Let me digress for just a second here and say who finishes a shampoo and conditioner at the same time? I always finish a shampoo first. Let me know in the comments what you finish first. I’m super interested to know!!

Ok, let’s get back to it.This line is available in two varieties — the Smooth Collection, which smells of rose, and the Shine Collection, featured here, which smells of sweet fresh chamomile. It lathers nicely and leaves my hair looking super shiny and extremely soft. I have tried a lot of high end shampoos, but I always go back to this one. It contains chamomile, aloe vera, and passion flower extracts, and does not contain silicone. (There’s a great debate about silicones, and whether they are good or bad, but generally they are said to be harmful because they coat the hair shaft so real nutrients cannot penetrate the hair. On the other hand, the position exists that some water soluble silicones are permissible because they can be washed away with water.) So, I won’t get into the silicone debate here, but this shampoo is silicone free and leaves my hair super shiny. With that said, if silicones are said to make your hair shiny, then this product does it without them, so there’s something to be said for that. And, at $3.99/bottle, that’s a hell of a deal for some kick ass shampoo that smells like a beautiful garden.

Sebastian Professional Volupt Spray Volumizing Spray Gel

Sebastian
Sebastian Professional Volupt Spray Volume Building Spray Gel. $8.99 on sale right now at Ulta

This is one of my all time favorite products for building volume. It’s a spray gel you use when your hair is damp, and for someone with fine limp hair, this product is pure gold. It was featured in my last hair care empties post because I believe I’m on my third bottle now. I love how it sprays a nice fine even mist to evenly coat the hair. I find it works best when sprayed into the roots and massaged into the wet hair near the crown for added volume. You can find it at Ulta, and it’s on sale right now. It’s generally $20.99 for 5.1 oz, but the link provided has it for $8.99. Looks like I need to stock up! And so should you.

THE BATTLE OF THE LEAVE-IN TREATMENTS!

Battle of the Leave Ins
It’s a 10 Miracle Leave in Product ($36), available at drugstores vs. Miracle 7 Leave in Mist ($22.79), available at Sally Beauty Supply

I decided to put these two to the test — head to head like Monday Night Football. To complete this little experiment I used each of them for one week straight alternating weeks for nearly two months. Surprisingly, these lasted me a long time despite the fact that I sprayed it on every inch of my long hair, and I have a lot of hair that absorbs product like a very fluffy towel. Nonetheless, I believe you’ll be surprised by the results! In the left corner we have the super hyped It’s a 10 Miracle Leave In Product and in the right corner we have the Miracle 7 Leave In Mist. Let’s compare the basics, and by basics I mean costs. It’s a 10! will run you $18.00 for 4.0 oz or $36.00 for 10.0 oz, whereas the Miracle 7 will run you $13.99 for 5.0 oz and $22.79 for 10.0 oz. So, on the larger size, we are working with a $14 disparity in price. Let’s see if it’s worth it.

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave in Product

Its a 10
It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product. $18 (4 oz) or $36 (10 oz), available at drugstores and Ulta

This product has been super hyped and raved about by several foremost beauty bloggers over the last year, so, of course, I had to give it a go. This is a beautiful leave-in treatment. It’s a treatment used after showering on wet hair or as a styling product on dry hair to do a host of things:

  • detangle
  • condition
  • heat protectant
  • repair damaged hair
  • smooth and control frizz
  • stop hair breakage
  • create silkiness
  • enhance natural body
  • prevent split ends
  • seals and protect color

I don’t know that I can attest to seeing all of these results, but I did find it to be a great detangler, heat protectant, smoother, and it gave me great silky shiny hair.  Who can be upset about that? The spray isn’t as fine as I would like it, but it isn’t crap. Think of this one more like a drizzle than a mist. It smells lovely, and definitely does its job.

Miracle 7 Leave In Treatment

Miracle
Miracle 7 Leave-In Mist $13.99 (5 oz) or $22.79 (10 oz), available at Sally Beauty Supply

I was in Sally Beauty Supply and the cashier recommended this to me, raved about it, and then handed me the sample. This is my second sample bottle I’ve used up, and I did a full review on it here. I love this product! Here’s what its claims are:

  • seal & protect color
  • repair dry damaged hair
  • stop hair breakage
  • prevent split ends
  • control frizz
  • add shine
  • detangle
  • enhance natural body

So, Miracle 7 claims to do the same thing as It’s a 10 The formulas are nearly identical, but the Miracle 7 contains only 17 ingredients, while the It’s a 10 contains 25. In looking at those ingredients, I realized that the It’s a 10 has keratin, keratin amino acids, and aloe leaf juice — some of those additional ingredients the Miracle 7 lacks. Based on ingredients, I would say the It’s a 10 performs better, but based on actual use, I preferred the Miracle 7. It felt lighter and less gunky in my hair. The spray of the Miracle 7 was finer and mistier (if that’s a word). They are very comparable products, so for the price difference ($14), I will continue to purchase the Miracle 7. But, if you have curly and/or super frizzy hair, you may want to go with the It’s a 10 because it contains keratin, which will help smooth curly/frizzy hair.

That sums it all up for the hair care empties! Hope you enjoyed this post! Makeup empties are coming next week! Stay tuned!

Stay Glittery!

xoxo,

Candice

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Miss USA 2014: Miss Universe Organization and CHI team up at Ulta with the Miss Universe Style Illuminate Haircare Line

Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady Photo Courtesy of the Miss Universe Organization
Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady
Photo Credit: © Miss Universe L.P., LLLP

You’ve probably heard by now that the Miss USA 2014 pageant is airing this Sunday, June 8, 2104 live on NBC at 8/7 central. Bitter Glitter will bring you some great pageant info and behind the scenes tidbits for the remainder of the week in honor of all the beauty and excitement Miss USA brings.

This year the Miss Universe Organization has teamed up with CHI Haircare to create the haircare line, Miss Universe Style Illuminate, sold exclusively at Ulta. The line is composed of 10 products, ranging from hair tools to hair spray. The entire idea behind this line is to allow women to rework and remold several styles in one day. Who doesn’t want that? Can we say day to night made easy? I’m in. the line was specially formulated with a blend of vitamins and oils including Moringa and Macadamia to enhance volume and provide hold without product buildup. Yes, please!

Miss Universe Style Illuminate Haircare Line  Photo credit: © Miss Universe L.P., LLLP
Miss Universe Style Illuminate Haircare Line
Photo credit: © Miss Universe L.P., LLLP

I had the opportunity to speak to some of the contestants a couple of days ago, and Miss Alaska USA 2014, Kendall Rae Bautista, absolutely raved over the “Work Your Style Flexible Hairspray” in the Miss Universe Style Illuminate collection. She explained, “I need a lot of product because my hair has a mind of its own.” I completely understand her problem. You can find that hairspray here. And seriously, how beautiful is she??

Kendall Bautista, Miss Alaska USA 2014, participates in a cooking demo at the Louisiana Culinary Institute on Friday, May 30th.  Photo Credit: © Miss Universe L.P., LLLP
Kendall Bautista, Miss Alaska USA 2014, participates in a cooking demo at the Louisiana Culinary Institute on Friday, May 30th.
Photo Credit: © Miss Universe L.P., LLLP
Kendall Bautista, Miss Alaska USA 2014, poses for a photo during a Rooftop Pool Private Party at L’Auberge Casino Hotel Baton Rouge on Friday, May 30th.  Photo Credit: © Miss Universe L.P., LLLP
Kendall Bautista, Miss Alaska USA 2014, poses for a photo during a Rooftop Pool Private Party at L’Auberge Casino Hotel Baton Rouge on Friday, May 30th.
Photo Credit: © Miss Universe L.P., LLLP

Upon Miss Alaska’s recommendation I picked up some of the Miss Universe Illuminate Style collection this weekend! I grabbbed some of the “Work Your Style Flexible Hairspray” and tack on the “Restage Dry Shampoo.” I’m a sucker for trying new dry shampoos. I can’t wait to put these products to the test!

Miss USA Style Illuminate "Work Your Style" Flexible hair spray and "Restage" Dry Shampoo
Miss USA Style Illuminate “Work Your Style” Flexible hair spray and “Restage” Dry Shampoo

 

Stay Glittery, Beauties!

xoxo,

Candice

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8 Beauty Uses for Coconut Oil

coconut oillogo

I’m constantly raving about all the ways you can use coconut oil in your beauty regimen, so it’s about time I gave y’all a run down of all the ways I incorporate it. I’m certain there are many more ways to use coconut oil than I list here, so if you have more to offer, please leave them in the comments! I love learning new ways to use it!

Basic Coconut Oil Info:

Before we get into the uses, let’s talk a little bit about WHY coconut oil is so awesome. First, it occurs naturally and is made directly from the “meat” of a coconut. It contains medium chain fatty acids which are healthy fatty acids easily broken down by the body in digestion.  The active ingredient making coconut oil great for skin and hair is called lauric acid. Lauric acid is good stuff, and breast milk is the only other place where such high concentrations of lauric acid is found.

Lauric acid converts to monolaurin which is why coconut oil has antiviral, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal, and antifungal properties. This makes it great for use on cuts, scrapes, diaper rash, athletes foot, nail fungus, dandruff, ringworms, eczema, etc. In addition, for skincare purposes, coconut oil functions as an antioxidant which combats premature aging. (Skin naturally oxidizes the fats in skin cells, which is how it ages, and coconut oil fatty acids work to replace those fats.) Basically, the natural fatty acids in coconut oil are like food for your skin.

It comes in a solid form, so you do have to go through a few extra minutes to get it to liquefy. To do that, just place the jar in a sink full of hot water, and within minutes it’s liquefied. Once it cools again, it will return to its solidified state.

Coconut Oil -- solid in the jar
Coconut Oil — solid in the jar
Coconut Oil -- solid scooped out
Coconut Oil — solid scooped out

Now that you know some cool facts about coconut oil, let’s talk about the stuff you came here for….beauty!

1. SCALP & HAIR MASK

Because coconut oil is antifungal and dandruff is generally due to a fungus, the hair and scalp mask is fabulous! It’s also great for deep conditioning hair, leaving it smooth, soft and silky! Here’s how you do it:

  • Place your jar of coconut oil in a sink full of warm water to liquefy it.
  • Take a small amount of the oil and massage it into your scalp and hair.
  • Pin your hair up for 30 minutes (you can let it stay on longer, even overnight, but it’s oil so it will stain sheets and pillowcases, so prepare accordingly)
  • Shampoo out as normal.
This was a photo from earlier this week right after I did the hair + scalp treatment. All I did was blowdry it.
This was a photo from earlier this week right after I did the hair + scalp treatment. All I did was blowdry it.

2. BATH OIL ADDITIVE

Since coconut oil increases the lipid content in your skin, it’s a great addition to your bubble bath. I usually put about 1/4 cup of coconut oil in my night time bubble bath. It doesn’t leave your skin oily or greasy, either!

3. HOT OIL FACIAL TREATMENT

This is probably one of my favorite at-home facial things to do. Friends with oily skin, don’t worry!! It’s perfectly okay to put coconut oil on your face. “Like attracts like” so certain kinds of oils are actually good for oily skin to help rid the skin of bad oil and aid in balancing natural production of oil. So, here’s how you do it:

  • Place jar in a sink full of warm water to liquefy.
  • Remove makeup and wash your face as you normally would.
  • Coat your face in coconut oil.
  • Using a washcloth, wet it with the hottest water you can stand.
  • Drape the washcloth over your face to steam until it cools.
  • Repeat the previous step anywhere from 4-10 times.
  • Use the cloth to wipe your face clean.

This will deep clean your pores as well, and any residual makeup you missed in your regular cleansing will come off onto your washcloth.

4. EYE MAKEUP REMOVER

I make my own eye makeup remover using coconut oil and Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo with filtered water. You can find the full tutorial here.

5. BODY MOISTURIZER

When I have really dry skin in the winter, I put coconut oil on my entire body as a moisturizer. It’s great and seems to absorb fairly quickly. Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to leave my skin oily or greasy as you might expect. I have friends who use it on their babies as a moisturizer, for diaper rash, and to treat eczema.

6. SHAVING CREAM

Because coconut oil is a natural moisturizer, it makes for a great shaving cream for women and men alike. It leaves a nice smooth finish post shave, conditions your hair follicles, and moisturizes your skin simultaneously!

7. SUNBURN HEALER

Coconut oil is a great way to feed sunburned skin to aid in the healing process. (Of course, you should always wear sunscreen, SPF 15 or higher!) You can put the oil directly onto sunburned skin or you can do this:

  • Wet a washcloth with Apple Cider Vinegar and rub lightly on the sunburn to help with stinging. (This part is a God-send.)
  • Follow up with coconut oil.

Easy, right!? I’ve noticed a drastic difference in healing sunburns using this process!

8. ANTISEPTIC/ANTIBACTERIAL FOR CUTS AND SCRAPES & ANTIFUNGAL FOR NAIL FUNGUS

Just apply coconut oil directly onto the cut, scrape, or nail at issue. The monolaurin contained in the lauric acid disrupts the lipid membranes of bacteria, viruses, and fungus thereby helping to destroy them.

I know there are thousands of other ways to use coconut oil. But I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little bit about coconut oil and how I have learned to incorporate it into my beauty regimen.

Please let me know if you try any of these and how it worked out for you. If you’re on social media, tag me in your pics when you do one of these!

Stay Glittery, Beauties!

xoxo,

Candice

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Haircare Empties! 1st quarter 2014

Composite

Hello Beauties!

Since the beginning of the year, I have finished quite a few products. I’m going to bring you a few different posts with those empty products, so let’s start with hair products! I purchased some of these prior to January 2014, but ran out of them more recently, so I’ve decided to include them here.

Aveda Smooth Infusion Glossing Straightener, $23 (available at Aveda salons)

Aveda Smooth Infusion Glossing Straightener, $23 at Aveda Salons.
Aveda Smooth Infusion Glossing Straightener, $23 at Aveda Salons.

I quite like this product. It’s of a gel consistency, and goes on your hair while damp prior to blow-drying to smooth out frizzies and aid in straightening. Pretty straight forward. It smells great — you know, that lovely, just stepped out of the Aveda salon smell. I will probably repurchase this one in the future, but I’m not racing out the door to get it again.

 

 

 

 

 

Batiste Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair, $8.99 (available at Ulta)

Batiste Dry Shampoo for Dark & Deep Brown Hair, $8.99 at Ulta
Batiste Dry Shampoo for Dark & Deep Brown Hair, $8.99 at Ulta

I love dry shampoo, and this one is really great! Generally, dry shampoo tends to leave a white-ish residue on the hair that you have to rub into the hair before it disappears (kind of like putting baby powder in your hair). That’s one of the downfalls of dry shampoo in general, but Batiste has a line suited for different shades of hair to combat that issue entirely, and it works!! It smells decent, and definitely does its job! This one ranks in my top three dry shampoos, and I will be rushing to refill this one!

 

 

 

 

Garnier Fructis Volume Extend Instant Bodifier for Fine or Flat Hair, $5.99 (available at drugstores)

Garnier Volume Extend Dry Shampoo, $5.99 at drugstores
Garnier Volume Extend Dry Shampoo, $5.99 at drugstores

I have fine and less than voluminous hair without the help of some great products, and this one just didn’t cut it for me. It smells terrible, almost like pure aerosol. I love Garnier hair products as a whole, but this one just didn’t add volume, it didn’t function well as a dry shampoo, and it went rather quickly. I was pretty disappointed because it’s so affordable!! But, I will not repurchase this one.

 

 

 

 

Not Your Mother’s She’s a Tease Volumizing Hairspray, $5.99 (available at Ulta)

Not Your Mother's Volumizing Hairspray, $5.99 at Ulta
Not Your Mother’s Volumizing Hairspray, $5.99 at Ulta

What a stinky little hairspray. I thought with “apple blossom and bamboo” on the label, my hair would smell of some amazing Japanese garden. No ma’am. As a hairspray, however, it’s nice, but not really anything to write home about. I used it all because I don’t like to waste products or money if I can keep from it, but I think if it had smelled better, I may give it another shot. Nonetheless, it is not a hairspray I’ll go back for.

 

 

 

 

 

Brocato Cloud 9 Miracle Repair Treatment, $19.50 for 5.25oz (available at Ulta)

Brocato Cloud 9 Miracle Repair Treatment, $19.50 at Ulta
Brocato Cloud 9 Miracle Repair Treatment, $19.50 at Ulta

I got this as a freebie at Ulta one day, and WOW! Holy gorgeous silky beautiful hair! While this is a bit pricey, I am going back for this one with bells on singing its praises. It’s actually a hair mask you use in the shower in place of conditioner. I use it about once every two weeks, and it simply makes your hair soft, silky, and treatable with other products. It’s like a breath of heaven for tired hair. Get it. I promise you will love it.

 

 

 

 

Sebastian Professional Volupt Spray Volumizing Spray Gel, $19 for 5.1 oz (available at Ulta)

Sebastian Professional Volupt Spray, $19.95 at Ulta
Sebastian Professional Volupt Spray, $19.95 at Ulta

This is my absolute favorite hair product. It’s is three products in one: volumizer, heat protectant, and gel. This is actually my second bottle, so I wholeheartedly recommend it. With my fine hair, it is almost impossible to find good volumizing products that actually create volume without leaving a stiff or sticky residue on my hair. However, Sebastian has figured it out. It smells lovely, sprays out in a nice fine mist, and works very well into damp hair. I section my hair out and pray it at the roots from nape to temple. Seriously, if you need a boost, this is your product.

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little first quarter hair empties! Check back this week for skincare/bodycare empties and makeup empties! Leave me a comment below with your favorite hair products! I love finding new ones!

Stay Glittery, Beauties!

xoxo,

Candice

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Miracle 7 Leave-In Mist Review

 

I get asked a lot about what hair products I use. Let me begin by saying that I have fine, somewhat limp hair, but i do have a massive amount of this fine limp stuff on my head. I don’t dye my hair, and haven’t dyed it in nearly a decade so it’s very healthy and not dry at all. And when left to dry naturally, one side of my hair tends to be really wavy while the other just looks stringy and unkempt, and not in that good beachy way. But what I completely lack is volume, and I have a ton of problems with tangles because my hair is so long and I wear it up a great deal.

Miracle 7 Leave In Mist, $13.29 available at Sally Beauty Supply
Miracle 7 Leave In Mist, $13.29 available at Sally Beauty Supply

I recently received a sample of this Miracle 7 Leave-In Mist, and I love this stuff! It claims to detangle, stop hair breakage, prevent split ends, seal and protect color, control frizz, and add shine.

After using it for about a month, I can say that I feel like it lives up to most of its claims. I’m not certain about the hair breakage and split ends because that happens to me no matter what I do or what products I use! I was mainly looking for it to detangle, control frizz, and add shine, and it more than delivered on those claims!

This stuff smells great – fresh, and slightly fruity, without being sweet. The mist isn’t heavy or oily, and you almost don’t even know it’s there after you put it on.

The directions state to “Shampoo and condition hair, towel dry, spray product all over hair and comb through. Blow dry or style as desired.” I followed the directions exactly, and found that after blow drying my hair that it did leave my hair a little heavier. I would think that if you have thicker, less fine, more voluminous hair, this shouldn’t be an issue for you. However, I was able to straighten my hair (definitely not curl it, as it wouldn’t have held a curl), and it left my hair silky smooth, frizz free, and very shiny!

At $13.29/bottle (5 oz.), I will definitely be repurchasing this one!

What’s your favorite post shower hair product?

Stay Glittery!

xoxo,

Candice

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Welcome to Bitter Glitter!

Thank you for stopping in to check out Bitter Glitter. I aim to bring beauty reviews, dating disasters, wine knowledge, and the occasional DIY project to your fingertips, all with a little sass and fun.

My first post should be an actual makeup review, but I decided to save the $7, and put it towards the beginning of this blog. So, that review will come soon, just not today. However, for reviews, I will always be honest with you. I am not paid, sponsored or endorsed by any company. For transparency, if I am provided products by a company, I will let you know how I received those products in the review. With that said, I will always give my honest opinion whether the product is great or awful. If you have specific products you would like to see reviewed, please comment below, and “I’ll be right on top of that, Rose.” (if that doesn’t make sense to you, please go watch Mom, The Babysitter’s Dead with Christina Applegate.)

You will also find wine reviews here. I am a wine enthusiast and have a host of friends who enjoy this little drink as much as I. We drink a lot of wine, we talk about a lot of wine, and we do our research. Specifically, you’ll find information on the wine itself, including price, varietal, vintage, region, and tasting notes. Everyone’s palate is different, so please remember that my favorite wine might be your most hated, and vice versa. But, I will also provide you with tips on how you can discover what your palate likes and how to shop for those wines simply by looking at the labels.

In addition to wine and beauty, we WILL discuss some serious dating blunders. Some of them will be mine, some will be friends’ stories, and some will be some we’ve heard through the grapevine. You’ll never know who is who or where the story came from as I will change the names to protect the guilty and the embarrassed. If you have a great dating story and would like it to be featured on Bitter Glitter, please email it to BitterGlitterBlog@gmail.com with “Dating Story” in the subject line! Let’s make it interactive, and keep it clean. I reserve the right to edit profanity or vulgar content.

I look forward to what’s to come. I’m so glad you’re here!

Stay Glittery!

xoxo,

Candice

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