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Thursday, August 16, 2018

**REVIEW** KRSI Short Afro Kinky Curly Hair Wig


I have decided to grow my own hair back out after cutting it a while back. There are medicines I take that make it hard for my hair to grow. I have to work hard at getting my hair to grow out evenly and healthily. Oh, how I miss the days when all I had to do was put in some braids for a couple of months... I don't really know anyone here to braid my hair so I decided to try wearing wigs for a while.

I've ordered 3 of the cheaper types and the first one arrived. It's the Short Afro Kinky Curly Hair Wig from the Amazon seller KRSI .  This is what the product page makes the wig look like:

Not bad, right? That's what I thought. Also, all the ladies who posted pictures showing themselves wearing this wig looked pretty amazing.

Yeah.  Well.

At first, I was NOT happy because this is what the wig looked like straight out of the packaging. (And I just realized that I didn't get a photo of the top side. Oops.)

I have to say that the color is more dark brown/red than the described "black" on the product page. Also, the part is SUPER obvious. Not good.  Still, I decided to just put it on and see what it looked like.

Uh... who let the Lion King loose?????

Hahaha!!! Wow...

Oh boy. When I finished laughing at myself, the first thing I thought was that there went $17 down the toilet. I can buy a lot of butter and eggs for that kind of money.

Okay. So maybe I could fix this mess, right? I went online and checked different resources. How to soften the curls in a poofy wig; how to make a wig look more natural; and how to fix an obvious part.

After finding some good suggestions, I used boiling water to soften the curls. Next, I started trimming down the ends so that I had a more manageable length. Last, I used my little eyebrow trimmer to give the part a more ragged look. The results are, I think, much better.

The most helpful suggestion I got came from, I think, Reddit and that as to not be so self-conscious. And that is a true thing. Even if people know that this is a wig, I can just think of it the same way I do makeup: an enhancer. I have to stop taking myself so seriously, I guess.

I'm the only black person in my apartment building. I can't wait until one of my neighbors sees me taking out the trash or something.

Anyway, just to sum up. I will tell you what I like and don't like about the wig. I gave it 4 stars. For the price and quality, I would have given it 5 stars if there had been more instructions for newbie wig folk. I had to work a little too hard on it.

What I like:

  • Looks pretty good for a cheap price
  • Came with a cap, inserted combs, and a set of lashes
  • Was durable under the boiling water (because it's heat resistant)
  • Doesn't shed as much as I expected for the price
What could be better:
  • That part. It's for Caucasian skin even though the wig if made for black people to wear.
  • The seams at the edges are very thick and have to be hidden with your own hair.
  • Took a lot of work to fit it to my liking because it was very long and VERY voluminous.
I will be doing reviews on the other two wigs when they arrive. They are from an Instagram ad that I'm kind of made about now. It will be a while I guess because they are shipping from freaking China...


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

**REVIEW** JUUL E-Cigarette

DISCLAIMER: Nicotine is an addictive substance. Using E-cigarettes (vaping) is to be used by adults only. All forms of nicotine use is habit-forming and may be hazardous to ones health. This post is regarding my personal experiences and is not meant to encourage anyone to begin smoking.

As some of you know, I have struggled with cigarette addiction for a long time. I have cut back considerably and, recently, I was able to abstain from smoking. For a while. When I went back to smoking more, I wanted to find something that would help me cut back down and/or quit.

I have tried e-cigarettes before and never found a type that I could tolerate. Either the product didn't satisfy my cravings or it was just plain nasty - and that is coming from a cigarette smoker, so...

This time, I had the chance to try yet another e-cigarette device. It's the JUUL, which is an electronic cigarette from JUUL Labs (formerly PAX Labs).

First, let's discuss the cost of this bad boy. A starter kit will rin you A Starter Kit will run you 50 bucks ($49.99) or about the cost of 5 to 8 packs of cigarettes, depending on where you live. The kit contains the JUUL device, a USB charging dock, and four JUULpods in 5% nicotine strength (Virginia Tobacco, Mint, Creme, and Mango).


Once you buy the kit, you will be invited to participate in a research survey. Upon completing the survey (which takes about 20 minutes), you will be given the chance to apply to receive a Visa gift card in the amount (at the time of this writing) $30.00. The gift card offer is legit and comes through either immediately if you sign up for the digital version (which requires the creation of an account) or in about a week or so if you sign up for the physical card.

Now, let's go over what I found to be the Pros:

  • It lacks the other chemicals in a traditional cigarette. (Still, do NOT forget the addictive nicotine.)
  • It's slim, light, and very easy to take with you anywhere. I think this would be the best kind of thing to sneak-smoke if trying to be polite around non-smokers.
  • It charges from a USB port (i.e.: the computer or a phone charger).
  • It's MUCH less harsh, IMO than other nicotine delivery devices I've tried. 
  • You can control the strength of the "hit" you get. If you cover the space where the nicotine pod fits into the device, the hit is stronger. I think it is almost too strong.
  • It's very simple to set up and use.

WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.

And now the Cons:

  • It is made to use nicotine pods and, let's say it one more time: nicotine is highly addictive. Also, at the time of this post, there aren't any non-nicotine pods made for the JUUL.
  • Because it is so discreet, it would be easy for people to violate rules and use one where vape devices are not permitted.
  • JUULs are very popular with minors. This is probably the worst thing, IMO. If someone is not already a smoker, I don't know why on earth they should be encouraged to start vaping nicotine. I would like the whole point to be getting cigarette smokers completely weaned off the nasty habit.
  • It's expensive, in some people's opinion. I think that, for someone who lives in a state that puts high taxes on cigarettes (hello, Alaska!), the cost of these for a moderate smoker would be about the same. For me, I have actually cut back on smoking and am really hoping that this will help me to quit. In my case, these are not really that expensive. I will be clocking how long the 4 pods last me and do an update if I remember to.
Honestly, though, I have to say that, as an adult and someone trying to quit traditional cigs for good - this is the best alternative that I've found.

With cigarettes, I smoke full-flavor, non-menthol, 100 size types. I didn't think I was going to like the flavored pods that came in the starter kit. Guess what? The Mango flavor is my favorite. It's not as strong as the Virginia Tobacco pod. I haven't tried the Mint because I have not liked menthol type of cigarettes for a very long time. I will get around to trying them all and let you know what I think.

One more thing I want to mention is that I am already breaking part of my habit. When I smoke, I go outside to a particular spot. With the JUUL, I just take the occasional hit and there's no need to go out in the heat or cold. I realize that a big part of quitting cigarettes is breaking the habits associated with smoking. I'm monitoring my JUUL use by keeping a scratchpad of notes and I try to drink a lot of water instead of sucking on the device!


Sunday, August 12, 2018

**REVIEW** Monk Fruit Sweetener

A couple of years ago, when I was actually attempting to do Keto, I did a blog post about the different types of sugar substitutes. It's a great post so go and check it out, but as you know, Keto has gone buh-bye for me. I now do intermittent fasting and just attempt to eat low-carb.

One of the serious issues I have cutting out carbs is not bread or preservatives or any of the common carb bombs. My problem has to do with my coffee. Lately, I have gotten better at sipping black coffee during my fasting hours. I'm still working on tea... Now, it looks like I don't have to give up sweetening my coffee. And it's because of these sugar substitutes right here:

Both brands look the same to me

Those are the 2 brands of mong fruit sweetener I am trying. Don't they look a lot like regular table sugar?

Of course, like with any other trend, everyone in the game and their mama has jumped on the wagon. There are so many brands and types of monk fruit out there that I got dizzy trying to read reviews on them all. That's why I finally just chose the 2 brands to test out.

One is from Health Garden (via Walmart) and the other is Lakanto brand (via Amazon but can be found everywhere).

The Health Garden brand on the left is in 6-gram packets (nice for tucking into my purse), and the Lakanto on the right is a loose form.

Again, looking at the nutrition labels, Health Garden is on the left:

 Before a couple of weeks ago, I had never even heard of monk fruit. If I had, I'd forgotten all about it. Now I'm really glad I tried it.

Let me go over what I consider to be the Pros:

  • Taste, taste, taste - or, rather, no aftertaste. I literally ate some of both these brands right off a spoon. I wanted to know if I'd get that metallic 'bite' that I do with most sugar substitutes. Nope. Not one tiny taste of nastiness. Remember that I did try Erythritol by itself and I did get that aftertaste. With the other fakes that were tolerable, after this one, they just don't live up to the hype anymore.
  • The cost, while much higher than regular table sugar, is right up there with other substitutes. Also, because this is a health issue, I'm not going to cry about paying around $0.50/oz for the loose sweetener. I was paying $0.11/oz for Sugar in the Raw - which was not helping my fasting.
  • The packets are more convenient, but the loose sweetener is the most economical. Now that I see there is no difference in taste, I know which type to order.
  • You can do everything with this substitute that you can with table sugar - or so I've heard. I don't usually cook with sugar and will probably just stick to using this for my beverages (more on that in a moment).
  • This is a 0 on the Glycemic Index, which I learned more about here. That's going to be important for when I am fasting.
I can't help but come back to the taste being what sells me on this. When I talk about being able to use this in beverages, you don't know what a game-changer it is. I've been wanting to do a liquid fast again. Last time, I did okay but I got really tired of just water and plain coffee and green tea. I looked up some information and it looks as if I will be able to fast and have this sweetener in my beverages. That means... I can add lemonade to the mix. Yay. Lemon water is supposed to be all kinds of good for the body but I could never do it without a little sweetening.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know about this sugar substitute.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

**REVIEW** Elebase Galaxy S8 Plus Battery Case

WHY did I not know about this before???  (This is going to be one of two reviews this week that start with that sentence.)

As someone who is always moaning about a dead phone battery, I don't see how the idea of a battery charging case got past me. I'm that chick who was in the airport last year, lurking in the corner, trying to charge my phone ten minutes before boarding a flight. I have one of those external batteries that someone in my family gave me a couple of years ago, but what a pain in the butt. I have trouble keeping up with my phone; I don't need another piece of electronics to keep tabs on.

Anyway, now that my rant is over, let me show you this Galaxy S* Plus Battery Case from Elebase:

Since I don't know much about these cases, I had to read a lot of reviews (as usual) and get my brother's input. He is the one who told me about the "mAh" in the product descriptions. Of course, I have forgotten what it meant, so you better check that link! All I know is, this particular case has 5500mAh - which is supposed to be pretty good. ~shrug~

The actual case looks fairly simple and that's because it is. You can charge the case using one of your phones charging cords or the USB port on your PC. Once it's all charged up, you use it like a regular phone case. You simply insert your phone into the case, making sure that the little metal power thing at the bottom slides into your phones charging hub. (Decode that sentence the best you can...) When your phone's battery is running out, you can have the case battery kick in by touching the button on the back.

You will see your phone charging as if it's plugged into the usual power source. You monitor the case's battery power left by watching the little light on the back.

RED = the case battery has 1%-25% power
BLUE = 25 - 50%
GREEN = 50-75%
WHITE = 75-100%

Now, is it just me, or does it seem like that color system is warped? I thought that Blue would indicate the most charged. Whatever.

********By the way, this is where, if you are paying attention, you could win a free battery charging case for an S8 (not a Plus; just a plain S8). Details at the end of this post***********

The Pros to this item are kind of easy to figure out:
1 - Not having to carry an external battery
2 - Charging case doubles as a case
3 - Simple to use

What I want to talk about are the things that irritate me. The Cons:

1- The biggest issue I have is that the case - while very rugged and protective for the back of the phone - leaves the front wide open for damage. There is no raised 'lip' around the edge. The phone's glass front is not very exposed.

Since the case is so heavy, if you do drop the phone, it's going to hit the ground hard. Also, because of that heavy case, those pop-socket holder thingies don't seem to work as well for gripping it. The first day I had the case, I was holding it by the pop-socket - which popped right off. Good thing I had the phone cupped with my other hand.

2 - When charging my phone, the bottom of the case (where it connects to the phone) gets very, very warm. I also noticed that my CPU monitor always indicates over-heating. The first time, the monitor read CPU at 176 degrees. 

3- That color system for the charging power is double-flawed. Not only is it just weirdly designated but it leaves too much guessing room. A 25% gap is huge when it comes to phone power. I saw other cases that monitored by exact LED numbers. 

I guess I like it well enough. I have ordered a screen protector to use with it. Also, I only plan to use this when necessary - while out and about or traveling. 

So, yes, the idea of a charging case is awesome, but there are not a lot of choices for my S8 Plus model. There are tons of S8 choices, which leads me to the giveaway...

I mistakenly ordered this case and didn't realize it wouldn't fit my phone until the day before it was delivered. Amazon was nice enough to save me the hassle of doing a UPS return. They issued a refund and just let me keep the case to do with as I wish. Well, I won't sell it since it was a freebie for me so I am going to send that blessing forward. I will not be liable for anything after I put this in the mail to you. So don't be coming at me with any problems you encounter. The thing comes with a 24-month warranty for which you will have to apply. The instructions for that are in the case.

The case is by PowerBear and here are some photos:

If you have an S8 phone - not a Plus model - you can leave the comment "I want it" on this very blog post. Whoever has the first comment (by time-stamp) wins. I will notify you by whatever Profile is on your comment. We can take care of the mailing address via email. I will send the case via Flat Rate mail.

That's it.


Friday, August 10, 2018

**REVIEW** Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil

A few weeks back I was able to try a Rose Hydrosol (Rosewater) that impressed the heck out of me. As a matter of fact, I just updated that post with some photos.

Anyway, the same company that sent the Rose Hydrosol is letting me try this now:

Majorana Hortensis

That is Sweet Marjoram 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil from Vita Pure (sold by Banyan Pure*). It is (like the Rose Hydrosol) steam distilled.

The botanical name is Majorana Hortensis or Origanum Majorana. There is apparently no difference between the two - mostly - because they stand for the commonly known herb of sweet or knotted marjoram. This particular one I have is labeled on the Product Page as "Sweet Marjoram" so that is the one I will use for looking up all info.

The smell is not unpleasant, but it's not one that I would use as a personal fragrance. It reminds me of Manuka oil with a hint of clove or oregano. When I looked it up, I found that the smell is normally associate with oregano. This is how one site describes sweet marjoram:
Marjoram Essential Oil is derived from the flowering tops and leaves of the Marjoram plant. It's a very close relative to Oregano, and although its scent is similar, it's much less pungent and far more pleasant. It's got a slightly camphorous, woody, herbal scent with a hint of spice. It's actually a very nice scent! (source)

I had to do some research (aka - going to Google!) because Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil is completely new to me. After the success with the Rose Hydrosol - which is antibacterial - I want to try something else that had possible healing benefits. First, I checked WebMD and took a look at some of the ailments that marjoram might be used for with the disclaimer of "lack of sufficient evidence"... It's a long list
Asthma (Early research shows that taking 2 drops of marjoram oil daily along with asthma medication for 3 months might improve lung function in people with asthma better than taking asthma medication alone); Coughs, Colds, Runny nose, Stomach cramps, Colic, Liver problems, Gallstones, Headache, Diabetes, Menopause symptoms, Menstrual problems, Nerve pain, Muscle pain, Sprains, Promoting breast milk, Improving appetite and digestion, Improving sleep, etc. (source)
As with anything, people, we have to use some common sense with these things. So, use your head and do your own research before using any kind of E.O. That said, one of the benefits I will be exploring is the healing of wounds and skin infections. The rosewater has almost completely cleared up the psoriasis on my feet, but I will try using the marjoram in place of the rosewater for the next several days. That way I can save the rosewater which I also like to use as a fragrance and in the diffuser.

By the way, this is what my feet currently look like after using the rosewater for the last few weeks.

Of course, I did use some pedicure implements (which I will be reviewing) and applied more rosewater but you have to know what my feet looked like before!

I also have less itching. That itching used to wake me up out of a deep sleep! I have read where marjoram is supposed to be an analgesic so maybe that will help continue fighting the itching.

One thing I can't even think about is ingesting this. I read that most of the benefits can be gotten from applying topically - with or without a carrier oil - but a couple of people talk about using very small amounts to flavor their food. No thank ya. All I need is to start foaming at the mouth or barking like a dog...

So, bottom line is that there are a lot of potential benefits to this essential oil. I will come back and update on any that I experience.


* I am contacting the Seller to find out why the change in names. On the Product Page, it shows the bottled labeled as "Banyan Pure", but my bottle arrived marked as you see in the photo labeled with "Vita Pure" I will let you know what I hear.


In exchange for providing my fair and honest review, I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free or at a discount using. Regardless, I only review products that I have personally used and can give an opinion of.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

**REVIEW** E.L.F. Cream Contour Palette

Let me start by admitting that I don't use contouring in my makeup routine. I don't even have what you'd call a makeup 'routine'. I just like a little foundation, eyeliner and maybe a touch of lip color. If  I'm feeling wild and crazy, I will use some eyeshadow.

I wanted this palette because I do sometimes need help with my eye area. I notice that having a creamy base helps my eyeliner go on better, The under-eye area looks better when I hide the fine lines.

So... I like having a palette. Most don't have shades that compliment my deep-dark skin tone. This one does. And it's cheap. I got mine from - where else? - Amazon.

Usually, I try to use cosmetics by Black Radiance because they have my shades down pat. B.R. had a similar palette but it was more expensive and had only 1 choice of the deepest shade. I can use every one of these - though I'm not crazy about that Ivory shade up on the left...

I like this one. It is super creamy and smooth. I noticed that, like most inexpensive cosmetics, it can be a little greasy, but, oh well. I tried to get the contrast and sharpness just right so you could better see the arm swatch I did.

love those colors. Well, all except that chalky one up in the corner. As you can see, the darkest color (bottom on arm and bottom right in the palette) could almost work as an all-over foundation for me. That is the one I use in the under-eye area to smooth the look of fine lines.

I don't want to forget to mention that this compact comes with a mirror - one of the good ones, not the cheap lightweight or plastic ones.

What I love most about this is that I didn't have to apply foundation around this. Often, when I use any kind of color on one part of my face - eyes, cheeks - I have to use some foundation so that the added shades aren't obvious. The colors I used in this palette blended beautifully with my natural skin color. Yay.

Other than the slight sheen of sweat (it's been scorching here!), you can't really tell that I have touched up my eye area. That's a good thing.

The one thing that was odd about the palette is that it's not labeled as being Deep, Medium, or Light.  Still, I'm going to give it 5 of 5 stars.


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

**REVIEW** Garnier SkinActive 3-in-1 Moisturizer

There were some things in my recent beauty boxes that I liked and I did promise to come back and do reviews on those particular items.

The Garnier SkinActive Soothing Mask is from the Walmart Classic Summer (2018) Beauty Box I got.

Full size 6.75oz jar = $9.96

The sample was small (0.169 or 5ml)  but there was enough of it to use a few times (sparingly) and to let me know that I like it. I actually liked it so much that I actually picked some up when I went grocery shopping. Although that 10 dollar tag is a bit pricey (I subtracted it from my snack budget!), because of the thick consistency of this cream, it should last for months.

I was a little bit confused about how to use it because of the word "Mask" in the description. When I think of facial masks, I expect that they are to be applied and then washed/rinsed off after a certain amount of time. Even more confusing is information on the back of the sample packet.

Finally, I went online and saw that other people had the same confusion. When my brain woke up from one of the naps it often takes, it told me to just check Garnier's website. Duh.

"Leave on for 10 minutes and *if needed* tissue off excess"

On Amazon product page, some people commented that they experienced no problems after leaving the cream on without washing, rinsing, or tissuing any off. With that cleared up, I applied the mask to my face and throat area. It's very - and I mean extremely so. If it were any thicker, it would be the consistency of a softened cream cheese (as you can see from the photo I posted). And I'm not saying that that is a bad thing. I kind of like how thick it is because that is part of what makes the product so awesome.

A big Plus to this cream is that you only have to use it maybe once every other day. At least, that's been the case for me. The tiny sample lasted me for 3 uses. When I got the full-sized jar, I decided to keep using the cream in small amounts. If I don't wear makeup that I have to wash off at night, I don't have to reapply the mask at night. The moisture lasts through the night and - I tested this - would last probably several hours more if I didn't wash my face. Also, I tested how well this works if I don't use it every day. I think using this just a couple times a week this leaves my skin moisturized enough that my other oils and serums work better on alternate days. Again, I really want to stretch out this 10 dollar jar!

I want to point out that this contains my new favorite ingredient: Rosewater. When I checked the label of the mask, I noticed that "Rosa Damascena" is listed nearer the top than the bottom. Apparently, Garnier didn't skimp on this prime ingredient. Fragrance is listed last. The scent of this is very mild but is definitely that of roses.

When I last blogged about Rosewater, I mentioned that it can lighten/brighten skin. That's important since some people might not want that effect.

I'm glad that I got to try this so a big thanks to the folks who curate the Walmart boxes!


Friday, July 27, 2018

**REVIEW** Pure Rose Hydrosol (Rosewater) UPDATED with photos


After just a few weeks of using this, that psoriasis on my feet is almost all cleared up. I had had some awesome results in the past by using Manuka essential oil and a few other products. However, never before has anything just about cleared up the problem.

This is what my feet looked like before using the Rosewater:


This is what they look like right now.
About 13 days after starting Rosewater

 some healing after other

Now, I have to tell you that I did use a grater and a rasp on my feet last night and I applied more of the Rosewater for the AFTER photo. However, I have used graters before and they only took off the thickest scales but did nothing for the smaller scabs that lined the sides of my feet.

The Rosewater is healing the psoriasis instead of temporarily masking it.

People, I will be ordering more of this to use and don't want to be without it at this point.

As many essential oils and natural butters as I have used over the years, for some reason, I never picked up any Rose Hydrosol. Okay, I'll be honest. I never even heard the word "hydrosol" before.

When I went looking for a definition, the best one I found is this one from Rachel Marlowe:
Similar to a floral water but more potent, hydrosols contain the water-soluble constituents of a plant such as the volatile oils, and it can be used as a facial toner, the water component when mixing our clay masks, or in an aromatherapy diffuser. (source)
One of the things I learned is that the best flower waters are done with steam distillation. This Rose Hydrosol by Banyan Pure meets that criteria.

Most of us have heard of the benefits of rosewater. I used to make homemade rosewater to keep from letting gift flowers go to waste. I wasn't an expert or anything so I kept it simple and, actually, the process isn't too complicated. You can try it yourself. I've bought rosewater from the health food store I frequented in Anchorage. It was good stuff and, until now, I didn't know what a big difference the processing makes.

This one is done by steam distillation. Most common ones are created by mixing rose oil with water. Steam distillation is more meticulous and the end product retains the pure oil (in this case - organic) and all the benefits of that. By the way, this is a rosewater so the texture reflects that. You can apply to hair or skin without an oil residue.

Once you have a good rosewater, you can use it in different ways. Here are some of the benefits and uses that I have seen suggested over the years:

  • This link lists information and cites studies that show a benefit in affecting depression, use as an antimicrobial, and various skin treatments.
  • This is only one listing of the benefits of rosewater for damaged hair, aging skin, and more.
  • I've heard of mixing rosewater into lotions and creams for the face and neck. One interesting thing I will be trying is a mix of the rosewater with some glycerin to treat my hair. Rosewater is said to promote hair growth and retention.
  • Rosewater is a gift to natural hair chicks. The water is said to be cooling, hydrating, and moisturizing in addition to fighting dandruff. It's been said that rosewater promotes hair growth and - this one is big - reduces product buildup on the scalp.  (I will be doing a follow up once I've had a chance to use this on my own natural hair.)
  • My mother used to tell me about ladies spritzing their face, neck, bosom, and shoulders with rose water when the temps were high. In addition to helping them cool off, the fragrance was light and nice.
One of the other benefits I have heard of doesn't interest me. It's said that rosewater can be used to "lighten" or brighten the skin. Some people use a mixture of rosewater and lemon juice for the skin lightening. I'm just fine with all my protective melanin, thank you very much! I can see how some folks would want that benefit though and to each his or her own. If not for all over lightening, rosewater can be used (I've heard) for reducing under eye dark circles.

My main purpose for rosewater is as a fragrance (for me and the home) and for my hair. I have used rosewater as a toner when my skin was feeling a little dull. I tested this particular hydrosol this morning and can tell that a little goes a very long way. 

Before I do a sum up, let me mention something important. A lot of people have a habit of ingesting essential oils. I have never been okay with this unless an oil is clearly marked that it is a "food grade" product and safe to ingest. I have ingested homemade floral waters but only because I made them and knew every risk. Rosewater is a very popular one that people like to add to drink or add to foods. Please note that this particular rosewater is not marked for that use. There is even a warning on this one. Anything so heavily concentrated needs to used with at least a little common sense. This one is very concentrated. That's a good thing but needs to be used wisely.

To summarize, you should know that what I like most is how concentrated it is. I have some in an oil warmer and it's keeping a light fragrance in the air. Earlier, I tested a few drops in the humidifier and that was also very nice. By the way, the name of the rose used in this oil is Rosa Damascena.

Because this is so concentrated, a little goes so far that I have to watch myself. I have figured out that to use this as a toner, I need to put a drop in my palm and add a few drops of water before applying to my face. I can use it full strength (in small doses) on my neck and shoulders. I've used so many manufactured perfumes that I sometimes forget how lovely a simply floral water can be.

I have psoriasis and tonight I will be putting a little bit of the rosewater on my feet with some vitamin E. I usually use Manuka oil for that, but this smells so much nicer! This 2-ounce bottle should last me at least 2 months or more. Again, that's due to the high concentration.

I'll be back to update once I have used this for a few weeks more.


DISCLOSURE: In exchange for providing my fair and honest review, I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free or at a discount using. Regardless, I only review products that I have personally used and can give an opinion of.

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Monday, July 23, 2018

**REVIEW** Walmart's Classic Summer Beauty Box

Last week was a rollercoaster. I was a little bit sick but cheered up a bit when my Target beauty box arrived on Monday. Then, just as I needed another little pick-me-up, the Classic Summer Beauty Box arrived from Walmart on Thursday. The boxes are a nice little treat when you're often laid up in bed.

The Walmart boxes come out 4 times a year - one for each calendar season - and cost $5. The Target beauty boxes are $7 but you can't sign up for them in advance; you have to go to the site and order them (and they go fast).

 You might remember how much I enjoyed Walmart's Classic Spring box. Not a bad five dollars. Here is the Classic Summer box:

As before, the box is very pretty

And the inside was very pretty. I love that they use the tissue as if this really is a gift to yourself.

I have to admit that I liked the Classic Spring box better, but this one did not disappoint.

I really like the fact that Walmart and Target add in a lot of items that afro-natural folks can use. Comparing to the last box, the samples in this Walmart box really seemed smaller.

But there were some good one, starting with what I think is going to be my favorite.

1.Palmer's Natural Fusions set of   Micellar Rose Water Cleanser (it's a clarifying shampoo, folks) and Lavender Rosewater Conditioner ( a hydrating repair formula).

Full sizes (12oz)  are $6.77 each

2. Garnier is another favorite brand of mine and although I don't care much for facial masks, I kinda can't wait to try the SkinActive Soothing Mask.

Full size 6.75oz jar = $9.96

3. I'm not much for hair masks either, but this one will get a test. It's Garnier's Damage Repairing 1-Minute Hair Mask.

Full size 13.5oz $7.49

4. This is not something that I will use, but I sure will be telling a lot of my friends about the Nair Was Ready Strips. In my opinion, this would beat heating up all those wax beads in a special pot, but... I dunno. Oh, and there is a $1 coupon for the strips.

40-count box = $5.98

5. This is the second time I've gotten a Rembrandt Whitening Kit (and coupon) in a Walmart box. I'm kind of over it. I have a crown in the front and whitening treatments make the crown stand out. I will be giving the coupon away. This is a generous sample though. You get 3 treatments (6 strips) and in the full-size box, you get 14 treatments. For anyone wanting to try this out, this is a nice sample. Way to go, Walmart.

1-week kit = $22.27

6. I saved this last item because they will be the one thing I want to run out and get right now. These Kleenex Wet Wipes are going to be a huge fave of mine. The samples are just folded into the pouch, but I see that one of the full-size bags contains individually wrapped cloths. I LOVE that. I use wet wipes for everything from cleaning my face (especially for removing makeup) to refreshing my neck and shoulders on a hot day and cleaning my psoriasis plagued feet. I only like using the tissue style cloths - which are the gentlest on my skin and are flushable. For the last few years I have been using the Equate or Huggies brands but I find these Kleenex wipes to be thicker, stronger, and just as gentle. The individually wrapped ones are going to be perfect for on the go, but I will definitely be getting one of the doubles of the pop-up packs. They are just a smidge more expensive than my usual brands but I think I am in love.

25 wipes = $2.76

I started out comparing this less favorably to the last Walmart box, but I have to admit that there were some real gems in this one. The coupons are always a nice little Plus to any box.

If I remember to, I will do reviews on the Garnier masks and the Palmer's.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

**REVIEW** Target Summer Beauty Box

The Target "Hello Summer Beauty" Box just arrived and I am way more impressed than I expected to be. I think you remember me saying much the same about the Walmart Beauty box for Spring 2018. (By the way, the Walmart Summer box is on the way.) So let's just dive right in and see what the Target box had to offer this month. By the way, you are going to begin to see a theme as we run through the samples...

1. The presentation was very nice and I hate that I tossed the pretty interior tissue before I got a better photo. Please notice the generous sizes of the items.

shipping was SUPER fast

Expires in about 2 weeks though!

2. Much like with "fancier" boxes, the enclosed card details each product and even includes useful tips and bits of info for some items. That was a really nice touch. The $3 coupon is good for an in-store or online Target purchase of $15 or more of cosmetics, skincare or haircare. My only issue with this is that the coupon expires in a couple of weeks.

1.75oz sample
full size = 7.69

3. This Don't Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel is the only thing in the box that I didn't like. I kinda have an unpleasant history with Aunt Jackie and I'm glad I got to try this before I wasted money on it. This was a really generous sample though. I used it (as directed for best results) on washed and still-damp hair. It goes on a little glue-ey but it did help elongate the curl. Only problem is that it made my hair feel as if it had been shellacked. I literally ended up spraying on some water to unstick pieces of my hair because I would have ripped out chunks trying to comb it with my fingers. I just sprayed on some of the next product to see if that would help.

3.3oz sample
full size = $5.99

4. The Shea Moisture Daily Hydration Leave-In Treatment is a really nice treat. I've been kind of ambivalent about S.M. products. When they are good, they are awesome, but when they flop, they flop hard. This leave-in is amazing. It smells good without being overpowering and it cleared up that stiff mess left behind by the Aunt Jackie's. The scent is of a light coconut-water. This is on my list to pick up when I use the coupon. Good stuff and, I'll say again: it smells delicious. I can't wait to try this again after I've washed the Jackie's gunk out of my hair. If it softened my hair like it is, I can't imagine what it will do on clean hair.

2oz sample
full size = $5.99

5. The Cantu Leave-In Conditioning Cream is another new favorite. I don't buy a lot of Cantu products, but they scored with this cream. I love leave-in repairing treatments and I love one that moisturizes as well as this one. Like with product 4, this one has the light scent of coconut - very light. The cream is rich enough that it takes only a bit to treat my hair.

1.75oz each sample
full sizes = $4.59 each

6. I will go ahead and tell you that I love Palmer's products so, even though, I haven't tried these samples of the Coconut Oil Formula Shampoo and Coconut Oil Formula Repairing Conditioner, I have tried Palmer's shampoo and conditioner before (and it might have been these). Getting these samples just reminded me that I haven't used Palmer's in a while. I definitely will be replacing my products with these when I need more shampoo and conditioner again.

4 pcs sample
full pack 24pc = $3.49

7.  The Scunci No Damage Elastics for Thick Hair are perfect for this box. Since the theme is thick, curly, and dry and or damaged hair, a no-damage hair tie is genius. Of course, I cut my hair and still haven't grown it out enough to use these! 😁

0.5oz sample
full size = $7.99

8. Being down here in Iowa where the weather is so humid and changeable between hot and cold, you feel as if you're being sous vide, you need good odor and wetness protection. This Clinical Strength soft sold from Secret is good stuff. I've used Secret before and even though I try to use mostly natural odor protection, every now and then, a gal needs her Secret. This one is scented "light and fresh" and is nice.

Other than that gunky funky Aunt Jackie's, I loved this box. Did you pick up on the coconut theme? Usually, the Target boxes sell out so fast you can hardly grab one. I think that a lot of people were surprised by the afro-hair themed products in this one. If you are interested, there were still some of these boxes left on the website when I checked last night. There is also a Target box for men (which is only $5). Nice.

Now that I have gotten rid of Birchbox, Walmart is the only subscription I still have. Maybe I will be able to catch the Target box when it comes back around.