Friday, July 24, 2015

**Issues with Email Updates**

I've had more than one person tell me that they are having problems with getting email updates of the blog.

This is one of those irritating issues that pop up from time to time - seemingly for no reason.

Please know that I am looking into how to fix this problem. Of course, Blogger doesn't always cooperate with me! I'm hoping that this is a glitch that I can clear up with tweaking the blog settings.

When you guys do start getting the updates again, I hope you will let me know.

Meantime, I really appreciate all of you who read the blog. Don't break up with me while me and the blog are undergoing repair therapy!

                                    Image result for Please don't go
...The city (or a blog with email updates that work!)


**REVIEW** J.R. Liggett Bar Shampoo Moisturizing Hair Formula

When I did the pre-review for the shampoo bars, I didn't think I was going to end up being so excited about them. Well, I am pretty excited now that I have tried the Moisturizing Formula.

I got both formulas to try - the Original and the Moisturizing - and, of course, I tried the Moisturizing first.

This is the first time that I have ever used a shampoo (bar or otherwise) that made my hair feel this good. EVER.

I read somewhere that, once your hair gets used to this shampoo, there might be no need for you to apply conditioner. I put this to the test from the get-go. The first time I used it (sans conditioner), my hair was not anywhere near as dried out as with regular shampoos. While it was still wet, it felt as if I had used conditioner. Once it dried, it was still softer than with other treatments, but needed a little boost of moisturizing spray.

The second time I used this, I didn't need any spray. That may be because the shampoo bar didn't strip my hair of the previously applied moisture. Actually, that is the whole trick to this product: it's non-stripping - no matter which formula you use. The moisturizing one has a boost of moisture to add to the effect.

Results after the third shampoo (and I was purposely shampooing a lot just to test this out), were phenomenal. My hair dried and I resisted putting in any leave-ins or other additional moisturizers. This shampoo passed the test with flying colors. I can add some spray for a little more softness boosting but, really, the only thing I need is to make sure that my scalp is well-moisturized.

It's really rare that I find a hair product that exceeds my expectations this way.

You guys know how I have been disappointed in finding leave-in treatments to soften and moisturize my hair, right? Well, who knew that I could have eliminated a lot of that hassle just by using the right shampoo?

Here's the bonus for me: I can actually wash my hair more instead of doing co-washing and just guarding like crazy against sweating. Seriously. I love washing my hair with this bar.

Bonus 2: I use this on my skin also.

I normally don't use soap of any kind of my face. I prefer cleaning with oils. Sometimes though, I will clean my face with a light and foaming cleanser. It's like a once or twice every other month kind of thing. I like getting the deep clean to take care of blackheads and such, but I hate that it takes my face a whole day to recover.

When I used this on my face, I did need to re-apply my facial oil, but my skin never got that tight, dried out feeling like it does with other soaps. As for my body, it was gentle and effective.

I have really scored in finding this shampoo bar. Can't wait to try the other formula.

My hair feels like it's being healed from its natural dryness. I plan to keep using this moisturizing formula for the next month or so (since I will be washing my hair more), then when I think my hair is completely "healed", maybe switching up every other washing with the Original formula.

If you are looking for something to re-nourish your hair and help keep it that way, you should consider giving one of these shampoo bars a try out. With my hair being 4B/4c and extremely dry, this is like a miracle product. Now I don't have to keep searching for every new leave-in product that promises to relieve my hair issues.

Since this is a non-stripping shampoo, hair color will last longer. I like that because I only dye my hair every now and then, but it never lasts past more than a few washes with regular shampoos.

A few more things to let you know about this shampoo:

  • It's not as long as the average bar of soap. 
  • I saw some reviews that said it didn't lather much. It lathered plenty for me. I think you have to wash rinse off the outer "skin" first.
  • Like any soap (or maybe more so), this will dissolve if left in water. I keep mine in a plastic baggy in between uses.
  • Some people advised cutting the bar into sections. That sounds like a good idea. I will be cutting my new bars, but I just used this one right out of the wrapping.
  • I read somewhere that each bar lasts as long as a 32-oz bottle of liquid shampoo. (Even if it doesn't, I'm thinking of what I save on conditioner!)
Since it might be a while before I post a review about the Original formula, I will list the ingredients for it now along with those for the Moisturizing one. Both bars are 3.5 oz. They are 

Moisturizing Formula   ($6.99)                         Original Formula ($6.58)
Olive oil                                                                 Olive oil
Coconut oil                                                            Coconut oil
Castor oil                                                               Castor oil
Pure New Hampshire spring water                        Pure New Hampshire spring water
Organic jojoba oil                                                  Sodium hydroxide (a binder)
Almond oil                                                             Essential oils for fragrance
Pure essential oils for fragrance                                    

If any of you do try any of the shampoo bars, do let me know how you like it (or not).


Thursday, July 23, 2015

**REVIEW** Day by Day Beauty Luxury Blotting Paper for Oily Facial Skin

Fact One: Oil can be good for the skin - any type of skin.
Fact Two: The problem for some skin is having too much oil.
Fact Three: For any type of skin, oil leads to shine.

I love oil. I love moisturizing my skin with it, and I love to clean my skin with it. What I don't like is when too much oil interferes with my makeup or with my efforts not to look like I'm having an oil slick breakout.

...are Day by Day's Luxury Blotting Papers.

Mine came in a 2-pack set with 100 sheets to each packet.

They're awesome for getting rid of that shiny, new penny look I sometimes get during the day. Even when I am using oil as my primary moisturizer (which is almost always), once I've absorbed all the oil my skin needs, I like to blot the excess.

Of course, I've used all kinds of blotting papers. Some have been good, some have not. Here's what I like about these by Day by Day:

  • They are thin but not flimsy.
  • One sheet does as good a job as 2 (or even 3) of some of the papers of lesser quality.
  • There's no powdery residue to mess up my makeup (or just look creepy on my bare face).
  • They don't stick to my face or tear (like one brand did, no kidding) when I'm blotting.
When I did the Amazon review for these, I rated them at 4 stars because I couldn't show 4.5 stars. The only reason I am withholding a half star might be because of something that's my own fault: I find it tricky to remove the sheets from the packet. Really. That's the only flaw with this product for me.

At first, I was concerned about the price. At the $9.97 Prime price, these are about twice what I paid for a brand from a local beauty supply store. Then again, that cheaper brand is the brand that was so flimsy the sheets tore while I was using them... And, to be fair, for 200 sheets of the Day by Day brand, the price works out lots better than I realized - especially since one works so much better than several of the cheapie kind.

And, if you think blotting papers can't make a difference in skin appearance, here's me...

No makeup, just blotted one side
The left side is blotted while the right side is not. This is a few hours after I had applied my morning facial oil. You can tell that the blotted side looks less lined and aged. There is a type of smoothing effect going on there.

I'm really considering going back and editing my Amazon review after using these more and more. I'm pretty sure that the slot on the bottom of the packet has something to do with making it easier to remove the sheets. Even so, that's not such a hassle when I get such good use from these.

Every year, the ladies in my family end up buying things for at least a couple of gift bag type presents - you know, for the folks who are hard to shop for, or for the extra people we invite for the holidays... I'm thinking that these blotting papers are going to be perfect additions to those bags. They are reasonably priced (for the quality), very handy - for men or women - and what I don't give away, I can always use.


(P.S.: I am going back over to edit my rating to a 5-star review. I found the little notch at the back that assists in removing the sheets... Doh!)

DISCLOSURE: DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Watch Your Mouth

Talking, over-talking, and just being a  little too loose with words is a subject that keeps coming up lately. My nephew and I were having a conversation the just yesterday about people who don't know when to shut up. Recently, I read in a Bible devotion about the mouth being all kinds of trouble.

I've been working hard myself lately to guard what comes out of my mouth. It's a challenge.

Image result for being a smart mouthWe are conditioned to believe that it's a sign of strength to "speak up" and be aggressive. The problem with that is, we've all lost our way and we tend to be bold when saying things that do no positive good, but we get real  quiet when we might ought to be shouting from the rooftops.

If you sit and think about it, I bet you can name the last time you "cracked wise" or "put somebody in their place" when it came to something silly. Can you tell me that last time you spoke up when it was not a popular thing to do? Go ahead. Take your time. I'll wait.
It's easy to "pop off" at the mouth when we are trying to be cute. We do it all the time in group conversations, on social media, or when we are at the club. It's not so easy when it comes to, say, speaking to someone face-to-face. one-on-one about something that could be life-changing.

Image result for being a smart mouth
The Lord knows I needed kindness
As a Christian, I am finding it easier every day to start biting my tongue and not always saying the first thing that pops into my head when someone makes me mad. (I'm finding it easier, I said, not always done.) What I still have trouble with is talking openly about my faith with someone who might look at me like I'm crazy.

My niece had guests in town recently. They are very dear friends of ours - like family, really. I wanted to share the Gospel with them, but they spent most of their time here out of town, seeing the sights. When I did get a brief moment with one of the ladies, I managed to ask if she "loved Jesus". She replied that she did and I told her that maybe the next time she comes to visit, she could go to church with me.

That exchange took all of 1 minute 10 seconds. Then we were interrupted with the noise of the kids and other people and other things. Life goes on, right?

I am getting better about sharing my faith with people, but I still get a little tongue-tied and nervous that they will be offended or react badly in some other way. Funny how I never worried about that when I shared other things with people. I can remember having had in my past some casual conversations about very intimate things with people. Sometimes, I wasn't even great friends with these folks.


What I am doing to "watch my mouth" these days is basic stuff:

  • Thinking before I speak is harder than it sounds. So much of what we do and say is habit. We've been conditioned to respond out of pride, self-defense and in thoughtless reaction.
  • Trying to first imagine how what I am saying is going to be heard by the person I am speaking to. If I am making a point, is my attitude drowning out my words? 
  • Trying to "keep it real", as folks used to say, while still keeping it true. 
  • Knowing that every sentence out of my mouth does not have to be an opinion. Sometimes, I learn more from what I ask than by what I state.
  • Realizing that conversations are made up of dialogue, not monologues. 
  • Understanding that anyone I speak to has their own ideas about a subject and might want to share them with me as much as I want to share mine with them. And that people want me to give as much thought to their words as I'd like them to give mine. 
This is stuff that I am still working on and I am reminded to work harder at it every time I fail. I fail quite a bit.

If there is one thing that I wish I had learned sooner (while my parents were trying to teach me), it is that being a "smart mouth" is not the same as being smart. Or kind, or respectful, or mature.

If any of you catch me "mouthing off" without decent motivation, please care about me enough to remind me that it's not "cute". From now on, my response to people who are being unkind is to say, "There. Feel better now?" (Just kidding. That is my self-defensive pride talking.) What I will do is try to be as patient with them as I would want someone to be with me.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

**REVIEW** Cozyna Dove 8-cup (4oz Each) French Press Coffee and Tea Maker

 How pretty is this French Press?

It is the Cozyna Dove French Press Coffee and Tea Maker, and I just love the way it looks, so the fact that it functions so well is almost just a plus.

The first time I ever heard of making coffee with the French press method was some years ago, but I didn't even know that's what it was called. My Polish sister-in-law would make her coffee by pouring hot water over grounds right in her coffee cup. She'd stir to get the strength of brew she desired, then just let the grounds settle to the bottom. I thought it was the craziest thing I'd ever seen someone do to coffee.

A few weeks ago, I bought a thermos style French press, but I wasn't very impressed with it. For one thing, I was sort of ugly looking, and it didn't do a very  good job of keeping such a large amount of coffee warm.

When I got the chance to try this product, I was attracted by a couple of things. It's very pretty, and it functions for tea and coffee. Kind of nice to have something nice like this to serve coffee to my occasional guests.

As for how this works, I have to say that it's easier than it looks. Pretty much, all I had to do was add the boiling water to the grounds in the carafe, stir, insert the plunger/press, wait a few minutes, then pour
The coffee was delicious and I like using this for when I don't want a 12-cup pot of coffee. It's not just the company's marketing chatter when they talk about the press extracting a coffee's "aromatic oils and subtle flavors" - that's something I experienced. I'm not a 'connoisseur' of much, but I know good coffee. This press upped the game of my plain old Yuban. I can't wait to try it with some fresh ground from beans.
And, like I said, it's really a nice way to treat my friends to coffee when they visit. When I made coffee for myself, I enjoyed having a nice, fresh brew without having to use a lot of coffee. Also, this keeps the beverage nice and hot for longer than I expected. When I started with a full carafe of coffee just for myself, I think it stayed hot for over half an hour before it even started to cool. It was still nicely heated when I was refreshing my cup at the end. 

Using this to brew my loose teas is a huge benefit. While making coffee is easy, it's tougher to work with my loose teas. I've been using all kinds of gadgets for brewing my teas, but this was the best method ever. I got way more flavor from the tea than I have with the other things I've used, and I can get even results with varying quantities. I think that's what I really like about this.

The press came with 2 extra mesh filters (1 more than I expected), and a handy little scoop for measuring out grounds.

I really do like this and will probably end up using it more for making loose tea than coffee when I'm not serving guests.

This is something that will make a nice gift for someone who loves their hot beverages. It's such an attractive item that it will dress up a coffee tray nicely. I'm happy I snagged this review. The press comes with a 1-year warranty against defects. 

Seriously a great item for the kitchen. I can't say enough how I will be whipping this out whenever I have company. It makes me want to bring out my nice china cups!

By the way, I noticed that Cozyna had some other interesting products on Amazon.


DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products at no charge in exchange for a fair and honest review. The products in this review were received via 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

**Pre-REVIEW Post** Shampoo Bars

Since I have had mixed results with the last few purchases I've reviewed, I thought I would try something different. Instead of just reviewing my next beauty product, I decided to give a little preliminary information.

I am going to be reviewing a shampoo bar soon. Maybe I'm just late to the party, but I had never heard of shampoo bars before. Unless you count the times that I had to use an actual bar of bath soap in place of shampoo. (Long story. Traveling, Bad motel. No shampoo... Yeah.) Anyway.

The other day when I was shopping on Amazon with the very last bit of my birthday money, I ran across this:
Sulfate- and detergent-free

Huh. Interesting, right? I mean, have you ever heard of this brand - or any other brand - of a shampoo bar? Me either.

For the last hair product I tried, I ended up feeling duped by the reviews I read prior to making the purchase. Too many glowing reviews for such a ho-hum product. This time, I read the reviews and still can't decide if I can hope for good, bad or just plain ugly results.

Some of the reviews (on Amazon as well as on other sites) are plain rude. There are people saying that the product made  their hair feel, look and smell horrible. Most of the rest of the reviews aren't bad. I keep gravitating toward the ones that claim the product will soften the hair and eliminate the need for using a conditioner. So... sign me up!

The most candid review I read was one that advised using the product for a while. The reviewer stated that it took her hair time to "get used to" the shampoo bar. A similar reviewer said that they hated the way their hair felt while wet (after using the bar) but that, once dried, their hair felt pretty amazing.

I'm kind of excited to try the product (or, rather, both formulas of it) because I do need a change in shampoos. Because, like a lot of women with my type of hair (4B/4C - or nappy/kinky/dry) I try not to strip the natural oils from it. It's for this reason that I don't wash my hair as much as I rinse or "co-wash" it.

The shampoo bars come in different formulations. I can't, of course, try all of them for now, so I have just ordered 2 of them.

This is the description for the Original Formula:
Refresh your shower and shave routine with this amazing bar shampoo original formula from J.R. Liggett. This old-fashioned formula was discovered in an old New England cookbook by the Liggett family who has since been creating these all-natural, safe-to-use bath products. Its unique formulation lathers and quickly cleans, leaving you with healthy, beautiful results. This sulfate-free product is safe to use on all hair and skin types with no risk of irritation. Enjoy this old-fashioned recipe with your family.
And this is for the Damaged Hair Formula:
Refresh your shower and shave routine with this amazing bar shampoo damaged hair formula from J.R. Liggett. This old-fashioned formula was discovered in an old New England cookbook by the Liggett family who has since been creating these all-natural, safe-to-use bath products. Its unique formulation lathers and quickly cleans, leaving you with healthy, beautiful results. This sulfate-free product is safe to use on all hair and skin types with no risk of irritation. Enjoy this old-fashioned recipe with your family.

The Damaged Hair Formula is also labeled on Amazon as a "Moisturizing Hair Formula". That's the main reason I wanted to try that one. Just in case the original one is not enough for this dry nappy mess of hair that I have. Also, I was thinking of the product reviews. I wanted to review at least 2 of the formulas until I can do more.

Yeah, so I'm pretty excited to see how these are going to work out and let the blog readers know about them. In the meantime, if you are interested in making your own shampoo bars, here are a few links I ran across:


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

**REVIEW** Aunt Jackie's Quench Moisture Intensive Leave-In Conditioner

If there is a really good hair moisturizer out there, I haven't found it yet. And I have tried several. This is the latest:
That's Aunt Jackie's Quench Moisture Intensive Leave-In Conditioner. Let me break that label down in light of my personal experience -

Moisture - Well, it's wet, so I suppose that's where that came from. It's wet in the bottle and still wet when I apply it. Wet = Moisture. Until it doesn't.

Intensive- I'm kind of mad that that word is even in the label next to "moisture". I am intensively upset with that.

Leave-In - That's true. You can leave it in. I could also leave talcum powder or dry rice in my hair. Same effect.

Conditioner- I dunno. Between this one and Miss Jessie's, I'd have to say that M.J's at least left my hair feeling conditioned once I washed it out. This one just washed out.

I think that my hair actually made the sound "quench" once this stuff dried...

I mentioned to someone that I will probably never stop looking for a moisturizer that actually works, but I have now actually put together a list of requirements:
  • Must actually leave my hair feeling moisturized once the product has dried.
  • Must not require that I take out small personal loans in order to purchase the product.
  • Absolutely cannot leave my hair feeling as if it's been shellacked so that it can double as a combat helmet.
  • It would be helpful if the product worked at least 1/2 as well as described.
Maybe the next product will be one by "Mama Sue" or "Sister Betty" but, hopefully, whoever produces it will be selling something that really works instead of just having a folksy name and nice backstory.

By the way, I'm irritated by the rave reviews I read about Jackie's on Amazon. I really wish that more people would be clear and honest when they do those reviews. Or that (for hair products) they are grouped by hair type. Or something.  I'm not saying that most reviewers don't play the honesty game, but I sometimes wonder if some reviews are written by people with some kind of agenda. (Or just really good hair.) I get products for free to review, yet I will tell the good, bad and ugly, no matter what. After all, that is the purpose of reviews, right?


You know what? Maybe I  should come up with a homemade formula under my Cosmetic Kitchenista line. Hmmm...  I could call it "Your Play Cousin's Remedy That Actually Works".


Seriously, about this Aunt Jackie's Quench (or, as I call it "Crunch"), it wasn't as bad as Miss Jessie's. Matter of fact, when I applied to to my towel-dried hair, it felt so good that I had high hopes. Then my hair dried and I was left with that slightly crunchy-not-soft result.

I wasn't ready to give up on good old Aunt Jackie yet. Since applying the product straight didn't work out, I decided to mix some in a spray bottle with a bit of water. Water = moisture. Result: Fail.

Still not ready to disown Jackie, I added a couple of drops of argan oil to the spray bottle. Result: slightly better - not because of Jackie but because of Argan.

I finally did give up on Jackie. Here's the thing, I am so disgusted that I'm not even bothering to return the product. I'm going to start a museum of failed product. Jackie's going right to the left just behind Jessie's.

The best thing I can say about Jackie's is that it is at least more affordable that M.J.'s product. It also didn't leave my hair feeling like a helmet, but it sure didn't satisfy my hair's thirst.

As a last word, I have to say that I am starting to get a complex about my hair. Maybe my naps are just so dry that I will need to walk around with a spray bottle of water? Or - and this is what is keeping me from total disappointment with products - I can just keep stocked up on this product (available at a local big box retailer):
                   Aussie Hair Insurance Leave-In Conditioner, 8 fl oz
I love other Aussie products (I've used the shampoo and 3-Minute Miracle), but had never noticed this one. When I saw it (and its price) at the local Walmart, I whipped out my phone and did a quick search of reviews.  (Then DJ accidentally knocked my phone out of my hand, so... )

Whatever. I went ahead and snagged a bottle of the Aussie Hair Insurance anyway. (Because, I can always return it easily). It was under $4.00 and I won't have a hard time restocking if I like it.

Verdict: This black and nappy sista just disowned the Jackie's and Jessie's to adopt my new favorite cousins from Down Under.


Monday, July 13, 2015

**REVIEW** MILLIARD 100% Pure and Natural Avocado Butter


.... is one of my new favorite products because, unlike a lot of multi-use skin and hair care products, this can be used by a variety of people.

It's 100% Pure and Natural Avocado Butter from Milliard.

Since this is the first avocado butter I've used, I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought it would be a lot like Shea butter, but I was hoping for something better. I was right on both counts. It is similar to Shea but it's a lot better IMO.
semi-hard butter 
that melts at touch
 Previously, I was okay with using Shea on my skin - or rather, parts of my skin, like my feet and elbows. Shea is just a bit too heavy and coating for me. No way did I like using it on my hair - not even on my scalp.

Avocado butter (or at least this brand) is everything I had hoped for in a thicker moisturizer. I love coconut oil (cooking, organic and fractionated), but it's almost too light for some uses. The avocado butter is a perfect match of thickness and absorbency that I am falling in love with for a multi-use product.

Let me just run down my experience with it in the different ways:

  • On my dry hair, it's a bit too heavy, but it's wonderful when applied sparingly to fresh-washed/conditioned/treated damp hair. 
  • On my scalp, it is amazing. It takes very little & I was able to part my hair in quarters, apply the butter, then just massage to spread around the moisture. (It's even better if you wrap your head in a plastic bag then apply a little heat with a warm wet towel or dryer.)
  • On my face as a cleanser, it worked nicely. I like that it's a little thicker than the other oils I apply and wipe away with a baby wipe because some of the moisture remains.
  • As a facial moisturizer, this works for me if I go light with it and use a little bit of warm water to massage it in. Otherwise, it's just much better used as a night treatment. I think it could be used for day if I were not going to be applying a foundation also. I understand that avocado is a great sunscreen. (Part of the product info online states: "Applying the smooth avocado butter as a natural sunscreen moisturizes and nourishes your skin while providing complete protection.")
  • As a cuticle cream this is SO good. 
  • For all over body moisturizing, I used this 2 ways. First, as a regular "lotion" type application (though it takes very little), this worked better than coconut oil because of the thickness combined with the absorbency. As a "deep conditioning" skin treatment, I applied some after a warm shower, then stood in under the heat in the bathroom for about 10 minutes. That was really moisturizing and is going to work well for days when I've let my skin get dehydrated.
  • Added to shampoo: this was tricky because I didn't know whether to add it to the bottle or just add it to my hair while shampooing. I opted for the latter. Results: wonderful. Did not leave my hair greasy or weighed down so I went ahead and did the conditioning treatment.
  • For hair conditioning: added a bit of the butter to my hair after I had applied my regular conditioner, then let it sit while I finished showering. Results: my hair was so "crispy" once it dried and before applying moisturizing product.
  • Added to my moisturizing product: I put a little in my palm to melt, then added my usual curly moisturizer. Results: either because of the shampoo/conditioning with the butter, my hair was really super soft. When it completely soaked in, I had a little more sheen to my hair. I still used my homemade leave-in spray. I liked the results, but this is where I learned that a little bit goes a long way. I had forgotten that I had added some of the butter (and some argan oil) to my homemade spray... In a couple of days, some of the oil should wear in! LOL
So there you have it. A wonderful multi-use product for all skin types (and possibly all hair types - hope someone out there will let me know!). 

Trust me when I saw that a little of this goes a long way. As a matter of fact, I highly suggest using the smallest amount first then working up if you think you need more. It would be easy to overdo it. The price is well worth it because even with using this for more than just my hair, I can get a lot of use from the 16-oz jar for $12.00. 

I got this for the Prime price and think that I will just do the "Subscribe and Save" deal for re-orders as soon as I figure out how often I'll need to restock.

By the way, when I checked out Milliard's Amazon page, I noticed quite a few "professional" use products for hair care. Worth checking out that Seller's page.


P.S.: I really have to thank my niece and nephew (J.P. and +Gabrielle B again for the gift certs. Best gift ever for someone like me!)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

**REVIEW** Cyclo-Dimethicone

Yes, I know. I didn't know what this was either. I still don't really know what it is, but I can tell you what it does for my hair.

This is what the product looks like:

This is This is Cyclo-Dimethicone - another one of the products I got with my birthday gift certificates, and part of my exploration into becoming a cosmetics kitchenista...

I got it because I was looking for something cheaper than the name brands items (such as those with the word "silk" on the label). My niece, whose hair runs more to a Caucasian straight texture, wanted something to condition and add shine and smoothness. For me, with my nappy locks, I was looking for something to add softness and a nice sheen. We both got what we want - though my niece has to dilute the product to keep it from being too heavy as a leave-in.

This is not a big bottle but, like I said, people with straighter/finer hair like my niece will need to dilute this with a little water before applying. I didn't dilute, but I found it worked much better when applied to wet hair.

I don't know enough about the product to know why or how it works, but I do know that it does smooth down my hair and locked in some of the moisture left from my water rinse. It also felt wonderful.

When my hair dried, adding more of the product didn't really help with anything but adding a bit of a sheen. For finer hair, the product works as well or better than the name-brand "silk" type products.

Where things got interesting was when I used this on my skin. I applied a teensy tiny bit to my hands just to see what the effects would be. The product felt amazing, but I didn't think that it did much moisturizing by itself. When I added about 3 drops to a 0.5 ounce tube of hand lotion, I loved the effects. The lotion is a good, plain, well-known brand and very affordable. Adding this product to the lotion gave my simple hand cream a little bit of oomph. The lotion became silkier and a smaller amount seemed to spread better than before. Very nice.

Though I intended to use this primarily for my hair, I think that I like it better for use on my skin. Like I mentioned, a little bit boosted my hand lotion, but I was in love with its effects body wide. After a shower, I used some regular moisturizer, then I palmed about 3 drops of the cyclo-dimethicone, rubbed it in my hands to warm it and spread it over my legs and arms. I went back and read the product description and, wow, I totally agree with the parts I boldfaced below:
Description: 100% mixture of 2 silicones dimethicone and cyclomethicone (octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane); silicones are polymers made up of oxgyen and silicon. Clear, viscous liquid, odorless. Insoluble in water, soluble in alcohol, dispersible in oils and fats. CAS# 9006-65-9, 541-02-6 and 69430-24-6. INCI Name: Cyclomethicone, dimethicone. Properties: Non-greasy conditioner for skin and hair. On hair: detangles and conditions hair, improves wet and dry combing, gives softness and silky gloss. On skin: gives softness, velvety feel and lubricity, better spreadability of emulsions, makes colors better dispersible (solvent). Use: Typical use level 1 - 10% (up to 50% possible), add to oil phase of formulas but do not heated over 50C/125F. Can also be mixed into emulsions after the temperature dropped to 50C/125F. Applications: Hair and skin conditioning products as shampoos, conditioners, creams, lotions, but also color cosmetics (e. g. lipsticks, lip balms, makeup).
What I haven't yet done, but can't wait to try, is to add it to hair conditioner. I might have to add some to the leave-in spray I threw together.

As far as how long this will last, I can't say. I think it will depend on what it's used for. If I were only using this for my hair, it would last a while. I tend to moisturize my skin more than I wash my hair, so... ~shrug~ I'll have to try to remember to let you know.

The only downside to buying these Making Cosmetic products is that they are not Prime eligible, and they cannot be returned. So far, I haven't wanted to return anything I've gotten from this seller.


Friday, July 10, 2015

**REVIEW** Vanilla Grapefruit & Coconut (fragrances by Making Cosmetics)

Instead of doing separate posts, I'm going to tell you about 2 fragrances from Making Cosmetics, all in one.
Vanilla Grapefruit & Coconut
First, my personal favorite of the two, is the Natural Vanilla Grapefruit fragrance.

Before I go on, let me share the Seller's description (with my boldfacing parts I want to highlight):
Blend of natural and synthetic fragrance, miscible in water and oil. High amounts may cloudy a clear product. Water-insoluble. CAS# none. INCI Name: Fragrance. Odor: Earthy, warm but fruity scent, well balanced. Use: Typical concentration in creams and lotions 0.2-0.5%, higher for shampoos and conditioners (1-5%). Miscible with other fragrances. Potential for discoloration of final product (dependent on cosmetic ingredients used). High amounts may cloudy a clear product. For external use only. Applications: All kinds of personal care products (e.g. creams, lotions, cleansers, shampoos, shower gels, conditioners).
I'm not sure I agree with the "fruity" part of the odor description. "Fruity" makes me think of "sweet" and this is not at all cloying. I smell the earth tones of the vanilla and the rind of grapefruit. It's a really nice combination.

The fragrance is so nice that I backed out of plans to use this as an additive to homemade personal care items. Instead, I am going to be using it almost solely as a perfume. Not only is the scent very nice, it lasts . Women who are older (okay, 50-ish) might notice how body chemistry changes affect perfume wear. For me, fragrances don't typically last forever the way they used to. Most go faint after and hour, then disappear almost entirely. This is why I have been using natural oils for fragrance. This one really lasts well and after I've had it on today for about 6 hours, I can still catch a whiff of it.

I will be ordering more of this so that I can (maybe) bring myself to use it in some hair care and bathing products. Probably, I will just keep using it all up as a perfume though! Also I have to mention that it takes very little of this to get a nice scent effect.

The Coconut fragrance is very plainly identifiable as coconut, no doubt. While some might like that for a perfume, it's my preference to use it as I intended with the Vanilla Grapefruit. I already added some to a hair moisturizer and I love the smell. The fragrance seems more potent than the V.G. scent. That might just be because coconut is such a clear fragrance. What I like about that is it took just 2 drops of it to scent one of my 18-oz bottles of (store bought) shampoo. The shampoo was originally fragrance-free, but I wanted something that smelled nice in the shower. I am going to also be adding the coconut to one of my scentless hair moisturizers that I am going to be using to make a leave-in*.

Here is the Seller's description of the Coconut fragrance:
Description: Blend of natural and synthetic fragrance, miscible in water and oil. High amounts may cloudy a clear product. Water-insoluble. CAS# none. INCI Name: Fragrance. Odor: Scent of coconuts. Use: Typical concentration in creams and lotions 0.2-0.5%, higher for shampoos and conditioners (1-5%). Miscible with other fragrances. Potential for discoloration of final product (dependent on cosmetic ingredients used). High amounts may cloudy a clear product. For external use only. Applications: All kinds of personal care products (e.g. creams, lotions, cleansers, shampoos, shower gels, conditioners).
Totally agree with their description of the fragrance. It's straight coconut, no frills, no distractions.

I could see the coconut fragrance being excellent in sesame or some other very light scented oil to use as a massage oil. The scent is definitely soothing and pleasant.  I like the idea of having that scent in hair products and bathing soaps (especially if I follow up with organic coconut oil as my moisturizer). This would also be nice as a room fragrance.

I think these are both wonderful products for adding to products or using as fragrances. I'm pretty happy that I was able to use part of my birthday gift certificates to try them out.

Speaking of "trying out" products, be aware that both these fragrances are labeled with this: "Item is Non-Returnable, Consists of Raw Materials".  And Seller tells you that right up front.

I also saw a notice of a "subscribe and save" offer for Prime members. It sounds like a great arrangement for thing like the Vanilla Grapefruit fragrance (since I would actually re-order this), however, since the Seller's products are not Prime eligible... :-(

If you are at all into being a cosmetics kitchenista (TM) Haha.. definitely check these out.


*I found several wonderful recipes online for leave-in conditioners. (I have to alert you to the awesome Naturally Curly site. Their recipes can be searched by options.) Some online recipes were from scratch, using pantry items, but my favorites were the ones using store-bought products. After checking out several recipes, I combined a few to come up with this for my use. (Keep in mind that I have, apparently, 4b/4c hair. It's very dry and kinky. I aim to ease breakage and add as much non-oily moisture as I can.)

In a spray bottle that will adjust to a fine mist (I got mine at Walmart for around a dollar), combine the following:

  • 8 oz water (bottled if your tap water is hard or otherwise not great)
  • apprx 1 Tbls Aussie Moist 3-in-1
  • apprx 1 tsp oil (I used olive oil in one blend and in another I used non-fractionated coconut)
  • a couple drops of fragrance oil
I tried the spray with the olive oil for just after I'd shampooed because it was a little heavier. For between shampoo upkeep, I did need to use a little more on my crown and nape.  I will be using the spray with the non-fractionated oil.

Next post, I will have to tell you how my Cherry Lola hair treatment went...

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

***REVIEW*** CJS Dash Mate Cell Phone Vent Mount

Sometimes I get to try a product that is just okay for me, but I can tell that it's going to be perfect for someone else.

very cool, yes?
That right here is the CJS Dash Mate. It's a vent mounted holder for cell phones. I will first tell you that it's a great concept, but why it's just an okay product for me: my car vents are awkwardly placed.

I drive a Honda Accord. I've always hated only one singly thing about that car: the vents. They are too high up for getting the heat or air conditioning aimed at passengers. Whenever I am in someone else's car, I get vent-envy. Seriously. This is Alaska, home of freezing winters and scorching summers. The only time I am comfortable in my car is on overcast summer days...


I have nothing negative to say about the Dash Mate. Not their fault about my car vent placement.

Now, for the Pros to this product:

  • Simple (deceptively simple) design
  • Easy to attach & detach to the vents
  • Held my heavy Note 4 with the also-heavy Pelican case attached
Even with my awkward vents preventing me from enjoying all the features (for instance, I can't really see the screen well enough when phone is mounted), I still like using this. It's cool to be able to keep my phone in view. I often forget and leave it in the car until my headset reminds me. Also, the only other convenient place to set the phone is on the passenger seat or crammed somewhere into the center recessed under the radio. I liked being able to mount the phone while it was charging without having that cord dangling around the gear shift.

This is such a nice, handy, simple product that I have to recommend it. My concerns that it would not hold my phone or that it would be too flimsy were calmed. I rode around for about an hour (on our infamously raggedy roads) without problems. It did take me a little practice learning to detach my phone without also removing the Dash Mate. 

The Prime Price is perfect, but the list price is too high.

Dash Mate has a 100% guarantee so you can get a refund or replacement for whatever reason. I can say that I had chance to communicate in general with the Seller before ordering the product and he was very courteous and quick to respond.


DISCLOSURE: I received this product via Giveaway Service in exchange for providing a fair and honest review.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Politeness Is Not a Weakness

Since I've been slacking on the blog due to some extreme fatigue issues, I thought I'd drop in for a rant. (Sorry. I will be back up with some reviews in the next week or so. In the meantime...)

What ever happened to manners????

I was on the phone with my niece earlier. She lives outside of Dallas and she was shopping at a local Costco. As she was cruising through the lot searching for a parking space, someone actually gunned around her to get to the one she had her signal on for. (By the way, my niece always uses a hands-free phone accessory!)

We were still discussing how rude people can be when my niece got into the store. As she was pushing her cart through the aisles, someone in front of her slowed down to look at something so my niece slowed down. She happened to notice that the lady behind her was not slowing down. She sort of lifted her hand to catch the front of that lady's cart. The woman just pushed into her hand and ran over the back of my niece's heel with her cart.

I heard my niece yelp. She told me that the rude lady only issued a " Sorry" because other people gave her curious looks.

This is not uncommon for someone living in a bigger and more crowded city. I think that my niece has just gotten used to it. Matter of fact, I think that she expects people to be rude.

Here in Alaska, one of the most positive aspects used to be how friendly people were. That all changed. I would say that in the past 10 years, Anchorage has started to resemble many of the places residents came her to escape.

What always makes me shake my head is that people have confused what's important. It's important to most people to be intelligent, high-earning, attractive - whatever they think is impressive. This is what children are being taught. However, not enough people are teaching (or using) good, basic manners.

I was with my little nephew in Walmart one day when he started coughing. I reminded him to cover his mouth. A moment later, he did something that prompted me to remind him to say "Excuse me." I hadn't noticed a woman standing nearby until she approached me to say how glad she was to see someone teaching a child common courtesies. We then had a brief discussion about the subject.

How crazy is it that something so basic as being a decent person can incite commentary?

It seems that the smarter and more intellectually advanced we become, the less we value basic decency.

Anyway, that's my little rant for the day. Let's go out and be kind to each other.


Thursday, July 02, 2015

Is DIY Beauty Going to Trend?

Um... my shade's not here

Have you ever thought about what all you're paying for when you buy beauty products?

When I do product reviews, I like to list ingredients. For myself, I tend to look at what's contained in anything that I am going to put on my skin or hair, but I haven't always paid as much attention to the proportion of ingredients.
I always have known that the reason some products are so expensive is that I'm paying more for packaging, advertising, and marketing than I am for the highlighted ingredient. For instance, when I purchase a moisturizing product for my hair, I'm getting a lot of water and other fillers along with a bit of whatever ingredient was listed in bold letters on the front of the jar.

The same thing applies to makeup and other beauty items. After all, the industry is about making a profit. Making a profit is one thing, greed is another. And, if greed is not a factor, then some brands need to look at cutting down on expenses so they can offer more reasonable prices. In the meantime, people will find ways around those prices...

Some time back, I quit buying the expensive "blur" cosmetics that were getting so popular. I tried a couple of the over-the-counter ones and loved everything about them. Except for the price.

Closer, closer, but... nope
What's nice about these blurring products is that they can be used with or without foundation makeup (unless you are dark like I am, then you have to tint it). I liked the way they just kind of evened out the look of my skin, took away the shine, and provided a sort of lightly Photo-shopped look to my face. All without having to coat my face with a ton of other products. If my favorite one of these products came in shades, I would love it even more. Except for the price...

Like I said, though, the price is ridiculous. I got my favorite OTC blur product free - courtesy of a L'Oreal gift box. Because I liked it so much, I bought some for my sister and myself. It's probably not a biggie for most people, but each 1-oz tube  ran close to $18. So...

What do you do when you like something that's too pricey? You try to find it at a more affordable price - or learn to live without it just like you lived before you ever heard of it!

I lucked out and found an alternative. This:
Wrinkle Blur - 1.0oz / 30g

That's Wrinkle Blur. LOL Even the name is straight and to the point. The actual name/description is more involved: Dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer (and) silica. But I paid under $11 for something that is going to last for months and months and months.

It works as well as the ITC products, but by a different process. Because it's a powder, I had to learn to apply it with a sponge. Best thing: I've already had this first one for 3 months and it looks as if I never used it.

The Wrinkle Blur product is one I found being sold by Making Cosmetics on Amazon. They also have their full site here with a bunch of products, information and formulation recipes.

When my niece and nephew gifted me with some Amazon gift cards, I wanted to check out some more "base" ingredients for hair and skin care. So far, I have ordered a couple of things that I will have to review once I try them out.
Not one of these match my complexion...

Of course, DIY beauty products take some time and effort. I think that it's worth it because it gives the consumer more control over ingredients and packaging. My specific DIY cosmetic goals:

  • Creating things that compliment my skin tone (since I can't find them OTC), such as...
  • lipsticks and glosses and
  • BB and CC creams.
  • Coming up with leave-in and rinse-out conditioners for my hair, and
  • Creating a moisturizer for my hair
I'm tired of spending money on foundations and lipsticks that I have to "tweak" before they compliment my skin tone. If the store brands can't help me, well I plan to help myself.

If anyone out there is already into making their own beauty products, I'd love to hear about your "recipes" and processes.