Saturday, November 17, 2012

Salon Grafix Conditioning Cleanser

A few months ago I tried a sample of Wen Hair Care in Sweet Almond Mint. Wen is a sulfate free cleanser for hair that's advertised on infomercials.


I liked the results and the scent of Wen but was completely unwilling to commit to the price. I believe the introductory kit is about $30 and you can reorder for $49.50 per shipment, not for me.


I found a drugstore knockoff of Wen called Salon Grafix Conditioning Cleanser in Citrus Creme. I've purchased Salon Grafix Dry Shampoo in the past because they make a version for brunettes and have been satisfied with the brand in general. Their Conditioning Cleanser retails for $7.99 for 12 ounces at Walgreens. I have very long hair and it took me about 2 and a half weeks to go through this bottle.

You apply it like regular shampoo but need to use more than normal. Since its sulfate free, it won't get sudsy like shampoo. This is a positive, there are many who believe sulfates are bad for your hair, its color and texture and that they could cause you to need to wash your hair more often. I massage the product into my scalp as well as the length of my hair. I use a wide tooth comb in the shower to comb through my hair and help work the cleanser through it and get rid of any tangles. Rinse and style as usual.


I find my hair is soft and smooth after use and I can go every other day washing my hair without it feeling or looking dirty or greasy on day 2.


If you like or are interested in Wen, I highly recommend trying Salon Grafix Conditioning Cleanser, what a great value! Check it out here.


This review is my own opinion, I did not receive products to test or compensation.


Monday, November 5, 2012

October 2012 NewBeauty Test Tube!

I'm a bit overdue with this blog entry but still need to share with you how happy I am with this quarter's NewBeauty Test Tube!

I look so forward to receiving this each quarter, as it is one of the best beauty values out there. I paid $29.95 plus $9 shipping and handling. Here's what was in the Test Tube:

  • IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye concealer - deluxe sample size 0.11 oz, full size 0.28 oz for $24
  • Moroccanoil Intense Hydration Mask - deluxe sample size 2.53 oz, full size 8.5 oz for $32.80
  • Dr. Brandt dark circles away collagen eye serum - sample size 0.085 oz, full size 0.5 oz for $55
  • CellCeuticals CellGenesis Eye Serum - full size 0.5 oz for $65
  • philosophy hope in a jar - sample size 0.4 oz, full size 2 oz for $39
  • Yon-Ka Anti-Age Masque No. 1 - full size 1.7 oz for $58
  • Olay Professional Pro-X Deep Wrinkle Treatment - full size 1 oz for $43.99
  • Kneipp Pure Bliss Mineral Bath Salt Red Poppy Hemp - sample 2.1 oz, full size 17.6 oz for $19
  • 😥 Kniepp Eucalyptus Herbal Bath - this was missing from my Test Tube. A sample was supposed to be included, full size is 3.4 oz for $20
  • A copy of NewBeauty Magazine retails for $9.95
  • Discount cards towards
The Test Tube comes with a handy guide that tells you about each product.




So according to my calculations...I received over $200 worth of products for $40.

A lot of what I receive in the Test Tube is new to me. They do a good job of mixing up cosmetics with skin and hair treatments mostly geared towards anti-aging. I keep wanting to subscribe to the QVC version as well but can't justify the $$$$. From what I've seen the QVC version includes more products from mally, philosophy and tarte. You can find out more about the QVC version by clicking here.

The magazine is a decent read, it's a heavy magazine that seems to be focused on anti-aging including cosmetic surgery. A section in the back of each issue is dedicated to profiling cosmetic surgeons in your region of the country. I like that the magazine gives suggestions on how to look younger with cosmetics, skin and hair treatments and not only cosmetic surgery. I prefer to think that if I take good care of myself I can avoid the cosmetic surgeon.

I highly recommend this....again! Find out more about the NewBeauty Test Tube by clicking here.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Review of Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains

These are hands down my new favorite lip products. I haven't been in love with a new lip product in a while. I've removed all other lip glosses and lipsticks in my purse and replaced them with Revlon's new Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains. They are large crayon style lip balms that leave behind a stain on your lips so if you can't reapply or don't want to reapply, you still have color on your lips hours after the original application.

Although I don't own any, many people claim these are a more budget friendly version of Clinique Chubby Sticks $16 or Tarte LipSurgence $24 both at

They retail at major drugstores and mass merchandise stores for about $8.99 and there are 12 colors to choose from. I own five Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains.

Honey- a light pink that is a perfect nude color for me without making me look like a corpse. Honey leaves a slightly brighter pink stain on my lips than the color when freshly applied. My favorite so far.

Lovesick- hot pink. This one is a bit too bright for me even in the summer but mixes well nicely with Honey to mellow out.

Romantic- an orangey red that leaves a more red stain than freshly applied color. This is a great stain color for me.

Adore- this color is similar to Romantic but is more of a brown based red with some sparkle. Applies nicely as a sheer brownish red.

Crush- my second favorite, a deep berry pink. A typical color for me especially for fall.

The balm stain goes on much like a lighter, more sheer lipstick. I'm not sure if it is supposed to be a lip plumper but there is a minty ingredient that provides a bit of a tingle, but much less so than Buxom Big & Healthy or LipFusion. Although these balm stains generally leave behind a more intense color than when first applied, the stain color doesn't appear intense because there is no shine. All colors generally stay on as balm for about an hour and when the creamy shine wars off I'm left with a stain that lasts for up to 6 hours.

The balm stain is pointy when new and twists up to advance. It will become dull after use as you an see my much used Honey next to fairly new Adore. These aren't able to be sharpened but I don't see this as a problem.

I give Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains 4.5 of 5 stars, can't wait to try the rest of the colors!


This review is my own opinion. I did not receive payment or products to test.



Sunday, September 9, 2012

Review of Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy Total Care Shampoo & Conditioner

I received a full size shampoo and conditioner to sample from SheSpeaks and to provide my honest feedback.

I wasn't sure how I felt about this line before I tried it. I was getting a bit sick of the shelf display at Walgreen's because it was motion activated and a woman's voice would ask you to stop and learn more about it.  It startled me in the store more than once.I also thought it was a bit overpriced at $5.99 per 12.7 oz bottle.

Total Care Nourishing Shampoo & Nourishing Daily Conditioner

I really like this shampoo and conditioner.  The shampoo and conditioner are both creamy and kind of a thick consistency and reminds me a bit of Pantene.  I don't have to use as much as other shampoo/conditioners and even though the formula is pretty thick, it rinses clean and doesn't weigh down my long hair.  I wasn't sure if I believed it at first, but my scalp really did feel cleaner than when I use other shampoo/conditioners.  The instructions tell you to apply the conditioner to the scalp as well, not something I usually do.  I washed my hair every other day this week with the Clear Scalp & Hair products and my hair/scalp was never greasy or stringy the second day which can be a concern with other products.

The scent was light and fresh and I'd definitely repurchase and recommend to friends.  For a drugstore shampoo, I'd rate Clear Scalp & Hair 4 out 5 stars.

Thank you to SheSpeaks for providing the samples for me to review.

Information about NewBeauty TestTube

I love a good subscription/sample box.  I don't even think this can be classified as a sample box because it is so good!

This box is from NewBeauty Magazine. It is a quarterly box that costs $29.95 + shipping and handling $8.95.  I've included a picture of the TestTube I received in April.

It usually contains 7-8 full size or deluxe sample sizes of high end products plus a copy of the latest NewBeauty Magazine.  They also share the code so you can read the magazine on your iPad or ereader.  Each TestTube also comes with a bunch of cards for SpaLook, they are good towards a purchase at  (keep this in mind, they're not gift cards).

I love this subscription service.  It is well worth the money and isn't too frequent. Usually you can pick out one full sized product that more than pays for the whole tube.  I get so excited about receiving it each quarter. Some of the best things I've received in the TestTubes are

  • full size MoroccanOil Frizz Control spray
  • full size Mally High Shine Liquid Lipstick
  • sample size Immunicologie treatment cream with VenoMAX
  • full size Mally Evercolor Shadow Stick
  • full size Memoire Liquide Amor Liquide.  
I just logged into my account and the Fall 2012 TestTubes are supposed to ship in early October!  

Check out this link to subscribe

Another thing, QVC also has a NewBeauty TestTube available on their site and on TV.  The QVC TestTube also includes a copy of NewBeauty Magazine but the products differ slightly.  I've considered subscribing to both but whenever I take a peek online to see what's in the QVC version, I see a lot of philosophy body care and scents and Mally products.  I like the NewBeauty version because I think it introduces me to more brands I haven't already tried.  

You can search for the TestTube at

Information about Cravebox-Limited Edition

I recently heard about a subscription service called Cravebox.  It is a box of sample/full sizes of products that are curated by Cravebox.  The box is monthly and usually costs about $10 including shipping and handling.  I've been placed on the wait list for the regular subscription boxes but have been lucky enough to receive a few of their Limited Edition theme boxes over the summer.

cravebox logo
I received the Limited Edition Summer Spruce Up Cravebox and their Summer Beauty box.  For the price, I wasn't disappointed by either box.

The Summer Spruce Up box contained

  • Bar Keeper's Friend cleanser
  • Mr. Clean Bliss latex free gloves
  • Sprayway glass cleaner plus coupon
  • Dawn Duo sponge cloth
  • Coupon for a free box of Glad tall kitchen Drawstring bags.
The Summer Beauty Box contained
  • Bic Soleil Bella premium disposable razor
  • Puristics Totally Ageless Intensive Eye Treatment
  • Tree Hut Shea Sugar Body Scrub
  • think Thin gluten free protein bar
  • Garden Botanika Oatmeal and Peppermint Body Bar.
I generally am a fan of subscription boxes and haven't gone wrong with Cravebox.  I like that they pack their boxes with more than health and beauty items and I can try items that are good for around the house.  I'd be more than happy to be off the wait list and on their regular subscription box service.  

You should give it a try.  They've recently posted a list of their upcoming Limited Edition boxes and maybe you can try one too.

Review of Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist Starter Kit

I got the opportunity to try Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist Starter Kit free through BzzAgent.  As part of the Glade Expressions Bzz Kit, I received a coupon for this product to try for free.

I picked up the starter kit at my local drugstore in the Cotton & Italian Mandarin scent.  I haven't been a frequent purchaser of home scents in a while because I think they mostly smell like chemicals and sometimes give me a headache.  I used to use the plug in type of home scent, or spray in the bathrooms.

I liked Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist more than I thought I would.  It has a soft, light scent that doesn't overwhelm you and can be used in any room of the house.  You can control how much spray is released by squeezing the top of the container together.  

I'd definitely repurchase this product and hope to try their other scents.

Thanks BzzAgent and Glade for providing this product to review!

Review of CoverGirl & Olay Tone Rehab 2-in-1 Foundation

I am a BzzAgent and received a full size CoverGirl & Olay Tone Rehab 2-in-1 Foundation and Pressed Powder to try and review for a new BzzAgent campaign. I was really excited to sample these products. I've worn the foundation all week long with mixed results. The Tone Rehab 2-in-1 Foundation is nice, smells pleasant and is a good consistency. It feels like it has a primer in it. The color Soft Honey is perfect for me.

I thought the product was much better and wore longest with no primer. The first time I used the foundation I applied it to my face without primer and it lasted about 12 hours. The second day I wore it to work with a foundation primer I found it applied nicely but after a few hours was sheer in my t-zone. I was thankful for the CoverGirl + Olay Pressed Powder to touch up the shine.

I think the Tone Rehab 2-in-1 Foundation might be a better fit for someone with drier skin or wrinkles, it was a bit too sheer and liquid-y for me. This might also be a good product to use when the weather is cooler and drier. I like the idea of a foundation that has a built in primer and look forward to trying it again later in the year. When I do, I will update this review. For summer use, I'd have to rate CoverGirl & Olay Tone Rehab 2-in-1 Foundation 2.5 of 5 stars.

Update 9/27/2012

I am revising my review!  I have been using this foundation for the past week and would like to edit the rating to 3.5 of 5 stars.  Why?  Now that the weather is a bit cooler and less humid, I really love this foundation.  It stays put on my face for 10+ hours without primer.  I tossed the pressed powder into my purse knowing I had a couple of really long workdays thinking I could touch up mid day and before any evening outings. On my longest workday this week I only needed to touch up once with the pressed powder.  

The finish is smooth, natural and blends well.  I usually apply liquid foundation with a brush but felt that the CoverGirl & Olay Tone Rehab 2-in-1 Foundation looked and stayed on better if applied by hand. 

I have looked at my local drugstores and Target and the price of this foundation is usually around $13.99.  I think it's a decent value and would repurchase again for fall/winter use.

Thank you Covergirl & Olay and BzzAgent for sharing samples for me to review!

Review of the Clarisonic Mia

Originally submitted 8/16/2012

It's been a while since I've blogged but I wanted to make sure I reviewed the Clarisonic Mia.  This is one of those products that can really change your skin and your skincare/cosmetics routine.

After a lot of reading and research about exfoliating face brushes, I purchased the Clarisonic Mia right after Christmas, so I've been using it 2x per day for 8 months.  Clarisonic claims that sonic cleansing can be 6x more effective in a minute than washing with your hands.  I was a bit skeptical but the claim is logical and makes sense to me.

Initially I followed the instructions and only used the Mia once daily because I did not want to over-exfoliate and damage my skin.  After a week I began to use it in the morning in the shower and in the evening after removing my makeup.

I could not believe the difference.  I couldn't stop touching my face because it was so soft and smooth! I feel like I have control of my skin again and that the skin care products I am using are more effective.  Why?

First of all, I can feel my skin care products working better than they had in the past. Washing your face with your hands and even with a washcloth leaves dirt, makeup and especially dead skin cells on your face.  This  material can clog pores as well as prevent your moisturizers, acne creams etc from getting to target areas.  For example, I use an alpha hydroxy acid cream at night and after cleaning my face with the Clarisonic I began to feel the skin tingle that you normally do with an AHA.  I hadn't felt the product working like that since I first started using AHAs years ago.

Also, I have fewer clogged pores and breakouts.  The dirt, makeup and dead skin cells are removed from my face daily and the few hormonal breakouts I have are more easily controlled.

I feel like the Clarisonic Mia helped to reset my skin back to normal.  Instead of being reactionary to my skin, the Mia wiped the slate clean and allowed me to start over from scratch. Before the Mia, I would have told you I had combination skin.  Now I truly believe I have normal skin but it was acting combination because of all of the products I used to use on my less than clean face!

Armed with my Clarisonic Mia, I feel less anxious about aging and turning 40 (soon enough)!

I'd give the Clarisonic Mia 4 of 5 stars.

Many of my complaints with the Mia seem to have been addressed with their newest model, the Aria.  The Aria uses the standard P Link Clarisonic battery charger but it's also USB chargeable now.  It also includes a drying/charging stand and a battery status light and has 3 speeds and a time setting you can change. I wish the Mia came with a travel case.

I really appreciate that all Clarisonic models (apart from the body brush on the PLUS) use the same brush heads!

Most Wanted List 8/19/2012

1.  Silk 'N Flash & Go or SensEpil Intense Pulsed Light in-home hair remover.  I am dying for one of these and may wait until the holidays to purchase.  I like to buy bigger ticket items through Sephora to ensure my status as a VIB each year.  I've researched the Silk 'N products and think I'd prefer them over the Tria Laser mostly because it seems more cost effective to buy replacement bulbs with Silk'N than replace the entire Tria as it doesn't have replacement heads.  Also the size of the treatment area on the Tria is much smaller than on either of the Silk'N products.  Flash & Go offers a 4cm head and the SensEpil has a 6cm head.

2.  Simply because it's new and offers new features, I want the Clarisonic Aria.

3.  Urban Decay Naked, Naked II and Smoked eyeshadow palettes.  I know, where have I been?  I don't even own the original Naked palette, but if you saw my eyeshadow collection you'd understand why I haven't dropped $$$ on these items.  Still lusting after them!

4. theBalm's Nude 'Tude eyeshadow palette.  I don't own this yet due to same reason in 3 above.  I love the consistency, wear and intensity of theBalm's eyeshadows and can't wait to own this palette.

5. A train case.  I was pretty close to purchasing one last year, I think it was a big Make Up For Ever kit that included cosmetics inside the train case but I decided I'd be better off applying that $$$ towards the vacation fund instead.  Any suggestions on a good train case?

Review of Keurig Vue Brewer

Originally submitted 4/27/2012

I was lucky enough to be chosen as a HouseParty host for the Keurig Vue. A few weeks ago I received the Vue brewer and the Party Pack.

Not having been a Keurig brewer owner previously, I wasn't sure what to expect. I've used other Keurig brewers in the past and liked the idea and taste of the individually brewed beverages but the Keurig Vue has exciting new features and a touchscreen display! The Vue brewer retails for $249.

  • Choose your cup size- you can buy Vue cups for regular sized (8-12oz.) or travel sized mugs (up to 18 oz.).
  • Choose beverage temperature
  • Choose brew strength
  • Choose beverage type- coffee, cafe drinks (cappuccinos with froth, chai latte, etc), iced beverages, tea and hot chocolate.

I love all of these choices and so do my friends and family. Let's face it, not everyone loves flavored coffee and no longer do you have to commit to a full pot! My friends & family members all like different beverages and are happy they have so many choices on beverage, brew strength, size and temperature. The coffee is high quality and so far my favorites are Green Mountain Breakfast Blend and Barista Prima Cappucino.

The Vue is brand new to market. I expect there will be new varieties of Vue cups offered soon. The price of the Vue cups varies, but I think around $10 -$13 per box of Vue cups is average. There are different quantities of Vue cups per pack depending on the beverage pack you're buying.

The brewer itself is really easy to use. One you fill the water tank and it has preheated, you follow the steps on the touchscreen to brew your selected beverage. This is where you can choose brew strength, size, and temperature. If your travel mug doesn't fit, you simply pull out the base and your mug fits.

I don't really have any complaints about the Keurig Vue. Some people have reported that the brewer is loud, when it preheats the water it sounds like an electric tea kettle but I think the noise level is fine. I was impressed that the brewer doesn't make a mess when using shorter mugs, thankfully there's not a lot of splashing or dripping, just be sure to have a big enough mug for the size you select to avoid overflows! The water tank can easily be filled a few different ways so you don't have to take the whole tank off if you don't want to.

If you register the brewer on you get a promo code to receive 2 free boxes of Vue cups with purchase of 2. I've used this as wells the Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupons to get better deals on the Vue cups. I also think they will soon make a refillable Vue filter soon so you can use regular ground coffee, not just the Vue cups.

I give the Keurig Vue 5 stars out of 5! I love it!

If you haven't already please check out HouseParty and! Happy Brewing!

Review of Hot Ticket Nail Polish in Better Off Red

Originally submitted 4/15/2012

I'm not really dying to photograph my feet but after getting a brief mention in last week's review I felt Hot Ticket nail polish in Better Off Red deserved it's own review and photo. This is a basic red cream color, no shimmer. The color is just right; not too orangey or too dark red.

I am also updating Better Off Red's rating to 5 of 5 stars! Why, you ask? 

  • Longevity: I applied this to my toes 15 days ago and I am stunned to report NO chips, cracks or fading!
  • Application: this polish went on really smooth and creamy and impressively opaque after one coat. This isn't always the case with a cream shade.
  • Dry time: Both coats dried quickly and had a shiny finish.
  • Variety of colors
In my last post I mentioned that The Sally Hansen Teflon Tuff line has been my go-to nail polishes. I think I own more than 30 of them and had been hoarding them because the line is discontinued. In general, Teflon Tuff had always worn the longest on natural nails without touch ups. However, I applied a Teflon Tuff color to my fingernails and noticed dulling, cracking and fading around the tips of my nails after 3 days. I used the same base and top coats with Better Off Red on my toes as I did with the Teflon Tuff on my hands.

After reviewing Goldfinger and Better Off Red I am thrilled that I was able to purchase them for $10 along with three other colors. Each polish retails for $10 each.

Be sure to check out thebalm and Hot Ticket nail polish at!

This review represents my own opinion. I was not paid or given any products to test for this review.

Review of Hot Ticket Nail Polish in Goldfinger

Originally submitted 4/7/2012

I'm reviewing thebalm's Hot Ticket Nail Polish in Goldfinger. I bought his color along with 4 others in a gift set and it's my first time using nail polish from this brand. As far as I can tell, Goldfinger and the other 4 colors are only available in thebalm gift sets. Each bottle of Hot Ticket retails for $10 but I was lucky enough to find this set of 5 polishes for $10, score!

The other colors in the set are:
Counterfeit - dark green creme
Dodged a Bullet - gunmetal
Better Off Red - red creme
Disco Ball - silver glitter

I was a bit hesitant to use these polishes but am happy to have them in my collection. I don't paint my fingernails that often because I have natural nails and have had issues with chipping and peeling. I have a pretty extensive collection of Sally Hansen Teflon Tuff polishes and have found they are the best long wearing polishes for natural nails but unfortunately the line has been discontinued.

I chose Goldfinger as the first color to test because I was curious and suspicious about the pigmentation. I was as impressed with Goldinger's pigmentation as I am with the rest of thebalm's cosmetics. The photo above shows 2 coats of Goldfinger. Sometimes with other nail polish metallics you have to use more than 2 coats for full coverage, not Goldfinger!
Another thing that was impressive about this polish is its staying power. The polish went on smoothly and dried pretty quickly. I applied Goldfinger over a Sally Hansen base/top coat and have been wearing it for 3 days. In this period of time I've washed dishes by hand a few times, washed and folded laundry, cooked a few meals, and helped load furniture into a pickup truck. The result? The very beginning of a small chip on my thumbnail. I can't believe that's the only damage I've sustained with all of this activity!
I give Goldfinger 3.5 of 5 stars. I am interested in trying more of thebalm's Hot Ticket polishes but am giving a conservative rating because I don't think Goldfinger is an everyday color.

I have been wearing Better off Red on my toes for the last week and would give it a 4.5 of 5 stars, no chips great bright and opaque color. Still shiny after a week of wear!
Take a look at for more Hot Ticket selections!

This review represents my own opinion. I was not paid or given products to test.

Review of African Black Soap

Originally submitted 3/24/2012

I've spent some time using African Black Soap and wanted to tell you about it because it's replaced some parts of my cleansing routine.  

What is African Black Soap? It's all natural soap usually made with ashes of plantain skins or cocoa pods combined with shea butter, coconut oil and/or palm kernel oil. You may find other natural ingredients like essential oils or honey. This soap looks, smells and is used differently than traditional bar soap. It doesn't contain sodium lauryl sulfate which is the artificial ingredient used in soaps and shampoos to create suds. Coconut and shea are ingredients that saponify or have a soap like sudsing quality. There are suds in African Black Soap but they are all natural.ABS is dark black due to the use of ashes and a bar of it kind of looks like a fudge or candy bar.

Be prepared, ABS can be messy. This soap when wet will produce brown water drips. For my face, I usually rub my wet Clarisonic brush head into the bar of soap to get some on the brush and splash a bit of warm water on my face. For shower use I tear off a small chunk of ABS and use it for my body. This is also the kind of bar soap you need to protect, if you leave it out in the open in the soap dish in your shower it will melt away quickly. I bought a travel soap dish and keep it under my sink and after 2 months of use, I still have about half of a 150 g bar left. The attached photo shows my ABS bar in use. If you like liquid soap you can also tear off a chunk and put into a bottle with hot water to make liquid soap or shampoo. Let it dissolve overnight and shake it up to mix. The mixture will be thinner than regular liquid soap and may need to be shaken periodically to mix.

One important tip is to remember to use warm or hot water with this soap. It takes warmer temperatures to rinse off the shea/coconut oil. If you use ABS with your Clarisonic or other face brush make sure to clean your brush with hot water regularly to rinse off the residue.

I like this soap and feel it's worth the special handling and change in my routine because it cleans my skin really well and then moisturizes immediately with the shea/coconut oil. I have combination skin on my face and I think that this soap really balances out my skin. I haven't been overly oily or dry or had any major breakouts since starting to use the ABS. I feel like any breakouts I've had have healed much more quickly and old marks are beginning to fade. The texture of the skin on my face and body is smooth and soft. I can skip the all over body lotion when I use ABS, I focus on moisturizing feet, knees and elbows.

ABS has a very earthy, natural smell that is not unpleasant. I give African Black Soap 4 out of 5 stars and will continue to use for my face and body. I like how effective this soap is for cleansing and moisturizing without all of the chemicals found in more widely used soaps. I don't know what all of those chemicals are for and am of the opinion that sometimes those chemicals can send my skin into a tail spin. I would much rather strip down my skin care routine to the basics instead of constantly react to how my skin is acting due to chemicals.

One word of caution, this soap tends to burn more than traditional soap if you get it in your eyes or up your nose, just be ready to rinse!

If you plan to try ABS make sure to buy one that is truly from Africa and read the ingredients. I like the ABS at, linked below. Please also read about their Project Ghana. They sell a chunk that is nearly 1 lb. for $11.49 or look for the smaller bars on their site.

This product review represents my own opinion, I was not paid or given any products to test.

Review of Banana Boat Soothing After Sun Spray Gel

Originally submitted 3/19/2012

Recently I was on a beach vacation. Although I did my best to stay protected under my straw hat and under layers of sunscreen, I still managed to get a bit of sunburn on my last day at the beach.  I was so happy when I remembered that I had packed after sun spray.  I really loved Banana Boat's Soothing Aloe After Sun Spray Gel and I would rate it 4 of 5 stars.

I've used aloe gels for sunburn in the past but I prefer this product. The spray smells light and fresh and has an added cooling effect I think simply because it's a spray.  I also found the product to be very moisturizing, so much so that I continued to use it after the sunburn went away.  My husband loved it too!

This product review represents my own opinion, I was not paid or given any products to test.

Review of the Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System

Originally submitted 3/18/2012

About 2 months ago I purchased the Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System as an alternative to the Clarisonic Mia that I already own.  I will post a review of the Mia soon.  I really wanted something easier to travel with than the Mia and its charger.

In general I would give this product 3.5 of 5 stars.  I like that I can travel with it but wish it would have come with a case.  I first remove the batteries and put it in a zip up cosmetics bag that is lined so I can easily wipe it out.  I appreciate that it offers 2 speeds, but find them both a bit weak.  In fact, when I use this brush I often find I have to use a washcloth afterwards to remove dead skin that's been loosened.  I feel that the Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System brush helps to loosen dead skin but doesn't really do a great job of removing it. I don't have this issue with my Clarisonic Mia.  In all I like this product and am glad to have it as part of my travel kit.


  • Compact
  • Runs on 2 AA batteries
  • 2 speeds
  • Can be used in the shower
  • Easily packed for travel
  • Replacement brush heads are 2/$10 and available at mass retailers
  • Price


  • Brush head spins and can tangle hair
  • Does not incorporate sonic technology
  • Would like a faster speed
  • Would prefer larger brush head
  • Doesn't do as thorough a job as the Clarisonic Mia

This product review represents my own opinion, I was not paid or given any products to test.