Monthly Archives: March 2015

BYE BYE LOVE- Discontinued favorites and what to do.

We’ve all been there. A beloved product that we use faithfully for years and years is one day yanked from the shelves never to be seen again. When this has happened to me, I’ve felt frustrated and betrayed. Sometimes being a dedicated customer can feel very thankless.

This is why I rarely buy limited editions- I don’t want to get hooked on something that I can’t replenish. I have also ceased purchasing from companies that discontinue fabulous items too regularly (Lancome, I mean you!) It’s like going back to a commitment phobic boyfriend only to be burned over and over again.

WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO?

If your favorite product has been discontinued there are a few things you can do.

  • Buy up as much as you can on line before all stock disappears forever. Try Amazon and Ebay- but just make sure it’s in a sealed package. Once you’ve got your supply, keep in a cool, dry place, or possibly the refrigerator to keep any oils in the product from turning over time.
  • Write to the company and tell them how devastated you are and why you want them to keep your product on the shelf. Posting to a company’s facebook page will usually get you in to conversation with someone more quickly than a phone call or email will do.
  • Have it replicated. Since discontinued favorites are so common, some companies are filling a niche for disenfranchised consumers by offering replica services. You send in whatever last little cherished bit you have left in your tubes or compacts and they will copy it for you (and return your original). I believe they also keep your formula on file for re-orders. I haven’t done this yet, so I don’t know how close the matches are, but it’s worth a shot! You can try Giella or Three Custom Color for replicating all different types of cosmetics. You can also try Bite Lip Lab and make your own custom color that might be even more perfect for you than the one you’re missing.

54601.baseI suffered two big blows in the discontinued department in the last year or so. The first was my number one drug store secret of all time—

1. COVERGIRL LIPSLICKS. These tinted lip balms were absolute genius (yes, “sheer” genius). The colors were flattering and natural looking, the consistency was rich. They felt so good that I often put them on for the sensation alone. To top it off, they were mildly scented with an innocuous, classic kind of “lipstick” scent…the kind that made you feel that little twinkle of being “put together”. Then there was the way they looked. First of all they had great colors- Hipster had that perfect plumped plum, flushed lip color with a subtle glossy finish, Daring was similar but somewhat deeper, adding just a little more drama with it’s extra dash of red, Bronze Goddess was wear-it-all-summer-long, sun-kissed, natural-beauty, girl-next-door perfection, and even the Clear had a subtle shimmer through that created the most amazing, glowy, natural, smooth, diffused, full pout. The finish on these bad boys was spectacularly flattering.

Then they got yanked. To make it worse, they were replaced by a junky product called “Smoochies” marketed to, it would seem, 12 year olds. Smoochies come in flimsier containers and the colors are all named in cringe worthy “text speak” like “Luv U” and “Text Me”. They are lip glosses for little girls who are most likely buying and wearing make-up for the first time. They are lip glosses that I would be mortified to use as a grown woman. The consistency is also much thinner. Basically they feel, smell, taste and look…CHEAP. Covergirl dealt it’s loyal followers a big hit below the belt with this one.

Help me out and vote to bring it back so that you too can enjoy its wonders! http://www.covergirl.com/beauty-products/discontinued-products/lipslicks-lipgloss

LOreal-Healthy-Look-Dark-Golden-Brown-Creme-Gloss-Hair-Color-P149519132. L’Oreal Healthy Look semi-permanent hair color. I’m a hair color dabbler. I have premature gray and I have mixed feelings about it. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I want my hair Brown! Brown! Brown! I’m also pretty low maintenance. I don’t want to be dependent on a salon or someone else’s taste level as to what a beautiful brown really is (I have my own very strong opinions about this, thank you very much). I also don’t want to to struggle with roots or have to grow my hair out (with roots!) or deal with arduous alterations in the event of a permanent hair-coloring disaster. So, I use semi-permanent color that fades away over time. With these you have no major root issues and the color mellows and washes out gradually over the course of a month or so, thus preventing any embarrassingly unnatural look. They are also a lot gentler on your hair. (I will write more about semi-permanent vs. permanent box colors in another post)

The problem is that only a very few companies make semi-permanent hair color. I tried Clairol Natural Instincts and no matter which light brown to dark blonde color I tried, I always ended up with black hair that faded to a brassy orange. (Ironically their “Brass Free Brunettes” line made my hair the brassiest and most orange!) There are some glosses, but they never quite last and have very limited selection. And then there was L’Oreal Healthy Look. Healthy Look had good browns! There were no dramatic aberrations between promised color and actual color and it faded beautifully. And now it’s gone!! Can you imagine how many women have just been deprived of a product that they were desperately dependent on? I wrote to L’Oreal and they said it just wasn’t selling well enough. I asked them to consider that they could repackage or hone their colors, or make their coloring system easier to understand (it’s not very easy to understand and I was often very confused). They could also just manufacture in lower quantities, right? Well, they yanked it and with NO WARNING WHATSOEVER. It’s cruel, L’Oreal. Just plain cruel.

I will now begin the painstaking process of developing my own color with Redken professional colors. Hopefully I can figure it out before my ebay stock of Healthy Look runs out! Here’s hopin’…

HAIR TO DIE FOR: A Miracle Product That Actually DOES Something!!

THE GIST:

Peter Thomas Roth’s “Hair To Die For” actually stops fallout.ptr-213_1z

THE DETAILS:

My hair used to be absolute perfection. Fine strands, but lots of them, with natural wave, great length and fullness. I could make beautiful braids and perfect “Jessica Rabbit hair”. But over the years it has thinned, consistently and substantially. This happened to my Grandmother and my mom, so when it started happening to me, I figured it was my genetic fate, often exacerbated by times of extreme stress, which then exacerbated my stress about my hair!

I’ve taken measures like adding a filter to my shower head and, of course, trying a gagillion products all claiming to enhance scalp and hair health, revitalize follicles, thicken strands, prevent fallout, etc… I’ve (sheepishly) tried Rogain and Nioxin. I’ve taken supplements like Viviscal, fish and Omega oil formulas, and other “hair-health” vitamins. I’ve also explored stress-reducing practices like mediation, breathing exercises, yoga and many others of that ilk. None of these things seemed to have any effect on the trajectory of my hair situation.

Well one day, being a fan of Peter Thomas Roth products, I was perusing their site and came across this “hair to die for” stuff. I read some reviews and, like so many others, justified the price with “well, it’s my HAIR!” (I was also sure to purchase from Sephora because of their no-hassle return policy.)

I am shocked to report that from the day I started using it, my fallout decreased dramatically. I’ve been shedding like crazy for over 15 years. I keep a drain protector in my shower to prevent clogs, which is great…but, much to my chagrin, it has also shown me just how much fallout is really happening on a daily basis. I’m now on my second bottle of PTR’s Hair To Die For and in very short order, my fallout has essentially been reduced to only a few, nearly unnoticeable strands.

Here’s what it’s changed:

  • I now have little to no fall-out whatsoever.
  • I no longer have impossibly oily hair on the days that I don’t wash it, which means I no longer need to wash it every day. A tiny bit of dry-shampoo (I actually just use pure rice starch) gets me through a no-wash day swimmingly. This has never been my reality, not even when my hair was awesome.

Here’s how I use it:

One to two times per day (morning and/or night) I take a dropper full and touch it to the root of my scalp, dragging it all around, squeezing gently so that a little bit dispenses as I go. I work horizontally in rows from the top down to make sure that I get a good, even distribution.

What I don’t like:

  • It is HEAVILY perfumed—almost shockingly so. In fact, when I apply the product at night, the smell actually wakes me up if I get a whiff of it. The fragrance is pungent and very specific, like a strong, very cheap perfume. I was highly irritated by this clumsiness on the part of PTR. I expect higher end brands to have a little more grace and taste. When it comes to scenting myself, I select very specific perfumes and oils made for the specific purpose of being a perfume. It irks me to no end when products whose purpose is not to be a perfume nevertheless take it upon themselves to scent me! It irks me even more when they overpower my actual perfume of choice with cloying, heavy handed, cheap smelling fragrances. I mean, is this really necessary?!
  • Sometimes my scalp can feel a little itchy. When that happens I reduce use to only once per day. I’ve only been using this second bottle about once per day and the effectiveness has remained the same.
  • The bottle is opaque, making it hard to see when I’m running out!

Overall the product is so effective that I have resigned to desensitize myself to the perfume as best I can, while hoping and praying that PRT improves this flaw in the future. I will also continue to spend a rather substantial amount of money on Hair To Die For becausepinch me—it actually works!

BOOTS: New Skin Treats From An Old-School Brand

THE GIST:144978072

1. Do yourself (and your face) a favor and get to your nearest Walgreen’s or Duane Read for the incredibly affordable, high quality Boots Botanics Organic Facial Oil!

2. Boots has put out a few good quality products at a great price point that are definitely worth checking out. I’ve listed them in order of my personal enjoyment of each:

  • Botanics Organic Facial Oil—amazing moisture, high-quality, clean and simple organic ingredients, great price. Perfect replacement for Dr. Hauschka Normalizing Day Oil. As always, make sure you are not reactive to any of the natural oils before use, since even natural and essential oils can be irritants to certain skin sensitivities. Ingredients-wise: much better than what you would expect from a mainstream, drugstore product.
  • No.7 Fanomenal Lashes—quick and easy application, gives my lashes instant, full, furry, wow-factor at a drugstore price. I love the brown/black for a more natural look. Very impressive. I actually use this every day. Ingredients-wise: well…it’s make-up!
  • Botanics Tinted Lip Balm—very comfortable, moisturizing balm with great tint. I have “pomegranate” which is a very natural, reddish-berry, flushed lip color. “Botanics” is a stretch here though. It is not organic and has some good ingredients mixed with some of the not-so-great stuff. Ingredients-wise: what you would expect from a mainstream, drugstore cosmetic.
  • Botanics Organic Body Moisturizing Lotion—while I’m not totally amazed with the feel of this lotion (a little greasy/sticky), it’s ingredients are safe and organic, which is a big plus. If you’re concerned about the toxicity of main-stream products but can’t afford really posh brands like Dr. Hauschka or Jurlique, this is a great alternative and it’s more affordable. Ingredients-wise: much better than what you would expect from a mainstream, drugstore product.
  • Botanics Organic Body Butter—this one also has a slightly less than perfect feel, but I’m more comfortable using this over another body butter like The Body Shop’s simply because of it’s non-toxic ingredients. It’s also more affordable! Ingredients-wise: much better than than what you would expect from a mainstream, drugstore product.

THE DETAILS:

I’m obsessed with deeply moisturizing skin-care products. Dry skin is so uncomfortable, plus it can look cracked, deflated and flaky. But I don’t like things that just sit on top of my skin or feel greasy (there’s a difference between oil and grease in my book). I also don’t like products with too many ingredients- especially chemical and synthetic ones. The products that fit this bill are few and far between and often carry a hefty price tag. Historically, the unparalleled products I have sworn by for deep, healthy moisturizing that my skin gladly drinks up are:

  1. Dr. Hauschka’s Normalizing Day Oil—a luxurious, organic, sophisticated and exquisitely, naturally scented oil.
  2. BoomSilk*—a thick and rich, all natural, organic, hand-made moisturizer.

While BoomSilk continues to be a mainstay product that it would be hard to live without, Dr. Hauschka’s products, with their exorbitant price point, have become a rare treat that I indulge in only when I’m feeling flush.

Well…over the course of the last few years, the Walgreen’s and Duane Read stores of New York City have been getting a major make-over, filling their shelves with some thoughtfully curated beauty products to help customers with their own make-overs. One day I happened into one of these fancy new Walgreen’s and came across a make-up line with very attractive (and effective!) packaging that drew me in for a closer look. At first glance it appeared to be a brand call BOTANICS. Skeptical, I investigated further, reading ingredient listings and sampling available testers. It looked promising and I was intrigued but, being in a rush, I had to make note of it for a later revisit.

Then, while perusing my local Duane Read, I noticed similar packaging in the skin-care aisle, but these bottles and boxes said BOTANICS ORGANIC. I honed in on a little bottle called ORGANIC FACIAL OIL. I was at once excited, hopeful and skeptical. But I read the ingredients and, not only were they few in number, they were high in quality. To top it off, it was eight dollars! (Dr. Hauschka Normalizing Day Oil is a whopping $40 for 1 oz.) Upon first use, I was madly in love and totally devoted. I keep a bottle in my bathroom cabinet, one next to my bed, one at my boyfriend’s house and one in my kit. LOVE!!!

ABOUT BOOTS: Shortly after discovering the facial oil, I did some research and found that the brand is a subsidiary of Boots. I went to a job and raved about it at which point the British stylist and model said, “Oh, it’s Boot’s?!” You see, Boots is a ubiquitous, English pharmacy chain, founded in 1849. It’s cosmetics don’t exactly have the highest reputation in England, being considered kind of old-hat, but after partnering with Walgreen’s in the US in 2012 it seems they’ve done some revamping, first with their No.7 line and now Botanics and Botanics Organic.

After writing a positive review on the Boots site for the facial oil, I received a lovely note from one of their representatives saying how glad they were that I was enjoying the product. They eventually sent me some other things to try. Overall, the facial oil remains the one that truly blew me away, but the products I’ve listed here are those that I found to be noteworthy and deserving of recommendation.

*Full disclosure: BoomSilk is part of my mother, Cindy Joseph’s, Boom! line. Objectively speaking, however, she has put out an awesome product that we both swear by and use every day. 😉