Friday, July 1, 2011

Thoughts and Observations of a Total Product Junkie

I’m beginning to realize that this blog is less about empirical facts related to beauty care products, and more about my own attempts to live in a more body-friendly, eco-friendly way, and to document these attempts. And the failures.

But dang, peeps, this is HARD! I am, by nature, a big ol’ product whore. What can I say? I like girly stuff. I’m a big sucker for all of it. I am exactly who they’re all marketing to. In fact, here is a true story that happened last week:  I told my daughter that I was going to Sephora, because I had received a card in the mail for something free, so I was going to pick it up. She questioned why they would be giving out something for free. (Yeah. You read that right. She questioned it. I, on the other hand….) I told her it must be from my bonus points. (Sucker.) So I go to Sephora, and just before I get to the door, I decide to read the card. Guess what? This item is free with a $25 purchase, which is not free. But that doesn’t slow me down. I need mascara anyway, so whatever. 

So, I get the mascara (they were out of my color, so I figured what the hell! I can try a new color! Lesser junkies would have held out,) and still have to spend some money (like, six bucks,) to get to $25. So what do I find? Josie Maran blush for $22. Yeah. I’m sure you’re doing the math on that. (The BEST part is that part of the “free” gift is the exact same mascara I just purchased.) So, I get to the register, make my purchase, and find that I have 446 points. I look to my left, and see that the 500 bonus point gift is….prepare yourself…a Phyto hair care set!! It included a hair masque, (that’s right! It’s French!) spray conditioner, (OMG!!) and shampoo! But alas, I did not have 500 points, I only had 446. Well, you know what I had to do.
The moral of the story is that I spent $70 on free shit at Sephora. However, it is all (well…mostly) very clean (ok, somewhat clean,) and I plan to do product reviews here. So it’s research, right? Right? It’s my responsibility. Right? I OWE it to you.

The main thing I’ve learned, especially about hair products of every type, is that the packaging and sales clerk will tell you that a particular company is super-squeaky clean, but the ingredients list is the ONLY thing you can believe.  It’s not that I think these clerks are lying, it’s that I don’t think they’ve done the research to understand that for a product to be “clean” it means more than just being free of parabens. I think the companies’ sales reps come and tell them how clean their products are and why, and the clerks believe them. (This is true of pretty much any type of product. You have to read the label, always.)

As I mentioned before, my hair is a train wreck since I’ve started this quest. Right now I’m using Phyto Inergy shampoo and Phyto Nectaress conditioner, and it’s pretty good. My hair feels clean again, and I can make some styling attempts if I’m not too damn lazy, which I am. But let’s face facts; it’s summer. I’m not working that hard at it. The good news is that it works pretty well, and it is free of SLS. The bad news is that it has parabens and fragrance. (Actually, my daughter and I both hate how it smells.) The bad ingredients are way down the line on the list of ingredients, but there are a lot of them. Having waved the white flag on “clean” hair products, I’m just reasonably happy to have clean hair again. The spray conditioner from Phyto is nice. It works well, and I like it for days when my hair has been heavy from too much conditioner and I want to skip that step. I haven’t used the rest of it yet, but I will and I’ll let you know.

As far as empirical research goes, I’ve recently come across an interesting article about nail polish, and how it has replaced lipstick as an economic indicator: 

I’m just gonna go ahead and disclaim now that I’m a complete nail polish junkie, despite the fact that it’s filthy with chemicals. I mean, think it through. All you have to do is crack open a bottle and breathe, and you have to know there’s a bunch of shit in there that’s bad for you, but I don’t care. I love the colors. (And now my friend Anna is going to correct me, or inform me, because she knows a lot more about this than I do.)
And my lovely friend Angie forwarded this article to me about how lip gloss is the most dangerous cosmetic because of the levels of heavy metals they may contain. I had known about lead in lip products, but I hadn’t known about how high the levels of cadmium can be!

I have some product reviews on some of the products that most people ask about, and I’ll make them quick. These are products that I have personally tried. Some I liked, some I loved, some I hated or was indifferent about. Again, before you buy anything, read the labels. My line in the sand keeps moving (mostly toward the more conservative end of the spectrum) and these are products I’ve tried over a long period of time. Plus, my line is different from yours. You may be more reasonable than me.

  • ·         Yes To Carrots Smoothing Daily Cleanser:  I didn’t really like it. I barely touched the bottle
  • ·         Yes To Carrots Daily Repairing Moisturizer: Didn’t like it. It’s heavy and it smells like Vaseline Intensive Care.
  • ·         Burt’s Bees facial cleanser and moisturizer: Again, heavy and smelly. The Radiance Day Lotion SPF 15 is really heavy and almost sticky. And it smells funny.
  • ·         Weleda Rose Facial Cleanser: Could not get past the strong rose smell, but it worked ok. If you are ok with the rose fragrance, it’s a good cleanser and you can get it at Target.
  • ·         Amazon Organics Daily Facial cleanser: I love this product. Face feels clean and a little bit tight.
  • ·         EvanHealy Rose Cleansing Milk: I like it, but I hate the smell. It is heavy and creamy; most of the time I don’t need a moisturizer afterward, which is a bonus, but it has a lemony-rose smell that really smells like Pledge.
  • ·         Avalon Organics Ultimate Moisture Cream: Love it. Love it. Love it. Light, but long lasting.
  • ·         EvanHealy Rosehip Treatment Facial Serum (Blue): It’s not blue, I have no idea why it says blue. I like this product, but it’s pretty oily. I haven’t used it in the summer because it’s so heavy; it’s really a winter treatment for me. Someone with very dry skin could probably really benefit from daily use.
  • ·         EvanHealy Blemish Treatment Roll-on: Love this. I’ve had it kill a zit within 24 hours.

Now here are some items that I’ve used, but aren’t asked about regularly. Still, they’re part of my routine, so here goes:

  • ·         Be Fine Exfoliating Cleanser: I like this for an exfoliator, but I don’t exfoliate often. When I do, this is a good product, but it’s pretty scratchy. I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone whose skin is easily irritated or who breaks out easily.
  • ·         Botanics Conditioning Clay Mask: Love it, but it turns my face blotchy & red for a little while afterwards. It feels really good, though. Until someone asks if I got punched.
  • ·         Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength mask:  Now, this one I love. My face feels super clean after I use it, and tight. Must use moisturizer afterwards, but it’s a great weekly treatment.
  • ·         Burt’s Bees hand lotions: Love ‘em. I even love the ones that come in the jar, for the nighttime, although they’re extremely heavy and greasy. I put them on just before I go to sleep and then put gloves on. (Obviously, this is a winter ritual, when hands are cold and dry at night.)
  • ·         Yes To Carrots Nourishing Intense Hand Repair cream: Meh. I’m using it up. I don’t love it because it’s heavy and waxy, a lighter cream does about the same job.
  • ·         Yes To Carrots lip balm: LOVE IT!!! I use it every night.
  • ·         Pangea Organics lip balm: LOVE IT!! It’s about $12, but I think it’s worth it just to have one in my purse. I love it even more than the Yes To balm. It moisturizes like silk, and revives lip color nicely.

As always, if you have any questions about products, or need recommendations, ask me and if I know anything about it I can tell you, or I can point you in the right direction. Or I can do a little research. I’m beginning to make a lot of really informed friends, and I love the topic. (Again, this is like crack to me.)

1 comment:

  1. Wow ... this is a whole alien world to me ... I don't even HAVE nails. I use Suave shampoo and no conditioner (I keep meaning to search out a "clean" shampoo but so far haven't). Jim cuts my hair (can't stand hair salons) every few weeks. I buy Meijer brand lotion for winter dryness. And that's it! Oh yeah, I do wear foundation when I'm going out of the house. I forget sunscreen until after I've gotten sunburned (usually the first sunny day of working in the garden). And then I use coconut oil, the kind you get at the supermarket, to heal the burn. Well, you look really good, Cassie, so I guess you're doing it right! And I love the insights into what goes into these products. I'm pretty horrified at what substances are allowed into these things but not surprised, given what the government allows when it comes to food and drugs. This reminds me, someone gave me a lotion that, when I put it on, had little sparkles, like I was wearing glitter. This freaked me out and I think I should just toss it. You once told me I was "positively Amish" when it came to jewelry--I guess the same could be said for "products"!