Wanted: Low-Scent Dry Shampoo

Dear Haircare Companies,

Dry shampoo is a staple for me. In addition to saving me from situations where I don’t have as much time as I’d like, it is a regular part of my routine in that it helps me go a little longer between washing, especially when used my favorite way: before bed. This helps preserve the health of my hair in addition to saving me time, effort, blah blah blah.

Every one that I have tried, with the exception of my current favorite, is rife with varying strong perfume-y fragrance. Even my favorite is scented more than I’d like – though not as much as the competition I have tried. While I understand the goal of a scented dry shampoo in that it should help refresh your hair, I really don’t want to walk around smelling like my dry shampoo. So I ask this: please make a low-scent dry shampoo. Please.

Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak, “Refreshing,” Dry Shampoo.
Not an example of a low-scent dry shampoo.

In a rush the other day, I didn’t take a good look at the state of my hair before I left to start my day. When I got to work (early, thankfully), I felt that I could use a quick blast to help my hair have a little more life. Fortunately, I have a travel-sized can of Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo (long name, sheesh) in my desk. Being as that I arrive eons earlier than my teammates, I sprayed a quick blast at my roots – and coughed. Mmm, aerosol perfume – now with powder particles!

I got up and went to one of the restrooms (which for some ungodly reason do not have fans) and finished the job, but I had to keep moving around to avoid a lungful of this stuff. Granted, most dry shampoo is aerosol and you could have this happen – but of all the ones I have tried and all the times I have used it, this was the worst. The spray is dense, the fragrance is dense; even aiming the product at your roots (as intended) doesn’t prevent some of the powder-mist from settling wherever it feels like (like your top). I hope it dissipated before the next person went in; but even after the dry shampoo cloud itself disappears, the fragrance of this one lingers.

Low-scent dry shampoos would definitely be adopted. A lot of your consumers already wear perfume or some other fragrance. Having their fragrance-of-choice compete with their dry shampoo is no good. On the other hand, I’m sure some of your consumers, or your would-be consumers suffer in the midst of strong fragrances – so they either suffer while using your product, or they forego it. In the interest of keeping happy customers–and gaining new ones–I suggest that you, like Expo did with their dry erase markers, make a low-scent dry shampoo.


the Beauty Skeptic

Makeup Packaging (Chatter)

When it comes to cosmetic products, what do you value the most? Form or function?

Personally, I place performance primarily. Packaging comes second; if a product isn’t good, it could have the most elegant packaging ever and not matter.

Maybelline Instant Age-Rewind Concealer, for example, is a fantastic drugstore under-eye concealer…but the applicator is silly. I don’t loathe it as much as some others do, but I do think it could have been executed better. To dispense the product, you twist the case and it clicks as it slowly advances the product up to the built-in sponge-esque puff applicator. It isn’t ideal for application, it isn’t as hygienic as many consumers would prefer, and it is difficult to get the product onto a different applicator if you want to try it that way. The product inside the tube is fantastic, though, so many of us deal with it; it is well-worth it.

That said, there are times when packaging can be a purchase-deterrent. When I choose to invest in a product, I expect greater care to be put into the packaging during the design and manufacturing process. Let’s look at three products, here.

Makeup PackagingMakeup Packaging Comparison
elf Studio Blush
, $3 / Benefit Coralista, $28 / Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush, $35
  • e.l.f. features simple, uncomplicated packaging. It is slim (bag-friendly!), straightforward, and features a window in the front so you can view the shade within while it is closed. There is a small mirror inside. It snaps shut.
  • Benefit Coralista, and all of their face powders, comes in a box. The box appeared to be made from thin, reinforced cardboard or paper that is printed with, in Coralista’s case, pink leopard print and some other motifs – I think palm trees, but I really have no idea. This makeup packaging does not latch to close.
  • Hourglass features classy, sleek packaging. On top of being aesthetically pleasing, it houses the product well, closing with a reassuring snap. If I bought one of these and it took me 20 years to finish, the packaging probably wouldn’t make me feel dated or juvenile.

Read more

My Lipstick Looked…Different

Last year, I went to a MAC counter with a friend to find a lipstick to wear to my wedding. It was winter, I was pale, and I was seeking a My-Lips-But-Better shade that was slightly more pink than my natural lipcolor. I wound up choosing Brave, a satin finish; I loved how it looked with Soar pencil underneath. It was subtle and made me look like me (though I enjoy reds, I feel most comfortable in MLBBs and neutral pinks), which was important considering the occasion.

MAC Brave LipstickMAC Brave Lipstick

Fast forward to late spring! I had started my sunless tanning routine with Million Dollar Tan’s excellent Cabana Tan lotion line. I was tan and golden, and felt good about not harming my skin in the process. I started refining what my day-of makeup was going to be – applying, tweaking, etc. – most times sans lip because, come on. I knew what the lip looked like.

One time I decided to finish it properly, lip and all. I was so excited to be done, thinking, “Oh yes, I nailed this!”

Except I wasn’t as enamored of the lip as I remember being. What?! I remember being so enamored of the shade when I bought it. Was it the cruel salesfloor lighting within Macy’s? No, I had photos of it. In natural light, even. It looked so cool, almost making my lips look ashy…what the hell happened? Lipsticks don’t just change color!

It had only been about a month since I started sunless tanning, but I had reached where I wanted to be – it was enough to change the effect of the lipstick drastically against my skin. Thankfully, the arrival of my Glambot order saved the day; armed with MAC Cosmo, I was able to blend the two lipsticks on my lip (over the Soar lip pencil) to achieve what I wanted on my newly-tan skin.

Because of that, I put Brave away and hadn’t reached for it in a while. Recently having returned to my palest shade (props to Million Dollar Tan – it really lasted!), I reached for it this week and found that it looks good again.

In short, if you tend to be a bit of a chameleon depending on the season, don’t be surprised (or upset!) if certain shades (of lipstick or blush, especially) don’t flatter as much as they did at another time. Certainly don’t do anything rash like throw a product away over it. With lipstick, try mixing it with another lipcolor (or even just topping it with a gloss to alter it a bit). If that doesn’t work,  give it time, wait for the next season, and try again; your skintone has a huge impact on these things.

I’m thrilled to have this particular lipstick back in my rotation. Foundation/concealer being the exception, have you ever found this to be the case with a product in your collection (flattering when purchased, not so much in a different season)?

How I Learned to Love my Maybelline Color Tattoos

To date, I have only owned two Maybelline Color Tattoo pots, both from the Metal collection. I own Barely Branded, a shimmery beige, and Inked in Pink, a cool, shimmery mauve-pink. I have barely touched them since the month I bought them, which was shortly after they were all the rage.

Maybelline Color Tattoo MetalMaybelline Color Tattoo

There is nothing wrong with either Maybelline Color Tattoo that I own, they just didn’t suit me and my application preferences. Cream shadows aren’t my thing. I just haven’t gotten the hang of them. Most of them suggest that you apply with a finger – which I don’t care for. I can’t get precision with a finger, and even with freshly-washed hands I would be needlessly adding bacteria to a cream product (I’m not a germophobe, but still!) Traditional shadows and pigments are my comfort-zone. I once tried some flat brushes to try to pack the color on but it never worked out quite the way I was hoping…so they sat in my drawer for months.

I threw my Inked in Pink Maybelline Color Tattoo in my bag no plan in mind other than thinking the color might be nice with the top I was wearing. I grudgingly applied a layer to my lid with my ringfinger, then added some of Für Elise from Kat von D’s Ladybird palette at the outer edges and blended in. It looked alright, I thought, but the edges were now way too matte sitting against the frosted, almost foiled pink.

I actually had another clean brush handy – one of three Real Techniques brushes I own, the Shading brush. RT’s shader brush is not as much of a shading brush as it is a flattened (but not flat) blender. Despite the quality and affordability of these brushes, I never feel like I use this one as much as I could/should. I had already cleaned my ringfinger off, so I said, “to hell with recommendations!” and picked some up with the brush. If you aren’t familiar with the consistency of a Maybelline Color Tattoo, let me bring you up to speed: though they are cream shadows, they are very firm; stiff, almost. I swiped my brush across the surface a couple times until I was satisfied, then patted the brush over Für Elise to give it a sheen.

Hey, that worked pretty well!

The brush was small enough, despite it’s almost fluffy texture, to allow me to precisely place the Maybelline Color Tattoo where I wanted it…so I decided to intensify the pink across the rest of my lid up to my inner corner. It worked superbly. Like shockingly well. I finally know how to use these in a way that actually suit my preferences! I will actually use them now!

If you’re wondering, at this point, why you should care – let me clarify: I learned something today. We all have products that we don’t feel work for us after a few tries. Don’t give up immediately (bad foundation matches/things that cause breakouts excepted) – give these products a chance; try to experiment with them! In a normal situation where I had my entire collection and brushes at hand, I probably never would have thought to grab that brush for a Maybelline Color Tattoo. Having only a few things at hand forced me to be creative with how I used the product and ultimately led me to find a better way (for me) to apply the product.

We can learn a lot by shopping our stash and thinking outside of the, “box,” that is recommended usage (be safe though!) – to think, I might have tossed both Maybelline Color Tattoo pots during my next de-stashing! I hope this helps you make the most of your makeup, and I hope you have an excellent weekend.

Update: Josie Maran Argan Oil Light

I mentioned in my Birthday Haul that I picked up an 0.5 oz bottle of Josie Maran Argan Oil Light. I’ve had some time to use it and at the beginning of August, I mentioned it in my July 2014 Favorites.

Josie Maran Argan Oil LightJosie Maran Argan Oil Light, 0.5 fl oz

I am pleased to report that not only do I like it (obviously, it was in a Favorites) but that I like it better than the original – at least for summer time. The thinner consistency of the oil helps it, “move,” easier and it applies quicker.

I have normal/combination skin with a slightly oily T-Zone – I don’t feel as though I have to use the Josie Maran Argan Oil Light super-sparingly on my forehead and nose area like I sometimes felt I did with the original Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil (at least in the fairer months). I still apply the same way before bed. Starting with a clean face and hands:

  • 2-3 drops onto a fingertip.
  • Rub fingertips together to distribute product for application.
  • Dab one finger over my scar (I had a mole removed in November 2013).
  • Pat eye area with two fingers.
  • Using a rolling-pressing motion, apply to cheeks.
  • Glide fingertips over forehead, nose, and chin to apply remaining product.
  • If your hands still feel a little, “dewy,” rub anything left into your cuticles.

That’s it! You can wash your hands again if you want, but I prefer not to, at least lately. Despite being summer, the skin on my hands has been crazy dry. Then, wait a couple minutes before laying down so you don’t transfer it to your pillowcase. I consistently wake up with happy, hydrated skin that is never too shiny.

I do wear this on my skin in the daytime if I am not going to wear makeup or if I am wearing lazy makeup; otherwise, this is not really suitable under makeup for my skin. Those of you with skin that is dry on its own may be able to wear it under makeup without issue, though. As for me, I’m still searching for a good solution for daytime moisture. Do you have any recommendations?

I absolutely plan on replacing this when I run out eventually (which, like its older sister, does not seem like something that will happen any time soon); I hope Sephora sells a duo of the original and Light again come the holidays. I look forward to seeing how it works for me as we transition into the cooler (drier) months. I kind of hope I will be able to use Josie Maran Argan Oil Light in daytime during the winter, and the original 100% Pure Argan Oil at night.


Nina Ultra Pro Nail Polish

Nina Ultra Pro

I primarily use gel nail polish for my fingers these days, but I usually stick with traditional polishes for my toes. I was in Sally Beauty a few months ago and they had the Nina Ultra Pro brand on sale for half off or something like that, so I grabbed two bottles. Previously, I always avoided the brand – can’t actually tell you why, I never heard anything bad about them – I guess I just assumed I wouldn’t care for them.

That was dumb of me.

The consistency of both polishes, I found, was good – neither too thick or too thin, both glided on easily when I swatched them. They dried quickly (within two minutes) and removed cleanly. The brush itself is wide, reminiscent of OPI’s wide brush (do they still offer that across the board?) – I personally loved it, but people not used to working with wider brushes may have a bit of a learning curve when it comes to not getting product on their cuticles or side-walls.

I didn’t get around to using one beyond swatching until relatively recently, though. I slapped two coats of Nina Ultra Pro in Pearly Brights on my toes recently. This neon, pearlescent, matte, coral-pink is legitimately a special snowflake (in a good way); I really have not seen a color like it. Two coals was still vaguely sheer – I believe three would get you to opacity, and a quick search of Google confirmed that other wearers did in fact reach opacity at three coats. Normally, I hate having to go three coats but I am a little more lenient with neons – especially neons that come to a matte finish on their own.

To get a glossy finish and therefore properly appreciate the pearliness of the polish, I topped my two-coat Nina Ultra Pro Pearly Brights toes with a coat of Seche Vite (aka best top-coat ever) and am pleased with the result. So far, it is holding up just as well as any other polish (including ORLY, OPI, and essie) – I’ll update this post if I have any weird issues with it, but I really don’t see that happening at this point.

Like I said earlier, I had no idea why I never bothered with this brand (I’m not a brand snob or anything!) but I’m glad I tried it. It appears as if Nina Ultra Pro is on sale at Sally Beauty this week, see if they have a shade you like if you’re shopping there this week!