How Marula Oil Helped Me Make Peace with My Hair 

  I’ve written many times about my hair battles and woes. For the last 10+ years, I’ve had more or less the same hair cut and have tried with varying degrees of success to keep it straight without making it flat. You see, my strands are fine and like to get kinda curly when left to their own devices. It’s easy to flatten them with too much product, while not enough product (or too much heat) creates a pouffy mess. Humidity leaves my hair both limp and frizzy. The fight for a good hair day is not easily won. 

I’ve spent some time cycling through several shampoos and hair serums, trying to find the right formula to make my hair do what I want it to. But every combination left me frustrated. My hair either felt heavy and greasy or looked dry and frizzy. Then one morning, desperate for a change, my eyes landed on a little vial of Marula Oil I had purchased on a whim several months ago at my hair salon. 

According to its website, Marula Oil contains antioxidants and oleic acids that hydrate, tame frizz and add shine, “completely transforming hair.” I’m generally weary of beauty oils – a little usually goes a very long way – so I dabbed 4 or 5 tiny drops into my palm before rubbing my hands together and then working the treatment through my damp hair. The oil had a very light, clean scent that reminded me of the salon. It wasn’t greasy and made my hair very easy to detangle. I flipped my hair upside down to blow it dry and hoped for the best. 

After drying and styling my hair, I instantly noticed how healthy it looked. It was shiny, frizz-free, and felt weightless. Most notably, though, it wasn’t as straight as I’d expected, but in a good way. My sometimes unruly curls had been transformed into soft, pretty waves. And I actually liked it. 

Not long after discovering this new-found appreciation for my natural texture, I concluded that my tried and true long-layers hairstyle was no longer doing it for me. I decided to jazz things up a little with some side bangs and a lot more layering. The result is a flattering cut and a mane that’s much easier to manage. The additional layers give my hair some body and let more of my natural curl show through. The oil keeps my strands sleek and soft, so that even when humidity makes my hair extra wavy, it still looks healthy and pretty and not like a hot frizzy mess. 

It feels good to make peace with my hair, especially after so many years of fighting with it. Who knew a few drops of oil could do so much?

Sensational Shaving: EOS Shave Cream

 Don’t you just love it when a cheap little impulse buy becomes your new favorite thing? That’s precisely what happened to me a couple of weeks ago when I grabbed this hot pink tube of EOS Pomegranate Raspberry Shave Cream while waiting to check out at Ulta. 

My sister had already told me that she loved it, but I’ve never been all that into shaving creams – run of the mill conditioner works just fine and is fairly inexpensive. But I loved everything about this pretty little tube, including its $1.99 price tag. So into my shopping bag it went!

I’ve been using it for the past couple weeks and I am absolutely in love with it. It’s packed with skin-softening shea butter and helps prevent nicks and razor burn. The scent is mild and the cream lathers lightly. My legs haven’t looked or felt this smooth in ages!

What Happens When You #ReverseYourRoutine

voxbox-blogimageI like big hair. Not over-the-top, teased up, Aqua Net big hair. Bouncy, voluminous hair that lifts away from the scalp and flatteringly frames the face. It feels youthful and care free and, at least on me, is much more attractive than flat hair that clings like Saran Wrap to my face.  

 That’s why I was so intrigued when Influenster sent me TRESemme’s Beauty-Full Volume Reverse System, which consists of a specially formulated pre-wash conditioner and volumizing shampoo. The idea is that by shampooing after you condition your hair, you wash away the residue traditional conditioners can leave behind, leaving your hair extra clean, weightless and bouncing. 

I tested the hair care duo several times and have to say that washing with the products is an extremely pleasant experience; the conditioner smooths, the shampoo lathers up nicely, and they share a salon-fresh scent that I enjoyed long after each shower was over. Every time I reverse-washed my hair I styled it in a different way – I tried air drying, blow drying and a variety of hair creams and serums to see how my hair reacted. Here’s what I found:

The TRESemme Reverse System left my hair feeling extremely clean and light. Freshly styled, my hair looked great every time – it had nice body and looked healthy and smooth. 

 

Some nice volume, right after washing and styling.

 
It didn’t take long, though, before the naturally curly nature of my hair – fueled a couple of times by some crazy humidity – overpowered any good my styling efforts had accomplished. Within 15 minutes my hair started to curl, frizz and puff up:

 

15 minutes later, my hair has started a frizzy rebellion.

 
By the end of the day my hair was huge, in a decidedly unflattering way. It didn’t matter what tools and techniques I tried. Once I reverse-washed it, there was nothing to be done. 

The verdict? I think the Beauty-Full Volume system is high quality, smells great and does exactly what it claims to do: leaves your hair weightless and voluminous. What I’ve learned from testing it, however, is that I personally need some of the weight that traditional conditioners leave behind to keep my hair from becoming an unruly mess. That said, I would absolutely recommend the system to anyone with naturally straight, fine strands, looking for a little lift. 
I received these products compliments of Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own. 

Nearly Naked Nails

  There’s just something about summer that makes me crave a nude nail. It’s such a fresh, breezy look and just feels right this time of year. 

I’ve tried several nude polishes that looked chic in the bottle and tragic with my skin tone. Luckily, Zoya Professional Lacquer in Pandora is not one of them. This pink nude is lovely, ladylike and everything I want in a nude polish. Fair warning: it chips fairly easily, but it’s so subtle and easy to reapply that I’m still a big fan. 

If you’re looking for a nude with a bit more impact, I have to suggest Essie’s Tuck it in My Tux, a gorgeous ivory polish. I’ve been dying to get my hands on it ever since I spotted it on a coworker a couple of weeks ago. 

What’s your go-to nude?

#DoDeoBetter with Dry Spray

voxbox-blogimageI recently received Degree Motionsense Dry Spray Anti-perspirant from Influenster for testing. I had never used a dry spray and really fancied myself an old fashioned stick deodorant kind of girl. But, a beauty blogger can’t shy away from the new and different, so I decided to give it a try and spritzed away. 

  
First of all, it could not be any quicker or easier to use. Just a quick spray under each arm and you’re done. It goes on dry (hence dry spray) so you don’t have to worry about it getting on your clothes. And then you miraculously stay completely dry and odor-free all day long. I’m seriously impressed but how long lasting it is, even through marathon work days and multiple workouts. I was traveling this past weekend and brought my normal travel deodorant with me, which quickly reminded me that normal deodorants do not keep me all day fresh. 

My only complaint is the scent. I received the Fresh Energy version and while I don’t hate it, I also don’t love it. It’s a little too perfumey for me. I’ll definitely be checking out the other scents to find one I like better – I don’t think I can go back to regular stick deodorant now that I know how good it can be. It will be perfect for summer!

I received this product compliments of Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own. 

Save Your Skin with French Girl Beauty

Sometimes your skin needs a little extra love. Like, for example, when the seasons change, or you’ve been ill, or you’ve had an extra busy week (or four) at the office. If all of those things happen to coincide, you may wake up one  morning to find blotchy, dry and angry looking skin staring back at you in the mirror. Which is exactly what happened to me today. 

  
I decided to channel my inner French girl and slathered my unhappy complexion with a generous layer of Avene Soothing Moisture Mask. Friends, this is the ultimate lazy beauty product. All you do is apply the clean, fresh smelling cream to your face and let it soak in. After 15 minutes it is completely absorbed and once-angry skin is left soft and glowy. There’s no greasy shine. No post-mask peeling or scrubbing required. It’s amazing. 

  
To finish off my French-girl facial, I swiped Caudalie Lip Conditioner on my lips. This is my current favorite balm – weightless and silky smooth, it’s long-lasting and makes a great base for lipstick. 

Suddenly my skin looks much better and I’m feeling very breezy and chic. Gotta love French beauty. 

February/March 2016 Empties

It has been far too long since my last post and for that I must apologize. It has been a very hectic couple of months and I simply have not had as much time as I would like for fun stuff (like sampling and writing). However, I have managed to try some new products and even finished a few in the past several weeks. Here’s a look at my empties for February and March:
February & March 2016 Empties
Dove Purely Pampering Sweet Cream Beauty Bar: I picked up a duo of these beauty bars after trying a body wash that left me broken out and very unhappy. I chose the sweet cream version because of it’s light, sweet scent – very feminine but also very mild. Nothing earth shattering here but it gets me clean without the addition of pimples and it smells nice. I’d buy them again.

Dr. Jart Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask: This has got to be my favorite new beauty thing; it’s certainly the best sheet mask I’ve ever tried. It’s drenched in a super-moisturizing formula that soothes the skin and left me looking and feeling fresh and glowy for the rest of the day. Bonus: you can freak out your pets by looking like a serial killer when you put it on.

Make Dual-Phase Eye Makeup Remover: This is my all-time favorite eye makeup remover. It’s gentle and effective, lasts for a ridiculously long time, is a pretty pink color and comes in a cool square bottle.

Lady Speed Stick Invisible Dry Powder Fresh Antiperspirant/Deodorant: I bought this for 99 cents one day when I was feeling nostalgic for the days when I used to swear by powder fresh deodorant. It’s a solid deodorant (see what I did there?) and kept me fresh and sweat-free.

Covergirl CG Smoothers BB Cream: This is not new to my blog or to my empties. My classic winter BB cream, it’s still moisturizing, easy to use and light enough for my ghost-like winter complexion. Still a winner.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths: Another empties MVP, these wipes are great for those days when you just cannot be bothered to properly wash your face.

Eyeko Black Magic Mascara: This mascara is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It’s dark and dramatic and lasts all day without flaking or smudging. Plus I love the unique packaging and curled wand. If you haven’t tried this mascara yet, do yourself a favor and buy some right now.