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. 

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#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. 

Inside Influenster’s #YSLBlackOpium VoxBox

voxbox-blogimageThis month, thanks to Influenster, I was given the opportunity to sample Black Opium, the new fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent. I should probably begin by saying that I don’t typically wear perfume and, more often than not, fragrance samples that make their way into my home are often tossed or passed along without so much as a second sniff. It’s not that I don’t appreciate a good fragrance. It’s just that, ever since my favorite lavender perfume was discontinued back when I was a teenager, I’ve never found a scent that really felt (or smelled) like me. Sure, I’ve had a few short-lived fragrance flings since then, but for the most part I’m just not that interested in perfumes.

Given my general lack of enthusiasm for things of this nature, you might be surprised to learn that I was extremely excited to receive this VoxBox. Maybe it was because, although I’ve received and tested several boxes filled with products thanks to Influenster, this was my first high-end box. Also, I had never before sampled a YSL fragrance and my hopes were very high.
YSL Black Opium
From the moment I opened my VoxBox and discovered the pretty, shimmery, glamorous little bottle containing Black Opium, I knew testing this perfume would be an experience. Plus, the language YSL used to describe the scent was intriguing, to say the least: addictive, seductive, intoxicating, sweet, sensuous, voluptuous and above all, feminine. I couldn’t wait to give it a try.

So what was it like? I’d say feminine was an accurate description. It’s a complex fragrance with very different layers of scent, but they all shared a feminine quality. When I first applied the perfume I was overwhelmed by its heavy floral notes. It had a kind of generic quality about it; it reminded me of so many of the floral scents that have crossed my path through the years. It didn’t smell bad, but I certainly didn’t find it addictive or intoxicating.

But things changed very quickly! After only a few minutes, those overpowering floral notes started to fade, giving way to a soft, sweet vanilla scent. Refreshingly, I could really smell vanilla, not the syrupy faux-vanilla that seems to be in everything from body lotions to hair serums and scented candles the world over. It had a very feminine quality and almost instantly changed the way I felt about the fragrance. As time went on and the floral notes continued to fade, I liked the fragrance more and more. Finally, some subtle coffee notes surfaced and blended with the vanilla to create a warm and inviting scent that was light and a little sexy. It lingered for hours and, amazingly, continued to get better with time.

If Black Opium smelled as delicious right out of the bottle as it does after hours of wear, I would wear it all the time. It gave my skin a light, not-too-sweet scent that I really loved. The floral notes came on a little too strong for me when first applied, but I could see myself dabbing this perfume on for a special occasion or when I just want to feel extra girly.

Black Opium really is a nice, high quality fragrance, and just because it’s not about to become my signature scent does not mean it couldn’t be yours. If you’re a fan of sweet vanillas (like Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar) or are drawn to sugary scents (like Pink Sugar), I’d recommend Black Opium as a sweet and sophisticated new option.

Inside Influenster’s #SunshineVoxBox

voxbox-blogimageThis has been a lovely summer, filled with all the things that make this season so wonderful: weddings, barbecues, days at the beach, nights out with friends and lots of time spent outside, soaking up as much sun and beautiful scenery as I can before the summer comes to a close. The fun continued when I learned I was selected to receive Influenster’s summer-themed Sunshine VoxBox, filled with tasty treats and warm weather beauty essentials. I’ve spent the last few weeks tasting and testing to my heart’s content. Here’s the scoop:
SunshineVoxBox
Infusium 23 Moisture Replenisher Leave-in Smoothing Crème Enhanced with Avocado and Olive Oil (#Infusium23Smooth): This is definitely one of my favorite products in the Sunshine box, and it has quickly become a beach bag staple. This leave-in conditioner works best if you air dry your hair. It keeps frizz at bay and leaves your hair smelling amazing. I tried using it as part of my everyday styling routine and wasn’t blown away, but when I brought it with me for a day at my favorite swimming spot, everything changed. I applied it generously to my wet, gnarly strands and used my fingers to comb it through. My hair instantly looked and felt better, and within minutes it started to dry in the prettiest, beachiest waves – with no frizz to be found!

Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Refreshingly Clean Cleansing Cloths (#SelfieReadySkin): I’m usually a big fan of cleansing cloths, and from what I can tell these were non-drying and did a fine job of removing makeup and oil without irritating my skin. However, I could barely stomach the smell of them. I’m not sure what it is, but it made me a little queasy. I was only able to use them a couple of times. If you’re sensitive to scents of any kind, I would avoid these.

Blue Diamond Sriracha Almonds (#BlueDiamondAlmonds): I was worried that these spicy almonds might be too hot for me, but I was happily mistaken! The chili-garlic flavor combo is addictively delicious with just the right amount of kick. I’d recommend them as a tasty and healthy way to satisfy a chip craving.

barkTHINS (#breakupwithboring): The Sunshine box came with a coupon for a free bag of another tasty treat, barkTHINS snacking chocolate. I chose the dark chocolate, almond and sea salt variety, and thought it was really good. The bark was filled with crunchy almond bits and the chocolate was good and dark, not too sweet. My only complaint? I wish there was just a little more salt – I could barely taste it.

Beach bag beauty essentials from Influenster's #SunshineVoxBox

Beach bag beauty essentials from Influenster’s #SunshineVoxBox


SinfulColors Nail Polish (#ColorOutsideTheLines): I received a bottle of polish from the SinfulColors Silk collection, a sheer turquoise called Real Teal. Unfortunately, it was a real dud. The polish seemed cheap from the get-go; the brush deposited color unevenly, making the sheer shade almost imperceptible in some spots and dark and blobby in others. Also, the combination of it being a super sheer, matte blue polish left me looking less like I’d just given myself a manicure and more like I’d just been pulled from the deep freeze. The whole experience was a mess.

Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Soothe Spray Moisturizer (#VaselineSprays): I’ve been wanting to try one of these spray lotions for a while, and I was not disappointed when I did. This aloe spray is perfect for summer, leaving skin cool and refreshed, especially after a day spent in the sun. Plus, it allows you to moisturize your entire body in ten seconds – so convenient. It’s very lightweight, surprisingly hydrating, and smells fresh and clean. It’s a perfect daily lotion for summer.

I received these products free for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Inside Influenster’s #BellaVoxBox

voxbox-blogimageI’ve been very lucky over the past year and have been invited to participate in several product trials through Influenster. Most of these have been one-product trials, which are great, but I was over-the-moon excited to learn that I’d been selected to receive the Bella VoxBox, which contained an assortment of beauty products and treats to help me have a beautiful spring and summer. Here’s what was in it:
Bella VoxBox
EcoTools Complexion Collection Mattifying Finish Brush (#EcoToolsPerk): This brush was designed with specific cuts to help distribute the perfect amount of powder and control oily shine all day. I’m already a big fan of EcoTools, so I was not surprised to discover that it did just that! The brush truly grabs and distributes powder perfectly evenly, and my face stayed matte all day. Loved this.

DOVE Fruit (#DOVEwithRealFruit): The ladies in my office and I always tend to have stash of Dove dark chocolate squares on hand, so we were excited to try this new treat from our favorite chocolate brand. I received a bag of whole blueberries (cranberries and cherries are also available) dipped in dark chocolate. They were even more delicious that I had imagined! My officemates concurred. I also threw some into my usual trail mix of nuts and raisins – amazingly good.

Not Your Mother’s Deja Vu ‘Do Style Extender (#NYMdjvd): This lightweight hair primer is said to block humidity and repel dirt and oil to extend the life of your hair style, while also conditioning to control frizz and boost shine. While I didn’t notice that my hair style lasted any longer than normal, I did love the way my hair looked on the first day of use, which was shiny and bouncy with some weightless volume. Also, this might be the best-smelling hair product I own – I can’t get enough of the apple-berry scent.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Mascara by Kate Moss (#rimmelbykate): Created by Kate Moss, this jet black mascara features a “broken-heart” shaped brush that looks odd but does a stellar job of reaching all of your lashes, creating a dark, dramatic look. A couple of my friends asked if I was using a new mascara because my lashes looked so good. It also didn’t bother my sensitive eyes at all, a huge plus. My only complaint is that this mascara was really smudgy; I wouldn’t recommend wearing it for long days at the office or on an especially hot, humid day.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss (#rimmel): Another Kate Moss creation, I received this in shade 12, which looks like an intimidating reddish orange in the tube but in reality is an incredibly wearable creamy red that felt good and looked even better. This might be my favorite product from the box!

Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs (#AirbrushPerfectLegs): As tights season is finally behind us, I was excited to give this leg makeup a try. It’s supposed to hide imperfections and not rub off on clothes. In my experience, it didn’t hide anything and looked completely unnatural. It was the only dud in this collection of fun summer products.

I received these products free from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Inside Influenster’s @Neutrogena VoxBox

voxbox-blogimageLast month I was selected by @Influenster to receive the Neutrogena VoxBox, which contained a jar of Neutrogena’s new Hydro Boost Water Gel (#BehindTheGlow). According to Neutrogena, this formula has been a best seller in Asia since 2009 and features a “Progressive Release System Formula” that creates a “hydration reservoir” and works to balance your skin and provide moisture throughout the day. The moisture gel uses hyaluronic acid, olive extract and glycerin to provide non-greasy hydration.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
It’s no secret that I have very dry winter skin, so I was excited to try this new product. The packaging and the gel itself both have a very spa-like feel, from the clear, light blue colors to the clean and fresh scent of the moisturizer. When I smoothed the gel onto my skin I immediately noticed its refreshing, cooling sensation. It didn’t absorb completely right away, but after a few minutes my skin felt soft and not the least bit greasy or oily. However, it didn’t take long for that soft smooth feeling to change to a slightly dry and tight feeling. Within a couple of hours I had dry flaky patches on my forehead and cheeks.

While I can say that this moisturizer is more hydrating than many others that are currently sitting in my beauty stash, it just did not provide enough moisture for my very dry winter skin, and the moisture it did provide was not very long lasting. I’ll be setting this moisturizer aside and will give it another try come summer, when my skin is much less thirsty; the lightweight moisture and cooling sensation could make it a perfect warm weather hydrator.

I received this product free for testing purposes; all opinions are my own.

Inside Influenster’s #Vaseline VoxBox

voxbox-blogimageI recently received Influenster’s #Vaseline VoxBox, which contained a full-sized bottle of Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Fragrance Free Lotion, a dry skin diagnostic tool, and a challenge: use this lotion for five days and watch your dry skin become normal, healthy skin.
Influenster Vaseline VoxBox
Now, my skin naturally tends to be a bit on the dry side, and the recent wintery weather in my area has not done me any favors. My regular skincare routine keeps my skin from turning into a desert of flakes, but I was already starting to notice some rough patches and that kind of tight, itchy feeling that accompanies cold, dry weather. I was beginning to develop a case of what I call dinosaur elbow, where the skin on that particular body part becomes so parched that it actually starts to resemble scales. Not a good look. So when I learned about this five day challenge, I was eager to give it a shot, even though I was admittedly a little skeptical.
Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair
First things first: the dry skin diagnostic tool. This cool little gadget comes with two extra-sticky slips that you use before and after the five-day challenge in order to measure the dryness – and progress – of your skin. It also comes with a “Skin Dryness Level” scale to determine how dry your skin truly is. I decided to test an area on the back of my forearm each time for consistency. My initial result? Little lines and flakes indicated that my skin was “dry” – better than “very dry” but not the desired “normal.”

For the next five days, I slathered on the smooth, completely scentless lotion before bed each night. Advanced Repair Lotion contains micro-droplets of Vaseline jelly – the bottle explains that the droplets absorb deep into skin to moisturize and heal from within. I was surprised and delighted to find that these little droplets truly did absorb, and quite quickly – the lotion wasn’t greasy in the slightest and left my skin super smooth. In fact, the very first night I used it my husband asked if I was using a new lotion – he couldn’t believe how soft my skin felt. A major win. And so far there’s no sign of clogged pores or irritation as a result of the Vaseline droplets – even better!

The pre-test strip, above, shows flaky dry skin; the post-test strip, below, is virtually flake free.

The pre-test strip, above, shows flaky dry skin; the post-test strip, below, is virtually flake free.


At the end of five days, my skin didn’t feel at all tight or itchy. My dinosaur elbows were a distant memory. And when I used the second sticky strip to test my skin dryness level, it was virtually flake-free – my skin had gone from dry to normal in five days!

I’m very pleased with the results from the five-day test, and I really like everything about the Advanced Repair lotion. It is officially going to be my daily body lotion this winter. Have you tried it yet?