A Tale of Three Lip Colors

Long wear lip colors are one of those things I love and hate at the same time. I wear dark lipstick colors and neutral eyes when I’m wearing glasses, which is most of the time. The unfortunate side effect of wearing dark colors is that it has to stay perfect. If I so much as get a hair stuck to my lips and brush it out of my face, it can leave a thin, red trail over my chin. Don’t get me started on eating with red lipstick on. Most times, there’s a ritual of removing whatever lipstick I’m wearing, eating, then reapplying, and I’m constantly checking my face to make sure I don’t have any embarrassing lipstick migration. (Oh, and dark colors have a tendency to stain the skin, so if I do get a smear here or there, chances are I’m breaking out some concealer, too.)

So long wearables are great in that they stay put and, when I’m eating, I don’t have to look at a gross, goopy smear of red all over my fork and drinking glass. What I hate about them are two things: the dry feel of them and the way they wear off the minute you try to remedy that. I will never get used to my lips feeling dry, and I hate having to suck it up and deal when I want my makeup to stay put. If ever I find a lipstick that can truly be both long wear AND moisturizing, I’ll give the company that makes it all of my money.

All. Of. My. Money.

So here’s a brief comparison of three such lipsticks in my collection, what I love about the, and what I hate about them. I’m also going to toss in a bonus review of e.l.f.’s new lipstick remover, which I just got this week.

CoverGirl Outlast All Day Two Step Lipcolor $7

81tpySAof+L._SY679_I have bought a few of these over the years, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why I keep putting myself through this. This is probably the first brand of long wear I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a lot, but I thought I’d feature it because of all the drugstore brands this seems to work best for me. Now, I won’t say it works great for me. It simply just works as well as any other drugstore brand, if not a little better, which isn’t really saying much. I keep wondering if there’s some new trick I can try that will make this work as wonderfully for me as everyone claims it does for them. So far, I’ve had no such luck

The last one I got wasn’t necessarily my fault. Walmart sent me one in a subscription box over the summer. Technically I purchased it, but I didn’t pick it out. The color was flattering on me, so I kept it. This one is #512, though I’ve had it so long I’m unsure of the color name.

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Ignore the fact that I applied this horribly. It was late.

This has just a bit of shimmer to it without the topcoat, but I do run into that weird tight and cakey feeling. The top coat does stay on a lot better than other formulas I’ve tried, but I’ve found that even this still flakes off after an hour or two.

e.l.f. Studio Lip Stain $3

11379_82508_900px_new46803.95.jpg.46803.95This isn’t so much new as it is new to me. I hadn’t tried it before this week. It’s mostly because I had no idea it existed until e.l.f. posted about them on their Instagram account, which I stalk these days. I’m always hopeful that I’ll run into a brand that gets it right, and I love e.l.f.’s reds, so I figured I could part with $3.

On first try, I simply applied the color and left it matte for several hours. It never transferred or flaked, and it stayed a gorgeous color of red. I was pretty impressed at how great it stayed looking, actually. It even held up to a greasy corn dog and some pizza. It did not, however, hold up to the gloss. Even as I applied the gloss, the color was rubbing off onto the applicator, and it went from a long wear matte to a highly transferable glossy red. While it was pretty, the feel is no better or worse than others. I’d probably still buy more if there were other shades I liked, but I still find myself wishing that I could have it all.

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Matte, without the gloss topcoat.
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With the gloss.

The Balm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick $17

71aUxpi3bBL._SY679_I got a sample of this in my October Glam Bag from Ipsy in Committed, and the first thing I’m going to note about this stuff is the smell. It reminds me of Girl Scout Cookies– the Thin Mints. So now I want Thin Mints when I wear this. The mint in the formula even tingles on the lips when you put it on.

The color is neutral and flattering for just about any skin tone, but it’s almost a nude for me and not really what I’d use a long wear formula for. I’m not as paranoid about my nude/natural colors.

This is really pretty when I put it on, and it is a true matte lipstick. On my first try, it did in fact stay all day with just a little bit of flaking onto my napkin after I ate my dinner. I never reapplied it. I even fell asleep wit my makeup on, and it was still there the next morning. So it definitely delivers on both color and staying put. So yeah, I’d probably pay $17 for a full size in a darker shade.

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Of course, like all products of its kind, I simply couldn’t get used to the feel of it on my lips. It was just as heavy and dry as all the cheaper products.

e.l.f. Studio Kiss It Goodbye Lip Color Remover $3

15637_86013_a_900px59425.79.jpg.59425.79This is actually a new item from e.l.f. While I’m a huge e.l.f. fangirl, I should think by now it’s obvious as to why I’d want to give this a try. It’s easy enough to remove liquid lipstick with a little baby oil, but I still end up getting stains leftover on my lips when I wear darker shades.

How did it work? Well, it took away all traces of red after a full night of dark lipstick. Now, here’s where I also joke that the gloss that came with my e.l.f. stain was probably the secret behind the formula, but I won’t complain. This actually does what it’s supposed to do.

I actually received another long wear lipcolor in my Target Beauty Box today, so I’ll give that a try. It claims to have long wear AND be moisturizing. We’ll see. Someone also recommended the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream and their new Liquid Suede Cream Lipsticks. I’ll give those a try the next time I’m grabbing lipsticks and hopefully the later of those will be in stock. Meanwhile, I’ll try the Revlon and see how it works out. If I’m impressed, I’ll write about it.


Yes, I know I tend to do more reviews on beauty products, but it’s not all I do– hence why I didn’t give this blog a pretty, flowery beauty blog name. So here’s a rare review on something that hits on three of my favorite things in life: cooking, saving money, and not putting on pants.

I’ve been using Plated for a while, now, and I adore the service. The concept is simple:

  1. Take a look at their menu; it changes weekly. Either select the recipes you want to try that week or skip the week if you don’t want anything. There’s no obligation whatsoever to buy something every week.
  2. Plated ships you those recipes AND all the ingredients to make it, with the exception of a few things you’ve already got in your pantry– usually salt, pepper, and oil.
  3. You cook it up and eat it.

It could not be easier. So here are the deets:

The Subscription

One of the first things you’ll do when setting up a new account is going to your subscription page. Here you’ll set up Plated’s automatic subscription services, namely what day of the week you prefer your delivery (Wednesday or Saturday, unless there’s a holiday that interferes with that) and how many plates you’ll typically want. Don’t worry. None of this is set in stone. If you want your delivery on a different day or more/less dishes, you can change that when ordering. The real important thing on this page is the calendar. If there’s a week you need to skip for any reason at all, you click on that week, and it’s skipped. There are no questions to answer about why you’re skipping, and you can skip as often as you like.


Every week, Plated will offer you a selection of nine dishes, with at least three of those dishes being vegetarian. Two of those dishes are premium selections that cost a little bit more while the other seven dishes cost the standard $12 per plate. Dishes are ordered in multiples of two plates. (There are no single serving dishes that you can make, but you can always cook up extras and refrigerate/freeze leftovers.) You must also purchase a minimum of four plates for a shipment (two dishes with two plates each, or four of the same dish, depending on how you roll). You can always, of course, order more than four plates. That’s just the minimum. If your order is over $50, you get free shipping. Otherwise, shipping is $6.

The Cost

The least amount of money you will spend on an order is $48 for four plates + $6 shipping, or $54. Alternatively, you can add a dessert at checkout ($8 for two plates) and pay $56 with free shipping. A lot of people go with this second option. I know that sounds pricey at first, but consider that each plate is a restaurant-size serving, and you might end up splitting one plate into two servings for dinner that night and lunch the next day. (You might not, but I tend to do this a lot.) So consider that you’re essentially paying for four adult-size entrees to be delivered directly to your doorstep AND you’re being sent the exact quantities of ingredients you need for those meals. There’s no buying an entire jar of Spice X just so that you can use 1/2 teaspoon of it. This is why I say I feel like I’m saving myself money by using this service. Yeah, sure… I can throw together a lasagna or chicken and dumplings at a fraction of that price, but I’m trying out new recipes here with ingredients I wouldn’t normally have on hand. So compared to eating out or buying lots of ingredients, I’m definitely saving money.

The Box

So you’ve placed an order. Here’s what you can expect.

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Again, when I say they send everything, I mean it. You get the recipes and all of the ingredients– produce, meat, spices, stock, etc. All of it. The only things you’ll likely need from your own pantry are water, eggs, salt, pepper, and canola or olive oil, and Plated specifies what you’ll need both on the menu while you order and in the email they send when your order ships. There shouldn’t be any surprises. Plated also includes the recipes for the meals you’ll be preparing, which also lists both what should be included and what you’ll need in addition to that.

I’ve never had an issue where Plated failed to send me an ingredient that should be included or the recipe cards, but my mom did end up with no cards once. So if this does happen to you, you should know that Plated includes these recipes on your account for you to pull up in pdf format if you need to pull them up at any time.  The full nutrition information beyond the simple calorie count listed on the recipe card is also listed in the FAQ section of their website.

All of the above comes in insulated packing with ice packs. You might be thinking to yourself that it looks like a lot of packaging. It is. Fortunately, Plated lists ways to reuse and/or recycle all of it on their website in the FAQ section. My personal favorite is the insulation, which can be used to line my planters.

The Food

The recipes are incredibly easy to follow step by step, even taking you through prep and what should be cooking while something else is being tossed together. You’re not just cooking one dish at a time, you’re preparing a full meal, and the steps will make sure that everything is ready to plate all at once.

First, of course, you’ll gather all of the ingredients together. Everything is labeled so that you know which recipe it’s for.


Prep is of course usually one of the first steps.


Magic happens, and you’ll create a beautiful meal with ease.


Every. Damn. Time.

I’d show the cooking process, but I apologize… I got so caught up in my cooking that I forgot to take more pictures along the way.

Thing is, I’ve learned so many new techniques and how to cook foods I’d have never considered cooking before, and I’ve started to implement these new techniques and food into my own creations. It really is a great learning experience.


There are a few final things that I absolutely want to mention here.

  1. Try it for free, first. Most Plated members have a referral or two on hand, and they can send you one. Check Twitter and Instagram for the hashtag #platedpics to find out who is using the service and ask around. They’ll need your email address and a name, so be prepared to give that out. Once you have your referral email (check your spam folder), you can get your first box of three meals (six plates, a $72 value) free. This is a great no-risk way to try out the service and determine if it’s for you. If you hate it, you can cancel, and you’ve gotten a free box of food. I actually have two such referrals myself, and if you’re okay with leaving your name and email in the comments below (or to the email address I’ve listed on my contact page), I’ll be happy to send you one.
  2. Stick with ordering 2-3 meals per delivery. The food you order is going to be delivered to your door fresh, and the produce will be ripe. That means you can’t leave it hanging out in your fridge all week. It will likely only last a few days. Unless you plan to cook up a lot of food and freeze it, just order what you’re going to cook over the next 3-4 days. If you see several items on the menu that you like and absolutely must order 4-5 dishes that week, split them between Wednesday and Saturday deliveries.
  3. If you’re counting calories, utilize the FAQ. As I’ve already mentioned, all nutrition information is listed there and can be entered into MyFitnessPal.
  4. If something arrives damaged, spoiled, or late, contact customer service. Almost all of my deliveries have arrived in perfect condition, but I’ve had a few things that did end up squished and had to make a grocery store run to purchase tomatoes or a substitute ingredient. Let customer service know. You’re paying for this food, after all. They’re incredibly helpful and will usually credit your account for the damaged meal.
  5. For moms, the recipes are not necessarily kid friendly. That said, I’ve enjoyed demonstrating the recipes for my daughter, and she’s helped a bit and even tried a few of these and liked them. Then again, my nine-year-old also hates mac and cheese but likes (and asks for) spinach and Brussels sprouts, so your mileage may vary. (Yes, that was a brag.) It’s a great way to get them to try new things, but if you find your kid isn’t interested, you can always just fix a nice meal for you and the spouse while the kids enjoy a pizza night. We don’t always have to eat the same thing. It really is the eating together that counts, if you can find time for it.

If you’d like to try out plated, you can click here. That’s not a referral link, but again, I do highly recommend getting a referral and trying it out for free first.

e.l.f. Holiday Preview

You can click here to see everything.

I’ve already gotten the moisturizing lipstick in Razzle Dazzle, and while I liked it, the gold flecks just didn’t stand out as much as I’d hoped they would. Most of what I see is stuff they’ve had for a while and just repackaged, and I seem to already own most of it, particularly the brushes, matte lipsticks, and a ton of e.l.f. eyeshadow. I notice that their flawless shadow quads are listed, and I already own all three of the ones they’re showing. Those are, by the way, among my favorite eye shadows from e.l.f., so I do highly recommend them.

I’m considering the brow kit and the nail polish. I love my other eyebrow kit from e.l.f., which this seems to include, and while I’ve only had one of their nail colors, I loved the formula.

Bath & Body Words Winter Preview

I’m a Bath & Body Works fangirl, too, and they’ve got some of their winter stuff up on the website. (Usually, that means it’s out in stores, too, but I’m wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt right now, so the chances of me running to the store to check in on that are pretty much zero.)

They’re also running a B3G3 or B2G1 sale on their signature line, which includes the winter fragrances, and shipping is only $1 on orders of $25 or more with the code ITSONLY1 at checkout.

I don’t see my favorite Twisted Peppermint just yet, but it’s almost always included so…. *crosses fingers*

Target Beauty Box on sale NOW!


Get it here while you can.

Sorry for being in a rush to get this up. I wanted to make sure I’d let you guys know this was available before it was gone, so I originally made a very short post with just the link. Now that I have a bit more time, I wanted to post a description of what’s in this box along with links to purchase the full size item if you like.

At $10, this one is a bit pricier than the usual $5, but it still looks to be a great bargain at an advertised $50 value. This is, of course, provided that you’ll use most of the stuff in the box. I won’t be using the shampoo, of course, but everything else here seems to be something I’d use. Here’s what’s inside:

Skinfix Ultra Rich Body Butter
This looks like a sample size, but I could be wrong. The full-size 8 oz. jar is $18. This looks like something I’ll definitely use.

Hello Mojito Mint Toothpaste
Looks like a trial size. Full size is $4.50. Who doesn’t use toothpaste?

Olly Beauty Vitamins
Again, I’m not sure on the size. Full size is $14. “An expert blend of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and collagen that promotes healthy eyes, skin & hair.” Multivitamin, and if it’s a gummy, it’ll get brownie points. I’ll use ’em.

Expressionist Mascara Traveler
I don’t see it pictured, but it’s listed as being included. It’s a mascara, so I’ll use it. If I’m looking at the correct one, full size is $12.50 if that’s what they’re including.

ACURE Moroccan Argan Oil + Stem Cell Triple Repair Shampoo & Conditioner
These look like some nice travel sizes. Full size retails at $10/each. I probably won’t use the shampoo because, as I have stated many times, shampoo does not touch my hair. But I do love argan oil… I might be tempted to try it. At the very least I’ll give it to my daughter. I’m definitely keeping and trying out the conditioner. The last time I got curly hair products in a Target box, I loved almost everything.

Goody Ouchless Silicone Lined Elastics
I use these already because Target has included these in previous boxes. I love them, so yeah… I’m keeping them. This is a 4-count, and I can’t find that listed for the life of me, but you can get a 37-piece for under $5.

Covergirl Intensify Me Eyeliner 300
Full size! Sells for $7. I will use this.

Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lipstick
This also appears to be full size. They currently have it on sale on the Target website for $8.16. I will use this unless the color is just horrible on me.

Roc Retinol Correction Eye Cream
Full size. I like retinol products for various reasons, and I recently got a nice, full-size serum in my Walmart box. This also appears to be full size from the picture and pays for the box all by itself, though it appears to be a night cream and not an eye cream in the picture. Both products sell for $20, though I can’t be entirely sure which will be included in the box.

S.W. Basics Certified Organic Body Scrub
Foil pack, from the looks of it. Full size sells for $22.49. I don’t know if I’ll like it or not, but I’ll probably use the packet.

I’m basically going off of the picture as to what sizes are included. In the past, that’s been a good indication of what’s inside. It’s hard to judge the value of trial sizes, but if I’m correct on the full size items, they’ll have a value of about $35.15. (If the mascara is full size, it’s $47.66.) That’s without any of the trial/travel size items added, including the shampoo I likely won’t use, so for me it’s definitely worth the $10+tax I’ll pay, especially since I get free shipping and a 5% discount as a Red Card holder.

Since I will be getting this one, please let me know in the comments if there’s a particular product from this box you’d like for me to review. Otherwise, I’ll just wait until it arrives, give a general review of the contents, and as always, review anything in particular that stands out.

Yet Another e.l.f. Haul

You guys remember when I mentioned that e.l.f. was having a $1 sale? Yeah, about that…

I did go a little nuts. I haven’t exactly made it a secret that I’m a huge e.l.f. fangirl. Some of the things I got were new shades of old favorites. Some were newer products that I’ve been meaning to try out but hadn’t gotten to yet. Here’s what I got.

e.l.f. Essential Smudge Pot Cream Eyeshadow

The smudge pots are one of my favorites because they’re gorgeously pigmented, I can swipe them on really quick with a finger, and they stay on all day with no creasing. You don’t even need a primer. Navy eyes are in this fall, so I went ahead and grabbed another in the color Ocean Bound. I do recommend using a finger with these, though. They can get a little messy if you’re using a brush.

e.l.f. Skincare Daily Hydration Moisturizer

I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve tried from the new e.l.f. skincare line. So far I’ve tried the serum and the night cream, and I’ve finally managed to get through almost all the skincare products I’ve been sent through multiple subscription boxes, so this was perfectly timed. Maybe one day I’ll make it through my cleansers and eye creams and can justify purchasing the ones e.l.f. offers.

e.l.f. Studio Lip Liner & Blending Brush

Here’s another of my favorites. I love that for $3 I get a lip liner and a lip brush, so I have a bunch of these. I got one in Red and one in Wine, both of which I’m wearing a lot this season.

e.l.f. Studio Matte Lip Color

Another favorite, and I think this is one of those products that a lot of people love. I already have a red and two nudes. The formula is nice and moisturizing, and if you pull off the colored end at the bottom, you’ll find that it even comes with a sharpener. I got this in Wine and Berry Sorbet.

e.l.f. Studio Lip Stain

This is one that I haven’t tried yet but have been meaning to. I have a love/hate relationship with long-wear lip colors, so we’ll see how these go. My biggest problem is the shade selection. I didn’t see anything I’d wear other than the one I got, Red Carpet.

e.l.f. Studio Moisturizing Lipstick

This product isn’t so much new to me, but I couldn’t resist their holiday color, Razzle Dazzle Red, which is a deep wine color with little flecks of gold. Very festive.

Seeing a lip trend here? There’s no mistake. I wear glasses a lot, so my go-to colors are usually big and bold while I downplay my eyes. If I’m wearing contacts, that changes, obviously. And of course I’m always getting different brands and formulas in case I hate one or if the shade is just the tiniest bit of a difference from the other. I like that I can do this sort of thing with e.l.f. and it doesn’t cost me a fortune.

e.l.f. Studio Blending Sponge

I haven’t tried this one, either. I see Beauty Blender dupes all the time, and I’m honestly not much a fan of sponge application, but I like to give them a try now and then. For $5, I’ll try this.

e.l.f. Studio Mattifying Blotting Papers

This is new, and e.l.f. kinda already has a reputation for their horrible blotting papers, but I’ll admit I was suckered in with the cute case. We’ll see if they deliver better for a few extra bucks.

e.l.f. Studio Kiss It Goodbye Lip Color Remover

This is one of those items that I’m super excited to try. Since I wear a lot of those dark lip colors, I always go through a few tissues and baby wipes removing it at the end of the night, and I still get stained lips. If this works, I might have to buy up a whole bunch of these and stash them.

e.l.f. Hypershine Lip Gloss

I got this in Berry Cherry. I couldn’t find a link to it on e.l.f.’s website, and I really, really hope that it’s not because they’re discontinuing it. It’s packaged much like Stila’s super popular lip glazes, but I prefer e.l.f.’s softer formula that’s sold at a fraction of the price. So I’m praying that they’re only planning to repackage it and not discontinuing the product entirely. I love my glosses.

I’m absolutely planning to review the newer stuff as I get to it. I’ve got a Birchbox and Ipsy coming in later this week, too, so those products are going to be added to the shuffle. If there’s anything in particular here you’d like me to get to and review first, please let me know in the comments.

Annie’s Homegrown Organic Star Pasta & Chicken Soup


This, obviously, was one of the free items included in the box I recently got from Influenster. I’ll eat any variation of chicken noodle soup all day long, and so will my daughter, so this was an easy test and review.

I’m not really into the whole organic, free-range, half-gluten, all-natural, no-fillers, no-flavor thing. I like salt, sugar, fat, fillers, meat, chemicals and anything else that tastes good, as is evidenced by my non-supermodel waistline, so I’ll skip past that and jump right into the packaging, which Annies gets kudos on. I’ll admit that when I first saw the carton I groaned and grabbed my scissors. Then I actually read the box and followed the instructions. You basically just give it a pinch, fold along a perforation, and then tear off the top. It sounds more complicated than it is. It’s super easy, and I appreciate that next time I won’t grab my can opener or a knife or anything.

As to taste… My daughter and I will have to agree to disagree here. She loved it and even asked that I get this instead of her regular chicken noodle. I’m okay with that. For me, and I’m guessing this is because I’m an adult, I prefer more substance. I want veggies. I want big chunks of chicken. This… Well, this didn’t really have any of that.

As you can tell from the picture, the only real thing you can even see aside from Cheddar Bunnies is chicken stock. It’s a decent chicken stock, albeit a little boring for something with so much sodium, but I really want to see the stuff in the soup. You do eventually get to it, but even then the bites are so small that I don’t even have to chew, feeding into my original thought that this is more for kids than for adults. But could it have killed them to add a few soft bites of carrots? As an aside, the Cheddar Bunnies I ended up buying to go with this were actually pretty good. I’m sitting here snacking on them right now as I type this.

I think at the end of the day I’d just rather give this to my daughter and grab a can of Progresso for myself.

If you’re interested in checking out any of Annie’s products, you can do so by clicking here.

Covergirl The Super Sizer Mascara

I’m one of those people who really doesn’t spend a lot of money on mascara. My current favorites are both e.l.f. mascaras and cost $2 and $3. After all, I’m not going to spend a lot of money on something I’ll toss every month or two. I have long, dark eyelashes all on my own, so I don’t need any bells and whistles. But I do subscribe to a lot of beauty boxes, and so I get a lot of mascaras sent to me. I just set them aside and wait until I toss my current mascara before swapping to a new one. I have three unopened tubes as I’m writing this, and I never purchased any of them at the store.

The Super Sizer was sent to me in (I think) a Target beauty box back in August. I’m not entirely sure. Obviously, since I paid for the box, nobody sent me a free product, and nobody’s paying me to write this. And that’s probably for the best because I’m about to say something I’ve never said about a mascara.

I freaking hate this mascara.

Mascara is so simple and easy to do right. Just darken my lashes, thanks. Keep ’em from clumping up into spikes. That’s it, really. I understand other people with lighter or shorter lashes have other needs, but I can make almost any mascara work because those are the only two things I need from a mascara.

This… Okay, let’s start with the wand. Whoever thought it was a good idea to switch from brushes to these short, barely there spiky bristles needs to be sacked. These make it nearly impossible for me to comb through my lashes and separate them. Instead, I get clumps. Big clumps. Covergirl suggests you learn some specialized twirling trick to get it to work right, but honestly… This is ridiculous.

And it’s not just the brush! The formula itself dries super quick, meaning you get LOTS of product clumps– which are even harder to get out because your eyelashes are stuck in clumped spikes that your eyelash comb can’t get through and the spikes on the wand make it worse. Oh, and this isn’t for extended wear– as in, it won’t wear for longer than a couple of hours. After that, it flakes off. These aren’t little flakes, either. These are huge flakes that look like I was standing too close to a bonfire and had some cinders land on my cheeks.

I’ve never tossed a tube of mascara in less than a month. This stuff lasted about two weeks before I got fed up and moved to the next one.

My Curly Hair Routine

Since I’ve been raving so much about curly hair products, I figured I’d do a short description of my hair care routine and suggest some of my favorite products.

Before I get started, you should know that my hair isn’t wavy or even remotely straight. I have a natural tight but not kinky curl, and I have super dry hair. If that describes your hair, then this routine will likely work for you. If it doesn’t, it probably won’t.

Rule 1: No shampoo.

This is a lot more common nowdays than back when I started doing this about 10-15 years ago, but shampoo absolutely does NOT touch my hair. This is the most important thing to remember if you have dry, curly hair. Shampoo is too drying, and you can technically get all the bad stuff out of your hair simply by rinsing it with water. I personally wash my hair with conditioner. There are certainly a lot of cleansing conditioners out there now, but you can really use just about any conditioner you like. I find the best ones are the cheap ones, as you’re not necessarily looking for a heavy hitting conditioner just yet. I just want to get the gunk out of my hair, and the cheap brands are good and thin and perfect for it. You’ll use a good amount of conditioner to do this. Just work it through your wet hair and detangle with your fingers and then rinse. Follow up with your actual conditioner.

Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner
Suave Professionals Rosemary + Mint Conditioner

Rule 2: More Conditioner (if needed) and a hair mask at least once per week.

This part really depends on what you used to wash your hair. I find that if I use the Herbal Essences, I can just leave it in and be fine without using a separate conditioner in the shower. If I used something that’s thinner, then I might need to rinse it out as soon as my hair is clean and work a separate conditioner through my hair and leave it in while I finish up my shower. Once a week, I’ll use a hair mask for a good deep conditioning treatment.

Hair Food Moisturizing Hair Mask
SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque

Rule 3: Use a leave-in conditioner AND a styling cream to control frizz.

Yes, even after you’ve washed your hair with a conditioner and even after you’ve used a deep conditioning treatment, you might still need a little something extra. The moisture boost of a gentle leave in plus the control of a styling cream will keep your hair frizz-free. I work in both while my hair is still damp from the shower and then I let my hair air dry. Let me emphasize that last part. My hair does not respond well to hair dryers. Resist the urge to speed up this process. Some of the best products out there work as both a leave in conditioner and a styling cream, so instead of two products, you only have to work with one.

SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Renewal Lotion
Curls Crème Brule Whipped Curl Cream

Rule 4: Use a leave-in to refresh curls the next morning.

First off, if you’re letting your hair air dry, and you have a lot of hair, you’ll likely be showering the night before instead of the morning of, which means we have to consider sleeping arrangements. I find two things to be helpful. One is a loose high ponytail to keep you from rolling around all over your pretty curls while you sleep. The other is a satin pillowcase. (Trust me, it’s worth the investment.) When you wake up the next morning, you’ll still probably want to freshen up your curls. For this, I dampen my hair with a light leave-in spray and put everything back into place.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Daily Nourishment Leave-in Conditioning Spray
L’Oreal Paris Hair Expertise EverCreme Nourishing Leave-In Spray

Rule 5: Dry shampoo on days in between washes.

Since I don’t use shampoo on my hair, it’s actually a little okay if I wash my hair every day, but some days I don’t have time. On days when I’ve skipped the night before, I hit my roots with a quick spray of dry shampoo.

Dove Hair Therapy Refresh + Care Volume Dry Shampoo

Tide Ultra Stain Release Free

Full Disclosure: Influenster sent me a free sample of this stuff to try out and review. That said, I’m not being paid for this review, and all opinions are my own.

As I mentioned yesterday, a nifty new VoxBox full of fun things to try showed up on my doorstep. These aren’t beauty items, but I’ve not necessarily limited myself to that, so I thought I’d go ahead and review them here as well as in other places. So here’s the sample I posted over on my Instagram:

Here’s the claim, lifted straight from the product description on Target’s website:

Tide Ultra Stain Release FREE is supercharged with specially formulated ingredients to help remove up to 99% of everyday stains; including greasy food stains. Our new addition to the Tide Plus Collection delivers superior stain-fighting power and is free of dyes and perfumes so it is gentle on sensitive skin.

We have formulated it with HE Turbo Clean technology for 6X the cleaning power in half the time. Unlike many HE compatible detergents that can slow machines down with over-sudsing, this turbo-charged formula quickly collapses suds and targets tough stains. So you can be sure you save time without sacrificing results. Tide Ultra Stain Release FREE HE Turbo Clean works with all regular and high efficiency washing machines.

Tide Ultra Stain Release FREE Liquid Laundry Detergent comes with Zap! Cap, a unique pretreat cap with scrubbing bristles that bring a deep-down pre-treat option. As part of the Tide Plus Collection, it gives you the amazing Tide clean you expect plus more of what you love!

I don’t know about the HE claims. I honestly don’t pay that much attention to these things. I just want to know if my clothes will be clean or not. I also don’t care one way or another if it has perfumes. (Dyes are another story, as they can ruin my clothes sometimes.) Stain-fighting… Well, we’re going to see just how accurate that claim is.

I really wish they’d sent me a bigger sample so that I could test out pretreating with the product and such. Since I only had this little packet, I decided to be downright evil.

I put my daughter in a white shirt that I got for $1 at the local Dollar Tree and then told her to get it as dirty as possible. I had her roll down a hill and slide belly-first down her slide. Once it was pretty dirty, I took it off of her, and we did some more damage to it. We took it back out into the yard and stomped it into the grass really good. (I’m pretty sure there might be a little dog poop on there, too. I honestly don’t know) We poured pretty much every liquid we could find on there, including Kool-aid and grape juice and a little salsa. I also added bacon grease to the mix.

Now, I didn’t let everything set, but I didn’t give it the benefit of a pre-treat or oxy boost, either. And since I decided to add my running clothes that had been marinading in my laundry pile for three days, this perfume-free detergent wasn’t going to get any help from fabric softener. I wanted to see just how well this worked and if it got rid of the smell all on its own.

So here’s the results:

2015-10-07 12.36.27

It looks like Tide got everything except for the grass– which I think could be taken care of with a pre-treat. Not bad at all. And the running clothes? They didn’t smell like anything but clean clothes. I’ve got to admit I’m a little impressed, because I was really trying to make this not work. If Tide sends me more samples (or, more likely, when I end up using the nice coupon they sent me), I’ll probably unleash some supervillain-like abuse and let the stains set to test this further.

In all, I thought it was a good product. Is it an exceptional product? Well, I’ve gotten similar results from other laundry detergents in the past. I managed to keep a lot of my daughter’s old clothes in pristine condition so that they could be passed down, and that was before this product existed. I’ve used all kinds of detergents, some of which were Tide detergents.

This is a little pricey, though, compared to regular detergents, and I honestly like having some scent to my laundry detergent. If I get this, I’ll probably get the regular as opposed to the “free” version, and it will probably be reserved for those times when I have some tough stains to deal with.

But Tide does go on sale a lot at the stores around me, and I get a lot of coupons for them that I can stack on top of sales, so while I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase it, I’ll definitely buy it when that opportunity inevitably comes along.