3.29.2013

Review: Garnier Fructis Hydra Recharge

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Products provided through Bzzagent.


Hydra Recharge Fortifying Shampoo
Claims: A hydrating shampoo with goji beads that will leave hair weightless and silky for up to 2 days.
Cost: $4-$5 at drugstores
Overall impressions: I have nothing good to say about this shampoo. My hair had remnants of yesterday's product. It weighed down my locks to the point of it being plastered to my scalp. I stopped using it because my hair appeared unwashed.

Hydra Recharge Fortifying Conditioner
Claims: Hydrates hair to make it feel silkier.
Cost: $4-$5 at drugstores
Overall impressions: This conditioner is fantastic for daily use if you suffer from dry hair. My hair was soft to the touch within one use. My ends, in particular, felt better than ever! I was amazed by the improvement. With a couple weeks of use, my hair still feels moisturized.

Hydra Recharge 1-Minute Moisture-Plenish
Claims: This creme-gel product will replenish moisture in 1 minute.
Cost: $4-$5 at drugstores
Overall impressions: 1-Minute Moisture assists your hair in maintaining it's silkiness in conjunction with the fortifying conditioner. I don't think it does anything in addition to boost moisture. I use this 1-2 times per week for deep conditioning. I prefer this formula to Garnier's 3-Minute Triple Nutrition.

I have not had the best experience with Garner products, so I was surprised that the conditioners did anything to my hair. Having said that, I was taken back by how poorly the shampoo cleansed my hair. I have not had that kind of experience with a shampoo in quite a long time. I would likely repurchase the Fortifying Conditioner but would bypass the Moisture-Plenish since I feel it is just a maintenance product.

3.27.2013

How to Thrift on eBay Part 2


In part 1 of this series I gave you lots of tips to thrift on eBay. Now, I will show you  the best way I have found to narrow down your search to find exactly what you're looking for.

First go to eBay. At all costs, avoid a straight search. You will get very few good options this way. Instead, on the left sidebar, click fashion then choose women's.


This will take you to the next page. On the left sidebar will be all of your choices. Pick which one you are looking for (in this search I was doing 'Tops & Blouses').


This will take you to every single listing in that category. To narrow down by size, color, brand, etc you will need to click 'see all' on the left sidebar. This will cause a window to pop up where you can narrow down by each category. Go through each of them and make your selections. I usually only do size and brand. If I want to be very specific (for example long sleeve, button down, work blouse) then I go through all of the tabs and make the appropriate selections. The more options you choose the fewer auctions eBay will show you.



I think brand selection is the most important feature. As I said in part 1, stick to quality brands (i.e. ones that you know are durable).


Here are some of the brands I tend to select. Note: As you can see, I also selected Price+Shipping: Lowest First (the default is Best Match). Be sure to do this, too!



Now your search will be narrowed down to manageable amounts. Once you find an item, click on it. Then, look at the photos and read the description. If the item is something that sparks you interest click 'add to watch list.' Don't bid until the last 15 minutes of an item.


If you have any other questions about narrowing down your search, leave me a comment. Part 1 of this series has tons of tips for you, too!

3.25.2013

Review: Burt's Bees Sensitive Eye Cream


What it claims: A lightweight eye cream that will not cause irritation or redness. Specially formulated for sensitive skin. It also claims to reduce eye puffiness. It is fragrance free, hypo-allergenic and non-comedogenic. 

Cost: I picked this up at Ulta for $14.99. I used one of of their $3.50 off coupons to reduce the cost to around $12.50 with tax. 

Packaging: This eye cream comes in a squeeze tube. The cap pulls off to reveal a cone shaped rubber tip. You get .5 oz of product.

Overall impressions: I have a very sensitive eye area. I would not use a thing on them, except for the fact that I also suffer from dryness. I will generally find an eye cream that works for about a year and then my eyes will start reacting to it. I usually experience a dermatitis flare up. It happened again recently, so I knew it was time to look for a new cream. I often will react to a new cream within the first two days. If there's no reaction then I keep it around for permanent use (permanent meaning about a year). Obviously, I have the worst eye combination on the planet. ;)

First, I picked up the Lumene Vitamin C+ Roller but it wasn't hydrating enough and burned my dermatitis. I returned it. Then, I was at the Estée Lauder counter and they recommended their Verité line. It was around $50. The most I'm willing to spend on a cream is $30. I stopped by Ulta to look into other options. I stumbled upon this Burt's Bees for sensitive eyes and thought I would give it a go. Since Ulta has a good return policy, I thought it wouldn't hurt. 

Unfortunately, the opening on the tip is too small, causing a burst of product to emerge. In the photo below you will see how much will come out, if you're not careful. I figured out the best way to get out a minimal amount of product is to squeeze lightly right above the 'net wt.' writing. It takes practice to discover the right pressure and where to press. That's a lot of work for a product but once your have it down you're golden. I would prefer to see this with a pump or regular squeeze tube tip. When too much emerges, there's no way to get it back in.


Regardless, I am happy to find a tube drugstore eye cream. Often times they are packaged to dip from, something not safe for these sensitive eyes.

I think the price is reasonable, too. This runs $5 less than most drugstore eye creams. Plus, with a coupon you can get it for less.

Luckily, my eyes had no adverse reactions and my dermitis cleared. It also hydrated my eyes enough to remove the dry patches. I love that the formula is light and not greasy. It does nothing for puffiness, though. A little goes a long way with this cream. I have been using it for about a month now and am completely happy with the results! If you have a sensitive eye area, I would recommend Burt's Bees.

3.22.2013

Review: Neutrogena Healthy Lengths Mascara

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This product was provided through Bzzagent.


What it claims: Promises to lengthen with no clumping. Formulated Vitamin E and Olive Oil to nourish and strengthen lashes. States lashes will be 100% longer. 

Cost: A tube will run you $8.50 at most drugstores.

Packaging: The tube and wand are both narrow and long. The brush is bristled. An average, everyday brush.

Left: Without eye liner        Right: With eye liner

Overall Impressions: I was not wowed by this mascara. It did provide some length but not 100% more length. I would guess, maybe, 20%. I have several drugstore mascaras that achieve far better results.

I like that the formula does not make my lashes feel brittle. My lashes were not weighed down, either. One day, I combined this with Wet n Wild Mega Impact and loved what they did for my lashes together. On its own, though, I'm not thrilled. As you can see in the photos, it only bumped up my lashes slightly. I would suggest this mascara for anyone looking for a natural lash look.

3.20.2013

How to Thrift on eBay Part 1


When it comes to clothing I am a thrifter. About 50-60% of my clothes are from eBay or Plato's Closet (I do not live near a Good Will or Salvation Army with "stylish" options). Usually when I tell people I thrift on eBay, they respond, "I need you to do that for me!" So, I thought it was time to put out there how I get great deals. Often times, I have found brands like J. Crew, The Limited or Banana Republic for less than $10. Usually, for less than $5. Read on to find out how you can fill up your closet for less!

(some of my eBay finds)

First of all, whenever I thrift I stick to certain brands. I will not buy Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, etc because their items are not as durable. Plus, they are generally inexpensive in store. Sticking to quality brands equals better and longer wear for you.

I always look at the photos and read the description to see how worn items are. Photos can tell you a lot. Generally, sellers are very honest in their description (they want good feedback scores!). If the item is extremely wrinkled in the photo, for example, it probably hasn't been well cared for. You can also tell the "era" of the item from the photos. Sometimes, you will get something deceiving (it's pretty rare) but you can work that out with the seller. eBay has buyer and seller protection. It's there to help you!

Looking at the seller's rating is important. I never buy from someone with 5 stars or less. However, I have noticed that people with less stars, (usually under 100) their auctions tend to have less bidding action (perhaps they don't show up in the search results as often?). Those are the auctions I tend to get for 99 cents.

I will not spend over $10 on shirts and $15 on bottoms or shoes. This includes the shipping charges. If the item is going to exceed $10-15, with shipping, I don't buy it. Figure out your limit and stick to it. This is the key to thrifting, you're not saving much if you're spending $20 a pop on pre-loved clothing.

Sellers have shops. When you find an item you like, click the sellers name. This will take you to their other items for sale. Usually they will be similar sizes to the original item you found. Plus, most sellers combine shipping.

When you get down in your search, always sort by price+shipping lowest first. The default is best match.

I skip Buy It Now only option items because I rarely get a good deal. Auctions have always been the way to go for me. 

If you see EUC in the title or description this means excellent used condition.

 
(some recent eBay purchases)
 

Once you find an item, click watch. Never bid until the last 15 minutes. Otherwise, you may wind up over spending. I have the eBay mobile app and it will remind me before the item ends.

Go through your watched items list periodically to see where the prices are. Once something hits $5-$7 (depending on shipping cost) I delete it. I know it's going to get out of my price range soon so why bother?

Also, while you are watching items, check the bid count. If it's getting high (10-15+) that means this is a hot item and it's probably going to go above your price range. It also means you're more likely to get into a bidding war when the auction is ending. Again, I delete those.

When bidding, you can put the highest amount your willing to spend and eBay will automatically bid for you. For example, let's say the bid is at 99 cents and your max is $10 but you don't have time to come back later. You can bid $10 and eBay will take care of things for you. Let's say someone comes along and bids $3, ebay will automatically bid $4 for you until the auction reaches your limit of $10.

After that, you need to go back in and bid on your own.

Back to bidding wars,  it's a rush to be so close to winning and going back and forth with a person. The OMG I HAVE TO WIN! mentality can hit quick. Remember to keep your limit in mind and if it exceeds your amount, STOP. A winning rush is not worth over spending.

Don't fret if you lose out. There are thousands of other items!

If you have a question, it never hurts to ask the seller! I have contacted a person after the auction was over and offered a couple of dollars more than the winning bid to see if they will bite.

I sell my clothing on eBay and use the funds to purchase more. I can do a whole post on selling, if you all wish!

Part 2 will be all about how to actually find quality items. There is an art form to this! After that, I will do a post on how to thrift at Plato's Closet.

3.18.2013

Review: Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick

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This product was provided through Bzzagent.


What it claims: A balm-like hydrating formula that will make lips softer in three days. The color is a light wash that will last for hours. Eight shades available.

Cost: Around $8.50 at most drugstores.

Packaging: The balm comes in tube similar to the the Revlon Just Bitten Stain or the Clique Chubby Sticks. No sharpening required because the balm twists up. The plastic cap allows you to see the color of the product. The tube is also the color of the product.

Overall Impressions: I received the color Sweet Watermelon. I had already heard rave reviews from emilynoel83, so I was excited to try it out. She described these as the "sweatpants of lip products." I would have to agree with that statement. They are absolutely comfortable, lightweight and moisturizing. The color payoff is better than I expected, too. This shade is a bit frosty.


Sweet Watermelon is the perfect light pink. I was surprised that it swatched true to color on my pigmented lips. The color will last about 2 hours. I noticed the shine tends to be the first thing to fade. I also found this to be very moisturizing. I did not have to apply a lip balm when I wore this product. My lips stayed hydrated throughout wear. Were my lips softer in 3 days, though? No. They were the same.

I now prefer this formula to the Revlon Just Bitten. In time, Just Bitten dried out my lips. This does not at all. I could still slide my lips around and not lose color. It does trasfer to cups and bottles, though. I also noticed a bit of the frost tends to flake off as glitter.  

I plan to pick up more shades of these. They just might be my new favorite lip product because they are an easy all in one color, gloss and balm!