Spring/Summer…Where do I begin?  Well, first of all, we really didn’t have a Spring.  Try telling that to my allergies.  I still had to use Allegra and tried the new Mucinex Allergy too.  Started on the meds long before spring was supposedly here.  It was more like Winter, then Summer came in steady.  Also, I thought it would be better if I just did faves based on the seasons instead of month-to-month.  And as usual, life happened which caused the delay.  I don’t know how I’m going to get better at getting my feelings out right when things are happening instead of just wallowing in sorrow.  In May, my family suffered another blow.  My aunt Crlyn from New York/Va. Beach passed away.  She was diagnosed with colon cancer right after we saw her during the holidays looking and feeling so good.  However, by the time she went back home, stomach pains became persistent and before you knew it, they were wheeling her up to the oncology floor.  A tumor was wrapped around her colon.  Surgery and chemo for a few weeks, then she unexpectedly breathed her last breath.  As mentioned in an earlier post, A broke her finger, potential buyers visit the house, but still no offers to buy, my grandma-in-law, Elaine, passed away during our first week back to school, and the weekend before Autumn officially began, my step grandma on my dad’s side passed away.  Funny man, Robin Williams, shined a brighter light on depression after his shocking suicide, and funny gal, Joan Rivers, was taken away due to medical negligence.  I should also add that one of the window shutters to D‘s room outside of the third floor fell onto our van during a storm.  It is way past due for a faves intervention.  So, what am I raving about this time:

ORS Curls Unleashed No Restrictions Moisturizing Conditioner:   “This product is great for transitioning, “co-washing,” detangling and conditioning.  Can be used as a daily conditioner.  Prepares curls for styling…provides the conditioning your hair needs and deserves to maintain healthy looking hair…packaging is BPA free and recyclable”-curlsunleashed.com.  Amazing product, amazing smell, sort of pepperminty.  It treats my curls right whether in a braidout or a twistout.  My hair always comes out super curly and moisturized, well detangled with this stuff which is why it’s parts of my staples.  Ingredients include Olive, Avocado, Rosemary oils, Kiwi fruit extract, Panthenol, and a few silicones.

 SheaMoisture Yucca & Baobab Anti-Breakage Masque:  Can’t have a faves list without something from this product line.  “It penetrates deeply to moisturize, strengthen and fortify fine, thin hair. This all-natural treatment helps prevent breakage while increasing volume for thicker, full-bodied hair.  Baobab Oil – Contains Vitamins A, C, D, E and F to fortify and strengthen hair. Yucca – Thickens hair while adding volume. Biotin – A powerful B vitamin that strengthens the hair follicle.”  The first use, I was hooked.  It has a super thick consistency, so you don’t have to worry about it oozing everywhere.  Sometimes, I just deep condition with it, then rinse.  No shampoo, cowash, or condition afterwards.  My hair is left moisturized, not hard, not dirty.  My mom-in-law tried it and was in disbelief at how soft a deep conditioning mask made her hair feel.  Some certified organic ingredients in here like coconut oil, shea butter, mango seed butter, olive oil.

Freeman Facial Anti-Stress Mask-Dead Sea Minerals/Facial Polishing Mask-Charcoal & Black Sugar:  The Anti-Stress “instantly absorbs excess oil while clarifying and purging clogged pores. Dead Sea Minerals contain natural supplements that are essential for maintaining healthy skin. Sea Salts help replenish and balance moisture.”  It goes on very blue or turquoise-like.  When my cystic acne was coming back during the menstrual days, and I couldn’t manage getting another Proactive subscription, this really saved my skin.  It doesn’t irritate my seborrheic dermatitis where my dry patches are either.  Smells nice too.  Then, when I needed something to really detoxify my skin, I heard about charcoal.  Searched high and low for food-grade charcoal capsules to make my own mask-nothing.  Wasn’t about to spend money on orders from Lush, so I settled for the Freeman version and I’m so glad I did.  It smells and tastes so sweet, although I don’t recommend tasting it.  The black sugar crystals are a bit hard to spread all over the face, so sometimes it’ll creep in between my lips and fall on my shirt.  It is a very messy mask, but it truly does its job in exfoliating and polishing my skin.  Leave on for about 10 mins, then rub all over in a circular motion and rinse.  Doesn’t irritate my s. derm.  I was taken a back when I noticed a slight warm feeling as I applied it, but not to worry.  It doesn’t burn and it’s very relaxing, spa-like.  “Naturally purifying Activated Charcoal helps absorb oil and impurities without over-drying. Then, Black Sugar helps exfoliate away dulling skin cells for softness and clarity. Perfect for all skin types.  With ginger, coconut, papaya, banana extracts, carbomer (carbon).  Allure 2013 Best of Beauty Winner“-www.freemanbeauty.com.

Productsandtests

Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash:  “Cleanses and nourishes skin, 100% soap free, With added vitamins: Pro-Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E, Contains skin-loving ingredient: Bisabolol.  Suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive skin.  No Dyes, No Artificial Perfumes and No Harsh Irritants that can upset your skin”-www.simpleskincare.com.  To be honest, I do wish the ingredient list was simple.  For a product that claims to be so simple for your skin, the list is pretty long.  I bought it for my kids, especially the 2 older girls because water wasn’t enough anymore.  So far, so good whenever I check their skin.  I just wish it had a simpler formula.

Black Opal True Colors Crème Stick Foundation SPF 8:  I searched for something to match or shall I say, fill in the missing color to the dry patches of my face like an addict.  We come in all kinds of shades and complexions, but these stores pretty much say, no, we don’t or who cares?!  I was in the mood for something different after my Fashion Fair Foundation Stick ran out.  I was in NC and amazingly, there were a bunch of sections with many colors to choose from.  I was excited to see Iman, but for $16.00 I couldn’t remember if I was in the Clay or Earth range and what numbers go with what. So, Wal-Mart surprised me by carrying $9.00 Black Opal, with so many of our tones, I thought I was going to do a lil’ jig right in the aisle.  My mom was thoroughly impressed enough to get some pressed powder after dropping/cracking her Fashion Fair one.  Like the company says, “sometimes you do have something to hide and this creme foundation housed in a portable stick, can make camouflaging problem areas on the face that much easier.  This PABA-free, hypoallergenic formula protects skin from UV damage, won’t clog pores and blends smoothly to give you the flawless face you’ve always wanted. Hypoallergenic, For all skin types, Velvet finish, 0.5 oz”-www.blackopalbeauty.com.  I picked Suede Mocha.  As a swatch on my hand above, it’s very dark.  It could be used for contouring or bronzing.  I only need it to put some color back where it is missing due to my skin condition by lightly tapping it on w/a foundation brush, then blend outward to even out my skintone with a different color foundation or BB creme that’s true to my real skin shade until it looks even and natural.

Alikay Naturals Crème Brulee Curling Custard:  This stuff is the Bomb Dot Com!  K‘s hair is on a whole ‘nother level with this.  Produced by a natural hair YouTuber, it seems the Curling Custard was made specifically with type 4 naturals in mind. It has a great gel-like hold and leaves hair shiny and well-defined.  The smell is so yummy that I’ve caught A tasting it.  K‘s hair was springy, full of elasticity, slip, it needs to become her holy grail of products.  I heard it is being sold at select Target stores now.  We just finished the sample from YRTakesTheDMV event.  It truly gives my girl’s hair new life.  Check out the pic below of her plump, juicy twists from using this.  “Your curls will POP with this sweet curl defining blend. A Pineapple scented natural combination of 3 Amazing A’s -Aloe Vera, Agave Nectar and Argan Oil give this product an A+ Rating and so will your curls…Will not leave hair dry, crunchy, sticky or greasy. Just touchable hydrating curls that stay defined for days. Perfect for Wash and Go’s for Kinky and Curly textures”-www.alikaynaturals.com.

NYX HD Photogenic Concealer Wand in CW08 Nutmeg:  “This lightweight cover-up obscures imperfections, discoloration and under eye circles, without ever looking cakey or obvious.  High definition, mineral-rich, paraben free, talc free”-www.nyx.com.  You’d think this was a high-end product with the way it covers dark marks and circles.  I was also very pleased with this shade.  You really don’t have to wear foundation with this if you don’t want to.  It is pigmented enough to stand alone.

N.Y.C. Smooth Skin Loose Face Powder in Translucent:  “Set yourself up for the day with NYC New York Color Smooth Skin Loose Face Powder. This gentle powder has natural oil-absorbing ingredients that help seal your makeup without clogging pores. Its delicate texture leaves skin looking and feeling velvety soft”-www.newyorkcolor.com.  Another low-end product ($2.99) that’s very gentle on the skin and gets the job done by setting everything on my face without making me look like a white powdered mess.

ECOStyler Gel in Krystal:  This was another sample size from the event that I desperately need more of.  I’ve never tried any of the oil varieties, so I can’t judge this against those, but I can say I didn’t experience any of the flaking or crunchiness I’ve heard other naturals experienced.  Perhaps the ration of gel and water or gel and oil with water wasn’t balanced.  I don’t know.  All I know is I reallllllyyy like it.  I applied it last which was after my leave-in/detangler and styler.  It gave me the flexible hold I needed without having to retwist my hair.  “10/10 hold, alcohol free, controls and defines with long-lasting shine, no flakes, UV protection, wheat protein, reduces porosity.  Naturally derived ingredients”-www.ecocoinc.com

Smooth‘NShine Polishing Diamond Dazzle anti-frizz Glistening Conditioning Gel:  Another gel that I like, I found this one for $1.00 on clearance at Wal-Mart just sitting by itself.  It smells heavenly, looks pretty with a glitter shine, and helped me when I needed it most during the humid days of summer.  When my twistout wasn’t working out on the first day, I retwisted it that night with this gel and the next day, the curls were bouncier, shinier, and glistening.  I’m not sure what the heat protection in it is for since I would never think of a gel to use when blowdrying or flatironing, but it’s nice to know it’s there.  I did not have any nasty flakes or buildup.  The ad rings true-“anti-frizz, Prismatic Shine, No alcohol, No grease, No wax. The result is conditioned, soft, and manageable tresses that stay in glistening definition”-www.smoothnshine.com.

Smooth'NShine

Rimmel London Lasting Finish by Kate Moss #11:  I bought this lipstick in the black packaging with Kate’s name in red and a cute little heart on it for my mom.  Soon after, I had to buy myself the same color.  I don’t understand why the colors are only referred to as numbers, but this is like a burnt red that’s hot for the upcoming fall weather.  It’s not too red and it’s not too much of a wine tone.  It’s just perfect.  The swatch on the pic above does nothing for it.  I think the flash was just too much from my camera, making it look a bit orange, but it really is a long-lasting and moisturizing lipstick.  This model is a legend on the runway, magazines and now, the makeup aisle.  Get the London look!  “The 1st Lipstick collection created by Kate Moss with High Intensity Colour for up to 8 hours. Formula infused with Black Diamonds, reflects light like never before. Captures all the flair, edge and timelessness of Kate’s unique look”-us.rimmellondon.com.

L.A. Colors Lipgloss in #BC132 Topaz:  This is one of those oldies, but goodies.  I remember purchasing this along with some eyeshadow and eye/lip pencils from a drugstore in Newport News, VA when I didn’t have everything I needed for a trip.  When and why we were there, I can’t remember.  I think I bought it since we’ve been living in our house, so it might be 6 yrs old, younger or older.  I don’t know.  I’m sort of embarrassed.  I can’t find anything like it on the company website-not the color, not the packaging, so it must be discontinued.  For me, it’s a great color on top of any lipstick with a hint of sparkle.  It gives just the right amount of contrast.  I used it a lot this season.  I haven’t felt any weird tingling, so I think it’s still good.  Maybe I should look down an aisle or the website to discover the new stuff.-www.lacolors.com

Maybelline ColorSensational The Buffs in #955 Espresso Exposed:   Found this lovely gem in clearance.  Had no idea colors this deep could be considered nudes because I could never wear the paler shades.  They make my lips look dry and that’s not cute to me.  The pale pinks, frosty whites/golds are meant for me to layer on top of a darker color to give an ombre effect.  I can’t pull those off alone.  So, this darker shade was a grand surprise to me.  I don’t think I ever saw the darker shades advertised as heavily as the lighter ones.  It goes on very smoothly and hasn’t feathered up yet.  “Raw. Real. Pigments explode with sensuous impact…sensational, Best nude lipstick”-www.maybelline.com.

Fiber One Streusel Bar in Strawberry:  Can you believe these bars have been the highlight of the entire season?  I was hooked the moment these bars hit the tongue.  They are so good, like a dessert you don’t want to end.  Don’t let the word ‘fiber’ scare you off thinking this tastes like sandpaper with an artificial fruit topping.  Real fruit, real taste.  I buy the value pack of 12 because anything smaller wouldn’t last.  “A delicious streusel bar made with a brown sugar and oats topping over a real fruit filling.  20% daily value of fiber, 150 calories per bar, 12 grams whole grain”-www.fiberone.com.

FiberOne

Clairol Expert Collection Age-Defy Radiant Permanent Hair Color in #3 Black:  Clairol had me at “fight 7 signs of aging.”  It claims it’s their “most advanced gray coverage hair color collection…powered with the breakthrough science of Pantene. Fight the 7 signs of aging hair and discover lustrous, radiant color that looks 10 years younger – today.  Advanced Color System targets resistant grays for 100% gray coverage, Exclusive Smoothing Pre-treatment, Powered with Pro-V Colorseal™ conditioner, Helps fight against grays, lackluster color, coarseness, frizz, dryness, breakage and unruly hair”-www.clairol.com.  I am still a young whipper snapper, so I have no clue why I have crazy premature graying going on.  Could it be stress?  Well, this is my very first permanent hair dye, and it lasted a total of 8 weeks, beginning May 1 of my application, as most claim to do.  I divided it in 1/2 so I could still have some safely left over without being mixed up and applied ONLY to the areas with the most gray-crown and middle front parts.  My hair looked the way it was intended at my 30 something age.  I didn’t notice any damage, but I began to think to myself that I should probably look at other alternatives, especially for the crown area.  That area is still weak in the growth department, so I found:

no gray Quick Fix in Brown/Black:  “It’s an additive that mixes with any permanent or semi permanent hair color using a new revolutionary technology that ensures maximum coverage on even the most resistant gray hair”-www.nograyquickfix.com.  It is a wand similar to a mascara wand to brush the color on, then little bristles and tiny comb teeth on the other end to further spread the color for even distribution.  It rubs off onto your fingers if you still need to fix your hair like a hair rinse does.  I find it useful to keep me from doing dye job too frequently.  I may not like my gray, but I like keeping my hair.  It also comes in just Brown and Blonde and there’s a color additive that you can pour into any hair color system of your choice to give it that extra ‘no gray’ oomph.  As with any type of color, do a patch or strand test first.

And that’s it for this past season’s favorites.  Stay tuned for Fall and Winter.  “One day your life will flash before your eyes.  Make sure it’s worth watching.”-Gerard Way

See you soon,

Smiley

BlackHair

CupofStuff

 

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