Bag Essentials

I took an extended weekend with one of my best girl friends to the beach. It was well-deserved, and I needed it. We were staying at my university apartment, so the drive to the actual beach was about 20 minutes. I came up with the idea for this post because we tried to sleep at the beach but we did not exactly plan ahead… yet we had all the essentials. It is second nature to a girl I swear, so I decided to share my insight on what to pack just in case you may stay somewhere else.

We used our beach bags and added these essentials:

A different bikini
New pair of undies
Another bra
A day outfit
A night outfit
deodorant
Hair refreshers/products
Toothbrush/toothpaste
Makeup (but especially lip gloss)
Bobby pins
Hair ties
Another pair of shoes
A pair of heels

We learned our lesson after the first day, when my flip flops got stolen and I didn’t have another flat pair of shoes. Luckily the bar we were at is an outdoor bar where you wear bikinis and can go shoeless (Seacrets, Ocean City, MD). Although, the next morning I was missing a pair of shoes and we had to drive all the way back to my apartment to get a new pair. We also learned that deodorant is always important to pack, we had to use men’s deodorant the day after we slept at the beach so we wouldn’t smell. Having new outfits is always a good idea because you never know if you’re staying or not, and it’s to be on the safe side. Luckily we had packed new outfits, and a night outfit for when we went out to the bars at night. Bobby pins are life savers! Never forget this. For the beach, your bangs may need to be pinned back, and they also make for the cutest hair styles. (I’m a fan of small poofs).

Anyway, those are my essentials for when you don’t know if you’ll get stranded or not. It is so important to be safe.

“Natural” products?

Warning: many products claim to be natural and have natural ingredients…but they’ll still contain the chemicals you are trying to avoid! Just because the product contains natural ingredients, does not eliminate the fact that it is also using chemical compounds as well. Usually, these chemical compounds are in a higher quantity than whatever natural ingredients are involved.

A product that claims to be Sulfate-Free…

That’s great! The product doesn’t have a sulfate! You’ve been attempting to avoid any, especially sodium laureth sulfate. Then you pick it up and look at the ingredients in the bottle and you notice that it still looks like a lot of chemicals are involved. The product has the ingredient Olefin Sulfonate which strangely seems similar to the word sulfate. Want to know why? Because it’s another form of a sulfate.

Olefin sulfonate is a surfactant. So are sulfates. This means that that it helps oil molecules dissolve in water, which has a drying effect on hair. In fact if you look online this is what you’ll find: “A sulfonate is a salt of a sulfonic acid.” That’s a coincidence because “a sulfate is a salt of sulfuric acid.” Hmm… basic chemistry tells me that they are both chemical compounds from salt and that they are both surfactant. Which means, that instead of having a sulfate it has another form in order to claim they are “sulfate free!”.

Also, products will claim that there Olefin Sulfonate is Coconut derived. This is because it is naturally derived from coconut oil, but it does not mean it’s not a chemical salt! It does NOT mean that it is natural or anything involved coconuts!

For example, Giovanni’s hair care line claims that it is: “Laurel, laureth sulfates, animal products and cruelty free.” Sounds great, but then when you look at the ingredients list you’ll see this:

Aqua (Purified Water) with Certified Organic Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) Oil, Certified Organic Peppermint (Mentha Piperita) Oil, Certified Organic Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Officinalis) Oil, Certified Organic Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Oil, Certified Organic Nettle (Urtica Dioica) Oil, Certified Organic Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) Oil, Birch Leaf (Butela Alba) Oil, Certified Organic Chamomile (Anthemis Nobilus Flower), Certified Organic Clary (Salvia Sclarea), Certified Organic Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), Certified Organic Coltsfoot Leaf (Tussilago Farfara), Certified Organic Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) Oil, Certified Organic Mallow (Malva Sylvestris), Certified Organic Horsetail (Equisetum Arvense) Oil, Certified Organic Soybean Protein (Glycine Soja), C12-14 Olefin Sulfonate (Coconut Derived), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Trace Minerals, Citric Acid (Corn), Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Sodium Chloride (Sea Salt), Grapefruit Seed (Citrus Derived).

 

As we can see it contains a sulfonate and it nicely tells the buyer that it’s coconut derived. Of course it is, does not change the fact that it is a surfacant, and a sulfate. Thanks for trying to trick us, Giovanni.

Next, Trader Joe’s Nourish Shampoo was recommended to me, and yet they are playing the same trick on us as Giovanni’s shampoo is attempting to do: claiming to be sulfate free but including a sulfonate.

Trader Joes Ingredient List: Purified water, organic rosemary oil, organic valencia orange citrus, organic mango, organic lemongrass, organic ginko biloba, organic echinacea, organic willow bark, organic sea kelp, organic chamomile flower, organic textured soy protein, organic lavender, organic grapefruit, C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Tocopherol (Vit E), Citric Acid, Methylparaben, propylparaben, sea salt, botanical fragrance

Yet why does it not shock me that companies are attempting to fool us?

Another issue I’ve come across is when looking for a Certified Organic Shampoo, I will find shampoos that claim to have certified organic ingredients. Which usually means to them that they have a few ingredients that are certified, and therefore the whole shampoo is certified and healthy for your hair… incorrect. So many people were recommending the Avalon Organics line of products to me. Then I checked out the bottle:

As one can see here, the third ingredient is a sulfate. Sorry Avalon Organics, it’s nice that you have a few certified organic ingredients, but even Tressemme claims there ingredients are natural and they too have sulfates in them.

Another product that does the same is: Yes to Carrots which claims to be paraben free and organic. Here is its ingredient list: Water (Aqua), Sodium Coceth Sulfate, Magnesium Chloride, Dead Sea Water (Maris Aqua), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Propanediol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Daucus Carota Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Juice, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Juice, Ipomoera Batatas (Sweet Potato) Extract, Cucumis Melo (Melon) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Honey(Mel) Extract, Fragrance (Parfum), Algae Extracts (Rhodella, Dunaliella, Spirulina), Silt (Maris Limus), Niacinamide, Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Acetate), Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Peel Extract.

The second ingredient is a sulfate. I’m going to say no to carrots.

How can products do this?

It’s actually shocking statistic that 98% of natural products are actually making false or misleading claims. “After a study of nearly 4,000 consumer products discovered unverifiable information and blatant lies regarding their claim to be 100% natural, all natural, organic, or otherwise environmental friendly” (NaturalCosmeticNews). The truth is, manufacturers are looking for creative ways to market their products to “green” consumers. Unfortunately this is not regulated by government agenceies that usually regulate drugs, food and personal hair care products because, like the FDA, they do not define or regulate the use of the word “natural” on cosmetic products. This is primarily because there is not a true definition to what “natural” really means, which leads to the use of it on labels and advertising.

Most consumers think that when they see “natural” on a product, that the product’s ingredients come from nature, which is untrue. (Not to mention, not all things that are natural are safe). This does not mean that all products that claim to be natural are lying, but more likely than not the products include more than just natural ingredients. The USDA is in charge of deeming things “organic” but there are loopholes to get around this fact. It’s sad but true.

Really most importantly spend your time doing your own research, because I’ve spent plenty of time doing mine. I almost purchased Giovanni until I noticed its false claims, and have turned to looking at brands that are 95 to 100% truly organic, or have proven all-natural ingredients.

Here is a small list of 95-100% certified by the USDA as organic: Dr. Bronner’s, Nature’s Gate, Terressentials, Trilliums Organics

Products that are made with “some” organic ingredients: KissMyFace, JohnMasterOrganics, WholeFoods Line “EO”

Products that are proven natural: Burt’s Bees, Aubrey Organics

Honestly, I say just research and try things out. I am going to try out Aubrey Organics line and get back to you with a review later this week or next week.

Product Review

Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray ($24)

What it is:
A saltwater-based styling spray.

What it does:
This styling spray adds volume and texture to the hair to create a sexy, wind-blown feel. Its salt-infused formula adds fullness, hold, and a cool, matte finish. Salt water is no secret to editorial stylists for adding volume and texture, and anyone who has been in the ocean knows of that salty, sexy, sun-dried, wind-styled feel (that seems such a shame to wash out). So while Bumble and bumble hasn’t exactly bottled the real thing, they’ve replicated and improved it, including seaweed and kelp extracts to enhance moisture.

What else you need to know:
Excellent for wavy types and landlocked surfers with winter blues, this spray adds body to fine hair and adds a nice texture for silver hair.

Full Ingredient List:
Ascophyllum Nudosum (Seaweed), Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp), Magnesium Sulfate, Water Magnesium Sulfate, Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp) Extract, Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, Isoceteth-20, Citric Acid, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Citronellol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Linalool, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Fragrance (Parfum).

My Review:

I bought this product a while back, maybe last Summer, and I’ve had the same 4oz. bottle ever since. At first, I hated this stuff, I didn’t understand how to apply it without it making my hair a crunchy mess, but now I gave it another try and I like it. So, you’re supposed to spray it onto your hair (but in a small amount!) and then scrunch your hair together to allow it to take hold.

It contains Macrocystis Pyritera which is a kelp extract and it helps increase manageability, ascophyllum nudosum which is seaweed extract that enhances elasticity, softness, body and tames your flyaways. It also contains water magnesium sulfate that gives your hair that dry, gritty, sandy texture.

If you don’t use this product correctly then you end up looking crazy. Not a lie. It makes your hair gritty, so if you start spraying this widly around your hair and scrunching it, you’ll look like you have a dry afro. I focus on the middle of my hair, and spray one or two pumps before I scrunch it together. It does not make your hair hard, it’s not a gel. Your hair will have the appearance of leaving the beach, without the frizz, but it does have some of the feel to it. It’s nice when used correctly.

The bottle is tiny, it’s only a 4oz., and so it’s pretty self-explanatory that a little goes a long way. I used it last night after I showered, because my hair for some reason decided it didn’t want to wave nicely last night. I only really use it when my hair hasn’t waved to my liking, so that’s why it’s lasted so long. My hair today feels and looks adorably cute because of this product, which is why I decided to review it.

I have wavy hair already, but it does work for people with fine and straighter hair. To get it to work, just spray it where you feel necessary and make a bun at the nape of your neck for a few minutes. When you let it out, your hair will have waves… I promise. I’ve done a bad straightening job on my hair, and noticed it decided to start raining outside, so I even spray some of this on that one time and it worked wonders. It really does wave your hair.

Mostly, what I like about this product, is that while other Bb products make my hair frizzy, this actually does not. It is less of a water cocktail, and actually has some real ingredients in it.

Finally! A Bumble and Bumble product I like!

Product Review

Aussie Moisture Treatment, Deeeeep 3 Minute Miracle ($3.49)

WHAT IT IS:
A deep conditioner for hair

WHAT IT DOES:
Hydrates and smooths dry, damaged hair

FULL INGREDIENT LIST:
Water/eau, stearyl alcohol, cyclopentasiloxane, cetyl alcohol, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, dimethicone, ecklonia radiata extract (Australian sea kelp), aloe barbadensis leaf juice, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, glutamic acid, fragrance/parfum, benzyl alcohol, EDTA, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone

HOW IT FEELS/SMELLS/LOOKS:
The thick white cream has a strong fruity-floral scent.

I’d heard some good things about this product, even though Aussie regular conditioners had never really worked well for my hair. I was at Target the other day and noticed that it’s less than $4, so I figured I might as well try it. It’s supposed to help your dry damaged hair and ends. Now, I’m used to more expensive deep treatments, but I’ve also been disappointed  in some of them as well.

Anyway, I knew this Aussie product would smell wonderful, and I was right. I followed the directions of the bottle, and put the product onto my damp hair. At first, in the shower the product felt like it was working great! I was so happy it was living up to its hype. I waited the three minutes, rinsed it, and noticed that the moment it rinsed out of my hair it stopped feeling so nice. My hair felt like I had just used a regular, not “deeeeep” conditioner on my hair, and it didn’t even feel like a good regular conditioner.

I towel dried my hair, and it was dry. I had to add my Moroccanoil to save it, but it still feels more dry today than it did yesterday when I’d used Joico KPak as my conditioner (and I don’t even like that stuff, just trying to finish the bottle!) I was disappointed to say the least. It did not work for me. It added no extra moisture, did not even detangle my hair, and only felt soft when I applied it in the shower. This is more of a regular daily conditioner than a repair conditioner, and will most likely work wonders on people who already have healthier hair than mine.

Once again I’m disappointed with a product surrounded with tons of hype.

Dry Shampoo Review!

I have had the pleasure of buying and trying dry shampoos that just worked, didn’t work, or kinda worked for my hair. Dry Shampoo is crazy popular right now, and it’s understandable because now a girl can do the recommended two washes a week and not look oily. No excuses now ladies! Now, I haven’t tried all the dry shampoos on the market because my wallet simply won’t allow that to happen, and because I’ve found a few that wow me I decided to keep those ones handy. Here are the dry shampoos I’ve tried and my reviews in no particular order:

Tresemme Freshstart Dry Shampoo (Around $6)

The only reason I’m starting with this is because it was my first ever experience with a dry shampoo, and after I’d finished I was sure that dry shampoo was not for me. It says to: “Pump, rub hands together, smooth through tresses, and blot with a towel to add bounce back to curls that have gone flat or limp.” Now… let me just explain that Tresemme decided it was a good idea to make a “dry” shampoo that makes your hair wet. Not sure who decided that was the right approach, but surely someone. I put it on my roots after exhausting myself from shaking the can, and it got my roots wet. I then had to restyle my hair, which if I’d wanted to wet and restyle my hair I wouldn’t have grabbed a dry shampoo in the first place. It also leaves a very powdery residue and coats your hair with a sticky substance that I promise won’t go away until you actually do wash your hair, making it feel dirtier than before. The only thing this dry shampoo has for it is the smell, but only because Tresemme is known for its perfumy scents.

Pros: Good smell, inexpensive
Cons: Wets your hair, have to restyle, very powdery residue, coats your hair, have to reapply (if you can even stand to)

Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Dry Shampoo (Around $3.49)

The only reason I tried this product in the first place was because I saw some great reviews on it, and it was less than four dollars so I didn’t see the harm in it. This stuff has a very strong scent, that you’ll be able to smell when the wind blows your hair throughout the day. I personally love the smell of it, but I know that others are more sensitive. Personally, I was so surprised when I liked this dry shampoo. It sprays on and it doesn’t leave a noticeable white residue. When or if there is a small amount of residue, it is simple to get it to go away, all you need to do is rub it in. I have darker hair so this was a godsend. It really works too, it gets rid of your oil well, the only issue is the need to reapply it maybe once later in the day because it does not seem to keep your hair fresh all day. Overall, I give this dry shampoo a (surprising for Suave products) thumbs up.

Pros: Easy to apply, smells great, little residue, very very inexpensive
Cons: Have to reapply at least once throughout the day

Batiste (Around $7-$10)

Batiste dry shampoo, which I found at Sally Beauty Supply, comes in three scents: Original, Blush and Tropical. I have only tried and used the Blush, and I am fond of the smell. It has a spray applicator, so it’s convenient and easy to use. It does work, it absorbs the oil well, and I still use this whenever my Suave runs out. My only issue is the residue it leaves behind, because if I’m not extremely careful it turns my hair white. The powder residue is terrible, and it takes a few minutes to rub in before it disappears and then you can still see it if god forbid someone tries to take a camera photo with a flash in it. Not cool to look back at a photo and see dry shampoo residue… so that’s why it is not a complete thumbs up from me. People with lighter hair will not notice this, and therefore, this would be the perfect dry shampoo for them. I’ve heard rumors of a colored dry shampoo by Batiste, but I would be skeptical.

Pros: Mid-range price, easy to use, smells nice, works well, don’t need to reapply
Cons: Ridiculous powdery residue

Rockaholic Dirt Little Secret Dry Shampoo ($17)

I picked this baby up from a salon (no returns hmmph) and it was even recommended to me. First off, the powdery residue is worse than Batiste, second, the spray applicator likes to spray in a direct line not spread evenly so it gives your head powdery spots, and third, it makes your hair feel dry and untouchable. It feels as if it coats your hair and its dryer than ever, I just can’t stand the feeling. If you want to run your hands through your bangs, you won’t be able to after this. I think it takes drying the oil on your head a little too far. I have nothing nice to say about this, it wasn’t even cheap.

Pros: Cute packaging/name
Cons: powdery residue, spray applicator, makes hair dry

Victorias Secret So Sexy Clean & Go Dry Shampoo ($16)

I recently a review on this, you can find it HERE.

Pros: Smells wonderful, cute packaging
Cons: white powdery residue, coats hair makes it dry, have white dandruff flakes of this powder floating off throughout the day

LUSH “No Drought” Dry Shampoo ($12.95)

Where do I start? As you can see from the photo it is not a spray or an actual applicator, it’s just a regular top. You have to shake this corn starch onto your hair and rub it in. Now that’s great for people with lighter hair, but not people with dark hair because it takes a long time to rub it, and it then leaves the hair feeling dry. Also, throughout the day you’ll need to apply this because your hair gets oily again, although it’s impossible (I mean it) to use this on-the-go. I don’t know who designed this bottle, but they weren’t thinking straight. It would make my hair appear cleaner, but since my hair felt clumpy and greasy I felt the need to shower just to wash this out. It is recommended to brush this product out, which for me just spread the color through my hair, leaving my hair grey after 10 minutes of continually brushing. Sorry LUSH, this is not one of your best.

Pros: Smells great! Just like any other LUSH product
Cons: Application process, grey residue, need to reapply, makes your hair dry and clumpy

Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo ($21)

This dry shampoo has some great reviews, but I don’t see what all the hype is about. It’s not inexpensive for something that has a terrible applicator head, and pours white powder on your head. You may as well just take a baby powder bottle and start shaking that over your head, it would be very similar. It leaves a terrible white powder, and my blonde friend even had a hard time getting rid of it. It leaves your hair dry, and your hair gets oil not very long after. Not only that but it makes your hair feel dirtier if that’s possible. This product simply does not work, and should not claim to.

Pros: Cute package (makes it look good quality)
Cons: Expensive, bad application, white residue, need to reapply, makes hair dirty

So, that’s all for now. I want to try new Dry Shampoos and will, I’m sure of it. I am sure we have all had issues with dry shampoos, and mostly it seems as though they simply can’t make one that leaves no residue. (Or maybe I just haven’t been lucky enough to find it yet…which continues my search).

MoroccanOil Product Review

I am incredibly impressed by a product, and I felt the need to share this with the world. After my post yesterday where I was negative, I thought I’d share a positive. So, I’m sure most of you have heard the buzz going around for some time now about the Moroccanoil brand of products. I was skeptical about them because I’ve tried One n’ Only Argan Oil (Sally Beauty Supply carries it) and I was not impressed, the oil worked okay and the shampoo/conditioner made my hair dry. So, since Moroccanoil also has an infusion of argan oil I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, and did a large amount of research before even heading out to Trade Secret Salon and looking at the product line. Trade Secret unfortunately was out of the Conditioner, so I opted out of buying the Shampoo/Conditioner set and just bought the straight oil. I bought the smaller bottle (.085 ounce) and it was $16 after tax.

 

After I stepped out of the shower, I wrapped my hair in a towel, and later applied a tiny amount of the oil to my ends. It worked wonders! It made my hair so soft and manageable, and even now I can’t stop touching my hair. This is what it claims to do on its website:

“Moroccanoil Treatment’s really versatile, nourishing and residue-free formula can be used as a conditioning, styling and finishing tool. It blends perfectly with other products and even speeds up drying time. This treatment for hair completely transforms and repairs as its formula transports lost proteins for strength; fatty acids, omega-3 oils and vitamins for shine; and antioxidants for protection. It absorbs instantly to fill gaps in hair created by heat, styling and environmental damage.”

It does these things, and makes your hair feel wonderful. I have not yet tried the MoroccanOil brand Repair Shampoo and Conditioner as I said before, but I’ve also heard mixed reviews about them, so I’m not sure. (After my Joico KPak disappointment I don’t know if I’m willing to risk it! Especially when the shampoo is $22 and the Conditioner is $24.) There are also another product I wouldn’t mind trying by the line and it’s called the “Glimmer Shine Spray”.

On its website it says: “Glimmer Shine is a finishing spray that attracts and reflects light to give hair a gorgeous gloss. Infused with argan oil, vitamins and antioxidants, it creates an invisible veil of luminous shine and protects hair against environmental elements such as sun, salt water and chlorine. Glimmer Shine can also be used to enhance color and highlights, adding the perfect touch to any style.”

 

I’ve actually heard better things about the spray than the Shampoo and Conditioner. (Apparently the shampoo claims to be sulfate, phosphate, and paraben free, but actually contains a surfactants, which is the same as a sulfate except it’s a different form and it dries your hair. The second ingredient is actually a sulfate, and the lather that it creates strips all the oil from your ends.) Many people do recommend it, but the ones that are not recommending it… they are usually the people I listen to.

On the Moroccanoil website it says: “Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner are for hair that has been weakened or damaged by color, chemical processing or heat styling. They restore hair by bathing it in a highly concentrated formula rich in antioxidant argan oil, reconstructive keratin and fatty acids. Both products restore elasticity, moisture and manageability. The formulas are free of sulfates, phosphates and parabens, so they’re safer for the environment and won’t dry, fade or strip color-treated hair.”

 

Anyway, I highly recommend the Moroccanoil Argan Oil. It is amazing and makes your hair soft and silky, but not oily. It’s expensive, but it’s worth it.

What is Argan Oil?

It is an oil that is produced from the kernels for a Moroccan Argan tree, which is known for its cosmetic, nutritive, and medicinal properties. The Argan tree is a relict species from the Tertiary age, and survives in the harsh conditions of southwestern Morocco. Argan oil remains one of the rarest oils in the world due to the small and very specific growing areas. It is made from the nuts of the Argan tree, and the oil is thought to have restorative and age-defying effects. Since it is high in Vitamin E and essential fatty acids, it’s believed to help skin conditions such as:  dry skin, acne, psoriasis, eczema and even wrinkles. The oil is being promoted and sold worldwide and it supports women’s jobs in Morocco.

Now, Moroccanoil products are not purely argan oil, don’t start to think that, but they do contain a good dose of it. There is obviously a higher concentration in the actual oil than the Shampoo and Conditioner and therefore, the oil is may be most effective. I highly recommend it, and if you’ve tried it and have had the same results or different ones let me know!