Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner

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My entire life my hair has been on the normal to oily side. Then I turned 31 and things got weird. My hair turned into straw – the first of what I can assume will be a plethora of fun, unexpected age-induced hormonal changes. Naturally I freaked out and bought argan oil shampoo, leave-in oil treatment, and biotin (just for good measure). With the help from my new oily buddies, my hair was manageable, but still didn’t snap back to it’s once silky texture. Over 17 weeks I tried various concoctions, some more successful than others. And then it happened – Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner!

It looked unimpressive – light pink goo in a small plastic cup, adorned with a white label and black text. The packaging could use a touch of Tom Haverford swag, but what’s inside is magical! After one use, my hair was so soft that I found myself uncontrollably running my fingers though it (even after blow drying and straightening), then asking others to do the same… which is admittedly creepy. The beauty part is that I used (and have continued to use) it with cheap Suave Professionals Natural Infusion shampoo and it works like gangbusters!
There’s only one problem…

8.45 oz of this potion will set you back $27.50. Yes, that is over $3 an ounce. And yes, $3.00+ for an ounce of shampoo is absurd.
The pros to that price tag is that the conditioner is so good that you can use it with ultra cheap shampoo and still have stellar results. Also, the texture is very thick and doesn’t require more than a nickel’s worth to cover my mid-back length hair. (I work most of the product into the tips and run my fingers through the top of my head with whatever is left on them.)
Oh, one other mini-con – it doesn’t smell great. Fortunately the smell doesn’t permeate your hair, so no real harm there.

As with all hair care products, it’s hard to recommend anything to others because everyone’s hair is so different. This is designed for harsh and frizzy hair and has worked great for me. It also has great reviews online from others who share my same hair type, so that’s encouraging. Obviously if yours doesn’t fit the description, I’d steer clear of this particular conditioner. However, I have used a couple other Davines products and they are a quality brand with something for everyone.

You can buy Divines Love Smoothing Conditioner here.

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E.L.F. Mineral Face Primer

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As someone who doesn’t really know a lot about makeup, I have a hard time deciding which products are worth investing real money in. I recently discovered BB cream (which is worth every penny), but still debate about buying any eye shadow that is over $4.00. Price point is the main reason I love E.L.F. products. In my experience they are worth way more than the company charges. Their mineral face primer is no different.

I went to Target determined to buy ankle boots. When that didn’t work out, I headed to the cosmetics department. I didn’t need anything, but if I made the effort to go to the store, I didn’t want to walk away with nothing. That’s when I discovered E.L.F.’s face primer. I didn’t know what it was, but with “creates a flawless finish” printed on the bottle, it caught my attention. Despite my ridiculously through beauty regimen (cleanser, scrub, eye serum, face serum, oil), I still feel like have crater skin.

At $6.00 it did take some convincing from my friend to pull the trigger on buying a product I had never really heard of before and didn’t feel like I needed, but I’m really glad I did. Just like with paint primer, face primer smooths out imperfections and evens your color. (Or at least mine did. I got the tone adjusting green.) It makes your skin look and feel like velvet, which in turn makes your makeup go on smooth and stay on longer.

I’m guessing that primers can get fairly pricey, but I’m so happy with the E.L.F. brand, I don’t know why you’d need to spend over $6.00 on it. Plus, they do have other options including clear, brightening lavender, and radiant glow to fit whatever type of skin you have. This one is going on the “must have” list.

You can buy it here.

Battle of the Nail Wraps

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If you’re a female who has a Facebook profile, there’s a good chance that at least six of your friends have added you to a Jamberry group that you wish you could leave, but would feel guilty when the host noticed you bolted.

Nail wraps are all the rage these days. It’s the new Scentsy… or Living Oils… or (fill in the name of any “lose weight fast” product here). So what’s the big deal?
Well, I tried four of the biggest nail wrap names on the market and I will now divulge all the wisdom I have compounded on the newest beauty fad.

First up, Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects.

Salon Effects

Sorry, I took this picture before I knew I was going to write a blog about nail wraps, so it’s a bit craptacular.

I actually had these stashed under my sink. A friend sent them to me before they were a fad, but I didn’t “get it,” so they’ve been down there for months. When searching for a new color, I pulled them out and gave them a shot and was really impressed. When I opened the package, they actually smelled like nail polish. I didn’t expect that. I just assumed they were basically stickers. And I guess they are, but they’re stickers made of real nail polish. I only did a couple fingers and opted to paint the rest.

Ease of application/removal: A
The strips were sturdy and easy to apply with no extra tools needed. It was also quite easy to peel them off and reposition them as needed before I pushed them down completely. Removal was a snap – I just used nail polish remover as voila! Done in a flash. The adhesive was a bit sticky when removing, but came off my fingers with a little extra rubbing.

Price: B
Like I said, this set was free for me, but I looked at the local Walgreens and these ran right around $11. Not too bad.

Durability: A+
I don’t think I kept them on for a full two weeks, but I did wear them for over a week and moved an office full of furniture and boxes. Not even one chip. Impressive!

Selection: A
I haven’t taken a ton of time to peruse, but there was a pretty decent selection at Walgreens and it looks like an even wider selection online. While all the options may not be readily available to you, there are a lot of options out there.

Second, Jamberry Nails.
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I finally cracked and requested a sample from one of my many friends who are on the Jamberry sales wagon. The sample is just one strip, so my options were a bit limited. The first things I noticed as I took it out of the envelope was that 1.) it did not look like it did in the picture and 2.) it was not made from real nail polish. The colors weren’t as vivid and the design was not as crisp as I anticipated. And it was, in fact, just a thick sticker you apply to your nail.

Ease of application/removal: C
Although it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to apply a Jamberry wrap, it seems more complicated than it needs to be. You have to actually heat these wraps with a blow dryer to activate the adhesive. After you’ve heated it, you smooth it on… except the wrap is so thick that this is a more difficult task than it would seem. No matter how much I heated and rubbed, I still had a wrinkle on my nail. Not good for someone like me who can’t help but pick at any rough patch on my nails. Also not good for me – their were gaps on the side of the wrap, which gave me another thing to pick at. On the bright side, removal was awesomely simple. Just heat it up and pull it off. I wish removing all polish was that easy.

Price: C
Most Jamberry wraps are $15, which isn’t terrible, but is enough that I start thinking about how I could have a manicure for the same price or close to it.
Durability: A-

Evidently I am pretty easy on my nails. Even regular polish will take over a week to chip with my normal wear and tear, so Jamberry wraps aren’t really deigned for someone like me. Like I said, these things are thick, so I have a feeling that if you are rough on your nails and could resist picking at them, they would most definitely last the full two weeks. However, I couldn’t resist picking at them, so they got an A-.

Selection: A+
There are a ton of designs for Jamberry nails. It’ll take you an hour to dig through all of them. Then another hour to decide on which one you want. Major props on that, JB.

Third, Incoco.
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I had never heard of Incoco until I read through some old entries on my friend’s girlfriend’s beauty blog, Skinny Jeans and Sippy Cups. Her pictures looked great and she recommend Incoco, plus they’re fairly cheap, so I took the plunge and bought a full set. (Two, actually. One was on clearance for $4.00.)

Ease of application/removal: B
When I opened the package, I got the same nail polish smell that I gotten from the Sally Hansen’s strips. Big fan of that. Not because of the smell itself, but because I don’t want to wear nail stickers, I want to wear nail polish. The main thing I noticed when applying the Incoco strips is that they’re incredibly flimsy. That’s great as far as them getting a good fit on the nail, but sucks when it comes to application because they tear super easily. You also have err on the smaller side because if the wrap is on your skin and you attempt to trim it, you’ll probably tear it. I lost one wrap to a tear and barely salvaged another one. Oh, and they’re difficult to reposition. It can be done, but again, you might tear it. However, after I got them on, I was happy with how they looked and felt.  Unfortunately it took me about 45 minutes to do all ten fingers. Removal is no biggie – just use some polish remover and some elbow grease.

Price: A
When I said they we’re “fairly cheap,” I mean they’re $9.00. I’m all about anything in the single digits.

Durability: A
I’ve only had them on for a few days, but so far so good. Those days have included light moving, working, bathing, and exercise and they look brand new. I don’t forsee wear and tear becoming a problem. Once they’re on, they’re sturdy.

Selection: C
Compared to the two other brands, Incoco is pretty limited. I say that, but they have 160 designs and that doesn’t include the tips or the “nail colors”. Maybe the designs I liked are limited. Matter of fact, I don’t love any of them. It took ages to decide what to get and I’m still not crazy happy with my choice.

Lastly, Kiss Nail Dress.
Kiss Nail Dress - Comic
These decals were a complete impulse buy. I absolutely did not need them, nor did I really have money to buy things that weren’t on my shopping list… but look at that design! I’ve been looking for a comic book/pop art wrap and this is the only one I’ve been able to find. I had to do it.

Ease of application/removal: A-
My grade on this is slightly misleading. Application was very easy, but I found it difficult to get them on without creases. Removal was WAY too easy. Frustratingly so, actually.

Price: C
It looks like these run around $8.00 online, which means I got duped. I think I begrudgingly paid $12 at Walgreens.

Durability: F-
To be fair to Kiss, these are very upfront on the box – “Lasts up to a week. Goes on in minutes and peels off in seconds without remover.” If you’re looking for durability, “a week” and “peels off” are keywords to avoid. In the end, I think mine lasted about three days before the sides began peeling (with a topcoat on) which my OCD cannot handle, so they had to be promptly removed. It was a very sad day.

Selection: A
Kiss has a number of designs to choose from and honestly, I like their options more than any other brand in this list. Unfortunately the durability is so terrible, I can’t see myself purchasing any of them.

So, if you’re asking my humble opinion on which nail wraps are the best, I’d have to go with Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects. A couple more dollars than Incoco, but much less prone to tearing. Nice and thin, easy to apply and reposition, and plenty of design options that you can just run to the store and pick up with no waiting and no shipping charges.

What are your thoughts on nail wraps? Is there another brand that I should try? What has worked the best for you?