Tuesday, February 24, 2015

InstaNatural Eye Gel and More - A Review

Each time I try a new InstaNatural product, I wonder why I've only recently discovered this fantastic company and their products. This time I got the opportunity to InstaNatural's Youth Express Eye Gel. In addition, I was also able to try their Youth Express Eye Serum and Advance Action Retinol Moisturizer.

I have been using Youth Express Eye Gel each morning and I've been very happy with the product and results. The cooling feeling is great to depuff my eyes and it has helped to diminish the fine lines around my eyes. I've noticed a slight diminishing of my dark circles. To be fair, my dark circles are chronic, I have yet to find an eye product that lessens them drastically.

I've been using the Retinol Moisturizer every night after washing my face, along with the Youth Express Eye Serum.

All of these products have been fantastic and would be great additions to anyone's beauty regime. Both products can be used morning and evening. I've been using the Youth Express Eye Gel in the morning and the Youth Express Serum in the evening. This has worked really well for me. I used the Retinol Moisturizer both morning and night. I've noticed a evening effect in my skin tone and my skin feels smoother, overall.

I love that InstaNatural's products are made in the USA and are not tested on animals. Their products are also free of alcohols, sulfates or parabens. Being the product junkie that I am, it's wonderful to find a company and products that I feel good about using and they actually work well, if not better than some of the more expensive products I've tried over the years. Their products are available exclusively online either via their website, or on Amazon.com.

Note: I received these products in exchange for my review. The thoughts I've expressed here are my own. In fact, you'll remember that a few weeks ago I published this post about their Argan Oil hair mask and Pure Argan Oil and Vitamin C Serum. I loved the Vitamin C Serum so much (and so did {msL}) that it's empty and I ordered a new bottle.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Oscars 2015 - A Few Favorites

Overall there were very few "what was she thinking?" moments on the Academy Awards Red Carpet this year. It's always hard to pic my favorites but these are just a few that I loved.

Some might question my inclusion of Lady GaGa. The gloves are a bit odd but remember folks, she is Lady GaGa, the woman who wore a meat dress one and also "walked" the red carpet while being carried in an egg. This amazing dress, her hair, her makeup, is a huge step up. I just write the gloves off to the GaGa factor. I also know that the high-low dress trend is a bit frowned upon but I love Kelly's dress.

What were your favorites?

photo credits: ETonline.com

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Frugal Fashion Friday - Good To the Last Drop

Today's Frugal Fashion Friday is really Frugal Beauty Friday. Isn't your beauty routine part of your overall fashion look? I've told you many times about my obsession with trying new beauty products. I decided this weekend that I need to do a clean out soon. My bathroom is full of partially used products. A purge is in order. There are however, products that I use to the very end. They are my tried and true products that if I run out of them, panic may set in. I have been known to cut a bottle open or scrape out the last bit from a tube.

clockwise from top left - 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
John Frieda Full Repair Shampoo - My fine hair is dry but because it's so fine, I have to be careful with conditioner. This shampoo has been a lifesaver, it moisturizes my hair without weighing it down, before I even condition.

Wet n' Wild Brow & Eye Liner - I have thin brows. I've tried lots of options but this pencil is my best tool. I lightly run it across my brows so that the hairs pick up the pigment and then smudge it with a small brush. It helps to keep my brows from looking drawn on or cakey. Bonus it comes in four different shades of brown and black and it only costs, 99 cents!

L'Oreal Elnet Satin Hairspray - This is the first hairspray I've ever used that doesn't make my hair feel like a helmet. It brushes out easily for restyling but miraculously it has a strong hold. It rarely goes on sale but you can find $3 off coupons in the paper every few months.

Drugstore Mascara - Right now I'm loving Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara. You may have seen my post on instagram. Frankly, I'm not loyal to one mascara but there is one sure thing, I always grab it at the drugstore. I've tried expensive mascaras but have never found any that are worth the price. My favorites have always come from the drugstore. Plus if you don't like it, take it back! CVS, Duane Reed/Walgreens, and Ulta all have great return policies.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser - This cleanser is gentle and thorough. It will take off stubborn make up but isn't harsh on my sensitive skin. It's also great for your body if you have an irritations or dry patches.

Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick - This lipstick has been called the universal shade and praised by makeup artists for looking great on everyone. I just know it looks good on me, no matter my skin tone (winter or summer). It's been a never fail beauty bag staple since I bought my first tube in the mid 90's.

Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer - If I was only allowed to keep one items in my makeup arsenal, this would be it. I have chronic dark circles and this concealer is my holy grail. Everyone I know says it's way too expensive. For me, it's worth every penny. One tube lasts me almost a year. I only use a tiny bit each day. The coverage is amazing.

Curel Daily Moisture Lotion - My favorite lotion. The scent isn't heavy. It's a great inexpensive moisturizer and it's never greasy. I always have a back up bottle ready.

Clio Kill Black Waterproof Eyeliner - This liner is a new favorite. As you know, a nude eye and black liner are my every day eye staples. It's a classic look that I love. I've tried tons of eyeliners, pencils, gel, and brushes. I like pen liners the most because of their precision. I read about Clio Kill Black a month or so ago. A beauty editor said she can't live without it for her signature cat eye. I tracked it down on Amazon and have used it every day since. My first pen is going strong but I already ordered a second one, to ensure I don't run out.
Some of these items may seem on the pricey side. For me, it's worth it to pay a bit more for some items because for me there is no substitute. I know I will use every last drop. It won't be another half used tube in my drawer or a product that I'm tired of using. I believe using a product to the last drop is a frugal trait and economical. I'm sure I've spent thousands over the years on products that I never finished using. In my efforts to streamline my life a little, these tried and true items are rising to the top. I will still look for the latest and greatest but these staples will always be by my side. 

What are your good to the last drop beauty items? 

Happy Friday Real Girls!

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stronger Hair from the Inside Out - A Review

We all know that diet is key to many beauty areas. Of course eating whole foods is the best way to get that nutrition but sometimes a supplement will help you get the nutrients faster and in a larger quantity. I've never had issues with my hair until two things happened, age and mostly my Rheumatoid Arthritis. The number one side affect of one of the meds I take for my RA is hair loss. When I read that side effect, (before I started taking the meds) I was worried. My hair is on the thin and straight side but in general, I've always loved my hair. The thought of losing my hair was daunting. At the recommendation of other RA folks, I started taking Folic Acid right away. It has definitely helped minimize the hair loss but I haven't noticed improvements in new growth. About six months ago I began reading about the benefits of Biotin for growing and strengthening your hair. When Zenwise Labs asked if I'd like to try their Hair Growth Vitamins + DHT Blocker, I said yes (after making sure there were no interactions with my meds).

Of course I also checked with my doctor to make sure that she approved. She did and I have been using the Vitamins for about a month. You should always make sure to check with your physician before starting any kind of medication, even if it's over the county. A little info from their website:

Zenwise Labs Hair Growth Vitamins formula contains our distinct blend of 27 ingredients, including 5000 mcg of Biotin, that promote hair growth and overall hair health. This formula also provides essential vitamins and antioxidants to address deficiencies that have been shown to cause hair loss.

Our all Natural formula can be used to:
Promote Thicker Fuller Hair
Stimulate Hair Growth
Address Vitamin Deficiencies Associated with Hair Loss

Key Ingredients:
MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane)
Grapeseed Extract
Saw Palmetto
Pumpkin (Seed-Curcubita Pepo)(4:1)
Gotu Kola (Herb-Centella Asiatica) (4:1)
Ginkgo Biloba (Leaf)
L-Lysine Hcl
Citrus Bioflavanoids
Nettle (Leaf-Urtica Dioica)

I have noticed new hair growth since I started using the product and my hair feels fuller. It's also important to note that I haven't changed my hair products since I began using the vitamins. I use the same combo that I've been using for several months. I wanted to ensure that any hair changes could be attributed to the vitamins and not external products.

I have noticed some positive changes in my hair growth since I began taking the vitamins.  I'm happy with the results so far and I've seen improvements over the Folic Acid alone. Fuller hair is a good thing!

NOTE: I was provided the vitamins in exchange for writing about my experience. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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