Beauty Bytes: Hair Product Challenge: Frizz Fighters


Hair Product Challenge: Frizz Fighters

These product reviews reveal which formulas tame fine, thick, wavy and curly hair ... and which are a waste of money

We painstakingly perused your ratings and reviews of anti-frizz products to find out which ones made your repeat purchase list and which fell short of your expectations. Soak up the feedback and use it to your advantage next time you're shopping for the perfect frizz-fighting formula for your hair type and beauty budget. ...More


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Smokey Eye Makeup Revisited

Many thanks to Bombshell Beauty for turning me on to Ask Me Makeup's videos! Incredibly helpful, and I just love her style.

It's Quite Possible That I Love Everything in Urban Decay's Line

My recent trip to Sephora was obviously all about new lip products for the fall. Of course, Sephora had just sent out their new magazine, and I was just all about the dark lip look that was all over it.

Now, we really do have a nice Sephora store here at Lynnhaven Mall in beautiful Virginia Beach, but it doesn't exactly have the newest of everything. So I didn't go in expecting to see most of what was in the catalog actually in the store, but I had a few pleasant surprises.

The best find of all was new line of lipsticks from Urban Decay. Oh, wow. It was so hard to just choose one.

The packaging is extremely cute, and exactly what you'd expect out of Urban Decay. You actually pull the tube of lipstick out by using the dagger handle located on the bottom. The tube itself is a metallic purple, and is slightly larger than your typical lipstick tube. It goes on almost effortlessly, and is heavily pigmented, even for a shade that they described as a sheer, which I love. On my hand above is Gash, a cream red sheer, which is obviously the color I ended up taking home. It's deep and rich without being overmuch.

The surprise? It smells vaguely of caramel. And normally you know I can't stand smelling like candy. Tropical florals, yes. Tom Ford's Black Orchid, absolutely. But no food. However, this wasn't over the top and it didn't bother me at all. In fact, the moment after it registered, it was gone. Very intriguing.

I don't think you'll be disappointed with this lipstick. It's very luxe and has excellent lasting power. I ran around my house with it on all night - I easily got six hours of good solid wear out of one application. I'm sure the guy checking me out at 7-11 last night must have thought I was crazy: my NY heart ME pink t-shirt, floral pajama pants, hair in a ratty bun, and Urban Decay's Gash lipstick on. Hey, it's hard work being glamorous all the time.

If You Only Buy One Lip Gloss This Fall, Consider Smashbox's Wicked Lovely

I'm all about fall. I love bringing out my black dresses, gray boots, smoky eyes, and dark lips. I think makeup and fashion are so much more interesting, and I'm usually happy to pack away the bronze until the next spring when I'm ready to lighten up a little. But you can be more dramatic when it's cold outside, even in my backwater little beach town.

And speaking of dramatic, if you are considering this season's dark lip trend, you should sample Smashbox's Wicked Lovely Lip Gloss in Sultry. It's almost like melted hot chocolate on your lips with lots of shimmer in it. It's not glittery, it's much more subtle than that, and it looks just ever so slightly dangerous.

One caveat to my otherwise glowing and gushing review: I can't stand the brush that comes with it. I have no idea why, but it doesn't give even coverage and I end up finishing it up with my finger or another lip brush that I already own.

Outside of that, this is my lipgloss for fall. It's absolutely gorgeous and doesn't require a color underneath it. You can build it for more dramatic results or just leave it as a sheer wash of dark color.

This is a limited edition from Sephora, so don't wait around to try this one out. You can thank me later.

Looking for Curls? Charles Worthington's Big Waves Line Can Help

Charles Worthington London has come up with a new line to help curly, wavy, and textured hair more manageable.

It's no secret that we are seeing more wavy hair these days, which is good news for us curly/wavy/crazy haired girls. We can occasionally take a day off from the flat iron. Maybe. If you're like me, though, you'll be hitting those tresses with some sort of heat iron, even if you're just creating those smooth waves everyone is taking about.

But back to Charles Worthington London's line. It includes a shampoo, conditioner, enhance spray, and definition creme.

The shampoo and conditioner combo I have tried, and I really like it. I think it would be suited perfectly for those who are really looking to add some wave or curl to their hair, versus those of us who are trying to keep that aspect of our coarse hair down. It adds great volume (which I really don't need), and helps it smooth out (which I really do need). Both products claim to help fight against styling damage, which we all need. It also claims help with frizz, but I didn't see much of that. To be fair, when it comes to frizz, I need heavy artillery, so I never have high expectations of a shampoo/conditioner combo. I look to styling products and heat tools for that.

If you're looking to increase the curl/wave factor in your hair, give this line a try. If you already have crazy curly/frizzy hair I'm on the fence about it. Maybe it will work great for you. Either way, good luck with getting those gorgeous waves that you're seeing in all the fall mags. I'll be strugging with them myself!

You can find this line at Walgreens and most other mass retailers for about $5.99.

If You're Not Really Excited About That Trip to the Gym

You can always try Abs in a Box by It Cosmetics. And if, by chance, you happen to be a member of the male gender, they haven't left you out, either. You get Abs in a Box for Men Kit.

I'm not even kidding. For about $62 at itcosmetics.com or hsn.com, you too can skip the gym and shadow/contour your way to perfect abs.

Don't say I never turned you on to anything cool, okay?

Note to It Cosmetics: naming any product "The Fluffer" regardless of what it actually does is probably not a good idea. I'm sure a quick web search could point you in the right direction of a few alternate meanings for that nifty phrase.

Buy 2 Get 1 Free Boots at CVS.com

Now through the 15th of August, CVS.com is offering a buy two get one free on all their Boots products, and they have a pretty extensive collection. Why am I mentioning this? Besides those of us who need to save a bit here and there to throw a few dollars in the gas tank, I also happen to be a big fan of the Boots Botanicals Soothing Eye Makeup Remover, so I'm stocking up.

Donna Karan and Bergdorf Goodman Team Up

It's been an interesting past few days, and I'm only just now sitting down and catching up on email. I love reader mail - you guys are so great to write me and let me know how things worked for you, and other various things. Keep it coming! I swear, I really do read and respond to every single one, it just takes me a bit of time when things get crazy.

Enough about me. Here is the news du jour: Bergdorf Goodman and Donna Karan, two amazing brands in their own respective rights have teamed up to unveil an exclusive collection of past and present fragrances. I know there are some die-hard Donna Karan Cashmere Mist fans out there, and this sounds like it might be right up your alley. If you are lucky enough to live in New York City (I'm not so fortunate, but I try not to be overly bitter about it), you can head down to Bergdorfs at 754 Fifth Avenue (58th is the cross street) and get a personalized scent reading. I'm not sure exactly what that entails, but it certainly sounds interesting. Someone please go and tell me all about it. Be sure to call ahead and schedule an appointment at (212) 872.2851. Appointments are available between 2 and 5 PM through the 16th of this month.

A few of the fragrances that have been brought back include the original Donna Karan scent, Chaos, Black Cashmere, the Donna Karan Essence Collection and Fuel for Men.

And while you're there, will you go up to the Shoe Salon and take a look at these for me and tell me if I need them as badly as I think I do? Thanks.

Remember Aussie Hair Products? They Haven't Gone Anywhere

I discovered Aussie's Three Minute Miracle back in the 1980's when I used too much Sun In in my dark hair. I don't see Three Minute Miracle in their offerings anymore, which kind of makes me sad and also makes me feel old.

But there isn't enough time in the day to feel sad or old, so let's talk about what is new over in Aussie-land, shall we? Their new line is called Opposites Attract and is supposed to give you naturally beautiful hair with "staying power." The collection includes a shampoo, conditioner, and three styling products.

Opposites Attract Shampoo
is formulated to help protect your hair while giving you a touchable style. I've tried this shampoo, and it is a very gentle formula which cleanses well while still helping to retain softness.

Opposites Attract Conditioner uses botanicals to help keep hair soft and smooth. Like many conditioners, this works best if you make sure you coat each and every strand of hair.

Opposites Attract Spray Gel is designed for all hair styles, curly or straight. It creates a strong hold that doesn't end up crunchy.

Opposites Attract Styling Mousse is another product I have tried recently. It works well for curly hair like mine and helps to detangle a bit and encourages shine (which is hard with hair like mine).

Opposites Attract Hair Spray
is an extra-hold spray that is touchable as well.

Each product in the Opposites Attract line retails for about $2.99. Yes, that's all, just $2.99, which is really pretty amazing. You can find it at all the usual suspects: most mass market retailers.

Sonic Flash Smoky Eye


For your viewing pleasure, my little creation with MAC's Solar Bits pigment and Magnetic Fields shadow. Also featuring Bobbi Brown's gel liner in espresso ink, and MAC's Feline Kohl liner on the waterline. Lashes are by MAC (am I the only one who isn't a huge fan of Duo eyelash adhesive?) with a touch of Diorshow on them. Eyebrows are Urban Decay's Brow Box.


Now I'
m taking my rocker chick look to the Journey concert!

Mineral Makeup Extends to Mascara: L'Oreal Paris Bare Naturale Mineral-Enriched Mascara

Mineral makeup is definitely here to stay. With the mineral craze even reaching the drugstore, if you're interested in a more natural, healthy approach to makeup, you have plenty to choose from.

Giant L'Oreal is even getting into the act with their Bare Naturale Mineral-Enriched Mascara. This vitamin-enriched formula contains 86% natural-origin ingredients including aloe, jojoba oil, and vitamin E. It is tinted with mineral pigments (the same pigments in your mineral makeup powders) and has a naturally-derived soft bristle applicator brush. It is hypoallergenic and ophthalmologist tested, so contact lens wearers have no need to worry.

But how does it work? I think it works great, if you are going for a natural, less-is-more look. Since that's not my look, it's not something that I would use on a regular basis (and even when I did, I'd be loading up on my Make Up For Ever Lash Fibers), but I know my more natural-minded ladies would love, love, love this formulation.

If you're a mineral makeup fan and go for a natural look, give this one a shot. For $9.95 at most mass retailers, you really can't go wrong with this one.

It's Been Around Forever, I'm Only Just Now Trying It: Bobbi Brown Long-Wearing Gel Eyeliner

I am a huge fan of cream eyeliners. I love liquid liners too, and I will even confess to a certain nostalgia for a fantastic pencil. But Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner is beyond fantastic. Super easy to apply with an angled brush, it goes on smoothly and stays put all day long. The color is dramatic without being over the top, and it came off easily with eye makeup remover. One of the best pots of liner I have ever used.

I personally love Espresso Ink, but you can get this in many different colors including Black Mauve Shimmer Ink, Black Ink, Black Plum Ink, Bronze Shimmer Ink, Chocolate Shimmer Ink, Cobalt Ink, Granite Ink, Graphite Shimmer Ink, Hunter Ink, Indigo Ink, Ivy Shimmer Ink, Mahogany Ink, Sapphire Shimmer Ink, Sepia Ink, and Violet Ink. All of which sound like tattoo ink colors, don't they?

I'm not alone in my love for Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, either. It has recently been awarded: "Elle" ‘Genius Award’ (April 2008), "In Style" 'Best Beauty Buy' (2008), and "Allure" ‘Reader's Choice Award’ (2008).

Retails for $21, and can be found at your local Bobbi Brown counter, Bloomingdales, and Amazon.

There is No Reason For Sticky, Gross Hairspray: L'Oreal Studio Line Perfect Fix Ultra Fine Finishing Hair Spray

I'm sure I'm not the only one who remembers the days of Aqua-Net in the white and pink can. In order to get those mall bangs and side wings as poofy as possible, copious amounts of the stuff were used. Not only was it really unappealing, it was hard to wash out.

Since those days, I haven't been a huge fan of aerosol hair sprays, or any hair spray for that matter. But recently as I was trying to get my too-short hair to stay in a particularly difficult updo I reached for Loreal Studio Line Perfect Fix Ultra Fine Finishing Hair Spray and ended up being pleasantly surprised. It has excellent hold and it's not sticky or stuff. I found that it did a great job holing my updo in place and it didn't flake or otherwise get gross throughout the day.

So if you're needing an occasional spray, I can recommend Loreal Studio Line Perfect Fix Ultra Fine Finishing Hair Spray in good faith. You can find it at most major retailers for about $4.99.

Freshen Breath, Whiten Teeth, is There Anything CoverGirl Wetslicks AmazeMint Can't Do?

CoverGirl Wetslicks AmazeMint lipglosses cover a lot of ground all in one product. Infused with Crest Peppermint Oil, it gives you a shot of fresh breath while glossing up your lips in style. 


Three shades in this collection will also help whiten your smile: Plum Crazy, Un-Wined, and Toast-ed. How do they do that? By adding blue undertones to the gloss, it helps set off the whiteness of your teeth. Cool, huh?

The main ingredient in this product is petrolatum, which helps give you the major shine you're looking for without all the stickiness that you can't stand. I know there isn't anything worse than having my hair blow across my lips on a windy day and having it stick there, attached permanently to my lip gloss. Yuck.

My favorite shade in the collection has to be Red Riot - it's a classic red that is super sheer. It is so sheer, in fact, that you almost can't see it unless you layer it over another color on your lips. I like to use this product mainly as a gloss over a cream lipstick, since I have enough of those to last me at least another century. I'm not overwhelmed at the color all on it's own, but if you're looking for a natural look, then you won't have to search much further than this multi-tasking gloss.

CoverGirl Wetslicks AmazeMint retails for about $4.99 and is available through most mass retailers. 

Did I Mention I'm a Maven at This Next?

Truly a compliment for a girl who loves to shop. Come check me out over on This Next and friend me! Talking about all this makes me realize I need to do some shopping and recommending.

Sunday Afternoon Music: Just Dance by Lady Gaga

I swear, this song makes me think of every NYC trip I've ever taken and what usually happens around 3 AM.



Grab it at Lady GaGa - Just Dance (Remixes) - EP - Just Dance. Thanks to Sarah at StyleIt for turning me on to Lady Gaga! You're the best!

Rumormongering on a Sunday

Have you heard the crazy/delicious rumor that MAC and Hello Kitty will be teaming up for a collection? I know. Thinking about it makes me insane.

According to New York Magazine, the company will neither confirm nor deny that a collaboration is in the works. Which makes me laugh, considering that whole "confirm nor deny" speak is so obviously a "yes, of course". Being around the Navy for 15 years has taught me that little secret.

Should the existence of this collection come to fruition, it should be hitting counters in 2009. I can hear all the Hello Kitty fans issuing a collective "squee!" as I type this.

Image courtesy of New York Magazine. You should be reading it if you're a NYC fan like I am.

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Meredith Edwards-Cornwall is the founder of online lifestyle websites RetrodivasBeauty.com and RetrodivasCloset.com. She is also known as @retrodiva on Twitter. She specializes in drinking large amounts of espresso, shopping, and enjoying social media. In all of her free time she writes for StyleBakeryMom.com twice a week, and does various other freelance gigs involving writing, designing, and generally being awesome. While she believes that success is indeed a job in New York, she currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband, two children, and two cats and has hung on to her day job.
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