REVIEW: Pantene Pro-V Beautiful Lengths Conditioner

I admit that I haven’t used Pantene Pro-V since I was in my early teens, but recently, out of curiosity, I decided to try out their new Beautiful Lengths line since stumbling upon a few online reviews. Many of you have asked what my “hair routine” is, and quite honestly, I’ve been avoiding writing about it because there’s not much to my hair. Perhaps I will devote some time in the future and be a bit more thorough, but for right now, I’m on a conditioner kick and thought that posting about Pantene’s new line can inspire some of you reading this. For the most of my childhood and early adolescent years, I had insanely long hair – pretty much waist length hair. It was quite inconvenient because it felt heavy and lacked volume because the length weighed my hair down. Around my sophomore year in college, I hacked all of it off – sporting various bob cuts (and sometimes an asymmetrical bob) – and donated 12 inches of hair to Locks of Love.

Years after the first drastic cut, I got addicted to various “short hair” styles and didn’t go back to long hair because of the maintenance. A few years ago, I started a personal project: to grow out my hair again. I missed having the options long hair came with; unfortunately, growing out a bob is a pain and very time consuming. Luckily, my hair grows fast on its own so it took probably 6-8 months to grow out the last bob cut I had, and shortly there after, I stayed committed to trimming my hair regularly until it grew past my shoulders. Now, my longest layer is about bra-length – and I hope that by my birthday (in April), I will be satisfied with the final length of my hair growing journey. Who knows what I’ll do with it after that!

Pantene’s new line, Beautiful Lengths, is designed for maintaining long hair or for those who are in the process of growing their hair out. Its “breakage defense” resists breakage for long hair while restoring it as well. I own the conditioner, but I do plan on purchasing various other products within this line – I’ve heard the hair mask was pretty good too.

The tube says:
“Pantene supports the Beautiful Lengths program, which donates real hair wigs to women with cancer. Beautiful Lengths shampoo and conditioner helps strengthen hair against breakage, so you can grow it longer, and then donate it.” Visit http://www.beautifullengths.com for more information.

Directions:
According to the tube – “Massage into wet hair after shampooing. Comb through hair with fingers, beginning at the roots and working to the tips. Rinse thoroughly. For best results, use with Beautiful Lengths Shampoo, smoothing balm, and hairspray.”

The texture of this conditioner is unique – it’s purple and really creamy. The thick texture allows it to really grab onto the hair, instead of sliding off and being wasted. After shampooing, I slather on this conditioner really well and work it especially well at the ends of my hair (where breakage is more prone). I keep a claw-clip in the shower, so I use it to hold my hair up on the top of my head while I get on with the rest of my shower routine. The smell of this conditioner is fiercely floral and quite strong; the scent does linger after you wash and dry your hair, but it does subside into a mildly flowery scent later on. My hair is soft and very smooth and stays this way until the next wash.

This was another great drugstore find and I highly recommend it. I’ve never had an issue with my hair breaking off, so I can’t say that this particular conditioner prevents damage and breakage. However, I think it does help maintain the health of your hair. If you’re trying to grow your hair, the best thing to do is to keep it healthy. This includes not washing your hair every day, not going crazy with heating tools, avoiding chemicals, and believe it or not, not brushing it a whole lot prevents your hair from breaking as well. It is also recommended that you trim the ends of your hair regularly to prevent split ends from ruining your hair; and, I’ve personally gone into the salon to get my hair “re-layered” to give it some oomph when volume is lacking.

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)
*Product pictures extracted from Google images.
*Click on images to enlarge.

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REVIEW: Clarins UV Plus Multi-Protection SPF 40 [sunscreen]

After my previous post and the messages it brought, I’ve decided to promptly post a quickie review for the Clarins UV Plus Multi-Protection SPF 40 sunscreen. Many were curious since my description of this sunscreen was quite heavenly; and I apologize for not going into detail about the product (and also for the lack of descriptive pictures). I completely understand all the commotion – since it is rather difficult to find a sunscreen we like. Every one knows that wearing sunscreen is the best way to prevent aging and sun damage; but let’s face it – no one really likes the smell or texture of sunscreen. And, it’s probably why people don’t wear it. Truth? Yes.

So, what’s the box say?
“Triple protection against UVA-UVB rays, free radicals and pollution from an ultra lightweight texture that leaves skin looking smooth, soft, and matte. 100% mineral sunscreen. Oil-free. Formulated with an age-fighting antioxidants obtained from cantaloupe melon extract. Allergy and ophthalmologist tested, non-comedogenic.”

And, the insert?
“UV PLUS HP contains a 100% mineral screen to help protect against the signs of photo-aging and the appearance of sun-induced age spots. UV PLUS HP is formulated for even the most sensitive skin and Clarins ‘anti-pollution complex’ helps protect skin from the harmful effects of pollution.”

Let’s decipher all this ‘high-tech’ talk:
Clarins ‘anti-pollution complex’ is described as an ingredient that comes from cantaloupe melon extract. “This plant ingredient is both a powerful antioxidant and anti-aging enzyme that is protected by an innovative micro-encapsulating process, ensuring optimal effectiveness when applied.”

The importance of understanding UVA-UVB rays are key factors in finding the right protection level for your needs. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, “both UVA and UVB [rays]…penetrate the atmosphere and play an important role in conditions such as premature skin aging, eye damage (including cataracts), and skin cancers. They also suppress the immune system.” Also, “by damaging the skin’s cellular DNA, excessive UV radiation produces genetic mutations that can lead to skin cancer.”

To break it down, “UVA, which penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB, has long been known to play a major part in skin aging and wrinkling (photoaging),” and “UVB, the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn, tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer” (The Skin Cancer Foundation). So the bottom line is to look for sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum” because it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

My thoughts:
This sunscreen is lightweight and runny, yet creamy and blends easily into the skin. It doesn’t take much effort to dab it on and then rub it in. It dries almost instantly so you can move onto your next step in your morning routine without having to fan your face. It creates a smooth surface on your skin, so it doubles as a primer for those who want to wear makeup over this. Makeup application is smooth and oil control is pretty decent; however, if you do suffer from oily skin, be prepared to blot with blotting paper or powder your nose halfway through the day, as your probably normally would. If you have dry skin, you’ll probably enjoy the dewiness the product will provide on its own.

The best thing about this sunscreen is that it doesn’t leave that dreaded white cast on your face. The product retails for $38 at your local Clarins counter or at Sephora. It’s quite pricey for a 1.7 oz. bottle but it’s practical and useful for every day purposes. Since you would wear this during the day only, a single bottle can last about 8 months if you use it regularly; or, up to a year for those (like me) who like to alternate and rotate products. My only warning is to reserve denser and more thicker sunscreens (like Neutrogena) that claim to be “waterproof” for the beach or going to the pool. Clarins UV Plus Multi-Protection SPF 40 sunscreen isn’t meant to be “water resistant,” “waterproof,” or “sweat proof,” so the product will most likely become less effective once you dive into any body of water.

Final verdict:
For the price, this product isn’t completely necessary and I’m aware that something from the drugstore is just as useful and effective. Note that I’m directing the recommendation of the Clarins sunscreen for every day use and under makeup because it’s non-sticky and you forget you’re wearing it. It’s a small additional step to add into your morning routine, but in the long run, you won’t be spending thousands to reverse damage done to your skin in your 50’s. I’m a big believer in “preventative measures,” so to me, it’s an investment that’s worth it. Also, I think that many people who normally detest using/wearing sunscreen will find this product to be user-friendly, unlike the sticky goop that sunscreen normally tends to be.

One final thing to keep in mind is that this particular prodcut – much like all “high end” sunscreens – are not approved by the FDA. Products sold at the drugstore (like Neutrogena) are regulated by the FDA in packaging, label, content, and the ingredients. If this is a concern to you, purchase and use Clarins at your own risk.

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)
*Click on images to enlarge.

Current Makeup Essentials

It seems to have been awhile since my last beauty related post. Since today was a rather simple day, I’d like to focus on what I’ve been enjoying lately. All products were recently purchased or rediscovered in my bottomless collection.

Items shown: (in no particular order)
Christian Dior – DiorSkin Nude Natural Glow Hydrating Makeup SPF 10 in 010
Clarins – UV Plus Multi-Protection SPF 40
NARS – Cream Blush in “Enchanted”
Revlon Expert tweezers
Sally Hansen – Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat
MAC – 228 Mini Shading Brush

Since we’re approaching fall/winter, I’ve lowered my SPF protection from an every-day “50” to SPF 40 with the Clarins UV Plus Multi-Protection mineral sunscreen. It is rather watery in texture, absorbs easily into the skin, and most importantly, remains semi-matte before makeup application. It has a light but pleasant scent, appears to be good for sensitive skin, and applies without leaving the usual white-cast from most sunscreens.

NARS cream blush is a rather new purchase for me. I’ve been avoiding cream products because of my combination/oily skin, but I figured I would give it a go since the weather has cooled down. Luckily, it hasn’t been slipping off my face since it’s not summer time anymore – but, the warm peachy shade is still quite faint on my fair skin. It’s good for a lazy Sunday like today, but certainly not enough for a night out or a special occasion.

The DiorSkin Nude Natural Glow Hydrating Foundation was one that I purchased nearly a year ago, but gave up on it after disliking the application, and returned it after a week of experimenting. However, I re-purchased it recently on a whim because I missed its texture and watery glow that I normally prefer in foundations. During the summer, I was hell-bent on finding a formula that would stay put despite the humidity and constant sweating in Texas. However, I discovered that’s probably I disliked it when I first purchased it. Since re-discovering it, I’ve been enjoying the dewy glow and light formula.

Revlon Expert’s tweezer may seem a bit random and out of place in today’s post. But I’ll be one of the few to admit that I’m unsure about the highly coveted Tweezerman tweezers. First of all, there’s the price difference – Revlon Expert runs about $6 at the drugstore and Tweezerman tweezers are $25. Is there such a thing as bad tweezers? Yes – like the ones that snap off the hair before you can pull it out; or ones that pinch your skin all the time. In my opinion, Revlon Expert works the same as Tweezerman for a fraction of the price. It’s just as sharp and precise, easily accessible at drugstores, and less high maintenance (in terms of storing it).

Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat is another drugstore alternative that I’ve been enjoying. My top coat needs to do 2 things: a.) provide a high shine finish; b.) dry fast. When I mean dry fast – I mean, my nail polish + top coat needs to be dried in 10 mins. Sounds impossible, but I’ve been on the hunt for a good top coat since I’ve been trying to get myself not to use Seche Vite anymore. The warning label is quite scary as it states: “Warning – This product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.” Although I love Seche Vite like everyone else, the warning label scares me and I feel like I need to use a gas mask when using it due to its pungent and deathly odor.

And, finally, MAC’s 228 mini shading brush has been doing wonders for me lately. It’s teeny tiny, but soft and quite stiff. It’s perfect for those with small eyes or small creases. You can really get all up in the small spaces to apply eye shadow or eye liner. I reserve this brush for using darker colors and have been quite happy with the results. For those in the business of makeup artistry, this brush would work well for detailed work as well. In fact, I like this brush so much I’ve convinced myself that I may need one more (or two more). It doesn’t look like much – but it’s quite versatile and I highly recommend.

Happy Sunday! Apologies for a brief post. I promise to get back to some reviews that many have requested.

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)
*Click on images to enlarge.

Current Favorite Products

So, it isn’t a surprise that I’ve accumulated some products recently. But what is surprising is that everything I’m currently enjoying right now are products I wouldn’t normally be enjoying. Why? Well, because most of the products featured in today’s post aren’t normally products I tend to gravitate towards. However, I’m thoroughly impressed by the products and will continue to enjoy them until I get bored. I don’t see myself going back to the store and buying multiples of any of the items mentioned below. I’m trying to cut down on my “hoarding” issue with makeup products, haha.

Featured/pictured items:
Maybelline Baby Lips – “Quenched”
MAC Mineralize Eyeshadow – “Snow Season”
NARS Multiple – “Luxor”
Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter – “Creamsicle”
Skin Transformer SPF 20 – Translucent

Before I begin, let me start with the Skin Transformer – which is translucent by the way – so I didn’t photograph it separately. It claims to “hydrate, enhance, and protect” by using an “active natural complex.” It’s supposed to “instantly transform your skin in one application” as it acts as a “antioxidant-rich hydrating base” that is lightweight and provides “luminous coverage with UVA/UVB SPF 20 protection.” It feels slick at first – not oily – but siliconey, which normally, I would absolutely detest. But once it dries and settles into your skin, you’re left with a smooth and poreless canvas. It’s perfect for no makeup days (with concealer and some powder, of course); or if you want to double up on sun protection and primer – this is a good all in one to apply under your foundation.

This is my second tube of Maybelline Baby Lips, but this time, it’s the flavor “Quenched.” The other tubes available are colored, but I like to stick with lip balms that are clear – that way I’m not committing to a color for the long run. These are fancier than your regular ol’ chapstick, but it’s not completely necessary to have. But, it’s like $7 – so what the heck, right? The packaging is cute and I like the color of the tube. Oh, and the swivel mechanism is neat too. The scent is light and clean and not fruity because I tend to not like those scents. Baby Lips is moisturizing and great for layering under your choice of lip color for the day. Normally, I wouldn’t be so attached to a lip balm. But this stuff really works.

Revlon recently released their new line of Colorburst Lip Butters and everyone is going crazy over them. I was lucky enough to hit up Ulta early enough to snag this one for myself. “Creamsicle” is a light, peachy tone that can be layered. In some cases, with heavy layering, you can actually end up with a very nude lip. So be careful unless that’s the look you’re going for. It’s like if the Maybelline Baby Lips and a moisturizing lipstick had a baby. This product has the benefits of lip balm, with some color to jazz it up a bit. Unfortunately, the color does wear off quickly but the moisturizing benefits do linger. Normally, lip products don’t really impress me because I’m a huge fan of Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shine colors. But Revlon’s Colorburst Lip Butters perform very closely to Chanel’s, and is certainly a great alternative if you don’t want to shell out the money for Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shine colors.

Next, MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadow in “Snow Season” has been one of my favorite colors lately. At first, I was disappointed that MAC’s holiday collection was released with no regular eyeshadows (except for the palettes). Normally, I’m not a fan of the mineralize eyeshadows, because in the past, I’ve always been disappointed by their lack of pigmentation. I also found that past mineralize eyeshadows flaked off my eyes and would spread glitter all over my face – which was not a look I was going for. “Snow Season,” as you can see, is a mixture of colorful swirls: beigey brown, pinky-peachy tones, with some sparkley purples, along with silver and gold shimmers.

Swatched, it is the perfect icy shimmery color that works perfectly as an inner-corner highlight. The color brightens up the eyes beautifully. Though “Snow Season” comes from MAC holiday 2011 collection “Glitter & Ice,” I won’t be purchasing any other products from the line because they all kind look the same to me!

I’ve been a huge fan of NARS for years, but it’s taken me a long time to warm up to their Multiples. I don’t know, I’ve just never been interested in such a product for highlighting, mainly because I’ve always preferred powder forms. This is interesting, because it’s in a twist-up form but it glides on easily onto the skin. For application, I prefer to use my finger since I don’t want to be rubbing the entire stick onto my cheekbones

“Luxor” is a pearlescent, shimmery highlighter that has hints of pinkish and white tones that perfect for faking “the glow.” It’s not too shimmery that it looks like you’re going to your high school prom, but it provides a healthy sheen when blended in to fake that look of natural health. This is perfect for your cheekbones, under your brow bones, and down your nose. “Luxor” lights up the face perfectly – as if you’re being lit from within by candlelight. I find it very romantic. :)

I hope you’ll try some of these products out, and if you do, I’d love to hear your reactions/thoughts.

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)
*Click on images to enlarge.