August 14, 2007

Product Reviews that No One Admits to Using

We are women, we are delicate flowers who always look perfect, smell perfect. We never go to the bathroom, we never sweat, we never menstruate. Right?

WRONG. No one wants to admit that they are human, especially when they are fledgling or full-scale fashionistas. However, to appear to the outside world that we are delicate flowers, we need certain tools in our life to accomplish that feat. It’s hard to find reviews without deep internet searching, so I decided to offer a few reviews of products my friend and I use and have used. Go ahead and buy them online, not even the shopkeeper at the drugstore will know your secret to being so calm, cool and collected!


Sweat

We sweat, and often our sweat smells. We deal with stained shirts, white residue, ruined hairstyles, smelly shoes and obvious wet marks on clothing. There are a few items on the market sold specifically for this case. I am a woman who sweats… a LOT and these are some products I have tried:

Secret Clinical Strength:
From what I have seen in the stores, they seem to only sell a Powder and a Light and Fresh scent. I personally wish to smell like clean skin and Burberry London, and not baby bums, so I figured the Light and Fresh scent was the lesser of two evils. The product is a dial-up cream consistency like many of the harder-working deodorant/antiperspirant products. Two clicks of the dial gives way more than needed for one underarm, and one click is too little (I have experienced this with other products in this format). The scent is very mild, and the formula goes on dry and comfortable. I applied it on freshly shaved armpits and didn’t have any irritation. The product does leave white marks on clothing, but so do most deodorants (even “little black dress approved” ones do at times). Throughout the day I did feel dryer than I do with regular deodorants (Dove, Degree, etc.) and I didn’t smell (which happens on hot days with traditional products). As my body warmed up, the fragrance did get stronger, but never overwhelming. This is one of the best heavy-duty deodorants I have tried in a long while.


CertainDri:
This is a must-have for any woman who has a problem with wetness and/or odor. CertainDri is a roll-on product that you apply in the evening. It blocks the pores that release sweat, and sweat is what causes the odor. This product does itch or irritate on broken skin, sensitive skin and after prolonged use; I never use it after a shower and take short breaks from using the product. It seems that it builds up in your system so after a couple weeks of use, you can go a week or two without use quite fine.

This product keeps you dry without feeling uncomfortable, and odor free. I do use it along with a morning antiperspirant/deodorant because I am extra careful, but I could easily go a day without the daytime product and be fine and fresh. CertainDri can be found at most drug stores and big box retailers – it is usually found on the bottom shelf and is sold in a cardboard box.

CertainDri has an AM version, I have yet to try it because it is fragranced and I prefer my underarm products to be as fragrance-free as possible.


Crystal Deodorants (various brands):
This product is a naturally occurring crystal that can be moistened and applied to the body to ward off odor (not sweat). This product is not full of chemicals and aluminum and is approved by the National Cancer Society. Over the years I have tried to use this product as that I have had issues with underarm and foot odor.

Under the arms, I often find this product to be sticky, and not as effective as traditional deodorants. I know some who use it in conjunction with traditional underarm products, but I think the products above work better alone than a crystal deodorant with another product.

On the feet, I haven’t seen much difference but it’s hard to tell. I liked the idea, for I believe feet need to sweat a bit to cool the body and rid oneself of toxins. This seemed like a perfect choice for my tootsies. However I haven’t seen a great difference, and I am often placing clean feet in worn shoes so it’s hard to see if it’s the shoe or the foot. Again, I find it a bit sticky so it’s not the most comfortable feel for the feet. The product doesn’t say it’s for the feet, but it doesn’t seem to hurt to try it.


Panty Liners:
These are good dress shields in a pinch, and far cheaper than the disposable dress shields found online. They don’t stick well, but they stick just as well as the disposable shields so consider some additional double-sided tape or even a safety pin to keep these in place inside jackets and sturdier tops. Do not try this with blouses, short sleeves (raise your hand and your secret is out) or any delicate fabrics, but this is great in a pinch under heavy items to feel a bit more protected.


Foot Petals:
Nothing is worse than having your foot so sweaty, you slide to the front of your heels, mashing your toes or even stretching out the shoe’s toebox. Slipping and sliding does not help a woman look chic and stylish. Foot Petals are a great invention – they are thin enough to slip into your chicest heels without altering the fit, they offer a bit of cushioning, are spongy to keep your foot in place, don’t peel away or pill over time and when you remove your shoe, they still look pretty.

Foot petals also carries pads for the back of the shoe, straps of sandals, and just for the toebox. I love the variety of colors, I can get them to compliment my shoe. And I can stand all day in the sweltering sun and not have my tootsies slip out the front of my sandal!


Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer:
My sister tipped me off to this product. After years of trying mattifying lotion, potions and foundations, this is the only thing that seems to really keep a matte yet natural face through the heat, and keep my liquid foundation in place. The product is light, dries quickly, isn’t tight or drying and even is great sans foundation. I put it high on my brow at the hairline to help prevent the sweaty bangs that often happen in the summer. It comes in colors, but I have used the clear for years with much success.


Bare Escentuals Mineral Foundation:
This lasts through tears, sweat, hugs, even sports. It does wear off (pat your face with a towel and you will blot off product) but it keeps a finish better than most any other product I have tried without looking cakey or false. I bet other mineral foundations would work well, but I have found this brand has had better staying powder than the only other mineral foundation I have tried (L’Oreal Bare Naturale).


Always DriWeave Pantyliners:
We sweat in many places on our body, and those dark and warm spots can end up being the most uncomfortable with extra moisture. These pantyliners keep you feeling fresh throughout the most humid days, and also keep your trousers one wear longer from having to go to the dry cleaner. The DriWeave top really does work, and these are thin enough to not make you feel as though you are wearing a diaper.


Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Powder with Lavender & Chamomile:
Sprinkle all over after a shower to stay feeling dry on the ickiest days. Add to hair between shampoos (lightly) to absorb oil. Nothing is nicer than fresh cotton sheets and a dusting of powder on your skin before bed. The lavender scent makes you smell like a lady, not an infant. Oh, and the price is quite nice. This is another product recommendation from my sister who is always the calm, cool and collected lady.

I have also used Shower to Shower with similar effects, though it seems to get clumpy and pasty faster than traditional baby powder.


BodyGlide:
Women have curves, and sometimes these curves rub against one another and on warm days, this can cause chafing. This product was created for runners to protect their nipples and ankles from chafing, but it also works pretty well on inner things and other womanly curves. Nice thing is it is a formula that lasts throughout the day and doesn’t absorb into the skin. It is also far cheaper than the Monistat and other brands made for women, and isn’t as embarrassing in your medicine cabinet. We all have curves, it just isn’t something we always wish to admit!


Bike Shorts:
Get them short, get them in a moisture-wicking fabric, and preferably with a cotton crotch. Ensure the legs aren’t so tight they leave red marks on your thighs and wear them under your sundresses and skirts. They should be long enough to hit the largest part of your thigh, but short enough that you can cross your legs and not show. I wear them often, as do many of my friends. I know many women wear divided slips, but I find these to usually be too long, too full for many styles, and very hard to find. The bike shorts I have are from Kmart and cost $9.99.


Roll On Deodorant:
Applied to the fingers, and then applied to the face under your makeup, it can work to lessen the chance of a beaded upper lip and hairline. It does make your face feel a bit tight and as though you are wearing a mask, so use in moderation.


Elimination

We eat and drink, and we do eliminate. A true lady doesn’t discuss this, but she does it nonetheless. Here are some things I have found to help with this bodily function:

pStyle:
This is the coolest thing EVER! This is a hard plastic device that looks like something to scoop flour out of a sack, but is created to allow women to urinate standing up. Not something we consider often, until you think of outdoor festivals, camping trips, jumpsuits and other things that make undressing completely and hovering over a very disgusting bowl less awful. The pStyle is small and comes in a bevy of colors so it can easily slip into a bag without looking like a scary contraption. It is created so you can slip it in your fly, move your undergarments to the side and urinate standing up, and even wipe clean.

I recently went to a four-day music festival where we camped and only had porta potties for facilities. There was a booth selling these contraptions and I bought one on a whim and ended up using it all weekend long, reducing my time in the facilities, and reducing my chance of touching something I wouldn’t want to. I carry a baggy of sanitizing wipes with me to clean it off between uses, and keep it in its own separate baggy.

This may not be something that all women could use in their life, but if you are someone like me who enjoys the outdoors, but not the facilities available to women for outdoors occasions, you may wish to have one of these in your backpack (and yes, that testimonial by Allison on their website is from me, I was so impressed I had to send them a letter!).


Immodium AD:
Even if you aren’t having that loose feeling, this product is an anti-spasmodic and will prevent the churning tummy, the sweating tongue, and all the other things that may ruin a perfectly happy social affair. My doctor has recommended it for vomiting and even for nerve-related sharp stomach pains I used to have back in school. Don’t abuse it – the only way to get a bug out of your system is to allow it to run its course; but I always carry a few of these in my purse and bottle for all vacations to make sure my diet or illness doesn’t ruin a good time. Best thing? They usually start working in about a half hour, and you don’t need to take many more pills to keep the effects.


Scott Moist Wipes:
I bought these for a camping trip for cleansing of my entire body when away from a shower. They did a good job of freshening without making me sticky or feeling perfumed. They were also soothing and much appreciated when I got food poisoning on said camping trip. Since then, the little blue box has held a spot in my bathroom and I run out of them almost as fast as I do traditional toilet paper. I use them during my monthly cycle to feel clean between showers, they are great for other types of elimination, and now that they are in the bathroom, they are used by my husband (and his friends) quite often! I like using them on my neck and collarbone if I am going straight from work to dinner or have a long day on the road in airports to feel freshened. They are moist enough to wipe comfortably, but not so moist you feel damp.

Why Scott and not another brand? Because unlike their toilet paper, these are just as good as the more expensive brands. They are soft, scented enough that they don’t seem medicinal but not so much that it’s obvious, they flush easily, they are not obviously female or made for that time of the month, the box is blue and closes well (other brands, the box often doesn’t latch well and the cloths dry out). Instead of spending money (and adding to landfills) with the individually-wrapped cleansing cloths, store a few in a snack-sized baggy in your purse… and be sure to take a few on your next camping trip!


Cottonelle Moist Wipes:
My friend asked me to add these because she likes the convenience of a pop-up container, and finds they are thicker and larger than Scott wipes. I have not tried them yet, but am intrigued as that she says they are far better than the other brands and reviews online say the same.

Body Hair
It’s lovely on our head, a small amount on our brows and other places can be appropriate, yet when it appears on other parts of our face and body, ladies run for a way to find a safe, gentle and long-lasting way to get it GONE. Being from Russian/Jewish heritage on one side, I have been plagued with dark hair all my life and have tried a variety of products:

Sally Hansen Crème Hair Remover for Face:
Doesn’t smell like bleach, doesn’t burn like bleach and the results last for about 2-4 weeks on my lip. It is far gentler than any other product I have tried, and one box lasts MONTHS.


Jolen Creme Bleach:
As I have mentioned in other posts, bleaching your mustache doesn’t make it invisible, it just makes it blonde. Sun shines on it, and it is just as obvious if it were black. However, there are other parts of your body that can benefit from lighter hair (belly, arms, lower back). Jolen Crème Bleach is an excellent choice. It is very gentle, easy to mix, and gives natural (not orange) results. Makeup artists find it’s their product of choice to lighten eyebrows, and I have even used it to make blonde streaks in my hair (I learned that trick from Kirstie Alley back in her Veronica’s Closet days).

Bikini Zone:
Seems to be a love/hate relationship amongst most women I know. Some swear by this product to keep bumps at bay, others find it overpriced and pointless (and painful to boot!). If you have very sensitive skin in this area, I say try cortisone instead and pass on Bikini Zone. However if this is something important to you (spend a lot of time in swimwear), you may wish to try this product.


10% Cortisone:
Cheaper and more versatile than many of those products on the shelf to reduce razor burn and bumps, this will also heal, not sting the skin. Great product for summer – use after shaving, on bug bites and any other rashes from being outside. Also a great product to have on hand if you do end up with chafing.


Roll-On Deodorant:
Another cheap and versatile product for razor burn.


Tweezerman Slant Tweezers:
The best for getting the pesky little hairs at the brow, the little ones that peek out of your nose, the randoms that show up around your nipple, and those left behind after a bikini wax. The best thing is they will resharpen these puppies for free for the rest of the time you have them. A really good buy and worth the money.


Menstruation:
Not the most pleasant experience, but unless you are on one of the new versions of birth control or have gone through menopause, you are most likely dealing with this on a monthly basis. There are some amazing products available to make this week or so less painful, messy and comfortable; these products are the lesser-thought of tools on the market...


o.b. Tampons:
Once you get past the fact that your hand has to go THERE, these are really great tampons. They fit well, they are completely flushable, and you don’t feel guilty filling up landfills with your feminine products. Honestly, you should know your body inside and out and your body should be more familiar to you than your doctor. These aren’t the best if you are dry, but they fit in the tiniest of purses and I feel utterly confident in them, willing to wear white pants and swimsuits in a second.


Diva Cup:
Again, this isn’t for the faint of heart, but this is a wonderful product for your time of the month. No waste, no chance for Toxic Shock Syndrome, and the ability to safely go up to 12 hours without worrying about your period. Unlike many similar products that are disposable, this one is reusable. It is also made of medical-grade silicone, so no fear of latex or rubber reactions.

This is not the most tidy thing when you remove it, but when you think how much you will save in not buying sanitary products, the ease of going all day without worrying about a changing, and the good you are doing for the environment, it is a good choice. And heck, that’s what hand soap is for, right?


Scott Wipes:
See above.


This of course is not a be-all to end-all list, but a beginning. Reviews were not from retailers, but from me and women in my life - family, friends and readers that have given me their candid opinions. Now it's your turn, what's your secret beauty trick to stay soft, dry and smelling like a rose?

25 comments:

  1. Wow, SUCH a comprehensive list. I want to print it out and head to the drugstore, stat. Thanks so much!

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  2. Very useful information. Keep up the good work! I have been reading your blog everyday for over a year and look forward to it when I come home from work!

    - Allison

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  3. I'll be one to admit, I use the Diva cup. It's really not bad at all - especially when in the shower. But some women do get a bit creeped out by down there. I also use the Nuvaring and it amazes me that some women don't just because they don't want to touch there once every three weeks!

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  4. I'm anti anti-perspirant... I'd rather be sweaty and stinky than have my detoxifying sweat glands clamped and have all that junk in my body... however I love using constarch as a natural no smell body powder. I apply some to my shoes, my armpits, and my tummy... I use a soft body spray that covers up smell... And I use a moisture wicking cami underneath summer clothes, and if it shows some sweat, its better than all that sweat not being wicked by powder and the cami.

    As for mineral foundation, I like physicians formula talc free mineral wear. really soft color, and looks nice. I like tweezermans...

    Overall I adored your reviews... Nice work dilly dilly. I also love the new name...

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  5. My husband is also anti-antiperspirants and uses the crystal deodorant with much success. :-)

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  6. Roll on deodorant on the upper lip and hairline--really? This could be the answer to the prayers of a woman of a certain age suffering from power surges. Could you write a bit more about this please? I simply roll some on my finger, then wipe on the upper lip--voila?
    I like the blog's new name--and I enjoy your writing and your honesty very much.
    Isabel

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  7. I tried it myself and think it minimized it a bit - enough to try often... my friend used it and said it minimized the sweating for her drastically. First read about it in... InStyle I believe! Let me know if it works for you

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  8. I'll try the Scotts Wipes but right now I'm using Summer's Eve wipes in a little pop-up carry container.

    This is my first summer in the D.C. area and I'm finding my one indispensable product is powder papers from Crabtree & Evelyn!

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  9. Forgot to also mention my other hot and humid survival necessity - L'Occitane has an incredible green tea and mint cooling body gel. After coming home I take a cool shower, apply this gel and a spritz of lime tonic from Malin + Goetz and feel like a new woman.

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  10. I also forgot to say that a sea salt spray for slightly oilier hair in summer, just at roots when lightly used can add volume and help with some of the sweat in the scalp area. not rec'd for dry scalps/sensitive scalps, but in summer lots of people fight with it, and I think a small spray bottle in your purse is a quick root volumizer. The spray is mostly water, but some sea salt, and maybe constarch. I like it esp. in summer. But test it first before using it on a hot summer's day, because you never know how it will work for you. A drop of perfume covers up the salty smell.

    also, blotting powders, and a light facial spray. For oily and dry faces alike, burts bees makes some fab ones. I find that spraying the spray and letting it dry for a minute, and then blotting away the rest is like a fresh new face.

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  11. re: scott wipes, other wipe products

    I use Huggies Natural unscented. Baby wipes are very inexpensive and work well. Buy the tub once, then buy the big refill bags after that. I also use them to remove my makeup at night!

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  12. Great post, Allie!

    Very informative...I feel as though I need to run out to the store right now.

    One thing that I wouldn't be without this summer are the Clean & Clear (or Walgreen's brand) blotting papers. Soak up shine like nobody's business, yet doesn't disturb your makeup or leave behind a bunch of powder. Love, love, love.

    Keep the posts coming...I've learned so much from your blogs!

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  13. Well, I lost a couple of bloated inches around my waist when I realized I was mildly lactose intolerant. Forgoing dairy was the easiest way to a flatter tummy.

    But YOU, my dear Allie, are looking wondrous. We're all ears to hear your weight loss advice. Truly.

    Martha

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  14. Bunnylicious8/17/07, 10:11 AM

    great reviews! I happen to be a curvy woman who sweats a lot, and I had actually already tried 90% of the products you reviewed in this post, to great success! Will keep coming back for more, since it's very useful and honest. By the way, I have tried the CertainDri AM version and hated it - too wet, too scented! But I love the regular one. Now if only it would dry faster...

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  15. The pStyle and other similar products are particularly useful in foreign countries! I've used mine in Romania, Bulgaria and Chad. Some bathrooms in some countries have no seat to hover over and very little light or doors in restrooms. This can be a lifesaver!

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  16. these were great reviews, allie! i am especially excited that you use o.b. tampons. i swear by them and pretty much refuse to wear any other kind. i still don't flush them, tho...

    as for the panty liners, do you wear one all the time, or just to safeguard against leaks every once in a while?

    and i will definitely be stocking up on scott wipes, oh and the pstyle. that is fantastic!

    thanks for all the great tips!

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  17. I have not used all these myself, as an FYI. I did make sure all were reviews by women I know and trust.

    I rarely wear pantyliners myself (and never have under my arms), but many women I know do them daily, or at least at the more... damp times of the month or on a sweaty day.

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  18. Thanks for the bit about the Diva cup! I've used mine for about 3 years now and it's such a time and money saver. I recouped the cost of it in a couple months. It makes life so much easier and less stress when it's that time.

    Thanks for the blog!

    Tali

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  19. Good reviews, although I question the flushing of tampons. It's just better not to think too much about municipal water supplies, isn't it? : P

    I"ve been using natural sea sponges ( bought in the paint department, cut down and boiled) as tampons. I just don't like all the corporate money devoted to managing women's cycles. I rinse every few hours, rinse in vinegar and allow to dry overnight, and boil between cycles.

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  20. Tried the CertainDri and was up all night with itching, burning underarms! Now it looks like I have chemical burns :(

    Guess my skin is pretty sensitive - I don't get really sweaty but wanted to try it anyway :)

    Love your other recs, though!

    (I can't imagine making my own tampons like the other reviewer - I'll happily give my money to the Big Evil Corporations for that) :)

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  21. wow, a very informative list.

    i'll have to check out that smashbox primer

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  22. I find baking soda the best natural remedy for sweating. Crystal deodorants work for many people, but they are useless to me.

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  23. Awesome list! I have been wanting to try secret clinical, and I think I will.

    I use the Diva Cup, and love it. I would also recommend reusable panty-liners as bach-up. Then, your period is waste free!!!

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  24. Hi Allie! I read about the Diva Cup on your blog years ago and never had the nerve to try it until a couple of months ago. It's AMAZING and I love it so much I had to tell you. At first I chose the #2 larger size as recommended on the box for women over age 35, but had to go back and get the smaller sized #1. There's no need to worry or change it for 12 hours or longer if necessary, and it's like not having a period at all. No waste in the landfill, no hassle day or night, and no worries whatsoever. I use it with reusable cotton pantiliners to be safe but have had no leaks whatsoever. I appreciate your environmentally friendly ideas like this so much, I agree we should know our bodies better than anyone else and this has made me so much more aware of how my body changes during its monthly cycle. I had to thank you because this is life-changing for me and I'm so thrilled to cut down on landfill waste.

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  25. What a great review Penelope! I am still a major DivaCup fan, never fails, reusable, and you do get to know and understand your body better. Thanks so much for your comment!

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