Recent Hits and Misses: Beauty Edition

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over 40 beauty reviews for hair and skinThis summer was about going natural – no heating products on my hair, less makeup, better skin. Below are some beauty products I tried for hair and skin to accomplish that and whether they were hits or misses.

VERB Ghost Oil

VERB Ghost Oil is a product I’ve used since early summer. My hair is fine yet wavy and can be frizzy. Most products to smooth and add shine weigh it down. I read an online review, and then a bunch of reviews at Sephora and decided to give this oil a try. Big fan. Put a bit on your hair when it’s damp and it will reduce frizz but not look greasy. Add it to dry hair and it will add a bit of shine and some smoothing but no grease, no heaviness, and it doesn’t get gross after a few hours. I have two bottles – one in my medicine cabinet and one in my bag for mid-day touch ups. Heads up – the directions say 2-3 pumps. That’s a great amount if you’re Crystal Gayle. If you have hair my length one pump is plenty.

I’m a fan of VERB because they’re based out of Austin, Texas and most of their products are made here in the United States. Sulfate free, gluten free, paraben free, phthalate free, using organic ingredients when possible, they’re 100% cruelty free and most of their products are vegan.

VERB Ghost Shampoo and Conditioner

VERB saw me feature their Ghost Oil in an InstaStory and offered to send me some more product. They sent a package full of their Ghost line, made just for hair that can’t handle any weight. I like all the products they sent, but especially love the shampoo and conditioner. It’s super gentle and doesn’t strip my color, it keeps my hair full without drying it out, and the conditioner conditions without adding weight. It also has a subtle grapefruit oatmeal scent that is clean and pretty but doesn’t leave my hair smelling fragranced.

VERB Ghost Prep and Ghost Dry Oil

VERB also sent me their Ghost Prep and Ghost Dry Oil. I’ve tried both and like them for what they are, but I don’t use styling products like these on a regular basis. But if you have fine or limp hair and desire styling products like this, you may really like them.  The prep is like a primer.  I used it when blow drying my hair straight.  Unlike many similar products that make my hair look like there's something in this, Ghost Prep was invisible, not adding weight or greasiness.  The Dry Oil I used when I dried my hair straight to make Day 2 Hair look more finished but not greasy.  They also sent me their hairspray but I never use hairspray and gave it to a friend before using.

ALTERNA Haircare CAVIAR Anti-Aging Bodybuilding Volume Shampoo and Conditioner

A stylist (not mine, but one I met at a fashion event) recommended this shampoo and conditioner for my fine hair. This stylist said it would give me body, make the individual hairs look thicker, and I’d see less of my scalp. I used this combination straight for two weeks. The shampoo is a bit odd, it’s thick and it’s hard to get through the hair. After, you really need a conditioner because your hair feels a bit tangled and dry. With use, it just got drier and more tangled even after conditioner. My haircolor stripped and my hair looked old. Plenty of volume, but dull and old. MISS.

The conditioner is really interesting. It lathers, and rinses very easily. It’s not enough to counteract the shampoo and the combination just made my hair look so old and dry and fried. But with a different shampoo, this conditioner isn’t bad once a week to give a bit of lift and have less slip so a style will last longer. If you know you have a long day, using this conditioner may help keep your style long. However, this summer I’ve been getting my curls by leaving in conditioner, and this doesn’t work for that. However, it’s good if I blow my hair out. So not really a miss, but not something I’m using on a regular basis.

Dr. Jart Cicapair

It’s dangerous for me to read profiles on beauty editors on pay day. I end up making a list and justifying purchases like this one. I know I was reading a profile on Jean Godfrey-June and next thing I know I’m on Makeup Alley reading reviews on Cicapair. How I got to that final destination I’m not sure but I’m glad I did.

So Cicapair is this weird green cream that looks like a mix between that Almay BB cream that turns from white to your skintone and a mud mask. You put it on your skin and rub it in until it’s no longer green. It’s supposed to heal skin, reduce inflammation, even skin tone, and protect with SPF 30. Reviews said people used it as a blemish treatment, in place of tinted moisturizer, and as a primer for foundation. First time I tried it, I put it on as a moisturizer. Bad decision. It made my face feel a bit hot and it felt like I had something on my skin and it looked a bit odd, like I didn’t fully rub in sunscreen or BB cream. The next time, I applied it after my eye cream, serum, and moisturizer. And in this manner, I understood the awesomeness that is Cicapair.

It really does improve your skin. It makes your skin a bit matte, a bit more evenly toned, and smoother. However, it doesn’t feel heavy or look obvious like a foundation. Putting it on, I was thinking how this would be a great product for men who maybe want a bit of help with their skin’s appearance but not comfortable with wearing cosmetics. I like it alone for a weekend, and also as a primer so I can carry off less foundation and concealer. It also seems to make my makeup stay in place better. I fear it would look ashy on darker complexions, but it seems to work okay with me with and without my fake Dr. Dennis Gross tan. If you have super sensitive and/or dry skin, this product likely will be wrong for you, but if you’re normal, combo, or oily you may fall in love like I did!

Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder

I’m reading the profile on Jean Godfrey-June and she references a crazy expensive Vitamin C powder that she swears by and improves her skin. And I remember, I used to use a Vitamin C powder from Philosophy… why did I stop using it? Likely because I had some paid collaboration with a beauty brand and used that, and then had another gifted skin product and next thing I knew it had been a year and I forgot about the product. Well Jean’s profile inspired me to order it again and I’m so glad I did.

The product comes with a tiny measuring spoon. Drop the scoop in your hand and mix with your daily moisturizer (Jean Godfrey-June says she just presses the powder to her face but I can’t figure out how to do that without looking like the mom in the Rice Krispies commercial. Apply and within a week your skin looks noticeably more glowy and rested.

Peter Thomas Roth Professional 3% Retinoid Plus

For years I used ROC for retinol. Then I had different brands send me their retinol. I’ve tried trendy brands like The Ordinary for retinol, and have even considered getting a prescription from my doctor. I was thinking about that prescription because I couldn’t get the retinol hype. Either it did nothing, or it made my face red and angry. I was at a blogging event chatting with an over-40 blogger who had skin that looked 30-something and she said she hadn’t had any work done. No lasers, no fillers, not even a facial in a couple years but she switched to Peter Thomas Roth’s 3% Retinoid and in less than a year she looked way better, like years younger better. Like me, she gets all kinds of free skincare to review and has tried the $150 skin creams and the $5 skin creams and often found there wasn’t much difference between them. But she said this stuff was a gamechanger. I’m as much a sucker for honest blogger beauty reviews as I am reviews from beauty editors, so I bought a bottle. Warning, it’s not cheap.

However, this stuff is pretty fantastic. Like, no redness and irritation yet I do see a difference. First thing I noticed was the little bumps on my chin disappeared. Then the splotchiness on my cheeks diminished. Then my forehead looked a little less… everything (pores, creases, fine lines, oil, you name it). Now, it may be because I’ve been using the Vitamin C powder as well, but this combination is really making my face look and feel great. Do note, if you use a retinoid you MUST use sunscreen, even if you didn’t use retinol the night prior.

Have you tried any new beauty products that you love or want to warn others not to use? Share in the comments below!

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  1. I’ve been using the VERB ghost oil for couple of months. I use a couple drops (2 for short hair) just before I dry my hair. My hair is smoother, shinier and more manageable. I have coarse, dry, natural curl in my hair and it is color treated.

  2. Thanks so much for these posts! I picked up both the Philosophy C powder and the Cicapair and am a big fan of both after a few days of use. My skin looks less dull and Cicapair is perfect for evening out my skin tone and giving sun protection without being as shiny as a BB cream or heavy as a foundation. Thinking about the Verb oil, too.

  3. Ohhhhh I definitely want to try that Cicapair!!!! I don’t wear make up so it sounds amazing! I tried the Peter Thomas Roth 3% Retinoid and wanted to love it but felt like it didn’t do anything for my skin. Glad to hear it works for others, though.

    1. Retinoids are so weird, one that is amazing for one is bad for another. I reviewed one from The Ordinary earlier this year raving about it and after about two months it changed on me – tons of redness and irritation and no real effects. And I adore Cicapair, it’s sooo good!

  4. FYI – links for Philosophy and Peter Thomas Roth don’t work — get a “productnotcarried” at the Sephora web site when I click on them.

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