Weekly Cheap Secret:

Nivea is really pushing this stuff this summer along with the “matching” body lotion. Evidently “Happiness” is a blend of orange blossom and bamboo essence. The scent is getting rave reviews, but I’m not crazy about it. I love orange blossom. If this wash did not have orange blossom in the description and had something like “orange juice” labeled on it, then maybe I could like it. I do like the formula. So, I’ll start with that first.

The formula is a cream-gel meaning that is a thicker gel. One does not need a loofah to make this stuff lather. I like this because I am not a fan of a loofah. I think this body wash gives the same amount of lather as any other shower gel on a loofah. I like a thick lather. It makes me feel like I’m getting super-squeaky clean. This isn’t really a “deal” like other drugstore shower gels because you aren’t using a loofah.  You typically use more product without a loofah. The formula leaves my skin smooth and not overly moisturized/greasy, just soft (and clean feeling). I follow-up with a body cream. Now to the fragrance…

It isn’t that I dislike this fragrance. I find it odd. It’s like drinking Sprite when you thought you were drinking sparkling water. It’s not bad, it’s just a shock at first. I thought I was supposed to get orange blossom but instead I got a very “vitamin C” type fragrance. It smells like citric acid used in cough drops. It’s just very, very orange. Orange blossom is supposed to be a heady, white floral. I don’t know what bamboo smells like but I was expecting something green and/or aquatic. This scent isn’t bad. It just smells of a synthetic orange. Some mornings when I use this and my sniffer isn’t on its “game”,  I think it smells like Sweet Tarts or Smarties. It has a “powdery” citric acid smell instead of a hard, lozenge citric acid smell. Other times it reminds me of a vitamin C drop and The Body Shop Satsuma. The scent isn’t bad if you like candy-like citrus scents or the smell of orange juice. It is an invigorating fragrance. I think you’ll have the Sprite experience if you are expecting a more “natural” citrus scent or an orange blossom/orange blossom floral water type of fragrance. Don’t have the expectation that this is a floral scent. Expect orange juice and you may be happy with it. It really is a nice product for summer because it foams and makes the skin feel clean without being too dry. And the scent is a very energizing orange. Try this if you like The Body Shop Satsuma products.

This wash retails for under $6. It’s available at most drugstores and drugstore.com.

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I finally bought the solid! It’s a great price at $16. It is a really fragrant solid. It’s loaded with scent of one of my favorite care-free feminine fragrances: Clementine. Clementine is a SoCal blend of night-blooming jasmine, orange blossom, and honeysuckle. It’s heavenly and every time I wear it, I want to move to California. It’s so pretty and easy to wear. See my fragrance oil review for more.

The solid comes in a pretty generous sized container. It’s much bigger than those offered by Lush or L’Occitane. (Think the size of a Smith’s Rosebud Salve). The solid base isn’t very creamy but it is rich. It warms up and smooths on easily with the warmth of your fingertips. It has a shea and cocoa butter base. It’s very moisturizing. The fragrance oils do so well in this moisturizing base. Like most solids, you’ll have to apply this a few times a day if you want to be fragrant all day. The scent lasts on me 2-4 hours.

This solid is available at beautyhabit.com. I can’t decide if I like this or the oil better. I like that this solid is travel friendly but I love the oil because it is sooo long-wearing.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

I seriously do not know how or why I haven’t reviewed this product sooner. I guess it is one that I use so frequently that I forget about it? I really didn’t mean to take it for granted. This is a product that I really like and it retails for under $6.

Maybelline Dream Mousse Blush has a mousse texture. It blends nicely and feels weightless on the skin. It works great on my normal skin type. I love that it feels like it isn’t there at all. This texture feels much more expensive than what the product retails for. I’ve used $30 blushes that were going for this effect and couldn’t achieve it. I’m not naming names. There aren’t many colors available. There are six to be exact. However, there are a few I really like. ( I loved Whipped Strawberries but I can’t find it on the website. That was the perfect flushed pink for pale skins.) I like Pink Frosting, a pale pink shimmer that I usually use as a highlighter, and Peach Satin, a sheer pale peach. Both colors are sheer so I choose to layer them and layer them for more color. I apply this blush with my fingertips. I only use a tiny amount. I rub it on to the cheeks. There is no tugging since this product has such a smooth texture. I layer and layer until I get what I want. I’ve used deeper colors (Cloud Wine) and “one coat” was enough to get what I wanted. It doesn’t streak with extended wear. Like I said before, my skin is normal, rarely super dry or oily. When I dip my fingers into the pot, I occasionally get little clumpy Maybelline Dream Mousse bunnies. This doesn’t bother me. I’ll either wipe it on the rim of the jar or I was going to use that much cream blush anyways, so it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it doesn’t clump or streak on my skin. It doesn’t do that. (It is gross when it gets under the nails. Sometimes I use the end of a makeup brush to dip it out onto my hand, then my finger tips so that I’m not digging in the pot.)

My complaints are that the colors are limited. Just like all drugstore makeup, they start with a few perfect colors that compete with department store brands but then get rid of them for unknown reasons. There aren’t enough colors for medium to deep skin tones.  If you are pale with normal skin this can be a perfect blush for you. It looks natural, somehow the shimmer ones look natural too. (Well, that is coming from me and I don’t mind shimmer on my complexion to give me a “plastic” look). It’s a great price at under $6. The packaging is hefty and glass. It seems like it is “more” than what it is.

It is available at most drugstores and drugstore.com.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

OK, so I purchased this because Ellen DeGeneres is the face for this product line. Well, that was one reason. The other: I have been looking for a concealer to love. Currently, I have been using MAC Studio Finish Concealer with SPF 35. I have not been impressed with the MAC concealer to cover dark circles. It’s too thick and I have to mix it with Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch to make the MAC concealer smoother and more manageable. (I miss Prescriptives.) Anyways, I thought I would give this Covergirl concealer a try. Ellen made me buy it.

Here’s what I’m looking for: a creamy, easy to smooth concealer to use under my eyes to cover up both redness and darkness. I’m in my mid-20’s, no real lines yet, and I am light with yellow/jaundice undertones.

The consistency of this product is so smooth. I purchased the Corrector to use as a  concealer since my complexion is exactly this color. The others available were all wrong. I think this is supposed to be a 2-in-1 product but I don’t get it. It isn’t a substitute for eye cream. It really is a “swirled” product with Olay added?  In the pot the texture is very nice, it looks dewy and the color is perfect. On my skin, the formula looks less dewy, too dry for my tastes. Since the color is perfect for me, it does cover up discolorations well. I feel this stuff shows more “lines” on me. It isn’t that it settles in the lines. It is that it doesn’t. It settles around them, leaving me with little blue-ish fine lines. That is annoying.  At first I thought I was using too much. I don’t think I am. I think it is doing that line thing after hours of wear. It’s a shame because I do find it a nice consistency and color. I just wish it was dewier and wore longer.

I’m still using this stuff so it isn’t terrible. I’m using it because my eye area looks better with it than without it. It just isn’t fitting my needs. I think I may be too picky when it comes to concealer. I think I can find something wrong with any formula by any brand. I do like this much better than using the MAC concealer alone. The MAC stuff makes my under eye area look terrible (and adds years)  if used alone. I also don’t love the MAC when mixed with the Clarins. So for now, I am using this Covergirl product until I find something I like better. I may use the entire jar. I may not. I just don’t think I will repurchase. Also, I need to state that I am using the Corrector. Does it even feel the same as the Concealers in the line? And maybe I’m getting the lines because I’m not using a concealer over it?

Retails for about $10.99. That isn’t super cheap for a drugstore product. But, it is cheaper than department stores. The MAC I used was about $16.50 + I was using the Clarins product. The Covergirl tub is quite generous, much larger than the MAC pot. Plus, if you shop around you’ll find coupons or BOGO. So, yeah, it doesn’t do what it claims to do, but it isn’t awful. I’ve used worse. It is available at drugstore.com.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

This soap bar is huge! It is so big that it is dangerous. I picked it up at a “health”/natural grocery for like $4. The weather was slightly warming up at the time (in the PNW, this means that it was sunny high-50’s day) and I wanted something fruity-floral. I wanted something different than my usual creamy or spicy shower products. I’ve never heard of the brand before and it isn’t actually made in the south of France. I have since found out that it is sold by hippie grocers and World Market.

The fragrance is a fruity-floral. It is much more pear than it is magnolia. It is a fresh, fruity fragrance that reminds me of sunny summer days. It is a “gritty” pear, it smells ripe. It is made pretty by a very light dose of white florals. The soap bar is gigantic. It was too large to hold safely for like 3 weeks. It eventually broke down into manageable soap slices after about a month of use and being kept out in the shower. (I did not keep this bar in a “safe” place). The bar is 8.8 oz. That is toe breaking big. The soap was long-lasting, especially considering that I kept it out and it was too big to keep in a covered soap dish. I was impressed that it remained evenly fragrant throughout use. Even the last use was highly fragrant. The color of the soap was a pleasing pale Anjou green. It is supposed to be colored with natural pigments. The soap lathered and rinsed nicely without being drying. I just love vegetable oils.

The scent isn”t my favorite scent, but I did like it at that time. I say to give it a try if you like fruity-florals or scents like Marc Jacobs Apple Splash, Harajuku Lovers Music EDT, True Religion EDP, Annick Goutal Petite Cherie EDT, Victoria’s Secret Pear Glace EDT, and/or Pre de Provence Pomme Poire soap. My only complaint and somehow one thing that I like about it, is the size.

The soap is available at a few places and the company’s website. I have since found out on the website that many of the soaps are available in manageable twin packs.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

Humphrey’s Lilac Witch Hazel is a very nice toner. Sure, it isn’t much different than your regular ole’ witch hazel, but it has an amazing springtime fragrance. It may be more expensive than that regular ole’ witch hazel, but it is still a great deal at about $6 for 8 fluid ounces. I think all of the “extras” make up the difference.

This toner contains no alcohol but it still leaves the skin feeling clean and refreshed without being “tight”. It contains lots of antioxidants, every tea extract imaginable, and soothing calendula and cucumber. Plus, it has exfoliating enzymes from pineapple and papaya (these enzymes are known to lighten discolorations as well). So, yes, I like the formula. It is nice for my normal skin and I enjoy seeing all of the grime on the cotton pad than on my face.  It removes makeup and keeps my skin feeling smooth. It is highly fragrant. I like this but it could bug some people. It smells of spring because of the lilac. It’s a plain and simple soliflore. It doesn’t completely mask the odor of witch hazel but somehow that works out. (I actually like the smell of witch hazel). In fact, I like the smell of this so much that I’m thinking of purchasing a bottle to put in a spray bottle to use as spray to freshen up stale closets/rooms and to refresh my skin throughout the day. The fragrance just screams “spring!” which I need right now. (Currently, the weather in Seattle is terrible. It snowed…in the first week of April and it has been cold). I also like the packaging. It comes in a plastic bottle which I don’t have to worry about breaking on my tile bathroom floors. I also like the artwork, the colors and subject matter remind me of turn of the century lithography used in perfume/cosmetic ads.

The product is available at many stores like Whole Foods or Humprehys website.

I think that I have finally found a brand of organic lip balm that I love. Badger USDA Organic Lip Balm is smooth and not gritty. I find that many formulas of natural lip balm get very, very gritty after a few weeks of use. I also find that many brands wear off too easily or they are too thick and apply unevenly. Badger is the perfect texture. It is not heavy or cakey. It is smooth without being greasy. It is the longest wearing natural lip balm that I have tried (and as you know, I’ve tried many). It’s a great everyday lip balm. I also love the Lavender and Orange fragrance. It is a perfect balance of lavender and orange, so it isn’t too medicinal or too citrusy. I know the aroma of lavender, I live in the PNW. This has a genuine lavender aroma that is balanced by the sweetness of orange. At first I think I was a tad disappointed with the aroma. I think that I wanted it to have more lavender and smell like a late summer day. However, after using it for a few days, I realized that the Badger blend was perfect. Just lavender would be too overwhelming in a lip balm. The orange adds a subtle sweetness. So, this reminds me of my favorite summer desserts that contain Meyer lemons and lavender. Delicious and gourmand without smelling like chocolate or cupcakes.

I’ve only tried the Lavender and Orange flavor. Six other flavors are available. I am interested in the Ginger and Lemon but I’ll probably stick with the Lavender and Orange since I know that it is perfect. The lip balm stick is a great price at about $3. It is available from Badger balm’s website or drugstore.com.