Weekly Cheap Secret:

I love a multi-purpose product. And I love a multi-purpose product that retails for under $2. Africa’s Best Ultimate Herbal Oil is a must have for me. It is a super rich blend of oils and herbs multi-purpose oil. I use it as a cuticle oil, a hot oil hair treatment, and I just use it as a body moisturizer. It is great to have around in the winter when my skin gets ashy and itchy. It’s an oil so yep, it’s greasy. I love oils. Nothing makes my skin feel better. And the oil medium makes me feel like a goddess anointing my body.

It has a slightly powdery fragrance that reminds me a bit of Egyptian musk or a headshop musk oil blend. The scent doesn’t bother me but I could see it bothering others. It blends nicely with the musk oils that I own, ranging from no-name oil blends that I purchased from some Ethiopians at market and Tom Ford Private Collection Musks. It has that classic “African” hair oil aroma. I personally love that. It’s nostalgic.

Oh, yeah. I do use this an occasional hot oil treatment for my hair by applying a bit to a microwave safe dish and microwaving and the applying to my hair and rinsing it out. And I use it for those beachy, tousled waves. I add about 1/10 of this oil to a spray bottle filled with water. I shake it and spray onto damp hair. I either braid it or do a pin-curl variation and let it air-dry. I then get the perfect beachy waves.

An 8 oz. plastic bottle goes for $1.99 and it can be bought at Walgreen’s. And since it is an oil, a little bit goes a long way so this is an incredible deal. I seriously can’t get over the price and what is in this stuff. Ingredients include: walnut seed oil, sweet almond oil, sesame seed oil, olive oil, carrot seed oil, gingsing, comfrey and tons of other natural ingredients. This stuff would retail for like $50 if Aveda marketed it.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

I love this stuff so. I don’t wear it as a “tanning” cream (since I don’t tan) and I don’t really use it for sun protection. I just like to use it because I like the way it smells and the way it makes my legs look. I’m sure many of you know of this throwback or have used this stuff. This lovely gelee in the metal “toothpaste” tube was always around my house growing up since I lived with sun-worshiping ladies that were naturally tan and couldn’t get enough of that bronzed look. This is a must for “vintage” gals. (It was launched in the 40’s).

This contains an SPF 4. Really, that is enough sun protection for me since I’m not out in it very long anyways. The formula is “greasy” and really packs a shine. Since it has a tinge of orange/bronze, it evens out the complexion. This is why I love to use it on my legs. They look sleek and flawless. This stuff really moisturizes since it has a mineral oil base. It is more of a “treatment” and protects my skin from the drying effects of the elements. It is sooo emollient. I am in love with its’ classic fragrance. It is a heady, jasmine-ish like floral blend. It is an “exotic” floral. Imagine a jasmine and orange blossom blend, very Southern California. This fragrance is amazing and I often wear it souly for that. I use it on my pulse points as I would a solid perfume for a pick-me-up. (If you really love this scent, Demeter offers Suntan Lotion PMU Cologne.) This stuff is so nice; it is nostalgic. It is from a time when beach culture was such a “culture”, everybody was tanning sans the guilt. I love it because it reminds me of a 60’s teen twist B film or a Sandy Nelson or Dick Dale album cover. It is so retro Southern Californian youth. Think surfing and late night beach bonfires.

Since it is tinted, it may stain clothing, swimsuits, etc. I haven’t had a problem with this, but I do wear lots of dark shades. You won’t find me sporting white shorts or a white swimsuit. Just something to think about…

It retails for $9.99 for 3.12 ounces. This stuff can be hard to find; however, drugstore.com always has it.

I love beach’n scents. And this is one beach’n scent. One of the reasons that  I love them is because I live in the Pacific Northwest. We really don’t have a rep for sunny, tropical beaches. We aren’t known for our lush tans or coconut based beverages. I didn’t realize than once I moved across the country to a place that had “beaches” that I would miss an Atlantic beach so much. After all of this rain, I really miss a Florida beach. Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess is my reminder than warm, sunny places do exist. What I love about this fragrance is that it really epitomizes a warm beach. It isn’t a fruity cocktail and isn’t coconut scented tanning oil. It is light and breezy and warm. It smells like skin that is in the sun. It smells like ocean breezes and sand. It is really a fragrance that does a wonderful job conveying an environment and a time, not just smells. It is one of those “experience” fragrances. I have been a fan of it for years, even when it was known as Tom Ford’s Azuree Soleil. I look forward to it every late winter/early spring when it is relaunched. It comes out just in time, when I feel like I can’t stand another minute of wintery weather. The scent is light and fresh at first with hints of lush and tropical tiare flower. So it has that gardenia and coconut oil fragrance without being too drugstore tanning oil. It is made fresh with bergamot. After the gardenia florals dry down, it is very warm. It smells of hot sand with light breezes of salt water. It is perfect in the sense that it smells like skin drenched in product after an hour in the sun, you can smell the towel on the sand in the sun, you can smell virgin ocean breezes. It is such a “paradise” fragrance. It is one of my favorites. It isn’t something that I wear all the time but it is something that I look forward to and it does bring back nice beach memories and it is a vacation in a bottle.

Bronze Goddess does have a lame name and I’m not very wild about the new bottle. I was a fan of the colors and the name “Azuree Soleil” but I can’t complain about the product. So I can overlook the J.Lo type references and dated packaging. It comes in an “Eau Fraiche Skinscent” which is a fancy name for an EDT. It does wear on the skin for a few hours. The 3.4 ounce bottle retails for $52. There is a Body Oil Spray which I am in love with. It is enriched with the fragrance and wears forever. Plus, it makes my legs look perfect. The 3.4 ounce bottle which is identical to the skinscent bottle (cheap ass Estee Lauder) retails for $32 and wears for hours. There is a Luminous Body Lotion which I fall for every time it launches because it comes out at a time that I feel dull and drab and long for “luminous” skin. It retails for $32 for 6.7 ounces. It has a faint golden shimmer. I like it but I always get pissed that I didn’t purchase two bottles of the oil instead since it wears for a long time and is so moisturizing. It is a limited edition product which is a good move on Estee Lauder’s part because it always causes me to part with my money since “I can’t get it any other time”.

I am a sucker for body treatment products. I fall for anything that claims to tighten, firm, or perform miracles to the skin. Luckily, I haven’t been burnt by a product, well, until now. I have found that cellulite creams and firming gels really do improve the appearance of my skin (yes, temporarily) and I like the way they make my skin feel. I’m the kind of person that loves to wear control tights and feel pressure on my body. Yep, a bit of a sensory deficit and a bit on the spectrum and falling a bit off the neuro-typical line… Anyways, I have tried so many products and I have repurchased so many products. Maybe they don’t work, I just know that I am in love with the claims . I like most of Clarins products. I have had a few friends rave over the treatment oil. I thought I would give it a try even though I promised the husband I would no longer anoint my body in apricot kernel oil because I left grease spots everywhere like a Sphynx cat. My friends claimed of shedding excess water weight, having super smooth legs, blah, blah, blah. The Anti-Eau oil claims to “slim” by ridding the body of quite frankly, water weight. It is supposed to make the legs feel lighter and get rid of “sponginess”. It contains essential oils of marjoram, broom, geranium, lemon, and orange all in a fatty hazelnut oil base. The oil is a oil and needs to be applied to damp skin and rubbed in. A little goes a long way. It smells very herbaceous and like an herb garden or the spice rack. It smells mainly of citrus zest and marjoram in my opinion. I like the smell. It is very invigorating and really adds to the “spa” like experience of this expensive French product. (3.4 ounces retails for $50). I have been using this product nightly for months doing all of the goofy massages, etc. I use a Lancome cellulite gel in the morning. So far I haven’t noticed anything from the oil other than I smell really nice like summertime gardens and have really smooth skin. My skin is smooth because I am soaking in oil again. That does wonders for dry skin. But, feeling “lighter” and not puffy, nope. My gels do more. They are instant and temporary. This oil just proves that you can believe in something but that doesn’t mean it will work. Or that you are buying the wrong product because what the hell is water weight anyways? I won’t be repurchasing and I will have to break the pact with the hubby. I’m adding lavender oil to a bottle of apricot kernel oil and there is nothing he can do about it.

For once I am purchasing a product not just because of its fragrance. In fact with the Caress Exotic Oil Infusions, I am not too wild about the fragrance. I just love the product. It is the perfect shower gel for my skin. I use this stuff and then slap on some cocoa butter lotion and my skin looks so healthy and like it is glowing. It feels very “touchable” and I actually get compliments on the condition of my skin. It just looks flawless.

The products comes in three “flavors”: Moroccan, Brazilian, and Japanese. The fragrances are pretty faint in comparison to other shower products on the market. Moroccan is a blend of cassis cream and starflower oil. It smells somewhat floral but a bit woodsy as well. It reminds me of Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy, a very faint and tolerable version. It’s somewhat feminine but just a little masculine. Brazilian is enhanced with passion flower cream and acai fruit oil. It smells somewhat fruity and like passion flower. It smells a bit “fuzzy” and a little fermented.  Japanese has white lotus cream and kuikui nut oil. I have not used this one so I can’t comment on its fragrance. The funny thing about this product is that despite it’s “exotic” ingredients and fragrance that is supposed to represent its “country”, they all feel exactly the same (who knew that acai fruit oil and kuikui nut oil are so similiar?). And the fragrance left on the skin smells the same. One world, I guess. Luckily the scent doesn’t hang around very long. I am sure it would disappear completely if paired with a fragrant body lotion/cream. The scent doesn’t linger but the moisture does. I can’t get over how smooth my skin is when I use this. I think in the summer this would be all I need. No lotion. I don’t use it with a loofah. I just apply it directly, massage it in, and rinse. This seems to really work for me. The price is under $7 for a big bottle. Granted that since I do not use a loofah/sponge, it doesn’t last very long. But, I have used very expensive things in the past and nothing has actually improved the condition of my skin like this. I can ignore its scent. I have to say that so far my favorite scent is Moroccan out of the ones that I have tried. So ignore the scent and the image of the product that says, “Want to try a Moroccan beauty secret? You’ll enchate everyone around you!” Lame but a really nice product. It’s available at drugstore.com.

I am obsessed with this stuff! It is a steal and it is amazing. Dabur’s Jasmine Hair Oil retails for about $4.95 for 200ml of fragrant jasmine oil. This stuff makes me smile like the babe on the packaging.

The oil is jammed packed with jasmine flower essence. It is like buying a pure single note perfume oil. It is very “tangy” and powerful like a good jasmine. This oil is meant to be used on the hair. You apply it and leave it on for 45 minutes to an hour and rinse out with shampoo. I have done this. Your hair will smell amazing. Forget all of that expensive crap (I’m talking about you Blandi) that smells like jasmine, honeysuckle or whatever. This is the real deal. It leaves my hair so smooth and soft. I have long hair and it needs that extra care. However, what I normally do with this stuff is use it as a body oil after the shower. It leaves my entire body fragrant and well moisturized. I used to use Africa’s Hot Six Oil (don’t say it wrong, it sounds really bad..) but I love the fragrance of this Dabur so much. It leaves my body delicately scented with jasmine, one of my all time favorite scents. A little of this product goes a long way and the price can’t be beat. It can be purchased at most International Markets or Indian spice shops or on smallflower.com.

Jasmine worn in the hair.