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.

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:
Ivory Simply Ivory Body Wash is a lightly fragrant body wash. Yes, it is simple. The scent is not the same as the classic bar soap. The classic Ivory soap bar is a bit lemongrass-ish. The fragrance in the wash is a bit more “perfumey”. It is perfumey like perfumes attempting to smell like clean, fresh, just-out-of-the bath skin. If you are a fan of the Clean fragrance line, Demeter Pure Soap or Laundromat, Bobbi Brown Bath EDT, Philosophy Pure Grace or even Amazing Grace, Apothia IF EDP, or other shower fresh/fresh linen type scents then you should like the fragrance in this body wash. It is fresh, lightly floral like water hyacinth and dainty lilies, slightly white/clean musk-ish. I wouldn’t waste my money on the shower gels of the fragrances listed above. This is clean, fresh, and lightly floral without costing too much. A huge bottle (24  oz.) retails for under $5. A bar of Bobbi Brown bar soap retails for $16. The scent in Ivory Simply Ivory Body Wash is “faint”, meaning that it is meant to smell soft and delicate. After bathing, the scent remains on the skin ever so faintly. It’s a clean, fresh, and feminine scent.

This formula has so many suds. This completes the “clean” experience. Just a little bit on a sponge/loofah produces excessive foam. The formula is pretty simple. It cleanses but it doesn’t really moisturize. I find it too drying for my parched winter skin. I do love this stuff for the summer. The fragrance isn’t overwhelming, the suds make me feel squeaky clean, and my skin only needs minimal moisture on most days.

This is available at most drugstores and drgustore.com.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

Oh, Old Spice. I know it is low-brow but I really do enjoy its scent. Every fall/winter, I purchase a bottle of Classic Old Spice Body Wash. (Let me emphasize Classic here, those other varieties can go to hell. I thought Axe already had that market covered). This is an inexpensive  fix for my need for spicy scents when the temperature drops. I like spicy scents but I usually don’t want to smell like them all day or I only crave them for a short time. That’s why I would rather use the body wash than the cologne. The fragrance is mix of bitter citrus and every spice in your cupboard: nutmeg, clove, cinnamon. It’s the “classic” and I think everyone is familiar with it. Old Spice is aware of the kitschiness of this scent with such slogans as “If your grandfather hadn’t worn it, you wouldn’t exist” and “It will still be around, even after a nuclear fallout”. I do find this comical because it is a classic fragrance that has been a part of American pop culture for some time. However,  some of their ad campaigns border on being chauvinistic. It’s all about the “swag” and attracting bodacious babes. I wish that they would realize that there are many, many females out there (some even bodacious) using their product. Sorry guys, but spice is a pretty unisex thing in the fragrance world. Spice for men is cheap; however, spice for women is expensive in the fragrance world.

The shower gel doesn’t smell as nice as the cologne. It does have a strange “chemicalness” to it that fades after a few seconds.. The gel lathers nicely and a little goes a long way. It’s a bright blue gel. I’m not wild about this because it makes the lather a pale gray, giving me a temporary zombie-like/corpse complexion. I guess their male target group doesn’t mind this? The fragrance lightly lingers and doesn’t interfere with any of my other fragrances that I choose to use. It isn’t very moisturizing. It appears that dudes aren’t interested in that.

An 18 fl. oz. bottle retails for under $5. This is a great deal for this shower gel. My husband and I have both been using a bottle for months now. I must add that I do love the smell of Old Spice on him and he even likes it on me.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

I still haven’t found my Holy Grail of mascaras but I have found a few that I like. Or that I would repurchase. Rimmel Extra Super Lash Waterproof Mascara is one of those mascaras. It is a great “natural” looking lash enhancer. This won’t add volume or make your lashes look Twiggy long. This is a good basic mascara. It darkens the lashes and the color does not budge. It slightly adds some volume and length. The best thing is that it isn’t clumpy at all. The brush bristles are very close together reducing the risk of clumps. I think I mainly in love with the brush. It is so good at separating. The formula is “wet”. This means you can keep building without any clumps (but don’t sneeze until it is dry!). This is waterproof and can’t be removed with soap and water. You’ll need a heavy-duty eye makeup remover to get it off. This is both good and bad. It just depends on your expectations. I love that it is waterproof. It makes a great consistency and I live in western Washington. It’s misty and I don’t need my eye makeup to run or give me raccoon eyes. This stuff wears through a blizzard and it wears during hot, humid weather. It doesn’t flake or smudge. The downside is getting it off. But, with a “real” eye makeup (oil-based) remover it is easy to get off.

I’ve read reviews that some people think this is a “dramatic” mascara. I’m not getting that from this. It darkens and I do wish that it was available in a brown/black shade. I find that with just 2 coats to to the top lashes and one coat to the bottom, that this looks pretty “natural” for mascara. Maybe they are using like 6 coats of something? Or maybe they had blonde lashes to begin with?

This stuff retails for under $4. It may not be a perfect product, but the price is fantastic. I’ve used $24 mascaras that were far worse than this. I have used mascaras that I like better as well, but they weren’t this cheap. For the price this is a great product. It’s a great way to stretch my beauty “allowance”.

Great pic from Vampy Varnish

Great pic from vampyvarnish.com.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

Dark nail polish is a must have for a closet goth like myself. I love the shade of Rimmel 60 Seconds Nail Polish in Deliciously Dark. There are many colors out there like this one, but this one retails for under $3.50. This is a great drugstore nail product. It looks much more shimmery grape popsicle purple on Rimmel’s website, so I took this pic from a great blog that recommended this product: www.vampyvarnish.com. This blogger’s pics are really good and really represent the nail polish colors. (I highly recommend visiting the site before you purchase any nail color). Plus… by the time I take a pic of mine, they are chipped and so abused. It’s just too embarrassing. My cuticles would never forgive me.

Anyways, Rimmel 60 Seconds Nail Polish dried in a short time. This is a must for somebody like me. I don’t have time to wait for my nails to dry and nothing gets to me more than smudged nail color. I would say that I was able to go back to being my old self in 3 minutes. The color took 2 coats to look as dark as Vampy Varnish’s. It came out as a satin blackberry jam shade. Like I said, there are many shades out their like this one, but this is pretty darn cheap. The brush was OK and the formula was thin but not watery. That is why it takes 2-3 coats to get a nice deep shade. It wore nicely on my finger tips for about 2 days. This is a record for me. My nail color chips in like 2 hours because I am too lazy to apply top coats, etc. And I don’t have a dishwasher, wash my hands frequently, and wear latex gloves throughout the day. I know that it sounds like this product doesn’t “last” very long but it has lasted longer than the Chanel, Estee Lauder, and Dior that I have used in the past.

So, this is a color and a product that I like. I haven’t tried other colors in the line. I know that this is one is nice for the money. The shade is lovely and a nice alternative to black. It is such a vampy, film-noir shade. This product is available at drugstores all over the place.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

I have a way for falling for gimmicks but with age I am getting better. I purchased L’Oreal Telescopic Lash Explosion mascara just out of sheer old curiosity. It sure looks a lot like Givenchy Phenomenon Mascara which retails for $28. This L’Oreal one goes for about $9. L’Oreal Telescopic Lash Explosion’s claim to fame is that it gets every lash. This sure sounds like a miracle that is too good to be true but I read others’ reviews and just had to try it. The brush is spherical as you can tell from the pic. It is on top of a super long and skinny wand. I don’t dislike the mascara but I don’t love it. That being said I haven’t found any mascara that I love yet.

Who is this mascara for? It is for the person that already has nice full lashes but they want to emphasize each and every one of them. This brush does get every single lash, even the tiny ones on the top and bottom. I love the brush despite the too long and flimsy wand, I can look over that. I am not a fan of the formula. The formula doesn’t flake or irritate. This is good. But,  it doesn’t do much of anything for my short and thick lashes. I need length and curl. All this formula does is darken and thicken my lashes. They don’t get any longer even with a few coats of this stuff and it is a heavy formula so it doesn’t hold a curl. Applying a few coats of this stuff takes forever because of the precise wand. It does get all of my bottom lashes and this is a great feature. I’m just finding that this mascara is a lot of work. To get “wow” lashes I need to curl lashes and apply a basic lengthening mascara of a different formula, apply a coat or two of Lash Explosion to top and bottom lashes. I can apply false lashes in less time than doing this routine. And I’m not wild about the “heavy mascara” look. I don’t think that this formula is clumpy. I think anything will look that clumpy with that many coats of product. I don’t hate this product, it could be wonderful for some people. Those people with long and maybe thin lashes or for those that have light but perfect lashes and just need color. For me, this isn’t my holy grail and I most likely won’t be repurchasing. I love that it gets all my lashes coated but I need length. So what I am saying is that I love the brush but I don’t like the formula.

I purchased Black which is OK but it has too many cool tones and in my opinion appears navy or midnight blue. Why don’t companies offer black/brown in all of their formulas? Blue eyes benefit from mascara with a warm undertone.

This product is available at all drugstores and drugstore.com.

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.

I am aware that writing a review of a skincare item is a bit of a waste of time. Skin types and needs vary so much from person to person. This scrub just did not work for me at all. I have normal skin. I do feel like my skin gets a bit “dull” so I use a scrub a few times a week. If I am using a foaming cleanser, I use my Shisiedo brush for exfoliation. One thing that I learned from doing makeup was that people that exfoliated frequently always had younger and healthier looking skin. It didn’t really matter what cream they used or skincare line. It just mattered that they exfoliated and it didn’t hurt to stay out of the sun 🙂

Anyways, I thought I would give this Burt’s Bees Peach and Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub a try. I really didn’t like it. It is in a super creamy lotion type base. There are a few “scrubbers” in there, very few. They are rough little peach stone pieces. They really don’t do anything but scratch my skin. This reminds me more of a cream cleanser with a few jagged edges in it. After rinsing, I can still feel an uncomfortable film that even toner can’t remove. I would use the scrub, then my normal cleanser, then use a toner and I still couldn’t the dirty feeling “moisture” off my face. I find this odd because it appears that this product is marketed to the normal to oily skin client. The scent is slightly sweet like peach and almond oil. I like the fragrance because it is neutral enough. But, the fragrance can’t disguise that this is a less than great product.

This product didn’t leave my skin feeling smoother. It didn’t leave it looking more radiant. It really didn’t do anything. There are much better scrubs for me out there in the $8 price range. If you do want to give it a try, it is available at drugstore.com.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

OK, so I don’t think this is a secret. For my entire life I kept hearing how awesome this stuff was. It was always winning consumer awards and being recommended by dermatologists. I never gave it a try because I was too busy trying every other expensive thing on the market. As I grew up and grew wise, I realized that a cleanser should do one thing: clean. It needs to prep the face for treatments. It isn’t a product that stays on skin. It doesn’t do anything, we wipe it off. So why spend $35 on something like that? I just want something simple and non-drying. This is it. I can use it twice a day without being irritated. (I have normal skin). The formula is thin but mixed with a little bit of water, it foams and foams. It has a fragrance, a light floral. It doesn’t sting the eyes. I try to use it to remove eye makeup like the product recommends. My eye makeup is too stubborn or I just wear too much. I still have to use an eye makeup remover to get it all off. But, it does get the rest of my makeup off very easily, including lip and cheek stains. I like the convenient pump. I just keep it in the shower.

The product is oil-free and 100% soap free. It’s a pretty good price at about $6 for 6 oz. I thought it would last a while but my husband has been using it twice daily and we are really going through this stuff. I guess I should learn that these “cult” products are worth a try and to just get over my negative Maybelline Great Lash experience. It is available at drugstore.com and DERMAdoctor.