L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream is a fairly simple product that does what it is intended to do: moisturize hands. The formula is very smooth and rubs in easily. It is a white balm that is smooth as butter.  It is smooth and spreads very easily, meaning that you don’t need too much to have soft hands. It is moisturizing and you can tell that it is on your hands. I wouldn’t call it greasy but you can tell that it is there. It isn’t sticky or slippery. The formula doesn’t get all over my steering wheel or on my paperback books. However, I do have super dry hands that go through hell in a work day. As a speech therapist, I wear latex gloves frequently and I use alcohol based hand sanitizers and I use harsh “institution” grade hand soaps so many times throughout the day. My hands are often tight feeling and ashy. I have been having a real problem with “ashiness” during the cold weather.

There is a scent but it is faint. I only smell it while I am rubbing in the cream. I would say that this scent lingers around for about 2-5 minutes on me. I get a super soft aroma of a tropical bouquet of ylang-ylang and jasmine. But, like I said, it doesn’t stay around. I do like this. I am a fragrance nut and I don’t really want my hand cream interfering with my choice of fragrance for the day. And I do love anything jasmine even it is there but only for a short amount of time. This provides a quick fragrance pick-me-up.

The packaging is cute but not very practical. I do wish that it had a flip cap so I could open and close it with one hand. It is no fun dropping that cap and having it roll under the bed.

The formula contains 20% shea butter, vitamin E, sweet almond oil extract and other nourishing ingredients.

It is a nice product but it is expensive at $26 for just over 5 ounces. I know I will buy it again but I won’t be purchasing a tube for my purse, my desk, my car, one for each bathroom, etc. I can’t afford that. Smaller sizes are available and throughout the year gift sets are offered. It is available at DERMAdoctor.

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 would sum this eye cream up as a great preventive eye cream for normal skin. A “starter” eye cream as I call them. I’ve been using it since the beginning of summer. It is odorless, very creamy, fast absorbing, no stingy despite its SPF of 20. It does have a “souffle” like texture. It’s nice. However, it doesn’t do very much other than “protect” and moisturize. It has done nothing for dark circles. As far as fine lines goes, which this product claims to “reduce”, I haven’t noticed that. But, I am 25. I don’t really have fine lines. I need to prevent them as much as I can. Like I said, this is a “starter” eye cream. You should be using this during the day if you have pretty good skin anyways. Or you should use more of a treatment eye cream in the PM to address certain concerns. I will most likely purchase again, especially for summer months. It’s difficult to find that high of a SPF that doesn’t sting the eyes plus this does provide some moisture and my concealer just glides right on afterwards, no tugging. One day I know I will graduate to more of a heavy duty eye cream during the day, for now this will do. It retails for $47, not bad for a Dior product, and can be purchased on sephora.com.

It was very hot here in Washington about a month ago. This was freakish. But, what everybody forgets or refuses to recognize is that it gets hot and dry here every summer. Many homes and businesses do not have A/C. It’s torture but it only lasts about 2 weeks. We survive and then forget about it during the rainy season and then get shocked when we feel 90-100 degree heat again. It’s silly but it seems to be how it goes here. We haven’t invested in A/C because we only need it for a short time and it is very costly. Fans and being lazy do the trick.

Well, this past month we were in record breaking highs and I had to move all of my stuff to a storage unit during this freakish hot time. I’m telling you it felt so good to use this product, Korres Yoghurt Cooling Gel. I did not have a sunburn but just had a fever like feeling from too much heat. I had body aches and was hot to the touch. It’s strange what heat can do to the body. This cooling gel is marketed for excessive sun exposure and is supposed to relieve those negative side effects and provide some comfort. It is a lightweight cream gel formula. It cools and this sensation lasts for sometime. It cooled my skin to the touch but provided moisture. It felt like I used a lotion but it wasn’t greasy. Unlike other gel products it applied evenly and did not feel sticky or make my skin feel even drier. I really like the formula and it made me feel a bit more comfortable. However, the scent is strange. It is like a blend between sweet almond oil and Bengay. This is not what I want to smell like and it does linger and interfere with any other fragrances you may wear. The smell is awful in my opinion, but maybe when I get overheated I get grumpy and nothing seems right. However, it did provide instant relief and the next day the strange heat rash all over my body was gone. I don’t know if I’ll repurchase. It retails for $23.50 for a little over 5 ounces. This is costly and I would only see myself using this if the heat soared over 100 again just because I like the feel but hate the offensive odor. It is available at DERMAdoctor.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

Sometimes you just don’t mess with a classic. These are 5 items that I have used/use and really like. They are my “go to” products when the budget is tight because I want to save up and buy a Creed cologne or a new Serge Lutens like right now, haha.

Olay Active Hydrating Beauty Fluid Original– My great grandmother used this stuff everyday. She had great skin. I don’t know if I can give to credit to this pink, lightweight lotion or if it was just her luck, hope I have it too. This lotion is perfect for combo/normal skin. I use it at night in the summer usually. It keeps my skin feeling soft and not oily or dry. Many hate the fragrance. I love it. It is a very lowbrow violet. Its powderiness is so crude that I love it. If I could get this as a perfume, I would be very happy. A 4 oz. bottle retails for under $10.

Pond’s Classic Cold Cream– This is another of great-grandmother’s favorites. She used this stuff daily and so did my grandmother. It’s simple, nothing to it really with ingriedients like mineral oil and beeswax. It attacks makeup. I use this when I have put on more “face” than usual or when I am drier than usual like in the dead of winter. I wouldn’t recommend this for oily skins or even oily to normal skins. It is heavy and does “moisturize” after you wash it off. The 3.5 oz jar retails for under $5. I think it is so funny because one of the reviews on drugstore.com said grandma was right and now she uses this so she can buy expensive perfume. I promise that is not me! Somebody else is saving for niche fragrances…

Noxema Original Deep Cleansing Cream in the Jar– This stuff is much to harsh for my adult skin but I used to love this stuff as a teen (note, I had great skin, no zits back then and pretty normal skin). It’s tingly and still has that classic Noxema menthol aroma. This just screams clean 🙂 It cleans well and it is nice to use for “hot” skin. A big jar retails for under $5.

Dickinson’s Witch Hazel– Use it for whatever you want. I usually use it as a toner but it does make a great aftershave. I love it’s witch hazel aroma. Many do not. It smells so herbaceous and it is just one of those “classic” scents you either love or hate like a pine tar soap. I have normal skin and I use this stuff in the summer when I get a little more oily. The huge 16 oz bottle lasts forever and goes for $4. That is much cheaper than any department store toner!

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly– Yep, some people use this on their face. I have to say that this is a great multi-tasking product that often gets forgotten. It does great on lips, removes long-wearing makeups, smooths cuticles and feet, soothes windburn skin, keeps brows in place, and a ton of other things. I have read Jennifer Lopez uses this as a facial moisturizer. My grandmother does and she has great skin but I think she is just one of those people that is going to have great skin. No odors, but it is greasy. It’s vaseline. A big jar retails for under $5. And yes, I only buy the name brand.

drugstoreskin

Weekly Cheap Secret:

This is one of those great drugstore products. Basically, it is the perfect summer moisturize. It is a lightweight lotion, not greasy and not very moisturizing either but really all I need during the summer when I sunscreen up anyways 😦 But, I must add that I am used to body oil and goopy body butters. That is my disclaimer. It is faintly scented. That doesn’t stick around at all so you can wear whatever fragrance you desire without your moisturizer getting in the way. Don’t worry this does not have that Original Jergen’s scent 🙂 What I love about this lotion is the shimmer. It has tons of tiny, finely milled gold shimmers. It looks amazing on tanned skin, any complexion really, because it “warms” it up. You are supposed to wait a few minutes before dressing because the shimmer may transfer on to clothes. I find myself impatient and rushed once I get out of the shower. Sometimes I dress immediately. I have gotten this on my clothes but it was no biggie. It washed out in the laundry and did not permanently stain. I somehow leave a glitter trail no matter where I go, so this didn’t bother me. If you let this dry, it will not budge. That is great. You will be shimmery all day! Do wash your hands unless you want gilded palms! I love to use this on my legs, everywhere, it really works with my complexion. I like it so much better than Michael Kors Leg Shine, which smells great but doesn’t give me a natural glow.

It’s a bummer because I can’t find this at any of the drugstores or superstores anymore. I order it from drugstore.com and it seems that many ladies are having this problem too. I hate that just because I hope it isn’t being discontinued because it is one of the best shimmer products on the market. I also read that a reviewer mixes this with body cream. That is a great idea. This is a little costly for a drugstore product and that will stretch it and it is hard to find. (I have been known to ration this product and only wear it when I know I will be showing some skin). Also you can customize how much moisture you need. It goes for about $7.50 for 7.5 ounces. I wish they would focus on this moisturizer again and stop coming out with all of those Natural Glow products, this is all I need!

WEELKY CHEAP SECRET:

Sometimes I will stumble across something that I would of never, ever purchased in a million years. However, I will try it (usually by accident or random sample) and find that I really, really like it. This is one of those products.

I was in the local Walgreen’s (which one? every town has like 50). I was picking up the usual necessities and drugstore faves and couldn’t wait on a drugstore.com order. The nice teenie bopper behind the counter gave me a handful of samples, which I wasn’t aware that Walgreen’s even did this. I went home and looked them over and it was this unknown Merlot brand. I had them stored in my little 50’s poodle “sample and GWP” box. I ran out of my usual favorite Clarins cream and was waiting on an online order. I grabbed a few samples out of the rainy day box. I started to use the Merlot Day Moisturizer. I was really impressed with its texture, smell, etc. Well, I ran out of Clarins and actually decided to buy a jar of this instead.

I had to look Merlot up. Don’t judge them by there looks. It looks like a mail order product but obviously it is carried in some stores (based in El Paso, TX). However, the website does offer free shipping on purchases of $50 or more: merlotskincare. com. There schtick is that everything contains red grapeseed polyphenols and claims to be a super awesome antioxidant for the skin, better than Vitamin E and C. I have read a lot about red wine and its antioxidants. I’m sure we all have, we love to hear positive health news about some of our favorite vices 🙂 I know that we would have to drink like a million gallons a day of wine to get as much of the polyphenols that we need to make our skin look youthful. But, there is some very positive studies our there about applying the grapeseed extract to skin. Many skincare brands add this to their mix, expensive or not. Anyways, Merlot appears to be an “antioxidant” skincare line to protect and preserve. I don’t know if I believe any of it, skincare in general. I mean I don’t know if we can smear some stuff topically onto our bodies for a positive effect. I just know that I want to believe in it and the power of positive thinking is great thing. Worries cause wrinkles and believing that  I’m using a great product keeps me from worrying!

Anyways, It is carried at drugstores and does carry a drugstore price tag which is really nice when I am saving up for a down payment for a house. I got the huge 4 ouunce jar with a “travel” sized bonus for under $15. It is almost a gel cream texture. It is super lightweight, really nice for warmer weather. It absorbs very quickly but leaves my skin feeling moisturized and a bit “cool”.  Usually I would have to use a very heavy cream to get that “taken care of” feeling. But, this leaves absolutely no residue. It also contains an SPF 15 which my Clarins or my other go to, Shiseido, did not have. Another bonus for summer since that is the only time the sun shines in the Northwest. It claims to have no fragrance. I find that hard to believe. It has a slightly fresh, fruity stone fruit or “grapey” aroma. I really like the fragrance. It only “smells” when in the packaging and quickly disappears when the moisturizer absorbs. My makeup blends beautifully over it. I have younger skin so I can’t say that I’ve seen a difference using this stuff as far as wrinkles go. But, my skin does “glow” a little more and I feel my complexion isn’t so dull or blotchy. I have pretty normal-to-dry skin that gets more normal in the summer. This is the perfect warm weather moisturizer match for me. I would say that since is a good “preventive” cream. It is lightweight, contains SPF, and contains antioxidants. Perfect for the 20 to 35 age range.

The downside to this product is that it has butt ugly packaging. But, that is OK. I may be a packaging whore but I know that a product is not worth its packaging. That is the downside for the product though because if left up to me, I would of never wanted to try it because it didn’t look interesting. The cream is also a strange lilac shade in the packaging. It doesn’t tint the skin or anything. I just think it is a weird color for a face cream. But, those things are very minor and quite petty really.

I really like this line and I know that I’ll give the body products a try. I needed a lesson like this. I needed to be reminded that price (or packaging) has nothing to do with a product’s quality or effectiveness. I needed that because I feel broke going through this stupid path to home ownership process.