Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pura D'Or Update and Review




Hello, My Dear Friends!

It's been a while since I began testing out these products from Pura D'Or, but as my long-time friends and readers know, life and Lupus have this uncanny way of slowing me down, or more often, having me down for the count for long periods of time. That being said... A promise is a promise and I did say that I would test these Organic Argan Oil infused hair and body products and come back with a review, so here it is! Finally, right?!

(In case you missed my original post about these products and how I obtained them, just click HERE and then come back for the review! - Or, you could read this and then go check out the original post - I'll leave that totally up to you.)

Products used: Pura D'Or Premium Organic Gold Label Anti-Hair Loss Shampoo, Pura D'Or Premium Organic Argan Oil Conditioner in Lavender & Vanilla and Pura D'Or 100% Organic Argan Oil for Body Face and Hair

I've lost a significant amount of hair over the years. Now, you'd probably never believe it based on the way it looks now, but my crowning glory was long and full and quite strong when I was growing up. Even when I cut it into a shorter, very "Olivia Newton John type" of style in the late seventies and early eighties, there was still a lot of it! So... what happened?

(I apologize if this is a bit on the TMI side of things, but I truly want to share my "hair journey" as thoroughly and openly as possible and explain why my hair is in the condition that it is. Other people's hair loss situations might differ from mine.)

My "issues" began when I was in my late twenties, after over a year of poking, prodding and several embarrassing scans that were ordered and performed by all manner of doctors and technicians, I was diagnosed with (what was at that time) a rare illness called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. (PCOS/POS)

It was so rare at the time, that my GYN, who had been in practice for several years, as well as another doctor, who happened to be the director of reproductive endocrinology at a well known and respected medical college and teaching hospital, had barely heard of it at that point.

My condition persisted for several years and was severe enough that my entire reproductive cycle came to a complete stop. I had multiple cysts on both of my ovaries and one that eventually evolved into a pre-cancerous tumor, that resulted in the decision to remove my right ovary in 2010. During those years, my hair's volume reduced by at least 40%.

According to Wikipedia: "PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder among women between the ages of 18 and 44 {and can cause a number of symptoms including androgenic alopecia (increase hair thinning or diffuse hair loss).} It affects approximately 5% to 10% of this age group. It is one of the leading causes of poor fertility."

Then, in  my late thirties, for reasons still not understood by my doctors to this day, my cycles all returned pretty much to normal and at least some of the hair that I'd lost during those earlier years, started to grow back in. Of course, it was never again the luxurious mane that I'd had in my youth, but it was definitely an improvement!

A few years passed and much to my dismay, along came more health issues and a year and a half ago, after more poking and prodding and testing by specialists, I was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called SLE Lupus. As fate would have it, Lupus is also a disease that can bring with it a significant amount of hair loss.

So, here I am again, struggling on a daily basis, to find the best solutions that I can, to my rapidly thinning, fragile hair. And lo and behold, along came the good folks at Pura D'Or with the offer of a possible solution! I read as much as I could about the company and it's products and was impressed enough that I agreed to try them.

So, now that you know a little bit of the "back story" let's get on to what you're all here to see! The product review!!


I used both the Gold Label Anti-Hair Loss Shampoo and the Organic Argan Oil Conditioner for a period of 90 days. I used them exclusively and between 2 and 3 times per week.


I never use a brush on my hair when it's wet (and rarely when it's dry) because the bristles on most brushes can cause hair breakage and I certainly don't need any more of that than I already deal with! I also use only the lowest settings on my blow dryer and I do not use heated styling tools, such as curling or flat irons, also in order to avoid any further possible damage to my hair.

My hair had also been in a ponytail for about 10 hours before taking it down for these photos.
As you can see by the differences in the photos above and below, the Pura D'Or products did seem to help prevent a fair amount of hair loss from occurring and I definitely believe that they gave my hair quite a bit of added fullness and body.

(The hair in the bottom right frame of each photo, is any hair that came out in my comb after getting out of the shower and before blow drying my hair)


My Opinion!

Because it is important to me to assure my readers that the opinions that I share here are 100% my own, I want to reiterate that what follows is my experience with these products and I have not been influenced by anyone else's opinion, or review. As is true in all things, a particular product might work a certain way for one person and then work in a different way for someone else. If you try these for yourself, the results that you get could differ from mine.

That being said... I am happy to say with certainty (and with a completely clear conscience) that for me, the Pura D'Or Premium Organic Gold Label Anti-Hair Loss Shampoo and the Pura D'Or Premium Organic Argan Oil Conditioner in Lavender & Vanilla that were sent to me to try, did exactly what they claim to do! Only a small amount of each of these two products is needed to cleanse and condition my hair, so they last quite a long time, making them a very economical choice as well.

I strongly recommend these products to anyone who is looking for an organic, gentle, ingredient rich solution, to the cleansing and conditioning of fine, fragile thinning hair and/or a sensitive scalp.

Now, as for the Pura D'Or 100% Pure Argan Oil For Body, Face And Hair, I must add that while I did not use it on my hair, (because all oils tend to weigh my hair down) I did use it on my face and body and I feel that it truly did an excellent job of keeping my skin feeling both hydrated and soft, without feeling greasy or leaving any type of oily residue behind. And as I stated about the hair products above, only small amounts of the Argan Oil do an excellent job of adding soft, supple hydration to the areas of my face and body where I need it, so I feel that the price point is extremely reasonable!

I hope that you found these reviews helpful and if you have any questions or need clarification about the products themselves, how I used them, or anything else that I might not have covered regarding your particular needs, please don't hesitate to leave me your questions in the comments below. I'm more than happy to help in any way that I can!

Oh... And if you don't want to miss any of my future posts, please subscribe over on the right hand side of this page, or right below this post and you'll be sure to receive Spilled On The Kitchen Table right in your inbox, every time I have something new to share!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope that you come by again for more chit-chat, hauls and reviews!

Live Strong and Live Well!

Mary




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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Scentbird! - Why I subscribed (and a review!)


Hello, My Beautiful Bloggy Friends!

Yup... I've done it! I've decided to take the plunge and pamper myself with another monthly subscription service. It's called Scentbird ...and so far, I'm loving it! Want to know why?

There are a few reasons that I decided to give this monthly subscription program a try. But, before we get into that, I want to state up front that I do NOT have a contractual agreement of any kind with Scentbird or any of their affiliates. I pay for this subscription service with my own money and I do NOT receive any monetary compensation for posting about, or reviewing their products.

***There is one little perk, similar to the type that you get with quite a few of these services, but I'll touch on that a little further down in the post.

OK. So, now that we have that out of the way - let's get to the "why" part of this, shall we?

1. I've always loved wearing perfume and enjoyed it when someone around me has noticed and said something along the lines of "You smell great!"

2. I've never been the kind of gal who enjoys wearing the same perfume all of the time. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but I've never had a "signature scent". (Who knows... Now that I've subscribed, that might just change!)

3. That being said, spending (what could easily add up to) hundreds of dollars a year on a new bottle of perfume every few months, just to keep my interest piqued, is simply not in this girl's budget.

4. I finally got tired of spending our hard earned money on perfumes that smelled great in the store - or on those little fold out cards in all of the fashion magazines - only to find out that the wonderful seventy dollar (or more) fragrance, smelled completely different when I actually spritzed some on and wore it all day. (and not in a good way!)



So, needless to say, when I heard about Scentbird I was intrigued! The process is pretty simple, really. I'll do my best to briefly explain how it works and I'll add a couple of short little videos from Scentbird at the bottom of the post to give you a more 3D perspective. (I promise... they're really quick)

Step 1. You start by going to the Scentbird website. (I'll tell you in just a bit, how you can get a free month of perfume by using my referral link!) When you sign up for the program, you have just a few simple things to do to get started.


Step 2. You fill out your email address, name and all of the usual information and you choose a password, just like pretty much anything you sign up for on the internet. You'll have the choice of a month-by-month subscription at the cost of $14.95/month, or you can choose a 3 month, a 6 month or a 12 month/full year subscription. I chose to go month by month, but you can cancel any of their plans at any time and for any reason.

(You'll have to forgive me, but I can't remember the exact costs associated with the other plans at the moment. I do know that each one will save you a bit more money overall, depending on which choice you make - The costs for each plan are clearly stated on the website and just so you know from the get-go, if you do decide to go with one of these, they will ask for full payment for that plan, up front)



Next, you'll be asked to take a quick profile "quiz". This gives Scentbird a better idea about which types of scents you tend to like best, so that they'll be able to recommend new fragrances for you. But, never fear! You don't have to choose the perfumes that they suggest. As a matter of fact, you can choose exactly which perfume you'd like to receive each month in advance, by setting up your personal queue for (at least) 12 months in advance.


Now, keep in mind that neither the quiz, nor setting up a queue will lock you into those choices. You can go into your Scentbird account and change the fragrances themselves, or the order in which you want to receive them, at any time. The only exception to this, pertains to the following month's fragrance. You always have up to the 5th of each month to change that month's choice. But after that date, you're locked into the perfume that was next in your queue. However, the next month and months that follow can still be changed.

Scentbird carries literally hundreds of top shelf, designer fragrances and it can be a bit daunting at first, trying to decide just which scents you want to try, but you can narrow your search by using the chart at the top of the page that shows you many of the different "notes" used in creating a perfume. You can also search by designer, or by the actual perfume name, if you already have an idea of what you want.


Your first month's shipment (which comes in a glossy black bubble mailer) will contain one sturdy black plastic case/holder that contains a glass pump spray bottle of what Scentbird considers to be a 30 day supply of the perfume that you selected. I'd say that for me at least, it's really enough for a couple of months use. The only time that you might run out before your 30 days are up, is if you fell so madly in love with the scent that you went a little crazy and sprayed it all over everything in your house! LOL You'll also receive a little black "crushed velvet" style drawstring pouch to keep your perfume in, if you so desire.


The glass atomizer or spray bottle just pops in and out of the case and once it's in there, a quick twist of the case will raise and then lower the insert so that it is flush to the top of the case. That way, you won't ever have to worry about the little bugger "going off" in your purse accidentally!



After the first month, you'll receive your selection in the same little black bubble mailer with the shredded paper packing fluff, but without a case. (unless you've ordered an extra case or two) Extra cases come in black, or in a few other fashion colors most of the time, but Scentbird also offers limited edition cases and even pretty patterned ones now and then for special occasions. The last time that I
checked, the cost of each extra case was $12.95. (US) They also offer boxed gift sets throughout the year that from what I've seen so far, consist of three different fragrances.

This is one of the current gift sets that's available for men.
***So, I'm sure that you've probably been waiting to hear about the *free perfume that I mentioned above, right?!

This is how it works: Just head on over to the right side of this page and click HERE on my "referral link" (the Scentbird logo) and you'll be whisked away to the Scentbird site. Since you've used my link, if you should decide to sign up for one of their subscription plans, you and I will both receive a **free perfume! You can then pass your own referral link on to friends and get the same little perk! I call that a win/win situation!

**This free month is available to new Scentbird subscribers only. Once you have paid for your first month, you will receive your second month's selection FREE of charge!

Another benefit to signing up for Scentbird, is having the ability to purchase full sizes of the designer fragrances you love, at awesome discounts! How does that happen? Well... a few days after you've received your selection for the month, you'll receive an email from Scentbird, asking you to do a little review of that fragrance on their website. You are never obligated to do a review, but when you love a particular fragrance and your review reflects that, they take notice and they'll usually send you an email, offering you the option to purchase the full sized version of that perfume at a pretty decent discount! There are also other special offers that Scentbird will send you emails about throughout the month.

Looking for a unique holiday/birthday/just because gift for the guy (or guys) in your life? Well then you're in luck, because there's also a Scentbird subscription option for men! (The link is on their website)
So.... Now you know how Scentbird works and just a few of the reasons that I decided to sign up! Are you thinking about checking it out? If the answer is "yes!", I'd love to know what you think of the idea and why you feel it would work for you, so please give me a shout in the comments below!

Check out these very short videos to see a bit more about Scentbird!






Thanks so much for stopping by!
Mary

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

e.l.f.& It! Cosmetics Haul!



Howdy Friends!

With the exception of a half way decent day here and there, I've been down for the count and out of commission for the past several weeks. There just seems to be something about the transition of the seasons that puts my brain and my body into flare mode. My pain levels spike and my activity levels and alertness all but disappear. It's very much like "the crash" that I wrote a post about a while back, but in this case, I'm not getting payback from a period of over-exertion. It just happens. Go figure! I'm not sure that I'll ever get this Lupus thing down. I don't honestly know that anyone really does...

In the meantime, I just thought I'd share a couple of the purchases I've made recently! I'll be giving you some first impressions here and then some more educated thoughts and/or reviews on the products in an upcoming post.

I have to say that the items from this e.l.f. haul that I've used so far, are all winners. I did do a quick swatch of the "Mad For Matte" eyeshadow palette for you ...and as for what I think so far? Well, let's just say that I use at least one or two of the shadows in this palette, pretty consistently.

So for now, please enjoy the eye (lip and face) candy! LOL




I've gradually become a big fan of e.l.f. Cosmetics. Of course, it wouldn't be fair to compare their products point by point to higher end brands, but in my very humble opinion, for a drugstore makeup that sells for what I think anyone would have to call very reasonable prices, they put out a really decent product line. What I like most about them, is that they're adding to and improving the quality of their products all the time. They've even started a skin care line and I decided to give a couple of the offerings from that category a shot this time around.




I'll elaborate further on these in a future post, but I have to give e.l.f some major kudos for these matte lip colors. I only have one issue with them and that's their current packaging. It's a good idea from a concept perspective, but the product is a bit too loose and wobbly inside the twist-up case. So much so, that every time I use them, I'm careful not to exert much pressure because I'm afraid that the tip of the lipstick will snap right off. So, if anyone from the company happens to read this (yeah, right Mary lol) please reconsider how you've chosen to package these very lovely matte lippies!


Being an ultra fair skinned Irish lass, I'm not really into the super bright or extra dark colors for my lips, so I was pleased to find that they had a decent selection in the more nude, or natural range.

A lot of matte lipsticks out there right now are intensely deep red, burgundy, or plum shades and of course there are the sassy and sultry trending fashion shades like blacks, blues and dark purples that look amazing on the younger gals (and guys!) but can tend to be a little bit freakish on very pale, middle aged women like me. Not that I haven't see my share of more mature women rocking these trends, but I'm just not one of them.


The color sticks are nice. They give a subtle glow wherever you use them. I'm not used to using cream products on my cheeks, but these go on quite nicely and blend easily.



I haven't used the Lock & Seal yet, but I have a couple of loose pigments that I've received in Ipsy bags and I'm looking forward to giving it a go!


I really didn't think that anything would ever come along to make me switch from my It! Cosmetics Brow Power, but I'm actually liking this more than I thought I would. It's definitely something that I'm sure I'll use when I have extra time to put my makeup on, because it's more of a three-step process... but I'm impressed.


Haven't tried either of these yet, simply because I have similar products from other lines that I want to use up first.






Considering the fact that I am an admitted brush snob, this little contour brush is really pretty awesome!



Perfect size; no shedding; soft, yet densely packed bristles; solid ferrule and cleans up beautifully! That definitely passes all of my tests!


I'm a liquid or gel liner gal and this is a pretty good one. The tip could be just a tiny bit less rigid for my taste, but overall, not bad at all.


OK, so this isn't the most highly pigmented palette I own, but the shadows are quite buildable and very silky. I was surprised to find that there's not at all the amount of fallout that you usually see with even some higher end matte shadows.


I can't say that it quite equals my It! Naturally Pretty palettes, but I do use several of the shades on a regular basis.


Sorry, these aren't the best swatches, but I'll do some that are more detailed in a review post. There are actually two shadows before the dark tan shade, but in the light that I was working with and my very fair skin, they were a bit too light in color to show up. (The swatches are in the same order as the palette and they're the first two shadows)


I have to admit that I haven't used any of the nail polishes yet. Not because I don't like the colors... It's really just that I have so many open polishes that I really need to use up or "retire" soon.


And now... the It! Cosmetics kit that I purchased, specifically because I was dying to try their "Bye Bye Foundation". Anyone who knows me well, is very much aware that I am already an It! Cosmetics addict. I've worn the CC+ Cream and the Celebration Foundation for a few years, but let me just say right up front, that I'm beyond happy that I did, because this "no foundation" foundation, is some pretty amazing stuff! Especially during the Summer months.

In an upcoming post, I'll be adding more of my thoughts, along with some photos of the coverage it provides. I'll also share my opinions on the rest of the products in the kit and do some swatching. For the moment, this is what came in the kit:


This particular kit came with two bonus items that were stored in this frosted vinyl bag. The gifts were quite nice all by themselves and the bag should come in handy for traveling!


You can see that lovely brush right away...


But, what is it that's wrapped in the tissue?


I already have this "Heavenly Luxe Double Ended Foundation and Concealer Brush" in my collection, but when it comes to It! Cosmetics brushes, you truly can't ever have too many!


Unwrap the tissue, et voila! Aside from the Bye Bye Foundation, what I was most excited about was this Vitality Face Disc. I have a similar palette from another It! kit with slightly different products in it, but I'd been hearing so much about this face disc through YouTube and other social media, that I just had to experience it for myself! Briefly speaking... I am NOT disappointed!


I love the fact that Jamie always includes a thorough and very helpful booklet with all of her kits. In case you aren't familiar with the brand, Jamie Kern Lima is a former news anchor and the founder of It! Cosmetics.  She also happens to be their best - and bubbliest - spokesperson! Just click on her name (above) to read an article from Entrepreneur.com about how she started the company and got her big break on QVC.



Along with the Vitality Face Disc, the products that are new to me are: The Bye Bye Pores Silk HD Anti-Aging Micro-Powder, the Bye Bye Foundation, the Vitality Lip Flush and the Bye Bye Waterproof Concealer. I already own and use the Brow Power, No Tug Waterproof Gel Liner and a different incarnation of the Hello Lashes Mascara.


The Hello Lashes has a very nice, not too wet formula, that lengthens and adds volume ...and it holds a curl like nobody's business!

Sorry about all of the out of focus photos in this post. I just didn't have the time to take them over for this "haul" post, but I'll be doing reviews etc. in upcoming separate posts on each of these products and I'll (hopefully) have much better photos to go along with it.
Haven't used this powder yet but I'll be doing some close-ups in my review post, so... beware! Yikes!


Oh my! I won't go on about it now, but this Vitality Lip Flush is simply lovely! I will be buying this product again and again - you can safely bet the farm and just about anything else you'd like to, on that declaration!


Definitely one of my go-to liners! And they are not kidding when they say waterproof!


Hands down, THE best brow product I've ever used... and I tried quite a few of them before finding this one! I believe it would be safe to say that this is my holy grail brow product!


I've been using It! Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer for some time now and I love it, but this might just be my new favorite! It has the same amazing coverage, but they've thinned out the consistency a bit (which has been one of the major issues for a lot of Bye Bye Undereye's critics from day one) and I think it's better suited to be used as a stand alone, or foundation replacement on those days when you're feeling like a full coverage foundation or a BB or CC cream aren't necessary.


Well, here it is, in all of it's splendor! Stay tuned for a full review in the not too distant future, with swatches and before and after photos included! Those of you who are easily frightened by, or uncomfortable with, close up photos of slightly enlarged pores and/or wrinkles, might want to avoid that one! Ha!

But seriously, please do come back and visit me again. If you are curious about either e.l.f Cosmetics or It! Cosmetics, I promise you that whatever I share here on the blog, will always be very thorough and very honest.

Thanks so much for stopping in to say hello! If you have any questions or any specific things you'd like me to address in either the e.l.f. review and swatch post or the It! post, please leave them in the comments below. I'm really very happy to oblige in any way that I can!

In the meantime, stay as beautiful as you are... both inside and out!

Mary


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