R+Co Review: Part Two

Remember my review of those R+Co hair products from a while back? Probably not, because it has taken me just under two months to post Part Two of that review. I know, I majorly suck. But even if it takes me a while, I never turn back on a promise. So:

Drumroll please…

Here is PART TWO of my R+Co product review!

Park Ave Blow Out BalmNMC1TE5_mk

Whenever I blow-dry my hair (not very often, TBH) it ends up looking frizzy. Nice, but amateur. I was hoping R+Co’s Park Ave Blow Out Balm would solve my problems. And guess what? It actually did. A dollop of it goes a long way in preventing those ugly flyaways and frizz. Hellooo, smooth locks.

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Chiffon Styling Mousse


In Part One of my R+Co review, I admitted that I was underwhelmed with the effects of the Chiffon Stlying Mousse. I gave it another chance and followed the directions properly, and it definitely worked a lot better in giving my hair body. It still didn’t give me the “soft, girly curls” that it promises, but I’ll keep it around for the volume it provided. That, and the cutest packaging ever.

Vicious Strong Hold Flexible Hairspray

I don’t use hairspray very often, which is largely due to the fact that it makes me think of that tacky, hard, crunchy look that we’ve all had at NMC1UKN_mksome point in our lives when we went a little wild with the aerosol can. I used the Vicious Strong Hold Flexible Hairspray on my last few top-knots, and it has restored my faith in hairspray. Oh, you mean your perfectly coifed bun doesn’t have to turn into JLo’s mane circa the ‘Jenny from the Block’ days? Phew. The spray held my bun in place with no flyaways for hours at a time without ever feeling stiff and sticky.

So there you have it. I hope this helps lock in your best hair ever. See what I did there?

{A million thanks to Robert at Robert Jason Salon on Main Street in Andover for these products! As I mentioned in Part One, although I was given these products at no cost, all opinions are my own. I don’t sell out that easily, people.}

Colorfully Yours,

Haley

Hair to Stay: R+Co Product Review

My R+Co loot from Robert Jason Salon

My R+Co loot from Robert Jason Salon

I would say I’m quite brave when it comes to my hair. No, I don’t mean I’ve tried the half-shaved look or that I’ve dyed my hair pink (unless pink highlights in middle school count), but I tend to go from one extreme to the other.

Even as a kid, I once went from Pocahontas locks to a bob on a whim, leaving my grandfather confused about who the short-haired girl seating herself at his table was. In high school, I contributed 10+ inches to Locks for Love. In college, I started with ombré but soon wanted more – so after a few months of going back and forth to the salon, I became a blonde.

Right after graduation, I went to my hairdresser and asked her to chop off the hair I had spent years growing and countless dollars coloring. She questioned my sanity, but I pushed until she did it. It still wasn’t drastic enough for me, though. A few days later, I went back and asked her to keep going.

Up until a month ago, I was back to an ombré look, albeit unintentionally. I just wanted to give my hair a much-needed break from processing, and growing out the remaining blonde was taking an eternity. Then one day I woke up, wanted to go dark, and booked an appointment. So today, I’m a mid-length, mocha brunette.

An awkward collage of my hair for the good of my readers

An awkward collage of my hair for the good of my readers

Ok, so you probably didn’t need a four paragraph history of my hair, but you must know by now that I like to talk – err, type. Anyway, my new hair became a topic of conversation between my boss, Honey, and her hairstylist, Robert. That would be Robert of Robert Jason Salon in Andover, MA, seen in Vogue, Lucky, Allure, Northshore, and Boston magazines. Robert wanted to help me out with my new locks, so he put together a bag of R+Co samples for me. How thoughful?!

I’ll admit that I hadn’t yet heard of R+Co, but it turns out I had been living under a rock. As soon as I was introduced to the brand, I started noticing it in several magazines, my friends’ beauty cabinets, etc. Better late than never, right?

While I am admittedly anything but low maintenance when it comes to my clothing, I am embarrassingly low maintenance when it comes to hair and makeup. I’ve always wished I had the motivation or skills to do my hair more than once every few weeks, but I guess I don’t have much space left in my mind for anything but my closet. I love getting my hair done, obviously, but I’m the girl that jumps out of the shower and lets the air around me work its drying magic. Sue me!

Needless to say, I was a little worried about these fancy R+Co products. How would I know what circumstance in which to use each product?! And, honestly, would I have the energy to put in the effort?

Enter these fabulous bottles of hair magic. The first thing that caught my eye was the packaging. Each bottle has an amazing backdrop, with clean white rectangles and simple black font featuring the name of the product. Some of you may be thinking that I’m putting too much stock into a bottle, but visuals are so important when it comes to products like these. If you say you don’t judge a product by its cover, you’re lying. Not only do we tend to go for the pretty packaging, but we go for the one that matches our vibe. The edgy, artsy, colorful packaging of R+Co? Yeah, those vibes spoke to me.

Moving on to the back of the bottles. They each give you a sentence or two about exactly how and when to use each product, and what the desired effect will be.

Example: “Chiffon Styling Mousse. Good for: Soft, girly curls on any length of hair. How to: Towel-dry hair and apply Chiffon section by section for the perfect blow-dry. Can also scrunch into hair and let it air dry.”

Thank you for working with us hair imbeciles, R+Co! It means a lot.

I’m sure you’re wondering about the price of these bad boys. There’s nothing I hate more than falling in love with a product in the salon and then seeing that the price tag is absolutely bananas. Unless it’s going to have hundreds of potential suitors lining up at my door, no hair product is worth high two-to-three figures, in my opinion. To be perfectly honest, most of my beauty products are purchased at CVS. *Pan to cringing beauty gurus everywhere.* Guess what, though? The R+Co products range from $20 to $29. For a stylist-recommended product that actually works? Now that’s a number I can get behind.

Now for the products themselves. Since I just explained that I don’t do my hair very often, I haven’t had a chance to try out all of the products just yet. But I didn’t want to withhold this info from you guys for much longer, so I’ll be reviewing them in two parts. Time for Part One!

Death Valley Dry Shampoo

Death Valley Dry Shampoo

Death Valley Dry Shampoo

Love at first spritz. I’ve been a loyal dry shampooer for quite some time now, but I’m constantly switching from brand to brand. There always seems to be a flaw with each of them. Perhaps it’s because up until now, I’ve capped my dry shampoo budget at $6. I guess you really do get what you (don’t) pay for. Anyway, despite the name, Death Valley smells like heaven on earth. The fragrance is called Rosy Eyed, which is described as “a spirited unpredictable scent.” I know that means nothing to you (or me), but you just have to smell it to understand. It is kind of “unpredictable.” It’s like an edgy-yet-sweet scent. Ok, I think I inhaled too much of it. Moving on. Since coloring my hair darker than ever before, I’ve unfortunately noticed that it tends to look greasy and limp much quicker than it used to. Well, this dry shampoo starts working on the first spray. It gave me a tousled, revived look. I think I’ve used up half the bottle already!

Aircraft Pomade Mousse

Aircraft Pomade Mousse

Aircraft Pomade Mousse

I’ve never really understood mousse. I always kind of thought it was for, well, older ladies. Turns out I was wrong. This one is pretty much the opposite of that – it gave me sexy, bedhead waves. R+Co describes the look perfectly: “studiously messy.” Like those models who look like they just rolled around in the sheets – but 1000 thread count, Egyptian cotton sheets. I also always pictured mousse as sticky and heavy, but Aircraft is neither. All it takes is a tiny little pump to thicken up your hair, and it feels like there’s no product in it at all.

Chiffon Styling Mousse

Chiffon Styling Mousse

Chiffon Styling Mousse

This packaging is Haley on a bottle. That bow blouse?! My ideal top. In fact, I have one just like it – but way less chic. Between the name, the art, and the description, I figured this was just the product I needed to finally morph fully into Blair Waldorf. But unlike Blair, I took the easy way out. I didn’t feel like blow drying my hair post-shower that day, so I did the scrunch-into-dry-hair-and-air-dry method. While it worked to give me a bit more volume and body, I wasn’t ready to take my ‘do gallivanting around the Upper East Side. I’m not giving up just yet, though. I promise I’ll put in the ounce of effort this calls for and let you know the real verdict in Part Two of my post! Xoxo, Gossip Girl.

I know by this point in my post some cynical little soul will be claiming I only wrote positive reviews because I was given these samples at no cost. While these products were gifted to me, they were given by Robert Jason Salon, not R+Co. Therefore, I have no reason to be biased about them in any way. Plus, if I was doing this for R+Co, I probably wouldn’t have said that the last product was underwhelming. All honesty from this low-mainteance, cheap-beauty-product-buying girl, folks.

Thank you again to Robert for my products! Head on over to Robert Jason Salon on Main Street in Andover to stock up on these and many more. Or keep adding to that piggy bank of yours and wait until I finish Part Two. Your call.

Dark-Haired but Still Colorfully Yours,

Haley

I’m In Love With The CoCo

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I never turn down a chocolate candy. I just can’t. It’s part of my DNA or something.

Well, almost never. The only circumstance in which I will shake my head at a sweet, chocolatey treat is if said treat contains coconut. That’s how you know my hatred is STRONG.

Or, at least it was. Growing up, I despised it. Almond Joy? Mounds? What, am I some kind of sociopath?

Then, in college, the whole coconut water trend took over. It seemed like campus was flooded with it – literally. One of my best friends was a rep a coconut water brand, so I decided to give it a try. I have to say I didn’t hate it. Plus, when you’re in college, you will take just about any free substance that’s offered to you.

CoconutOil

I’m no longer repulsed by the idea of a smoothie with coconut flavoring in it (here’s lookin’ at you, Life Alive). I even ate a macaroon the other day, by choice. (Not to be confused with macarons – those I could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.)

In my quest for healthy baked good recipes, I constantly come across coconut oil on ingredient lists. I was skeptical initially, because I surely didn’t want my brownies tasting like tanning oil. Save that for the beach. Or for Malibu Rum. Whatever floats your boat.

I finally decided to give it a shot, and I’m so glad I did. It turns out there are endless uses for coconut oil. A quick Google search will fill your screen with hundreds of suggestions. And I don’t just mean food suggestions. While I have yet to try any of the super out of the box uses, I did start with a few more common tricks.

1) Cooking…duh.

Had to start with this one. I’ve found that coconut oil spreads a bit more easily in a pan than other oils. It’s also less disgusting if and when it gets all over you and your kitchen. But most importantly, I feel less guilty about overdoing the oil when it’s coconut rather than olive or vegetable. That’s probably completely scientifically/medically incorrect, but my conscience is not a doctor. FYI: coconut oil comes as a solid, but melts faster than you can say ‘pancakes, please.’

2) Sunburn relief.

I know, right? I found this trick online recently when I was searching for tips to prevent a sunburn from peeling. I know the best way to avoid peeling is to avoid the burn in the first place, but sometimes these things just happen. My sunburns don’t tend to last long, but the peeling makes me want to crawl in a hole and never go out in public. After cooling my burn down with some aloe earlier in the day, I lathered myself up with coconut oil. Warning: it’s super greasy and drippy once it hits your warm skin, so have a towel ready. Also, make sure you press “play” on your Netflix episode first so you don’t have to move a muscle.

The next morning, my burn was barely noticeable and felt amazing! Best part? It never peeled. I’ve tried this twice now, so I know it wasn’t just a fluke. MAJOR warning though: Do not put this on a serious burn, or a burn that is still hot to the touch! Oil and heat are obviously a bad mix and can cause blistering. I’m no dermatologist, so take my advice at your own risk. I’ve just had great success with it myself!

3) Silky skin.

Pretty much goes along with the sunburn relief step, but coconut oil is so moisturizing that your skill will feel amazing after just one use. As I said, it can get messy, so be careful. The best solution that I’ve found is to apply the oil shortly before showering. Somehow, your skin holds in the benefits of the oil without the mess. Your skin will feel like silk when you get out of the shower, and will last quite a while. It’s the perfect way to get that spa feeling for free!

4) Luscious locks.

I had read that the moisturizing effects of coconut oil are great for hair. I applied it straight from the jar to my locks and left it on for about an hour before rinsing it off. I definitely made a bit of a faux pas. It didn’t feel like the oil was getting on all of my hair, so I kept applying and applying. I apparently put WAY too much on, because it took two days worth of hair washing to totally get the oil out. Part of the problem is that I put it on my scalp as well, because that’s one of the spots I had sustained an unfortunate burn. HOWEVER, my hair did feel amazing. I think if I had followed the Pinterest community’s tip of simply sticking to the ends and used just a dollop, it would’ve been smooth sailing. Pun intended. The comb went through my hair like a knife through butter, which never happens. Just ask my best friend, Rachel, who had to comb my hair when I broke my wrist. Yikes.

I will be sure to keep you guys posted as I venture further into my new relationship with coconut oil. I’d love to try some of the weirder uses I’ve come across, but baby steps, people.

Stay nutty, my friends.

(PS: photo cred in this particular post goes to Google Images. I am not a renowned, world-traveleing photographer. Yet.)

E.L.F. Review

Although I’ve always had a somewhat unhealthy obsession with clothes, I’ve never been too into makeup. Bronzer and concealer are my staples, but other than that I’ve always been a no muss, no fuss kinda gal when it comes to my face. Besides laziness, the main reason is that I hate spending money on cosmetics. When I finally did start wearing things like mascara and eyebrow pencil, I scoured the shelves at CVS to find the cheapest options. As a recent – and very broke college grad, I need to stay away from expensive cosmetics now more than ever.

That’s where E.L.F. comes in.

I like to think that they call it E.L.F. because it feels like Christmas morning when you get your package in the mail, but really it just stands for Eyes, Lips, Face. The concept is pretty self explanatory. Why do I love it so much? Because most of the standard products are between $1 and $6. You heard me right! I can pretty much cover all my bases for less than the cost of one big name product.

I recently ordered my second round of E.L.F. products. I always look for coupon codes before I buy (hey, even $1 products add up!) or try to find a free shipping offer. That means I can get a bundle of makeup for less than it costs to drive to the mall and get “real” products. In addition to www.eyeslipsface.com, you can find certain E.L.F. products at Target and Walmart. I just prefer the huge online selection of products and colors.

I’ll start with my favorite E.L.F. product thus far: the Eyebrow Lifter and Filler. This time around I ordered two since I loved it so much the first time. The thick pencil has two ends. One end is a tan color, meant to be used first in order to line the brows and make them pop. The second is the regular eyebrow pencil used to fill in sparse brows. I don’t use the lifter because it’s just one more step in my morning routine that I don’t care to take, but I have tried it and it does have a nice effect as long as you blend it properly. I typically just stick to the filler. As I explained in my Eyebrow Envy post, I prefer thick, dark eyebrows, and this pencil gives me just what I need. It’s creamier than a regular eyebrow pencil, giving it a nice finish and making it really easy to use. The only downside is that it’s super annoying to sharpen because of its consistency.

Eyebrow Lifter and Filler in Dark/Ivory

Eyebrow Lifter and Filler in Dark/Ivory

Next, let’s talk about the Maximum Coverage Concealer. I’m pretty OCD about my face looking even – I think everyone has some uneven spots on their face that they want to hide. Before this, I used a L’Oreal concealer to cover any unwanted spots, but it was too thin because it was intended for just under the eyes. The E.L.F. Maximum Coverage version is much thicker and really hides any imperfections. Some people may not like the thickness of the product, but I find it great for foolproof application.

Maximum Coverage Concealer in Nude

Maximum Coverage Concealer in Nude

If I’m feeling really ambitious, I’ll cover my whole face with the Flawless Finish Foundation rather than spot-treating with the concealer. The foundation is much thinner and more liquidy than the concealer, so it’s great if you hate that caked on feeling. It doesn’t do the best job of covering darker spots, but it gives my face an overall nice, even tone. The best part? The oil free concealer has SPF 15 built in so your face is always protected, even when you don’t think to wear sunscreen.

Flawless Finish Foundation in Sand

Flawless Finish Foundation in Sand

Moving on to the lips: I’m a big fan of the Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick. I have it in both Sangria Starters and Pink Umbrellas. I love the shape because it makes application so easy. The consistency feels more like a chapstick than a lip gloss, so you don’t have to worry about your hair getting stuck to it! Pink Umbrellas has more of a barely-there look, but I love the shimmer it gives. Sangria Starters is a deep wine color that’s great for nighttime. The only downfall to the lip gloss stick is that it isn’t super long lasting, so be sure to carry it in your purse with you for touch-ups!

Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick in Pink Umbrellas (left) and Sangria Starters (right)

Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick in Pink Umbrellas (left) and Sangria Starters (right)

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Finally, let’s get to the Matte Lip Color in Rich Red. When you take the cap off, it looks like a thin marker, and it applies just as easily. The color is more bright than rich as advertised, but I still love the statement it makes! I’ve never used a matte lip color before, and I really liked the way it looked. Now for the downside: I wore this one to the Beyonce concert – see my other post for pictures – and I had to keep looking in the mirror to reapply and make sure it hadn’t smudged, which it tended to do. Also, the matte finish makes your lips feel a little dry, but I think that’s just the name of the game.

Matte Lip Color in Rich Red

Matte Lip Color in Rich Red

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Now for two E.L.F. products from my first order I’ll warn you to avoid.

First, the Tone Correcting Concealer. Unless your tone is invisible, this product isn’t correcting or concealing anything. It was so thin that it felt like a complete liquid. Another odd observation? It smells exactly like fruity pebbles. Not exactly the scent you want on your face. In this case, I say “splurge” for the $3 concealer I mentioned above. 😉

Next, the H.D. Blush in Headliner. I swear I spent 20 minutes trying to scrub that monster off of my cheeks, and I had barely put any on. The second it touched my skin I knew it was a complete bust – I looked like I was on my way to clown school. I spent three whole dollars on that crap?

All in all, I’ve had an extremely positive experience with E.L.F. products considering the amazingly small amount of money I’ve invested. My advice is to spend a decent amount of time checking out the customer reviews of each product on the website. And when in doubt? Buy it. If you’re gonna take a risk, take a $1-$6 one!

Eyebrow Envy

Eyebrows

The bigger, the better!

When I was in sixth grade, I made one of the biggest aesthetic mistakes of my life. I let my friend, a fellow sixth grader, ‘fix’ my eyebrows with one of those battery operated contraptions that was always advertised on infomercials. I was embarrassed by my big, bushy eyebrows. The ‘wings’ on the ends closest to the center of my face looked like a monstrosity to me. It wasn’t until after a swipe of the evil brow tool that I realized that the wings were not only better looking, but actually sort of necessary.

If Audrey Hepburn approves of a full brow, we all should approve.

If Audrey Hepburn approves of a full brow, we all should approve.

I spent the next few years going back and forth between trying to grow out the sparse areas and getting so frustrated with the awkward growth stage that I would pluck them again and be back at square one. Thankfully, a combination of patience and a miracle from the eyebrow gods brought them back to a mostly normal state.

I still regret ever touching my brows. As many of us know all too well, the world of waxing and tweezing is a slippery slope indeed. Had I just embraced my bushy brows, I would have been ahead of the trend. But then again, what middle schooler thinks that way?

It may sound silly to put so much focus on something as trivial as eyebrows. But just as my father says that good teeth are the foundation of good health, I say good brows are the foundation of a good face. Cara Delevingne is an obvious icon, but my personal full-browed idols are Lily Collins and Olivia Culpo. In this case, less is most definitely not more.

Lily Collins

Lily Collins

Olivia Culpo

Olivia Culpo

Cara Delevingne

Cara Delevingne