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· Biotin for hair loss
· More on sulfate and paraben free hair products
· More MAC gripes
· Etro and more on natural hair products
· Etro Vicolo Fiori and Shaal Nur
· Revlon's Curtain Call--find a look-alike of a discontinued product!
· Etro Heliotrope and Vicolo Fiori
· Etro Heliotrope
· Etro Pavillon, Sandalo and the story so far
· Etro Royal Pavillon
· Sulfate and paraben free shampoos
· Etro Gomma and Royal Pavillon
· Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #3
· Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #2

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· October 11, 2006 7:45 PM by Blogger Dain
· October 27, 2006 3:56 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi

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The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog: September 2006

Biotin for hair loss
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, September 30, 2006 2:41 PM (Eastern)

Disclaimer: this is not a medical site; this is a beauty site. If you choose to take vitamin supplements, you are advised to consult a doctor beforehand and do some research.

I read about this on various beauty boards and decided to give it a try.

As usual, there is very little objective information on the Net about vitamin supplements. The FDA doesn't regulate them (although the United Nations is starting to). I found this one page on the BBC site: Vitamins ...that at least gives some guideline as to how much to take.

Since the maximum amount of biotin here is 2500 mcg and the "typical therapeutic daily dose" is 500 mcg to 1,500 mcg, I started out with 1000 mcg. (It doesn't matter which brand of biotin you take btw.) That didn't seem to do much so I bumped it up to 2000 mcg. I was being impatient; 1000 mcg might work just fine. But I'll have to say this much--it does work.

By this I mean, I've been taking the supplement every day for about three weeks. My hair falls out less--it's noticeable. It takes about a week to kick in.

I doubt this would work for "male pattern baldness" or at least it wouldn't prevent it. In short it's not a "miracle treatment." The greater question would be what is missing in our modern diet that would necessitate taking a supplement in the first place. But I've been suffering from adult acne for so long (and have seen such dramatic improvement over taking a simple daily multi-vitamin) that I have to believe that our diet and its nutritional content have changed to that point.

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More on sulfate and paraben free hair products
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, September 15, 2006 6:47 PM (Eastern)

Check it out! The Long Hair Community has an ongoing thread for this: Sulfate-Free Shampoo List

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More MAC gripes
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, September 12, 2006 1:20 PM (Eastern)

I realize I haven't had many positive things to say about MAC as of late. Well, here's another gripe.

Why is it that MAC keeps cranking out so many Lustre lipsticks? Mind you, I happen to adore the Lustre formula. The three MAC lipsticks in my current stash are all Lustres (Sophisto, Spice It Up and Strawberry Blonde). I'm not dissing the formula; I've been a great fan of it for years.

What peeves me is the notion that there doesn't appear to be much research & development going on down at the MAC lipstick lab. It appears as nothing quite so much as a company where a brilliant employee once worked. Said employee pioneered the Lustre formula, which was sheer (at a time when there were not many sheer lipsticks on the market)--that lasted, and moisturized, and just plain looked great.

Once said employee invented this formula, and it became something the lesser-talented employees at the MAC lipstick lab could copy, said employee got the sack.

Now, the people who kept their jobs simply keep replicating the Lustre formula. There is no brilliant employee there to come up with anything new of that caliber.

I could be totally wrong in this assessment of MAC but that is what it looks like these days.

Oh yeah, the Viva Glam VI stuff. The lipstick is a Lustre (as was Viva Glam V). The cause is still as good as ever, and I loved my Viva Glam V enough to use it up, down to the little plastic rim that held the lipstick...but somehow I don't find myself rushing out to scoop up VGVI. I was expecting something...different. Like a sort of deep rich plum of some sort, an Asian color really, a sort of...brilliant innovation.

People are still talking about Viva Glam IV as a grail lipstick and I'm wondering...can we bring back the old MAC employees? Or if they're still there, can we stand back and let them perform their wizardry once again?

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Etro and more on natural hair products
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, September 11, 2006 2:31 AM (Eastern)

As far as Etro...I've knocked Heliotrope off my "potentially bottle-worthy" list. It's a lovely scent, but too "foody" for me...on me it's a bit floral atop a tremendous base of vanilla. i.e., if you were looking for a vanilla scent, you might well want to investigate this one.

I retried Royal Pavillon and loved it remains on the PBW list.

My favorite of the group is still Sandalo. Actually I'd like to try Sandalo layered with something else Etro; Shaal Nur is the obvious choice but I'd like to try it with others as well.

Messe de Minuit, I think it's well to either dab a small amount on your wrist, or else try it out on a day when you're not planning to go anywhere. It's an eccentric scent. I tried a little bit and got the "oranges and head shop" part, but didn't wear it long enough to get the, ah, "wet basement" aspect. :D

Oh well. About the hair care...I did some shopping at my local health food store, plus a couple of Longs Drugs. Here are my thoughts and what I got.

Health food store: a biotin supplement and Dain's Nature's Gate Herbal Daily Hair Conditioner.

Biotin has a tremendous beauty board buzz as the supplement to take if you want healthier, thicker hair. At least that's what I got out of it. As usual, since the FDA does not regulate supplements, you're pretty much on your own as to how much to take. I looked on the Net and decided to go with a smaller dose, at least to start out with. I'll write here if it works.

Nature's Gate Herbal...they have reformulated this. Or...? I tried its shampoo twin some years ago and didn't like it. The scent was far too powerful; back then it was like spraying Ambush on your hair.

This conditioner though, has a much gentler scent. So I don't know if the shampoo fragrance is still as strong or if they've muted them both, but so far I'm quite happy with the conditioner. I've used it once--so far, it's quite moisturizing without being heavy.

To fill you in on my's fine and on the thin side (hence the biotin supplement), basically straight with a slight wave, naturally oily scalp, and colored. I use a deep conditioner the first few days post coloring (the L'Oreal Feria deep conditioner). My daily conditioner, therefore, has to work with both oily scalp and dry, colored ends.

I really must mention this, I used to use Pantene. I still have some and intend to use it all up. The idea of trying a new conditioner has to do with my Pantene Smooth & Sleek building up on me, similar to shampoo build-up.

But I would like to say for the record, that I never experienced the dramatic "Pantene horror story" I've seen circulating the Net. The gist is that, if you use Pantene, the silicones in it build up on your hair, enveloping the strands and slowly killing them off. One day your hair looks fine; the next, poof! Your hair suddenly breaks off, having been gradually strangled by this buildup of silicones.

That never happened, in the almost two years I used Pantene hair products daily.

What did happen, is that I felt the need to switch hair products. I felt the Pantene was no longer doing what I wanted it to do. Also...more inchoately, if you will...I felt I would like to move toward more natural hair care products. There are a lot more of them now. If a more natural product...I realize "natural" is next to meaningless as a technical term, bear with me...a product without the sodium lauryl sulfate that has long been regarded as a harsh ingredient, or at least without so much or it...possibly a product without parabens or with less parabens (Nature's Gate Herbal does contain a paraben ingredient)...if this type of product performs better than a mainstream product, particularly regarding stripping hair or irritating scalp, then why not? It doesn't cost that much more.

Longs Drugs: Kiss My Face "Whenever" shampoo and Jason Mango Satin Shower Body Wash.

About the Mango, Longs had only three scents to choose from. It was either this, Chamomile (which smelled a tad perfumy, in a pleasant way) or Tea Tree (which admittedly I didn't even bother smelling; tea tree oil smells medicinal to me). Mango actually smells a lot like their Citrus body wash. Sort of a pleasant meld of fruitiness and perfume.

Whenever Shampoo, for being a non-SLS shampoo, lathers beautifully. Even better than Avalon Organics, which also lathers well. It smells nicely of real lime. It's supposed to be green tea and lime but I'm not getting much green tea here.

It's too soon to judge about the shampoo, I'd like to use it more before saying, but Whenever on its first use is mild, not at all stripping. Actually it's similar to Avalon Organics Lemon Clarifying.

That's about it!

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Etro Vicolo Fiori and Shaal Nur
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, September 08, 2006 2:26 PM (Eastern)

Shaal Nur today...I can admit I was expecting this:

...based on the spritz I tried of this at a department store. That is, a late 60's type of scent, very "come up to my pad and burn some incense some time." I got a fairly heavy dose of patchouli and sandalwood (keep in mind I was trying Etro Patchouly at the same time though), with what smelled like real late 60's incense (yes, I am old enough to remember some of this stuff). Visions of East Indian bedspreads, sandals, Peter Sellers, bouffant hairdos, wacky tobaccy, et cetera.

Trying it on now from a sample though, is entirely different. Here I'm getting more of this:

Just something soft and ladylike, feminine without being overly sugarly or simplistic. It's strong, but not overpowering. It smells somehow natural and different.

Yesterday's Vicolo Fiori wore pretty well actually. I can see I probably did not put on enough of some previous Etro's, and will retry all those I thought had faded too quickly.

Here are the notes for Vicolo Fiori, from the Etro site:

Head notes: citrus floral (tangerine, campanula)
Heart notes: fruity floral (water lily, lotus, cyclamen, wild rose, ylang-ylang, white peach, cantaloupe)
Base notes: woody, amber (musk, iris, sandalwood, vanilla, amber)

Vicolo Fiori is densely floral, again--and this is something I revere about the Etro scents thus far--without being overly sweet. Just a clean, lovely soapy fragrance, suitable for young and old alike.

The Party image courtesy

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Revlon's Curtain Call--find a look-alike of a discontinued product!
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, September 07, 2006 4:19 PM (Eastern)

This is pretty boss actually. I've seen similar pages...Almay's Can't Find It?, Maybelline's Lost & Found...but this one seems better. Or at least the shades I put in to test it, returned what I know are pretty decent look-alikes.

Revlon's Curtain Call page

Of course a skeptic might puzzle as to why these items were discontinued in the first place--and seemingly replaced by items next to identical--but hey, a girl's gotta find a copycat of that divine Softstroke Powderliner in Brown Suede, right?

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Etro Heliotrope and Vicolo Fiori
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 4:08 PM (Eastern)

Ah...I think I'm finally getting the hang of these samples. The ones have that little plastic doohickey in have to use it about three times in the same spot to replicate the experience of using the perfume, or at least come close to it. Good! I'll get to retry my samples all over again (except Gomma, which in memory I've come to avoid, but the rest are downright addictive).

Here are the notes of Heliotrope, from the Etro site:

Head notes: fresh floral (bergamot, petit grain, almond)
Heart notes: floral (ylang-ylang, rose, jasmine, iris)
Base notes: floriental (tonka bean, vanilla, Tolu balsam, Peru balsam, musk)

What I got yesterday was mainly the tonka bean/vanilla vibe, with a sweet top layer of the florals. Soft and innocent, like a fragile white dress.

Today I'm wearing Vicolo Fiori. So far it smells like a very elegant bar of soap. This could be what you're looking for, if you're looking for a "clean, soapy scent." It's not exactly eau de Dial Soap, it smells more along the lines of a good floral soap, something you'd find in a small shop, but there's a definite cleanliness to the composition (can't help thinking off the bat, that this would be good in an office setting).

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Etro Heliotrope
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, September 06, 2006 1:58 PM (Eastern)

I put some of this on this morning. It's quite interesting...I'm getting a lot of vanilla. A little bit of floral over a lot of vanilla.

I was madly tempted to layer this with either Royal Pavillon or Lemon Sorbet, but refrained, if only to give Heliotrope a chance on its own.

I'll post later on how this wears...

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Etro Pavillon, Sandalo and the story so far
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 12:31 AM (Eastern) I'm on my fourth Etro scent.

So far...Gomma turned a bit sour on me. Hard to put a finger on had this gorgeousness to it, and when it faded out, it returned to gorgeousness. But my skin brought out this sour edge.

Gomma + Lemon Sorbet smelled better...more gorgeousness, less sour edge. Still, it took some hours to mellow out into something quite good.

Lemon Sorbet...I like this. But on me it's not very strong. I'm thinking of it now as a scent that might be ideal to combine with other scents. According to Audrey_H of our Perfumery, the theory is that any one Etro scent can be layered with any other. Lemon Sorbet on its own is this bright, sparkling, almost visually lemon yellow, scent to me.

Royal Pavillon is probably the best of all four. It's enchanting, like a magical forest. You can see the Etro perfume guy dabbling in this, and that, to get it to smell just's green, it's watery, it has little exotic blooms here and there.... My gripe is that it's not strong on me and it fades too quickly. But I don't know how much stronger it would be, sprayed on properly from a bottle (my Armani Code is soft too, and it's one of the best perfumes also).

Pavillon, from the Etro site:

Head notes: green floral (rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, mimosa, violet)
Heart notes: woody (sandalwood, vetiver, oak moss)
Base notes: aromatic vanilla (castoreum, civet)

Now Sandalo. This was love at first dab. I don't know why. I like stronger scents...and this is the strongest of the four, stronger than Gomma. It's almost too simple. It's plain sandalwood, a little bit sweet...that's all.

What makes it stand out is the quality of the sandalwood. I have to believe the blurb on the Etro site:

"Etro has chosen Mysore sandalwood from southern India, a valuable wood considered sacred because it has been used for millennia in the temples and during religious ceremonies."

It actually does smell like that description: very pure. I dabbed on just a bit this morning and I can still smell it distinctly (it's almost 10:00 pm over here). This scent, unlike others, did not seem to change at all from when I put it on to now.

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Etro Royal Pavillon
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, September 04, 2006 12:45 PM (Eastern)

I've worn this for a couple of days now. I'll have to say it's a bit faint on me. Today I'm going to try dabbing it from the sample rather than dabbling, if that makes any sense.

As promised, "This smells like a damp greenhouse filled with exotic plants." (JennyB, The Lipstick Page Forums Perfumery). Like the other Etro's I've tried so far, it has this persistent addictive quality. It's not apparent when you first try them on, if only because none of the compositions so far falls under any conventional perfume category, but there's something about them that makes you want to smell them again.

Oh yeah, and I finally noticed how to spell "Pavillon." :D

Royal Pavillon...has a very "green" smell, combined with a little water, and a little bit of sweet flowers. My sole criticism so far is that it could be stronger, but again, spraying it on from a bottle would no doubt make it stronger.

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Sulfate and paraben free shampoos
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, September 02, 2006 9:11 PM (Eastern)

More on much as I've enjoyed using my Pantene shampoo and conditioner for a year and a half, more actually, I'd like to move toward more natural hair care. I have found that mainstream shampoos seem to have become harsher, over the years.

In the 1970's, when I was growing up, it was a fairly widespread belief that washing your hair every day would "strip it of its natural oils"; many people, including myself, tried washing it every other day or even less frequently. This never worked out for me. My hair is naturally oily, plus it's not even remotely curly nor thick. It's just plain almost straight hair (slight wave), on the thin side, and not washing it every day just made it...dirty.

I'd say circa the late 70's, if memory serves, plumbing improved. I recall clearly that many houses did not have showers before then, only bathtubs, which meant you had to finagle a hose with a shower-head on it, and a little curtain. Better plumbing meant easy showers every day and the trend moved toward washing your hair daily.

So, for...decades...I washed my hair every day without any problems, using regular drugstore shampoo such as Clairol Herbal Essences or Flex. It just seemed at one point--can't put my finger on it, a few years ago--that I could no longer really do that. The drugstore shampoos seemed to either strip my hair or else build up on it, and my scalp became itchy at times (most notably during the winter, the theory being that indoor heating dried it out).

From that point on I took some interest in health food store shampoos. There weren't as many of them then as now, and there was not nearly as much talk about sodium laureth sulfate, parabens, et cetera. And, they were expensive. I wasn't used to paying more than three dollars for a large bottle of shampoo, so that $8 or $10 price tag for a significantly smaller bottle was dismaying.

I discovered Pantene Sheer Volume shampoo in late 2004. Unlike other drugstore shampoos, this was pretty good, not stripping, and the price was right (try Costco).

Lately though, I don't know, I have come to feel it's "too much" for my hair. Not quite stripping, but tending toward the itchy-scalp thing. I still have a big bottle of it, and I intend to use it up, but I'm scouting around for a replacement.

Today I returned to the Longs Drugs that had suddenly stocked a whole bunch of natural beauty products. I did some sniffing and label-reading. I didn't buy anything as of yet (still using up the Pantene, plus some Avalon Organics Lemon Clarifying Shampoo, plus a Jason shampoo reviewed previously...what I do is mix them together, depending on my mood)...but it'll be one of:

  • Kiss My Face shampoo. They have two I have my eye on, Whenever and Big Body. Whenever smells slightly better...intense, natural lime...where Big Body sounds a bit closer to what my hair needs, but either will do.

  • Alba Plumeria Replenishing Hair Wash. This narrowly edged out their Honeydew Hair Wash for scent.

Neither of these has your SLS or parabens, from what I can tell. The former has become not uncommon but the latter is new and not that easy to find yet.

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Etro Gomma and Royal Pavillon
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 1:26 PM (Eastern)

After considerable thought...I'll say no on the Gomma. Imo it's worth trying. If your body chemistry doesn't bring out that sourish note, it would be a fantastic scent. I can smell the fabulousness underneath it...what's not to like about jasmine, leather and some odd citrus fruits? For me though, it is not quite "it."

Lemon Sorbet goes on the "maybe" list.

Next up: JennyB's Royal Pavillon. This is something I've smelled only sprayed on a card. Even on a card though, it smelled rather heavenly. (Not unlike the new Givenchy scent, Ange Ou Demon, which I also have samples of and have also smelled only sprayed on a card).

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Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #3
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, September 01, 2006 5:18 PM (Eastern)

This is so weird. I was just about to write an official nay for Etro Gomma. Too sour, too strong, too...goth. Sort of an eau de basement.

But now it smells good. The sour note wears off after a while. This is the combination I was smelling yesterday.

Gomma is a hard scent to rec based on all this. I think it depends heavily on your body chemistry. If you don't bring out the sour note, by all means...I can see it would become a nice, clean, dry scent.

Lemon Sorbet, on the other hand, is more universal.

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October 11, 2006 7:45 PM, Blogger Dain said...

It may be that it's supposed to be sprayed very lightly at a distance? I've found one of my favorites this way, Caron Parfum Sacre.

October 27, 2006 3:56 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

It could be that. I've gotten good results using only a tiny bit of Alien by Thierry's a weird perfume but it works in moderation.

Gomma though...I dunno. That "eau de wet basement" note is hard to deal with.

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Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 3:06 PM (Eastern)

Today I am wearing both of these just to see if yesterday's blend works. don't smell the Lemon Sorbet itself much, but it does seem to knock off that sour, almost dank edge of Gomma. Makes me think the Etro lab guy simply forget to mix the two vials together. Okay that is not fair; Lemon Sorbet stands on its own as a pleasant, dry lemon-herbal scent. Gomma stands on its own as a goth fragrance I would suppose. Together the Gomma is bearable, yet somehow the pairing isn't as good as I'd thought it would be. Bearable and even pleasant, but not "bottle-worthy" just yet.

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