Notes from the Editors of The Lipstick Page Forums: A Dedication to the Art of Beauty and Fashion.

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On This Page
· The Weekend Blogger: Bit of hauling
· Beauty Notes: Bumble and Bumble Super Rich Conditioner
· Just Notes: What I've been into, lately
· Beauty Notes: Cate Blanchett's hair
· Beauty Notes: Our own video!
· Beauty Notes: Adventures in home hair color
· Update on Giovanni Cosmetics Tea Tree Triple Treat shampoo
· Beauty Notes: Indian Rapunzels, chopstick buns, updos & wet hair
· How to do a french twist
· Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo, part 3
· Couple of indie links
· Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo, part 2
· Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo
· Best shampoo without sulfates
· Update on biotin for hair loss
· Hairstyle picture gallery websites
· Shampoo vs. conditioner
· Price vs. value
· Update on biotin for thin hair
· Favorite "high end" beauty products
· Favorite "budget" beauty products
· Latest sulfate-free shampoo venture; cheap beauty products in general
· Beauty breakthroughs
· Sulfate *and* paraben free shampoo sighted at Trader Joe's
· Random beauty ramblings
· Biotin for hair loss
· More on sulfate and paraben free hair products
· Etro and more on natural hair products
· Sulfate and paraben free shampoos

· June 29, 2008 12:08 AM by Blogger Dain
· June 29, 2008 2:20 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· April 24, 2008 4:16 PM by Blogger Dain
· April 24, 2008 10:16 PM by Blogger EZE
· August 30, 2008 6:40 AM by Blogger mack
· January 31, 2008 2:54 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 31, 2008 5:08 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 31, 2008 5:52 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 31, 2008 7:36 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 31, 2008 7:50 PM by Blogger Dain
· February 1, 2008 2:43 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· February 2, 2008 4:39 AM by Blogger Dain
· February 2, 2008 2:34 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· February 2, 2008 4:14 PM by Blogger Dain
· February 2, 2008 5:16 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· February 2, 2008 8:15 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 9, 2008 1:57 AM by Blogger Dain
· January 9, 2008 2:28 AM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 9, 2008 2:33 AM by Blogger Dain
· January 3, 2008 4:45 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 3, 2008 9:52 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 3, 2008 11:10 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· September 17, 2007 10:02 AM by Blogger Dain
· July 24, 2007 11:30 PM by Blogger Dain
· June 8, 2007 1:58 PM by Blogger cmm
· June 8, 2007 6:31 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· June 11, 2007 7:02 AM by Blogger Katherine
· June 11, 2007 7:57 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi

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The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog

The Weekend Blogger: Bit of hauling
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, June 28, 2008 11:47 PM (Eastern)

I shop rather strategically now; long gone are the days of carefree middle-class browsing. An item is either astronomically expensive, requiring months, even years, of planning to acquire, or else it tends to be junk, worth less than the space it occupies. It's truly an art to figure out where to shop, and to emerge with something of value, without blowing half a week's paycheck over it.

This time I went to a b & m bead shop, something I don't do often anymore. But sometimes it's worth the markup to be able to choose individual beads, particularly for earrings. I got some carnelian and some jade beads. I had this odd impulse to make red earrings, and I've wanted for some time to use green jade for something.

On to our local health food store, where I repurchased Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream. Normally the price would have been a tad appalling, but I tried this out first as a sample, loved it, bought a full sized tube, found it lasted five months and noticeably improved my acne-prone skin. I felt it was a good purchase.

On a bit of an impulse, I also bought a Zia pressed powder compact. I'm almost out of my traditional MAC Blot pressed, and was planning on the trek out to the MAC counter to repurchase it, but if this stuff works, I'd rather buy it instead. I've long fallen out of love with MAC in general, so the Back to MAC isn't much of an incentive to me anymore, plus the customer service at our local MAC Counter isn't much of an encouragement to go there. The first two ingredients listed are mica and cornstarch. I've used Zia liquid foundation for years, to make tinted sunscreen, so I'm fairly optimistic about the powder prospect.

Finally, I picked up Avalon Organics Lavender shampoo, since I had run out of their Lemon Clarifying one. The Lavender is more moisturizing, but then I often use two shampoos anyway--a little tea tree oil shampoo on my scalp (Giovanni, but I'm thinking of trying the Paul Mitchell one when that runs out), and a different one on the rest of my hair (it's not as complicated as it sounds, just slap on a bit of one and a bit of the other, and lather).

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Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
2 comment(s)  
June 29, 2008 12:08 AM, Blogger Dain said...

I want to try those Avalon Organics now. I really need to get myself to a Whole Foods soon, and root around the products section.

June 29, 2008 2:20 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

There's a lot of bath & body at health food stores...and some of it is really good. Some of it is bad--Jason shampoos are terrible, imo, and Kiss My Face is only eh.

Avalon, Alba Hawaiian, Giovanni, Nature's Gate Organics...all good. There's one I always look at called Desert Essence. It costs a bit more but it smells stupendous.

I rotate shampoos, since I wash my hair every day. Otherwise there's no way to prevent buildup. I like to have three shampoos in the shower at a given time, and two conditioners. :D

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Beauty Notes: Bumble and Bumble Super Rich Conditioner
Posted by EZE, Thursday, April 24, 2008 2:08 PM (Eastern)

I noticed there haven't been any Bumble and Bumble reviews on this blog, and I thought that was a real shame. B&B is a treat for me to use. It is the one hair care line that I have consistently used and that has provided a real turnaround for my hair.

I have a full head of very course, thick, wavy, dry hair. It has previously been a nightmare for me to deal with, and even now, the waves will only ever do what they want to do. For a long time, I've had a very short haircut similar to the way Winona Ryder wore her hair in the 90s. It suited me, and having almost no hair was the only way I could figure out how to deal with it.

After having tried Sumotech with great results, I picked up a bottle of Super Rich Conditioner. It is the single conditioner that gave me results with the first use. My hair was significantly softer, and after the first two or three weeks of use, it was the healthiest and most nourished that it's ever been. I truly never thought my hair could be this soft. I think all the beauty articles are right (this time): the more you spend on your hair, the better the results will be.

There are several reasons why this conditioner trumps every other one I've used. It contains no silicones, which make my hair lovely and smooth, but even drier than before. Silicones are the equivalent of two steps forward, three steps back. They are the wolf in sheep's clothing. It's an incredibly rich, thick formula. I cannot abide by a runny or milky conditioner. Every single conditioner with a thin consistency has only dried out my hair more. I think the fact that it only has a few ingredients in it makes a difference, too. As with skin, hair doesn't need to be pummeled into submission with thirty different kinds of alcohols and parabens. It only needs a few ingredients that actually work.

Super Rich contains shea butter. I can't really say whether that's what's working for me or not. I've never tried any other hair products with shea butter to compare it with.

I will also say the reason I started using Bumble and Bumble products to begin with is the packaging. I'm a huge design fan. When given the choice, I would gladly decorate my bathroom with beautifully packaged products. B&B's products look something like a cross of sumi-e and urban minimalism. They're right for now, though if the packaging isn't redesigned in a few years, it will probably look passe.

Image courtesy of Amazon.

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Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
3 comment(s)  
April 24, 2008 4:16 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Cool. I've been curious about this product for a few years now, but I never took the plunge, because it's so expensive. Though I hear it's much more cost-effective when you buy it by the liter. Have you tried the Gentle Shampoo?

April 24, 2008 10:16 PM, Blogger EZE said...

I haven't tried it. I have tried the Seaweed shampoo and it dried my hair out. Creme de Coco (?) shampoo is all right, though.

I don't think the price is too bad. It's not great - $20 for 8 oz. - but it's a concentrated formula. The liters are definitely a better deal. They're just so big that I find them vaguely intimidating. I start panicking: "When will I ever use this much conditioner?" :)

August 30, 2008 6:40 AM, Blogger mack said...

i hear it's cost-effective and good for i have tried it and now i am using it..its good for hair..

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Just Notes: What I've been into, lately
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, February 22, 2008 6:18 PM (Eastern)


As much as Jean Patou's Joy perfume was created in 1930 to combat the Great Depression, it doesn't smell exuberant to me. I get the American-ness of the rose, but it is also an English rose, and the jasmine only makes it smell more like an English-flavored East Coast garden. After breathing Montale's Middle Eastern rose and jasmine for months, this has a nostalgic edge for me; a scent to bridge past and present, motherland and U.S. Like Patou's Sublime, Joy went immediately to my wish list.

I can admit I think in terms of houses when I think of perfume. For years, Givenchy was my house. I wore Organza, and had little vials of Extravagance, Organza Indecence, Amarige, and Ysatis (didn't like Ysatis though). Tried "new" L'Interdit, Hot Couture, up to Very Irresistible...but at one point, I felt the house of Givenchy had modernized far too much.

Montale has been my house since last year, owing to their Middle Eastern essences, swirled together with a slight French edge.

Patou, I've finally put a finger on more emotional in appeal than either Givenchy or Montale. I just felt a jolt of happiness smelling Sublime after all these years (ten, easily, likely more). It was like a friendly smile. Joy to me dates back decades; I'm fuzzy as to when I smelled it before (Virginia, East Coast, a perfume for ladies with pocketbooks and compacts). Yet there is the same radiant warmth of that friendly smile.

chain samples

(Not to scale.) One of my local bead shops closed down, more than a year ago, and I've yet to replace it with another brick & mortar shop. The markup around here, outside that one shop, is terrible. I gave up, and began the search for good etailers.

l'oreal mega blondes haircolor

This stuff worked out pretty well. I'm not even sure I miss my L'Oreal Feria. Preference Mega Blondes has its own have to be more careful applying it, since it lifts more than Feria. I fried the top layer of my hair when I first used it. Well it didn't come out crispy, exactly, just lighter than I'd wanted. Fortunately I've cut at least four inches off the bottom of my hair over the past few weeks, so it doesn't matter.

dr. hauschka #09 lipstick Dolce

Dr. Hauschka's #09 lipstick (Dolce). More versatile than their #01 Amoroso lipstick, which is too much color for my etiolated winter skin. Dolce is perhaps a tad too warm to truly be my grail, yet there is the niceness of it: tasty natural ingredients, pleasant heavy gold-colored case, overall lip conditioning. Thinking of replacing this with their Adagio lipstick (#07), which is a sort of complex pink, though I'll probably use up Amoroso first (at the rate Dolce is going, it should last well into summer).

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Beauty Notes: Cate Blanchett's hair
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, January 31, 2008 1:23 AM (Eastern)

cate blanchett at the 14th annual sag awards

Simple, yet indelible. Cate may not have seen much gelt at the 14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, but surely she was a monument to elegance. (Related photos may be found on

Even as I'm straining to get a better view of her jewelry--earrings with vivid green stones (and in other pics, a bracelet beaded with stones resembling rough rubies)--and her swank Balenciaga maternity(!) gown--what really pulls this look together is the hair. Instead of overshadowing, the way a typical awards-show updo would have done, this style is a golden frame around eyes, glowing complexion, simple makeup and deep green jewels. Imagine a stuffier hairstyle with the exact same gown and jewelry, and it's instantly aging.

Now onto the press release and products:

MATRIX Celebrity Hairstylist Dishes on Cate Blanchett's Soft Waves

Even though she didn't bring home any statuettes last night at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Cate Blanchett kicked off awards season looking radiant on the red carpet with soft, beautiful waves that brought out her natural beauty and pregnant glow. MATRIX celebrity stylist, Mark Townsend, was the man behind the look and has the scoop on how to get this simple yet beautiful hairstyle.

Townsend has been working with Blanchett for nearly four years, so it doesn't take long for the pair to decide on the perfect style for big red carpet events. As soon as Cate tried on her stunning Balenciaga gown for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the entire fashion and beauty team agreed that her hair should be down and simple so as not to overpower her intricate gown. To achieve the look, Mark first took Cate's damp hair and applied Biolage Hydro-Foaming Styler all over to add a little texture, and then blow-dried her hair with a medium round brush. When the hair was completely dry, Mark used a one inch HAI Elite curling iron, taking random sections of hair from one to three inches in size sections of hair, and wrapping them around the iron. According to Mark — the trick to getting perfect waves and curls is to never actually open the iron, just wrap the hair around it while closed. When finished, Mark rubbed Biolage smooththérapie Smoothing Serum in the palms of his hands and raked it through Cate's hair to soften the curls into soft, loose waves and blend the curled pieces with the straighter pieces of hair. To finish, Mark used Biolage Complete Control Hairspray to softly set the look so it lasted all night.

biolage products

Mark's Product Picks:
Biolage Hydro-Foaming Styler, $14
Biolage smooththérapie Smoothing Serum, $14
Biolage Complete Control Hairspray, $15

Cate image courtesy

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11 comment(s)  
January 31, 2008 2:54 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Hm, it looks a little messy and matted to me, but I agree that the first thing you notice are those vivid green earrings. My first thought was, "Oy, great color on her." I adore Cate Blanchett, truly one of the finest actresses we have today. It makes me really angry to think Gwyneth Paltrow got the oscar that one time for Shakespeare in Love and it's like, PALTROW!!!? HOLLYWOOD NEPOTISM!

January 31, 2008 5:08 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Weeellll...I saw Shakespeare in Love. It was good, there's no doubt about it. Most American actors can't do English accents, for the same reason English actors usually end up doing American Southern accents--there isn't quite such a thing as a generic English or American accent. The only way to emulate is to choose a specific region, and that takes more time to study.

There is a definite "shmooze factor" in Hollywood. Spike Lee always got passed over. It's not a reflection of the quality of work by any means.

January 31, 2008 5:52 PM, Blogger Dain said...

It's a fine movie, but the day that they pass up Cate Blanchett in favor of Paltrow is the day I stopped watching the Academy Awards.

January 31, 2008 7:36 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

To me it's like a soccer game anyway...unless you're hanging out with a bunch of people and drinking beer, there isn't much point watching the entire show. You can always catch the highlights later on. :)

There's a stone called chrome diopside that looks sort of like those earrings--at least it does on the Net. I've never seen it in real life.

January 31, 2008 7:50 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Yeah, they've been giving the wrong awards to the wrong people since the very beginning, eh? Judy Garland never got hers for A Star is Born and neither did Bette Davis for either All About Eve or Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Perhaps malachite might do? I know it's a deeper green, but...

Hm, the box I sent you should arrive in a week. I've included to tiny pearls, perhaps they could go atop a deep purpley amethyst in a similar style, though perhaps less dramatic. And in gold, since that would match better.

February 1, 2008 2:43 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I did a little digging, there wasn't much info about the green earrings on the Net. Unusual, since part of the point of having celebs wear jewelry is to publicize the jeweler. I found one article which said they were "natural jade and diamond." That's some jade!

February 2, 2008 4:39 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Playing with color combinations:
rose quartz + labradorite
lavender amethysts + amber (I like the idea of this one)
deep pink + rich blue (good on a brunette, I think)

February 2, 2008 2:34 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Ya know, the more I'm doing this, the more complicated it seems to get. Odd, because I always thought it would get simpler. The mechanical aspect of making the stuff has definitely become far easier, but the design part just gets deeper and deeper.

February 2, 2008 4:14 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I think that's probably true of anything. Look at people who design clothes, for chrissakes. Karl Lagerfeld sends a model down the runway in a denim bra and everyone's like, "Oh, that Karl. He really knows how to demonstrate the French attitude for play. Of course, he's genius. I love him."

February 2, 2008 5:16 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Eh...people can become lazy once they become successful. They tried much harder when they still had to struggle. It can backfire though. People get bored if you keep churning out the same old thing, no matter how prestigious your name has become.

It is odd though...before, I thought, all I have to do is get good at the mechanics, and come up with a few really good "templates." Then just plug in different stones. lol I have yet to be able to do that. Each stone and cut and size seems to require its own design. I suppose I should see it that way...start with the stones, then figure out what to do with them.

February 2, 2008 8:15 PM, Blogger Dain said...

What I found intriguing about jewelry design is how it's not intuitive, in a sense. You take a little bit but you can use it many, many ways. That's kind of cool, in the sense that I've always really liked jigsaw puzzles. Jewelry design is rather like that to some degree.

But I'll admit I find the idea of color combination with stones more intriguing. I mean, it's a little like playing with makeup colors, and in some sense, you need to have the stuff on hand to get a good sense, but that seems like the easiest, fun part. (Not the mechanics, poo!)

I was in Jo-Ann fabrics the other day getting a clasp for the pearl strand, and I noticed that these cloudy lavender beads would really work well with amber drops. They contrast perfectly with each other, and yet, they are slightly unexpected, no? It's interesting to me because you want the piece to look, somehow, whole, at a glance, so that you can wear them and not have to think about it too much. And yet, they should have some excellence as you draw closer in.

Ehhh... that's making no sense. Like a NARS duo. Lol.

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Beauty Notes: Our own video!
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, January 08, 2008 3:51 PM (Eastern)

Home hair color stuff

I had to figure out a way of converting analog tape (VHS and mini DV) to digital. I got the device (it's monumentally simple, all you need is either the red, yellow and white cable connection, or S-video) and tried it out on a mini DV camcorder.

The capture is straightforward, but the editing software (Pinnacle) requires more memory than I have on this computer. Not to has a patch (which you must download, since it doesn't work if you don't)...less memory makes the program slightly slower when you're running it, but as you can see, it does work.

This is what I switched to when L'Oreal discontinued the only light beige shade of the Feria color liquids. It's supposed to lift four levels, not the customary two or three, and these people aren't kidding. The color looks dark when it's still in your hair, but my hair came out lighter than I was planning on. Oh well, live and learn.

I haven't bought color kits in years; not only are the components much cheaper, you can easily mix the exact amount you need.

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3 comment(s)  
January 9, 2008 1:57 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Hehehe... Pleased to meet you!

January 9, 2008 2:28 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

lol! Yeah, I think it is kind of weird to see someone on video after all these years. :)

I hope to make more useful videos at some point; I think the potential for them has yet to be reached. Much of what you see is formulaic. I like Asian Beauty Blog's stuff, Pursebuzz, Michelle Phan...I can't think of too many others in the non-corporate category.

January 9, 2008 2:33 AM, Blogger Dain said...

I thought the same thing... There might be a lot of possibilities in this.

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Beauty Notes: Adventures in home hair color
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, January 03, 2008 3:25 PM (Eastern)

loreal mega blonde developerloreal mega blonde color liquid

So L'Oreal discontinued one of the Feria color liquids I've used for some years. I tried buying it twice: the first time, I thought it was out of stock, but the second, I asked and discovered they weren't going to reorder it. mumbles... (You can purchase developer and color liquids a la carte at beauty supply shops such as Sally's.)

I could either search the four corners of the Earth seeking this liquid (it was the sole beige amongst the lightest Feria shades), or I could switch to something else, so I got Preference Mega-Blondes instead. This involved a different developer and proportions, so I also picked up an inexpensive plastic bottle with the pointy cap, and half-ounce markings on the side.

It's what I'm doing right now! Please keep your fingers crossed for me. The only time I ever switched formulas mid-roots was when I went from Preference to Feria to begin with, and Feria does have a reputation for being difficult to color over. Since I'm just doing the roots, in theory it should work.

images courtesy

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3 comment(s)  
January 3, 2008 4:45 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

This is amazing, it won't publish.

January 3, 2008 9:52 PM, Blogger Dain said...

That's too bad. I hate it when companies discontinue stand-bys. Maybe it is a sign to explore a new color? Far be it from me to divert anyone from a signature hairstyle, as I've been wearing the same bangs for years, but might as well take a fortuitous turn to cosmetic disasters, I dare say.

January 3, 2008 11:10 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I tried out the Mega Blondes today...I had it in my hair when I was writing the post. :) It seems to have come out well.

The thing is to see how long the color lasts. Feria lasted better on me than Preference, but then I never tried Mega Blondes, and it's been years since I used Preference anyway. It could have been reformulated.

I think with L'Oreal, they almost always replace whatever they "discontinue" with something very similar. It gives you less reason to switch brands even though you have to go through the aggravation. But if they keep this up, I'm thinking of trying Wella instead. I've read on various boards they have superior haircolor, particular for red.

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Update on Giovanni Cosmetics Tea Tree Triple Treat shampoo
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, November 02, 2007 7:06 PM (Eastern)

I started using this back in July, because I had a slight, yet persistent, itchiness on top of my head. It was either tea tree oil shampoo or Nizoral; they both are purported to work on the same principle, that scalp itch can be caused by a fungus that normally lives on the scalp. Too much of this fungus = itchiness. Hence the idea of using tea tree oil or Nizoral to kill the excess fungus.

I didn't particularly want to try Nizoral. I'm not knocking it, but it is expensive, and I've gravitated toward more natural beauty products over the years, having found them more effective over the long run.

The Giovanni shampoo didn't work at first, not even for the first couple of weeks. I wasn't expecting that and pretty much gave up on it working. I'd already bought the three-pack at Costco:

It's a decent shampoo in its own right, I'd already paid for it, what the heck... I continued using it.

That's when it started to work. It took about a month to show results, but it did actually get rid of the itch. That's no small potatoes; I'd had that slight itch for a long time. It seems to me every winter my scalp would act up. (And I have noticed that anti-itch shampoo ads tend to turn up every winter as well, like the Neutrogena one.)

I suppose I could have gone straight to Nizoral or other more conventional anti-itch shampoos, but it doesn't bother me to integrate a tea tree oil shampoo into my routine. The price is very reasonable if you can find the three-pack at Costco, otherwise I would recommend looking online.

One of the selling points of Nizoral is that you need not use it for every shampoo. I have gotten the best results using tea tree oil shampoo each time, but I've also played around alternating it with other shampoos. It's possible to not use it for a few days--your scalp does not immediately become itchy again. I'm keeping an eye on it though, to see if longer-term use means having to use it less frequently.

Since trying this, I've also seen recommendations for a Paul Mitchell tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner on other boards, so that might be another option.

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Beauty Notes: Indian Rapunzels, chopstick buns, updos & wet hair
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, September 27, 2007 4:56 PM (Eastern)

I can't for the life of me do anything sophisticated with my hair. I've concluded there is hairstyle dyslexia, and I have it, in spades.

However, if you have the dexterity and the locks, there is an abundance of hairstyle how-to's on Youtube.

Long Hair Bun - Indian Rapunzels

This is from a site which touts itself as "the long hair site of India." Here we have astoundingly long, lush hair, fashioned into a neat bun.

How to: use hair chopsticks

This looks a bit more my speed. Fellow hair klutzes will appreciate the detailed step-by-step instructions our hostess has written up on the Youtube site.

Hair Trick

The single chopstick version. My hair is not long enough to do this, I just thought it looked cool. (You'll note the first step is the same as in video #1, only with a different length of hair involved.)

How to make the latest updo hairstyles

This is from Nexxus; they have several how-to videos up. It's not exactly what I'd call an updo, but it is a nice evening hairstyle for a young girl.

From Wet Hair to Done Hair in 5 Min

Finally, Pursebuzz demonstrates some of my favorite hair concepts: what to do with wet hair (other than blowdrying it of course); how to achieve fullness with no, or very minimal, teasing; specific product recs (always a bonus); and getting out of the house quickly, yet in style.

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How to do a french twist
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, September 16, 2007 9:32 PM (Eastern)

French Twist

I haven't tried this hair isn't as long, although it is longer than it has been in years. What I liked was her idea of using two smaller "claw" barrettes to hold the twist. Regular french twist combs have never worked for me...I have all the slipperiness of Asian hair, without the thickness (mumbles)... The closest I've come to a genuine french twist involved tonloads of supersized bobby pins.

There are lots of "how to" hair tutorials on youtube btw.

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September 17, 2007 10:02 AM, Blogger Dain said...

I like a big hairclip. I don't have any luck with anything else because I have too much hair. It's sturdier than anything else.

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Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo, part 3
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, July 25, 2007 2:21 PM (Eastern)

Come to mama!

giovanni shampoo and conditioner

Guess I'll get to try the conditioner as well. Found this little gem of a three-pack at Costco; each bottle is 25 oz. The works was about $18.

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Couple of indie links
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, July 24, 2007 6:09 PM (Eastern)

Fragrant Fripperies Fragrance Decant & Sample service

I haven't tried them; however, if you're looking for perfume samples, might be the way to go.

Sweetpeacurli's Silly Little Site

I realize I linked to this earlier, when it was still called Sweetpeacali's Haircare Guide. As the name has changed, I'm linking to it again. Still one of the most comprehensive listings of sulfate-free shampoos and silicone-free conditioners.

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July 24, 2007 11:30 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Ooo... that's great, the perfume sampling site. They have pretty much everything you'd ever want to sample.

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Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo, part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, July 20, 2007 7:25 PM (Eastern)

Okay I tried this again (see my previous endeavor), the day after coloring my hair.

It's much much better. Yesterday the shampoo felt almost burning on my scalp...likely from the peppermint oil in it, but tea tree oil is also quite strong. Today it was more like "mouthwash for your hair," more on the tingly side, not burning.

I'm still using trusty L'Oreal Feria deep conditioner (the kind you can buy a la carte at beauty supply stores), which works fantastically to "de-straw" newly colored hair.

As with all hair conditioners, it's far better for my hair than it is for my scalp. With my daily conditioner, I never put it near my scalp. When I deep condition, post-coloring, I use the Feria all over my hair the first day, and less of it over the several following days, then I stop using it until I color again.

My point being, it's too soon to say whether the Giovanni shampoo, with its belt o' tea tree oil, is going to make my scalp less itchy and irritated. Even without the Feria factor, I would still give it at least a week to judge either way, based on my prior experience with shampoos.

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Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, July 19, 2007 2:54 PM (Eastern)

giovanni tea tree triple treat shampooI freely confess to being a shampoo whore. Even though I can settle down with a single daily conditioner, for years, I always like to try different shampoos.

That said, I have repurchased the same shampoo (most recently, the twin Alba Botanica Hawaiian shampoos in Honeydew and Plumeria). If I like it well enough, I will repurchase it. The idea of trying the Giovanni one has to do with itchy scalp.

I don't regard myself as having sensitive skin, particularly, and usually, switching shampoos for a while is enough to get rid of any scalp itchiness. But lately, no matter which shampoo I use, I've had this annoying slight itchiness on my head. Nothing wads of hair falling out, no flakes, nothing actually moving there (sorry so gross, I'm just saying)...just this sort of minor, persistent itch.

So, I decided to try a tea tree oil shampoo. I have used pure tea tree oil before, as an acne treatment. I'll have to say there is something to is antibacterial...but I maintain that acne is a creature best treated from within...what you eat, primarily, and vitamins. Plus, pure tea tree oil has a strong, medicinal smell that's not very pleasant.

What attracted me to the Giovanni shampoo was not the packaging (it's pretty crappy), or even the name (there's been a rumor circulating for months that Trader Joe's Nourish shampoo is the same as Giovanni's, only way cheaper). It was partly that the Nature's Gate Organics tea tree oil shampoo I was going to check out wasn't on the shelf, and partly from reading Giovanni's impressive ingredients list (tea tree oil is #2 on the list, and no sulfates). And Giovanni was clever enough to dose the shampoo with peppermint oil (#3 on the list), to drown out the medicinal scent of the tea tree oil.

This baby is expensive for how little shampoo there is; I paid $7.95 for 8.5 oz. (it's cheaper online of course). But if it works, it's a good price.

I've tried it the once: holy peppermint, Batman! It is very strongly pepperminty. If you have a sensitive scalp, I'm not sure this would work for you. I had just colored my hair, so it could have been that too, but at first blush, this thing almost burns on the scalp...then it gets better...then it fades out. Hm, interesting.

The packaging really sucks! I found it difficult to open, then more shampoo came out than I'd expected. I suppose the flat bottle shape would be handy for fitting into small shower spaces.

So is interesting. I have a teeny bit of itch, but by now, I should have a genuine one. As I say, I just colored my hair, and I use L'Oreal Feria deep conditioner afterwards, over the following several days. The Feria is the best thing ever for freshly colored hair; you don't get "straw hair," but it is a bit irritating to my scalp.

I'll post more about this shampoo as I use it.

image courtesy

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Best shampoo without sulfates
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, June 13, 2007 1:56 AM (Eastern)

I managed to do a spot of shopping today. Bought two shampoos...which, for a shampoo ho, amounts to a whole hill of shampoo.

Both were repurchases, actually (again, highly unusual for said shampoo ho): Alba Hawaiian Hair Washes, Plumeria and Honeydew, one of each.

images courtesy

I've used other sulfate-free shampoos...Avalon Organics Lemon clarifying shampoo and Queen Helene Mint Julep shampoo (waves to Carol) are good. Kiss My Face Whenever shampoo was okay but I don't think I would repurchase. Jason Vitamin E shampoo smelled great, but ultimately I didn't like made my hair color look funny, I suppose it left a residue of some sort on it. (These are all reviewed in the Shampoo category of our Online Beauty Reviews site btw.)

Of all I've tried, few have I ever repurchased. The Alba Hawaiian ones are genuinely worthy, as follows:
  1. They smell divine, with a strong, natural fragrance.

  2. They lather decently, pretty much like a regular "sulfate shampoo."

  3. They're not cheap (the way Queen Helene Mint Julep shampoo is), but they're still affordable; you don't need to use gobs o' shampoo at a pop.

  4. They clean well without stripping or doing that funny thing to colored hair.

  5. They leave hair soft and manageable.

  6. They're pretty good at not building up.

All in all a pleasure to use. I can't wait to wash my hair tomorrow!

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Update on biotin for hair loss
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, June 07, 2007 9:17 PM (Eastern)

It's been about nine months since I started taking a biotin supplement for my (lifelong) thin hair: The LPF Beauty Blog biotin page

There is a definite difference. I don't have gobs of hair, but I feel my hair is noticeably thicker, in the sense that I don't feel that self-conscious about it anymore.

I went back and tried to find something in the way of "before and after" pictures, here goes:

April 7, 2006

May 8, 2007

I realize it's not a perfect comparison, since I don't have a recent photo with my hair worn the same way as before, and I'm too lazy to take one now--I've had my hair up all day since I washed it, so it would look funny. But I will take a good picture at the one-year fact remind me, I'll take the one-year picture at the same location too (I took the pic on the left by putting the camera inside a microwave oven).


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June 8, 2007 1:58 PM, Blogger cmm said...

It does look good!
Did you happen to notice any difference in the growth rate? Did it grow any faster? I'm always wanting my hair to grow FASTER. Maybe if I'd stop chopping it off all the time. :-\

I'm horrible at remembering to take any pills, I'm impressed with your stick-to-it-tivity.

I don't need anymore hair, but I do want it longer.

June 8, 2007 6:31 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Thanks! :)

Nope, I have not noticed my hair growing faster (which is good for me, since that would just mean more root touch-ups and haircuts :D ). I have seen several people post on other boards, that their hair grew faster while taking biotin, so I'll guess it's pretty much individual.

I'm so bad at remembering to take pills, that I made it my New Year's Resolution this year--to remember to take my vitamins and also not get two-inch roots? :p

June 11, 2007 7:02 AM, Blogger Katherine said...

You look great in your May 8 pic :)

June 11, 2007 7:57 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Hi Katherine,

Thanks! That's very nice of you to say.

My daughter took the May 8 picture...hmmm...I'd say the biotin supplement helped some with my eyebrows too. I have those Asian "why bother?" eyebrows, they've always been on the thin side, but I feel they've filled out at least a bit lately.

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Hairstyle picture gallery websites
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, May 11, 2007 2:07 AM (Eastern)

I've often recommended this beauty board chestnut: UKHairdressers. Don't remember when or even where I got the link. But it's easily the most comprehensive website I've seen for modern hairdos that range from practical to cutting edge.

On another board, got this new link for some Asian hairstyles: Rasysa Hairstyle Gallery. It's in Japanese, but enough English to navigate with.

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Shampoo vs. conditioner
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, April 11, 2007 12:30 PM (Eastern)

Nature's Gate Herbal daily conditionerA post on a beauty board got me to thinking. I've been a shampoo 'ho for years...even when I find a nice one, such as Alba Hawaiian Plumeria or Honeydew shampoo, or Avalon Organics Lemon clarifying, my eye invariably wanders, toward the end of the bottle.

But when it comes to hair conditioners, I'm suddenly next to being a nun. Conditioners are harder to find than shampoos. Or I should say, products that remain on your hair or skin are more important than those that merely wash and then leave.

I've been going with Nature's Gate Herbal hair conditioner a little over six months now. It's a bit tricky to use, in that only the scantest dab works. Too much feels like water but turns my hair greasy.

Before that I used Pantene Smooth & Sleek, Neutrogena Clean Volume, Infusium 23 daily (not the leave-in), Smash the Finisher (that goes back a ways--scroll down). That's about it, over the past nine years or so.

Will I remain with Nature's Gate? It does work. I color my hair (permanent), so it has to address dry ends. Yet my scalp is naturally oily, so it can't goop too much. I have no patience for comb-outs; won't do anything special with my hair, beyond using Feria deep conditioner over the several days after I color.

It worked even when I went on vacation to a tropical place (i.e. you wash your hair twice per day). No tangling, easy comb-out, no weigh-down, economical (and cheap), reasonably easy to find at a b & m store, no silicones even...see? I've already convinced myself to stay with it.

It's strongly scented; sniff the bottle before buying.

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Price vs. value
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, March 27, 2007 12:36 PM (Eastern)

A couple of recent incidents have made me reflect just beauty existence has become over the years.

Just as beauty boards may be blamed for many an impulse purchase, as well as many a "haul" (this is planned, but may include extraneous items, or else be an orgy of superfluousness...whatever), so they may be blamed for my next-to-obsessive strategic approach to buying, say, a bar of soap, or a bottle of shampoo.

Gone are the days when I would go to Target or Longs Drugs and simply choose the most interesting-looking product on the shelf. I don't think I've done that in years. I always consult my own experience (aka a "repurchase") or "the boards" first. If a product has been raved about enough on the boards...and by this, I mean it's been raved about by people I've heard of, like Edina Monsoon, or Lipstick Chick, or Rupa, or M...that might mean something. I'm not gonna list the people on my own board, since you need only go there (link at the top of this blog).

One of the incidents was, I was explaining to my son about the shampoos in the the Alba Hawaiian Plumeria shampoo was the fancy, expensive one (okay it's $9 for 12 oz.) that we use occasionally, because it's a great shampoo but costs too much to use all the time. The Queen Helene Mint Julep shampoo on the other hand, is $3+something for what amounts to nearly a gallon of shampoo--like a gallon of milk. The soap is the Bisous De Provence you get at Trader Joe's for about $3 (might have gone up some lately). This is a very hard milled soap, lasts a good long time, lathers nicely, not drying, smells terrific... My facial cleanser is that board gem, Johnson & Johnson Head to Toe Baby Wash.

We've got Jason Satin Shower Body Wash in there, Nature's Gate Herbal hair conditioner...outside I have Heather Loraine jojoba butter (which I reported on the board as a UEU, meaning I'd used it up, yet there remain little dibs and dabs of's lasting a month longer than I'd thought it would), Lab Series Age Rescue eye cream (damn good eye cream, tube lasts about a year), MAC Blot pressed powder, MAC Powerpoint eyepencils, Nars the Multiple in Malibu...

These are all, generally speaking, "expensive" items, save the Queen Helene shampoo and the J & J. They all cost more than comparable items. Why I buy them, is that they last a long time.

For example, I don't think I've owned a drugstore eyepencil that lasted more than a year. Two years would be a stretch. The pencils either turned rock hard, or else went crumbly. The Powerpoints I have, haven't changed much from when I bought them more than two years ago.

You could find cheaper soaps, but how long would they last? Would they dry your skin to the point that you needed to use lotion? (After having switched to Bisous De Provence, I didn't get itchy skin this winter.)

Continuity is also key...I've used the Lab Series eye cream since...just realized...2004. They did "reformulate" once (same cream, a dollar more), but that is far better than having to look for a new eye cream.

Conclusion: it is folly to base sales of beauty products on customer impulsiveness alone, in this era of the Internet. If consumers temporarily go mad and buy more makeup in a year or two than they'd bought their entire lives up to that point, so these same consumers evolve rapidly into much pickier buyers than ever before.

Picky buyers are like good lovers in that they are capable of intense, unshakable loyalty. If you treat them right, they'll remember you. They will buy your products again and again and again.

But if you treat them badly, with price spikes, frequently discontinued or limited edition products, and declining quality, don't be surprised if they go somewhere else.

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Update on biotin for thin hair
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, February 25, 2007 3:57 PM (Eastern)

Okay, I've been taking my biotin supplement faithfully for almost six months now.

Definitely, thicker hair. By this I don't mean it's thick--I've had hair on the thinner, flatter side as far back as I can remember--but it's noticeably thicker than it was before.

I still feel it will take a year before I see complete results. My hair doesn't grow quickly; in fact I don't want it to grow quickly, as I'm not growing it out. Rapid growth would mean nothing more to me than more maintenance. Ergo the year: that is how long I'm projecting it'll take before my new hair growth fully shows.

I'm trying 1000 mcg now after taking 2000 mcg for a while. If I don't notice any difference, it's not worth paying for the 2000 mcg dose.


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Favorite "high end" beauty products
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, February 16, 2007 8:28 PM (Eastern)

Conversely, some products are worth their higher price tag. The colors, staying power, texture, versatility, sometimes even the shelf life--I've had cheaper lipsticks and eyeshadows turn on me relatively quickly--all of these factors can make a more expensive item into a cheaper item in the long run.


  • Nars the Multiple in Malibu. The ideal blush in convenient stick form. Of course there are other shades, it's just that I find this neutral to slightly warm, bronze-kissed (yet not brown/muddy/dirty) medium rose shade ideal.

    I've observed that the majority of drugstore blushes fade more quickly than their department store counterparts. I'm not willing to touch up blush; time can be money too (plus you get a ginormous stick of color here; I've barely dented mine, considering I use it almost every day).

  • MAC Blot pressed powder. The grail powder for oily skin...I stopped using loose powder altogether after I tried this beauty board gem (although they do make a Blot loose powder, I haven't bothered trying it). Blots oil like a dream, doesn't darken, nor look caked, nor look orange. Not much coverage, but I prefer that since I use a foundation product.


  • Alba Botanica Honeydew Nourishing Hair Wash. Not majorly expensive, not cheap either (around $9 for 12 ounces). One of the nicest shampoos I've tried in a long time, won't wreck even frequently-washed hair, lathers decently for being a SLS-free product, smells wonderful. There's a Plumeria version of this also that I'll probably try next.


  • Perfumes in general...I have yet to find a lower priced perfume that I like. Of course even higher priced perfumes can fade quickly; I prefer stronger scents. The sole exception here might be Etro Heliotrope, which doesn't last as well as, say, Givenchy perfumes, but it makes up for it in being versatile. I've used Heliotrope as a layer with other perfumes, to stretch them out and add complexity and depth.

  • Dior eyeshadows. At $52, these quints ain't cheap. Still, if you wanted a single compact of shadows that would run the gamut from casual to formal, contain five shades at $10.40 each (ounce for ounce, cheaper than MAC), provide divine subtlety and coordination of color (thus removing the "shadow klutz" and "color blind" factors), this is your baby.

image courtesy
  • Nars eyeshadows. Here you have colors that may appear improbable. Particularly the duos, which add an unexpected combination to the existing improbability of the individual shades. Still, they work. I've had my duos for almost three years now. The quality hasn't changed; they still look terrific.

  • Chanel Hydrabase lipsticks. I'm starting to get into these; they're amazingly complex and intensely moisturizing (while the surface of the lipstick feels almost dry, my lips are very soft after the color wears off). Yes, they have a candied rose scent that may be a love-hate thing (try a sample before buying). But I like it, and I don't always like scented lipsticks.

    Another factor that's become increasingly important to me is--is there a word for it? I'm sick to the gills of limited edition and discontinued makeup. Perhaps the word is "longevity." I've kept an eye on Chanel for some months; they don't discontinue frequently. That's worth an extra $14 for me not having to go through the headache of finding a look-alike (I do use up lipsticks, being a reformed "lipstick ho").

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Favorite "budget" beauty products
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, February 15, 2007 4:26 PM (Eastern)

Call them "low end," "drugstore," "crap"--remember crap? no one calls it crap anymore. I even remember cr*p, as in "cr*p haul"...for those offended by the term "crap"!

Anyhow, I've long espoused being cheap. The more money you can save on your everyday basics, the more money you will have to spend on other things.

Here is my current list:

  • Johnson & Johnson Head to Toe Baby Wash (facial cleanser and brush wash, among other things). This is a beauty board classic and yes, you can still get two ginormous bottles of this at Costco for a reasonable price. Best for normal to oily skin.

  • Heather Loraine jojoba and the perfect moisturizer for my oily/combo, acne prone skin ($15 for a jar that has lasted more than two years).

  • daily multi-vitamin, for acne

  • home-made tinted sunscreen (liquid foundation mixed with sunscreen)


  • Queen Helene Mint Julep shampoo

  • Nature's Gate Herbal Hair Conditioner (daily) the $5 - $6 range, and a little goes a long way.

  • L'Oreal Feria color components at Sally's Beauty Supply or other beauty supply shops

  • L'Oreal Feria deep conditioner at Sally's Beauty Supply or other beauty supply shops

  • biotin supplement...being using this since September of last year, very happy with the results (noticeably less hair fallout)


  • Right Guard XTreme Sport solid deodorant in Cool Peak. It's a men's deodorant, but Cool Peak doesn't smell much one way or the other; it has a soft unisex scent. Lasts forever, works well (in fact might be too strong for sensitive skin), not much in the way of white residue...a "grail" product for me.


  • Milani "Golden Bronze" eyeshadow single

  • Neutrogena tinted lip balm in "Sunny"

  • Prestige waterproof automatic eyepencil in "Expresso"

  • Burt's Bees lip balm (yellow tube)

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Latest sulfate-free shampoo venture; cheap beauty products in general
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, January 03, 2007 1:57 AM (Eastern)

Thanks to our Carol, I have gotten into this product (drum roll):

Okay, it doesn't look fancy...that little picture resembles exactly how it looks in real life. No colorful packaging, no celeb endorsements, and it costs three dollars and change, for a pint bottle of concentrate that makes a gallon of shampoo (sorry for all the italics; the sheer gravity of this situation is only now beginning to sink in).

I've used it four times now. The first go-round, I tried the "less heavy" mix (one part concentrate to 15 parts water), and didn't care for how watery it came out. The second, I tried the "heavy mix" (one part concentrate to 7 parts water) and loved it. (This mix is like a regular shampoo that's on the thin side; can't see why you couldn't make it slightly thicker if you wanted to.)

It smells pleasant: soft spearmint, softly minty. Even if mint were not your thing, you'd probably like it.

It lathers acceptably (this can be a concern with sulfate-less shampoos), doesn't strip hair, doesn't weigh down...gently cleans. In fact my hair got softer after I'd used it a couple of times. Good for that "winter itchy scalp" thing; good to clarify your regular shampoo.

I got mine at Sallys Beauty Supply, as well.

What still hasn't completely sunk dirt cheap this great product really is. I'm trying to think of similar discoveries, sometimes termed "board lemmings," I have known. The list is short.

  1. Johnson & Johnson Head to Toe Baby Wash as facial cleanser, the ginormous two-bottle set at Costco.

  2. Jojoba butter. I'm still working my way through my 2004 jar of this.

  3. L'Oreal Feria haircolor components, again at Sallys Beauty Supply or other beauty supply shops. Get yourself a big bottle of creme developer, a couple of color liquids to custom-mix, and a big tube of...

  4. L'Oreal Feria Deep Conditioner. Use this over several days after coloring your hair; hair is as soft as it was before coloring.

  5. Nature's Gate Herbal Hair Conditioner. I use a glob the size of a quarter; it's very effective (and no silicones).

On the color cosmetics front, oh, Nars the Multiple qualifies. It costs a bum, sure, but it's a huge stick of color, it's complex, blends easily...I won't add it to the short list until I've had mine longer though.

MAC Powerpoint eyepencils qualify for me; mine have kept well for more than two years, they don't fade easily, they do sharpen easily, the colors are good (albeit not quite as sublime as the Eye Kohls, oh well).

Biotin in my experience is worth taking. Also the various things I've done for my acne.

I suspect this innocuous-looking shampoo may join the pantheon of the Economical and the Great, and become a Board Lemming. If you read about it here though, please bookmark this site. I found out about almost all of the above lemmings from The Lipstick Page.

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Beauty breakthroughs
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, November 17, 2006 1:08 AM (Eastern)

Once in a while, there comes along a beauty product that actually does change your life. Most of them don't, of course, but some of them do.

This has been on my mind for a while...because once such a product becomes part of your life, you tend to forget what your life was like before.

Here is my personal list of breakthrough products, starting with:

  1. Johnson & Johnson Head to Toe Baby Wash. This has been my facial cleanser for years, literally. It seems to me it was already a "board lemming" (something everyone on the beauty board has to own!) when I joined The Lipstick Page forum in 1998, and I tried it at that time.

    Why is this revolutionary? It is the perfect cleanser for my oily/combo, acne prone skin. It cleans without stripping (though I doubt it would work for dry skin; too astringent), removes makeup (at least the level of makeup I wear...I don't wear mascara, so I don't know if it works for that), does not irritate eyes--being baby wash--making it ideal for removing eye shadow and liner...has a light pleasant scent, is overall pleasant to use, no breakouts...and best of all, it is cheap. It comes in ginormous bottles at Costco...yes, the price has risen, but it's still a mere $10 for two huge bottles.

    And--if there needed to be an "and"--it's terrific for washing makeup brushes and puffs, hair brushes, I use it to wash out my haircolor bottles; any time you need a mild, yet effective, cleanser, there it is.

  2. A daily multi-vitamin. This has made a tremendous difference in my (acne prone) skin and overall well-being. Do some research...and, especially if you are of child-bearing age, consult your doctor before starting on a vitamin regimen.

  3. For acne: consider switching your birth control pill. Some are better than others. Some are horrible in fact. I've gotten the best results from Ortho Tricyclen and Yasmin.

  4. For acne: analyze your diet and check for allergies. My own acne is triggered by particular foods. If I eat a lot of beef that was raised with growth hormone, I'm sure to get blemishes and extra-oily skin. I've heard of people getting acne from allergies to foods such as tomatoes, citrus, or milk. I've heard of someone who got acne because she was allergic to parabens. Give it some thought, see what you're eating and what's in your environment.

  5. Jojoba butter/jojoba oil. The butter form is superior to the oil if you're going to use it as a night cream or moisturizer. The oil is better if you're going to mix it into something else, such as a tinted moisturizer or shampoo.

    This is my ideal moisturizer, and--like the J & J Head to Toe above--it is way cheap (I'm still working my way through my original jar), and the perfect thing for oily/combo, acne prone skin. I use it only at night (I don't use a moisturizer during the day) gets rid of flakes, makes my face feel nice and soft--not sinks in--and, it helps keep pores clear.

  6. MAC Blot pressed powder. Worth the $18 price tag (did I just say that?), if you have oil or shine to deal with.

    I didn't believe it either, until I tried it.

  7. For thin hair: a biotin supplement. Disclaimer: I am an ordinary person, not a medical professional. I've had thin hair the greater part of my life, I wrote it off as hereditary...but this stuff really does work. Here are some links for your perusal:
    Vitamins (BBC site)
    Treating Hair Loss Naturally (

  8. L'Oreal Feria deep conditioner. How did I ever live without this? I started out coloring my hair with Preference and used the Preference deep conditioner before, but I like the Feria one better...and you don't need to use the Feria kits to use the conditioner. Just buy it at Sallys Beauty Supply.

    This is "the cure for colored hair"...just use it after coloring, for the next few days. Your hair will feel as if it had never been colored, and ladies, I bleach. No crispy, crunchy hair here.

  9. Nars the Multiple in Malibu. Not necessarily ideal as a multi-purpose a lip color it's gorgeous, but imo too dry. As an eyeshadow it'll do, but I have better shadows. But oh, as a blush, it is perfect.

    I say this because I have been, by and large, far too lazy to put on blush. This cool stick form means I can grab it after I put on my tinted sunscreen, dab it once or twice on each cheek, blend with my fingers, voila! Done! Painless!

    Moreover, this somewhat bronzy, neutral rose color (if anything, it is ever so slightly warm) is perfect year round, because of the bronze. As my skin gets paler, this stuff looks more morphs into something of a bronzer. In summer the bronze fades into my tan and I'm left with a lovely rose blush.

  10. Nars Babylon duo eyeshadow. I still love this duo; it's foolproof. Okay, you have to be able to wear orange eyeshadow. If your coloring is cool, I don't think it would work. But for neutral-to-warm coloring, and green would work for any eye color, but it's stupendous with green or've gotta have it.

    I am of the opinion that there is a Nars eyeshadow duo for everyone. Babylon is mine but there are many more to choose from.

  11. Christian Dior Beige Massaï eyeshadow quint. This is the "subtle" version of Babylon; again it is ideal for green or blue eyes and neutral to warmer coloring. Instead of the shimmery tangerine of Babylon, you get a soft cantaloupe shade, along with a surprisingly useful creamy light shade (makes a divine wash), a neat shimmery terracotta shade (looks great with the creamy shade) and a couple of browns (look great with the cantaloupe shade).

    Likewise, I feel there is a Dior eyeshadow quint for everyone. These are $ so pick carefully, but you will get a lot of mileage out of it.

  12. MAC Permaplum Powerpoint eyepencil. By far my favorite eyeliner, both the's a deep, slightly blue-toned purple, with a smidge of (largely invisible) pink shimmer...and the formula, which neither smears nor fades (in fact it's a bit difficult to remove, be forewarned), holds a point perfectly, sharpens without crumbling (at least not yet, and I've owned mine for about two years), it hasn't turned hard yet, still goes on silky smooth... The color is quite versatile.

  13. MAC Lustre formula lipsticks. These are great, especially if you've been avoiding lipstick because most lipsticks look unnatural on you. The Lustres are sheer (the sheerness varies from shade to shade) and come in a range of wearable shades. Plus, MAC lipsticks taste faintly and pleasantly of vanilla, and you can do a Back to MAC (see Back to MAC and Back to MAC expanded for MAC freestanding stores). Plus, these wear quite well for being sheer and shiny.

  14. Chanel Hydrabase lipstick in Moiré. I dream about this lipstick. I do. I have a sample size of it; it's addictive.

    Note: some people hate the scent of this lipstick. I happen to love it, but, well, it's likely to be either love or hate, so you might want to try it before buying it.

    This has a rather strong, candied rose fragrance, which only makes it more addictive to me. The coverage is interestingly "medium" rather than "full" or "sheer." It really is medium. You get quite a bit of color, yet it's more forgiving than a full coverage lipstick.

    Moiré is many colors in one. It goes with everything and always looks right, from business/office/meeting to casual to festive. It's almost YLBB (Your Lips But Better) but it's more color than's got brick red, plum, rose, a neat little twist of fuchsia shimmer (as the shade name implies)'s on the warm side. If lipsticks easily turn orange on you, it may not do.

    It's nice and moisturizing, lasts well smearing or bleeding...feels light as a feather.

Oh I'm sure I'll think of something else right after I publish this.

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Sulfate *and* paraben free shampoo sighted at Trader Joe's
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, November 06, 2006 1:55 AM (Eastern)

The name escapes me's not the same as the "Nourish" one. It's not as cheap either: $4 for a mere 8 oz. But not only is it sulfate-less, it is also without parabens, if that's something you're looking for.

The bottle is similar to the Nourish one actually, tall and thin, with clear, colorless shampoo.

I haven't tried it but I did sniff it. It smells good.

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Random beauty ramblings
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, October 12, 2006 1:34 AM (Eastern)

A few updates on sundry topics:

* SLS-less shampoos and conditioner. Been mixing the Jason Vitamin E shampoo with the Kiss My Face Whenever shampoo. It works pretty well that way (I find the former too astringent, the latter too emollient). With this I use the Nature's Gate Herbal daily conditioner.

Overall, pretty happy with this new routine.

* Biotin for hair loss. Crap! The people in this house have taken all my biotin. I must replace it. I've gone a few days without it and have already noticed more hair fall-out (it's not dramatic fall-out, I'm just saying).

I tried the local GNC and felt disappointed. They had 600 mcg and 2500 mcg amounts; nothing in between. I don't feel 2500 mcg would be harmful but why the excess? Why only those amounts? It's nuts.

* Biotin for skin. It's the same a pleasant side effect, my skin has gotten slightly better since taking it. (Smoother, softer, fewer bumps/clogged pores.)

* Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. waves to Arabella I tried this out; I will have to say, were I not already content with my own tinted sunscreen (a small amount of Zia liquid foundation mixed with TerraSport sunscreen SPF 30+), this might well be my grail foundation.

It feels light, not greasy at all, blends well, nice coverage (a bit more coverage imo than the name implies); overall a pleasure to wear. The shade I tried was a tad warm on me, but that was just that shade.

Yes it's $ but it's foundation (and it has SPF to boot). Your foundation products have to work. You can skimp on other stuff.

* Did I say I was going to knock Etro Heliotrope off my "bottle-worthy list"? Somebody better slap me, before I start to rust. :D It's a scent that grows on you.

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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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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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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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