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

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· Beauty Notes: Mists & Hydrosols - Part I
· It's Quite Easy Being Green
· Beauty Notes: What I've been into, lately #2
· Update on Giovanni Cosmetics Tea Tree Triple Treat shampoo
· Dr. Hauschka lipstick: makeup with a conscience
· 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
· Trader Joe's Shea Butter Soap rules!
· Best shampoo without sulfates
· Shampoo vs. conditioner
· The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
· Favorite "high end" beauty products
· Latest sulfate-free shampoo venture; cheap beauty products in general
· Sulfate *and* paraben free shampoo sighted at Trader Joe's
· More on sulfate and paraben free hair products
· Etro and more on natural hair products
· Sulfate and paraben free shampoos

· May 13, 2008 12:00 AM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· May 14, 2008 8:20 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 18, 2008 4:31 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 18, 2008 4:57 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 18, 2008 8:54 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 19, 2008 3:28 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 20, 2008 1:53 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· July 24, 2007 11:30 PM by Blogger Dain
· July 6, 2007 3:13 AM by Blogger Dain

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The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog

Beauty Notes: Mists & Hydrosols - Part I
Posted by Joy Rothke, Wednesday, June 18, 2008 11:56 PM (Eastern)

My favorite skin treatments are mists and hydrosols, and I use them year round. During the hot days of summer, they're essential. From the simple DIY versions I sometimes cook up to the sublime versions offered by green/organic skincare mavens, misting your face with a cooling stream of herbal goodness can make the hottest afternoon bearable. I like to store some of mine in the fridge, and spritz myself when I come in from walking the dog or an errand.

Daybreak Lavender Farm Only Rose Petal Toner

Jody Byrne and her husband operate Daybreak Lavender Farm in Streetsboro, Ohio. Self-described "old hippies," everything they make is fresh and hand-crafted. The Only Rose Petal Toner ($22.95, 6 oz.) is a simple and refreshing mix of white willow (witch hazel distillate), rose floral water, rose hydrosol and rose petal tea. It's also used in some of Daybreak's skin care regimens (I'm on one and will be reviewing it soon) and works well as a stand-alone product.

Healing Anthropology Rejuvenating Face & Body Mist

If you're traveling this summer, include this in your purse or daypack. The Face & Body Mist ($30.00, 2 oz.) is a blend of essential oils and aloe that are particularly soothing to sun-exposed skin. This would be an excellent product to use during airplane flights. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, HA is an woman-owned company, and all its products are 100% natural.

Owner Sabrina Posillico has pledged 15% of company proceeds in June to Gabriel's Angels, an Arizona non-profit that provides pet therapy to abused and at-risk children. So order this month and combine skincare and good deeds.

Garden Of Eve Clearly Lovely Toner

I like to introduce LP readers to the many small, artisan skincare lines. Garden of Eve is a small company in Afton, Virginia, operated by an herbalist named Eve, who creates products made with aromatic essential oils and no troublesome ingredients like parabens or synthetic dyes.

Her Clearly Lovely Toner ($39.00, 2 oz.) is designed for combination, acenic or rosacea-prone skin, and is made of organic and wild-crafted hydrosols, including Lavender, Rose Geranium, Rose and Roman Chamomile. Eve creates toners for other skin types, as well as providing a custom-blending service for clients.

Manor Hall Lavender & Chamomile Facial Toner

Susan Mann's Manor Hall Soap Company in Springfield, Mass., makes wonderful olive oil-based soaps. I've been a fan for a while. After trying her Lavender & Chamomile Facial Toner ($7.85, 2 oz.), I also love her skincare products. All Manor Hall products are natural and vegetarian, and made with natural colors and botanical essences. They're also very affordable, so you can use this alcohol-free toner with impunity all summer.

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It's Quite Easy Being Green
Posted by Joy Rothke, Saturday, May 10, 2008 11:26 PM (Eastern)

I just got back from a walk wearing my FitFlops. On my hair is Ayurvedic oil; on my legs an essential oil-infused body oil from Bali. Up one arm and down the other is a series of perfumes, "love potions" [some infused with pheromones], and scented oils from Santa Barbara, Hollywood, Cincinnati, San Francisco, and several cities in Canada. There's LUSH, Dr. Hauschka and Grateful Body on my face. I'll be exfoliating soon with some stuff from Australia, and after my shower will walk around the house in my Yoga Toes. I'm alternating between five different lip balms and awaiting the arrival of a system that may rejuvenate my lips and get rid of my upper lip lines. And I'm considering using henna on my hair for the first time since 1983.

I'm not vain, but admit I'm powerless over new and interesting and green personal care products. I like to try new things, and I'm lucky to have skin that responds well to all manner of things. I used to stick to a couple of fragrances, but now I’m willing to try scents I used to eschew, like musks, patchouli, amber, green tea, black tea, smoky tea, attars and ouds.

My only criteria are that a product falls under my broad rubric of green/natural/cruelty-free/organic. Anything tested on animals is an absolute no-go, and I'm uninterested in anything with 'cones, parabens, and glycols. Most of the things I'm using come from smaller, independent companies, who don't try to please all of the consumers all of the time, or produce products that will sit for months on the shelves of CVS, Rite-Aid or Shopper's Drug Mart. Once the company sells itself to a giant conglomerate, they invariably change, and not for the better. (I'm talking to you Burt's Bees, Tom's of Maine, and The Body Shop!)

I'm not a crank or a health nut (I still eat frozen burritos, drink coffee with sugar, and take prescription and OTC meds.) I'm just a particular consumer. Anyway, it's not rocket science, just makeup and skincare and perfume. It should be fun, it should work, and make you smell good.

I've got dozens of reviews coming up this spring and summer, and I'd love to hear what you're interested in, and suggestions of things for me to eat, drink, wear, smell and apply.


Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
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May 13, 2008 12:00 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I'm greenish, I suppose. :) I prefer more natural products, because they tend to work better. At one point I noticed, the mainstream products I'd always used had become harsher. I really think there was a change in ingredients at one point.

I use some Dr. Hauschka products, health food store shampoos and conditioners...usually have a few in the shower and switch them around to avoid build-up.

May 14, 2008 8:20 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Me too! I'm not green out of any design, I'm all for synthetics when they make the products better and safer (such as perfumes), but my skin only seems to grow more sensitive, while products grow ever harsher. It doesn't seem that way, because they load them with silicones so they feel luxurious, but my skin complains.

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Beauty Notes: What I've been into, lately #2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, January 18, 2008 3:14 PM (Eastern)

I think we need a label for this, somehow...a blend of favorite things and Jack Bauer and Tony Almeida at a Drive-Thru.

Anyhow. Shall we commence?

Ava Luxe Voyage earrings

ava luxe earrings

I'm not affiliated with Ava Luxe, I should mention. I just like her stuff. Here I thought this was beautiful, a binary combination of kyanite and labradorite, strung on karat gold. Sometime I will do something similarly binary...I can't wear 14KT gold earrings, but I'm hoping someone will come up with a wearable golden leverback cheaper than 18KT gold. mumbles...

handmade sapphire earrings

Here is my own stuff. Less spectacular for sure, but keep in mind, there can be a difference between making something to wear, and making something to sell. With the emphasis on "can be."

It's been on my mind lately, because I tend to acquire less for the sake of owning something beautiful, and more for that of owning something useful. Sometimes the twain meet, oh, take this for example:

nars eyeshadow duos

I've gotten the most mileage from Island Fever (far right). In the pan: a gorgeous shimmery sea blue shade, plus a medium shimmery iridescent grey. It should be pretty, but useless; something you bought on a whim because it looked nice. But it isn't useless by far. The blue shade, applied very lightly, is the most natural, unobtrusive shadow I own. It shouldn't work but it does.

Hence, the Ava Luxe earrings could well correspond to this concept. Bright and pretty, but potentially utile as well.

My little hoops (these are the most conservative earrings I've made thus far) would be more like this:

nars mambo eye pencil

Nars Mambo, the unsung eyepencil. I paid $19 for you at Sephora, and momentarily felt a complete idiot; you can buy a perfectly decent deep brown eyepencil at Longs Drugs for four bucks. Then I started using you.

Mambo is deep brown, yet possesses hints of purple and red--making it subtly ideal for green or blue eyes, and making it go with everything. Thereby replacing brown, purple, and bronze pencils for me. No, you don't swatch particularly well, but on, you are a minor genius.


The Scented Salamander follows up on the Bond No. 9/Liz Zorn Perfumes story:

Trademark Questions Over The Use Of The Word "Peace" / Q & A with Laurice Rahme of Bond No.9, Liz Zorn of Liz Zorn Perfumes, & Sarah Horowitz -Thran of Creative Scentualization

Dwelling in lawyer-infested California, I suspect the entire thing was less of a shock to me. And I found some people seemed to turn it into a girl-on-girl fight--not good for business, for either party. Oh well. I see Zorn has some samples on her site; you might want to check them out.

aspirin mask screenshot

And finally, for your perusal--Michelle Phan, aka RiceBunny, demos the aspirin mask (here with honey): RiceBunny's Xanga Site - Aspirin = Beautiful Skin

No, I'm not into this myself. I'm far too lazy. But the idea of using aspirin and honey as a mask makes perfect logical sense. You are exfoliating. Exfoliating is good.

Have a great weekend!

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January 18, 2008 4:31 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I've been trying "just notes" for random things, but I'm not sure how it might work.

I like labradorite; from a design perspective, it would go with so many things. Pearls, watery green amethysts, mm... it's just pretty to look at.

I think the reason why the blue might work is the fact that it may be a perfect contrast. A perfect contrast works better than a near match. Someone with brown hair, for example, might do well with green.

Hm, it's interesting that she was able to get an interview with Laurice Rahme. I don't really buy it, though, it is insincere. But I'm tired of the issue, and I still think Bond is a silly brand, just from a purely aesthetic standpoint. It is really the sort of thing that could go back and forth forever, and I think it was very wise for Liz Zorn to drop it.

January 18, 2008 4:57 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Yeah...I just didn't want to leave it hanging. There was a big splash about it, then nothing. From the article, it would appear this sort of thing happens fairly regularly...and from what I've seen of lawyers, I wouldn't be too surprised.

Every few months in California, you get something in the mail informing you there is a class-action lawsuit you might be able to participate in. At first I thought hey, great...then I read the thing. Usually it boils down to, you sign a form and mail it back. By signing, you agree the settlement is final, yadda yadda...and if the suit is successful, you are entitled to a $15 voucher toward, say, renewing your contract with your wireless phone company for another year...or $50 toward the purchase of a new stove.

It's a joke! The settlement "terms" are invariably next to worthless. It's clear to me that lawyers simply file these "class-action lawsuits" against major corporations...the corporations probably settle (cheaper than taking it to court)...whoever bothered to sign the form gets their $15 gift certificate. And the lawyers collect a fat percentage of the settlement. If I were cynical, I'd say they split the take with the lawyers for the major corporation, but I'd like to think they're far too honest for that. lol

January 18, 2008 8:54 PM, Blogger Dain said...

It seemed absurd to me at the time because in cosmetics, people copy each other all the time, and it's not something trifling like names, it's like, NARS makes a gold-pink-peach blush with a clever title, and everyone from Chanel to Milani has something like a year later. It seems like copycatting in this business is a given.

Oddly enough, it has come up in fashion, too. I was just reading an article on Marc Jacobs' derivativeness in W today. Apparently, it caused quite the furor, and all things considered, it must have been far nastier. Fashion is bitcher than even Hollywood.

January 19, 2008 3:28 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I think that gold-and-sapphire earring is especially rich. The colors kind of resonate with each other in a way that the silver doesn't. If it doesn't get too heavy, some vivid green drops at the bottom would add some extra intensity.

January 20, 2008 1:53 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Mmmm...the gold ones did come out prettier. I got some 14KT gold beads to try usual, the cost per bead is relatively low, but they go so fast. Suddenly every piece "could use some of those." rolls eyes

I've found it's entirely different buying jewelry, and making it. If you're buying, then I can see jewelry minimalism. That's when you would want to get the most impact out of your pieces, because you have to pay the markup.

If you're making it, there's no point to minimalism. That's when you want to experiment and develop your own designs--which tend to be specific to you. When I'm making anything, I don't tend to lay it out, I tend to put it on. I'll try it on as I'm making it.

Now if you're selling it...that's when the design itself would take precedence. Because you have no idea who's going to wear it.

I have some tiny emeralds actually, I got them at the same time as the sapphires. It's amazing how tiny these things are. Imagine cutting and drilling them.

I was going to make something similar to these hoops using emeralds...but also thinking of combining the stones somehow.

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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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Dr. Hauschka lipstick: makeup with a conscience
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, September 12, 2007 1:47 PM (Eastern)

dr. hauschka lipstick
dr. hauschka lipstick

burkina fasoI've been wearing these lipsticks for a couple of weeks now (#01 Amoroso, #09 Dolce, #11 Effetuoso, and Lipstick Novum #04 Sand Dune).

They are, without a doubt, good lipsticks. I hope that doesn't sound tepid. To a lipstick junkie, "good lipstick" is what "good programmer" is to other programmers, someone who can solve any code problem, no matter how mind-boggling (or how appalling the original code), while all others hoist the white flag.

A good something you put on your mouth, day after day, month after month, year after year. It is important, as it defines your entire look.

Aside from appearance, formula is it smells, how it tastes, whether it needs constant touching up, whether it smears all over everything, how comfortable your lips short, it is a bit synonymous with...underwear. It has to be perfectly comfortable as well as functional, because you're going to wear it the better part of your life.

So, the conscience... This is easily the most painless example of ethically-sourced consumption I've heard of in a long time. The quality and price are comparable to that of Chanel, home of my "holy grail" lipstick (Hydrabase formula). There is a smaller shade selection, but these colors are impressively wearable. (#01, #09 and Novum #04 are particularly suited to warmer coloring, where #11 is cooler and highly pigmented.)

The "edible" factor--natural ingredients--is also desirable, for the obvious reason that you wear this on your lips. Dr. Hauschka's lipsticks taste rather edible too, in a sort of herbal, aroma-therapeutic fashion.

I do wish to emphasize: there is no need to feel as if you're not wearing your favorite brands of lipstick, or that you'd rather be wearing something else and have chosen Dr. Hauschka from a sort of moral obligation, or from a health concern.

The name of this site is The Lipstick Page Forums, spun-off from the original Lipstick Page, which I discovered in 1998 when I was searching (not googling, Google wasn't nearly as big back then) for lipstick. I am a lifelong lipstick junkie; it's my favorite cosmetic. We may no longer "put on our hat" before getting out of the house, but we do put on our lipstick--it should be a happy, positive small event in everyday life, and your lipstick has to measure up.

I have dubbed Dr. Hauschka #01, #09 and Novum #04--all three--my go-to lipsticks these days. (#11 is really quite pigmented, a deep matte plum color; I'll have to play around with it more.)

image courtesy

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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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Trader Joe's Shea Butter Soap rules!
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, July 06, 2007 2:23 AM (Eastern)

A quick Internet search for reviews of Trader Joe's soap produces three charming blog entries:

All The News That's Fit To Print
I want a clean as real as Ivory!
"The Time Has Come," The Walrus Said, "To Talk Of Shallow Things . . ."

I thought I'd throw in my two cents on their Shea Butter Soap, because, even among their superlative soaps--Bisous de Provence lavender (featuring little scrubby bits of real lavender), wild rose (with dried rose petals), lemon verbena and green tea--to Trader Jacques (uber thick bars of oatmeal, ginger and almond soap)--it's outstanding.

TJ's Shea Butter soap is a creamy white smooth bar of lushly, cleanly scented, moisturizing goodness. And it lasts a goooood long time. And it's what, three bucks? You've got to try it.

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July 6, 2007 3:13 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Yum! I love soap... though it's body washes that are more popular these days. I've always prefered soap. The one I'm using now is LUSH Alkmaar, which I quite discovered lying around by accident, but those TJ soaps sound luscious.

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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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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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The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, February 17, 2007 3:00 PM (Eastern)

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

As much as I'm wary of "scare campaigns," I find this site worthwhile, because it seems less about scaring people and more about doing something about eliminating potentially dangerous ingredients from cosmetics.

Here is a list of companies that have signed their pledge:


I recognized quite a few companies on the list.


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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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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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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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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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