Monday, May 4, 2015

Rusk Thermal Str8 Protective Flat Iron Spray Review

Don't buy this product. 

This one.

Don't buy it. 

I've been trying heat protectant sprays for the last few months. They can be great for protecting your hair from heat damage from hair dryers, flat irons and curling wands, and some can also protect your hair from damaging UV rays, which is particularly good if you colour your hair. In addition, they can add shine, fight frizz and help your hair hold its style.

According to the Rusk website the Thermal Str8 Protective Flat Iron Spray is a humidity-resistant styling spray that penetrates hair, infusing conditioning and controlling agents like argan oil and Thermplex to seal the cuticle, eliminate frizz, precent curl reversion, and protect styles from environmental elements. Conditions and protects the hair internally and externally while smoothing and enhancing shine. 

This product is designed just to protect your hair from using a flat iron, not from using a hair dryer, and that seems a bit odd, since usually you need to use a hair dryer before using a flat iron, unless you have time to let your hair air dry after washing it. But the Str8 Protective Flat Iron Spray needs to be used on dry hair because it's incredibly sticky. Holding the can 6-8 inches from your hair is the recommended application technique and in doing so, presumably the amount you end up with on your hair is the correct amount. 

I tried a few times and each time, the spray went on heavily, coating my hair with stickiness. I used a brush to comb it through, both to make sure it was on evenly and to try to minimize the stickiness. I thought perhaps the texture of my hair would improve after I used my flat iron, but that was not the case. Running the flat iron over one section of hair after applying the spray created a shiny, smooth, but stiff and crispy piece of hair. I ran my brush through it and this softened the stiffness considerably, making my hair look like actual hair again, but the brush dragged through my hair. The stickiness did not go away, even with repeated brushing. 

On the plus side, it did make my hair shiny and added to the straightening effect. I assume that it protected my hair as well, since it seemed to form a seal around my hair with the application of the heat from the flat iron. But the incredible stickiness is horrible and does not go away. Running my fingers through my hair throughout the day resulted in snags and tangles. I guess if no one, including you, touches your hair after you've used this, it's all good, but who wants hair like that? There's a stiffness and a frizz at the ends of my hair as well after using this spray. 

I was shocked how terrible this product performs. Especially since there are multiple heat protectant products that perform beautifully. 

This one, TRESemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray is a favourite and it can often be found for sale. I picked up a bottle for $4 recently.

There's no added weight, but it leaves my hair silky, glossy and soft. The lock button on the pump is a nice feature too.

This one too - L'Oreal's Color Radiance Dual Protect Spray - is often on sale. Drugstore brands FTW! It protects your hair from styling tool heat as well as from UV rays, which is great if you colour your hair. 

For me, it's a runner-up to the TRESemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray, but it's a solid project and I don't hesitate to recommend this one as well to you.

Just trust me on the Rusk stuff. Don't be tempted. It's appallingly bad stuff.

Grade: F


EyEnvy Eyelash & Eyebrow Conditioner Review Part Two

Back in December, I posted about EyEnvy, an eyelash and eyebrow conditioner that I had started using. I promised to do a follow-up post about the results when I had finished the tube. And here it is! Here's part one of my review of EyEnvy so be sure to take a look if you haven't already. 

I'm almost, but not quite, finished the tube of EyEnvy but I did start to see a difference in my lashes and brows after using it for two months. The difference was subtle at first. With my eyelashes it was noticeable particularly when I was applying mascara. My eyebrows seemed denser too.

Here are some photos showing my lashes and brows before I started using EyEnvy, and photos from today, about five months later.

December 2014

May 2015
My brows are more groomed in the second photo, but I don't have anything on my face apart from moisturizer in either, so my lashes and brows haven't been embellished apart from being curled. 

You can see there's a difference in the length of my eyelashes. I notice that sometimes my lashes graze my glasses when I'm wearing mascara. That didn't really happen before and it happens all the time now. I didn't notice much difference in the fullness of my lashes, and the colour didn't change either. 

While I can't claim that my lashes certainly don't look appearance-transformatively different, there is a noticeable difference. My lashes were pretty long before, but I can imagine on someone without a lot of length, EyEnvy could make a dramatic difference. 

With my eyebrows, there was less of a dramatic difference. I did notice that the sparse areas were less sparse, and overall, better fullness. Again, not appearance-transformative, but noticeable and very welcome.

The application process was quick and easy - every morning before noon, a swipe along my lashline and painted on the areas of my brows that needed help. I experienced no side effects. There was no pain, no discomfort. There's no odour to EyEnvy either.

EyEnvy is $90 a tube, though I paid $60 at IMATS. I'm impressed that it works, but I won't be buying another tube. I don't need to use it that badly and it's pricey. 

But it works, and if you want longer lashes, or fuller brows and $90 is worth it for you, I can definitely vouch for EyEnvy. It works!

Grade: A


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for May 3, 2015

Hello lovelies!

It's time for the Beauty Squared Round-Up and here we go!

  • Apple cider vinegar as a beauty product. Here are four ways to use it.
  • How about the rather genius idea of pre-packaged cotton swabs that have been dipped in olive oil to do on-the-go makeup clean-ups?
  • Gel moisturizers can soothe, cool and hydrate your skin. Here are three that you should know about.
  • Crying happens to all of us. Sometimes it happens when it's really inconvenient. Here's how to freshen up quickly afterwards.
  • Summer is coming, whether we like it or not. With summer, sweat happens. Here are 18 sweatproof beauty products to help you through it.
  • If you line your waterline, you should read this.
  • Lip gloss can be annoyingly high maintenance. Here are some of the most annoying things that can happen with wearing lip gloss, and how to fix them.
  • Mario Dedivanovic talks (and demonstrates) how to contour your face.
  • How to go grey naturally.
  • When a hairstylist needs to stock their kit at the closest drugstore, what might they buy? Find out here.
  • If you have bangs, you know what a pain it is to keep them looking perfect. They grow so quickly! Here's how to do them yourself, at home.
  • It's an old post, but one that I'd never seen before this week. The definitive Hedwig and the Angry Inch makeup tutorial.
  • And finally, 21 Beauty Trends That Need To Die

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up - Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hello lovelies! It's time for our weekly round-up. And I feel like I should add a note about the lack of posts lately. Both Beauty Squared ladies have been very busy lately and blogging has proven challenging, but we're aiming to bring you some posts very soon. Stay tuned! In the meantime, we'll keep bringing you this weekly round-up, so you can see what the internet is talking about where it comes to beauty and skincare and haircare. 

Let's go!

  • Keratosis Pilaris is a skin condition that's getting a fair bit of buzz lately, mainly because it seems to be something many people have but didn't realize it was an actual condition and could be treated. I actually just realized that Keratosis Pilaris is what I have on my upper arms, after about 20 years of being embarrassed by the red, bumpy skin there. If you've got patches of skin that look a bit like chicken skin, it might be Keratosis Pilaris.
  • Blackheads are better known than Keratosis Pilaris, but they're no less problematic. If you have them, you'll want to read this article that explains what they are, what causes them and how you get rid of them.
  • From one beauty issue to another (and another). Dark undereye circles are something most of us deal with, and there really isn't a whole lot than be done about them apart from trying to avoid them if they're caused by dehydration, lack of sleep, etc or concealing them. Here are some tips to minimize their appearance from treatment to concealing.
  • It's that time of year when many of us are turning into sun worshippers after a long, cold winter but forgetting that even when it's not that hot, it can burn our skin. You really should be wearing sunscreen on any exposed skin during all seasons of the year, but if you're not fastidious like that and occasionally get too much sun, here's how to cover up sunburn without irritating the damaged skin any further.
  • If you kind of like the look of a bit of sunburn on your face but would rather not burn your flesh to get the effect, here's how to do it with makeup.
  • Here's a fresh, bright way to wear colourful eyeliner this season.
  • Red lipstick is typically a winter/fall trend, but you don't have to stop wearing it when the weather warms up. Here's how to wear red lipstick in the spring and summer.
  • Fashion Magazine's Beauty Panel talks about how they groom their eyebrows. Lots of tips here!
  • Have you tried Nudestix? They're a new line of versatile cosmetic pencils with a view on simple, natural looks. Learn about the teenagers behind the line.
  • Temptalia's review of yet another nude eyeshadow palette, this one containing five very wearable matte shades from Becca.
  • MUA Lisa Eldridge talks about the beauty tricks she uses while travelling.
  • We all want to save money. Buzzfeed has a post on doing so with your beauty products.
  •  Beyonce's MUA Sir John Barnett has been tapped as L'Oreal Paris' new celebrity makeup artist. Here he talks about his new role for L'Oreal, his techniques and shares some secrets.
  • Time for some hair talk!
    • How to fight frizz, no matter your hair type. 
    • Sideburns for women? Yup, have a read. 
    • Waking up with perfect hair. Yes, it's apparently possible. 
    • Are you an unnatural redhead? Do you emphasize your natural red with a bit of colour? You'll want to read this about how to keep your red from fading. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for April 19, 2015

Happy Sunday and hello from Beauty Squared. It's that time again. Here are our picks for must-see links related to all things beauty. Let's go!

  • Spring 2015 Beauty Trend: Doll-like makeup. We're talking perfect skin, lashes and pink lips.
  • Summer is coming and that means many of us will be cropping our hair shorter for the warmer weather. Thinking of going short-short? Or maybe you're already way ahead of the trend and rocking short hair? Here are some short hair inspirations.
  • Do you dye your own hair? If so, you know how messy it can be. Here are some helpful tips on cleaning up during and after dying your hair.
  • You know how to keep your skin clean and clear from breakouts, right? No? Here you go.
  • Do you exfoliate your skin? You should and here's how.
  • A product that can banish your puffy eyes with minimal effort?
  • Products that can minimize those pesky large pores that can prevent you from having a smooth complexion are all the rage right now. This is what you should know about them.
  • Tempted by bold eye makeup looks but a little intimidated? This post might help.
  • Speaking of bold eye makeup looks: how about using metallic flakes (think gold leaf) in your eye looks?
  • Travelling and makeup - what to pack.
  • If you'll be travelling somewhere warm soon, or you've maybe overdone it enjoying the warm spring sunshine, this is for you - Five Tips for Sunburn.
  • Ease off on the contouring, kids. Read what MUA Patti Dubroff has to say about the heavy contouring running rampant on Instagram and YouTube and what you should be doing instead.
  • And on that note, here's how to get a flattering, natural-looking brow that suits you and doesn't look like you've put it on with a Sharpie.
  • MAC Senior Artist Melissa Gibson tells us how to handle the overabundance of limited edition collections without feeling the need to buy them all. She should know, working for MAC, who has limited edition collections out every few weeks!
  • Sam and Nic from Pixiwoo and Real Techniques sits down with their idol, the fantastic MUA Val Garland for a chat.
  • Read about (and see) what happened when a woman went to eight different makeup counters and asked for a natural make-up look

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Beauty Squared Round-Up for April 12, 2015

Good morning, lovelies!

It's Beauty Squared Round-Up time. Settle in and enjoy!

  • The Up the Rollercoaster blog's  concealer library. It's helpful for a number of reasons - - talking about the types of concealers you need for different concealing purposes, and the types of concealers that are especially good for different concealing purposes.
  • We all love drugstore dupes for high end products. Here's a new round!
  • Curly hair is like denim.
  • Are you intrigued by but a little scared by blue eyeshadow? (I am). Here are some new shades and how to wear them that might inspire you out of that fear.
  • Maybe more people would wear sunscreen if it didn't smell like sunscreen? Here are some of the best-smelling sunscreens.
  • Relevant to me (and maybe you), beauty things to pack for travelling.
  • Skincare ingredients you might not be using, but should be.
  • Do you lips need a bit of TLC? Here are some of the best lip products to give them new life.
  • Beauty mysteries, like why does the salon shampoo feel so much better than when you do it yourself? Is your "Hmmmm?" moment on the list?
  • Nic from Pixiwoo has two great basics videos up on their YouTube channel right now.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

MAC is Beauty Lipsticks Reviews, Swatches and Photos

Today I have three of the LE lipsticks from the latest MAC is Beauty collection for review. The MAC is Beauty lipsticks are primarily a mix of pastel and neutral shades. I purchased Call the Hairdresser!, Catty and French Twist - all Lustre formulations. All photos in natural light on NC 35/40 skin.

Call the Hairdresser!, Catty and French Twist

Call the Hairdresser! - Is a medium pigmented sheer red coral.

Catty - Is a sheer, pale yellow based pink.

French Twist - Is a sheer, classic warm peach-beige nude.

I know a lot of bloggers dislike sheer lipstick formulations but I personally love them. I have full, very pigmented (red) lips and I often find full coverage lipsticks - particularly pale or bright shades - make my lips stand out like a neon sign. The Lustre formula allows me to wear less natural shades without having them look like a sticker on my face.

Call the Hairdresser!, Catty and French Twist

All three shades have limited wear time (about 1- 2 hours) and provide a softly shiny finish. MAC's Lustre formula is glossy but not moisturizing, so I recommend a good lip balm underneath. Out of the three shades I purchased, Call the Hairdresser is my favourite and has the longest wear time because it was more strongly pigmented. Overall, if you like sheer lipsticks then you will find these shades soft, pretty and versatile.

Grade: B