Eyebrow Pencils for Blondes!

8 May

If you’ve not kept up on this or my other blog, or are just stumbling across this entry, I am recovering from cancer – or, more accurately, recovering from chemotherapy. I haven’t lost my eyebrows completely, but they are definitely gappy and bare in spots. Balding, I guess you could say. Since this begun happening, I have tried many, many different eyebrow pencils.

I have naturally very ashy, dirty blonde hair. Dishwater blonde is the PERFECT term for it because it really is a grayish-light brown like dirty dishwater. I have highlighted it (and occasionally colored it a totally different color) since I was 16 because really, it’s just mousy. People have repeatedly told me my hair might come in a different color and my attitude has basically been, BRING IT, because I can’t think of a more unattractive hair color than my natural color pre-cancer.

With that said, my eyebrows are a similar color. And guess what? No one seems to make an eyebrow pencil in that perfect shade of mousy grey-brown. Trust me because, again, I have tried LOTS.

So far, I have found five that come as close as I can hope, but I can only recommend three of them. Here are the contenders, with two that don’t rate combined into one, as they’re from the same manufacturer and I think maybe one has been discontinued.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer
This company used to make a pink eyebrow pencil which I used periodically to enhance my brows. I don’t know the name of it, and I didn’t use it all that frequently, because I’m not really a brow person. Or at least I wasn’t, until I started losing them. Anyhow I don’t see it online anymore, so they must have replaced it with this product. I wouldn’t have recommended it anyhow, because while it was great for filling it natural brows, it didn’t work great for filling in gaps and drawing on brows where there were none – it was a true pencil and was way too hard. This one worked great at first and was a nice color, but it broke within a few uses – I mean, first the tip broke off and then when I tried twisting it to get more, the entire colored portion simply fell out of the barrel. Very poor execution, especially for a $23 product.

estee lauder brow

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Brow Lift Duo
The color on this is great – blonde brown for the win. Gives me enough color and a very fine-tipped pencil, great for simulating actual hair. Nice and soft, so easy to apply. Only complaint: I have no idea what to do with the other end, which I believe is a “highlighter” (?). A brush would have been far more useful to me, and allowed room for much more pencil.

wander brow

Wander Beauty Frame Your Face Micro Brow Pencil
Gets right the only thing the Estée Lauder brush gets wrong – nice little brush on the opposite end. Everything else is comparable, except they do offer TWO blonde choices – “blonde” and “taupe.” Although “taupe” claims to be for “ash to auburn” (i.e., me), I went with blonde and was not disappointed. I guess you should make your decision based on how strong/defined you want your brows to be. I just wanted mine to exist. Anyway, this is such a great product that I carry it in my purse for emergency re-dos.

tarte brow

Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Pencil
This is probably my favorite of the pencils, but as a disclaimer, I do love Tarte and find most of their products to be my favorites. Comes in “taupe,” which is a very nice match to my brows, smooth application, color stays in the barrel, long-lasting, and a nice li’l brush on the end. If you’re looking for a pencil with which to fill in gaps/draw on missing brows, I suggest you try this first – a nice soft pencil with a chill color.

This has been your cancer beauty update.

Signing off, Chemo Kate

Bali Secrets: An All-Natural Deodorant That Works

7 Apr

I updated my previous blog to reflect this, but it also deserves it’s own place here.

I have been using Bali Secrets for about a month with zero odor and limited sweat. I have recommended it to other people who have reported the same results. I emailed the company to ensure it was truly all-natural, and they confirm it is.

I don’t really know what else to say, except…

BUY YOURS HERE.

The Search for an All-Natural Deodorant that Works

19 Feb

UPDATE: I found it! I found the natural deodorant that works!
No point in going on and on: Bali Secrets
I haven’t smelled the smells as that’s brand new (!) but I can tell you IT WORKS. And I have recommended it to others who say the same!
The search is over.

Well well well! Haven’t posted here in awhile! And this is actually a bit of a cross-post, as it also pertains to my breast cancer situation.

Since before my diagnosis, I have been searching for a more “natural” antiperspirant/deodorant. This is a hard search for me. I tend to hyperhidrosis in my pits (oh my god there’s a SOCIETY for this!) and have ever since I was a kid – I used Certain Dri as  a teenager and young adult (on the recommendation of my doctor), and while I can assure you it works like nothing else, I can’t say how good it is for you, so I phased out of that. Nonetheless, I don’t like the feeling or the look of big sweat patches in my pits, so that’s problem one. Problem two is that, along with sh!t and bleach, body odor is one of my top three least favorite smells. So I need to find a product that can manage both excessive sweat and ANY odor, and that has been hard.

Schmidt’s was the first product that was recommended to me. They have a bunch of different scents, and I have heard rave reviews from everyone – I have actually had two lovely people, Chelsea and Gretchen, gift it to me! I tried it first last summer, which may not have been fair – it was pretty sweltering, and the sweat factor was at the max. I sweated through it in half a day and was stinking by afternoon. So I gave up on it fairly quickly and vowed to try it again in the fall, which I then forgot to do.

My sister sent me another pot after my chemo started, so I remembered to try again. This time, it seemed to work better, but I did get a rash. However, I don’t know if this is because of the actual product or because of skin sensitivity due to chemo, so I may give it another go when the chemo is over. Or I may not, because frankly, I am not thrilled about the application process. You get out of the shower with nice clean hands, then have to scoop it out of the jar, semi-hard, warm it up between your hands, apply it, and wash your hands. That’s a little more time than I have to spare with two small kids, but who knows.

I tried a bunch of other brands not worth mentioning because they seemed to do nothing. Then recently I tried True Natural Roll-On Deodorant with 24-hour performance. Um, no. It worked fairly well, I do have to give it that. I did sweat through it, though maybe a “normal” sweater wouldn’t, but I still stank by the end of the day. (In my case, this is around a 7am application and end of the day is around 8pm.) So I sniff at their claim of “24-hour protection,” which may be true if you’re comatose or a couch potato. But if you’re active – and I’m not saying working out, lord knows I don’t do that, but lead a moderately active life – it does NOT last 24 hours. That said, it smells very pleasant, and perhaps with a mid-day reapply it might be a keeper. I haven’t thrown it away.

Most recently and so far at the top of my list is Rinse deOdor Stick, which much to my chagrin is not available at Amazon – I found it at Fireworks here in Seattle. It’s very firm but comes in a push up style applicator, so no hands involved. It has more or less completely controlled my sweat, although there is some breakthrough body odor by the end of the day – less than with the True, BUT if I don’t reapply late in the day/before bed, I know I will be pretty stinky in the morning.

A friend of mine, Dawn, has told me that a friend of HERS has recommended Meow Meow Tweet, which I have not yet tried, but see is also a “hand application” situation, so I am not chomping at the bit to buy it.

Have you tried any natural deodorants? Have any suggestions? Want to join the International Hyperhidrosis Society with me? Please comment below.

Benefit Hydrating Tinted Lip Balm – Benebalm

28 Jul

It’s not that I’m not trying new products. It’s not even that I don’t have a few minutes to type up a quick review.

It’s the links. And pictures. They take me forever.

So, I have decided that I will post these reviews and come back LATER and do the links and pictures. At least it’s something!

I have gone through I think three tubes now of Benefit Hydrating Tinted Lip Balm in Benebalm (rose), and for me that’s really saying something. I have a very bad tendency to fall in love with a product, use it religiously for a month, and then move on. But Benebalm has proven itself indispensable to me. (It comes in other colors, too, if reddish isn’t your thang.)

What is it? It’s a lip gloss. It’s a lip balm. It’s a lip tint. It’s perfect. It comes solid, in a tube, so it’s easy to apply (no mirror needed) and transport. It smells like sweet roses and gives my normally pale lips the slightest, prettiest rosy tint. I can wear it with no makeup, I can wear it with light makeup, or I can even wear it when I’ve gone all out but don’t want my lips to be stealing the show. I carry it with me everywhere, day and night, because I find it’s also a perfect refresher for faded lipstick. It’s not sticky, has no funky taste, and lasts about as long as I expect a balm to.

I actually keep a spare in my cupboard now because I never want to be out. Couldn’t recommend this product more highly. 5/5.

Perricone MD No Mascara Mascara

27 Jul

perricone no mascara

I am going to TRY to start blogging more often, although they will have to be short and sweet, because having two kids under 2 is not affording me a lot of time to myself. But I miss reviewing beauty products, and lord knows I certainly haven’t stopped buying them, so I should be doing something useful with this knowledge!

I have a new go-to mascara! No, Tarte didn’t p me off (I still love you Tarte!) I just like to change things up now and then. More often now than then. Anyhow.

Enter Perricone MD No Mascara Mascara. I do not understand the bad reviews on Amazon – this stuff is the shiznit. Here are the things it does:

  • lengthens
  • thickens
  • only needs one coat
  • looks natural
  • comes off easily with soap and water, leaving no residue
  • is long-wearing

And here are the things it doesn’t do:

  • smudge
  • make my lashes feel stiff or unnatural
  • cake or clump
  • flake

No brainer! Absolutely love this mascara – it’s my new go-to!

ZOYA: Worst. Customer Service. EVER.

21 Jul

I have been ordering from Zoya since 2012, and have spent hundreds of dollars on their polishes. I have gotten kind of shady customer service from them before (taking weeks to ship, answering my email regarding when they will ship in a very curt way), but have remained loyal, blogging about them, recommending them to friends, giving their polish as gifts, and encouraging my favorite nail salon to carry them.

That ends today.

I have tried a couple times recently to order from them and not gotten my order or any email saying it had shipped. When I’d log on to their site to see what the status was, the orders were not showing up under either shipped or unshipped. Since I have a 6-week-old baby, I chalked it up to my error – I forgot to hit send, I used a bad credit card (we’ve had to cancel TWO due to fraud recently), something on my end. The last time, I made sure to save the order number, but when I went online to check, again, it had vanished. I emailed them to ask what was up, and this is the response I received this morning:

Good Morning,
Thank you for your inquiry. It appears your order was automatically canceled by our system because you disputed payment on a previous order. I apologize-we are not able to process order after payment is disputed. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Have a nice day.
Thank you,
Shelle Wesolowski
Inside Sales/Customer Service Supervisor
Art of Beauty, Inc.
800-659-6909 ext 109
Shellew@artofbeauty.com
follow us on TWITTER: zoya_nailpolish
youtube: zoyanailpolish

Uhh… for real? I read this at like 7am after a night up feeding my infant, so my initial reply wasn’t all it should have been:

I never disputed a payment. I did have a card canceled due to fraud but I never disputed a payment to you – it must have been a cancellation on the bank’s part. Is there any way to reverse this or should I just plan to change brands? Kate J

I then followed up with this:

Sorry, what I mean to say is, am I never permitted to order from the website again? If you look at my order history, you’ll see I’ve been a regular, repeat client – there would be no reason for me to “dispute” a payment with you. I suspect that when my card was canceled due to fraudulent charges, the bank canceled a number of charges on the same day to be safe.

 

Additionally, when this is the case, it would be helpful if you contacted the customer involved to inform her of the situation – I thought I was losing my mind as I was sure I had tried to place numerous orders with you and they all seemed to vanish into thin air.

 

Best regards,

Kate J

I received this in reply, from a Brian Tucker (Brian Tucker <Brian.Tucker@artofbeauty.com>):

Hi

Please contact a salon in your area if you want Zoya product. 

Brian

This message was ironically marked “high priority.” Pity they didn’t find the situation a high enough priority to contact me before simply canceling my orders repeatedly.

So yeah. That’s it. I Tweeted and FBed it, but they deleted them from their feeds of course. Please help me spread the word – when companies mistreat their customers, they ought to feel it:

Zoya doesn’t care if you are a long-term client. They do not care about their customers. They have zero customer service and while their polish may be decent, their company is not.

Recommendations for new polishes? I’ll never wear Zoya again.

Pregnant & Sick – How Do You Cope?

10 Feb

I just posted a blog about this on my other site, Making a Person. It’s more pregnancy-related than product-related, but I do share a bunch of product recs that are helping me struggle through this nasty bug I have caught while pregnant. Please check it out if it’s something that interests you!

Pregnant & Sick – How Do You Cope?