Archive | August, 2013

Epicuren Kukui Coconut After Bath Moisturizer

31 Aug

epicuren coconut

I have wanted both Epicuren’s Kukui Coconut After Bath Moisturizer and their Tahitian Vanilla After Bath Moisturizer for quite some time, but was (understandably) put off by the price. Fortunately, I usually only see them sold at spas while I’m on vacation, so it wasn’t like I was having to control myself every time I went to, say, Target (which is always a losing battle, by the way – self-control, Target, and I generally don’t appear in the same sentence). When we took Gregory down to Hawaii this spring, however, I finally splurged and got them for myself, reasoning that I have wanted them for a long time and also just produced a tiny human so deserved a treat (don’t judge me).

I have been using Body Shop Body Butters for months now, for four reasons: 1) ease of acquisition; 2) ease of use; 3) quality; and 4) price. About a month ago, however, I suddenly realized I had these fantastic Epicuren lotions waiting to be used, and that I should use the coconut one while the sun is still shining, because smelling like coconut in the Seattle winter seems a little off. Additionally, I love Body Shop Butters for being so hydrating, but it’s been an uncharacteristically humid summer here, so I wanted something a little lighter weight. Epicuren fit the bill.

I think I would typically give this lotion super high marks, except for the price. What I mean is, it is a great summer lotion – light weight, fragrant in a nice, summery way, easy to dispense, and has lasted some time. I just think there are other lotions out there of the same quality for half the price that do the job just as well. This is really a case of paying for the name. On the plus side, I have gotten lots of compliments on the scent.

Long and the short of it – if you have been considering picking up a bottle of Epicuren’s After Bath Moisturizer, I’d say do it. It’s a great product and for use, I give it high marks across the board. But if you’ve never heard of it before and are just looking for a nice daily moisturizer, maybe think twice – you can get other products for less that will please you just as much.

Shea Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner

8 Aug

Shea-Moisture-Organic-Raw-Shea-Butter-Moisture-Retention-Shampoo-Conditioner-1I’m gonna make this brief as I now believe this may have been my error.

I needed shampoo and conditioner at my Mom’s house, and rather than going to Sephora or a salon, I grabbed some at Target. I liked the looks of this stuff because it’s all organic-y seeming and is sulfate free. Inexplicably, the organic/natural stuff and the ethnic hair care products are in the same section. I am pretty sure Shea Moisture shampoo & conditioner MAY be formulated for Black hair, both because if you Google image search it, you get images of Black women and because my sister told me her biracial roommate used to use it.

Anyhow, it was not a good match for my hair, which I have mentioned before is pretty fine. There’s a ton OF it, but the strands themselves are very thin and blonde. I was actually nearly insane after a week of using this, so much so that I went to the grocery store, picked up some Fructis – sulfates and all – washed my hair and talked for about two days about how much better my hair felt. Essentially this stuff weighed my hair down and turned it into a heavy, greasy, oily, awful mess. I tried everything – one day after swimming in the ocean, I just rinsed my hair and used the TINIEST bit of conditioner, but it was still too much. Another day I actually used baby shampoo of my son’s and then a tiny bit of conditioner – still awful. Looking at it now, I bet it’s the Argan Oil, which I have had greasifying issues with in the past.

Anyhow. That’s that. I won’t use it again, but if you have super coarse, dry hair, this might be a win for you!

Alterna Caviar Replenishing Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner

8 Aug

alterna cavia

So, I have been extolling the benefits of Alterna for some time. They make great shampoo and conditioner with just about everything I want/need, and now they even have Katie Holmes as their spokesmodel (and apparently co-owner?) I have loved Katie Holmes ever since Dawson’s Creek, loved her more after The Gift, lost a little love for her when she married whackadoo and depression medication-denier Tom Cruise, but then went back to loving her the most after she left his crazy ass. So she adds value to Alterna’s brand identity for me, and even if you don’t particularly like her, you gotta admit – lady’s got lovely locks.

katie holmes

The one Alterna product line I have steadfastly refused to try is the Caviar line. I know it’s all the rage right now in the hair care circles, but I am vegetarian, so I don’t eat caviar. I DO eat chicken eggs, but it turns out there’s a very large difference between how chicken eggs and fish eggs are harvested: namely, you don’t have to kill the hen to get the egg. And that’s exactly what one has to do to a fish to get caviar.

Recently, I received an email from Elle Inner Circle asking me to take a survey to see if I qualified to sample a new hair care line. I took the survey, qualified, and a couple weeks later, received in the mail Alterna’s Caviar Shampoo & Conditioner. D’OH! When I took the survey, I agreed to try the shampoo & conditioner and report back on my findings, so I dutifully decided that, even though I have moral objections to caviar, since I already had the s&c in hand (i.e., I didn’t buy it and thus didn’t fund the killing of fish), and since I had essentially signed an agreement that I would use it, I would follow through.

Of course the s&c didn’t disappoint – it’s Alterna. It smells great and works great. It’s sulfate- and paraben-free. My hair felt super soft AND super clean, which can be a difficult balance to achieve, plus smelled awesome (like, so good that I went to lunch with my friend Cait yesterday and my hair was still damp and from a couple feet away she said, “You smell AMAZING.”) Still… it’s made with caviar.

I used it as directed and took the survey, in which I extolled its virtues but also indicated that I would NOT buy this s&c, nor would I recommend it to a friend. When asked why, I explained my reasons.

After this, I thought, you know, I should contact Alterna and ask how exactly they harvest their caviar. I should give them a chance. Maybe they harvest it after the fish lays it. I know it’s unlikely, but since it’s not food-grade, maybe. Maybe.

Here is my email:

Good afternoon,

I am a long-time user and fan of Alterna shampoo and conditioner, but as a vegetarian and animal lover have always shied away from using your Caviar line. Recently, however, as a member of Elle Inner Circle, I received a sample of the Caviar Shampoo and Conditioner to try and review. I absolutely loved the way it worked and smelled, but remain concerned about the ingredients and purchasing something that requires animals be killed to produce it.

I am therefore inquiring if your Caviar line harvests caviar in the traditional way – by impregnating fish and then killing them to retrieve the eggs – or if, because the caviar is not food grade, you wait until the fish has laid the eggs and collect them then. I would find the latter acceptable, but cannot reconcile my conscience with the former.

Thanks so much, and I look forward to hearing back.

Kate J

Aaaaand here is their utterly useless response:

Hello Kate,

Thank you for your email!

Alterna does not test products on animals. Our products are made ethically and
cruelty-free so no animals are ever harmed during the process.

If you have any further questions or concerns please contact us again.

Customer Service

I did indeed contact them again – I replied directly to this email and asked how they harvest their caviar:

Thanks for the info – where DO you get the caviar, then? I’d really love to write a blog recommending the shampoo and conditioner, but I need more info on how you acquire the caviar!

Kate J

As of today, I have received no response. I have now posted a request for more information on their Facebook page, as well, but nothing there yet, either.

You’re saying that no animals are ever harmed during the process, but are you REALLY saying you harvest the caviar without hurting the fish? Because I really need you to say those words before I will spend $32 a bottle on a hair care product that may or may not require animals to be killed in order to produce it.

I’ll update this if I ever manage to get an honest, straightforward answer on where the caviar in Alterna’s Caviar line comes from.

UPDATE (but no new information):

Hello Kate,

Thank you for your email! Unfortunately, we do not have that information
available at this time. We will forward this reply to the correct
department for review. We apologize for the inconvenience.

If you have any further questions or concerns please contact us again.

Customer Service