Sunday, July 29, 2007

Summer Scent

I've spent most of my adult life wishing I were a Bond girl, effortlessly slender and tan, traveling Europe via the Mediterranean sea on my custom built yacht in a Bardot-ish wardrobe. The reality is browsing the international and organic isles of Wegman's grocery store in loafers and red lipstick.

On extra hot and humid days like today when it's a little easier to feel beachy in the middle of central NY, I help the fantasy along with Estee Lauder's Azuree Soleil skin scent atomizer. Designed by Tom Ford, this perfume is hailed as summer in a bottle although to me it's about the lifestyle where you'd never have to face winter if you didn't want to. It boasts a coconut note which I don't really smell, on me it's like rich woods and sweet white flowers baking under a hot salty sun. This scent is not a must in your perfume arsenal and it's difficult to find now (it's limited edition every summer) but it's definitely worth checking out and maybe even hunting down on eBay.

Hair Pow(d)er!

Nothing like heat and humidity (hello thunderstormy summer in Central NY) to kill a good hair day. The added bonus of Bootcamp summer term for all of us grad students doing the Newhouse program at Syracuse U is the pressure of fitting propper grooming into a painfully long day- let's just say ponytails are on the rise.

My personal hair savior? Stila Hair Refresher. This fabulously finely milled and gorgeously scented powder is a step beyond the old trick of massaging baby powder into your scalp to soak up excess oil and banish limpness. The genius spout on the bottle distributes perfect whisps of powder into trouble spots like bangs or you can gently drop a small ammount of powder into your palm, coat your palms, and distribute across your whole head. Bonus? The powder provides the perfect ammount of grip for doing lavish updos with squeaky clean hair while preserving volume. I'm loving the scent of Creme Bouquet, a gorgeous vanilla tempered with white flowers and just a hint of clean baby powder. The generous 2.6 oz bottle lasts forever, making it a bargain at $28.

Friday, July 27, 2007

There's nothing like an intense week of grad school followed by a stiff martini to give a girl the impulse buy itch. It's especially bad for me this week as my subscription to Lucky Magazine finally kicked in and I received both the July and August issues yesterday.

I found myself unusually attracted to August's "Treatment" spread in the beauty section, which often gives me ideas for DIY spa treatments but rarely gives me product lust. This month's article "oils-for oily skin" is just what it sounds like, a run-down on the benefits of oils to treat oily skin and breakouts. About six months ago I discovered the benefit of avoiding oil-free sodium-laureth-sulfate free moisturizer and my acne-prone skin is much calmer for it, but I have yet to put anything on a blemish oilier than neosporine. La Fleur Organique's Blemish Rescue, mentioned as an at-home spot treatment in the article, sounds promising from's description, but in a rush of willpower I've decided to wait a week before buying to make sure this fixation isn't just a short-term crush.

In the meantime, a stroke of inspiration and a little internet ingredient research has prompted me to try a little Sunny Brae Body Works Nail Oil, available at, on a healing spot. While it lacks the disinfecting antibacterial ingredients of some of the oils mentioned in the article, the ingredients are skin friendly and beneficial for healing tissue- rice bran oil, jojoba oil, neem oil, and vitamin E are reasonably noncommedogenic for oils and lavender oil, chamomile oil, and rosemary extract are delightfully soothing. And since that comprises the entire ingredients list, there's very little to react badly to. I put a small drop on a healing blemish last night and it's healing beautifully with less dryness and flaking than usual. I wouldn't recommend this for use on pores that are still clogged but spots that just need to heal will benefit from this.

Their website seems to be down right now (sorry- that's not very helpful) but if you can find this oil I highly recommend it- both as a nail treatment and as a spot healing aid. There are tons of nail oils out there though, just look for ones with lightweight oils and anti-inflammatory ingredients such as the ones mentioned above, or invest in a vial of La Fleur Organique's- I'm sure I will in the near future.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Mermaid Hair? Not so much...

If I had spent less time on my thesis and more time browsing magazines I would have been better prepared for our family beach extravaganza in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. But as a child of the icy-watered Pacific Northwest I somehow missed that swimming in the ocean 4 times a day really fries your hair.

About three days into the vacay I knew it was either deep condition or hack of six inches of fried mess. The conundrum was finding a suitable non-silicone loaded deep conditioner with very limited resources (i.e. no internet for research or Sephora for browsing). As your faithful guide in the world of beauty, I decided to utilize the (free) mayo in the fridge and thoroughly investigate the rumors of its hair restorative properties.

I used about a quarter cup of mayo on my very, long thick hair (so adjust accordingly if you decide to try). My hair was a little damp, but I don't think it matters as long as your hair isn't wet. I let it soak in for about 10 minutes, occasionally putting my head under the water to encourage deep penetration via the heat. The results? Fabulous soft hair, with no sign of split ends nearly 3 weeks later. The one treatment was also enough to keep my hair reasonably nice for the next four days of swimming and baking in the sun.

Just now I did it again to test whether it works decently on only slightly dried hair, and with the same great results. I would definitely recommend trying mayonaise over olive oil unless your hair is VERY damaged, it was quite difficult to get only two tablespoons of oil to wash out and even harder to work with in the first place.

If I could do the trip again (or if I get to go again next year) I would definitely invest in something from Carol's Daughter, either a leave-in conditioner or Lisa's Hair Elixir. I haven't been able to try the line as the Oregon Sephora doesn't carry it, but Kristin over at The Beauty Addict ( gives the line nothing but raves. From what I've read and experienced, it seems like coating hair with a light oil would be ideal for protecting it from surf and sun. Personally I didn't find a standard leave-in conditioner to be enough (not even my beloved Fekkai Glossing Cream).

Whew again!

It's been a long, strange month since I posted last. From the beach in North Carolina to driving across country to Syracuse University I've had hardly any time to sleep let alone write in the blog, for which I apologize. Now that my uber intense (and uber awesome!) grad studies are under way, I'm hoping to have more time to blog so don't give up on me just yet!