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Tag Archives: Balsam of Peru Allergy

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The Progression Of A Skin Care Journey – Part 1

Starting skin care products

Over the years that I have been doing this blog I have shared a lot of things related to skin care and skin health. But there is one thing I realize I have never shared with you, the actually journey from having a full-blown damaged skin from having a reaction to thriving healthy skin.

So after my skin being dried out from air travel on our vacation to being neglected after falling ill, and now I have had a major reaction that has left me with a rash all over my face. I thought this would be the perfect time to not only share my skin care journey with you, but also show you how much of a difference each product you add to your skin care routine can make in the way your skin looks and feels.

Here is how I want to go about this. I have taken pictures that of how my skin looks now. You can see that below. I am starting out with the three products I consider to the basic necessities of my skin care routine. For me the three things I always have to have is a some sort of an exfoliator, a cleanser, and a moisturizer. After three days I will take a new picture of where my skin is at, and I will add an additional product. I will keep this process going in three-day increments until I am using 9 products for a full Korean skin care regimen. (I originally planned on seven, but I thought why not do a full 9 step routine to show people what that looks like and what a difference it makes.) At the very end I will show you all what the side beside pictures of beginning and end look like.

Before we talk about the exact products I started with, lets take a look at where I am starting with my skin.

the start of my skin care journey

You can only see tiny bits of the problems in this full face picture, so I am also going to share a couple of closeups.

closeup of my forehead and nose

The lighting is bad in my house, so this isn’t too much better, but you can see more. If you look around my brows and on my eye lids next to my lashes you can see areas that look like dry flaky skin. That is one of the many things that happen with my allergic dermatitis, and from what I understand it is very common for anyone with a Balsam of Peru allergy. My skin is also very dehydrated and you can see that along my cheeks, both in this picture and the next.

Closeup of my chin and cheeks

In this picture you can see better where I really feel the majority of the pain from the reactions I have. If you look around the crevice of my nose and the of my chin, you can see a lot of redness and texture. Whenever that happens, those red spots usually feel like they are on fire.

I of course do have other issues with skin care, they just aren’t my first concern. But it is always a bonus if I see improvement with those things as well. In general while I have never suffered from a lot of Acne, I do get blackheads. Mainly I see those in the temple area. I also have some of the earlier signs of aging skin. I have a couple of sun spots, a small wrinkle in my forehead, and loss of firmness. Additionally, my skin can have a tendency to look dull.

Now that we have discussed my skin concerns, lets take a look at the three products I am starting out with.

Starting skin care products

For the first three days I used only these three products:

My exfoliator is the Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub. I usually by mine at Walgreens, but you can also find it at Amazon.

For my cleanser, i am currently using the Tony Moly Banana Cream Foam Cleanser. I believe I purchased mine from YesStyle (though it is currently not available there), but you can also find it at Amazon and at Riley Rose.

And my moisturizer is the Clinique Moisture Surge 72 Hour. I typically purchase mine at Sephora, but you can also find it at Ulta and at Amazon.

So the big question is what sort of results did I get after just three days?

skin after three days of three products

You can probably see that I still have some dry flaky patches of skin, especially around my eyebrows and eye lashes. But there has been some improvement. The most noticeable thing for me is that a significant amount of the redness has subsided, and I am not having as much of the allergic reaction symptoms. So not as much of the burning and itching.

If you want to find out what product I add to my routine next, make sure you check back next week. I will be continuing to document the products I use and the progress in my skin.

 

 

 

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Product Review – Burt’s Bees More Moisture Baobab Shampoo And Conditioner

Burts Bees Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner

This is the fourth in a series of Shampoo and Conditioner reviews. I will be reviewing a Burt’s Bees shampoo and conditioner. Don’t forget to check out my last review on the Free & Clear Shampoo And Conditioner.

My Hair And Scalp Type

(notice this section will be in every shampoo and conditioner review for reference. This is for convenience so you do not have to look back at earlier posts)

My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.

My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis caused by my allergy to Balsam of Peru. This causes a dry, scaly, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.

 

The Product

Burts Bees More Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner

This is the Burt’s Bees More Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner with Baobab. I purchased mine at Meijer’s, but they don’t seem to currently have a website to link to. So I have linked to Amazon. Of course it is also available on Burt’s Bees website and some of the places Burt’s Bees products are sold. Each bottle is 10 fluid ounces, and it sells for anywhere from $7 to $8 depending on where you buy it at.

There were a lot of reason I wanted to give this a try. Most of all I had not seen this products before and I really wanted to give some product out of the more natural category a try. There are some things on the label that really intrigued me, which will be a big part of the discussion in several ways.

 

How It Performed

Burt's Bees More Moisture Shampoo

Moisturizing shampoos for me, at best, usually means not drying. I rarely find one that I actually find moisturizing. In fact there is only a few that I can think of that is actually moisturizing, and most of those are more oil based. This really performed well on my hair. It was moisturizing, it wasn’t oily, it left it soft and manageable. I really like what it did for my hair.

Burt's Bees More Moisture Conditioner

The conditioner performed well also. I would say it verged on almost being too moisturizing for me, but not quite. I definitely don’t need to use a hair mask with this one. And just a little bit goes a long way. That is probably the first hair product I have felt that way about, but its true.

Overall I would say that I am very happy with the way this shampoo and conditioner performed for my hair. And I think most people who have very thick, course, and dry hair will like it. I would not recommend this for anyone who has fine, thin hair or anyone who struggles with their hair being limp or oily.

 

The Allergy Affect

Before I say anything else here, let me say that I have not had a reaction to this product. It hasn’t improved my scalp from previous reactions, but it has not caused a reaction either. This is a very distinct difference that perhaps only other with contact dermatitis will understand. For the rest of what I want to say, there is a bit of a story involved.

When I am trying to decide whether to give a product a try there are always a few things I do to make that decision whether I think it will cause a reaction or not. Two of the top things are reading the ingredient list and smelling the product. I have probably mentioned this many times over the years.

I smelled the product and no alarms went off. So I read through the ingredient list, and again no alarms went off. But I did notice something interesting I had not seen on any of the other products I have tried. In the ingredient list it has fragrance, and right by it is a little asterisks mark. When you look at the bottom to see what the asterisks is about, it says natural fragrance. When I smelled the product it had that very natural kind of smell like many Korean products do. This had me intrigued, so I visited their website for more information.

Looking at their product page didn’t really give me any more information than the bottle did, so I decided to look around the rest of their website. After much searching I found no information that directly answered my question, but I did find on their contact page a link that says it is to email them about product and ingredient inquiries. So of course I sent them and email.

I messaged them and let them know that I am a blogger and that I was working on a review of their product and why fragrance information was important. I of course let them know what product I was reviewing, and I asked for information about their fragrance mix used. The initial reply I received was an automated response saying they needed more time to research my question. But when I got the actual response from a person, this is where my problem started.

The first response I got back from Burt’s Bees was odd, to say the least. All it said was, ‘Thank you for your patience. So we can help, would you mind providing the UPC for the product in question? We look forward to hearing from you.”. Now remember my question was a general question about fragrance for the anyone, not one specific fragrance, and definitely not about me having a reaction to the product I purchased. The response I got was more what you expect when you have told the company you had a reaction to the product.

So I responded  back to them, not with an answer to their question, but I just sent back a message saying I was a little confused why they needed that to answer my question. Did they perhaps misunderstand what I was asking. I mean, this should be a simple answer from them. They are not creating a different fragrance for each bottle of moisture shampoo they make.

I did get another response back from them, and I felt just as frustrated by this one as the last. Their response read, “Thank you for getting back to us. The majority of fragrances in Burt’s Bees products are natural, composed of proprietary blends of essential oils and natural extracts. We ask that you please consult with your doctor before using our products. If you happen to have an allergy to a specific ingredient, please provide the name so that we can let you know if it is in the product.”. Again, I didn’t have a reaction and wasn’t asking for that reason. And even if I had, with a allergy to something like Balsam of Peru, it’s not as simple as just saying I am allergic to Balsam of Peru.

First of all most doctors and health professionals don’t even know what that is, I don’t expect someone at a beauty company to know. You can literally react to hundreds of things that are chemical twins to Balsam of Peru. And people with my allergy don’t all react to the same things. So admittedly I was very frustrated when I sent my last response back to them. I sent back a simple question. “Did you even read my initial email?” I never received another response from them.

 

Final Thoughts

I have really mixed feelings about this, and a lot of it has to do with the email exchange. On the one had I think the product was excellent, but I have said many times how important customer service is to me. And the email issue isn’t just that they didn’t want to tell me what their fragrance is, but that they indicate that you can ask and then rather than directly saying in the beginning that they can’t share that sort of information. (I am guessing that is what all the dancing around the subject is about. I would hate to think they are really so incompetent that they can’t read an email and comprehend it.)

So I am at that point where does the product outweigh the behavior of the company and my frustration with them. But I suppose only time will tell with that. I am still testing out shampoos and conditioners. Maybe I will find something I like better.

Tell me in the comments if you have tried this shampoo and conditioner. I would especially love to hear from any of you with contact and fragrance allergies. And don’t forget to let me know if there is a specific shampoo and conditioner you want me to put on the list to try out.

 

 

 

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My Hair Went Crazy On Vacation, And What I Used To Tame It

The hair products I picked up at Sally Beauty

Right before I went on vacation I got a hair cut and color. This is pretty normal for me, but some different techniques got tried on my hair because I had went to someone new.

If you  follow me on Instagram then you saw this picture posted the day I got it cut.

Newly cut hair

The hairstylist had done a thinning technique with hidden layers. And those layers were not supposed to be noticeable and they were suppose to lay flat under the top layers. But that is not what happened. My hair was actually fine the first few days while I was home and then travelling. Once I got to New Orleans and got rained on my hair freaked out.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in not angry at the stylist. I do wish she had asked me about the layers before doing it. But I think there were a number of factors at play here that played into my hair going crazy like a different humidity level and maybe she isn’t use to cutting mixed girl hair. My hair texture isn’t really like anyone else’s I have ever known. My hair is wavy, with a tendency to frizz. I have learned over the years that intense moisture helps it a lot along with the right hair style.

This is what my hair ended up looking like after it went crazy. (Sorry I don’t have anything closer up to show you of my hair, this is the one and only picture of me that was taken that day. I think everyone will understand I wasn’t exactly in a picture-taking mood)

My hair looking frizzy in New Orleans

So I essentially had to walk around a day with my hair looking like a frizz ball because I did not have anything to fix it. I don’t typically put products in my hair because of my Balsam of Peru contact allergy. And I brought minimalistic amounts of products to wash my hair with on the trip.

So if you saw my vacation look book last week, you know I didn’t walk around with my hair looking this way the whole time. So how did I get my hair to go from this crazy mess to looking like this.

How my hair looked the last day in New Orleans

All I can say is thank goodness for Sally Beauty. I am so thankful that they carry a line of products that I have used for years and I know I am safe using for the most part. There are a few products in the line I can’t use, but overall it’s usually a safe choice for me. And that is the ION brand.

I pulled up Google Maps and found out there were quite a few Sally Beauty Stores in and around the City of New Orleans. One of them was less than a mile away from where we were staying. I was so thankful it was so conveniently close to us. The store itself was quite a bit smaller than my local store, but I still found a couple of products to tame my hair.

The hair products I picked up at Sally Beauty

I found the leave in conditioner I use on a semi-regular basis, and I found a new product I had not seen in my local Sally’s Beauty store. Each store has a slightly different selection of products in stock. Some of it is bases on space available and I am sure some is based on what sells in the area. But of course all products are available online if you can’t find something locally.

So let’s talk about each of the products and why I went with them.

Ion Reparative Leave In Spray availale at Sally Beauty

This is the Ion Reparative Leave In Spray. It is essentially a leave in conditioner with some extra pizzazz. So in addition to making your hair soft it is also supposed to strengthen and improve elasticity.

I have been using this product for close to 15 years now. It works great in my hair. I generally use this just for conditioning purposes, but I have always noticed it helps keep the frizz away a bit. So this was the first thing I picked up when I went in the store.

Ion Luxe Hair & Body OilThe second product I picked up was the Ion Luxe Hair & Body Oil. This is part of a brand new line from Ion, the Ion Luxe line. When I was looking around I didn’t see any of the other products I was familiar, but I saw this and thought  I would give it a try.

This can be used on wet or dry hair, but I used it on dry hair. On Sally’s website it doesn’t say this is for frizz, but you can see in the picture the bottle does. This contains several different types of oil, but the application is that of a dry oil. It definitely did not leave my hair looking greasy and oil like a wet oil would.

Both the Reparative Leave in Hair Spray and Hair & Body Oil do have fragrance. The fragrance mix used in most of Ion’s products do not cause me to have a reaction. However as I have said many times before if you are one of the people who are following me for allergy related issues, then you need to check for yourself. Any fragrance related allergy can be complicated, but a Balsam of Peru allergy is even more so. We all react to different things, so just because I don’t have a reaction to these products doesn’t mean you won’t.

Whether you have allergies or not, no review or recommendation can ever replace trying something out for yourself. So if you would like to try these or other Ion products for yourself, you can find them on the Sally Beauty website, or click here to find the closest Sally Beauty location near you.

Tell me in the comments what you use to help tame the frizz in your hair.

 

 

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Sheet Masks I Used – Week Three August 2018

The masks I used week 3 of August 2018

I can’t believe three weeks have already passed. Really by the time you will be reading this most, if not all, of the month will have been over. I have already used a lot of sheet masks this month. If you missed what I used the first two weeks I also have recaps of week one, and of week two. Make sure to check those out.

Last week was a some exploring mixed with using up some things before they go bad. This week I wanted to keep trying some new items, but I also wanted to bring back some of the favorites. There was one misstep in the plan, and you will see that as we go.

The masks I used week 3 of August 2018I even added something on the fun side this week. So lets take a look at week three’s recap.

Day 15

This is the Yadah Moisturizing Mask Pack. I think the packaging makes it pretty obvious this has honey as an ingredient. This is extra moisturizing and honey is also great for pimples.

This is a great mask for anyone with extra sensitivities or someone like me who has a contact allergy. It says 4 free on the pack..It is free of parabens, fragrance, ethanol, and artificial colors. You can also find brands marked as 5 free and 6 free. It is often looked as a competition with some brands who can make their products the most natural.

 

Day 16

Day sixteen’s mask is the Pore Rosehip Mud Sheet Mask from JJ Young by Caolion Lab. I received mine in a subscription box, and unfortunately it looks like everywhere that carried this particular mask is out of stock. If you want to try something similar, you may like this It’s Skin Color Solution Mud Mask Sheet.

I had never tried one of these mud sheet masks before. It was definitely an interesting experience. I’m not sure that I am ready to pass judgment on whether I like them or not until I try another one or two.

I will say that I found myself worrying that it would stick to my brows or get in my hair. That didn’t happen, and I was pleasantly surprised by that. And it was a lot less messier and easier to remove than a traditional mud mask.

 

Day 17

Day seventeen comes with a bit of a story. This mask is the Superfood Broccoli Mask from Nohj. I had never used this mask before, but I have used broccoli masks from other brands before. As I was putting the mask on I realized it didn’t smell like the other broccoli masks I have tried, and I didn’t like the scent at all. But I powered past the smell and put it on. I had it on for about two minutes and started feeling my face having a burning and tingling sensation that I associate with an allergic reaction.

I went ahead and took the sheet mask off at that point. I went back and looked and sure enough there were several ingredients I react to with my Balsam of Peru Allergy. This was particularly odd because it was in my stash of sheet masks that were ready to use. I always check ingredients before putting any masks in there.

This was definitely not a case of it being a bad mask. I will say I did not care for the fit for me. I had to make some cuts around the eyes and mouth to make it fit, but there are

 

Day 18

Day eighteen was also a bit of a flub, but in different way. This the Wrinkle Infant Mask from Y.E.T(Yes! Enjoy Time). So the mask and the functionality of it was good. But I have used this one before, and I could have sworn this was supposed to have a baby face printed in the mask.

 

Day 19

On day nineteen I used the Pumpkin Ade Sheet Mask from Mediheal. I did tell you that I love this line of sheet mask. While the cacao one is my favorite, all of them do great things for my skin.

I do believe that this is another seasonal mask. I tend to stock up on the ones that I love when I see them, that way I can use them all year round. This should be back in stock  in the fall. With the exception of a few eBay sellers, no one seems to have them in stock right now. I wouldn’t personally recommend buying sheet masks on eBay mainly because of their shelf life. I don’t know of any similar masks to this one to recommend.

 

Day 20

You should know that I wouldn’t be able to stay away from my favorite brand for long. On day twenty I used a Pearl Essence Sheet Mask from eSfolio. Pearl essence is really great for anyone who has rough or dull looking skin. It gives you that glowing youthful look to the skin.

 

Day 21

Yes, your eyes have not deceived you. I have decided to use eSfolio on back to back days. But for day 21 I decided to go all out and use a hydrogel mask from them. This is their Aloe Hydro-Gel Mask.

This is currently sold out everywhere I know of that carried it. I am honestly not sure if this was a one time item or if it will be back. I bought mine on YesStyle in the winter time. Keep in mind many seasonal items are opposite of what they are for us. So aloe which we think of as used in summer, they have their summers as we have winter. However if you are just interested in trying a hydrogel mask, you might enjoy this ALL MASK STORY – Pearl Brightening Hydro Gel Mask.

 

That wraps up week three. There won’t be the same kind of recap for week four as I will be traveling. I will instead be doing a what skin care I traveled with post. I will still be sheet masking while traveling, but there will be some repeats. But if you want to see me using them you can catch that on my social media.

Tell me in the comments if there is a mask you would like to see me try out or give my thoughts on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Product Review: The Vivo Per Lei Collagen & Avocado Oil Sheet Mask

Collagen and Avpcado Mask from Vivo Per Lei

First I want to say thank you to Vivo Per Lei for sending me the box of Collagen & Avocado Oil Sheet Masks to try out. I think most of you who regularly read my posts know that I love trying new things, especially new sheet masks. And since I am using this month to concentrate on skin care as a form of self-care, the masks couldn’t have come at a better time.

Collagen and Avpcado Mask from Vivo Per Lei

Each box contains five individually wrapped masks.

Five individually wrapped Collagen and Avocado Masks from Vivo Per Lei

I pretty much have my evening skin care routine mapped out for the month. And I have been using the daytime to play with new products I want to test out and see what works for a good day routine. I don’t think there is any such thing as too much sheet masking. So doubling up on the occasional day seem like a good thing to me. Any excuse to use another sheet mask right?

Since I always have concerns about my Balsam of Peru contact allergy, one of the first things I always do is check out the ingredient list before using a new product. The only possible cause for concern here that I could see is that Parfum is in the list. That isn’t always a problem for me, but I just never know until I use the item in question. Since there were no major concerns, I felt good about going ahead with trying the product.

This mask from Vivo Per Lei in a lot of ways is very similar to any other sheet mask I have used, but there are also a few big differences. I will make sure to note them as we go along.

Per usual the instructions say to cleanse your face prior to use. The rest of the instructions is where the differences start to appear. First, it does not tell me to use a toner prior to using the mask. So even thought I typically would use a toner, I wanted to use the mask as the instructions directed. Next it says to take one mask pack, open, and apply to the face.

The first thing that I noticed when I opened the mask was that, even though the ingredient list says parfum, there was no strong perfume smell. I don’t think it really smelled like avocado either, but just a clean natural sort of scent.

The directions continue by saying to keep the mask on for 15 minutes. While I had it on I did feel something working on my skin. Just a slight warming and tingling sensation, nothing that alarmed me. Occasionally sheet mask do cause little sensations, the majority just feel cooling though.

Now here is where things were both surprising and really different from my perspective. It calls for rinsing the residue away after you discard the sheet mask. I am so used to patting it into the skin with the exception of the bubble masks I use. But again, I thought it was best to use these by the direction.

I am happy to report that I did not have an allergic reaction to the mask. I know I have at least a few people who follow the blog because they have the same or similar contact/fragrance allergies. It was moisturizing for sure. I’m not sure I saw any difference in firmness of my skin or fine lines, but it’s also one of those things I think you might need more than a couple of uses to see a difference.

Some things to note, that may or may not be of importance for you. It does have the FDA seal of approval on the box. The box does not have it, but on their website this product has the bunny seal that says it is not tested on animals. I was trying to figure out where the company was based at, but I am not 100% sure. After looking everything over its either the US or the Netherlands. The box says the product is made in China, but I do not believe it sold there or that the base of operation is there, otherwise I don’t think they could get the bunny seal.

If you would like to try this mask out for yourself or to what else Vivo Per Lei has to offer you can find their products on their website.

Tell me in the comments which Vivo Per Lei product you would want to try?

 

 

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Beauty Product Review – Farsali Volcanic Elixir

Farsali Valcanic Elixer

I am sure many of you are familiar with the brand Farsáli. Several of their products, like their Unicorn Essence, have become beauty blogger sensations and have blown up on social media. One product in particular I had not heard about was the Volcanic Elixir. At least I hadn’t heard about it till it landed in Sephora earlier this year.

Farsali Valcanic Elixer

Because of my personal experience with volcanic essence products in Korean Skincare I was extremely interested in trying out the Volcanic Elixir from Farsáli. If you have followed me either here on the blog or on my Instagram account for any amount of time then you know one of my all time favorite sheet masks is a Volcanic Ash Essence Mask from Esfolio. And while Farsáli is not a Korean brand, the ingredient concepts should be the same.

What The Product Does

I think when you spend any amount of time learning about Korean cosmetics you start to gain an understanding of what ingredients are used for. The great thing about Volcanic related products, in most cases like this one, they are good for all skin types and a full range of skin conditions.

So what does the brand say it does?

The properties of this oil are known to help regenerate skin tissue. The Volcanic Elixir, for this unique reason, can condition broken skin, and repair sun- and acne-damaged skin. It also has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties — making it ideal for acne sufferers. What sets this oil apart from others, is a certain lipid called calophyllolide; which is not found in any other oil, and is a very strong anti-inflammatory.

The Volcanic Elixir aids in regenerating new, healthy skin. It can be used on acne and acne scars, dry and scaly skin, stretch marks, etc.

So it really seems like the possibilities are endless if you are at either end of the problem skin scale. I’m not sure that you would gain any benefit if you have normal skin, unless you have scarring from the past.

 

My Skin Care Needs

For me, as you know I have very dry skin with scaley patches and keratin build up in creases (the scaley patches and keratin build up are from my allergy and are not constant). Due to my Balsam of Peru allergy I am fragrance sensitive, and that includes essential oils. I am also sensitive to select other possible ingredients in skin care products.

 

What You Get

Your product comes in a dark bottle with a dropper. You get one fluid ounce or thirty milliliters of product. The Volcanic Elixir has one single ingredient, Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Oil, so no worries for my fellow contact allergy sufferers, unless of course that is your allergy.

I did notice all of Farsáli’s other products seem to come in a second size option, but this one does not. I am not sure if that is something they are planning on adding or not. There is no mention of it on their website, so if anyone knows please tell us down in the comments.

 

First Impressions

The very first thing I noticed when I got the bottle was how hard it was to open. I don’t know if I got a defective bottle or if they all are like mine, but you have to twist forever and then it suddenly pulls up and it makes it sort of messy. Putting the dropper cap back on seems just as difficult.

Once the lid was open the next thing I notice was the heavy natural, earthy smell coming out. If you are use to using fragrance free products or even some Korean products (depending on which kind) this is a smell you are probably already use to and won’t think twice about. This is noted on Farsáli’s website, so they do tell you before you buy. For those of you who have never tried a fragrance free product before, you may not be prepared. Some people find natural smells offensive. Personally I like them and find it comforting.

The other thing that really stands out about this product when you first start using it is the texture. You can somewhat see it in this picture:

Consistancy of the Volcanic Elixir from Farsali

It is an oil, but what makes it different is that it is very thick and has somewhat of a gritty texture. Now I can feel the texture with my fingers, but once I apply the elixir to my face I no longer feel it.

 

How To Use It

Like most oils and liquids, you want to shake this up really well before using it each time. The website recommends using it as a night treatment, almost like a moisturizer. I agree for the most part, though I prefer putting an actual moisturizer on over top of it.

I have seen a lot of people on the web saying this is a great face oil for makeup. No, that is not the intended use, and I really can not believe anyone would want to do that with the texture this oil has. While I don’t feel the texture once applied, I have to think that would mess with the look and feel of your foundation.

 

Final Thoughts

I have been using the Fersáli Volcanic Elixir for close to a month now. I use it about three to four nights a week, and I am considering using it on a nightly basis for a while just to see what happens. I will explain why.

I find that I really like the product. It does have a lasting effect on the dryness of my skin, however on the days I do not use it I see the symptoms of my contact allergy creep back in. So I want to see if I can get a more lasting effect if I do it every day.

But on the days I did use the elixir the night before, my skin looks wonderfully clear. Here is one I took and posted to Instagram recently that was on a day right after using the Farsáli Volcanic Elixir:

A picture of me after using the Farsali Volcanic Elixir

The bottom line for me is I will be repurchasing this product. I love that I don’t have to worry about what the ingredients are and that it is fragrance free. It works well on my skin. And it shows results.

If you would like to try this product out for yourself you can find it at the Farsáli website and on Sephora.

Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of the products from Farsáli and what you thought of them. Should I try something else from their line?

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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Product Review – Free & Clear Shampoo And Conditioner

Free and Clear Shampoo, Medicated Shampoo, and Conditioner

As the title says this is a review for the Free & Clear Shampoo And Conditioner. This is the third in a series of shampoo and conditioner reviews. Make sure to check out my last review on the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing 3-Piece Starter Kit.

This took me a little longer to review as I initially started off with just the original Shampoo and Conditioner which I purchased on Amazon. However, shortly after starting to use this shampoo and conditioner I was walking through my local Walgreens and I noticed they have this line store. And, in addition to the Shampoo and Conditioner I had already purchased, they also had a Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. So I purchased that shampoo and decided to include it in this review.

 

My Hair And Scalp Type

(notice this section will be in every shampoo and conditioner review for reference. This is for convenience so you do not have to look back at earlier posts)

My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.

My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis caused by my allergy to Balsam of Peru. This causes a dry, scaly, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.

 

The Product

Free and Clear Shampoo, Medicated Shampoo, and Conditioner

These are all from the Free & Clear hair care line. As previously mentioned, two of these were purchased on Amazon and one from Walgreen’s. All my product links will be to Amazon because they offer it at a slightly better price.

This brand offers many other personal care and household products. Description from the brand:

Free & Clear shampoo has been specially created for persons who wish to avoid common chemical irritants found in most ordinary skin and hair care products. It is free of dyes, fragrance, masking fragrance, lanolin, protein, parabens, formaldehyde, and other preservatives.

  • Sulfate-free

  • Betaine-free

  • Gluten-free

Both the original Shampoo and Conditioner come in a 12 fl. oz. size. The Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is available in an 8 fl. oz. size.

 

How It Performed

I had very different experiences with each of these products. I don’t want to lump them all together, so lets talk about each product separately.

I tried the original Shampoo first. And while I think its great that it doesn’t have any fragrance, that was where my love for this shampoo stopped. I suppose it did the job of cleaning, but if anything it did it too well. It seemed to strip my hair from any and all moisture it had. It left my hair feeling very brittle and even after using conditioner my hair was a tangled mess. I can’t feasibly see myself using this again.

So after using the original Shampoo a couple of times I moved on to the Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. This was somewhat better on my hair, but not by much. It seemed like it was slightly less drying, but overall I just didn’t see the benefit of it.

The conditioner I used with both shampoos. This had quite the opposite effect for me. I think I need some pretty concentrated conditioner at times because of my hair type. And with as much as the shampoos seemed to dry my hair out more than usual, you would think I would need something even stronger than the norm. And this was a highly moisturizing shampoo, just a little too much. I never thought I would fins a conditioner than I thought over did it on my hair, but this conditioner from Free & Clear left my hair feeling like a greasy mess. I can’t even imagine who would be able to use this conditioner. It certainly wouldn’t be anyone with thin hair or with my dryness or less.

The Allergy Effect

When it comes to how my allergy behaved with these, I think I went in with high expectations because they are fragrance free. Though, if you have read anything about the Balsam of Peru allergy, then you know that it’s not your typical fragrance allergy. You can react to lots of things.

Both the original shampoo and the conditioner, I don’t believe I had any sort of reaction to it. However my breakout I already had, it didn’t let it clear up either. And I think that as much as the shampoo dried me out, even if the skin on my scalp would have gotten better it would have had flakes from dryness regardless.

And with the Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, I actually think I had an allergic reaction. I am not sure to what. I can just tell you that within a few minutes of using it my scalp was very itchy. I had double the flakes. It just all around was not good for me. I do think its worth giving a try though if you have a different fragrance allergy than me.

 

Final Thoughts

If you have read this all the way through, you probably already know my thoughts are not favorable on these products from Free & Clear. I am sure that these would work for someone out there, I just don’t know who. I think even if I had not had the allergic reaction to the medicated shampoo or if any of them had helped clear up my scalp, I still could not have gotten past the feeling that it was damaging my hair.

 

I would love to hear in the comments if any of you have tried this brand before and if you like it. Have you tried any of the other products? If so do they perform better than the shampoos and conditioner?

 

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Product Review: Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing 3-Piece Starter Kit (Shampoo, Conditioner, and Hair Mask)

What you get in the Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing 3-Piece Starter Kit

I am on a personal mission this year to find a shampoo and conditioner that both works for my hair type and for my sensitive scalp. This is the second review of this series, make sure to check out my review of the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner to see the first review.

My Hair And Scalp Type

My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.

My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis caused by my allergy to Balsam of Peru. This causes a dry, scaley, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.

The Product

 

What you get in the Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing 3-Piece Starter KitThis is the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Collection 3-Piece Starter Kit, and it runs $26.00 for the set. This kit includes:

  • Monoi Repairing Shampoo (2.0 fl. oz.)
  • Monoi Repairing Conditioner (2.0 fl. oz.)
  • Monoi Repairing Hair Mask(2.0 oz.)

I bought mine on Amazon, but it is also available at Ulta. These are all small travel size bottles that come in this package, but there is a Monoi Luxury Hair Care Gift Set that comes with full size products if you would rather have that. The shampoo, the conditioner, and the hair mask can also be bought separately in full size.

I had never tried anything from this brand before, but I had heard a lot of wonderful things about the brand. They are (or at least they use to be) a small woman owned company. Their products do not contain sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, mineral oil, or artificial colors.

I picked this line specifically because it contained a lot of ingredients I had good experiences with. It was for intense moisture and repairing the hair. One of its large claims was that it would help prevent breakage of brittle hair. It really had a lot that appealed to me. And outside of fragrance, there were no ingredients that immediately concerned me. (If you also have a Balsam of Peru allergy, please note this does contain citric acid. I know that some react to that, I do not.)

How It Performed

I tried the Carol’s Daughter shampoo and conditioner combo four different ways, all ways that I typically would use other shampoos and conditioners before doing this review. I wanted to make sure I had a fully adequate comparison to the other shampoos I have used in the past. And so for me that means the hair mask in this set only got used once.

The first time I tried them with a hot oil treatment that I use fairly often. Then I tried them on their own. The third time I used them with a Korean brand dandruff shampoo that I use occasionally. And the fourth and final time I used them with the hair mask that came in the set.

I was actually surprised at how moisturizing the shampoo was. I realize that the shampoo contains oils, but I have used lots of shampoos that contain various types of oils and none of them have felt like that. I think it did a decent job at cleansing too, but the standout feature is just going to miniaturization. I almost felt like I could have went with out conditioner after the shampoo, if that tells you anything.

The conditioner performed just as well. Not only was it moisturizing, but it also felt very smoothing to my hair. I could definitely tell that after my hair dried this was still smoothing as I was not experiencing as much fizziness. I typically have to use an additional leave in conditioner with most shampoo/conditioners. But I did not have to with these.

One big thing I could not say whether it was specifically the shampoo or the conditioner, but I definitely saw less hair loss with this set. It could have been coincidence, but I find that unlikely.

The Allergy Effect

As I mentioned in my last post, anything that has a fragrance, I always put it through the smell test. Smelling this product was no help. It definitely has a unique fragrance that I have never smelled before. That actually made me far more nervous than it just having fragrance. I suppose it was the element of the unknown. To be completely honest here, I am not really a fan of how this smelled, but if something works for me I don’t care ultimately.

I am happy to say that I did not have any reaction to the shampoo and conditioner. However, I don’t think it did anything special as far as helping my dermatitis either. The one exception would be when I mixed it with my dandruff shampoo. That was probably the longest I have went itch and scale free in a long time. I don’t know if that was coincidence or if it was something special about the combo. And it would take a lot longer of testing to find out.

Now I am not sure why, but I didn’t fare as well with the hair mask. After using it I was itchy almost immediately. Looking at the ingredients nothing looks all that different or stands out to me as to why the hair mask would cause that.

Final Thoughts

Overall, with the exception of the hair mask, I really like the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Collection. I think I will keep this on the list of shampoos and conditioners that I feel okay using in a pinch. If I don’t find anything better this year I may even circle around and give this one another try for a while.

Tell me in the comments if you have tried anything from Carol’s Daughter before. Let me know what you tried and what you thought about it. And as always, I am taking requests of what you would like to try.

 

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8 Fragrance Free Products That Are Necessities

No fragrance products

I talk about my Balsam of Peru allergy here on the blog a lot. It affects most aspects of my life, so I think it would be weird if I didn’t talk about it here. An allergy to Balsam of Peru is technically categorized as a fragrance allergy, but it’s so much more. Even though there is more to it, fragrance can still affect you in a major way. And it’s not just chemical fragrances, scents that are categorized as natural are often just as dangerous or more.

I realize that I often do talk about and review products that have fragrance. There are two reasons for that. 1. I don’t react to all fragrances, and 2. The severity of my reactions aren’t nearly as bad as some people with the same allergy, so I often feel like I want to test things for them. Its my way of helping others I suppose.

Balsam of Peru is not the only fragrance related allergy, there are many others. When you have an allergy that is affected by fragrance, finding fragrance free products that work are a necessity but they can also be hard to find. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have found fragrance free products, then get excited, but once I try them they just don’t function the way that they should. I often feel like companies just don’t care as much about the fragrance free products as much since they know the people who buy them are often just stuck using them because of lack of options. Because ultimately they should be able to make the same products, just without the fragrance, and they then would perform the same as normal. That is why I wanted to share these fragrance free products I use in my everyday life that I know work without question.

 

1 all Free & Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent


>Out of all the things I react to, one of the strongest reactions I was having till I found the right one was detergent. I suppose because it was constantly touching my skin and not just in a small area. I tried various brands of free & clear detergent before I got to the one from all. While they all were free of fragrances and dyes, they just didn’t get laundry clean the way that you would expect. When I tried all Free & Clear it was a world of difference.

2. Snuggle Free & Clear Fabric Softener

I think fabric softener is as much of a necessity for most people as much as detergent is. Snuggle softener works well, and you can get it in other form than just liquid if you prefer them.

3. Basis Sensitive Skin Bar Soap


Bar soap was a challenge for me. I feel like this is the one thing on the market that has quite a few fragrance free options, but for a Balsam of Peru allergy there is more that we have to look at than just fragrance. And there are a handful of bars out there that say they are fragrance free that don’t seem like it. Dove for example has a fragrance free bar, but I can still smell something that smells like perfume. But Basis is what my allergist recommended, and it worked great for me. I thought that not only was it getting me clean, but it also felt soothing to my skin, so bonus.

 

4. Innerskin Soothing Cleansing Water H2O

Innerskin Soothing cleanser

I wear makeup a few times a week, but wearing makeup can be rough on the skin if not removed properly. This cleanser from Innerskin is a miceller water and is great for removing makeup with just a swipe. It also feels great on the skin and is very soothing.

 

5. Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator

clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator

As I said, skin care is super important to me. And a great moisturizer can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to how your skin looks. It used to be that there were very few choices for fragrance free moisturizers, but there are a lot of options out there these days. But Clinique has been offering a completely fragrance free line for the longest time, and they know what they are doing as well (You are going to see more than one product from them in this list.) This Moisture Surge Intense is my favorite moisturizer of all time. It works great for anyone that has dry, aging, irritated, or textured skin. And any combination of those as well. In the line they have moisturizers for other skin types too, so there is something for everyone. I have other moisturizers I use for specific situations, but this is absolutely my go to moisturizer, you can see and feel a dramatic difference in your skin within minutes of use.

 

6. Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask

Moisture Surge Overnight Mask

For those occasions that you feel moisturizer just isn’t cutting it, Clinique’s Moisture Surge Overnight Mask is here to help. It not only moisturizes while you sleep, but you also wake up with your skin looking brighter and glowing.

 

7. Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray

Cliniquee Moisture Surge Face Spray

One last thing from Clinique’s Moisture Surge Line is their Face Spray. This a great multi-purpose product. Use it as a makeup setting spray, light moisturizer, or just a cooling refresher spray.

 

8. Almay Sensitive Skin Fragrance Free Clear Gel, Anti-Perspirant and Deodorant

When I was searching for a fragrance free deodorant, there really weren’t many choices out there. Of course that was almost ten years ago, and the options have really grown. But out of the ones I have tried I feel the Almay Gel Deodorant was superior. It kept me feeling and smelling fresh without the fragrance. As an honorable mention, I wanted to say I have heard quite a few people say they had great success with JASON Fragrance Free Deodorant Stick.
So tell me in the comments what fragrance free products are a necessity in your life?

 

 

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Product Review: Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

Not Your Mother's Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

I am on a personal mission this year to find a shampoo and conditioner that both works for my hair type and for my sensitive scalp. To be more specific, I need something to help with my contact dermatitis. I want to go beyond not causing an allergic reaction and find something that will actually help the skin on my scalp.

To keep these reviews relevant to more people than just those with a Balsam of Peru allergy or some other sort of fragrance allergy, in addition to general information about the shampoo each review will be broken down into sections. I will do half of the review just based on how effective it is at cleansing, price, ease of use, etc.. The second part of each review will be based on the effects on my allergy as well as discussion of ingredients used.

I am of mixed heritage, and I don’t have typical white girl hair. My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.

My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis. This causes a dry, scaley, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.

Now that we have covered the basics of what I am looking for in a shampoo and conditioner and what I my particular needs are, lets take a look at the actual shampoo and conditioner we are reviewing today.

The Product

Not Your Mother's Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

This is the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner. I bought mine online at Ulta.com, but it is also available in most Ulta stores as well as Walgreens. Each 16 oz. bottle sells for $8.99, at least at Ulta.

I decided to give this set a try because of several reasons. I have had previous good experiences with the Not Your Mother’s Brand, I just hadn’t tried any of their shampoos and conditioners. I also have had relatively good experiences with the main ingredients. Coconut is always good for my skin, and seems to do well in my hair as well. And the blue sea kale, well I have not had a direct experience with it, but other ocean plants like kelp have been successful in the past. Plus since this is a drugstore brand the price is right and it would be easy for me to find at a moments notice.

 

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How It Performed

Not Your Mother's Shampoo

This shampoo had a lot going for it, and so I was pretty hopeful that I would have a great shampoo. Unfortunately, it fell flat for me. I really expect anything coconut to be super moisturizing. This was not. If anything I felt it was drying, and by the end of washing my hair with it my hair felt a rough.

Not Your Mother's Conditioner

Now the conditioner fared slightly better, but not by much. Just the nature of what conditioner is means it’s not going to dry my hair out. It did moisturizer, but it just wasn’t the intensity that I needed. And oddly enough, even though the moisture was light, it left my hair feeling weighed down and limp.

Overall, I would say that this shampoo and conditioner is fine for anyone who has thick hair, but it would be best for someone who stays on the oily side. I would not recommend it for coarse hair or dry hair. I also would not recommend the conditioner for anyone with fine, thin hair. I think this set is going to be for a very specific hair type.

The Allergy Affect

When it comes to my Balsam of Peru allergy it can get really complicated as to what will or won’t affect me. You can read the ingredient list and not see anything that looks problematic and it still can be. Then there are also times that you can look at the ingredient list, be really nervous about what’s on the list, and then nothing happen. In this case the ingredient list for both the shampoo and conditioner was rather on the small side compared to a lot of hair care products I have used over the years.

The only ingredient I was the least bit wary of was fragrance. The Balsam of Peru allergy does get classified as a fragrance allergy, but it’s not really. It is used in some fragrances, but not all. So I sometimes react to fragrances, and sometime I don’t. In these cases I know certain scents to stay away from for sure, and for the rest I do a smell test. What I mean is I can usually tell by just smelling the product whether I will react. Upon smelling the product, it seemed like I was in the all clear.

After washing my hair with the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner everything seemed fine. I thought for a bit I had hit the jackpot on the first shampoo and conditioner I was trying. But unfortunately about three to four hours after washing my hair I started to experience a reaction. Full on itching and burning that led into flaking skin. It fell just short of causing blisters. So this was a fail on the allergy front too.

Final Thoughts

This shampoo and conditioner from Not Your Mother’s was just not a good match for me. Since I had an allergic reaction, there was definitely no point in trying it a second time. If it were not for the allergic reaction, I probably would have given it at least a second shot just to see if my hair reacted different.

I will be reviewing a lot of shampoos and conditioners this year, so if there is one you would like to see me review leave the name or a link to it in the comments, or alternatively you can send me a message on the contact page. I would love to hear your feedback. Also, tell me in the comments if there is anything more you want to know about the shampoos and conditioners I try. Did I leave some needed information out?

 

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