Eyelash serum for everyone

Anyone who has read this blog knows I’m on a constant search for an eyelash growth enhancement serum (like Latisse) that doesn’t require a prescription, and that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. And one that WORKS! Hold on to your lashes, ladies. I’m about to Hook. You. Up!

Ardell Brow & Lash Growth Accelerator… find this product today. It’s a drug store brand (same brand many of us use when buying false lashes) however, you can find the product on amazon and other internet sources as well. It’s ludicrously cheap, less than $5 a tube, which made me skeptical of course, but after reading some rave reviews and since it was so inexpensive I figured, what do I have to lose?

Honestly, I didn’t even take a proper “before” picture, because I didn’t think it would work. I took this pic (below) about 2 weeks after starting daily use, and right about the time I began to see my lashes getting that feathery look that they get with eyelash enhancement serums. The photos are all without makeup or product applied.

By this point, I knew I was going to need photo documentation for the blog, so I got serious about my daily (sometimes twice daily) application regimen. The product applies (and can even be used as) a clear mascara would. I would sometimes use it prior to applying black mascara if I wanted a more prominent eye that day.

And, below, you can see the results at 6 weeks of daily use.


While the eyelashes’ length did not get tremendously long, I do think they look glossy, thicker, more prevalent and feathery in length. Not bad for under $5!

But… I want more. So, in the search for perfection, I’ve already started a new eyelash growth serum experiment, and I’m hoping to share those results with you in another month.

Grab some Ardell until then, and tell me how it worked for you!

Published in: on October 6, 2011 at 11:53 am  Comments (2)  
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Cilea’s story continues and results pics

Well, it’s turned into a soap opera, hasn’t it?

I dropped my tube of Cilea eyelash growth stimulator, and broke it, but managed to save some in the bottom of the tube, so I’m still using my meager, broken leftovers. Because guess why? I think this stuff is really working.

Here is a picture from last month of my lashes after one week of Cilea usage, taken outside, natural light, no makeup on.

And here is a picture after 3-4 weeks of usage, taken inside because it was freezing out this month, and the flash went off, but with no makeup still.

So it seems that my observational assessment of my lashes being slightly longer is actually true! And I have to admit, I was surprised to see how much the density and number of lashes has really improved. And the flash made them look very glossy, no?

Lastly, here is a picture taken today, after 5 weeks of daily usage, outside with no flash and no makeup either. When compared to the first photo, also outside, I think you can see the best before-and-after example.

And here’s one last anecdote…

On the suggestion of Bravo Ho mom2cagc, I called the company last week to tell them about the tragedy of my broken Cilea tube. The lady I spoke to sent an email *to the company’s president* about the issue to find out what he wanted to do.

Turns out, the pres instructed her to sell me another tube at about a 40% discount from regular retail price. Which I do appreciate, and I have to admit, I was surprised to have the customer sales rep call me back (I didn’t hound them!) personally.

Cilea’s grade just went way up: B-. I would mark them higher, but I wish I could have sent my broken tube to the company for an exchange, instead of having to wait to save up the money and buy the replacement tube.

But, you decide for yourself! What do you think, is it in my head or do you see a difference too?

Published in: on January 20, 2011 at 11:02 am  Comments (4)  
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Cilea sadness

It’s nearly been 4 weeks since I began using this non-prescription eyelash growth stimulator. And although the results have not blown me away, I will grudgingly admit that my eyelashes are about a millimeter or 2 longer. How can I tell? I’ve been using the non-scientific method of looking under my eyes, and visually measuring the gap where my lashes end and my eyebrow begins.

But that’s not why I’m sad.

I’m sad because last night I accidentally dropped the Cilea tube and it shattered upon impact with my bathroom tile floor. I may be able to use the stuff for another week or so before the last drop dries out, now that it’s no longer contained.

I’d insert curse words to demonstrate how strongly I really feel about this, but I try to keep my blogs to a PG-13 rating.

However, Cilea is now officially a waste of my money. If a tube can’t take being dropped *once* on a tile floor what kind of product quality control is that?

Grade: D+. You passed, Cilea, but only because your product produces meager results instead of completely wasting my time and money. Overall impression, not worth your investment. Not even if Vicki Gunvalson gives you a discount code.

And a note to potential Cilea customers: Use while standing on carpet floors only. Trust me.

Published in: on January 11, 2011 at 11:39 am  Comments (1)  
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Gel nails are driving me to distraction

I started this blog because I get quasi-obsessed about fashion and beauty topics on a regular basis, and blogging is therapeutic. We’ve seen it happen… red LED skin care, chem peels, not to mention what happens when leopard print or red plaid cravings hit me in the closet.

Today? Gel nails. Spent hours obsessing on it after Google-ing last night. It’s a natural extension to my desire to have long lasting manicures, despite being an active Mommy. Remember my Minx nails obsession that never came to be?

Gel manicures are the latest (and shellac is *so* 2010).  More substantial than nail polish, yet less troublesome (and stinky) to apply than acryllics. The youtube videos explain it better…

A lot of steps though, no? As usual, my thrifty nature has me seeking to do it myself.

A typical gel manicure costs $40 and lasts two weeks. A typical gel kit from Sally Beauty Supply is $40, but is good for “50 manicures.” Oh, did we forget to mention you’ll need the special UV light to cure the gel? That’s another $50. Not so cheap either.

Now what? EBAY! (Of course, this is Alissa, people). On Ebay, UV nail lights are closer to $20 (there are cheaper, but I only buy inside the US), and gel kits are also available at about half the price of standard retail.

We’re so post-Christmas broke right now that I’ll have to delay gratification on this matter, but if it keeps my interest I’ll likely pick up supplies for my DIY at home experiment. I’ll keep you posted!

Published in: on January 4, 2011 at 8:57 am  Comments (2)  
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Cilea eyelash growth stimulator… 2 weeks

Vicki Gunvalson, Real Housewife of Orange County, tweeted about her new product she’s endorsing, and I decided to grab some with Christmas cash. It took a long time to arrive, about 11 days, but finally it showed up, so I’ll be reviewing it here for you, dear reader.

I’ve been using it twice a day for two weeks now, and so far I can’t see any results. The product hype says results in 2 weeks, more in 4… I’ll keep at it and reserve my final judgment. And it comes with a 60 day money back guarantee, so I intend to hold them to that if I don’t see something for my investment. I’m taking before-and-after comparison pictures as well, so I’ll be sure to post those by 4 weeks into regular usage as well.

The product is easy to use, I just swipe it over my upper lids, and sometimes my lower lids, without much carefulness. It doesn’t burn or in any way discomfort the eyelid, or your eye if it gets into it, so it’s easy to just swipe and be done with it. I use it as my first part of my makeup ritual, while I’m applying SPF lotion for the day. By the time it dries, you’re ready for your foundation and regular makeup.

The tube feels generous in your hands, not wimpy and flimsy, and it seems like there is a lot of product inside, especially since you’re using so little of it at a time. I just hope it actually works.

Published in: on December 29, 2010 at 3:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The sparkly tinsel hair saga continues

Well, I’m not the only one who loves glitter hair, and neither is Adrienne Maloof. It’s been the number one search phrase for my blog since putting up the previous entries, and since I haven’t quit playing with my sparkly hair, I figured it was time to talk some tinsel.

A week had passed, and all of my tinsel had nearly fallen out when hubby turned to me, while cooking breakfast for the boys together one Saturday morning, reached to pick at my scalp while saying, “You have something in your hair…oh! You did that, didn’t you?” He said he loved the tinsel, thought is was cute, and so I immediately tied in a headful more of tinsel strands. Attention whore, who me?

So here’s a few tricks I’ve picked up in the past few weeks while wearing tinsel…

I’m better at tying them in now, practice practice practice, but in general it helps to tie the tinsel to a few hairs, think 6-8 strands, rather than small chunks of hair of 30ish strands. The ones I tied to larger chunks of hair fell out twice as fast.

Washing with tinsel is no issue at all. I usually towel dry and then air dry, but I’ve found it’s better to finger-comb wet hair and use a boar bristle brush for removing tangles in dry hair. When you brush your hair, place one hand on your scalp while brushing. This helps hold the tinsel strands from being pulled out quickly.

And they do fall out quickly. They fall out when I brush, when I style my hair (which for me is minimal, I don’t use blow dryers or curling/flat irons). They fall out when I sleep, a lot. So get used to tying in a few strands every day in order to maintain your tinsel look. If I have time after doing my makeup, I usually tie in more tinsel then.

And if you know me, and you want tinsel for yourself? Call me, darlings… or drop me an email. I can help!

Hopefully I’ll try to take pictures soon to share as well. The holographic silver is what I’m wearing today — I like the bright stuff for the festive holidays — but the copper is pretty, subtle but still very noticable.

Published in: on December 27, 2010 at 1:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Hair tinsel update

Glittery locks I had wished for? And glittery locks I received. The package came very quickly, and by Monday of this week I was tying tinsel into my hair.

As for the process of doing it yourself? Tricky, not impossible, but not easy. But I’m challenged by French braiding my hair. I found that I could tie about 4-5 glitter strands in a day before my arms felt like they would fall off from holding them up for so long. Tie one, take a break, come back during baby’s nap, tie 2, take another break.

I started with the coppery brown because it’s closest to my hair color, but also enough of a holographic pop that it was hugely noticable, to me. 

And then, I waited for someone else to notice. And I waited. And I waited. Tuesday came, still no one I live with noticed the tinsel. In fairness, I don’t see my guys (hubby and DS1) a lot in a day. Three strands fell out, one during sleeping and two during hair brushing. I tied them back in during baby’s nap again.

And another day passed, and another. Same cycle. Tinsel strands fall out at an average of 3 a day, and I tie in about 4 a day to maintain the look. It’s time consuming, by this point, and the novelty had worn off. The arm fatigue during the tying-in process had not.

A full work week, and no one — NO ONE — has mentioned the tinsel to me. Now I don’t go out a lot, just mostly Mommy errands like picking up kids from school, and such. But not only did the boys in my house not notice, neither did anyone else.

Maybe they were being nice and not saying anything because the tinsel looked ridiculous on a 40-something? Maybe I should dye my hair blue, like my good old 20-something days, and see if anyone notices? These are the same men who didn’t notice a new facial piercing until I mentioned it myself, a week after the fact. Perhaps if I had used the silver disco ball tinsel it would have garnered more attention?

Sigh… well, it was fun. For me. And now the arm fatigue is keeping me from doing more right now, so I have 2 random strands left in my hair, and don’t plan on adding any more. They do make brushing and combing your hair a little tricky.

And I’m still waiting for the Cilia eyelash growth stimulator to arrive. At least the hair tinsel people have superfast delivery.

Published in: on December 10, 2010 at 9:07 am  Comments (6)  

Longer lashes and glittery locks

…that’s what I want for Christmas.

I just spent some early Christmas gift money for myself this week, check it out.

I’m a Real Housewives uber-fan, and the Beverly Hills franchise might have edged out NY as my favorite. Cast member Adrienne Maloof was chastised by Isaac Mizrahi on Watch What Happens for the glitter strands she wears in her hair. I left this picture here large (click on it) because if you look closely, you can see some of her gold tinsel.

Well! I happily confess that the glitter-loving, faery-believing side of me thinks the strands are gorgeous and I want some. She claims you need to go to the Palms to get them done, but guess what? Even us girls in the sticks can put glitter in our hair, all by ourselves, for cheap.

I found this website that sells the professional grade hair tinsel and even includes how-to pages, with videos, to show you how to do it yourself. I figure I knit, I crochet… I make friendship bracelets, and I’ve done hair wraps… I can do this! So, I ordered the Disco Ball Silver (1st on the left) and the Copper (2nd to last on right, above). I’ll let you know how it goes.

And as for lashes, I’ve been curious about Latisse, but the $120-a-month price tag sends me away. Orange County Real Housewife Vicki Gunvalson start tweeting about a product she’s endorsing, Cilea Eyelash Growth Stimulator. Frankly, it sounds too good to be true. Results in 2 weeks, even more in 4 weeks. All natural. No prescription needed. No side effects. Money back guaranteed. It was the last part that made me decide to indulge myself and order some… that and the “Vicki” promo code that gets you 20% off.

I’ll be checking the mailbox religiously all next week!

Published in: on December 3, 2010 at 11:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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Home chemical peel diary 3

Day One: This is the 4th peel in a series of 7, the third one I’ve done at home, and I have Fraxel Re:store Dual laser treatment scheduled for 2 weeks from today. It’s been 15 days since my last chemical peel. I’ll be suspending these peels until the doctor advises to begin them again, post laser treatment, so this is my last home peel for a while, although my intention is to finish the course of peels once it is safe to do so.

This time, I began by applying 2 heavy layers of Vitalize peel with medium pressure, using a cotton ball. The second layer had a lot of tingle to it, more than I remember experiencing in the past, so I waited 9 minutes before the next application, allowing my skin some time to calm down. The third layer of Vitalize was “dotted” over my problem areas only, and very lightly.

Waited another 5 minutes after the final “dotted” layer of Vitalize, and then applied 1 layer of 20 drops of TCA 12% (did not dilute it this time), applied by using a fresh cotton swab. Tingled big time, and a light frosting appeared on my forehead only a few minutes post application. First time I’ve ever seen frosting on me. Skin felt tingly and slightly numb for next 2-3 hours, then felt normal for the rest of the day (although slightly “tight” despite light layers of Aquaphor to stay moisturized). By bedtime, I could see a slightly reddish tint to the skin that had been treated by the peel.

Day Two: You can see a pinkish mask of skin where the peel was applied yesterday. It disappears under normal makeup and isn’t very noticable unless you’re looking for it. Looks like a mild sunburn in a very specific pattern, if that makes sense. Those small clear & glassy lines are beginning to appear, as is usual for day two. Using SPF every few hours, and wearing an oversized hat while out and about. Skin still feels a little dry, so I’ve been using Aquaphor in thin layers when at home (and not wearing makeup).

Day Three: Woke up to massive peeling around the mouth and chin. Looks like the kind of peel you get after a sunburn, it’s not painful or worrisome but it is very present today and moisturizer alone won’t hide it. The pinkish tint to the skin is gone.

I’m applying Aquaphor to keep the skin super-hydrated and trying to keep myself from touching my face. Thou Shalt Not Pick Thy Skin, Lest Ye Cause Damage and Scars! My commandment for the day, but it’s hard not to rub the skin because it feels so delightfully weird. This is definitely the most significant peel I’ve experienced in the series, and I’m happy to find a process that evoked the results I wanted.

In other spots, you can see the mask of skin that will be peeling soon – it looks like I have on one of those old clear gel masques (the kind you would peel off when it dries). Before you peel those off, they dry into a clear masque of wrinkly skin. That’s what my skin looks like up close, eeny weeny clear wrinkles everywhere. It doesn’t itch though, and I’m excited to see what new skin will be revealed once the peel is complete.

Day Four: Woke up to massive forehead peeling, and unlike all my previous peels, this isn’t tiny litte flakes. It’s like a sunburn peel, that’s all I can compare it to. I’ve heard other happy chem peelers talk about a good peel resulting in a “snake like” peeling, so I guess this is the molting they’ve referred to. I can gently coax off 1/4″ pieces that are as long as the width of a dime. I don’t peel! Never never do I lift the skin off my face, it’s bad and can scar you!

Had to work and so I wore makeup in evening, forehead had the worst noticable peeling but bangs saved the day. Looked like my bangs had dandruff though.

Doesn’t itch, but it is hard to keep your fingers from picking. I slather in Aquaphor every moment I’m at home, and no makeup on. The new skin beneath is really smooth and lovely. I’m looking forward to a week from today. Very hopeful!

Day Five: Peeling is almost done now, but flaking continues. Not much to say today. Looking good, getting closer to normal.

Summation: This was my most successful peel, and it took me 3 tries to work my way into the strength I required to achieve the results. The downside is areas which peeled greater than others have beautiful pink skin “blotches” but they blend into my non-peeled normal skin. It’s not noticable unless you’re 3 inches from the bathroom mirror, examining your skin, like I do.

Pores are reduced, definitely. And the other morning, I walked by a mirror and noticed the pink glow to my radiant skin, and smiled. If it weren’t for the dark circles under my eyes, I could consider not using foundation. As it is, the peels are doing a great job of removing sun damaged layers of skin.

No more peels for a long time, but check back near the 15th for my Fraxel Re:store Dual laser treatment reports, m’kay? I’m going to try to vlog the results, along with the blog.

Published in: on September 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm  Comments (1)  
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Home chemical peel diary 2

Day One: This is the 3rd peel in a series of 7, using Vitalize (3 light layers, spaced 2 minutes apart) and TCA 8% (1 light layer). It’s been 13 days since my last home peel.

Upon application, the TCA burned more than expected for the first minute, but no frosting. I’ve never seen frosting on me though. After 5 minutes, I applied baking soda paste to neutralize, but it might not have been necessary. I’ve read it is self-neutralizing, but I thought to play it safe for my first use of the chemical. Immediately afterwards, skin felt slightly tingly for an hour, slightly numb to the touch, then normal all day, ever so slightly pink.

Day Two: Skin looks slightly tight and glassy in places, mostly near the mouth, with eeny weeny small lines. No other changes.

Day Three: Woke up to some slight flaking near the mouth. Afternoon showed good rubbing… this is when I apply a heavy moiturizer, or even Aquaphor, and then use my fingertips and rub them over my skin. Small bits of dead skin roll together as I rub the skin, resulting in a very gentle exfoliation using nothing more than oil and the texture of my fingerprints.

Day Four: I had to work outside all day for a Renaissance Faire but I was in the shade for the most part, and I SPFd and tried to stay out of sun by keeping my back to it all day. Had some light peeling on left cheek after my shower that night. This ended up being the most significant peeling I saw during this home procedure.

Day Five: Outside all day for Renn Faire again, SPFd again and tried to stay out of sun. No sunburn from yesterday. Light peeling on forehead after shower.

Day Six: Woke up to more light forehead peeling. No sunburn.

Summation: I peeled for longer during this run, which shows more of the exfoliation power of the addition of the TCA after the Vitalize. I’m not seeing much in terms of results, but patches of my skin along my cheeks looks very fresh and new. The sun spots look the same as ever, maybe slightly lighter, but not certain. Next time, I plan to use the TCA at full strength (12%) instead of diluting it.

Published in: on September 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm  Comments (3)  
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