shu uemura Shusu Sleek Shampoo & Conditioner Review, Photos

shu uemura Shusu Sleek Shampoo & Conditioner

shu uemura Shusu Sleek Shampoo ($45.00 for 10 fl. oz.) and Conditioner ($55.00 for 8 fl. oz.) is a duo of products designed for “coarse and unruly hair.” The big deal behind the product is the usage of black cumin oil, which is supposed to provide “deep nourishment” and “discipline the hair fiber with a fluid touch.” There is also a Smoothing Treatment ($65.00 for 6 fl. oz.), which seems like a deep conditioner, in the line.

The first time I tried out this set, all I could do was marvel at the scent–it’s very earthy, spicy, and masculine. It was reminiscent of my favorite scent–Tom Ford Oud Wood–in how I reacted. It’s heady, and it lingers, though I don’t find myself smelling it constantly, I do catch whiffs of it periodically during the day that I washed it. The brand says the scent is “gardenia with green leaves,” but I get more of the black cumin oil coming through. (I’d love a bottle of eau de parfum of this scent!)

I liked both products a lot, and they do a fine job of giving my hair a straighter look (it is slightly wavy in places as a result of years of putting it up), assuming I leave it down to dry or blow dry.  I’ve been using the set since the beginning of March, and I definitely have noticed it keeping my hair soft, hydrated, and less fly aways.   I noticed that I was able to achieve better results–really sleek, soft falls of hair–when I blow dried my hair (I used a T3 Evolution). The results were good when left to air dry, but everything just seemed a little straighter and shinier with the blow dryer.

The shampoo lathered well and left my hair feeling clean but not stripped, while it had a thicker consistency.  I actually used just the shampoo a few times alone, and my hair still felt soft and silky without conditioning afterward.

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Fresh Brown Sugar Hand Cream Review & Photo

Fresh Brown Sugar Hand Cream

Now, despite the usage of “brown sugar” in the title, it’s referring to the inclusiom of brown sugar crystals in the formula itself, but it has nothing to do with the scent. I know when I first tested this product out, I expected something sweet and food-ish, but the scent is actually a stronger, herbal-ish lemon. Distinctly lemon, but it almost borders on cloying and synthetic. I’m actually a fiend for lemon-y scent (seriously, I love all lemon-scented kitchen soaps!), but this smelled a little off.

ingredients: Water (Aqua), Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot), Kernel Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Maltooligosyl Glucoside, Sucrose, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Caramel, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Fragrance (Parfum), Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate Triethanolamine, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Behenyl Alcohol, Isohexadecane, Lecithin, Sorbitan Oleate, Bisabolol, Panthenol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Xanthan Gum, BHT, Benzoic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 80, Phenoxyethanol, Limonene, Citral, Linalool, Geraniol.

As a hand cream, it’s a decent product: a very thick, luxuriously textured cream that absorbs in a few minutes without leaving behind any greasy residue. It moisturizes well if you have normal skin, but when my hands are at their driest, I don’t find that it to outperform some of my favorites (like Jack Black Hand Healer). It just leaves my hands shy of feeling truly soothed and infused with moisture. This seems to do better at locking in existing moisture while imparting some but not quite enough.

It’s not bad, and it’s better than average, but I don’t think it will work well for those with particularly dry or cracked hands.  I did like the texture and how quickly the product absorbed (which can always be an issue in thicker creams like this one).   If your hands are in better shape and the scent catches your fancy, I think this will do the trick for you.

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Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Eau de Parfum Review & Photos

Tom Ford Neroli Portofino

A modern intercontinental version of an iconic fragrance theme balances luminous citrus oils and floral notes with amber undertones that awaken the senses and leave a splashy yet substantive impression. Notes: bergamot, lemon, mandarin, lavender, myrtle, rosemary, orange bitter, Egyptian jasmine, neroli, orange blossom water, pittosporum, woody amber accord, ambrette seeds, angelica root.

It starts out as crisp orange blossom mixed with spiciness that makes it way to something a little sweeter, more of a fruity and floral mix. The dry down is distinctly orange with amber rounding it out in a way that leaves it just right, not too sweet, not too woody. On my skin, the scent wears well for six to eight hours, with it becoming rather subtle by the eighth hour. It’s a very light scent at all times; not that you can’t detect it, but the scent itself is certainly not as heady as scents like Amber Absolute or Oud Wood (two previous scents I’ve reviewed).

Neroli Portofino is a very lovely scent for summer–it reminds me of salty sea breezes, sandy beaches, and iced tea. It took me a few wears to appreciate it for what it is, but after that, I definitely can see the appeal. At first, it just seemed too simple, but the wear is incredible in the eau de parfum.

Now, I also tried out the body oil and shower gel, and on me, neither lasted for as long as the eau de parfum–it really wasn’t even close. The shower gel faded away within an hour, while the body oil lingers for two to three. Both products worked well aside from the wear time, though, and all three work well layered. The shower gel lathers up without leaving skin feeling dry, while the body oil absorbs quickly and imparts a subtle sheen on the skin.

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Bare Escentuals Deep Cleansing Foam Review & Photos

Bare Minerals Deep Cleansing Foam

It’s a rich, foaming cleanser that is activated by applying a pearl-sized amount onto wet skin. One thing I love about this product is just how little you need–seriously, a pea-sized amount is more than you really need. It’s a really thick, rich and creamy cleanser that goes on easily and is easy to move across the skin. There is a subtle herbal-ish scent (it’s not strong at all nor does it linger) that seems due to the ingredients (not fragrance, as it is free from synthetic fragrances, as well as parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, and the like).

My skin always feels really clean without being tight or dry, and it feels so gentle the entire time.  Foaming cleansers can sometimes leave skin feeling stripped, but I never experienced that with this cleanser, which I used even when my skin was drier than normal.  The instructions actually say to avoid the eye area, but being impatient as I am, I didn’t read the instructions before using it the first few times, so I used it on my eyes, but I had no ill effects–no stinging, burning, cloudiness, etc. Not that I would endorse using the product that way, but if you accidentally get a little near your eye, it shouldn’t be the end of the world. It was able to break down all my face makeup, including medium coverage foundation.

I’m totally surprised at the affordability of the range, though, and in particular, this cleanser, because seriously, this tube of cleanser will last me a solid year, if not longer. My tube doesn’t even look like I’ve used it, and I’ve used it nearly every night for three months!  Oh, and for Clarisonic users, this cleanser works fabulously with it!

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