Friday, June 13, 2014

My Thoughts: 2014 Allure Reader's Choice Awards

Every year, the coveted Reader's Choice Awards comes out in Allure. Essentially, it is a seal of honor for a cosmetic brand--their version of Michelin stars. So, as your best girlfriend, I thought I would share my thoughts on the products I have tried. They say these are the best of the best, but are they really? Keep reading to find out!

P.S. If you aren't subscribed to Allure, here is a link to the 2014 Allure Reader's Choice Award Winners.

Skin Category:
1) St. Ives Fresh Skin Scrub- I used this scrub for years and loved it. It made my skin feel great, and I undoubtedly recommend it. Just keep in mind that if your skin is super sensitive, the abrasiveness of this scrub might be too much for your skin. 

2) Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer With Broad-Spectrum SPF 15- I actually just bought this product in a pinch while on vacation a couple of weeks ago. Much to my surprise, this works wonderfully! It works well on oily skin, but my friend with dry skin also used it, and she said it worked great for her, too. In short, give it a go!

3) Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion +- I have been using Clinique off and on for about seven years now. However, I only just tried this specific product over Christmas when I received it as a free sample with purchase. To be honest, I'm not all obsessed with it. It broke me out within the first day, while the Olay did not. This one unfortunately is a no-go for me.

4) Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser- One word: YES. I absolutely adore this stuff. It gets everything off--no makeup wipe needed. It is a tad drying which isn't much of a problem for me, but will be for those with dry skin. 

Makeup Category: 

1) NARS Orgasm- The blush that makes you blush when mentioning the name of it in front of your mom. Although the name is cheeky (haha get it?), it really does work. On my fair, pink skin, peachy blushes tend to not work; however, this stuff is actually magical. Also, the flecks of shimmer in it are so finely milled that it doesn't interfere with my oily skin. It also gives the allusion of tanner skin! No wonder this stuff has such an impressive winning streak--it performs miracles!

2) bareMinerals Original- Love. This. So. Much. This foundation is the business. It is absolutely no fuss and a breeze to apply. I use the Matte Version, but this looks absolutely wonderful on dry/normal skin. At first I didn't see what all the fuss was about, but once you try it, you'll see why it is a cult product. 

3) Maybelline Great Lash Mascara- Eh. Thats really all I've have to say. I've always wondered why this wins every year, and even after trying it multiple times, I simply cannot find the appeal. It coats the lashes, but gives no length or volume. If you go for a natural look, then go for this; but if you are looking for even a little bit of va-va-voom, steer clear. 

4) Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze- Oh ma gah. Yes, please. I find it so interesting how this product and Great Lash are in the same family; it's clear to see who's the favorite child in my eyes. This is a MUST. This works in a pinch, with no brush. Yep, you heard me, a finger will do the trick. The best part? NO CREASING. I wore it home from my flight from London (12+ hours including airport time), and it looked completely fresh. Run, don't walk, to your nearest CVS and snatch this up; you won't be disappointed. 

5) Benefit's They're Real- I've come to the conclusion that this is the most talked about/coveted mascara EVER. Why? It works. REALLY WELL. I absolutely loved the way it made my lashes look. The problem? Not waterproof. So, that means that if your lashes touch your skin at all, after a while this will start to wear off onto it. By the end of the day, I had mascara lines under my eyebrows and the outer corners of my eyes. I really, really hope they come out with a waterproof version, and then I will be singing its praises. Until then, I say buyer beware. 

6) L'oreal True Match Foundation- The pros: impressive shade range, especially for girls on either end of the shade spectra. The cons: melts like butter. If you have oily skin, STAY AWAY. When I was trying this out, I had oil breakthrough within two hours--not a good look. This works best for normal/dry skin. The coverage is great, but it just isn't mattifying at all. Sidenote- the True Match powders are the My life was forever changed when I started to use them about a year and a half ago. 

7) Maybelline Master Drama Eyeliner- A quality eyeliner, but nothing to write home about. I found it difficult to get a thin line on the inner portions of my lids, but had no problem getting a thicker line on the outer parts. There is no tugging with the product, so it's great for the delicate eye area. It also stays put until you tell it to move--this ish isn't going anywhere without a fight. 

Hair Category: 

1) Pantene Pro-V Classic Care Daily Shampoo- To be honest, I haven't used Pantene in years. However, I can still remember that it was a favorite of mine, mainly because of the smell and packaging. The last bottle of Pantene shampoo that I purchased was over two years ago, and I remember getting tremendous build up, so much so that my hair didn't even look clean by the end of the day. If you read my post on haircare, then you would notice that I didn't mention Pantene as a brand I trust, but I know plenty of people who swear by it. So, if you haven't given it a go, go ahead and try it; it's super inexpensive, so you won't feel too bad if it doesn't work out. 

2) Pantene Pro-V Classic Care Daily Conditioner- Growing up, this was the conditioner I used everyday. I would dollop this stuff on my head, using nearly half the bottle in a single use. It makes the hair smell divine and conditions well, so go ahead and try this if you are looking for an inexpensive conditioner from the drugstore. Is it my favorite? No, but it does the trick in a pinch. I feel that with all the Pantene products I have tried, the moisturizing properties tend to just sit on top of the hair, not penetrate the strand as the bottle claims. I would recommend Clear Total Care Conditioner over this any day, but this still works out to be an alright product. 

3) Moroccanoil Treatment- Simply put, this is an alright product. You know I love the Moroccanoil brand as a whole, but this oil really did nothing for me. I think its because of my hair type (lots of fine, straight hair); I see this working for someone with thicker hair way better than it did for mine. The good news is that they sell mini bottles of this (which last for about a month) so you can test the waters before making the plunge. I personally like the Aquage Silkening Oil Treatment better, but to each their own. 

Body Category:

1) Bath and Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom Golden Sugar Scrub- If memory serves, this product has won every year since its inception. I received it as a gift for my sixteenth, and it lasted until I was seventeen. This stuff will last for ages. The good news is that it doesn't leave gunk in the bottom of your shower, and it makes your whole bathroom smell like a spa. The down side is the actual exfoliation. The "sugar" dissolves very quickly, and soon this scrub just becomes a body wash. Personally, I would much rather go for Soap and Glory's Flake Away scrub--it's nine dollars more, but boy does it smell majestic. 

2) Jergens Natural Glow- I used this when it FIRST came out. Although I was a complete novice (as in I didn't apply it to my feet and didn't wash my hands afterward), I still really couldn't screw it up. It has the tell-tale fake tan scent, but it has since gotten better over the years. Just make sure to take your time with it, and apply it evenly. The downside is that there is no guiding color, so you are putting it on somewhat blindly. The other downside is that it takes days to see a significant change in color. But, for those on a budget and with time on their hands, I would say to give this a go. Just make sure you sleep with dark colored sheets and save your pristine white ones for later. 

3) St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse- Oh boy, did I have a love affair with this last summer. This. Stuff. Works. Although it is somewhat difficult to apply to the hands, everywhere else it looks completely natural. It took my skin from translucent (not even kidding) to completely bronzed in TWO days, with a significant difference being visible on day one. It is a pricey one, but even after applying it religiously everyday (not a necessary step), a bottle would last me a month. If you are going to buy it, make sure to purchase the mitt that comes with it as well to ensure even coverage. Also, pay attention to the backs of the knees and elbows, because it tends to wear away here first, especially if you are sweating. All in all, a truly amazing product! 

4) Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant- It seems that most people don't touch on the subject of antiperspirants too often. But, I'm not most people. Not gonna lie, things get funky from time to time. The Ohio summers are tests of inner strength with high humidity and temperatures climbing into the upper 80s and 90s; for those who live in the South (I'm looking at you, Texas), I bow to you. Yet, even on the worst summer day and after a long shift at work, this stuff still hung on like a pro. It's also great for athletes; I wore this everyday during softball season. One word: Invest. You won't regret it. 

In conclusion, Allure has received a seal of approval from me on most of the products they have chosen. There is something for everyone to try and fall in love with. Have you tried any of these products? What are your thoughts?

P.S. They named the Damage & Color Repair Mask from my favorite drugstore line, Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy, as a 2014 Breakthrough winner! Proud parent moment!

Happy reading, ladies! 

Stay Excellent,


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