Friday, April 22, 2016

Hair Trials: Sedu Revolution


Welp.  Here I go again - round two in my search of a suitable replacement for my current battle-weary flat iron.  So let's get right into it, shall we?  Based on the majority of positive reviews it garnered on the hair product website Folica, I decided to roll the dice on a sleek beauty with ceramic plates: the Sedu Revolution.





Hailing from the Revolution line of styling tools from hair/beauty brand Sedu, this flat iron is a certified looker.  Its beauty lies in its simplicity.  Housed in a charcoal gray, soft-grip skin, it is equipped with a heat-resistant, swivel cord and boasts ceramic plates infused with tourmaline, a black gemstone that reports to tame static and frizz.  This particular version comes in two different sizes: 1" and 1.5".  I chose the latter.




The broad, jet-black plates are super smooth, which make for an easy glide across the hair.


And although the plates do float, they do not exactly line up flush when pressed flatly together.  This may be because the "floating" plates tilt from side to side like a see-saw instead of depressing straight up and down like most irons.


It has a temperature dial that ranges from 140 degrees to 450; however, the numbers aren't precisely aligned with the divots on the dial, so one must approximate their desired temp.  Situated next to the dial is the on/off button, which blinks red when the iron is first turned on then steadies when ready to use.  And it has a 60 minute auto shut-off mode.  A feature that's handy for those who need it, a potential pain in the butt for those that take longer than 60 minutes to do their hair. 


OK, so what's the verdict, you ask?  Well, it does straighten.  Hmm... maybe I shouldn't say "straighten".  Perhaps "flatten" is the better term since I felt like it made my hair flatter than I wanted and didn't leave it with any real bounce or body.  My hair was just kinda "blah".  Also, it didn't impart the kind of shine my HAI iron does.  I used it with both the CHI Iron Guard as well as my Paul Mitchell serum, but failed to get the desired results with either.

You know, I'm starting to feel like I'm crazy.  Am I asking too much from an iron?  Am I being way too picky?  Am I cuckoo/delusional for thinking my HAI is so great or is my HAI flat iron some type of styling anomaly?  I don't think so.  I really don't.

Now, I know that styling products can affect styling results, but I'm resolute in finding the right iron that'll work well with the products I already own instead of having to invest in a whole new lineup in order to accommodate a new iron.  And so I'll keep looking.  *sigh*  I have another one that I wanna try out, but I have to admit that, at this point, I'm a little discouraged.  But I'm gonna give it a go... and will be back with a full report when testing is completed.  Fingers (and toes) crossed!

Sedu Revolution Professional Styling Iron is available at Folica(.)com and retails for $130 (both the 1" and 1.5").    

Friday, April 8, 2016

Hair Trials: The BaBylissPRO Nano


And so it begins...

When we last spoke, I told you guys that I was on the hunt for a new flat iron.  After weeks and weeks of the ends of my hair feeling kinda crunchy and not being able to remedy the situation via a variety of products, I took one last shot at a resolution.  My beloved HAI flat iron that I've had for years was technically still functioning; however, the blue ceramic on the plates is starting to fade and, in fact, has totally worn away on the beveled edges, leaving the metal plate underneath completely exposed.  I took a guess that this may have been the culprit... and got confirmation soon after when I bought a brand new iron.  It's the BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium and I gave it a full fortnight to show me what it's got...


Well known in professional circles for its diverse array of hair styling tools, BaBylissPRO offers several different iterations of its popular Nano Titanium flat iron, including this BOGO (buy one, get one free) combo I picked up at my local Bed Bath & Beyond store.



Cased in a sleek, but angular, heat-resistant black in lieu of the brand-associated cornflower blue, these two Nanos are virtually the same except for their size: one is slightly longer than the other.


Both are equipped with swivel cords to grant more freedom and mobility during use.


Both boast pure, 1.25" titanium-plated plates, which are touted to be more durable (overall) and less prone to product build up than their ceramic counterparts.  Working in cahoots with ionic technology and a ceramic heater, the mirror-like plates help create frizz-free styles while maintaining consistent, even heat throughout. 



And both have an ON/OFF button as well as heat gauges that allow you to dial the iron from the lowest degree of 300 all the way up to 450.


So while the two Nano flat irons in my pack were pretty evenly matched point for point, here's where they differed.  Although both seemed to be fitted with floating plates - which are plates that can move and contract in order to accommodate whatever chunk or slice of hair you want to put in between them, ensuring constant contact for optimal straightening/styling - I was able to squeeze the smaller one flush (albeit with a bit more effort than I'm used to)...


...but could not get the plates on the larger one to close tight to save my life!  Perhaps it was just my model, but the plates on this barely moved at all.   Even with me employing a Kung Fu grip on this - squeezing it with all my might - it would NOT budge!  Needless to say, my hair slipped right through when I tried to use it, making any type of straightening or styling impossible.  So, with the inherent virtue of the BOGO now gone, I flatly moved forward to style my hair with the smaller one.


The iron heated up to 340 degrees (my preferred setting) fairly quickly even though I had to basically guess its readiness since there is no indicator (at least none that I could tell) to inform you of this.  My first go 'round, I used it with my CHI Iron Guard and it came out OK, but not as glossy as I'm used to.  Styling was a tad cumbersome as my hair did not glide through the plates as smoothly as I had hoped and left creases along the way.  The second session was a little better; I used my Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum and the iron seemed to appreciate it more.  I got a little more shine than before, but it seemed to peter out after a day or so and downgrade to a normal sheen.

I know that a lot of people absolutely LOVE this iron.  From the professional to the layperson, I've heard nothing but good things about it and do think it's a good iron.  I really do... but it's just not the perfect fit for me and what I want.  I have noticed that most use the iron on its higher settings and maybe that would have made a difference... but I'm not willing to risk that.  I've been rolling with 340 since the dawn of time with no problems and I don't feel like I should have to go higher just to get the results I desire.  I will also concede that perhaps I had a one-off... or one-offs.  Perhaps the "unbundled" Nanos normally come with plates that close flush with barely any effort at all.  But I must also say that I may be biased.  Now that I've tried a metal iron again, I really think I'm partial to ceramic.  There's just something about it and the way it makes my hair feel.  

So there you have it.  Although the flat iron didn't quite work out for me, good did come of it.  My ends looked healthier and smoother after using the Nano, which proved that, alas, it is time to replace my beloved HAI.  If I could, I would just buy another one and call it a day, but they discontinued my blue-plated model (of course!) and the "updated" version has been getting lukewarm reviews thus far.

And so it continues... my search for a new flat iron.  I picked up another iron and will be reviewing it soon.  Hopefully, this one will be THE one.  *sigh*  We shall see.  We shall definitely see...

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium 1.25" Straightening Iron is available at various retail outlets, including Bed Bath & Beyond, and retails for $139.99.
 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Field Trip: Bed, Bath & Beyond


Hey, guys!  Well, after a considerable hiatus from any serious, aesthetic-driven shopping, a "technical" issue has thrown me - once again - into the proverbial lion's den.  I did my research, comparison shopped online and then hit up the store that had the better deal on the item(s) I now needed: Bed, Bath & Beyond.  I had to travel a little ways to get to the desired location, but was rewarded immediately upon arrival with an almost empty store in which to roam.  I guess I shouldn't say "roam" since I was more than determined to stick to my assignment.  But I did allow myself a few moments to peruse some of the store's more colorful wares...


This seashell lamp certainly caught my eye.  If I were one who loved everything beach (which I'm not) and had a beach-themed room in my home (which I don't), I would definitely consider this unique fixture.


And then I found myself lingering in the decorative pillow aisle, which is not exactly a surprise.  I don't know exactly what it is - perhaps because the mere mention of the word elicits feelings of comfort and rest - but I absolutely LOVE pillows!  Throw pillows, floor pillows, square or oblong, I sincerely believe "the more the merrier"!  And if it has some sort of interesting, whimsical design... boy, I'm all in!   


Case and point: this bright starfish throw.  Again, there are no beach motifs anywhere in my current abode, but this would be a serious contender to add to the stock if I were so inclined.


True to its name, there were many bedding options available to view...


as well as some "beyonds" like this running advert of a woman sitting (fully dressed) on a toilet to describe the all joyful benefits of using a product called Poo-Pouri.  Umm...yeah.  *clears throat*  Moving right along...


After the brief detour, I finally got to the task at hand.  My whole purpose in making this sojourn to BB&B was to get a new flat iron.  Yes, guys.  I think my beloved HAI flat iron that I've had for many moons might be fading (perish the thought!).  And so, after overdosing on page after online page of positive reviews, I decided to give the much lauded BaByliss iron a try.  I spied this one, their 1" Ultra Thin version...


as well as this bundle pack that included two irons for the price of one.  Sadly enough, the bundle pack that I wanted (which included a travel-sized blow dryer, comb, a mini and full-sized iron) was erroneously listed online as being in stock when it clearly wasn't and hadn't been for a long time according to the manager.  So I was left with having to choose between the two available options.

And so I did.  And once I crack it open and use it on my locks this weekend, I'll be back to not only reveal the package I chose, but also give an earful of what I think.  Admittedly, I am not one to enthusiastically embrace change with regard to a lot of things.  But I'm gonna go with the flow and see where it takes me.  So we shall see.

Yep.  We shall definitely see... 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Aquatic Blue - #70


Hey, guys!  Let me just tell you all that I am soooo ready for summer!  Yes-sir-ree... I am so ready for all that the "sun season" has to bring: brighter days, warmer nights... a kaleidoscope of COLOR!  Now y'all know that I don't follow the rules when it comes to wearing certain shades during the seasons - I wear what I want when I want!  But I must admit that I haven't been wearing much of anything lately.  My "five minute face" has been my morning bestie for weeks now, but these nagging cravings I have for summer has me looking to shake up the monotony of my routine.  I think a little more color would provide a suitable cure, starting with the eyes.  And I've got just the shadow to fill the prescription.  It's Inglot's #70 and it is quite the shimmering stunner...  





#70 is an aquatic, cerulean blue with silver specks scattered throughout.  It is a staple in Inglot's lineup of Freedom System single-pan eyeshadows.  Soft to the touch, it is packed with pigment and yields a bounty of color with general ease.  The bright beauty performs well on the eyes, lasting all day while paired with primer, and boasts a matte finish.




So there you have it!  With its visual charge of sparkling deep blue, #70 effortlessly elicits the feel and tones of warmer times.  It is a throwback as well as a "throw-forward" to summer - a season that I'm absolutely longing for.  But until it arrives, I'm perfectly fine with painting my peepers in a wash of color that's reminiscent of beachside waters.  Bright and bold, it's got a lot more going for it than simple eye-appeal.  It's an unapologetic, arresting shade of blue...  A little splash of summer to tide me over until I'm able to experience the real thing!

Inglot #70 is available at Inglot boutiques as well as select Macy's, and retails for $7.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Barbie: Rosie O'Donnell


Last week, Barbie announced some significant changes regarding its fashion doll line.  Already the hardest working doll in the toy business with a wealth of cultures and nationalities deeply embedded in the collection, they are further diversifying the brand by including a new line of dolls with an expanded range of eye colors, skin tones and even body types - the latter garnering the most attention.  In addition to Barbie's traditionally lithe, model-esque body shape, the Fashionistas Line will also offer a tall, petite and curvy version of the beauty.  It's a move that left many shocked and surprised (pleasantly), but I wasn't.  I knew that these were waters that had been previously chartered.  Long before "curvy" Barbie, there was Rosie - a Barbie made in the likeness of well-known "funny girl" Rosie O'Donnell.  Full-figured with her signature smile to match, she was a perfect replica of the star... and a welcomed visual departure from its usual celebrity iterations.        



Best known as the brash "wise-cracker" Doris in A League of Her Own, Roseann "Rosie" O'Donnell has quite the entertainment resume.  With prominent roles on both the big and small screen, the Long Island-born comedienne even helmed her own talk show - a snapshot in time that has been dutifully captured with this doll.  From her signature pantsuit and sneakers to her microphone and additional accoutrements, every detail has been provided and accounted for.







Even the back of the box has been recruited for the sake of authenticity, displaying a full mockup of the set of her talk show to serve as a backdrop during playtime.


Keeping in line with the raven-haired entertainer's simple approach to aesthetics, Rosie's makeup is kept to a minimum; her brown eyes are lightly lined in a burnt sienna, allowing her lips to take center stage in a bright cherry-red.



So there you have it!  When they made the Rosie O'Donnell Barbie, they broke the mold... and defied convention.  Long before all the hubbub over "Curvy", there was Rosie - a doll that lauded the comic's achievements as well as her physical attributes.  It's a doll that acknowledges and celebrates the fact that women come in all sizes.  It's a doll that served as the precursor of what was to come...  And I'm so glad to have her in my collection!