A different kind of Herbal Essences

Herbal Essences Hydro LiciousProduct Review: Herbal Essences Hyrda-Licious De-Damage Boost Shampoo and Conditioner

A few months ago there was a super good coupon in our newspapers for Herbal Essences Shampoos and Conditioners. I was able to get them for about a dollar a piece. (Usually even on sale they are at least $2.50) Needless to say, I splurged. Anybody need some shampoo? I really am trying to find out how to donate some to a local women’s crises center or maybe to a disaster relief.

I have always loved Herbal Essences for its strong but lovely scents and the commercials back in the 90’s. Admit it, you have tried the “Yes, Yes Yes!” in the shower before too.

Specifically, this shampoo and conditioner I pulled is the Hydra-Licious De-Damage Boost. It’s the only one with an interesting swirl pattern. I thought at first that this was something only on the bottle, but it actually comes out with a pretty swirl to it.
It is very creamy. You can feel the shea butter extract and tell it is going to be moisturizing.

If you are expecting big scent that is typical of Herbal Essences I would say you won’t find it here. It has a good berry smell, but it isn’t super strong, and I don’t think it sticks with you after a shower. For people that are sensitive to strong smells that’s a good thing.
This is a good cheap option for you to try if you have dry, damaged hair. It’s a good value for the size bottles you get, and the creamy swirling texture is nice for bringing some moisture back into your hair.
Plus its purple, my second favorite color!

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After Christmas Beauty Finds

After Christmas 2016

Get those Christmas Gift Sets before they are gone!

I can’t help myself looking at the big sets of bath products and cosmetics that come out onto Walmart’s shelves before the holiday season. But I always retrain myself until that fateful day, December 26th. In case you didn’t know this is Boxing Day. But here in America is really just “Get your hands on that cheap Christmas stuff” day.

The good thing is its not all holly and ornaments that go on sale. It’s a great time to buy those leftover gift sets that didn’t go home with anyone for Christmas.

Last year I scored large hand soaps for just 50 cents.

I sure didn’t need any product this year but I caved on two items.

You might have seen the big sets of Beautyous at Walmart. I opted for getting a small bucket of it on sale for just $4.94. It included Bath Crystals, a Bath Fizzer, Body Scrub, Shower Gel, and Body Lotion in a cute little blue bucket. The nostalgic design of the items reminded me a little of Soap & Glory’s look, only blue instead of pink.

I have tried the body lotion so far and it seems like a good quality lotion. It is thick and blends well into the skin. The vanilla mint smell I find very refreshing. I like it a lot.

I’m pretty pleased for getting all the products for a little less than a dollar each.

I also splurged this year on some new nail polish. 4 pretty colors in the Cherry Chree set that I snagged for $2.50. It also includes 32 cinnamon roll scented polish remover pads. I love the convenience of nail polish remover pads but I don’t often buy them since they can be more expensive than a big jug of remover and some cotton pads. I really think getting 32 in this set is a great deal for a few bucks, let alone 4 really pretty colors of polish that I can’t wait to try out.

I’ve been sick lately and not feeling up to using a whole lot of beauty products. As soon as I get better I’m going to make every effort to rededicate some time to the Beauty Backpack. I do apologize for letting life get the best of me this year.

But 2017 is a new year and I have a lot more cool things to try and review. My hopes for this blog are to also possibly start doing more tutorials, maybe even a video or two.

I sincerely hope all my readers out there had a Merry Christmas. Happy New Year to each and every one of you!

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Is your sunscreen doing its job according to the AAD?

Sunscreen AAD GuidelinesSunscreen: Make sure it’s doing what it’s supposed to.

Let me start by saying I apologize for the lack of blog posts and social media posts as of late. I have been under a lot of pressure to get other things done. Life is getting ahead of me basically. I want everyone to know how much I really appreciate your readership.

I heard on the radio today that a recent study found that out of a selected collection of 65 best selling sunscreens, 40% do not even meet guidelines established by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). 4 out of their top 10 of the most reviewed and highly rated on Amazon.com would not make the cut.

You can read more about that study here.

I wanted to remind everyone how important it is when choosing a sunscreen to choose practicality over luxury. The AAD has some pretty straightforward guidelines.

  1. Make sure it is Broad Spectrum. Most sunscreen is. This basically means you will be protected from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
  2. SPF 30 or higher. The higher the better really. For your face you will want a higher number than 30. 30 and 50 are what you see most often, but be aware, some sunscreens don’t even have 30.
  3. Water Resistance. This is a biggie. Chances are you are getting out this summer to ride water rides or swim. A lot of sunscreens will come off in the water, or only work for a short time after. Try to find one with water resistance of up to 40 – 80 minutes.

Be sure you don’t pay top dollar for a product that doesn’t follow these guidelines. Interestingly enough, I am impressed lately by a spontaneous purchase of Dollar General brand sunscreen. It is SPF 50 and Water Resistant up to 80 minutes. It wasn’t greasy, applied well, and kept me protected through a long day at King’s Island, even with riding water rides.

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The classic: Sweet Pea Bath and Body Works.

Sweet Pea Bath and Body WorksProduct Review: Sweet Pea body wash and Sweet Pea body cream

Price retails at $12.50 for body washes and $13 for body cream tubes, can be less with coupons.

In all seriousness, is there anything more that takes me back to the 90’s than Bath and Body Work’s Sweet Pea scent? They recently did a revival of 90’s scents that retired many moons ago (Cucumber Melon is one I remember in particular) but Sweet Pea has been a longtime favorite that has always been around. In fact out of their 200+ labels Sweet Pea is the oldest.

Ironically I go to find it on their website today and there is none. I would be highly surprised if they discontinued it, but even if they did it will more than likely come back.

I received it as a gift for Christmas last year and have been reminiscing on my tween-age years ever since.

As far as a review goes, there’s not much to say. Bath and Body Works has been crafting and perfecting their products since 1990 and are well established as that go-to beauty brand with every visit to the mall.

I am in love with their body washes and will hardly use any other kind. The lather like a dream and turn every shower into an euphoria of good-smelling goodness!

Their lotions have never let me down either. They are creamy, moisturizing, and long-lasting.

These Sweet Pea variations are no exception. The sweet pea smell makes me remember feeling good as a preteen, smelling like flowers all day long.

I often use the coupons Bath and Body Works sends to get a free travel item. On occasion they’ve been known to send me a free full size coupon. If you are fan too, be sure you sign up for these deals. It’s so worth it for me to go in the mall and get one, even if I have no other reason to be there!

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Nail Polish Strips. These are real polish too!

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish StripsProduct Review: Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips


$4.34 on Amazon

I am trying to polish my nails more often. I’ve sometimes opted for the nail polish strips that are available from different retailers these days. I absolutely can not do nail art to save my life, so I think it’s neat to be able to buy these prefabricated nail polish strips that already have a design printed on it.

You can buy these from different places, in all different prints. I’m partial to the floral designs. For this review I chose a more spring than summer print from Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips.

One of the things I love about these nail polish strips from Sally Hansen, is that it is actually real nail polish. Sometimes you find some of these that are just stickers basically. You can feel that this is in fact, nail polish.

But these are really easy to apply too. Peel, stick, smooth, peel again, and file off the excess.

However, they lie when they say this stuff comes off easily with nail polish. It comes off, but it is thick and sticky and expect to get it all over your fingers trying. Good news is it comes off skin in one shower.

The removal was a bit of a mess for me, but I found it was still very much so worth it. The polish lasted for an entire week with very minimal chipping and cracking.

If you feel like something more decorative, these strips may be just what you need. I like how they give you the professional manicure look, but can be done yourself in minutes.

Pro Tip: I apply a layer of top coat onto these when I use them and find it extends the life of the polish by a few days.

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Color correcting. There is something to it after all.

BECCA Color CorrectorProduct Review: BECCA Backlight Targeted Colour Corrector

$30 for each color corrector shade in a .16 oz container

So I kind of assumed that color correcting was one of those beauty “fads” and didn’t give it much thought beyond that. I wanted to try it though, even still. My face is really white, with redness on my cheeks and forehead, as well as some redness from any acne that decides to make my day. So for that, I’ve known for a long time that pistachio green is a good color to balance that out. I’ve been using Ulta’s primer for a while to combat it. It has the same pistachio coloration.
But this sample from BECCA featured two more colors called Papaya and Violet.
I used up every bit I could scrape up of the Pistachio. My skin ate it up and was begging for more. If you have a whole lot of redness like me, I can’t see this as being a viable option for it. I was use up the .16 oz container in no time. There are other options like the Ulta primer I mentioned, that are going to be a lot more cost effective.
Don’t get me wrong about the quality of this color corrector though, it’s just the high price I find fault in. This really worked well for correcting. I actually found that using the Pistachio, I didn’t even need to use concealer like I usually do. This evened out my tone just fine.
The violet didn’t really do anything for me. It says it’s to fight dullness. I used a touch on my cheeks as it added a bit of shine, but I didn’t see that it helped much else with my complexion.
Now the Papaya. That is some intense color! It’s a bright red orange. I used it on the blue areas under my eyes and I think it did in fact help to warm that up. A little bit of it goes a long way though. You only need a touch. Too much and you start to look overly bronzed. If you have a little bit of blue tones to warm out, this actually might be good because this one I found would probably last a lot longer, since you only need a little.
So frankly, I wouldn’t use these for any more than spot treatment, considering the price. But I am impressed with the results of color correcting. A little bit of it, and I felt like my face didn’t even need foundation over it. Kind of cool if you ask me.

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Weight loss making me feel more beautiful

Experiencing first hand how weight loss/cleaner eating/exercise is making me feel great and beautiful!

So this post is not completely beauty related. But I felt like sharing this anyway, because I’m feeling pretty proud of myself.

Today I listened in to Bob & Sheri on the radio. For anyone who hasn’t heard of them I highly recommend finding out if one of your local stations has them. They make me laugh so much on the way to work in the mornings.
Anyway, today Bob had a list of things that supposedly make women feel sexy, and would ask Sheri if they in fact did.
I got a real kick out of her response to “when someone pays you a compliment”. She told a story of how a man approached her in Walmart and told her she was tiny enough to fit in a box in the back of his truck. It’s a compliment, sure, albeit creepy.
Of course having your hair/makeup done was also on the list but the one that struck a cord with me was “losing some weight.”
I have struggled with my weight since college. The Taco Bell on campus totally stole my heart, and my figure. I’ve been over weight for about 8 years now. I’m not ashamed to say the number. 220 pounds is what I have been consistently stuck at. I would love to one day get down to my ultimate goal of around 170.
It’s not an impossible feat but man has it felt like one. I have been on diets like crazy, making a routine of losing twenty pounds, slacking, putting it back on, rinse, lather and repeat.
I was so out of shape it’s shameful to watch me try to get up and down stairs, and that gets old.
Then a beautiful friend asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. And I just decided I had enough of it. Even if I wasn’t going to hit a magic number, I was going to try and make myself look a little better than I was at before this wedding.
Mind you it’s in September so I don’t have a lot of time left.
I started walking outside, every weekday after work. I found two-fold enjoyment out of it. I love nature (except for bugs) and walking was a good starting place for me.
I have been at this, along with being a bit more conscious about what I eat, for about two months now. I’ve lost almost nine pounds. I would love to get under 200 before the wedding, but ultimately I’ve decided that, it’s just a number. What is more important is how I feel. And I feel better health wise then I have in a long time. It’s not as easy for me to get winded, my pants aren’t tight on me anymore, and when I look in the mirror, I can actually see that my body is starting to look a bit more toned, a bit less flabby.

I by no means am a fitness expert, or anything of the sort, but here’s a few tips on why I think what I am doing is working. I would encourage anyone to try them, and see if they work for you.


Use common sense when it comes to what you put in your body.

I haven’t been religiously counting calories, though I will say some people need the numbers to stick by. I’m trying out what I’m calling the “common sense” approach. Chances are, if you are mostly sedentary like me, your body doesn’t actually need a lot of food to get through the day. Eat only what you can get by on without being hungry. Eat healthy snacks like fruit or nuts instead of candy or pop. On that note, you don’t need pop at all. I drink water 95% of the time. If I have a pop, it’s a special treat, and I own it.

Start small, but aim large.

I used to hate to exercise. I never understood how anyone could enjoy it. It wasn’t until recently I discovered that it actually can be fun if you make it fun for yourself. Get an iPad and set it up on the treadmill, so you can Netflix binge while you walk. Listen to music, try out hiking; Do something to make it fun for yourself.
I can’t walk very fast or very long, about 30 minutes a day is my average right now. But later on, I aim to increase it. Slowly but surely.

Don’t be fixated on the number.

That weight number is great if it goes down, but what’s really important is how you are feeling and the results physically. If you’re healthier and feel more confident, mission accomplished, even without hitting the magic number.

Don’t be fooled by a diet.

Anything that promises you quick weight loss is not worth doing. Trust me. I have been there and done that with Slim Fast, Nutrisystem, etc. It never failed to make me lose 20 pounds fast. But that 20 was lying in wait somewhere because if I would go off it for a few days it’s right back on me. It’s hard to stick to something that hardcore. It’s a lot easier to simply adapt some healthier choices of what you eat, and one by one eliminate your old favorite vices.


As I said, I am no weight loss/fitness expert. I just wanted to share with all of you something else I am becoming passionate about, and something that is helping me to feel more beautiful.

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O Canada! Naturally Upper Canada Lotion

Naturally Upper Canada LotionProduct Review: Naturally Upper Canada Pressed Olive Avocado Hand & Body Lotion


32 oz. for 21.99 on Amazon. That’s a ton of lotion!

I love lotion. It gets me through a lot of rough days. I have a mild case of eczema that I get on my hands frequently. It started developing after my teenage years when I was on Accutane. Big mistake. I’ve had all sorts of problems since then including the eczema. Don’t ever get on that stuff people. It kills your skin and hair. There are so many other ways to work on clearing your acne, and this stuff has been found to be absolutely awful with its long term side effects.

But you roll with the punches. The eczema only flares up in extreme heat/cold temperatures, and when I’m voluntarily abusing them by hand washing my dishes.

There’s one lotion I keep on standby close to the sink when a flare up happens after the dishes. It’s called Naturally Upper Canada. I bought it at a Cracker Barrel when the sales lady coerced me into trying and buying it. I’m really happy she did.

I have the Pressed Olive and Avacado scent which from what I understand is one of their popular ones.

It comes in a great pump, which is super handy to have in the kitchen like I have, or set up in your bathroom. Mine is just 12 oz. but it has lasted forever. The pump works like a dream, but as with all pumps, it gets dry and crusty at the end and you have to wipe that off.

The smell is lovely. I’m not someone that likes the smell or taste of avacado but this works.

The texture is great for me too. I hate a runny watery lotion and this one has a thick and whipped consistency. Because of this, it is so good at moisturizing and my dry hands eat it up!

Naturally Upper Canada keeps their products from ever being tested on animals. This one is 97% natural and 100% free of parabens, mineral oil, SLS, and this pure white lotion is free of synthetic dyes.

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Shugar Soapworks Dollar Tree Soap

Shugar Soapworks Dollar Tree SoapProduct Review: Shugar Soapworks Oatmeal & Verbena Soap – 7oz bar for $1 at Dollar Tree

I don’t tend to get my beauty fix at the Dollar Tree. I had intended to get some cheap kitchen serving spoons (which are actually great quality. I love them) and I ended up in the personal care section, wasting some time looking at some really bad looking makeup brushes. I was tempted by a eye shadow palette that looked similar to Urban Decay’s Naked palette, but I decided to try that another time.
However, I did need some soap and much to the dismay of my husband, I did not pick up his favorite Irish Spring. I got distracted instead on this bar of soap from Shugar Soapworks. I’ve never heard of the brand but the fanciful box drew me in. The graphic design got me again. It never fails. But more than that I was intrigued by the weight of the bar and the “Oatmeal and Verbena” scent it supposedly had. I love oatmeal soap. I’ve used plenty in the past and it’s a scent I could bathe in everyday.
So I took it home, unboxed it, and was highly surprised at the size of this dollar bar. It is huge. It’s like holding up a brick with rounded corners.
The back of the box said Shugar Soapworks are free from animal by-products, chemicals and plastics. I’m always okay with that. No colors or parabens are in this soap either.
So on to what happened when I used it.
The soap is so big it is a little cumbersome. I love a good value, but the size made it difficult to use. Also, it was a slippery devil. It is made with essential oils and you can feel it. It feels great on the skin, super moisturizing, but it can be difficult to hold onto too. It’s so silky feeling and left my skin feeling like I’d just put on lotion.
But the smell left me very confused. I bought Oatmeal and Verbena. I detected no Oatmeal at all. Once I Googled Verbena and found out it was a flower I couldn’t really smell any of that either. The one thing I was getting very strongly? Lemon. I’m talking Lemony Pledge smell, and nothing but.
That makes no sense. My only conclusion is that the wrong bar of soap made it’s way into the oatmeal box. Shugar Soapwork’s makes a Lemon Verbena soap as well.
If that’s what happened, then I guess this review is really for their lemon soap, but I can’t be sure. In any case, the soap was super moisturizing and a great deal at only a dollar. I plan on sharing it with the husband. He’ll fuss it’s not Irish Spring. He will just have to deal though, and use this great deal of a soap.

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Estee Lauder Wired Copper Shimmer Lip Gloss

Wired Copper Estee Lauder Lip GlossProduct Review for Estee Lauder Pure Color Lip Gloss in Wired Copper Shimmer

Very hard to find now. Can be found on Ebay for $16.50 – LINK

Last month I reviewed some items from the Estee Lauder Holiday 2015 Blockbuster set. I still have plenty more to talk about from that huge set. But since I am having a grand time talking about lip products lately, I decided to cover the lip gloss. Wired Copper is a shade of the Pure Color collection that I was particularly drawn to. Copper colors look good on me, I think. Where I am so fair skinned I think copper helps warm my skin up. I once had my hair colored to a copper blond and really liked it.Wired Copper Estee Lauder Lip Gloss

This lip gloss seems to be a bit more on the pink side then the orange side, but is still a beautiful shade none the less.

It has plenty of shimmer and really does the job on making the lips shiny and glossy. I love a good lip gloss for that. I really prefer a moist looking lip as opposed to what you get with some dry lipsticks. I’ve noticed a growing trend to make lipsticks more moisturizing these days, and I suspect that is due to women wanting their lips to look more healthy and moist.

This is a sample tube but it is really nice. The gloss applicator slides right up when twisted open. The gloss is a good consistency. It’s not too sticky or runny.

This smells amazing, like candy. But it does not taste like it. It’s not terrible, but not something where you’ll enjoy licking your lips either.

Overall I am pretty impressed with this gloss. I also have a comparable color in Pure Color Praline Paradise Shimmer and can vouch for it on all the same counts, so it seems the formula is consistent across different colors.

Since this product is so hard to find I felt like I needed to keep this review brief, however, most of what I discussed here applies to all Estee Lauder lip glosses.

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