Beyond price tags, all about beauty bargains


Click top title to open the item and scroll  I love a beauty bargain. There are times nothing but a posh beauty product will do. There are certain shades of eye shadow that your will find only at a chic designer label. I have never found an inexpensive blush that looks natural and I have tired scores of them. But that being said, drugstores and big stores are full of amazing beauty products that often work as well, and sometimes even better, than anything you will find at a higher price.

Hair care, mascara, cleansers, and lip and eye pencils are four categories where you can find fabulous and effective products for less than $10.  At that price you can afford to try a few brands to find the one you really love. Read labels and reviews and then take your time browsing. Reading a label may help you find an inexpensive product that is similar your favourite boutique or department store brand.                                     Cantu is one of my favourite beauty bargains

Recently, I tried some of Cantu’s new products. Cantu is line of hair care for African-American women who prefer products that are free of harsh chemicals and ingredients. Cantu is designed to moisturize and help repair dry, damaged, and fragile hair.

After reading the ingredients in Cantu’s Shea Butter for Natural Hair deep treatment masque I decided to try it on my own blonde, fine, colour-treated hair. I wash and blow dry my hair almost daily so I deep-condition frequently to prevent damage. I love hair masques. Cantu’s Shea Butter for Natural Hair deep treatment masque in addition to Shea butter contains many of my favourite ingredients, such as glycerin, exotic oils, sea kelp and silk amino acids. These are all ingredients found in very pricey deep conditioners. There are no harsh chemicals and the masque smells so good you might want to eat it – but don’t.  Before using the masque, I washed my hair with Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair sulfate-free Cleansing shampoo. It smells delicious as it pampers fragile hair and removes product buildup. There is a matching conditioner too.  Both cost about $5 for a 13.5-ounce bottle.

There is an entire Cantu line for Natural Hair, and all the products will not work as well on my hair.  But I never would have found the ones that do, or many of my other favourite beauty products over the years if I hadn’t learned to read the labels.Cantu2

When it comes to beauty there has never been a better time to be a woman. We have access to fabulous products at all prices. Try my favourites and let me know about yours, too. Remember, when it comes to beauty, information is one of your best tools.

DolceDolce Neisa Caraway has natural curly hair. She will be reviewing Cantu’s new products very soon.




Beauty bargain


Click on top title to open   As a beauty editor I have been able to try out almost every beauty product under the sun.  So I can tell you that there is no need to spend a fortune to get good results when it comes to skin care. There are pricy products that are worth every penny, but there are also real bargains at the drug store. I like to use scrubs head to toe almost daily and at least twice a week on my face – and more often in the dirty, sticky summer months.  Now St. Ives, one of my favourites, has gotten even better with a full line of products for every skin type. The scrubs come in different strengths, and some like the New Nourished & Smooth Oatmeal Scrub + Mask can even be used as a mask. This creamy mask is one of my favourites. It leaves skin feeling silky.  These masks contain natural ingredients and are priced from $3.99 – $4.79, making them a true beauty bargain. At this price you can stock up and indulge.

You can now find a St. Ives scrub for every skin type and issue.

New: Nourished & Smooth Oatmeal Scrub + Mask exfoliate skin with its gentle strength and also hydrates dry skin. For an extra softening benefit, use as a mask by leaving on your face for five to seven minutes.

Blackhead Clearing Green Tea Scrub helps to clear breakouts while calming redness in your skin. Strength level: Gentle.

New: Even & Bright Pink Lemon & Mandarin Orange Scrub polishes away unwanted imperfections to help even out skin tone. Strength level: Moderate.

Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub is an award-winning scrub that leaves skin smooth and brightens dull skin.  Strength level: Deep.

Blemish Control Apricot Scrub exfoliates to deeply clean pores and helps stop breakouts before they occur. Strength level: Deep.


Beauty bargains we love

vanity Click on the top line of titles to open each item!  It is often true that you get what you pay for, but when it comes to beauty products there are still plenty of bargains to be found at the drug store. When we call something a “true beauty bargain” we think it is truly fabulous and that it works as well, if not better, than higher-priced options. Beauty bargains are fun. We especially like them for things that we use lavishly or daily. So here are just some of our favourites:

Tresemme 7 Day Heat Activated Treatment

This leave-in treatment is supposed to keep your hair straight and frizz-free for seven days or through three shampoos. It works very well. You comb it into damp hair before blow-drying and then use a flat iron to activate it. My hair turned out shiny and more frizz-resistant. Tresemme 7 Day Heat Activated Treatment is one of the best treatments of this type I have tried at any price. It significantly controls frizz and makes hair easier to manage in humidity. It is part of as part of Tresemme’s 7 Day Keratin Smooth System which also has a shampoo and conditioner. The treatment is applied to damp hair that is blow-dried and then flat ironed. At less than $8 a bottle it is a true beauty bargain.Spa-formula-nail-polish-remover

Cutex’s SPA Formula Nail Polish Remover

I have never been one for fancy nail polish removers, so Cutex has been my brand for years. But, with very dark nail lacquers, glitter polishes, and gels, it has become harder to remove a mani. Cutex’s new SPA Formula combines 100 percent acetone with patented botanical oils, including apricot seed, flax seed, and perilla oils. Cutex’s SPA Formula Nail Polish Remover quickly removes even dark polish leaving nails white and clean.

L’Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Pro Felt Tip Eyeliner

NYX Cosmetics Super Skinny Eye Marker

Draw the perfect cat’s eye liner this spring. Eyeliner “markers” are foolproof, even for beginners. So this season you can try out the all the hottest runway looks. Both liners are less than $10.

Wet ‘n’ Wild Megaslicks Balm Stain Moisturizer Lip Colourpalmers(1)

If you want an easy way to wear spring’s bright lip colours try Wet ‘n’ Wild Megaslicks Balm Stain Moisturizer Lip Colour.  This drug store brand of fat lip pencils contains acai oil to keep lips soft. They come in six shades; Red-Dy or Not are a soft red with a dewy finish that will look flattering on most women. And there are two pretty pinks; Stiff Pink is warm and bright, and Pinky Promise is light pink. The lip pencils are easy to apply and look soft.  At only $2.99 each you will want to stock up on these chunky pencils that look and feel fabulous on your lips.WetnWildjpeg

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula facial care line

We love Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula facial care line. It’s packed with effective anti-aging and skin-pampering ingredients, such as Vitamin E, milk proteins, Retinol, and evening primrose. The prices range from $10 to $15, but it feels much more expensive. And darlings, we can’t resist a good night cream for just $15! The line consists of a Palmer’s creamy Cocoa Butter Formula Gentle Daily Cleanser that actually has ingredients to brighten skin. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Gentle Exfoliating Facial Scrub has micro-fine crushed cocoa beans to gently exfoliate. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Daily Facial Lotion contains antioxidants, evening primrose, and milk proteins. It also has a broad-spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Night Renewal Cream feels luscious. It contains cocoa and Shea butters, retinol peptides, and evening primrose to firm and tighten skin. This is my favourite product. There is also a soothing eye cream. This line is a touch of luxury that most women can afford, yet it will be right at home next to your most expensive products. The formulas are effective, but gentle enough for most skin types to tolerate.

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Gentle Cleansing Wipes

This is one of the newest products from Palmer’s and like the rest of their facial line it is a beauty bargain. The dual texture wipes will remove even waterproof mascara with a formula that contains cocoa butter, Shea butter, Evening Primrose oil extract, and Aloe Leaf extract. A package of 25 wipes is about $6.

L’Oreal RivitaLift Miracle Blur

If you don’t use a foundation because you like a clean look but your skin is not as flawless as you would like, you may want to take another look at primer. Primer can be used to help makeup go on more smoothly, or alone to mask small flaws. Some of the new primers are amazing.  While beauty editors have raved about BB creams and CC cream, the most impressive new product I have seen for an instant fix is L’Oreal RivitaLift Miracle Blur – and it costs only about $25. L’Oreal claims it will instantly erase the look of lines, wrinkles, and pores – and it does.  The little red tube of primer is like a Beverly Hills dermatologist for your face, as it whisks away redness, large pores, and lines. Granted, the effect is temporary, but then again so are many “fixes” you get at the doctor’s office. Miracle Blur isn’t a substitute for what a good doctor can do, but it is a good addition to your beauty bag of tricks. Miracle Blur comes in two formulas: regular and oil-free. I have tried both and see little difference between them. Perhaps this would matter more if you have oily skin or acne. Miracle Blur is meant to be used over your regular moisturizer and serums and under makeup if you are wearing it. It contains a blend of state-of-the-art sunscreens for an SPF of 30, but that is not what makes it fabulous. The “Miracle” comes from the combination of glycerin, silicones, and a special light-reflecting ingredient that actually does “blur” fine lines and pores, and helps make your complexion look more flawless, even in natural daylight.  This is a very unusual product. It looks great alone on a naked face and provides excellent sun protection, unless you intend to engage in extended outdoor activity. Under makeup it provides a great base so you need little very little foundation or concealer. This is not a luminizer and doesn’t sparkle like other light-reflecting products. This looks natural but better. 




Beauty tools from John Frieda

Every woman knows that beauty can be costly, but there are bargains. We love and trust John Frieda for hair products that leave our hair glossy and healthy without breaking the bank. Now you can also buy John Frieda Styling Tools by Conair to help you get the latest looks in minutes. Celebrity stylists use hot rollers and styles to give stars the latest looks in minutes.
The John Frieda Styling Tools by Conair Hair Setter has five 2-inch titanium ceramic-coated jumbo rollers. These big rollers give you sexy volume or waves with no frizz. It costs $49.99.
John Frieda 1½ Inch Frizz Ease Conical by Conair is a ceramic heat styler with11 digital high-heat settings for all hair types. It’s clamp-free, easy to use, and leaves hair frizz-free, thanks to ionic technology. It costs $39.99.
Find these tools at drugstores and big box stores.