Beauty On A Dime

Beauty On A Dime

by Megan McIntire

Monoi Monday: On The Road To (Hair) Recovery

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Today marks the second week of my epic hair recovery journey using the new Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Hair Care line. It’s been pretty cool watching my hair change for the better over these past two weeks–I’m now officially hooked on monoi. Is there a self-help book for that?

To recap, my fine hair was feeling frazzled, broken, dry and all around abused, so I turned to the power of Tahitian monoi to try and turn back time and make my locks silky and smooth. I’ve seen amazing results by using the shampoo and conditioner every day and the treatment mask once a week–my hair feels and looks so much softer and sleeker. You can definitely see the difference.

This week I decided to put monoi to the ultimate hair test: Air-drying. Usually when I let my hair dry naturally, I end up with limp, lopsided waves and enough flyaways to give an air traffic controller an aneurysm. Not so after treating my locks to the Monoi Repairing collection–my waves were smooth, silky and totally frizz-free. This is great news, because it means I can stop blow drying my hair every day, which will also help it look and feel healthier. It’s win-win!

Tune in next week for the final results of my Monoi Monday experiment, and to get the scoop on the line straight from Lisa Price herself, the founder and creative genius behind Carol’s Daughter!

Monoi Monday: My Quest For Silky Hair

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The new Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing collection.

I’ve recently decided to grow my hair long and have come to the realization that this is going to be a lot harder than I thought. As someone who has spent most of her formative years with short hair, I’ve forgotten just how ravaged long hair can get. My ends look like someone took a clothes’ iron to them. Because of the tortured state of my locks, I’ve been on the hunt for something, anything, to turn them back into a substance that resembles hair.

Enter the new Monoi Repairing hair care collection from Carol’s Daughter. Made with pure Tahitian monoi oil, it promises to reduce breakage by up to 96% after just one use. Carol’s Daughter founder Lisa Price has been obsessed with this fragrant ingredient for years. Monoi oil is created by taking tiare gardenia flowers and soaking them in a first-press coconut oil for a minimum of 15 days. The resulting emollient oil has fantastic smoothing and softening properties.

The Monoi Repairing collection features a sulfate-free shampoo, repairing conditioner and treatment mask, all infused with this magical oil. I decided I had to put this strand-strengthening trio to the test and see what it could do for my frazzled locks. Over the next three weeks I’ll be using these products exclusively on my hair and reporting back with my results. Today is day one of my Monoi Monday journey.

I decided that to start off, I would treat my hair to the entire range in one go. From the minute I twisted open the cap of the shampoo, I fell in love–it smelled like a beach vacation in my bathroom. I’m usually not a fan of sulfate-free shampoos because they don’t really lather up, but this one gives good suds thanks to a coconut-derived lathering agent. My hair felt clean and fresh. So far, so good.

Next I tried out the Repairing Conditioner, which uses natural bamboo water, panthenol and UV protectors. Again, that gorgeous tropical smell when I opened the bottle. I worked it into my hair and let it sit to achieve maximum moisturizing benefits. My hair felt soft and tangle-free.

Finally, the heavy hitter: The Monoi Repairing Mask. Enriched with a potent blend of butters, oils and nourishing extracts, it’s the ultimate savior for tired, damaged hair. It felt a little thick when I applied it, which made me nervous–my hair is ultra-fine and tends to go limp at the mere mention of hair masks. I waited patiently for a full 10 minutes, then rinsed it out. Even wet, I could feel how soft and silky my hair now felt. I turned on my blowdryer, dried my hair and was shocked to see the silky, shiny locks that had replaced my usually fried ends.

After just one use, I definitely saw a difference, more so than I’ve seen with the other reparative treatments I’ve used in the past–at home or in the salon. The products are ultra-nourishing, but since the moisturizers are so light, they don’t weigh hair down or make it greasy. Best of all was the scent, which I would get whiffs of throughout the day.

Tune in next Monday to see what a week’s worth of monoi has done for my hair!

May The Fashion Force Be With You

Last week I had the privilege to do a cool ride-along with Mercedes-Benz as part of their Fashion Force: A group of bloggers on patrol in NYC’s trendiest hoods to spot fashion-forward guys and gals. My sweet ride, a 2012 CLS63 AMG, was decked out to look like a sleek police car, complete with flashing lights. Let’s just say it was quite the attention-getter.

I traveled to some of the hippest neighborhoods in NYC, including the Meatpacking District, Soho and the West Village. Check out some of my fave finds!

I spotted Sara walking with a group of friends in the Meatpacking District. I was immediately taken with her adorable twisted hairstyle, which she said she created by twisting the sides back and putting them into a hidden ponytail, then twisting a piece up and over to create a headband. I also loved her pretty purple eye makeup, a blend of two Sephora shadows.

I chased Denise down across the street from the Standard Hotel. Her daring red crop caught my eye from half a block away! She told me this edgy ‘do is her signature style and that she’s had it since college. Hey, if it’s working for you, why change it?

One sight of Susan in her boho Steven Alan coat and I knew I had to feature her. My added bonus was her adorable hairstyle–a tiny braid on the right side of her head that she pulled back and secured with an elastic. She described her overall look as casual and comfortable, but I would have to add effortless chic to that list.

A trip to Washington Square Park earned me lots of curious stares and the double style find of Sharon and Nicole, two NYU students on their way to class. Nicole’s thick braid and spring scarf gave her that downtown cool look I love and Sharon’s trenchcoat and sandals combo was just too cute for words.

SoHo turned out to be a fashion goldmine. We parked in front of Chanel, where I caught Andrea here taking a photo of the car. She was rocking her natural hair texture, which she had pulled up and wrapped with a scarf she got on the streets in Paris. The finishing touch was a swipe of Bare Escentuals Buxom Lips in Roxanne. Gorgeous!

You really never know who you are going to run into in this city. Just before packing it in for the day, I ran into the divine Miss Eva Chen, Beauty Director of Teen Vogue looking all awesome with her low-key self. She described her look as “sleepy Thursday,” which meant no makeup and au naturel hair. She mixed high/low fashion finds like a biker jacket from TopShop and a sequined jacket from Zara with some killer sandals from Chanel. I also adored her neon orange pedicure, courtesy of Essie’s Mini Shorts polish. Just goes to show that you don’t need tons of products to look gorgeous!

Smooth Skin For Robert Pattinson

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Photo: © Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Last night, I had the extreme honor of attending the world premiere of the new movie Water For Elephants. As a fan of the book, I was stoked to see if the film version lived up to my expectations. But, more importantly, I was determined to catch sight of stars Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon in the flesh. Little did I know what was in store for me!

I was invited to the premiere as a guest of Dove, who was an official sponsor of the film. When I got the invite, I had a minor freakout–the dress I had picked out showed a lot of decolleté and my skin was in no shape to be bared.

Fortunately, the fine folks at Dove sent me their new VisibleCare Body Wash collection to help get my skin looking its absolute best for my date with R.Patz. The creamy washes feature the brand’s highest concentration of nourishing and moisturizing ingredients, which was great because I ended up running late and had no time to lotion up!

When I arrived at the theater, I hurried to my seat, waiting for the movie to begin. Just as the lights began to dim, I see a tall, lanky, embarassed-looking girl dash to a seat three rows ahead of me: Kristen Stewart! Sure enough, a few second later, who but Pattinson himself should amble to the seat next to her, with Reese just a few steps behind him.

The movie was spectacular, but I had a hard time concentrating on it with all that hotness mere rows away from me. Let me just say now that it’s very hard to pay attention to what’s going on in a movie when you can just look up and see the stars of the movie right there in the theater.

When the lights came up and people started to filter out, I stayed patiently in my seat waiting for my moment. As soon as Rob, Kristen and Reese started to file out, I was up in a flash and on their heels. I got one last glimpse of that gorgeous head of hair dashing down the stairs before R.Patz was gone from my life. Le sigh.

There’s a line in the movie where Rob, who plays a vet, comments to the elephant that her skin looks dry and they need to do something about it. “After all,” he says, “the first thing you notice about a lady is her skin.” Truer words were never spoken, and I can only hope my soft and silky skin sent the right message that night.

AXE Excite Body Wash And Deodorant

There’s been a boom in the male grooming industry as of late, and we have to say that men definitely get better commercials for their products. AXE’s “Clean your balls” commercials? We’ll take thinly veiled euphemisms over women looking like they’re experiencing the rapture from a shampoo any day! We took AXE’s new Excite collection straight to our resident Daily Dude to have him give the products a test drive. Here’s what he had to say:

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I’m definitely an AXE man. It’s safe to assume all guys by now have tried some sort of AXE product, or at the very least are familiar with the brand. They are one of the few brands that try to tackle the entire male hygiene department; one can make an entire male bathroom (Ed. note: Oh, boys! He means “toilette,” but we’re not sure he knows that word.) out of AXE products, which is what I did with the new Excite line.

Admittedly I was not always an AXE Man—I dabbled in many different companies but AXE sold me on a single product: the body detailer. This product solved the male loofah problem, and for that I have always kept a keen eye out for their products.

From the new Excite line I got the Body Wash, Body Spray, Gel and Solid Deodorant, and here is my review of each one:

Body Wash: 7/10
This stuff was pretty good, but lets be honest with each other guys: soap is soap. Every body wash no matter what the brand contains some type of Laurel Sulfate, which is the stuff that gets you clean. (Ed. note: Except sulfate-free lines, which do exist.) It all comes down to the proprietary scents offered by these companies now, and Excite has jumped onto my go-to list. It has a great scent characterized by what I can only describe as a light coconut. After using the product, it didn’t waft around me like taking a bath in cologne but if I were to put my arm close to my nose it was surprisingly still there—even hours later. Great stuff.

Deodorant: 9/10
I’m a gel deodorant wearer—always have been—and the biggest problem with gel deodorant is the ‘wet’ and ‘swishy’ feeling you get after applying it. AXE did a great job with the Excite deodorant, it smells just as good as the body wash but it does not leave you with that ‘wet’ feeling under your arms. On Day Two of my test, I had even forgot I had put it on a moment earlier and went to do it again, only to stop myself when I caught a whiff of that great coconut smell. The Excite gel deodorant has taken the place of my regular deodorant, which belongs to AXE’s biggest competitor.

Body Spray: 6/10
Guys, you killed body spray forever—it will never be what it could have been. Every time I smell body spray, I think back to high school gym and the terrible mixture of 10 different body sprays and profuse sweat that destroyed locker rooms everywhere. You cannot mask dirt and sweat with a spray; you need a shower. Having said that I was reluctant to try it out, but one morning instead of grabbing my go-to work scents, I lightly covered myself in the Excite body spray. It worked out pretty well; I constantly get compliments on my colognes and was worried this would ruin my reputation. It didn’t. In fact, as odd as it might sound, a girl I see pretty regularly asked if she could smell me. She even recognized that I was wearing an AXE branded scent, which I don’t like. Mystery is key to a good male scent. If you like wearing body sprays, give this one a go when you need to replace your current one.

Win It!
We’re offering three readers the chance to win products from AXE’s new Excite line! Simply leave a comment with your favorite scent for your guy, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win! Contest ends April 27, 2011 at 12 P.M. EST. Please read the full rules and regulations.

This post is sponsored by AXE and the product was supplied to Daily Makeover for review. The information included is the honest opinion of our editor. Please read our Editorial Ethics Pledge if you’d like to know how we select products to feature.