Guest Review

We have a guest blogger in the galaxy today. Jennifer is a decades-long friend that also has a healthy obsession with all things beauty. Read on to see what she thinks about L’Oreal’s new shampoo and conditioner duo! 

Greetings Dark Side devotees.  The DS Diva and I met many moons ago when we were working together on the Death Star.  Since then we have been the most excellent of friends and fierce allies in the pursuit of the best products in the universe.  My evaluation of L’Oreal’s Extraordinary Clay shampoo and conditioner is as follows. L'Oreal

The Claim:  Instantly purifies oily roots while hydrating dry lengths for up to 48 hours.  “Beautifully fresh, flowing hair from root to tip.”

My hair is normal to oily, thick and mostly straight.  It has just enough waviness to make it interesting, or irritating, depending on the weather conditions.  It is currently shoulder-length, layered, and in desperate need of a trim.  Products that are too rich, creamy, or oily tend to weigh my hair down and make it fall flat.  Some products can be too drying and I end up with static-cling.  So I like rotating my products and am always on the lookout for those that meet my unique mix of hair needs.  I’ve tried a few clarifying/degreasing shampoos before but they’ve always been too harsh or too drying.

day 1

Day 1: off to work!

The Mane Event:  On day 1 I started with the L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay shampoo and followed with the conditioner.  Both have a pleasant, clean smell that is fresh without being overpowering.  Because I wanted a true feel for the products, I did not use any of my normal leave-in or styling products afterward.  I dried and styled as usual.  My hair felt soft, manageable, and looked shiny.  A few hours later I noticed a warming sensation on the back of my scalp.  It wasn’t itchy or irritating, it just felt very warm but it resolved later in the day.  My messy, layered style held throughout the day.

When I got up the next morning I noticed something very strange.  My hair looked even better than it had the day before.  The messy layers were gently smoothed down into a more sleek style.  I could have skipped washing my hair, it looked that good.  But my OCD kicked in and I shampooed and conditioned as usual before my 12-hour shift at work.  I didn’t use any other products and my hair styled ok but the ends were a bit staticky.  My scalp was hot again this day but it resolved within a few hours.

day 3

Day 3: Snapchat filtered

By day 3 my wet hair was difficult to comb through.  So I went to my arsenal and grabbed Living Proof Restore Perfecting spray.  I sprayed a few pumps on my hair, combed through, then dried and styled.  After a couple hours my bangs looked limp but it was also 80 degrees and humid in the galaxy that day.  If there is a product that defends your style against the schizophrenic Western PA weather, I haven’t found it yet.

I’ve been using L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay shampoo and conditioner for two full weeks now.  The more I use it the better it works, especially when I layer a leave-in or styling product.  This product makes good on its claim – it purifies my roots without drying out the rest of my mop.  My locks feel soft and stay manageable throughout the day.  Today it passed the ultimate test – I walked for 1 ½ hours this morning, in the rain, with a hat on.  Normally such conditions would obliterate my hair, transforming it into a flat, fuzzy blonde nightmare.  But other than my bangs getting slightly squashed by a hat, the rest of my hair looks pretty good.  I definitely plan on purchasing this dynamic duo again and again!

day 14

Day 14: Humid but holding steady

Beauty Q & A

Several of my sweetest friends asked me their most pressing beauty questions.  Boy, did they try to stump me! I’m honored that they would want my advice on skin, hair and beauty issues.  So let’s get going!

LaneyLaney asked:  How do I keep my beautiful blonde hair frizz free in the Kansas humidity?




Dealt with this same issue I have.  My wavy, frizzy, coarse and color treated hair has been through it all!  My tried and true fixes are a good smoothing shampoo and conditioner, a frizz-fighting serum and a ceramic straightening iron.  Right now I am truly loving the Schwarzkopf Ultime Satin Frizz Control shampoo and conditioner that I get at WalMart.  It leaves my uncontrollable mane sleek and smooth and smelling wonderful.  Then I go totally old school with John Frieda’s Frizz Ease, which I apply to my soaking wet hair.  If I air dry, my waves are smooth and defined.  If I chose to blow it dry, I always use a ceramic iron.  They are safer and my hair stays straight until wash it again. That’s my easy recipe for frizz-free hair!  FB_IMG_1489688286189

Thank you Laney for trusting me with your beauty concerns, you have now crossed over to the Dark Side.  Until next we meet again…


ColourPop Cosmetics

I’ll admit I jumped on the ColourPop train a little late. I had seen this line all over social media and got intrigued with the whole Kylie Jenner/ColourPop saga.  You know, the controversy about both lines being made by the same manufacturer but KJ’s was way more costly?  After seeing all the neat products launching and learning it is a cruelty free brand, I had to go for it!  I’ve placed 3 orders so far – eye shadows, highlighters, lip pencils, stix and liquid lip products.  Here’s the Dark Side down-low:

SUPER SHOCK SHADOWS These shadows are a creamy, powder formula.  I wasn’t impressed with them at all the first time I tried them.  They were weird and just didn’t “lay” right.  However, I’ve learned some tricks since then and my opinion has changed greatly.  Because the shadow has a “bouncy” texture, I have to apply it with either my fingers or a firm eyeshadow brush for the colors to really POP on me. It’s really the only way these work.  I can use a fluffy, blending brush to smoke out the colors in my crease or to soften the color if I want.  I’ll even put some setting spray on my brush to make the colors more dramatic and easier to apply.  I have tried the ColourPop shadows in the following colors: Coconut, Lovely, So Quiche, Hammered, Bubbly, Sugar and Catnap.  They are gorgeous and last all day, but I always use an eye primer.  As with all ColourPop formulas, you absolutley MUST make sure that the lid is twisted on tight or the powder will dry up and get all funky.

SUPER SHOCK CHEEK HIGHLIGHTER I have one shade and I love it. It’s called Churro and it has the same creamy, powder formula.  I saw it on Instagram and knew I had to get it. It’s a beautiful, pale gold on me that I can build on without it being over the top.

LIPPIE PENCILS These are very long wearing, easy to apply, pigmented and, best of all, they do not feather. My only downside is that these pencils need sharpened and I hate wasting product!  My fav shades are Wet and BFF3.  Many of the ColourPop lip colors also have a coordinating Lippie Pencil.  So if you do not have the time to try and match products, they are right there on the website for you.

ULTRA MATTE LIP I only have one of these and unfortunately I do not love the color so I really can’t give a completely negative review on this.  The formula is creamy, lightweight, very long lasting yet comfortable.  However, the color Lychee looked horrendous on me.  I will usually try to give a bad color a second chance, which I did with an entirely different color scheme in makeup that day.  Nope.  I would absolutely give the Ultra Matte another try, but with different colors.

ULTRA SATIN LIP This formula isn’t as long lasting as the Ultra Matte, but it comes pretty darn close.  It’s creamier and comfortable, but it did a little disappearing act throughout the day.  Nothing major, I just needed to reapply it one time.  I have the quite a few of these, Mess Around, Magic Wand, Too Lips, Stud, Marshmallow, Bijou and Dopey.  For you makeup junkies, Marshmallow is almost an exact dupe for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lip in Clover. But the price difference is unbelievable.

LIPPIE STIX I have 3 of these in a matte, creme and pearlized version.  And I adore them!  Fun to apply, very creamy, and long lasting.  I would have dozens of these if I could.  And let’s face it, I probably will!  I have tried I Heart This, Wet, and the limited edition Hello Kitty shade Konichiwa.


The products I purchased were all between $4 – 8.  Shipping and handling is free with orders over $30, plus they have special promotions all the time where the S/H is free with any order.  I would consider ColourPop to be a very high-end drug store brand.  Not quite prestige, but a lot better than your standard drug store or Walmart brands.  The color ranges are out of this world, they have special collaborations and just all around fun products.  And the postcards they send with your orders are just something special they do to show that they go out of their way to make sure you enjoy their line.

Do I recommend ColourPop? Absolutely!  Will I be buying more in the near future? Absolutely!  Will I be satisfied with every product I receive?  Probably not, but I sure will have fun finding out!

Aging Gracefully into the Next Galaxy

This December I will turn 50.  There, I said it.  I didn’t mind turning 30 or 40, didn’t have a care in the world.  But 50 is like an obscene F word to me.  I hear someone talking about dropping an “F Bomb” and assume that they are also approaching 50.

The funny thing is, I’m constantly told that I don’t look anywhere near my age.  When I was 44, I took one of those high falutin’, fancy 3D skin analyzer tests.  I answered a bunch of questions, placed my face in this contraption and a couple minutes later had a print out that said I looked…..28!!!  Imagine my mid 40’s joy when I saw those results!


This is what 39 looks like

Let’s face it, the aging process is not fair to women.  When men age, they look like Sean Connery.  Unfortunately when women age, they also look like Sean Connery.  I’m doing my best to avoid that scenario!  Here are a couple very easy and effective age-prevention steps I’ve been doing for years, and have no intention of stopping!

Triple Cleansing — I know it sounds a bit much, but when you wear as much makeup on a daily basis as I do, it’s makes a world of difference.  I start with a makeup remover wipe, Neutrogena or any of the packs from Marshall’s that you get for $2.99 work quite well.  Wipes are a quick and easy way to remove that yucky first layer of foundation, powder, and eye makeup.  I follow with a makeup removing cream, oil, or balm.  These break down and gently remove all traces of cosmetics and sunscreens.  Clinique’s Take The Day Away Balm or Burt’s Bees Makeup Removing Oil are excellent products.  The third step is a face cleanser that will remove dirt, oil and environmental factors that accumulate on my face during the day.  I prefer Oil Free Cetaphil or Clinique’s Oily Skin Liquid Facial Soap.  I have a rotating facial brush that I use a couple times a week with this step.

Products Galore — I like to rotate and try new skin care products constantly, as I feel my skin does better this way.   And when I return to my favorites, they work even better.  This step may not work for you, but you know your skin better than anyone!  The one product I cannot and will not be without is Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair.  I wrote about this serum in my “Hall of Fame” post.  I use this twice a day without fail.  I believe in both chemical and manual exfoliation and love Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion #4.  It’s the highest strength, but my skin has built up to that level of exfoliation.  This is not the Sea Breeze or Ten O Six Lotion that we used in middle school!  Apologies to you Millennials who have no idea what those products are!   PSA!!!!!  I do NOT use my rotating brush on the nights I’ve used the Clarifying Lotion.  Much too strong and your face will pay for it!  Additional lotions and potions on the Dark Side vanity are Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, Lancome’s Renegie Lift, Lauder’s Resilience Lift, anything from the First Aid Beauty or Philosophy lines, and facial oils from Tarte, Farsali, and Josie Maran.  Stay tuned to the Dark Side blog for more detailed posts about these products!

SUNSCREEN –This is, HANDS DOWN, the most important anti-aging preventative.  A sun burn is a disaster for a fair-skinned brunette like me.  I stay out of direct sunlight and always, always make sure my skincare or cosmetics have an SPF in it.  And I reapply.  I simply do not forget.  I use SPF 50 or greater on my body, and at least 25 SPF on my face. This step truly is a no brainer.


49 and feelin’ fine

Following these steps has made this almost 50 year old look 34.  I would like to think that if I took another skin analysis test it would read the same, if not better!  So I’m going to continue with what got me here, aging gracefully, headed into the dreaded F Bomb Decade!

I’d love to know your tips, tricks and products!  Comment below and let me in on your secrets, I promise I won’t tell!

April Product of the Month

e.l.f. AQUA BEAUTY PRIMER MIST   primer mist

Retails for:  $8

Available at: or your local WalMart, Target, CVS

PROS     This multi-use spray can be used as a makeup primer, setting spray, or as a refreshing pick me up throughout the day.  Sometimes my skin does not respond well to multi-use products, but I love this one, especially as a primer.  I spray just two pumps of the product into my hands and apply with a beauty blender or sponge.  When used as a primer, I only have to apply it once.  My makeup stays put all day, looks fresh, and – more importantly –  there isn’t any shiny, mid-afternoon break though.

CONS    The product is wonderful, the mechanics not so much.  The mist is a bit “strong” to apply directly to my face as a setting or refreshing spray.

With the warmer, more humid weather coming, I expect to use this every day that I wear makeup!  For $8 it’s well worth using your hands or sponge for a long lasting face full of makeup!