May 24, 2013

Method All-Purpose Cleaner Review

I shop at Target a lot, often enough that my preschooler tells me which doors to go in for groceries or household products. We're fans of Method, mainly because the prices are low and the product packaging is really cool. Since we're on a "buy healthier" kick, I decided to try Method's All-Purpose Cleaner in Pink Grapefruit scent.

I keep this cleaner primarily on the first floor, usually under the kitchen sink. Most nights, I use it to quickly clean off the counters and the stovetop, but at least once a week, I also use it on the bathroom mirrors and sometimes the tile floors for quick clean up jobs. It's fantastic for cleaning off the top of the washer and dryer, and honestly does an amazing job on my dining room table without destroying the wood.

I was pretty happy with this cleaner until a couple nights ago when my husband noticed that there's a slightly sticky residue on the counters after I clean. Bummer! I tested it out to make sure it was the cleaner and not something from when I cooked, and unfortunately it does seem to be the product.

Last night, after cleaning with the Method product, I followed with generic glass cleaner and found my paper towel had grime on it. That means the Method product didn't get the best clean it could have.

We ordered Honest Company's all purpose cleaner to try in lieu of Method, but I'm keeping this one around for the table and mirrors. Nothing has done such a good job on both without stinking like ammonia (like Glass Plus) or leaving a film (like Endust).

The verdict on this one isn't in quite yet, but we'll give it a couple more months and see if we continue to like it.

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Honest Company Hand Soap Review

May 23, 2013

Honest Company Hand Soap Review

I'm in love with The Honest Company products. Over the next month, you may see a lot of Honest Company product reviews here because I've been trying so much of their stuff lately. A while back, I came across Honest when I was looking for ways to use my Recyclebank points and was tired of magazine subscriptions. There was a deal for new customers, so I checked out the site and was really impressed with the mission, the product variety, and truthfully, the awesome website.

Jessica Alba is a co-founder, which for many celebrities is fairly meaningless, but I get the sense that she's incredibly involved in running the business, and that impresses me.

Our family hasn't always been a recycling and organic-friendly household. My adult life has mostly been spent seeking the most bleachy-super chemical products for cleaning (because that's most effective, right?) and processed (fresh food must be expensive), but we've changed a lot since my daughter was born. Change has been slow and cautious because I want to have a healthy house, but I do want it to be clean and some healthier products just don't clean well.

Though I've been using Honest laundry detergent, hand soap, veggie spray, and chapstick for a few months, I just enrolled in the monthly bundle service and we're now trying dryer sheets, lotions, sunscreen, and shampoo. I'm excited to share my feedback as we try all these new products!

On to the hand soap review!

The Honest Company hand soap iconwas the first product to catch my attention. I ordered four to begin with, putting one in each bathroom and one by my kitchen sink. It's been about three months and in the photo below, you can see that we're finally getting low and need to order more. This soap gets used several times a day by everyone in our house. It's also a soap I'm proud to leave out for visitors to use.

Unlike traditional hand soap, this one is nice and clear (love that) and in a simple bottle (ie. not over-designed). My daughter can pump it without help and it's not too big for my sink area, nor so small that we're running out of soap quickly.

You can see below that it's a very thin, light formula, almost watery, but you don't need much to clean your hands. If you're a suds person, this soap probably won't make you happy, but I don't really think you needs suds to have clean hands, so it's perfectly fine with me as is.

After washing, the soap rinses easily away. This is extra nice with the little one, who'd sit with her hands in the water forever if she could. Having the soap rinse fast is a reminder that she should shut off the tap and dry her hands.

I've had no major eczema flareups with this hand soap, even on days when I've washed quite a lot (working with raw meat or in the garden). I'm totally digging it, so another batch is scheduled to arrive in my June bundle shipment.

Because the price is fabulous for a gentle, clear hand soap that's lasted me three months, I can't imagine switching to another product. We do have two bottles of a Lysol antibacterial soap from a product review I did a while back and I keep that around for certain tasks like cleaning the litter box. But otherwise, it's all Honest for us when it comes to soap.

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Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Hair Color Review: UPDATE

It's been two weeks since I colored my hair with Vidal Sassoon Pro Series hair color in 5C Medium Cool Brown. I admit that I didn't like that my hair wasn't as soft and smooth but the color seemed like a good match to my natural color and took well. In my entire history of coloring my hair, except when using rich red or true black, I either end up with the color not taking at all (rarely) or the color lasting about 4-6 weeks before notably fading. My experience with VS Pro Series is an exception in that it lasted about a week before looking kind of blah.

You can see in the picture above that some of the brown is still there, and it does continue to look pretty good near the ends, but the areas around the side and front have mostly faded away. This is funny since I only shampoo twice a week, use a gentle product, and have tried to avoid washing the more faded areas as much as the rest.

I was on the fence about using this brand again, but now definitely won't try it another time. It's not worth it, especially when I would need two boxes. At this point, I'm going to dig around and see which established box color is the best rated for ash brown and stick with whatever that is for a while.

I colored my hair in anticipation of an event I'm attending next week. Looks like I'll be coloring again this weekend. Any suggestions on brand?

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May 9, 2013

Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Hair Color Review

It's been nearly three months since I colored my hair with Olia and I was finally ready to say goodbye to the red. Three months of root growth looks pretty lame when the dyed color is reddish and the natural color is a greyish-tinted mousey brown. Since I've had a stash of Vidal Sassoon coupons, I decided that would be the brand to try. At this point, it's probably the only brand of home hair color I haven't yet used.

To mask the red, I chose an ashy cool shade of brown, the Pro Series 5C Medium Cool Brown. Though there are 18 Vidal Sassoon colors to choose from, including 8 browns, I found the only box of medium cool on the shelf. I'm starting to think my Minnesota location is the reason there are always way more light browns and blondes in the hair color section than medium and dark browns.

My biggest fear with trying a new product was what happens if the color comes out way too dark. It's always easy to fix light hair, but near impossible to safely lighten unintended black dye. I've been there and it stinks. Normally, I first choose a light ash with a new brand, just in case, but this time, I took the risk and just went for the medium. I'm at a point where I don't want to keep coloring my hair over and over to find the right shade.

Vidal Sassoon promises 8 weeks of lasting color with 100% gray coverage. I rarely have a problem covering gray hair, but 8 weeks, I laughed at that. If it does, I'll be sure to post a follow up.

There is nothing unusual in the box. No special oils, no extra steps. Just mix the color and the developer in the applicator bottle and apply to your hair. Like most products, a small tube of conditioner was included, and gloves to keep fingers free of color stains.

Unlike Olia, it was incredibly easy, like it should be, to mix up the color. The bottle fit in my hand and was easy to squeeze.

My hair is pretty thick, but it's only shoulder length, so I expected one bottle to be enough product. Unfortunately, I was a little short, so I didn't color entirely underneath the back, where no one would notice. If I use this color in the future, I'll have to buy two boxes. That isn't enticing.

I had relatively few drips, but it wasn't as messless as the Olia. You can see a few skin stains on my neck in the photo. I also dripped a bit in the sink, but unfortunately didn't realize it until after I'd washed my hair, 45 minutes later. Sink cleanup required Lysol with Bleach - just an FYI.

Here's me after coloring, using the provided conditioner, and letting it dry naturally. There's no product in my hair yet, but it was noticeably dryer, more dull, and a bit frizzy. Since coloring, I've not yet flat ironed, but I have tried enhancing the curls with some curl spray, and tried Aveda's smoothing serum. Unfortunately, I think the frizz is here to stay.

Regardless of the frizz and extra cleanup, I actually like the color. It's almost exactly like my natural shade, meaning less noticeable roots, and it's almost exactly the color on the box too!

The ends are a shade darker than the top half, but my husband said it's not noticeable. One or two washes with clarifying shampoo just on the ends should even things out.

Honestly, if it didn't require two bottles, I would probably use Vidal Sassoon again. I can live with a little frizz. But until my hair is another three inches longer, I don't think I should require so much product. That just kills the affordability factor.

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Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Hair Color Review: UPDATE