March 31, 2014

Natural Instincts Vibrant: A Permanent Alternative to Clairol's Ammonia-Free Color

I have been overdue for a color touch up, having postponed the inevitable a bit so my color timing will align well with an early summer event. I counted back about 8 weeks so I will color again shortly before my sister's college graduation, and that left me with an early April color timeframe. It's early April finally, so I once again colored my hair.

After looking back at the coloring experiments I've done the past year, I was most successful with Clairol Natural Instincts brand hair color in terms of overall evenness, damage prevention, shine, and tone. The ammonia-free hair color shade I tried in 2013 was #28 Dark Brown and since I'd also tried Clairol Nice n' Easy, and another dark brown shade of Natural Instincts (not posted on the blog). I wanted a color result like the #28, but with the staying power of John Freida, so I bought Natural Instincts Vibrant Permanent Hair Color in #4 Dark Dazzel (aka Dark Brown).

While the ammonia-free Natural Instincts is not permanent, it does come in a greater variety of shades and in both liquid and creme formula. As of today, Clairol offers 23 liquid and 8 creme shades, while the Vibrant permanent product features just 13 shades in one formula.

What you get in the box looks the same for both: gloves, developer, color, post-color conditioner, and a color refresh packet. I did not like how my hair felt and looked after using the color refresh last time - which I never got a chance to blog about - so I tossed it in the trash without even considering it.

Like with most home color products, I just mixed the color and developer in the bottle, shook a bit with a gloved finger over the cap, and applied it to my hair from the greyest areas, on the root growth, and working downward toward the ends.

I have very thick hair, but I just had it cut not long ago, so it's about the same length that it was the last time I colored with Natural Instincts. Strangely, I didn't get the same level of coverage as I did with the ammonia-free product. A good bit of the underneath and ends were not covered.

I only had to wait 10 minutes for the color to process, which is absolutely awesome since it stinks terribly (typical for a permanent color), and the result is actually quite good. The areas less covered blend well with the dyed strands, giving the overall look a very natural feel. It doesn't look patchy. It looks multi-dimensional.

The resulting shade is just lovely. It's a Hershey chocolate bar, rich, deep, very warm without being red or brassy. The color is dark without coming close to black, so it looks natural and like my hair could realistically be growing in this color without help from Clairol.

My grey is mostly around my temples and while it's hard to see in the photo below, I have a small cluster of grey on each side, plus sporadic grey strands throughout. From a distance, you'd never know I was going grey, but I notice it when I look in the mirror, so I prefer to color it rather than age "gracefully." I'm only 37, so grey is not my friend.

going grey around the temples

grey is gone after coloring
The post-color picture above is warmer than in real life thanks to my very warm indoor lights, but you can see the grey is covered very well. I looked closely and found just a couple of undyed strands, but am not sure if that is from being unable to cover my hair fully or if the color didn't take. It's so not noticeable though, not even to me unless I'm very close to the mirror.

My hair texture after coloring is soft and smooth, and the look is shiny. The shade is exactly what I wanted, so Natural Instincts is once again a winner.

I've still got to see how long the color lasts, but if I make it 6 weeks before noticeable fading, I may never use another color as long as Clairol makes a permanent version of Natural Instincts. I know I'm saying this now and then later I may be tempted by a new brand at the store, but I'm going to try and stick to this.

If you aren't familiar with the other products I've tried, a few that I've posted about include John Frieda, Olia, Nice n' Easy, and eSalon.

March 30, 2014

Who Knew? A Fogless Shower Mirror

Disclosure: I got this product as part of a review opportunity. 

Don't laugh. I didn't know there was a such thing as a fogless mirror. I always figured if I really needed to see in a steamy bathroom, I'd have to break out my blow dryer or crack open the door, neither of which is convenient.

Apparently, there are fogless shower mirrors for shaving that are meant to stay clear. Designed for men, I'm assuming, to be able to shave in the shower, which is better for the skin (goodbye razor burn), you can totally stand in your super steamy shower and the mirror stays clear.

I'm not a guy and my husband doesn't shave in the shower, but I actually find it better for plucking my eyebrows. The same rule kind of applies here - the pores are more open so hair is easier to remove. It's less painful and I can get the really difficult itty bitty new growth much better.

Cassani Company, who makes the mirror I'm reviewing, claims their "anti-fog nanotechnology repels fog." Technically that is true and yes, this mirror seems to work well. But the nanotechnology bit makes me laugh because, well, you can find a way to use that term for almost anything product-related. It's a buzz word and it's overused. I can see why they are marketing it that way, but I'd rather simple honesty than marketing-speak, especially when the product works and doesn't need to oversell it's claim.

Cassani Company is in the process of updating their website. When I first visited, I was worried I had the wrong link. Looking at the product packaging and having had the product in my hands, it doesn't match the visual look of the web style. I thought I was at a home remodeling website, not a product design company site. The mirror is an inexpensive, simple home product. It's not high end, not fancy. It does what it's designed to do and does it simply, so don't let the website have you thinking this is a designer mirror. It's functional and it works, but it's not fancy.

If you want more information and additional input from other reviewers, be sure to check out the Cassani Fogless Shower Mirror. The package includes the mirror and wall mount, plus a razor wall mount. It's nice to keep the razor off the shower floor, where it could get stepped on.

I mounted my mirror to the glass wall of my shower because I figured it might be easier to remove if I had to take it down. We have a 10-year-old fiberglass shower and my experience with sticky stuff and fiberglass is that things stick REALLY well. So basically, my fear is that it'll be permanent and perhaps less so on the glass. I cleaned the glass well before applying the stickered mirror hook and found everything installed quickly and easily. It took 30 seconds. Super fast.

This is a very convenient mirror to have in the shower. It's the right size for face shaving, for guys - or for eyebrow plucking for women, and it's lightweight so I'm not worried about it falling off the shower wall.

I received a Cassani Fogless Shower Mirror for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

March 20, 2014

Inside My Makeup Case: Lipstick Love

I have lipstick in my purse, my bathroom drawer, the guest bathroom, my work bag, and in coat pockets. Last night, I went through all my lipsticks and tossed the really old ones and the ones that just weren't the right color, leaving me with 7 remaining. Of these 7, I regularly wear two, the No7 and the Max Factor.

I have a habit of buying dusty rose shades, so they're all fairly similar. Some I like more than others. Some are discontinued, some look best when used along with another shade or gloss, and some are just perfect as is.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick
Mine is #610 Goldpearl Plum. I admit that I don't wear this one too much. It's not bad, but I find that it doesn't wear evenly and leaves my lips feeling kind of dry after a day of wearing it. The wearing issue is odd since one of the Revlon marketing points for Super Lustrous Lipstick is that it wears evenly and has "mega-moisturizers." Maybe it's just me, but I probably could trash this one as infrequently as I wear it. I leave it as a backup in my purse.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick 
Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick
I believe this one is a discontinued shade or product line. Mine, #040 Soft Rose, is well worn and honestly has been in my drawer so long, I should toss it. But I like it, so for now, it stays. It's a color I use mostly for evening or when I'm dressed a bit nicer at work. The color is fairly bold for a "soft rose," but that makes sense since Revlon considers it "highly pigmented."

Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick

Max Factor Lasting Colour Collections Lipstick
I've talked about this one before. Aside from the taste (you probably know what I'm talking about), I absolutely love this lipstick. The color is rich and thick, but smooth and creamy. It really does last a long time and fades fairly evenly. This is the color I wear most.

Max Factor Colour Collections Lipstick
Aveda Uruku Color Gloss
I wanted something that was relatively sheer and rosy and happened to be at the Aveda salon. I picked this color gloss in #751 Morena. I'm just not a huge fan but it was so pricey that I don't have the heart to ditch it. I dislike the tube and the flat top of the stick, which is okay for using a lip brush but terrible for direct application. I'm not one to bring a lip brush with me on the go, so this is a bit of a fail for me. It's also oddly messy, maybe because it's not as stiff a stick as other lipsticks. The plastic tube is covered in lip color. I have it but I rarely wear it. It's mainly for when I can't find my chapstick.

Aveda Uruku Color Gloss
Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor
I can't recall when I bought this Maybelline lipstick in #820 Mauvelous Shine. There's nothing wrong with it really. It is a lovely daytime color, very neutral and not too bold for work. For some reason, I don't like it enough to wear it often. I'm not a fan of the tube it comes in, which is topped by a squared off cover, so it's like a long cube rather than a cylinder. That is probably not a good reason to not like something, but it just bugs me. I might try wearing it daily for a week to see if I really like the product enough to buy more from Maybelline.

Maybelline New York Color Sensational Lipcolor
No7 Poppy King Lipstick
I still love Number Two Power from No7's Poppy King line. The color is just lovely, lasts a long time, and wears evenly. It's a fairly neutral reddish color that isn't so bold that I look silly (which I would in a fire engine red). It's not so red that my teeth look yellow (which can happen depending on the shade of red). I also like the small size of the tube. I don't really need a full-size tube and this is perfect for popping in my pocket or in my purse.

Boots No7 Poppy King
Estee Lauder Pure Color Lipstick
I was minding my own business, reading the paper at Buffalo Wild Wings, when I saw an ad for the latest free gift from Estee Lauder. I can't say that I've ever personally bought anything from Estee Lauder, though my mom would give me their free gifts when I was in high school. I admit I think of my grandmother a bit when I think of their lipsticks. My grandmother had a bright red in the shiny gold tube. I actually got sucked in by a newspaper ad, which I can't say has ever happened before. Since my next stop was the mall, I went to the Estee Lauder counter and asked for some makeup I wanted so I could get the free gift.

Honestly, I was totally disappointed that the makeup I wanted was only available in level 3 and I needed a level 1. It was unavailable indefinitely, so I decided to get a powder foundation instead. It's killer to spend $40 on a foundation, but I do like it and will share this experience another time.

In the free gift, I received a full-size Pure Color Lipstick. The free gift was Lily Pulitzer themed, so it didn't come in the usual Estee Lauder tube. It's a more discrete white tube. I selected the "bold" color palette, which really isn't so bold. The eyeshadows were buildable, but subtle and this lipstick color is a pale and frosty pink: #61 Pink Parfait.

I found it funny that there's a smell and taste like a Lip Smackers product, but was impressed that there's a good deal of shimmer without the crazy shiny gloss that most people over 30 don't need to be wearing. I prefer a slightly more saturated color in a deeper shade, but I don't mind the lipstick at all. It's not terribly expensive when purchased alone, so I may try another shade for summer.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Lipstick

March 15, 2014

2014 Garden Plans

Last year, being the first summer in our new house, I worked a small semi-raised bed in my backyard. The previous owners probably hadn't used it in at least a season, but there was evidence of past vegetable growth. Going into the summer, I knew little about gardening and considered my attempt as an experiment to see what I can do with just basic materials and some plants.

My 2013 garden was quite a learning experience. We had a horrible summer for gardening, first with flooding rains and then drought-like conditions for the hottest part of the season. My potted eggplant didn't survive and was diseased and rotted. I had to give up on it by mid-July. My strawberries, grown in a deck box, kept getting eaten by a rogue squirrel, and my soil was too clay-like and packed to grow root vegetables (like the turnips I planted).

I did have success with my tomato plant, aside from that nasty squirrel's habit of stealing one a day and eating only half, and my jalepenos grew fast and well.

Overall, I learned what I was doing wrong, what's up with my soil - my lawn guy had some input on that, and after studying the U of MN home garden website, I'm a bit more prepared for the 2014 season.

This year is going to be tough with a very cold spring. We still have a lot of snow on the ground and I have no idea when we'll have 65+ degree days on a regular basis. It's hard to calculate back from potential last frost at the moment but I'm just going to start seeding indoors and see how things go.

I invested in a large (for a private home) greenhouse, which I'll erect inside on the bottom floor by the sunny patio doors. I'll add some UV lighting if the plants are stuck inside for more than 4-6 weeks. While waiting for spring to actually begin, I'm planting seeds in trays to grow:
  • pepperocini
  • red mercury peppers
  • gourds and pumpkins
  • two varieties of cucumbers
  • broccoli
I would prefer to directly sow some of those, but this weather isn't amenable to that. I'll be moving the greenhouse outdoors in late spring and inside growing a few greenhouse crops:
  • green onions
  • cilantro
  • oregano
  • rosemary
  • strawberries
  • carrots (in large buckets)
I'm also going to start some asparagus in the greenhouse and find a permanent home for it next season as it begins to mature. I'm on the fence on whether to start my greens inside or out. I could go either way really. I also have to pick up some tomato plants later in the season to put directly outside.

Since my soil is terrible, really terrible, I'm doing my first bale garden this year. I got 8 oat bales from a local farmer and plan to start prepping them once the snow melts. It could take a month to get them ready, so I really do hope that snow is gone soon. For now, they're stacked in my garage with my soil, tools, and seeds.

March 12, 2014

Feeling Organized Thanks to Sabi FOLIO

Disclosure: I got this product as part of a review opportunity. 

I shared this review with my husband and mentioned my interest in the Holster pill box. He'd seen it as well, but also pointed out there is a Carafe model with a drink cup and pill box combination that would be perfect on my nightstand. Since we had a little rewards money to use on Amazon, I ordered both. Happy me!

Here's what I bought:

Original Review:
A couple months ago, my husband sent me a link to the Sabi FOLIO Strap & Go pill box. Since I take a lot of pills (12/day minimum), I'm a bit nuts about my meds. I keep extra bottles in my purse and office and I've tried some pill cases in the past. Using my pill bottles is fine at home, but the last thing I want to do in an elevator or restaurant is whip out a prescription bottle. I'm sure no one is looking, but I feel embarrassed. At home, in the morning, opening a pill bottle can be noisy, so I sometimes leave a little cup with my 6am meds on my nightstand but fear the day my cat knocks it over and I forget to clean up the pills. Thankfully, that hasn't happened yet.

Not long after my husband pointed it out, I was given the opportunity to review the FOLIO. I'm seriously lucky.

The FOLIO comes with 14 spots for pills, intended to be for two dosages per day. I find it no problem at all to store four pills in each compartment and use it for four of my six dosages per day. At night, I still use my pill bottles, but that isn't a bother at all. I'm fairly sure I could fit the additional four pills per day since my medication is small in size, but it's just not so necessary as long as I'm home at night. Should I travel, I will put all the meds in the box and leave the bottles at home.

FOLIO is Fabulous
I'm a nut about product design. For those who don't know, I have a graduate degree in human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University and spent some time looking at form and function of products in addition to interface and interaction design. My husband is an engineer so, together, we're a bit nerdy about packaging and product design. While nursing, I got excited about the design of Phillips' breast pumps, if that says anything.

The FOLIO pill box is pretty awesome. It's slick, refined, and modern. It looks like a small notebook, so you could discretely open it up and grab a pill at a restaurant. Your tablemates will notice, but other customers won't think anything of it. The elastic that holds the case shut is strong enough to keep the pills secure - I keep mine tossed in a big purse - but easy enough to slip off when you need your pills. I also find it quieter to grab my morning dosage from the FOLIO compared to opening a big pill bottle.

Better Quality
Compared to pill boxes from the local drugstore, this one is much higher quality. The FOLIO feels more durable and so far, looks fabulously brand new and works perfectly. The cheap ones from the drugstore never seem to last more than a couple months before they randomly pop open and spill pills in my purse.

On Sabi
Sabi is the company that makes the FOLIO pill case. I spent some time on their website to understand more on how the company came up with their product line and get a sense of their values. When I find a product that is so well designed and beautiful, I always want to know more about the creators. I wasn't too surprised that Sabi believes in the value of beautiful products with a purpose and making people's lives more enjoyable. It's like they have an in-house user experience evangelist. If they don't, I'd be interested in the job!

Product Details
You can find the FOLIO on the Sabi website for just $24.99, which honestly is a great deal, especially if you've added up how much you spend on replacing cheap cases over the years. Sabi offers several styles for various purposes and pill needs, so if you don't quite need so much space, there's probably a different one you'd love just as much. I'm planning to order the Holster to have with me on days I'm spending at my daughter's school or at the hospital, or if I'm not planning to bring my big purse along to the mall or dinner.

The FOLIO has a capacity of 6 capsules per day, but as I mentioned earlier, if your pills are quite small (like Zofran or Sudafed), you could probably fit more. The case weighs less than 6oz, so it's not heavy, and it measures 3.8" x 6.7" and is .9" deep. The overall look is like a very nice notebook, you know, those fancy Molskine ones? Yep, look fabulous and take your meds. It's fabulous.

I should mention this is also a BPA-free product. I know that's on a lot of people's minds lately. Honestly, I haven't a clue what BPA is, but after having my daughter, I know that finding BPA-free plastics is important.

The App
On a visit to Sabi's website, I noticed they have an Official Sabi pill app.

You might want to check it out if you're like me, and need a reminder to take your medicine. I hate setting my phone alarm all the time, so this is a nice alternative.

Connect with Sabi
I hope you're curious to know more about Sabi products, because this is a rare time I can say, if you have medication to manage, this is a company to absolutely look at. I'm in human factors heaven drooling at the such a geeky thing - pill case design.

Please check out Sabi's blog, Facebook, and Twitter account to learn even more.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. In this case, I was about to purchase the FOLIO before learning of the review opportunity. Either way, this is a product I recommend. :)

March 11, 2014

Majestical Earrings Aren't So Majestical

Disclosure: I got this product as part of a review opportunity.

Not to knock Tomoson, but I've gotten few products that I truly find useful or enjoyable to review. It may be because the cost to request a review is relatively inexpensive for each company who participates, meaning companies who are struggling can participate, but also that the risk of creating a campaign is lower. While I often talk about products I've randomly bought myself, I also am a member of another review group, which almost always sends high quality products and offers a lot of support during the campaign. The quality of what I'm offered is like night and day.

Recently, I received products from two companies. One has been awesome and I'll post about it later in the week. The other... well, read and tell me what you think.

The Request:
Majestical is an eCommerce jewelry site. When posting their review opportunity, the statement was that they are a "high fashion online only jewelry store specializing in handmade jewelry and statement pieces." They included a few sample images so I could have a sense of what I'd be reviewing. The samples looked like nice costume jewelry, bold necklaces with a lot of color. I didn't know exactly what I'd be getting, but I figured it would be in line with what was displayed.

The Product:
What I received was a "gold colored" pair of long feather earrings. I appreciated the packaging, which included a little gift bag and box, but to be honest, if they are an online-only store, why did they also use a traditional store display earring hanger?

I am more accustomed to receiving earrings a little differently (studs in a padded insert, for example), so this aspect of the packaging seemed a bit "Claire's" to me.

The earrings I received are listed as What An Earring on the Majestical website and sell for $12. The list price is set at $25, though I'm not sure what the list price purpose would be if they're selling direct to consumer and not acting as a reseller. This makes me think that perhaps they are rebranding and reselling, but since they have a wholesaler section of the site, I'm likely wrong on this.

The Second Opinion:
The earrings are approximately 4-1/2" long, which is too long for me. I'm short, so when I held these up to my ears, it was clear they would hang below my shoulders. I can't do that or those feathers will get caught on my clothes. They are really lightweight, which is nice in that they won't pull your ear down, but I knew I couldn't wear them without looking ridiculous. I didn't want them to go to waste and did want a second opinion about the quality, so I sent them to my friend, Kiersten, who loves jewelry.

Kiersten let me know what she thought and I appreciated her honesty. She said she wasn't a fan and that they look cheap (I concur). She felt the lightweight was nice, but she'd prefer a little more weight so they won't look so cheap. An important point she made, one that I wouldn't have known since I didn't put them in my ears was that they aren't good for sensitive ears. Her ears itched.

I also have sensitive ears and usually wear real gold or sterling silver unless it's for a very short time, like a quick dinner out. My ears turn red and get puffy otherwise. So these Majestical earrings are a definite no for both me and Kiersten. Bummer.

The Wrap-Up:
Truth is, I haven't a clue what these earring are made from. They are "gold colored" which tells me nothing. They're cheap costume jewelry, which is fine if that's what you want. I have no problem with cheap jewelry if that's what it's advertised as. However, the review request implied they would be at least a step up from what I received.

What is unexpected is that if you visit the Majestical website, you'll find higher priced items and real gemstones. Usually a small company has a strong target market, like "women who want to look nice and spend less" or "women over 30 who spend $$$ on jewelry each year." But Majestical seems to want to reach anyone who wants jewelry, whether they're a college student on a $10 budget or an upper-middle-class mom looking for a $400 necklace. After seeing the earrings I was sent, I wouldn't feel comfortable spending more than $15 on Majestical jewelry.

I did some digging and see that many people have been reviewing Majestical jewelry and quite a few like the pieces they received. Chrissy at Crash Beauty likes the feather earrings, so perhaps they do suit others well enough. So it's fair to say that maybe I received the one piece of "junk jewelry" on their site and others are much nicer. I'm not sure what I'd have thought if I received one of the sample necklaces like was shown in the original request. If you are curious, look at this similar piece on their site.

If I liked the earrings, I'd probably go back and try their styling service. Majestical reps will help select jewelry if you send them a photo of an outfit and you can even ask to see a piece on a real person to gauge size. That is quite cool and I wish they'd push that service more on their homepage and focus less on the cheap jewelry. Ditching the cheap stuff and creating a boutique shop with customized service would be fabulous and unique in the jewelry market.

I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers and in this case, I found the product I received not up to my standards. You can use your own judgement of course, but be sure to read product descriptions carefully before ordering so you know what you're buying.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using

March 4, 2014

An Honest Company Bundle

It's been almost a year that I've been getting Honest Company bundles delivered to my house every 6-8 weeks. I anticipate their arrival like I would a new lipstick or pair of shoes, even though it's mainly just cleaning products. I'm such a home geek.

Packaging has evolved over the past year. Honest is getting better at keeping items from getting banged up or leaking, bottles are better designed, and overall, I'm continuing to be thrilled. I'm not sure I need to keep up the 8 week pace now since we just don't use that much stuff, but I'll probably stick with the bundle and adjust the date a few times to get it to be about every 3 months.

This shipment had my usual order of liquid laundry detergent. You can only order one per bundle, but they are available for add-on at a discounted rate. When I first started ordering, there wasn't a one bottle limit, so I stocked up. Even one every two months turned out to be a lot for us though. Per ounce, it has been more affordable than a comparable detergent in bulk at Costco.

I decided to try the laundry pods this time. I really don't see them as cost effective compared to the liquid if you have a super efficient front loader, like I do. However, they are super handy when I'm in a rush and have extra stinky laundry, like dog bedding and pool towels.

I ordered another bathroom cleaner so I can keep one bottle in each bathroom for convenience, and some hand soap (foam for my daughter and liquid for me).

I haven't ordered bar soap in a while because it doesn't make financial sense to put that in the bundle, but it is worthwhile to include it as an add-on occasionally. I love their bar soap, but I did want to share that it's best used for grown ups. My daughter grabbed it by accident not long ago and got a tiny bit in her eyes and it stung. It was her first experience getting any type of soap in her eyes (in four years!!) but wow, I learned a lesson there. Pull out the guest soaps right after guests leave so my daughter doesn't accidentally use that stuff.

Anyhow, I'm still a huge Honest Company fan, still ordering, still routinely using Honest products at home. They continue to be a great addition to our home and lifestyle.

Related Posts:
Samantha's Dry Skin Routine
Honest Company Shampoo & Body Wash Review
Reviews: Honest Company Hand Soap Review
Honest Company Hand Soap: No Refills, yet...

March 3, 2014

In Search of a Good Razor

It's been a while since I posted a BzzAgent product here. I've been trying out the Schick Hydro Silk razor set and Skintimate Skin Therapy shave gel, complements of BzzAgent and Schick, and finally have some feedback to share!

Schick Hydro Silk set with 3 blades

Back of the Schick Hydro Silk package
I usually use disposable razors and though I've tried these cartridge-style razor systems in the past, it had been a long time. 

My usual disposable razor
My biggest questions going into this review were whether I'd end up with razor burn and nicks, and will I burn through blades, I'd break the bank buying replacements?
The first thing I did was explore the blade. 

Some replacement blade systems are kind of difficult to tell which side is "up," but thankfully it was super easy with the Schick Hydro Silk. I also liked that there is a plastic holder/case piece that keeps my razor from sitting flat on the shower shelf or counter (so it doesn't ooze the lotiony strip or get soaked in water puddles).

My first test was to shave like I normally do, with is just a bit of gentle hair conditioner (sometimes with lotion soap). In the winter, my skin is so dry, this can leave my legs patchy and irritated, but with the Schick razor, I had no bumps, no scrapes, and no blood. Pretty awesome! I also tried the Skintimate Skin Therapy shave gel. It's lightly scented and easy to pump, even with wet hands in the shower. I can't say I had a notable difference from shaving with soap, but I suspect using a good shave gel like Skintimate helps the razor blade last longer because there is less friction on the skin. In that regard, I'd probably make sure to use it each time I shave with the Schick razor so I don't have to replace blades too often. Because my skin is very, very, VERY dry, I often get residue build up in razors and they just don't last long. I have liked cheap disposables because I can just toss them after 1-2 uses. I'd not want to do that with the Schick, hoping I'd get a week per blade. In reality, with the shave gel, I'd get a week if I only shave 2-3 times that week. Shaving daily, I'd probably replace it twice a week. To me, that's a lot. That said, the Shick really does pass my personal test of treating my skin well. My legs are super soft and smooth and stay that way for hours after shaving. Even my husband noticed!

I'd say it's worth the splurge to try in the Schick Hydro Silk Sensitive Care Razor system, especially if you use it with the Skintimate shave gel.

Schick claims their razor is designed to hydrate your skin for up to two hours after shaving while the 5 blades protect your skin from irritation. My experience over the past month is that their claims seem to be pretty accurate. I haven't had to use a moisturizer after shaving since I switched.

Schick Hydro Silk's Facebook page and website have even more information about their products for those who are curious to know more.