Over the past few weeks, I’ve invested in a couple of new products that have been hyped for awhile now and thought I’d share my honest reviews of them below. (I use the phrase “TL;DR” below, which is an acronym for “Too Long; Don’t Read” — so if you want to just cut to the chase and see my “yay” or “nay” vote, skip to the TL;DRs.)
Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer (currently $27?!). I love this tool. Love. LOVE. The main complaints I’d heard about it are that a) it is heavy and b) it doesn’t work well on totally wet hair. Both are true but neither bother me in the least, especially given the exceptionally smooth (!!!) blowout I achieve with it. I am honestly astonished with the results I am able to get — a salon-quality blowout that lasts at least two days — from an admitted hair novice. I will say I can’t figure out how to get much volume in my hair when using it (why is it called “a volumizer”…?) Could be user error, but I am only able to get a super sleek, straight blowout with a nice bend at the end — not the big, bouncy, voluminous look I was expecting. Still, I don’t care. My hair looks fantastic with it. Per reviewers, it’s best to let hair air-dry for about 30 minutes before using it, as it doesn’t work great on sopping wet hair. And with regards to its heft: yes, it is heavy but truly no more difficult than wielding a round brush and a hair-dryer at the same time — at least with the Revlon tool, you can use both hands to hold onto it! One small thing I especially like about it: it blows hot air but not so much / at such a great distance that it blows all the rest of your hair around while you’re styling it. I probably can’t explain this well, but whenever I use my hair dryer, when I’m done curling a section and need to switch it off, I inevitably accidentally point the nozzle somewhere else on my head and it causes a whirlwind that blows my hair in every which way and undoes all my careful styling.
TL;DR: This is a must buy. Five stars.
Vitamix 5200 Blender. This is…insane. Is it too dramatic to say that we had a woefully under-equipped kitchen until we purchased this? Even at its lowest setting, the Vitamix outperforms our old Breville. Mr. Magpie describes it as “slightly horrifying and exhilarating” to use — it is so powerful. It is also very loud. I am most excited about this because I puree micro’s dinner every night (whatever we’re eating, with a little chicken broth or water added to liquefy) and this totally purees everything.
TL;DR: If you are a handy/frequent home cook or a big smoothie drinker, this is absolutely worth the investment. If you rarely use your blender, you can probably pass because it is expensive. But if you do buy it, I think you’ll agree: five stars.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost. I tried this moisturizer after a friend swore it was just as good as Belif’s True Cream. I have to say, I was impressed. For the price, it delivered decent hydration (not AS hydrating as Belif, but very good — just a little lighter-weight) and blended right into my skin. I love the gel consistency. The scent is a bit much (others have noted this) and those sensitive to fragrance should avoid it. I do have to say that I have been more prone to breakouts over the past few weeks, and I am not sure whether this is the cause or not. It’s the only change in my skincare routine of late, so I’m wont to think it might be the culprit — and am therefore switching temporarily back to Belif to determine whether that helps. At the same time, my skin has been testy ever since Hill was born, going wild with hormones and probably stress and sleeplessness, too. Will report back on whether things clear up with a switch back to Belif, and also note that just because my skin might not work well with it doesn’t mean yours won’t. Overall, I was impressed with this drugstore brand find.
TL;DR: Not for scent-sensitives, and curious as to whether its caused recent outbreaks BUT an impressive product for the price. Hydrates well and glides right into skin. The verdict is still out on whether this has upset my skin, but I’d give it a 3 out of 5 at the moment as I continue to evaluate.
MZ Wallace Tote. I wrote a full review on this bag as a diaper bag and the short answer is: buy it. The only caveat is that many find the straps slip off your shoulder. This doesn’t bother me so much because I am often only carrying it short distances / I have the stroller to hook it onto, but I can see it irritating me if I were walking longer distances with it every day. Still, a reader suggested crossing the straps on my shoulder and this has helped a lot — to the point that it’s not really an issue.
TL;DR: This is a fantastic diaper bag, gym bag, everyday tote bag, travel bag. 5 stars.
Moon and Back onesies. I was looking for a brand of onesies that were softer than Gerber but less expensive than 1212 (my absolute favorite — the softest!) and landed here. The cotton is soft and stretchy and thick, and I like the lap shoulder style (easier to get on and off my baby, whose head is enormous!). I will say that they are showing wear much more quickly than I’d like — the fabric is holding up just fine, but the collar always looks kind of distended/curled up in weird places, whereas 1212 always looks as good as new to me. Not sure if it’s just the fabric content or what? Still, as a wardrobe basic / layer, a pretty good value for a pretty good product. I will say I’ve had uneven reviews on products from this brand; their sleepsack was really disappointing, for example.
TL;DR: Four stars. A decent base layer, seems to show wear in the wash.
Woolino Sleep Sack. This and Kyte were the most-frequently-recommended brands for sleep sacks when I polled you all a few months back. I went with Woolino and WOW. The quality is insane — it looks just as good as new many washings later. It is so soft and cozy and thoughtfully made. I love the double zipper design, which makes middle-of-the-night diaper changes so easy and unobtrusive. They are pricey but I think worth the tag, especially since the Moon & Back one I bought as a back-up essentially disintegrated (seriously, the fabric just started snagging and tearing in random spots after a few washings), and the zipper on an Aden + Anais one I’d purchased broke after a few uses.
TL;DR: Five stars. Definite must for me. Worth the investment because of how much your baby uses this — nightly! Anything of lower quality will show wear too quickly. Bought a second as a back-up when the first one is in the wash — because otherwise I’ll end up spending just as much on cheaper ones that fall apart within a few months of purchase (as I already have).
Everlane High-Rise Skinny. This is a fantastic pair of jeans for the price ($68)! They really suck you in and cut a fantastic profile. They do not have much stretch, which is not something I’m accustomed to in denim, so it took a little bit of adjusting for me. I would say these feel a little more comfortable when out on the town / with friends versus running after my children, when I’m crawling on the ground and crouching down and need more give in my denim. Still, a beautiful pair of jeans at a reasonable price. (These run TTS.)
TL;DR: Four stars. Really good value for the price.
Maybelline Volumizing Eyebrow Mascara. I wrote about this elsewhere, but I have been testing drugstore brand variations on cosmetics here and there to evaluate whether the prestige brands are truly worth the investment. This is a solid eyebrow gel — good color and consistency and holds brows in place without leaving them feeling crispy — but I really don’t like the applicator. I don’t know why they wouldn’t just use a normal eyelash brush!
TL;DR: Three stars. Would give it a higher score if it had a better applicator! Will probably try a different brand for this reason next time I’m due.
Nyx Eyeliner. (Somehow currently under $4!!! Just ordered a backup while it’s at this ridiculously low price.) This is, in my opinion, almost identical to Stila’s All-Day eyeliner, which I love. The only difference is that the formula is just a tad runnier and therefore a hair more difficult to apply — you need to use a light hand! — than Stila, although maybe my Stila was just dried-out by the end? I also find that the hairs on the applicator get bent backwards if you aren’t careful when replacing the cap — just a word to the wise.
TL;DR: Five stars. Will probably only use this inexpensive variation moving forward.
Wander Nude Illusion Foundation. I’m super impressed with the formula — good coverage but surprisingly natural-looking. I initially hated the applicator as I tend to like to pour out a little foundation on the back of my hand, mix it with an illuminating tinted moisturizer, and then use a Beauty Blender to apply to my face. But, I’ve figured out a workaround. Now I dab a small amount onto my forehead, cheeks, and chin and then apply a quick, thin layer of tinted moisturizer all over, kind of smearing the foundation as I do so, and then blot it all over with the Beauty Blender. It’s not perfect but it’s what’s happening in these parts so far. Still, the formula for Wander is quite good!
TL; DR: Four stars. Wish it had a different applicator!
+Some of my most well-loved (and very thoroughly evaluated) products for home and for baby.
+Currently testing out glycolic acid pads to address the aforementioned breakouts. Woman of substance Julia Amory recently shared the skincare regimen she swears by on Instastories and she insisted that these $32 wipes single-handedly changed her skin and that she will be buried with these. Ha! Any review that strong from someone with wonderful skin is worth testing myself. Stay tuned…
+This sweater is marked down to such a good price and is SO chic.
+FANTASTIC end of season sale at Jacadi — extra 20% off all sale prices with code 20MORE. A great time to snag a puffer coat for next season (or mid-season, if your little one has outgrown her current size — something that seems to happen to me far too often int he middle of a season) or a sweet dress like this, which bridges the gap between “appropriate for play” and “dressed nicely,” or the line I try to walk with mini’s school attire.
+ALSO: do NOT miss this sale!
+Should have included this fun top in my Valentine’s Day roundup.
+How fun is this colorful set of Laguiole cutlery?! Also love this dusty blue set.
+This pretty Ganni is 40% off, plus an extra 20% off!
+Pretty sure most moms know this, but these Israeli peanut puffs are a great way to introduce babies to peanuts.
+I wrote online that Mr. Magpie made Paul Kahan’s “perfect hummus” and it was a very involved process. You soak dried chickpeas, bake them, boil them, pluck them out of their skins (!!!! how onerous?!) and use this tahini you can find on Amazon, which apparently puts all other brands to shame. The entire recipe is in this cookbook.
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32 thoughts on “Honest Reviews of New-to-Me, Hyped Products like the Revlon One Step Dryer.”
The Revlon Dryer is a life-changer but I’m having problems cleaning the hair out of it. Anyone have any suggestions?
Good question. I’m all ears, too!!
I love my Revlon too, but man that high setting is HOT!!!! Often have to go back to medium setting!
Going to try the cool after.
Yes, it really heats up!!!
This is off topic….sort of…but can ANYONE with skimpy short eyelashes recommend a mascara for volume and length? I have tried Tightline by IT Cosmetics…bust…then the Hourglass one…again…bust. I know extensions would solve my issues but I wear/need glasses everyday so would be a waste of money …they don’t show as much as a non glass wearer but I still want nice lashes. Help…..
Hi Nancy! I have what I would call average lashes and also wear glasses on most days. My favorite mascara for volume/length is actually waterproof one by Chanel: https://www.chanel.com/us/makeup/p/194210/le-volume-de-chanel-waterproof-mascara/
It’s not inexpensive, but it works for me & so I thought I’d share. I also find that it comes off easily with Bioderma micellar water, so the waterproof aspect is not too intimidating or too much of a burden. Hope this helps!
I’m obsessed with the Lancome Cils mascara primer. I’ve tried cheaper options and nothing did the trick like Lancome. I layer that under Lancome Definicils by day and Nars Climax by night and it helps get a lot more bang for your buck out of any mascara, plus if you’re dealing with a flakier formula it helps keep it out of your eyes.
I also swear by Grandelash to grow my natural lashes, although a trust friend with killer lashes swears by a cheap dupe on Amazon called Essy.
!! Haven’t heard of any of these products…!!! Thank you!
Will let others weigh in on this BUT I am in love with Giorgio Armani’s Maestro mascara these days because it lifts and separates and lengthens lashes amazingly well. xxx
I have two recommendations for mascara for you to try:
Laura Mercier LONG LASH, and
Bobbi Brown SMOKEY EYE
I would go to both of those counters on different days, and ask to try them.
In addition I would recommend to all mascara users to remember to apply the mascara on top of lashes and then under lashes, as you usually would. You will get a fuller look.
Love these tips from my own mama! 🙂
Hi Jen! I must echo what your other commenters have said, I love these honest product reviews 🙂
I had also ordered the Revlon hair dryer, and it’s been sitting in the box as I’d been debating whether to return it or not as I actually don’t need volume (I have a lot of hair), and need more of a sleek style — so I am highly encouraged by your review! I may have to give it a test run today.
Did you see the MZ Wallace recently came out with the “Deluxe” Metro tote?! Aaaaahhhh. It has a luggage sleeve, which is one of the things I always hoped it had whenever I was using it for travel. Product description does indicate a higher weight (something like 1.7 lbs compared to under 1 lb for the original Metro tote, but that might include the detachable strap). It has more pockets too, so that design must add to the overall weight. I don’t think it has landed in any brick-and-mortar departments stores near me but I’m so curious to try it to see if the added weight bothers me. I may sell my old Metro totes and upgrade… or maybe wait until it comes out with more color options…
Yay for the Vitamix! I’m in a committed relationship with mine 🙂 And for any readers who might be hesitant to invest due to the price, mine was a “certified reconditioned” blender that I got at the Vitamix store for under $300 (I believe they might sell reconditioned ones online too?) when I lived in Cleveland, OH, where they are made. I was told that blenders used maybe once or twice at demos are sold as “reconditioned” blenders. I’m not sure about the full process of “reconditioning”, but the short version is they make sure it’s running well before selling. Mine looked new and continues to run well after years of heavy use.
Have you or Mr. Magpie tried Ottolenghi’s hummus recipe? I love his method of sauteing the chickpeas with baking soda before boiling. Instead of just boiling with them with the baking soda, stirring them with baking soda in a dry pot is said to “rough them up” a bit more to dislodge the skins. As they boil and the skins float to the surface I just skim them off with a slotted spoon. I had tried peeling skins off boiled chickpeas (which I had done with a friend who came over, and I’m surprised and delighted that she is still friends with me today after that task), but I no longer do that thanks to Ottolenghi’s recipe! But I’m now intrigued by Kahan’s recipe, if only to compare…
Hi! So much goodness here – please report back on your thoughts on the Revlon dryer! Had not heard about the MZ Wallace deluxe metro but it sounds compelling for travel especially.
I’ll have to ask Mr. Magpie about Ottolenghi vs. Kahan because I know he evaluated both thoroughly (we have several Ottolenghi cookbooks). I do know he used baking soda for two different phases of preparing…will ask him to chime in!
Jen this post is so good!!! Thanks for being our trusty guinea pig.
Ditto everyone else- the Revlon is life changing!! My only concern is that I’m not heat protecting my hair well?! I’m not sure if heat protection products are necessary or just a marketing ploy…thoughts?
Hi! I do use Dry Bar’s “Prep Rally” before I blow-dry, which purports to “protect hair” but who knows…I’d be curious if someone’s ever looked carefully into this claim! xx
Hi – I’m a recent convert to the Revlon brush as well, I love that it is EVERYWHERE all of a sudden. I also love the smoothness and I had the same issue with volume. What’s really helped me is to work the brush in the opposite direction of the way your hair falls for the top sections…if that makes any sense at all. Particularly when I’m working the crown, I keep the brush under the hair and pull it forward at the roots. If I’m on the right side, I’ve got the brush under the hair/on the right, but pulling the roots toward the left. I’ve also experimented with the different settings, and while I prefer to keep it on the lower setting for my hair’s health (I have fine hair), I do get more lift when I dry it on high – I just wish I didn’t feel like I was burning my fingertips in the process! I also finish by tending to the ends on the cool setting, lifting the hair away from my head so I’m not losing that hard-earned volume. It took a little experimenting but I actually don’t mind drying my hair now, where I used to only put up with drying it properly one day a week and air drying the rest of the time!
Great idea. Do you use any product before drying it this way?
Love this — which sounds similar to a technique Lucy mentioned below, too. Trying my hand at this!!
Nancy – yes I use the Bumble & Bumble thickening spray, Pantene volumizing mousse on the roots (I’m not particularly loyal to mousse but like that I can’t feel this one in my hair after, unlike some other sticker formulas options), and then Bumble and Bumble hairdresser oil on the ends if they’re feeling dry. I probably need to add a heat protectant but ugh, so much product.
I normally read your posts in order (albeit on quite a delay — eek!) and I had to jump ahead when I saw the title of this post. OMG, that Revlon brush! I’m SO intrigued and I think I’m going to order it today. My hair skills are extremely remedial but this seems so simple and foolproof, and I do feel that I should have more polished hair, esp. for work situations (sometimes I just throw it back in a chignon and that feels … repetitive and lazy?)
Anyway, v. v. excited to try it out, as I hold your opinion in high regard!
P.S. A note of caution on that Ganni dress from MatchesFashion — I ordered the leopard-print version in the same exact style (from Need Supply) and I feel that there’s a design flaw with that cut — the sleeves do not stay up! I think it’s a flaw with the fit of the shoulders … maybe too much room between the top of the bodice and the top of the shoulders? Anyway, I bought it on final sale (grrr) so I’m debating either getting the shoulders tailored or just turning it into a strapless dress or even a skirt. Ha!
Thank you so much for the caveat emptor!!!
Also, please report back on the Revlon! xx
You’re welcome! A big caveat is that it may just be a flaw with the leopard-print version, but I thought I would mention it just in case.
The Revlon brush is arriving today (!) so I’ll definitely let you know my thoughts once I try it out!
Love reading your posts! And goodness I want that rose gold tote ASAP! I scooped up the small Sutton to use until baby 3 arrives and it’s a delight when im running errands with my big boys, highly recommend it.
Also adore that Revlon blower!!! Could you go back through on the cool setting I’m wondering? The bounce it gives is incredible for how quickly I can do my hair with it!
Also thanks for the product recommendations! I have not ventured away from kiehls for years ha!
Hm, have not played around with the cool setting!!! So many ideas from readers here. LOTS to test. Thank you!
Love the Revlon brush! I find that using a volumizing mousse at the roots really helps. Only disappointment is that the setting words rubbed off within 2 wks. Pretty shoddy. I like to finish on the low setting and now need to fool around with the knob to find it.
Good to know on the mousse – thanks! Going to dig some out of my cupboard and try next time. That’s irritating about the words rubbing off! Hate that kind of stuff!!
The Hydroboost most certainly caused my breakouts! The area around my chin was just so terrible.
I will forever love Summer Friday’s Jet Lag Mask as my winter moisturizer. I leave it on all night.
!! Good to know!!
I have medium length (below the shoulder) hair and use the Revlon brush too. For a volume attempt, I blow my hair out as usual and then do a very deep part on the opposite side of my normal part (so for example, my hair naturally parts on my left, but I do an extreme part on my right) and leave my hair that way as long as I can bear to. Then, when I’m ready to enter the real world, I flip my hair to the opposite, naturally parted side of my head, and that tends to impart a good burst of volume. (for my hair type at least!)
Going to try this! Thank you!
Good Morning- Your posts are my favorite way to begin the morning…thank you…I know blogging takes alot of time and effort…know its appreciated. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE the Revlong Volumizer but same question as you…how do I get volume/height on top…maybe its my cut…as I have a blunt cut bob…maybe its a product issue but whatever this brush dryer is amazing. My friends call it a miracle dryer.
Aw – thank you so much for this sweet note! Appreciate the encouragement and am so happy you’re here.
Interesting that others have had the same issue with volume (or lack thereof) with this tool…!