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!
+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!
+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.