From the category archives:

living on less

As many of you are aware, I've been trying out some of the hair care and styling options from the new Schwarzkopf products available at Walmart. So far I've been very pleased with the shampoo and conditioner options, and I've found the frizz control hair oil to be amazing!

This week I tried the Schwarzkopf Styliste Ultime Elastin Curls & Moisture Curl Defining Cream. According to the packaging, this product "leaves the hair naturally soft and touchable" and allows you to "create shiny defined curls for an all day style."

While I found that this curl defining cream did leave my hair very soft and touchable, unfortunately, I didn't feel like it did a very good job of defining my curls. I tried it several times with both shampoo/conditioner formulations and with and without the hair oil, but I just didn't get the defined results that I normally get with my favorite gelée.

My hair is on the thicker side and slightly coarse, and I've always achieved the best definition with a gel product. Unfortunately (and surprisingly), Schwarzkopf does not currently offer any sort of gel in their styling line.

In the end, I did find that a half-and-half concoction of both the curl defining cream and my favorite gel produced the soft and bouncy, defined curls I was looking for! If Schwarzkopf adds a gel to their line, I'll be the first in line to try mixing it with this curl defining cream to see if I can get the same results.

I should note that while I wasn't blown away with this product, it may be a good option for those of you that have curly hair with a finer texture than mine.

Quick purchase link:

Over the next several weeks, I'm thrilled to be teaming up with Schwarzkopf to share my best styling tips for wavy-curly hair using their new line of professional quality hair care products available exclusively at Walmart! Developed with Claudia Schiffer (one of my all-time fave supermodels), Schwarzkopf has created the ultimate product range for hair care, color and styling -- including some very innovative products.

Read more about the various Schwarzkopf products I've tested:

Walmart Moms Disclosure

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As I mentioned previously, eliminating frizz is my number one challenge in styling my wavy-curly hair. Add in the fact that curly hair is fragile hair, prone to split ends and breakage, and things really get tricky. This is the main reason that I rarely heat-style my hair, choosing to let it air dry most days.

I have to say my split ends are particularly bad right now... Really, I'm embarrassed to share just how long ago my last haircut was (over a year-and-a-half ago *cough, cough*). it's pretty clear that a trip to my hairstylist is in order ASAP, but in the meantime, I'm thrilled with the new Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Satin Frizz Control & Protect Nutri-Nectar Beauty Oil.


Taming the Frizzy Split Ends

I apply about three squirts of this nourishing serum to the end of my hair after shampooing and conditioning my hair, and it does an amazing job of cleaning up my split ends, while taming the frizz.

The directions actually state to apply it to damp or dry hair, but I've found that it seems to work best for me when I apply it when my hair is still pretty much soaking wet. So I just keep the bottle in the shower so I can apply it right after I rinse out my conditioner.

I seriously would not have dreamed that my ends could look this good having gone so many months between trims! But I promise that this photo is completely unretouched... Lookin' good, huh?

Quick purchase link:

Over the next several weeks, I'm thrilled to be teaming up with Schwarzkopf to share my best styling tips for wavy-curly hair using their new line of professional quality hair care products available exclusively at Walmart! Developed with Claudia Schiffer (one of my all-time fave supermodels), Schwarzkopf has created the ultimate product range for hair care, color and styling -- including some very innovative products.

Read more about the various Schwarzkopf products I've tested:

Walmart Moms Disclosure

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I've had a love/hate relationship with my wavy-curly hair for as long as I can remember. Like so many other curly-haired girls, I desperately wanted smooth, straight hair in high school (and on into my 20s), and I would spend hours trying to tame my hair into submission...

Fast forward a few years to when I found myself a mom to two boys born just 12 months apart, it quickly became apparent that the luxury of spending hours styling my hair every other day was time I did not have. It was clearly time to learn to embrace my natural texture.

It's taken me many years to figure out the best practices for styling my wavy-curly hair, but these are my essential tips:

1. I NEVER brush my hair -- nope, never. ever. My girls think it's insane that I don't brush my hair every day, but the moment a brush touches my head, my hair morphs into a style akin to the Bride of Frankenstein. We're talking big, bushy, frizzy, there's no taming this mess hair.

2. I only wash my hair 2-3 times per week. Daily washing contributes to extra frizz, especially when the weather turns colder, so a good dry shampoo is a must-have product to touch up my oily roots. Sad, but true -- I typically schedule my workouts based on my wash days.

3. A good moisturizing conditioner is absolutely crucial. Remember how I said I don't brush my hair? Well, a girl's gotta get those tangles out somehow, and a conditioner with a lot of slip and a wide-tooth comb are just the tools for the job.

4. Air drying helps keep frizz at bay (don't touch it!). Although it often means leaving the house with wet hair, my hair looks its best when I allow it to air dry. I don't even towel dry it, because that's the worst as far as creating frizz. I simply squeeze as much water out as I can at the end of my shower, twist it, and clip it up with a styling clip while I apply my makeup. I try my hardest to avoid touching it while it dries to preserve the curl patterns.

It All Starts with a Great Shampoo & Conditioner

Over the next several weeks, I'm thrilled to be teaming up with Schwarzkopf to share my best styling tips for wavy-curly hair using their new line of professional quality hair care products available exclusively at Walmart! Developed with Claudia Schiffer (one of my all-time fave supermodels), Schwarzkopf has created the ultimate product range for hair care, color and styling -- including some very innovative products. Wax hair powder, anyone?!? More on that one soon...

This week I'm sharing my thoughts on the Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Omega Repair & Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner. First of all, the scent is really amazing, clean and fresh but not overwhelming, and the shampoo lathers easily with just a small amount. When washing my hair, I concentrate on scrubbing my scalp really well, and then I just pull the suds through the rest of my hair, because the ends aren't really that dirty.

The conditioner is thick and rich, but my real test for a conditioner is always how easily I can comb and detangle my hair with it. Remember, I don't brush! And I have to say it's a total winner in this area -- allowing my wide-tooth comb to easily glide through my hair. It rinses easily, and my hair feels really soft and conditioned without being weighed down.

By the way, I initially tried out the Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Satin Frizz Control & Protect Shampoo and Conditioner. I liked these products, as well; however, after using them for a few days, I noticed they were weighing down my curl too much. I think they will be excellent for days when I'm planning to wear my hair straight (which I do occasionally), but for everyday use, they just don't suit my wavy-curly hair texture. If you have straight hair with a little frizz, though, I think these would be perfect for you!

Quick purchase links:

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to styling your hair? Do you try to work with or against your natural hair texture?

Read more about the various Schwarzkopf products I've tested:

$5.00 off (2) Schwarzkopf Ultime™ Hair Products

P.S. I just noticed there are a few coupons for these products that you might want to print out right now!!!

Walmart Moms Disclosure

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One thing I've realized over the past few years is that I have sensitive skin. All of those breakouts that I tried to combat with acne-fighting products weren't caused by oily skin -- in fact, these products just exacerbated the problem. Once I started treating my skin with a gentler touch, my blemishes became much fewer and further between.

So a couple of winters ago when I suddenly developed an intensely itchy, red rash all over my torso, I assumed that it was some sort of allergic reaction. I tried switching laundry detergents -- didn't help. I tried moisturizing with oils and lotions -- didn't help. I tried various essential oils -- they provided some relief, but overall I didn't find a combination that made the rash disappear.

Finally, just when I thought I was doomed to a summer of sitting by the pool fully clothed, the rash simply disappeared. I wasn't exactly sure why it went away, but I was grateful that it did.

But then fast forward to December 2014, my rash returned with a vengeance. Desperate for some relief, I tried an eczema lotion that a friend recommended, and it actually helped -- but I was never fully at ease with the long list of questionable ingredients it contained...

When Walmart asked if I was interested in trying SheaMoisture's Baby Care line, I almost said no. After all, we have no babies in our home anymore. However, I took a quick peek at the SheaMoisture website before answering, and after reading about the products, I started wondering if perhaps this was just what I was looking for to treat my itchy skin. So I offered to give the body wash and lotion a try -- on myself.

The SheaMoisture Raw Shea, Chamomile & Argan Oil Baby Care line is made from century-old recipes passed down from the founder and CEO's grandmother, Sofi. These baby products are formulated with natural, certified organic and ethically-sourced ingredients from around the world, including shea butter, frankincense, myrrh, and argan oil. Targeted to a newborn's delicate skin, I figured the gentle and simple wash and lotion might be just what I need to pamper my skin during the colder months.

I used the SheaMoisture Raw Shea, Chamomile & Argan Oil Baby Head-to-Toe Wash & Shampoo as a body wash. The first thing I noticed was how well this product lathers -- a very small amount is all you need for a thick, rich lather.

And the scent is simply ah-mazing! I'm not sure how to describe it. It's very clean, soothing, comforting and totally delightful. I love that this product didn't leave my ski feeling tight and dry, as so many soaps and body washes do.

I followed the body wash up with the SheaMoisture Raw Shea, Chamomile & Argan Oil Baby Head-to-Toe, and oh my, is this stuff thick and rich! In fact, it's so thick that sometimes I found myself having to vigorously pump the bottle to get the lotion to come out. But the extra effort is totally worth it...

The lotion has the same amazing scent as the wash, and it does an amazing job of soothing my itchy, inflamed skin and locking in moisture. My skin felt so much better just the first time I used it, and it's continued to improve with each use. Though this is about the time of year when my eczema disappeared on its own last year (I'm pretty sure mine's triggered by cold, dry temps), I really feel like this lotion has improved my skin dramatically, and I plan to continue using both products indefinitely.

My takeaway from all of this? Don't be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to searching out products for problem skin. If your skin is sensitive, like mine, perhaps a gentle product targeted at babies is the perfect solution.

Find both of these products at your local Walmart store and online:

Walmart Moms Disclosure

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Taking the Burt’s Bees #28DayFaceCleanse Challenge

by Tara Kuczykowski on April 21, 2015 · 2 comments

I've long been a fan of the classic Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm and Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, and I really appreciate their dedication to creating sustainable, natural products, while protecting our bee population. However, I've never tried any of their facial care products, so when Walmart approached me to take the Burt's Bees #28DayFaceCleanse challenge, I was totally game!

The Burt's Bees Renewal Claim

Every 28 days, your skin renews itself. Burt's Bees claims that their new Renewal line of skincare products, infused with Hibiscus and Apple Rejuvenating Complex, will help you see firmer, smoother, healthier-looking skin in just 28 days. The Burt's Bees Renewal Face Care line contains five different products:

Take the Burt's Bees #28DayFaceCleanse Challenge

I soooo hate taking selfies, but above you can check out my before pic for the 28-Day Face Cleanse challenge. The challenge itself is really easy -- just sign up on the Burt's Bees website here (you can win some awesome prizes!!!), and then use products from the Burt's Bees Renewal Face Care line for 28 days. At the end of the 28 days, share your results using #28DayFaceCleanse to win!

For the purposes of the challenge, I chose to use the Refining Cleanser and the Firming Night Cream. I quickly discovered that the cleanser wasn't a product suited to daily use for my skin. I typically prefer an all-in-one cleanser that will also remove my eye makeup while cleansing. Since this cleanser containts exfoliating granules, it couldn't be used in the eye area. Plus my skin is somewhat sensitive, and daily exfoliation leads to redness and irritation. So I decided to place it in the shower and used it every few days, which was perfect for my needs.

As for the night cream, I simply loved this product! It has a very pleasant light and refreshing scent, and it provides just enough moisturization without being too heavy and greasy, as often seems the case with a night cream. In fact, I actually started using it both day and night, because it was so light. Oh, and a little goes a looonnnggg way -- the container looks like I've barely touched it, even after a month's worth of twice daily use.

I'm not sure just how evident it is in this photo, but after the 28 days, I can definitely say that my skin feels softer, smoother, and more moisturized!

$3.00 off ONE Burt's Bees Renewal Face Care

The Burt's Bees Renewal Face Care line is available in Walmart stores and on Walmart.com. If you're shopping your local store, be sure to print this coupon to save $3.00 off ONE Burt's Bees Renewal Face Care product -- this will make the cleanser just $6.76!

Walmart Moms Disclosure

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