$10 or Less: Drugstore Beauty Steals

We love indulgent beauty splurges, but there’s nothing like the satisfaction of discovering a hidden gem at the drugstore. Here are our picks for what is a must at the drugstore right now, all for $10 or less.

CoverGirl Clump Crusher Mascara ($8) is the latest in the Lash Blast family, and I’m obsessed. I’ve recommended this to no fewer than 7 people in the last few days and all are loving it as I am. The claims of up to 30 strokes is true (Product Girl-verified) and the brush is almost like a lash comb in that it is impossible to clump. Major lengthening here, and no smudging or flaking. It’s so new it’s not online yet, but you should be able to find these at your local Walgreen’s.

L’Oreal Colour Riche Nail Colour in Haute Couture Red ($5.99) is that perfect vampy oxblood shade that is all the rage this season. L’Oreal’s formula is pretty stellar – no streaking, goopiness and it wears amazing all week. I’m on Day 5 with this shade and no chips or obvious tip wear.

Dove Purely Pampering Body Wash ($5) is a new addition to Dove’s endless offerings of body wash. I love the aroma of the Coconut Milk with Jasmine Petals, and even though it isn’t a natural body wash (which I prefer these days), it’s non-irritating and leaves my skin feeling clean and moisturized. Dove, I just will never be able to quit you!

Aveeno Pure Renewal Dry Shampoo ($7.99) smells amazing. It’s more of a “wet” dry shampoo, but doesn’t weigh down the hair and gives me the volume I seek from a no-wash ‘poo. Aveeno left out the sulfates and instead added seaweed extract.

Blistex Moisture Melt ($1.89) and Blistex Simple and Sensitive ($1.29) are the brand’s newest lip essentials. This is a brand I always associate with winter — my husband is addicted and like me, stashes a balm in every coat pocket. At under $2, you can afford to stash these all over the place at work and home. I love the Simple and Sensitive under lipsticks and the fact that it only has six ingredients.

And, bonus, team Blistex is giving three Product Girl readers the entire product line (yes, all of it!), which will obviously include a set of the new Moisture Melt and Simple and Sensitive products! Leave a comment on this post by Tuesday, November 13, and we’ll pick three winners at random.

Product Girl Favs Snag Prevention Magazine Beauty Seal Honors

And the accolades are just getting started for what is one of THE BEST beauty products evah, the amaze Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad for Body. We’ve raved about them here, and Prevention mag has named it one of six winners in the “Best Body” category of its “Celebrate Your Beauty” awards featured in the July issue (with the ageless Janet Jackson on the cover!)

Other awards were given to Product Girl favs, including AVEENO® Positively Ageless Skin Strengthening Body Cream and Schick Hydro Silk Razor. Here’s what the Prevention testing panel had to say about these and the other recipients of the coveted “Celebrate Your Beauty” seal…

Best Body Wash: SheaMoisture Olive & Green Tea Body Wash ($10, Walgreens)

This all-natural cleanser impressed judges because of its lack of skin-irritating fragrances and sulfates, and readers raved about the rich, creamy lather and fresh honeysuckle scent. Green tea extract helps protect skin from damage, and avocado oil is rich in vitamins and minerals that help moisturize and regenerate skin cells.

Best Body-Hair Removal: Schick Hydro Silk Razor ($10, drugstores)

This slick-looking razor improves the condition of skin thanks to the water-activated moisturizing serum surrounding the razor’s blades. As you shave, the serum delivers proteins, vitamins, and shea butter to rejuvenate skin. Testers also loved the easy-to-grip handle and maneuverable head, which made shaving tricky areas like knees and ankles a breeze.

Best Self-Tanner: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad for Body with Active Vitamin D ($45, Sephora.com)

In addition to delivering a beautiful bronze glow, this unique self-tanner also speeds cell renewal and kick-starts collagen production.

Best Sunscreen: L’Oréal Paris Sublime Sun Hydra Lotion Spray SPF 50+ ($11, drugstores)

In addition to blocking UVA and UVB rays with a blend of photostabilized sunscreens, this product has vitamin E and white grapeseed extract, which work together to protect against free radicals and keep skin looking healthy

Best Body Lotion: AVEENO® Positively Ageless® Skin Strengthening Body Cream ($10, drugstores)

Extracts of algae, mushroom, and flowering southernwood deliver antioxidants that can help protect skin from damage and dehydration, and before-and-after photographs clearly showed that this lotion delivered improvements to the texture and elasticity of skin.

Best Hand Cream: philosophy hands of hope hand and cuticle cream ($18, Philosophy.com)

This rich cream wowed both testers and judges by delivering noticeable enhancements in roughness, scaling, and brown spots in just six weeks. Testers also loved that this cream hydrated without making hands slippery or smelly.

Congrats to all of the winners!

What's New With Aveeno Positively Ageless

Aveeno introduced several new products into its “Positively Ageless” collection, which is all about anti-aging. After testing them for a while, I think they are welcome addition to the line and products you should know about. Aveeno infuses everything in their line with something they call “Active Naturals” — ingredients drawn from nature with added benefits. In this line, Aveeno uses Natural Shiitake Complex, an antioxidant from the shiitake mushroom, and Southernwood, a combo of sugars and plyphenols that help bind water to skin. With that, let’s meet the newbies…

Aveeno Positively Ageless Correcting Tinted Moisturizer

Active Natural at play: Natural Shiitake Complex

What it does: Pulls triple duty by evening out skin tone, refining skin texture and moisturizing

Claim to fame: SPF 30

Price tag: $17.99

Aveeno Positively Ageless Skin Strengthening Body Cream

Active Natural at play: Southernwood

What it does: Deeply moisturizes skin for up to 24 hours

Claim to fame: Clinically shown to improve skin’s texture and elasticity within two weeks

Price tag: $8.99

Aveeno Positively Ageless Skin Strengthening Hand Cream

Active Natural at play: Southernwood

What it does: Instantly hydrates dry hands and cuticles

Claim to fame:  Non-greasy formula

Price tag: $5.99

Aveeno Positively Ageless Resurfacing Scrub

Active Natural at play: Natural Shiitake Complex

What it does: Exfoliates facial skin gently with microbeads that help polish away dead skin cells

Claim to fame: Gentle enough for daily use

Price tag: $8.99


*Disclosure: Product Girl is a 2012 Aveeno Ambassador. We received samples of the products mentioned in this post.

Four Drugstore Beauty Gems to Buy on Your Lunch Break

There’s practically a CVS or Walgreen’s on every other block in downtown Chicago, so impromptu beauty splurges are a regular occurence. Anyone with me on that? What starts out as a run for Q-tips turns into so much more. Sometimes you hit the jackpot, and other times it’s “meh.” The four items I’m RAVING about today are so good, you should probably go run your lunchtime errands immediately.

  1. Organix Brazilian Keratin Therapy Shimmering Spray. I have a love for high-end hair oils, so it even came as a surprise to me when I began favoring this $8 version. It’s infused with hydrolyzed keratin protein, coconut oil and cocoa sead butter, and behaves kind of like a leave-in conditioner with a serious side of shine. I like to use it before I blow dry — the spray mists out the perfect amount of product and it never looks oily. Smells phenom, too. This must be the drugstore hair aisle’s best kept secret.
  2. Maybelline Super Stay 10 Hour Stain Gloss. YSL just released a similar product last month. But guess what? Maybelline’s version is AS good. The all caps is necessary. I am going nuts for this product. I love the wand, the intensity and the completely wearable shades. Berry Heaven is perfect for bold but not too bold. You can go intense with these and layer them up or wear them transparently.  And you can buy practically four of these for the price of one YSL Glossy Stain.
  3. L’Oreal Colour Riche Balm. If we’re drawing comparisons, this super lightweight balm reminds me of Chanel’s new Rouge Coco Baume. The colors are sheer and the formula is very hydrating. I love how the Pink Satin shade gives my lips the slightest glimmer of baby pink lips without it looking like I applied product to my lips. No color in this collection is off-limits because of its nature. No chance of a “meh” purchase here. Just not possible!
  4. Aveeno Positively Nourishing Energizing Lotion in Pomegranate & Grapefruit .  Even though Grapefruit is listed second, there is no mistaking that citrus in this product. Which is why it’s awesome. I’ve been having a grapefruit moment for like a year now, and this refresh from Aveeno (you’ll recall the Positively Nourishing Lotion in Grapefruit & Rosemary in a pump bottle) is something special. I love the new packaging, and the slightly tweaked scent. Definitely more grapefruit action. Don’t hate me if you can’t find this yet — it’s making its way to stores this month!

Happy Thursday to everyone! Let us know if you try any of these! And we’d love to hear about your drugstore runs lately. There is just so much good stuff happening for under $10 that our minds are spinning.

The Product Girl 2011 Holiday Letter

You know how you have those distant relatives that insist on sending holiday letters every year filling you in on all the mundane details of their children’s lives? I secretly love those. I find that with photo cards, and probably Facebook, the holiday letters are few and far between each year. To honor the great art of holiday letter-ing, we’ve developed our own at Product Girl. From us to you, our thoughts on 2011.

Dear Product Girl readers,

First, you are awesome. While most of this letter will be about us, it’s pretty important to note that without you, a lot of these things would not have happened.

The year kicked off on awesome note when we were named a finalist in the About.com Readers Choice Skincare Awards for best beauty blog. That calls for a retrospective “woot woot!”

If I could, this photo of me and MARK RUFFALO would have been my actual holiday card. Except my husband vetoed the idea. So consider it the official image of this letter. I seized the day at the Independent Spirit Awards in February to say hello to the Mr. Ruffalo (wonderful actor and from my hometown!), and am forever thankful to Aveeno for the opportunity.

Speaking of Aveeno, Product Girl spent the year taking part in the Aveeno Ambassador program. We are huge fans of the brand, and enjoyed getting to know the products and the people that make them a little bit more. At the Independent Spirit Awards, Aveeno and RecycleBank kicked off their Be An Active Natural Program, and solicited pledges from people to be more environmental conscious. Throughout the life of the program this year, they collected more than 260,000 pledges. Not too shabby, Aveeno.

Being the makeup lovers we are, we were happy to attend a few industry events. Carla and I had a blast in New York at The Makeup Show in May, and Carla hit up CosmoProf in Vegas during the summer.

In October, we were thrilled to see that SHAPE Magazine nominated Product Girl as one of the Top 20 Beauty Blogs for Active Chicks. What an honor! We were definitely in great company, and so happy to be included.

And not to bury our lead, but Product Girl has been going through some changes. Carla accepted a new job with her favorite retailer in an industry she is so knowledgeable about and is specializing in her area of expertise [large corporation that begins with a “N” based in Seattle + beauty + social media]. She’s truly pursuing her dream, and we couldn’t be happier for her. (That last line was so holiday letter, right?!) For you as a reader, this means that you get a lot more of me, and a side of the people closest to Carla. Her best friend Autumn , and her sisters Vania and Kayla are contributing to Product Girl! And of course we have our new style contributor Emily, who is also all kinds of awesome. We think it’s going to be a great 2012!

From all of us at Product Girl, we wish you the happiest of holidays and a fabulous start to the New Year!


Photo credit (top): Flickr, Warrenski, Creative Commons

Ten or Less: Aveeno Positively Nourishing Body Moisturizer

One of the most commonly asked questions I get from friends, family and coworkers is, “what’s a good body moisturizer?” Maybe it’s because winter is coming (or here…given it felt like it was in the TEENS when I woke up this a.m.), but lotion seems to be on everyone’s mind. Regardless, I have the answer: AVEENO Positively Nourishing Body Moisturizer.

I first tried this body lotion back in February when I was in Los Angeles for the Independent Spirit Awards with 25 other bloggers and the AVEENO team, during a moment that remains probably the most relaxing 30 minutes I’ve had in 2011. The team arranged for massages using the Positively Nourishing Body Moisturizer, and we had our choice of Aveeno Postively Nourishing in Refreshing, featuring blueberry and goji berry; Soothing, which has vanilla and chamomile; or Invigorating, with grapefruit and rosemary. I opted for the Invigorating, and I felt so refreshed afterwards. Ever since, I’ve really come to love these lotions. Good memory association, you know?

I like that they each have a subtle smell that doesn’t compete with the perfume I wear and the forumla does a good job locking in moisture, thanks to the addition of AVEENO’s signature nourishing oatmeal. Plus, at $8.49 a bottle, they are a steal! For how much lotion is needed to survive a winter, a good priced option is key.

Love the Sun, But Love SPF More

I can get pretty preachy when I’m passionate about something. Like how Boston Terriers are the cutest breed of dog and how The Bachelorette is quality television, for example. The importance of wearing SPF is also something I step on my proverbial pulpit for. It’s the single most important step in preventing skin cancer, and if that doesn’t quite resonate, hello, the anti-aging benefits should!

Here’s our picks for the best sunscreens of summer, and beyond.  Remember, SPF is a year-round necessity!

Best in Multitasking. Kate Somerville SPF 55 Serum Sunscreen. We trust our faces with Kate completely, and SPF is no exception. We especially love that this antioxidant-rich sunscreen doubles as a serum, eliminating an extra step in our morning routine. $45 for 2oz. KateSomerville.com

Best in Natural. Josie Maran Protect Daily Sun Protection Argan Oil Infused SPF 40+. Sometimes natural sunscreens can be tough to blend, but not this one. This is infused with Argan Oil, and works to repair skin and improve skin tone. I love the mild, lightweight formula. I find it’s a great base for makeup in the summer, too! $32 for 2 oz. Sephora.com

Best in Texture. SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50. Absolutely weightless, this is a powerhouse at fighting off the sun’s harmful rays. It contains only physical blockers, as well as a plankton extract (called artemia salina) to increase the skin’s ability to defend against UV and heat stress. As an added bonus, it comes in a universal tint that makes makeup-free days a reality. $30 for 1.7 oz. SkinCeuticals.com

Best in Powder. Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF™ Dry Sunscreen – SPF 30. Ancient clay rich in minerals is at play in this product, and this might be my favorite for the purse. It starts working upon application, and layers well over moisturizer and other products. The tanned version is great for giving arms and legs some sculpt, and the translucent seamlessly disappears while protecting. The only downside? It’s kinda pricey. $44, Jane Iredale

Best in Lips. Bobbi Brown Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15. This formula covers off on the SPF, and is the perfect summery lip. Bright colors in a sheer, juicy formula that’s packed with cocoa and shea butters and jojoba, apricot kernel and avocado oils. It really is a treatment for your lips! $23, BobbiBrownCosmetics.com

Best in Budget. Aveeno Smart Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer SPF 30. Aveeno does sun protection very well, and I really appreciate how they included SPF 30 in the Smart Essentials day moisturizer. Another multitasker! The star ingredient is southernwood extract, an antioxidant that helps soothe stressed skin. $15 for 2.5 oz. Ulta

Best in Ingredients. PCA Skin Perfecting Protection SPF 30. There are so many rock star ingredients in here, it’s mind-blowing. Caffeine, Silybin (a.k.a. milk thistle), bearberry, licorice root extract, lactic acid, kojic acid, among others, work to reduce skin discoloration and prevent future hyperpigmentation. Sun spots, you’ve been warned. I use this mainly on my arms, chest and neck but it is also good for the face. $24 for 1.7 oz. Dermstore.com

What are your SPF must-haves? Share with us, and tell us why!


SPF Saviors: Aveeno Hydrosport

Summer is on, officially, and we’ve been testing sunscreens like mad to find the best of the best. While SPF is a must at all times of the year, it’s especially important to load up during the summer when you’re exposing more skin and soaking up the warm sunshine. I like to get in as much beach and pool time as I can during the warm months, but admittedly, I’m guilty of not reapplying sunscreen as often as I should. Which is why the Aveeno Hydrosport line is a beach essential.

While no sunscreen is truly waterproof, Aveeno’s Hydrosport is as close as it gets. It contains Natural Lotus Complex, which is a water-repellant that clings to skin even when it’s wet – be it water or sweat. It’s pretty stubborn, you could say. And, you can even apply it to wet skin. The formula isn’t sticky in the least, and feels lightweight on. The Sunblock Spray is uber convenient for the beach, but I really like the lotion. It has a pleasant scent and blends into the skin well. If you are a beach dweller or very active, Hydrosport would be a perfect sunscreen for you.

Also, while we’re talking sunscreens, it’s important to note the new FDA regulations that will go into effect in 2012. For example, the Aveeno Hydrosport label will likely look very different, as will many others on the market. I think this is to our benefit, and we encourage you to read up on the matter! Check out Christine from 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic’s analysis on the matter. She breaks it down well.

And stay tuned for more of our SPF Saviors!

AVEENO: Beautiful Change Starts with a Single Step

In just a few weeks, the 41st Earth Day will be upon us. And this year’s theme is A Billion Acts of Green. If you think about it, the concept of saving our Earth through individual acts can be overwhelming.  But what I love about A Billion Acts of Green is the collective effort.

Our friends at Aveeno just launched a campaign that embodies this way of thinking. The AVEENO BE AN ACTIVE NATURAL™ program is about taking small steps in our lives that can add up to a big impact — transforming the health and beauty of the communities we live. And, according to Aveeno, that kind of beautiful change impacts our lives, our spirits and can transform the world around us.

To launch this effort, Aveeno created a pop-up forest in New York’s Times Square. We all know pop-up shops, but pop-up forest? Very cool.  It’s all part of the effort to encourage people to make small changes that have a positive impact on the environment. An example of a small change?

  • Ditch your car and opt to take public transit, carpool or riding a bike to work. Doing this one day a week can reduce your annual CO2 emissions by eight percent.
  • Use less water – turn off the sink when brushing your teeth, take a shorter shower.
  • Plant a tree — in a single year, one tree can turn 260 pounds of CO2 into clean oxygen.

The list goes on. Aveeno will reward everyone who joins them on this journey. Through Aveeno’s Facebook page, you can make pledges and earn points towards rewards with partner RecycleBank for product samples, tree seedlings and eco-friendly tote bags.

The pledge I made to Aveeno earlier this year was to reduce, reuse, and recycle. It’s one of the oldest mantras, but followed in that order I find myself consuming less and finding new ways to re-purpose things. Also, in the case of beauty products, recycle those boxes and packaging ladies! No excuse not to.

And if you’re having trouble seeing the forest through the trees, just think about a more sustainable earth. We can all make it happen!

Disclosure: Product Girl is an Aveeno Ambassador. We were not compensated for this post – we believe in the mission and are happy to lend our support.

Beauty Bests and Spring Trends from Aveeno Ambassadors

You know what happens when you gather 25 beauty and lifestyle bloggers together for a weekend right? It’s a beauty product extravaganza, and a great learning experience. I for one, love to know what products others are obsessing over and even grilled the Aveeno brand and PR teams on their beauty must-haves.  Thought I’d share a few tidbits with you! There were some clear trends: Lots of lashes and bold lips.

When I arrived at the hotel (Shutters in Santa Monica — gorgeous!) and did a quick change in the lobby bathroom post-flight, pre-spa, I met Jodi from Multitasking Mommy. While I was using Tarte’s Park Avenue Princess bronzer to perk up my face, she was using items in her travel-friendly Trish McEvoy planner. It was at that moment I did a d’oh and put my palm on my forehead — I always forget to travel with my planner!

Nude nails are great for spring. We each got a mani/pedi during an afternoon of spa-ing, and many of us opted for the classic nude shade OPI’s Tickle My France-y. It’s a very chameleon shade depending on the light, and now I’m obsessed with it. I need my own bottle!

Lashes and bold lips, worn beautifully by Elizabeth from Beauty Bets and Romy from Romy Raves. They both have lash extensions, and now I’m fixated on getting them myself. Elizabeth did reveal that pre-extensions she was all about Buxom Lash Mascara. To add to the fabulosity, Romy even had hair feather extensions. You can see them in the photo, they are very cool.

All weekend long, Felicia of ThisThatBeauty sported the most amazing red lip, courtesy of Stila’s Long Wear Liquid Lip Color in Fiery. Check out her recap and see for yourself! Amber of Beauty Junkies Unite also wore an impressive pink lip on several occasions. Among the choices in her bag included a bright color from CoverGirl’s Lip Perfection Lipstick line. Amber was raving about the formula, along with the new CoverGirl Natureluxe Balms.

I also took the opportunity to chat with the Aveeno folks and find out what they most loved from the brand. I lost count with how many folks told me they loved the Skin Brightening Daily Scrub.  I shall add that to my Target shopping list! I also love talking with men about the products they use. The brand manager from Aveeno Baby and Sun Care revealed that he uses Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Moisture Cream as aftershave.

So the moral of this post is play up the lashes, don a bold lip and keep your nails neutral this spring. I’m on board!

Disclosure: Aveeno and RecycleBank sponsored my trip and spa services mentioned in this post.