Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I'm staying dry, thanks.

Good for ALS in capitalizing on the latest fad and raising a ton of cash from people who had never even heard of ALS two weeks ago. It's a good cause and every dime they're getting is useful, no matter what the motivations are behind it.

Instead of being trendy, I'm doing what I've done for the last decade. I'm donating to charities I personally believe in and feeling good for helping out. I'm not posting how much I'm giving or to who because it's nobody else's business. I'm doing this to help out, not to try and get Facebook likes for myself or show everyone what a bloody philanthropist I am.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Impressions - New Anti-Aging Skin Care Serum

After the fiasco with Optimera by Nerium, I was a little hesitant to try another much hyped anti-aging product, however, I am really anxious to get started on a regime that will help my aging skin and have not yet found anything worth buying in the retail market.

I had recently seen L'dara Serum - another anti-aging skin care serum - being advertised all over Facebook, and decided to contact one of the reps to see if I could get a sample prior to purchasing a whole bottle (I learned my lesson and will never buy another face cream/serum without trying a sample first).  The rep I contacted was more than happy to send a sample, and in less than a week, my sample had arrived.

The first night I tried the serum, I was a bit apprehensive but upon opening the sample, I was pleasantly surprised to find it had a nice scent (hardly noticeable, very light floral scent) and is a clear serum with a gel like texture. It goes on velvety and the skin is not sticky or oily.  So far so good.

Upon waking the next morning I was prepared for a reaction, however, am definitely happy to report that there was no itching, no redness, no irritation at all.  WHOO HOO ...

Now, L'dara is recommended for both day and night use, but because I had such a small sample, I only used the product at night before bed.  The sample lasted me about 4 days, and after those 4 days, I did notice my face seemed brighter and my skin smoother, so I decided to bite the bullet an purchase a full bottle.

Upon contacting the rep, she mentioned the product ships from a small distributor in Calgary, express post. Both marketing partners and preferred customers pay the same price.... $108 plus provincial taxes and both programs offer a free bottle your next month when you refer 3 people through your personalized web site.  OK ... off I went to order ...

I will keep you all posted on my progress ...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Product Comparison: Jamberry Nails vs. You Nailed It

Over the past few weeks we've been seeing ads all over Facebook for a new nail wrap business - You Nailed It.  Of course, as an Independent Jamberry Nails consultant my customers are very curious as to how competitor products stack up against Jamberry nail wraps, so decided I would do a comparison. This is strictly a comparison of two similar products.

According to the You Nailed It website, the wraps do not need any heat to apply (Jamberry wraps do require heat for a good bond to the nail) and, like Jamberry nail wraps, they last up to 2 weeks.  The price for the You Nailed It wraps vary anywhere between $10-$15 US depending on the design.  The selection of designs is not as extensive as Jamberry, with a lot of the designs being marketed to the "nerd" crowd.

I purchased a sheet of wraps from the You Nailed It website on August 2nd with my order total being $17.99 USD ($12 for the wraps and $5.99 for shipping).   On August 4th, I received an email that my wraps had been shipped - although no tracking info was provided.

I received the wraps today - August 12th. They were shipped from Florida to Canada - the cost of the actual shipping was $1.15.

Upon opening the envelope, the first thing I noticed was there were no instructions included.  The packaging of the wraps is just a clear cellophane sleeve.  There are 20 wraps of various sizes on a white sheet.

The only thing included in the envelope was the shipping invoice ... no application instructions ... no indication of what company the wraps were from on the packaging ...

Of course I had to compare them to the Jamberry nail wrap sheet, and the first thing I noticed is that each wrap is about 3/4 of the size of a Jamberry wrap

There are more wraps per sheet included on the You Nailed It sheet (20 vs 18), however, seeing that they are smaller than the Jamberry wraps, you aren't getting any more product with You Nailed It.

To properly do a comparison, I decided to do my manicure using both the Jamberry and You Nailed It Wraps.  After applying my Jamberry wraps according to the official Jamberry Nails Instructions, I chose a wrap from the You Nailed It sheet to fit my ring finger on both hands as an accent nail.   The You Nailed It wraps come with a clear sheet covering the top of the wraps, which in my opinion is unnecessary.

As there were no applications instructions included, I ended up going to the You Nailed It website to find the correct way to apply the wraps.
I proceeded to try and find the wrap that best fit my nail, however, this proved to be a bit difficult due to the white backing.  I ended up having to use the Jamberry Nail wrap size I usually use for that finger as a guide to which wrap would be the best fit.

Next problem I encountered was that it was extremely hard to find the edge of the You Nailed It wrap to remove it from the backing.  I ended up having to use an exacto knife to find the edge.

When removing the wrap from the backing, I noticed is that the wraps are very flimsy and thin.

I proceeded to apply the wrap to my nail.  My first attempt at placement was a bit off, so when I lifted the wrap, it detached very easily - almost too easy.  Once the placement was OK, I smoothed the wrap to my nail using my thumb pressing from cuticle to edge.  To make sure all wrinkles and bubbles were out of the wrap, I pulled gently on the edge of the wrap and to my surprise, about 1/2 of the excess came detached - which shows how thin the wraps actually are.

As per the instructions, I took the nail file and filed the remaining excess - which took no time at all and reminded me of how easily the Sally Hansen wraps are to file.

The instructions say that for a longer lasting manicure, to follow with an application of clear polish.  I chose not to do this to truly see how long they last compared to Jamberry (Jamberry nail wraps do not require a top coat to prolong the wear).

This is the finished manicure.  In this picture you can see a thin white line around the outside of the You Nailed It wrap on my ring finger - this is how the wrap came off the backing sheet.

Following is usage of each of the wraps used in this manicure.  With the You Nailed It wraps, you need one wrap for each finger instead of being able to use one wrap for 2 fingers with Jamberry.

The longest I've worn my Jamberry wraps is 16 days with  some tip wear and nail growth at the cuticle. I admit, I am very hard on my nails, so am looking forward to seeing how the You Nailed It wraps hold up against Jamberry.  Will keep you all posted.

Oh I should mention - the You Nailed It wraps are made in China.  Jamberry are made in the US.


UPDATE:  Well, just over 6 hours since I applied the wraps and I can already see the You Nailed It wraps are not fairing well.  After doing the dishes and cleaning the bathrooms early this evening, the two nails with the You Nailed it wraps are already chipping and coming off - they are actually wrinkling right on my nails.  I doubt they will still be on by morning

FURTHER UPDATE:   After my shower this morning, sadly, both You Nailed It wraps had completely fallen off my nails

First Impression - Stylebox by Jamberry

When I heard that Jamberry Nails were launching a monthly subscription service starting August 1st, I was extremely excited.  I have subscribed to a number of monthly beauty boxes in one form or another over the past couple years and thoroughly enjoyed receiving them and the surprises they contained. Now, just to clarify, I am not one to get excited over nail polish, as when it comes to polishing my nails I have two left thumbs so to speak and ultimately always make a mess, not to mention being extremely impatient when it comes to the polish drying.

I excitedly signed up for my Stylebox when I was able.  The only thing I didn't like is that you have no other option but to purchase either a 3 month, 6 month or 12 month subscription - they do not offer a month to month subscription up front.  Upon completion of your initial subscription time period, the subscription does revert to a month to month payment of $25 USD/$32 CAD.

I received my notification on August 8th that my first Stylebox had shipped (marketing material indicated the first box would ship August 5th).  Shipping is free with the subscription, so I was anxious to see how quickly the box arrived.   Imagine my surprise when UPS dropped off the Stylebox late that same afternoon.

Upon opening the box, you are greeted by a "style card" and the contents wrapped in tissue paper

The contents of the box are supposed to be a wrap from the current catalog, a wrap exclusive to Stylebox subscribers, a nail file and orange stick.  Value of the contents is a minimum of $34.

Upon opening the tissue, you are greeted by the contents

Ummm ... something is missing ... was there not supposed to be a nail file included in the box?

Now to most people, a nail file isn't a big deal, however, as a Jamberry Consultant, I would expect my customers to receive everything they signed up to receive, so promptly sent off an email to Jamberry Support to let them know.

Overall, I am happy with my Stylebox ... I did know ahead of time what was going to be included in the first box, however with subsequent boxes, I don't believe even consultants will know what they are getting (unless they stalk FB or Youtube unboxings) ...

Hopefully next month I'll get my nail file ....

If you are interested in signing up for Stylebox by Jamberry - head on over to my website ... there are three subscription options, 3 month, 6 month and 12 month. Hopefully Jamberry will also begin offering month to month subscriptions in the near future.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Optimera by Nerium Update

In my previous post I had reported that I thought I may have had a reaction from the new face cream I was trying - Optimera by Nerium.

I had used the product 2 nights in a row, waking up the each morning with an itchy face (the second morning was worse than the first), so as an experiment, decided not to use the Optimera the third night to see how my face felt the next morning.

I am happy to announce that upon waking, my face was not at all itchy ... YAY ... to check to see if there was indeed something in the Optimera that caused my face to itch, I decided to apply the cream again the 4th night ... and yep, you guessed it, upon waking the next morning, my face was again itchy.

So, I contacted my friend to find out how to return the Optimera and get my money back as there was no way I was throwing away the $92 I paid for a product that I had a reaction to.  She advised that if a customer is dissatisfied with any product for any reason, the product may be returned in its original packaging, within thirty (30) days of the purchase, for a refund of the purchase price.  I would have to contact Nerium though to get a return number and would be required to pay the return shipping on the product.  I did that and sent the product back yesterday.

I will keep you posted on how long it takes to get my $$ back ...

Monday, August 4, 2014

First Impression - Optimera from Nerium International

I have been wanting to find a good anti-aging cream for some time now and recently a friend became a brand partner with Nerium International.  Nerium's Optimera creams just launched in Canada a few months ago, and after hearing the glowing reviews I decided to give the cream a try.

Optimera Night Cream costs $125 and must be purchased directly through a Nerium consultant or online. The company offers customers who subscribe to its replenishment program a discounted price of $92 per month.    Shipping is $11.50

Optimera is one of the most interesting anti aging brands. They have taken a toxic plant (oleander leaf extract) and turned it into an anti aging cream. While there is little in the way of clinical studies or other scientific proof, there certainly is some merit to the Nerium product.

The first thing I noticed is it has a different smell to it - it's not bad, but it's really not all that pleasant. The smell reminds me of compost or wet leaves... I personally hate it. I don't like perfumed smells but I sure as hell don't like smelling like my garden either.

The instructions say to apply 4 to 5 pumps of the night cream on a damp face.  I started with 2 pumps and found that the amount from those 2 pumps was sufficient for my face.  The second thing I noticed is the cream really doesn't absorb into the skin, it seems to set up similar to a mask on top of your skin.

The next morning when I woke, my face seemed a bit itchy.  The instructions say that "Sometimes, using a new product or a new mix of products can cause a temporary reaction. It’s important to remember that your skin must have time to become accustomed to a product in order to determine how it will interact long-term. If you experience minor irritation, we suggest giving yourself time to adjust to the new product. We recommend allowing at least two to three weeks as an adjustment and purging period."   I do know and understand that your skin takes some time to adjust to a new product so didn't give the itching another thought.

After cleansing my face the next evening, I again applied only 2 pumps to my face and went to bed. Upon waking this morning my face was even itchier than the previous morning ... not good.  I began to think that I may be allergic to one of the ingredients and pulled up the instruction sheet and saw on another part of the instruction sheet it says "Should any minor irritation such as redness, itching, or breakouts occur or persist, discontinue using the product and seek medical advice."  Hmmmm

Further the instructions say "Should a reaction occur, such as a breakout, redness, or itching, it is important to determine the cause. It is not always the new product; it could be how the new product is interacting with other products you’re using." ... I don't use any other creams on my face and my cleanser is one I have been using (Purity by Philosophy) so I doubt it's an interaction. I also have trouble with creams containing any sort of sunscreen and when using those types of cream my face also gets itchy, however, it was nothing like the itch I am experiencing from the Optimera. I did end up having to take 2 Benedryl to help combat the itching.

I am not going to use the Optimera tonight and see how my skin feels in the morning.