Saturday, November 24, 2012

Stayfree Ultra Thin Overnight Pads

Oh my... I know it's uncommon, and probably uncouth to discuss the infamous "sanitary napkins" on the world wide web, but I figure hygiene is a huge part of beauty - especially if you're 'blessed' enough to be a woman.

Pads aren't really something I've ever given a thought to. I don't really know how we, as women, ever walk into a store and go "this is the pad for me!!" I don't remember my first pads, but I imagine they were influenced significantly by what my mom used and kept in stock herself. I feel that this must be at least somewhat true for most all women...

Either way, I've tried a lot of pads since Auntie Flo first happened my way. Everything from Kotex to Always to Stayfree... you name it, I've likely tried it. And over the years, my body has changed, and my feminine products with it.

Recently, my sister and I were stopped by some nice ladies in the middle of the mall, inquiring as to whether or not we wanted to watch a free demo, and then receive free goodies. Of course, we said yes. The lady demonstrated one of those infamous 'blue liquid' tests on three different pads, and of course, we were asked to watch and see which pad absorbed the best. By the end of the demonstration, both Stephanie and I were astounded at the results. Whether or not this pad was actually as good as they made it seem, both of us wanted to run into our nearest Shoppers Drug Mart and grab a package. Can you say suckers-for-shameless-Stayfree-self-promotion ten times fast?

A day or so after the sneaky demo, Auntie Flo came knocking on my door. Oh, hello there. I'm out of everything I would need for you to visit - off to the store I go. And I decided to try the new Stayfree Ultra Thin Overnight Pads as I was still residually astounded by the demo.

Needless to say, a few cycles later, I'm still LOVING these pads. Hence the reason I'm writing this post...
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These pads are fantastic for so many different reasons.

First, they are made of cotton. As in, your skin is touching cotton the whole time. My previous go-to-feminine products were Always brand, and the plastic layer on top was neither comfortable nor discrete. Gotta love that little *krinchle-krinchle* as you go from sitting to standing... And you cast that judgmental glance from side to side, so that no one would suspect that it was you. Don't kid me, we've all done it.

The Stayfree Ultra Thins are thin (imagine that...) and flexible. They move with your body without bunching up or moving around. Needless to say, I feel protected the entire time. This was/is a HUGE pro for me. My previous Always brand pads were always bunching up. I felt like I was constantly headed back to the bathroom to replace the pad, just to get rid of that awful bunching feeling down below.

These pads are also incredibly absorbent. For being so compact, it doesn't seem like they'd hold a lot, but in my personal experience, they definitely keep you feeling drier for longer.  I know some people who love using 'pillow' pads because they feel more protected with three inches of cotton fluff tucked into their underwear - trust me, I used to be one of those women too. But these pads leave me feeling as clean and dry, without the bulk.

One of the most desirable features, in my opinion, of this pad, is the 'unique' Night-Guard Zone. I have to say, I've never seen a feature quite like this in any other pad on the market (yet...). There is a billowing quilted area around the end of the pad, which is "designed to block leaks from side to side, and front to back." What lady couldn't use that little bit of extra protection??

And have I mentioned how much I love how long these babies are...?! They really do provide extraordinary protection and coverage. Personally, I'm all about the length. I'm always trying to refrain from rushing the first sales associate I see in the Personal Hygiene aisle and shrieking maniacally, "SHOW ME TO THE LONGEST PAD YOU OWN!!! Aha!! I'll take about ten dozen."

My one large-ish gripe with this product is the packaging. Not the overall bag they come in, but rather the individualized packages. Oh sure, it's cute. The pretty purple plastic isn't an eye sore when I whip it out of my purse or bathroom cabinet, but it's not exceptionally durable and definitely not subtle. The one thing I appreciated about Kotex (way back in the day...) was the fact that they were using 'cloth-esque' wrappers, to cut down on all that awkward crinkling that plastic wrappers can have. Now I realize that while this isn't particularly 'eco-friendly,' neither are the traditional plastic wrappers either. And I know someone out there is bound to think/say, "Who cares!? When you're in the bathroom changing your feminine products, it's not like it's news to the lady in the stall next to you..." And you'd be right - but I still like having the option to be discrete - whether I be at a friend or family's house, to being in a public restroom. In addition, these purple wrappers are far from durable. When I pop a couple of these pads in my purse, they are pretty much mutilated from my door to the car. The wrapper gets torn open and lost in the abyss that is my purse, and the pad becomes an unsanitary mess as it mingles with the cash, makeup, and goodness knows what else floating around in cyber space. I've definitely been on the lookout for a little zippered pouch that I can throw my pads in, close up, and huck in my purse so they don't end up getting dismembered in commute. Another feature that I miss but appreciated (in hindsight) was the little sticky tab on my Always Ultra Thin Overnights' package - they made for easy and quick disposal. Finally, I have to admit that for every one of these Stayfree pads, I end up putting A LOT of stuff in the garbage. As there are four wings, plus a sticky strip right down the base of the pad, I end up pulling off 5 paper tabs and throwing them out in addition to the fancy purple wrapper. It's frustrating and annoying when you're pulling off that many tabs, let me tell you. It seems wasteful and it's not convenient, I mean, I seriously don't want to be pulling that much paper off my pads. My goal is to get in and out of the bathroom as quickly as possible, and these certainly do not contribute to that ultimate goal.

Overall, a pack of 40 will set me back about $6-$9 CDN, depending on where I buy them and whether or not they're on sale. I wouldn't say that they're cheap, but they definitely aren't expensive in my opinion either. And they're sort of a necessity.

I've been using them for several months now, and I have to say that I'm really enjoying them. Despite my frustrations with the packaging, I am a huge fan and I can't really see myself switching or trying a new brand any time soon.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Let me know what you think - about this review, about those unsavory hygienic items we keep stashed around our home so that no one will figure out that we are just like every other woman out there, about your preferences, etc. I'd love to hear your views on this touchy topic!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Uniq One All in One Hair Treatment

I picked this up from a local salon after the stylist tried it out on my hair. I wasn't expecting anything miraculous, I had just asked him what he'd recommend in the way of good heat protectants, and this is what he suggested.

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Uniq One is supposed to treat your hair in 10 different ways:
- repair for dry and damaged hair
- shine and frizz control
- heat protection
- silkiness and smoothness
- hair color protection/with uva and uvb filters
- easier brushing and ironing
- incredible detangling
- long-lasting hairstyle
- split ends prevention
- adds body

Needless to say, I didn't expect a whole lot from this little bottle.

I picked this 150 mL (5.1 fl oz) bottle up from my local salon, as I mentioned earlier, for about $20-$22 CDN. It comes packaged in a sleek, opaque red bottle with gold and white detailing. The bottle features a spray pump, which I find an incredibly intriguing feature considering the product itself is a white, thin-ish lotion-esque consistency. 

You're supposed to spray this product over your damp hair and style accordingly. You are not supposed to rinse it out. I'll admit, the whole concept is somewhat strange... but go along with me here...

Like I mentioned earlier, the consistency of this product is thin, so it sprays over your hair rather easily. I don't find that the nozzle of the spray applicator gets clogged at all, mind you, I am using this product religiously every other day. The product doesn't seem to dry in gooey clumps, as many other products tend to do when exposed to the air for too long. I find that this is a problem with several of my other hair products, including some oils and leave in conditioners. Over time, their nozzles or applicators because clogged with the gooey remains of product and then I struggle to pry these remains out of the packaging, or end up applying a large wad of goo to my hair absent-mindedly. Either way, the outcome is neither pleasant nor attractive. Huge brownie points for uniq one!

The scent of this product is heavenly... that is, if you aren't scent-retardant. If you hate/loathe/stay-away-from strong(er) scents, this product will definitely not be for you. It's a scent that you'll want to take a whiff of in the salon before picking it up and taking it home. The only way I can really describe the scent itself is by defining it as a "salon" scent. The scent is incredibly strong, and will last throughout in your hair throughout the day - though it will noticeably fade after several hours of wear-and-tear. I personally adore the scent - I love smelling like I rolled out of a salon every morning, regardless of whether or not my hair actually looks like it just came from the salon, haha.

Now, onto the good stuff. Does this product do everything it claims to...?? The million-dollar question.
- Does it repair damaged and dry hair? In a word, no. Nothing will 'repair' damaged and dry hair. The only thing that will eliminate frazzled hair from your life is a good old-fashioned pair of scissors *snip snip*. However, this product does a fantastic job of masking my dry and damaged strands - my hair definitely looks healthy, shiny, and silky without being weighed-down by product. I would also say that this product, while not repairing my dry and damaged hair, does protect it from becoming further damaged via styling and heat, but we'll save that for later.
- Does it provide shine and frizz control? Definitely. My hair is significantly less frizzy and insanely more glossy, without the grease. My hair looks copiously healthy, without being oily/greasy-looking and weighed-down. Huge brownie points here.
- Does it provide adequate heat protection? HECK YES. I've been searching for this stellar of a heat protectant for a while now. I've tried a lot of different products spanning drugstore and salon categories, and nothing has wow-ed me... until this. I feel like my hair is superbly protected from heated styling tools, and I don't feel like I have to reapply between blow-drying and straightening/curling/crimping. One application over damp hair leaves me feeling protected from start to finish. And for this feature alone, I'd repurchase uniq one in a heartbeat.
- Does it provide silkiness and smoothness to the hair? Absolutely. My hair is extremely more touchable and smooth, every since incorporating this product into my hair care regimen. It is considerably more sleek as well, but it is no miracle worker. My damaged ends still tend to poke up here and there, but nothing like before... I am thoroughly impressed to say the least. 
- Does it provide hair color protection via UVA and UVB filters? I can't speak to this as my hair is not color treated in the least. Additionally, I am using this product in the winter months, where the effects of the UVA and UVB filters will be less noticeable, as my hair is not exposed to sunlight as frequently as it would be in the summer months.
- Does it allow for easier brushing and ironing? You know, I didn't think it would. But heck-to-the-yes, it totally does. I didn't think it could get any easier with the whole brushing and ironing aspect of styling my hair, but it does!!! This product allows my brush to glide through my hair without hardly any tangles - it's actually painful to me now if there is a slight tangle in my hair, as I'm so used to the ease with which I can comb my pretty locks now. Additionally, this makes straightening/flat-ironing a breeze. My flat iron glides over my hair without tugging or catching, and I find that I am exponentially more efficient as I have to do less passes to achieve my desired hair style. Definitely one of the best features of this product, in my opinion.
- Does it detangle incredibly? YEAH, boy. See above.
- Does your hairstyle last longer? I thought this was incredibly hokey, quite honestly. Aside from hairspray, I don't think there's much you can do to make your hairstyle last longer - especially not with a mere 'leave-in conditioner.' HOLY MOLEY, was I wrong. I was surprised to notice that a few days in my hair style was lasting all through the day, through my chaotic sleep patterns and into the next day. I kept thinking to myself, "what did I do differently this time!? Was it the way I used my straightener??" and I couldn't figure it out... then all of a sudden it hit me. Uniq One! I'm not joking you - my hairstyle does last significantly longer because of this product. Boo-to-the-yes.
- Does it prevent split-ends? Ummm, I'm not 100% sure on this one yet. I can't really say 'yay' or 'nay.' I'd like to say that it does, but quite honestly I'm undecided. It wasn't a huge selling point for me anyways...
- Does it add body to your hair style? YESSSSSSSSSS. I've noticed that my hair is incredibly more voluminous and bodacious (haha, that word makes me laugh...) since incorporating this product into my daily preparations. My hair tends to style with more volume as well - despite the fact that nothing in my hair routine has changed, besides the use of this product.

Since incorporating this product into my routine, I've stopped using pretty much every other hair product I own, including hairspray - what!?! I find that I can go an entire day with my hair looking pretty much the same at 8 am as it is at 10 pm, and all without using a drop of hairspray - in fact, I find that hairspray tends to weigh my hair down too much! The only products I use on the side are Head & Shoulders shampoo and my Live Clean Exotic Nectar Argan Oil Restorative Conditioner. Very rarely will I spray a little Tresemme hairspray through my bangs to hold them in place, and sometimes I'll pull a pea-sized amount of serum or oil through my hair to help with my damaged ends, but that's about it. So you can know that my review isn't intentionally biased by any other products that I use - it's 100% Uniq One, baby!

As you can see, my hair here is incredibly shiny and glossy, but in a healthy-looking fashion.
Additionally, you can see that it's really voluminous... no hairspray whatsoever.

I also want to mention that my hair hates hats. The second a hat touches my scalp, my hairstyle is toast. I've got a dent in my hair that rivals craters on the moon. Since using Uniq One, I've found that my hair is more resistant to hats, headbands, etc, and it doesn't crease or dent nearly as easily. For example, I recently graduated from University, and while I dreaded taking my cap off after the ceremony, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my hairstyle was still 100% intact and looking stellar!

Overall, I am incredibly impressed and surprised. I didn't expect to love this product as much as I do. I also didn't expect to reap as many of the benefits as I am. I will be the first to admit that I thought the whole thing was hokey - you can't claim that your product does all of this and have it actually work.... I mean, that's just not the way our market works nowadays. But heck yes, Uniq One does deliver. I will one-hundred-million-percent be repurchasing this product after I empty my precious bottle. It's one of my most talked-about, and raved-about products to date. I seriously haven't been this impressed with a hair product in a while

If you have the opportunity to pick this up and try it for yourself, you definitely should. Perhaps you could get your stylist to try it out on your hair when you go in for your next cut/trim and see how you like it afterwards before purchasing. Either way, it's a definite staple in my medicine cabinet from now on!

Let me know, what do you think about these 'all-in-one' products? Are there any other all-in-one products out there that do everything they claim to!?

Rating: 5 out of 5 shiny gold stars
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