Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Go Away Gray!

*** Calling all Dye Bottle Divas! Calling all Dye Bottle Divas! ***

Penny needs your help! I especially want to talk to my Sisters in Beauty (SIBs) who use permanent hair color regularly. Penny is not ready to go down with the gray hair ship...I want to fight the good fight for at least another year or two. LOL! I know it comes as no shock to anyone that I have been using Bigen Permanent Hair Color (# 58-Black Brown) for the last few years because it is ammonia-free and hydrogen peroxide-free. Yes, Penny has been "going gray" for over 10 years now (the streak), but it takes work to keep that 'just starting to gray' look. Ha ha ha!  

Bigen is a simple powder you mix with water and is fairly inexpensive in comparison to other commercial dyes (about $4.99 a box), and now available in the drugstore and not just the beauty supply store (i.e. CVS, Sally's, Wal-Mart). Since I touch up my grays about every 6 weeks, I only need one box.

  • Ammonia-free
  • Hydrogen peroxide-free; doesn't strip/lift hair color
  • Leaves my hair soft; not stripped and hard like other commercial products
  • Covers 100% of my gray
  • No harsh odors
  • Does not wash out; permanent color for up to 4-6 weeks
  • Rich look
(Read full story...)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shampoo or Conditioner? Both?

Thanks to one of Penny's Posse members, Penny has a new and unusual product she's fallen for. Some of you may be familiar with the WEN Hair Care System by Chaz Dean. It is mainly sold on QVC but can also be found online at and a few other sites. I had never heard about this line until I was given a bottle of WEN's Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner to try ($28, 16oz).

FABULOUS! I love this stuff.! My hair never felt so tingly clean but most of all, my hair never felt so soft and silky. It actually seemed to work like a clarifying hair felt light like a it removed all build up. But it didn't leave my hair feeling dry. Initially I let my hair air dry and my curls were so soft they were fly away...I needed a styling cream to hold my curls together (but didn't use any). The next day I used my flat iron  (w/ CHI thermal protection spray) and my hair stayed straight from root to tip for 4 days without re-applying any heat! That is a first. I'm going to stick with the WEN products (and alternate them with the Morrocan Oil line I have also fallen in love with...stay tuned). That's right...I'm saying goodbye to my tried and true Cholesterol deep conditioner I just raved about last week. I'm a Product Princess and its my perrogative. LOL!  All jokes aside, I loved the results of the WEN cleanisng conditioner so much that I plan to try the Sweet Almond Mint Styling Cream and maybe the Re Moist Intensive Repair Hair Mask, recommended for use every 6 weeks.

What is a cleansing conditioner I asked? It turns out that this product is designed to be a shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler and leave-in conditioner all in ONE. Because this product is sulfate-free it does not lather, but has a creamy foam instead. This will take some getting used to because Penny likes to suds up. LOL! Sweet Almond Mint is recommended for all hair types. On I noticed different products were recommended for fine, medium and coarse hair types. The products also come in Fig, Cucumber Aloe, Tea Tree, and Lavender. I also noticed the line has expanded to bath/hair/body oils, volumizing hair treatment spray, and body lotions. I will probably make my purchases from since they seem to have a good selection of products.

Happy Holidays! Happy Hair-i-days!

Be blessed. Be beautiful.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Foundation Nation

How many of you beauties have had a difficult time finding the right foundation to match your skin tone and skin type? Penny has been challenged with this herself for years. Not only is it hard to find the right shade, it is also hard to find the best formula for your skin type.  As you all know, foundations today come in liquid, cream, stick, powder, mousse (whipped), and even as tinted moisturizer formulations. Foundations also cater to your skin's needs as they are available in the following:
  • oil-free
  • oil control
  • moisturizing
  • mineral
It is important to use the formula best suited to your skin's needs. People considered to have 'normal' skin, can use just about any formula including whipped, stick and tinted moisturizer. Oil-free and oil control liquid, cream or powder formulas are recommended for those with 'oily' skin. And moisturizing liquid or cream foundation is recommended for 'dry' skin. Those with 'combination skin' can now also find foundations both with silica to help soak up oil, and lecithin to hydrate the skin. Moisturizers and oil-control primers can also be applied before your foundation to help balance the skin. (Read full story...)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hair Hazards

Hello Beautiful People!
For many years Penny had been told that "too much protein is bad for your hair" but no one really explained why. This is not a beauty myth. If used too often and/or incorrectly, protein treatments can make the hair feel dry and hard; make it feel more rigid, which is associated with breakage. However, for those with seriously damaged, process or chemically treated hair it is recommended that they ask their hairstylist about protein therapy. The hair needs protein. “The fact is, that too much of any “beneficial” styling product can have negative effects. Deep conditioning treatments using cholesterol are great for very dry, coarse hair types, but will make mildly-dry medium hair types feel oily and flat, and can make fine hair types just look greasy. Protein treatments are the same. They are meant to bolster the hair that has sustained damage, and generally are not used more than once a week in more severe cases of damage.” (

In a recent post about hair care one of Penny's favorite products was mentioned; Queen Helene's Cholesterol Hair Conditioning Cream. Whenever Penny shared that she used this regularly, folks would become alarmed and warn that too much protein is bad for your hair. However, not all Queen Helene cholesterol products contain protein. There is a Queen Helene SUPER Cholesterol Hair Conditioning Cream treatment with 'choleplex' that contains keratin protein, but that is not the one I use almost weekly. In the past I have also tried protein treatments such as Infusium 123 (leave-in treatment) and  Aphogee Two Minute Reconstructor and I too experienced “dry” or “hard” hair and thought that my hair might break off. I have not used a protein treatment in quite some time but at my next visit to the salon will inquire as to whether one is needed to help improve the condition of my hair. I still suffer from breakage and dryness but have seen improvement with the use of deep conditioners and hair masks like the cholesterol cream, Neutrogena's Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask and Mixed Chicks Deep Conditioner. Penny has also been told that it is best to 'deep condition' the hair after getting a protein treatment. It is recommended that protein treatments only be done once monthly if needed. But deep conditioning can occur more frequently. (Read full story...)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pick it? Or Plunk it?

This time of year it is hard to keep Penny from getting excited over all the new beauty products, and tools being advertised. Although Penny is no push over, curiousity sometimes gets the best of her and she will give in to the hype. So in the pouring rain, on her lunch break, Penny set out to purchase the new, and highly hyped...InStyler!  Yes, that curling iron/flat iron/hot brush contraption you see advertised every where.  A couple of Penny's Posse members had a good experience with it, so what the heck...

After reading many mixed reviews, and looking at the price of the InStyler slowly increasing on from $69 to $79 in one night ($99.99 manufacturer's price), Penny was on the fence. But with the 20% off Bed, Bath and Beyond coupon burning a hole in her pocket, Penny decided to give it a try. What's the worst that can happen?...I have to return it for a refund. (Read full story...)

Hair and There

While we're talking hair...let Penny share some product specifics. Several folks asked what Penny's regimen included, so I thought I'd share some products that I've used, and some that have been recommended by members of Penny's Posse.

Penny's Products
Mixed Chicks Shampoo
Mixed Chicks Deep Conditioner
Mixed Chicks Leave-in Conditioner (styling aid)
Pantene Brunette Expressions Shampoo (color enhancing)
Pantene Silver Expressions (for the gray...silver highlights LOL)
Head and Shoulders for Dry Scalp
Creme of Nature Detangling Conditioning Shampoo (w/ Sunflower & Coconut)
Queen Helene Cholesterol  Deep Conditioner
CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection (a must when using hot tools)
CHI Straight Guard Smoothing Styling Cream  (for blow drying)
Sebastian Potion 9 (leave-in treatment)
Jane Carter Solution Wrap & Roll Foam (for wet setting)
Organix Smoothing Shea Butter Liquid Glass Serum (finishing sheen)

(Read full story...)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chemical-free Hair

Penny's back with some tips for those of you who have decided to go 'au naturale' and get chemical-free! More and more Penny has been approached by those who have given up the 'creamy crack.' That's right...chemical relaxers seem to be addictive for many.  But they can also be very damaging to the hair over time. Although hair relaxers give hair styling flexibility, and manageability, women today are opting for better health in the form of natural hair and products. Not only are most women looking for ways to manage their natural hair styles...they are also looking for more natural and/or organic products to do so with. The first step to "going natural" is to stop all chemical treatments. Temporary treatments (things you can wash out) are okay. (Read full story...)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Au Naturale

Lately Penny has had conversations with many about natural hair care. I guess you can say some are "going green" with their hair and opting for natural hair and natural hair care. Hair that is not chemically treated in any way would be considered natural hair. Penny herself has not had a chemical hair relaxer in years, but unfortunately, can't back away from the dye bottle. *sigh* I at least go for dye that is ammonia free (Bigen #58).  Beauty manufacturers have heeded the call and there are several lines on the market for the growing natural hair care trend. Natural and organic products are not as difficult to find as they once were. Keep in mind that the best hair care for any hair type includes natural and/or organic products. They are gentler on your hair and scalp; and often provide overall hair health benefits. Penny recommends the following web sites for those seeking products that work with natural hair whether it be curly, kinky, wavy, or straight...thick, course or fine.  There is a product out there for everyone.

One of the most important things to note when working with your natural hair is to "understand your hair type or texture."  This is important because many products are now created to treat the various type (i.e. wavy, curly, coarse, straight, etc), and not just the condition of the hair (i.e. dry, thin, split ends, etc). Today it is less about ethnicities, and culturally specific products, and more about actual hair types. Penny herself is a "potpourri of sorts" and my hair texture has often reflected this. With multiple textures, it can be challenging to find the right product. But where would Penny be without products to play with? Oh the horror! Ha ha ha! (Read full story...)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Photo Ops

Penny is back and just in time for the holidays! With social calendars that fill up fast during the holiday season, it is likely that many of us will end up in someone's online photo album, on the family video, and/or on Facebook (*sigh*). We have office parties, charity fundraisers, family gatherings, and more to attend this season. Some of you might also be contemplating a family portrait style holiday card, or a self-portrait gift to a loved one. So what are some things we need to keep in mind when being photographed during this festive season?
  • Powder is essential. Not only to set your foundation and give an even, matte complexion, but also to prevent any appearance of oil or shine on the skin. Shiny skin will reflect the light from the camera's flash.
  • Photos are two-dimensional, the camera ages subjects by enhancing dark, fine lines and wrinkles. To compensate, gently apply a lighter shade of concealer make-up to darker areas: around the eyes, crevices and expression lines.
  • Define and groom your brows; this helps to frame your face. Penny loves a good brown eyebrow powder (Ardell Defining Brow Powder in Taupe) and an angled brush.
  • Always make sure your foundation matches your skin tone.  Blend it well; test it against your jawline. You don't want a sudden change of color from your face to your neck or shoulders.
  • Stay away from shimmery products; light reflecting powders and creams can sometimes reflect light back at the camera. (Read full story...) 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Penny's New Pick!

Penny's back!
Sorry for the time away. Penny is not at all happy that she actually had to work a paying job. *sigh*

However, there is always time for a beauty find. I recently read about an innovative concealer called Double Feature by LORAC ($24).  It's a concealer and highlighter in one convenient tube, with an amazing little feature...a roller ball. Yes, a roller ball is used to blend the concealer evenly to cover under eye circles and blemishes. Penny loves that this full coverage concealer is also oil-free, paraben-free, dye-free, and fragrance free.  (Read full story...)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Holiday Trends

Hello You Holiday Harriets!
Penny knows that this is the time of year when many of us are faced with that million dollar question: "What do I wear to the holiday party?"  Yes. You know the feeling of dread when you think about what's in your closet...decisions, decisions. You ask yourself: "Do I wear something that I have already?" "Can I fit in anything fancy that I own?"  Let Penny help you put things in perspective. 

As a "Recessionista" it is okay to recycle an outfit (especially if you're wearing it to a new/different event). The key is to make it look as different and new as possible with the use of this year's stylish accessories (i.e. jewelry, purse, shoes, even make-up, etc).  Even if you're a "Fashionista" and you must have a new dress for the season, you should also enhance your look with the right accessories. Buying something new also allows you the opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and try a daring new color for a more festive look. You also can't go wrong with "classics" (i.e. sheath dress, pant suit, strapless dress, etc). Here are some trends for 2009 to keep in mind: (Read the full story...)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Make-up Must Haves - What are yours?

Hello good people!
Hope all are enjoying this fall weekend. Don't forget to set your clocks back before you get you beauty sleep tonight (for those of you in the Eastern Standard Time Zone).

Although some of us have gained an hour, Penny feels like she has less time to 'put her face on' each day, and more to put on it. *sigh* Age is a beautiful thing...I just wish someone told Penny that she would have to work harder at making it look good. LOL!

In order to get rid of my purse-sized cosmetic bag, I have decided to customize and compartmentalize my cosmetics and tools. At any given time Penny is testing a product so it's hard to narrow things down to one brand, but Penny does have her favs. Penny wants to know...What are your make-up must haves? What can you not leave home without? (Read full story...)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nail Neophyte

It's almost what are you afraid of? Is it ghosts and goblins? Or is it the newest trend in nail polish? LOL! With the help of Penny Contributor Nancy-the-Nail Narcissist, Penny has conquered her fear of the unknown, and is excited to share more deep, rich colors on her hands and feet this season...purples, browns, wines, reds, navy and even charcoal have all been sampled! Penny was known for only wearing pastels or neutral nails (French manicure, American manicure, etc), but in contrast, would put any color on her toes (since it was easy to conceal). But now in the spirit of beauty experimentation, Penny has plunged into the sexy, edgy land of dark polish. Penny is currently sporting a manicure by called "Sole Mate" by Essie (shown here)...this rich dark purple, could appear wine with brownish undertones as well. (Read the whole story)

Pre-Holiday Beauty Specials at Target!

**Penny's Beauty Buzz!**
Many of you know that although Halloween is barely here, most stores are preparing for the Christmas holiday shopping season. That means that now is a great time to look for beauty bargains of all kinds. Many stores have cosmetics, fragrances, and skincare bundled together just for the holidays.

Penny contributor, Mavis-the-Mascara-Maven was all to excited to discover and end cap in her local TARGET offering great stocking stuffers! Several brands of mascara, and eyeliner have been packaged in sets of TWO for the price of ONE! That is a steal of a deal!

Some of the products displayed were:
  • L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara
  • L'Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Mascara
  • Maybelline Great Lash BIG Washable Mascara
  • Covergirl Lash Blast Mascara
  • Revlon Double Twist Mascara
  • Various Pencil Eyeliners
Happy Shopping!
Be blessed. Be beautiful.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Color Confusion

There still seems to be some confusion about "matching your make-up" to your clothing or accessories. Penny understands that this is a slippery slope and sometimes hard to understand.  So let me see if I can help clarify my earlier post about "choosing the right colors."

Eye shadow should "compliment" your clothing. I think by saying you should "match" your eye shadow to your skin tone, hair and eye color, it is confusing. I should have said, eye shadow colors should COMPLIMENT your skin tone, hair and eye color. More importantly, pay attention to application and your overall look. If wearing dark or smokey eyes, your lips should be light or neutral. If wearing dark or red lips, your eye shadow should be more neutral. (Read full story)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Mascara Maniac - At it again!

Most of you know that Penny is a self-proclaimed Mascara Maniac...trying more than 25 brands this past year! (Yes...yes, we are seeking professional help). LOL! Well, how could I resist the temptation when Sephora sent this V.I.B. (Very Important Beauty insider) an offer to receive Too Faced Mascara Layering Kit...for FREE!  With 'any purchase' of course (you didn't really think it was free did you? LOL!). This kit is sold regularly for $19.50. The idea is to use both the Lash Injection and the Lash Pinpoint mascaras to create the ultimate look of length and volume. (Read full story)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sephora's Friends & Family Sale - ends 11/2/09!

Hello my pretties!
Go to  and get 20% off your order and free shipping on orders over $50! This is thier Friends and Family 2009 Sale and it ends November 2nd.  Use this Code at checkout:  FF2009

For shopping ideas Penny recommends that you check out the Beauty Central section that connects you to Sephora's Fall Runway Report. Talk about fun! You know those bright eyeshadows and dark lipsticks some of you want to try?...well here are some fun ways to wear them this holiday season. If you can't access the link below, when you go to Sephora's main page, look at the bottom left for the small box called Beauty Central.  Once you get to the Fall Runway Report, click on "Get the Look" on the left menu for quite a few fun and fab looks!
Be blessed. Be beautiful.

No more Prescriptives Prescriptions?

Hello folks!
One of Penny's Posse members shared some interesting news this morning. Prescriptives is reluctantly going out of business! Some of you who use their products may already be aware of this but I had no idea. They are closing their cosmetic retail counters as of January 31, 2010. You will be able to purchase products online as long as supplies last (even after the retail counters close).  See the official announcement here by clicking on the link below. (Read full story)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Choosing the Right Colors

Fall is a wonderful time of year. What Penny enjoys most are the beautiful colors of the season and how they influence the fun fashions, and cosmetics we see in stores and on magazine pages today. One of the most challenging things for the make-up maven is not just learning proper make-up application, but rather choosing the right colors.

Most professionals will tell you...your make-up colors should NOT match your clothes or accessories...but should match you skin tone, hair color and/or compliment your eye color. Matching make-up to your clothes can sometimes look juvenile and detract from your overall look. You want the focus to be on your complete look and not just one aspect of your make-up. Foundation shades are the hardest but Penny ain't got that much time today. LOL! (Read full story)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Penny is on a mission - Eye Cream Anyone?

How many of you lovely ladies use an Eye Cream that reduces puffiness and dimishes the look of dark circles? Some of you younglings might wonder...what is Penny talking about now? Well, Penny is no spring chicken (contrary to popular belief. LOL!) yes, dark circles, bags, and looking worn can be a problem sometimes for this old diva. Do you have any recommendations for Penny?

Unfortunately my dark circles are hereditary, so Penny will always be a slave to concealer. But if there is something that will help even a little (other than the obvious 'get more sleep & drink more water' solution), Penny would be truly grateful.

Recently I was told to try Garnier Eye Roll-On; this is a caffeine formula with Pro-B vitamins that is supposed to help reduce puffiness, diminish the appearance of circles; there were mixed reviews on this product ($12-$15). (Read full story)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Penny's Day at the Spa

Good evening folks:
Many of you know that Penny was on a SPA-ing assignment today. Penny took advantage of Spa Week and tried out the Veria (Ver-ria) Wellness Center in Bethesda, MD. The experience was great!

Although Penny prefers a full service day spa with the experience of private lockers, dressing rooms, showers, and relaxation rooms; for a small center the services and staff were excellent. The size of the rooms were standard; you undress in the room; they put your belongings in a copper basin to transfer from room-to-room, and they offer you a robe and slippers (if you're going for more than a facial). (Read full story)