Beauty · Health · Honest Product Reviews

My Honest Review Follow-up: Lumē Deodorant

Full disclosure: I DO NOT make any money or get any promotional kickbacks from Lumē for my review. I am reviewing this product only as a consumer/customer.

Well, here I am again. Back almost 8 months later to give you an update. I first tried Lumē deodorant back in January of this year (2019) and was pleasantly surprised by the results. But I knew, looking forward, that I wanted to conduct a little experiment to truly test the results. As I mentioned in my original Lumē review HERE, I’ve experienced sweating and odor since I hit puberty in middle school many, many moons ago. I’m not shy about it anymore, but you can be sure that I’ve put this product to the test.

Detox

I’ve read that when switching over to a more natural deodorant (without aluminum and some synthetic chemicals) your body tends to go through a bit of a detox period. Before trying Lumē, I had been using Dove deodorant for many years, believing that it was the gentlest non-natural deodorant I could find. That might have been true (it’s an unfounded theory), but I did experience clogged pores, ingrown hairs, and darkened skin under my arms consistently while using Dove deodorant. This leads me to believe that it wasn’t as gentle as I would have liked.

The first time I tried Lumē, I found that my detox period was surprisingly short, but I think that was due to the fact that it was still winter ,so my sweat levels really didn’t test the limits of Lumē’s capabilities. During my first trial run with Lumē, I did notice an improvement in the health of my underarm skin. After my detox period, my underarm skin was smoother, lighter in color, and less prone to ingrown hairs after shaving. 

Putting it to the Test

The weather this summer has been abnormally mild for us, but my armpits are still under a lot of stress, hormone level changes, and more temperature changes than they were the first time I used Lumē. We’ve shoveled literal tons of rocks in 90°+ weather this summer, plus I was finally able to finish my breastfeeding journey with my youngest, so my hormones have been up and down like a rollercoaster. It is possible that I’m still in the midst of my second detox period while using Lumē, but it’s been over a month since I started the new stick, so I’m hoping that’s not the case. To say I’ve been putting the product to the test is an understatement. I have noticed that I have been abnormally smelly…hooray. But I do feel like that has started to taper off.

This second time around, I don’t feel like I’m getting the same distance out of the Lumē formula that I was the first time. I’m definitely not getting more than 24 hours coverage out of the deodorant, plus I’m having to reapply occasionally, so I may be using up the stick faster. I’m hoping to be able to do a third review of the Lumē products later on this year, and I can update that review to reflect how fast I’m using the products based on the time of year or weather temperature.

What’s That Smell?

One thing I noted in my original Lumē review was that I didn’t like the smell of the original scent. In fact, I think that was the only thing I didn’t like aside from the cost. The original scent is called Lavender Sage. Usually I really like both of those scents, but for some reason I didn’t like the way Lumē had combined them. It smelled too much like chemicals to me (even though that’s not what I was smelling). 

This second time around I was planning to order the unscented stick deodorant, but when I went to order, I noticed that they had added several new scents. Aside from the Lavender Sage and Unscented, they added Juniper Berry, Jasmine Rose, and Silver Spruce. (These sound like names of kids you see trending on Instagram…) I chose to get two–one Juniper Berry and one Jasmine Rose–just in case I didn’t like one of them. Once I got the sticks, I noticed that neither smell really stood out to me as especially appealing, but I liked the Juniper Berry more, so that is what I’ve been wearing. I can imagine a lot of people will like the Jasmine Rose, but I’ve never really liked the smell of rose other than straight from the flower. I have a feeling that the scent might grow on me when I start using it. I’m also interested to try the Silver Spruce eventually. Initially, I didn’t order that scent because I was afraid it would be too masculine of a scent for me, but I think I’m now willing to give it a try.

Overall

After giving Lumē deodorant another try, I can say I do still enjoy the product. I’m using more than I had back when I initially tried it due to harsher conditions, but I think I get enough coverage that I don’t clear a room with my stench. I still don’t feel as fresh as I’d like, though. I’m not crazy about the scents that they offer either. Maybe it’s more that the base scent is something I’m not fond of, and the additional smells added to it are not agreeing with me. In reality, though, I don’t smell the scent often after I apply it, which is probably for the best. Ideally, you shouldn’t smell like anything unless you want to be distracting.

I think the most valuable thing I’ve gained from using the Lumē product is cleared and improved skin in my underarm region. Since puberty, my armpits have been a point of reservation for me. I’ve always struggled with excessive sweating, sweat marks, odor, and generally unappealing underarm skin. For years, I’ve tended to cover up and hide the problem, ashamed to show my armpits or wear anything other than black. After using Lumē, I’ve noticed an almost instant improvement of my skin. My underarm skin has been smooth, less bumpy and dark, and less prone to ingrown hairs. That said, I feel that the novelty of the product has worn off, and I’m a little disappointed that I’m constantly worrying if people around me can smell me. I do hope that it’s possible that I’m not fully through my detox period and that my freshness will improve with time and usage.

Based on the differences from my original experience, I think I might have to downgrade my rating to give this product: 3 out of 5 Bear Tracks. Hopefully my impression of this product will improve by my next update!

Beauty · Honest Product Reviews

My Honest Review: Lash Boost by R&F

Full disclosure: This review DOES NOT make me any money. I am reviewing this product only as a consumer and do not stand to profit from any promotion of the product. I do NOT sell this product.

Any woman who has been pregnant before has noticed changes with her body. It wasn’t until I had given birth to my first child that I began to notice many things about my body that had changed and were still changing. Of course, carrying a baby inside your body will change your shape and the way some things function, but there are other changes, sometimes subtle, that you don’t notice right away.

Months after I had given birth to my son, I started to notice my hair changing. I was in denial for weeks that it was falling out. I had heard other moms talk about losing their hair, so I knew it was a possibility, but I didn’t believe it would happen to me. I thought having thick hair would save me from that. As I slowly started to lose my hair, I also noticed that my eyelashes had thinned out to a point that not even mascara could help. So, I started to look for options.

I had heard about eyelash extensions and other options similar to that, but I wasn’t willing to resort to that until I had exhausted all of the options I could do at home. I knew that eyelash extensions were only temporary and had to be done by a professional esthetician. This wasn’t a great option for me as a new mother. I didn’t have enough time in my days to leave the house for appointments like that. I wanted an option that I could do at home by myself.

“I wanted an option that I could do at home by myself.”

For months, I saw advertisements from a friend showing before and after pictures of women who had tried a product called Lash Boost from Rodan & Fields. This product was specially formulated to grow your lashes out as naturally as possible. Of course, I’m always skeptical of products coming from direct sales companies like Rodan & Fields. I, myself, have been a part of a couple MLM (multi-level marketing)/DS (direct sales) style companies in the past. Some companies sell really great, quality products and others do not. I had heard a lot of good things about R&F products, but I was still skeptical.

A friend of mine who is a consultant for R&F was running a deal on the Lash Boost so I figured it was a good time to try it. I had no idea how much it would cost, and when I found out the reality of the price tag, I almost backed out. It is expensive! That was my first impression. And because I had never purchased any other products from R&F, I had no basis for estimating the price to start with. But realistically, if growing my lashes out was important to me, Lash Boost still ended up being cheaper than going the route of eyelash extensions. The first tube I purchased was an experiment because I didn’t know if it would work or how long the tube of product would last me.

The Lash Boost product comes in a skinny, silver container, about the size of a mascara tube. When I first got it, I thought “this stuff better work for this price!” Initially, I felt kinda disappointed because I had paid so much for such a small tube. It turned out that that tube lasted me about 2 ½ months. So, once I did the math, it turned out that the value of the product wasn’t as bad as the initial sticker shock. Thankfully, R&F gives you control over when your next product shipment is purchased and shipped. This meant that I was able to push out the purchase of my next tube for a couple months. Not having to pay the full price every month was a bonus. You also save a bit on the product by signing up as a recurring customer. Of course, those types of “discounts” are always factored into the price of the product anyhow, but it was nice to have a discount as long as I could stay on top of the reorder date.

Now that I had my product, I was ready to try it. I had no idea how long I could expect to try it until I saw results. I also had no guarantee that it would work for me at all, but it was worth a try. I told myself that I would give it a month, and if I saw no results, I would stop using it.

“I told myself that I would give it a month, and if I saw no results, I would stop using it.”

After a month of trying Lash Boost, I did see results. I was surprised at how well it had already been working. Initially, the only issue I had with it was that it left the skin on my eyelids a little red where I placed the product at night. It looked like I was wearing a dark pink eyeliner. I was a little concerned at first, but after using the product for a month, the redness started to go away. This may sound concerning to some of you but there was no swelling, pain, or other signs of a bad reaction other than the skin redness, so I was willing to risk it.

Top image was before using Lash Boost. Bottom picture was after 3 months of daily use- mascara used to highlight lash length.

I continued using the product and continued to see results. My eyelashes grew in length and thickness. I finally started to feel less like a hot mess mom and more comfortable in my own skin. Lash Boost worked so well, in fact, that I rarely felt like I needed mascara to accentuate my eyes, but when I did use it, the mascara did a great job of highlighting my already long lashes. It was nice to finally feel like I didn’t need to wear false eyelashes when I wanted to dress up. It was nice to feel proud of my own lashes. It helped me feel pretty, and I’m not ashamed to admit that.

As I write this, I have been using this product for a little over a year now. I did notice that after about 6 months of using Lash Boost, my lashes had reached what I consider to be their max length and thickness. Anything after that has been just staying consistent with the product to keep the look intact. There was a period of time after I had given birth to my second baby when I was too tired to remember to apply the products during my bedtime routine like usual. I did begin to notice a decrease in length and thickness of my lashes during that time. Once I noticed that, I made sure to continue my evening applications, and it seemed that my lashes recovered quickly, and I was able to regain my max lash length and thickness.

My most current results. Mascara used to highlight lash length.

Overall, I have been happy with this product. I love my results and have had to exert minimal effort to attain them. Once I factored the cost into my beauty regimen budget, it wasn’t as shocking as it was at first. Thankfully, other things in my regimen became more affordable, so the tradeoff evened out in the long run. In a future post, I will review the skincare products I have been using from another company and how their value is the best I’ve come across in my many years of trying various products.

I give Lash Boost from Rodan & Fields 4 out of 5 Bear Tracks!

Beauty · Life Hacks

Super Thick Hair Hack

It seems to be common that if you were born with a certain type of hair, you end up wishing you could change it. I’ve heard this said for almost every hair type. If you have complaints about your hair, I can almost guarantee that there is someone out there in the world wishing their hair was exactly like yours.

Fine-haired people wish their hair was thicker or had more body. Thick-haired people wish they had fine, manageable hair. Straight-haired people wish for curls, and curly-haired people want to straighten their hair. I remember that when I was a kid, many girls were jealous of my long, thick braid. My mom kept my hair in a braid to protect it from getting tangled, since she had been letting it grow my entire life. I was blessed with thick hair, but let me assure you, this is as much a curse as it is a blessing.

“I was blessed with thick hair, but let me assure you, this is as much a curse as it is a blessing.”

I’ve met many hairdressers who express their envy of my thick hair but also curse it once they find out how long it takes just to blow-dry it. And changing the color or adding highlights? Fuhgettaboutit. All of this may sound like a big, stupid humble brag to many of you, but I assure you, there’s another point.

A couple years ago I found a solution to my thick hair curse. Every summer I spend several months feeling miserable from the heat. My hair has always acted like a scarf on my neck and a knit hat on my head all year round. That might be okay in winter, but during the summer it is pure torture. And keeping my hair in a ponytail or bun for months at a time gets really boring and doesn’t let my scalp breathe.

After dealing with this for years, I decided that I would shave off all of my hair from about the top of my ears down. This allowed me to get rid of half of my hair but also gave me the option to hide the undercut beneath my regular length hair.

Postpartum Hair Loss

On a side note, I was a bit concerned about postpartum hair loss with this haircut. I did not have my head shaved during my first pregnancy, but after I had my first baby I ended up losing a lot of hair. My hair started thinning out along my hairline, and I got bald spots near the sides of my forehead. I just did my best to ignore it or cover it up until it started to grow back. When I became pregnant the second time while having the undercut, I was afraid that I would have to deal with the same type of hair loss as with the first. Luckily, it seemed that my hormones were more forgiving after having my second child. Plus, my hair was lighter and easier to manage because of the undercut. And since I was pregnant in the summer, it was also very helpful in keeping me cooler than normal.

Here are the pros and cons I have discovered to getting an undercut.

UNDERCUT PROS:

  • Much cooler head temperature.
  • With my hair up, I can feel a breeze on my skin.
  • My hair dries a lot faster.
  • My hair sits straighter and flatter.
  • Getting my hair colored takes half the time that it used to, and it is usually cheaper!
  • Hats fit me better!
  • I have a very versatile style between up and down looks.
  • I can get my undercut shaved at a salon for cheap or do it myself for free.
  • Styling my hair takes a fraction of the time that it used to.

UNDERCUT CONS:

  • The breeze can be a little cold on my scalp in the winter.
  • If I ever want to grow it back out again, it will take a long time to catch up with the rest of my hair.
  • Keeping my undercut shaved regularly becomes a challenge with my fast growing hair.
  • If I dye my undercut, my hair will grow out with a very small section of color on it.
  • My long hair likes to velcro to my shaved undercut when I’m trying to separate the two.

Conclusion

I would recommend this type of hair cut for anyone looking to stay low maintenance while also being able to have fun with hair styles. I don’t do a lot with the styling because I rarely have the time since becoming a mom. But this cut allows me to hide the undercut for a softer and more feminine look while also giving me the flexibility of pulling it back or up to reveal the shaved parts for a more playful and edgy look. If you’re not willing to commit to cutting off half your hair and not being able to grow it back quickly then definitely avoid this type of cut. Below are picture examples of the simple ways I have worn my hair while having the undercut.

Beauty · Honest Product Reviews

My Honest Review: Lumē Deodorant

Full disclosure: I DO NOT make any money or get any promotional kickbacks from Lumē for my review. I am reviewing this product only as a consumer/customer. Click HERE for my current follow-up review of this product.

That being said, I feel there’s something else you should know. I’m stinky. Well, not right now but more often than I’d like to admit. I’m a mom, and unfortunately, I’m pretty low on my own priority list. So my showers usually happen at night before I go to bed and after the cubs are already sleeping. I’ll be real and admit that I don’t get the luxury of a daily shower. I sometimes have to go a few days without showering because sleep is more important to me than de-stinkifying myself. I’ve also been blessed with prodigious stink-making abilities, so deodorant has been my best friend since puberty.

All of this together means that my deodorant is usually working overtime to keep me socially acceptable. Years ago, when pit stains were the biggest of my insecurities, I depended on clinical-strength deodorants to keep me sweat and stink-free. Unfortunately, those are terrible for the endocrine system, affecting the body’s hormone production. In retrospect, it actually explains a lot about my hormone struggles through the years. In recent years, I’ve been using regular Dove deodorant because it has been the gentlest on my skin while also working well to keep me stink-free.

In the past, I’ve tried a couple different natural deodorant options, neither of which worked for me. I’ve heard some people say that natural deodorants work, but you have to be willing to let your body adjust to them. Sorry, I don’t have time for that. I don’t want to stink for what could be weeks or months just because I’m “working through a few things.” So I’ve been convinced for a while that I would never find a “natural” deodorant that works for stinky ol’ me.

Recently, an ad came through my Facebook feed (sometimes marketing works, people) that caught my eye. I’ll admit that it initially caught my eye because it was a video commercial with a lot of bright colors. But as I watched, I noticed their added humor about what is normally a fairly taboo topic. A silly ad for deodorant? I’m listening… The best part of the commercial, in my opinion, was that every time I came up with a question about the product, they answered it! By the end of it, I was sold. I jumped online and bought some. But I was still skeptical.

They claim that this deodorant, called Lumē, is an aluminum-free alternative to most others on the market. I have personal reasons for wanting to pursue an aluminum-free deodorant, but without getting preachy, HERE is a simple article giving some insight into aluminum-based deodorants and how they can affect our bodies.

The Lumē brand also claims it can be used anywhere externally on the body where odor occurs. It was developed by a gynecologist who wanted to find a better way to kill odor causing bacteria without using materials that could harm your body. They sell both a stick-style deodorant and a tube/cream-style to be applied with your hand. Both seem to be the same formula, just different applications.

The first thing I noticed when I tried this product was the smell. It was a little strong for me. It was citrus-y and almost chemical-y. (Yes, those are scientific adjectives.) I’m still not a huge fan of the scent, but I found out through further research that they also sell an unscented version, which I plan to try next. Yes, you read that right! I do plan to purchase this product again. Here’s why:

The Lumē brand claims that you can get 72 hours of protection out of their product. That is still up in the air for me. I chickened out after about 30 hours. Thankfully, the product did seem to continue working, but I could tell it had started to wear out its effectiveness around the 24 hour mark. It also could be that once my body adjusts to the bacteria balance, I may get longer use out of one application. But I’ll have to add an update at a later time when I’ve done some further testing.

The biggest positive I found in this product is that it worked. It kept me from getting stinky for at least 24 hours, even while chasing down toddler bear all day and juggling a breastfeeding baby bear. I actually felt like I sweated a little less than I normally would as well, but that could have been a fluke. Since I’ve been consistently taking my amazing multivitamin and probiotics for the last couple years, they have helped me balance my hormones, which, in turn, has helped regulate my body temperature and decrease my usual intense sweating. But I’ll go into that further in a future post.

The only negatives I found about the Lumē products are the price and the smell. It’s a pricey stick of deodorant at about $14 and $19 for the tube. Yikes! I know. But with the idea that it should last about three times as long as your daily-application, aluminum-filled deodorant, it evens out to be about the same cost over time. One great thing I noticed is that they offer free shipping, which probably means that the shipping cost is built into the price of the product. Something to keep in mind any time a product claims “free shipping.” But, hey, at least I didn’t have to see an additional cost in my checkout cart. As for the smell, I’m curious to see if their “unscented” scent is truly unscented and keeps me…unscented.

Overall, I would give Lumē deodorant a positive review. It is the first deodorant I’ve tried that has eliminated the need for aluminum but has worked immediately and for a realistic length of time. I normally expect to re-apply my deodorant daily. But with all other natural deodorants I have tried in the past, I had to re-apply them multiple times a day. That is wasteful and annoying. Lumē seems to have found a good recipe for healthy and effective. If it was just mediocre, I probably would not have wasted my time writing a review.

I give this product: 4 out of 5 Bear Tracks!