Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Portuguese Drugstore Beauty Haul & Review

A few weeks ago my mom came back from a month-long trip to Portugal to visit family. When she asked me what I wanted her to bring me back, I quickly did a bit of research and made a list of supermarket beauty items that I thought she'd easily be able to find. Let me just tell you, it was a bit hard to contain the squeals when she came back with a couple of bags filled with the things on my list. 

She definitely went above and beyond the call of duty and it was amazing because I was able to try a bunch of things which we sadly do not have in the US. To make it easier on everyone, I've translated all of the products mentioned in this post into English and, for reference, many of these items are available throughout Europe, not just in Portugal.

That said, I didn't just want to do a post, like, "Here's my haul everybody!". I wanted to take a few weeks to really put the products to the test and see if they were worth the space they took up in my mom's suitcase. 

Let's start off with some shampoo. Usually when I'm in Europe I always buy the same shampoo and conditioner: Le Petit Marsellais Shampoo and Conditioner with Shea Milk & Honey. It smells as delicious as it sounds and does a great job of moisturizing my hair and not irritating my scalp. This time I thought why not try something new and pick up some Garnier products. 

I got the Garnier Ultra Suave Shampoo and Conditioner in two different formulas: Avocado Oil & Shea Butter (Yellow Bottles) and Cocoa Butter & Coconut Oil (Brown Bottles). Each Shampoo has 250ml and each conditioner has 200ml and each bottle cost about €3. I picked these two because of the fantastic moisturizing ingredients which I hoped would give my hair a nice, healthy shine. The Avocado & Shea version is probably my favorite of the two, which surprised me as I'm a big lover of cocoa butter. The conditioner was thick and creamy and smelled like sunscreen and the beach. Somehow the smell really lingered in my hair and even 2 days later it smelled like I had just washed my hair. I think it did a slightly better job of moisturizing my hair than the Cocoa Butter & Coconut Oil version. The cocoa butter shampoo smells like coconut with a hint of cocoa butter, which is a fantastic scent. The one thing I didn't like about the shampoo bottles was that the spout was too big and let way too much product out, whereas the conditioner bottles had normal spouts.

My mom also brought me back 3 roll-on deodorants. Now, I know you must be asking yourself "Umm...aren't roll-on deodorants kind of...grandma?". Yes, in the US roll-ons are often the equivalent of an AARP card. But that's not how they roll in Europe (Haha, get it? Roll). Anyway, in Europe, even the cool fashionista-types use roll-ons. They come in scents that aren't powdery and rosy and something your great aunt would wear. 

I don't use solid deodorants anymore (clear gels only) because of my absolute hatred of products that swear they are completely clear and "stain-free" and then ruin my favorite tops. The idea of a liquid deodorant doesn't seem that far off from a gel formula so I thought, why not? My mom brought me the Rexona Invisible Diamond Roll-On Deodoant, Vasenol Double Invisible 48hr Roll-On Deodorant and Nivea Stress Protect Roll-On Deodorant. Now, let me start off by saying that I've only actually worn one of these so far, the Rexona. 

When I first got them I opened them up and smelled them all and they all smell almost exactly the same, a clean, "fresh meadow" sort of scent which is my go-to with deodorants. All three claim to be completely clear, stain free, and last up to 48 hours. That 48 hour claim is complete bull, at least for the Rexona. It smells great, but for someone who is used to wearing Secret deodorant, it just didn't hold up on a hot summer's day the way I wanted it to. I also think the roller ball doesn't turn as easily as it should to evenly distribute product. I'm a bit of an over-zealous deodorant applier and I like to make a few passes under each arm to feel like my protection isn't going to crap out on me. So, unfortunately the Rexona just doesn't work for me right now. I think maybe in the winter when I'm not sweating quite as much or on days when I'm not really doing anything physically active I'll whip it out and give it another try. 

Being that I'm incredibly lazy when it comes to applying body lotion after getting out of the shower, I was intrigued by the idea of an oil-based body wash that promised to give my skin some of the natural oils that it needs. I gave the Nivea Natural Oil Body Wash a few tries and wasn't impressed. Right off the bat, I expected from the look of the bottle for the product to be a gel, when it actually squirted out like a watery oil. This made application a bit confusing. I also didn't expect for it to create a lather after seeing the liquid formula, but it did create just the most minimal foam so that I felt like I was getting somewhat clean. 

The problem was that it didn't actually feel like I was getting clean or like I was using enough product. So I added more product to my loofah, but this insufficient feeling still continued. It has a mild, soapy smell with just a whiff of an oily finish. Unfortunately my skin did not feel more moisturized after getting out of the shower. In fact, I noticed more than ever that I probably shouldn't be so lazy when it comes to moisturizing my body. I would say if you're looking for better moisturization from your body wash, stick to thicker, creamier fare. 

One of the products I was most excited to try was the Garnier Micellar Water. Now, for those of you who don't know, since American brands haven't really started producing micellar solutions, it's basically a makeup remover, cleanser and toner in one that feels like water on your skin. I didn't want to shell out $20+ to try Bioderma (the most famous Micellar Water of them all) so I chose a drugstore alternative. I'm so glad that I did because this stuff is fantastic! Not only does it take my makeup off a bit better than my normal makeup remover, but it leaves my skin feeling clean and normal, without the oily residue my old remover left behind. This bottle is also ENORMOUS, with 400ml of product retailing at about 6. Is it better than THE Bioderma, I can't say. But it's a fantastic bargain and my absolute favorite part of this haul. Next time I'm in Europe you better believe I'm picking up some more.

Now we finally get to the last item in the haul, Creme Benamôr. Before my research I had never actually heard of Creme Benamôr, although it's said to be a cult product in Portugal dating back to 1928. The product and the packaging itself haven't changed since its creation, and what lovely packaging it is! How beautiful would this little tube look on a dressing table? Since I don't actually have a dressing table, let's talk about its performance. 

This stuff is thick and leaves a white, powdery, mask-like cast on the skin when you blend it in. It's definitely not something I would use during the daytime because I think it would feel too heavy under makeup. Unfortunately this product smells like it was born in 1928. By that I mean, pure, unadulterated Grandma. It has a powdery, rose scent that makes me feel a bit like a bitty when I get ready for bed. 

Does it do away with dark-spots and wrinkles as it claims? I've been using it nightly for several weeks and haven't seen any astounding results but it does do a good job of moisturizing my skin without my waking up with a shiny, oil-slicked face. If you don't like strong smelling products or thick, powdery cream I'd definitely say keep far away from this one but at 5 for 30ml, I'm happy to at least say I gave it a try. Plus I have this adorable little tube to stare at.

Do you ladies have any special products you like to pick up or ask relatives to get you when they travel? Any closet roll-on deodorant lovers out there? Let me hear your thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. I'm 100% with you about roll-on deodorant and the micellar water! I splurge and buy the Bioderma water on Amazon for $32 because I can't go back to NOT using it. It may be expensive but the 500ml bottle lasts me months!
    Also, I never heard of solid deodorant before I came to America. It's all about the roll-on goodness, and I feel like it makes more of a lasting effect. Recently, I have been using powder deodorant and it makes me feel very fresh and feminine, but I can't way it lasts too long. :/

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