Reviews

    Act+Acre

    Level 4
    Amanda PLevel 4 27 Reviews

    3 months ago

    This brand finally got rid of my scalp eczema, and that alone is worst about 5000 stars. Further, this brand keeps my long, dense curls manageable (albeit NOT with their Curl + Wave line). I have found a superior detangler (hello LolaVie!), but almost everything else is highly effective. I have zero skin or scalp reaction to this brand, even with the added scent. The scent -- clean + petrichor + resin. It is absolutely beautiful. It did NOT trigger my migraines, asthma, or skin allergies, which is a huge deal for me. I usually have to go completely fragrance free. Both of the pre-treatments (the Scalp Detox and Scalp Exfoliator) -- are legitimate. I use Scalp Renew every 3rd or 4th washday, and Scalp Exfoliator every other time (when I'm not using the other). The Scalp Detox breaks down all the nasty buildup at your roots and generally helps to thin out the oily buildup that shampoo is usually responsible for tackling alone. It works VERY WELL. The Scalp Detox basically helps calm my scalp and neutralize any eczema or pH issues, which is why I only need it occasionally. I consider both essential. The original shampoo -- this is a gentle but very effective shampoo. With a double-wash (which I do for every shampoo, not just this one), I achieve consistent squeaky clean (literally) hair. I believe it is a good clarifier, especially in conjunction with the pre-treatments. I don't have hard water, so can't speak to it's efficacy in that scenario. The hair mask -- I use this as my main conditioner, and it does a good job without weighing down my curls. It also rinses out easily. My only complaint is that it takes longer than I'd like to detangle after using it, although that may be because of using an inadequate detangler (I just found LolaVie's detangler and expect this to no longer be an issue). Stem Cell Scalp Serum -- it's expensive AF and I feel guilty every time I buy it, BUT I've been using this ONLY on my scalp post wash and the allergic reactions, eczema, and itchiness ARE GONE. It's really quite soothing and (luckily) it doesn't take much to cover your whole scalp. It has a very mild, apple-like scent. I've been looking for a less expensive replacement brand, though. Cold-Processed Leave-In -- I'm not sure this does anything at all. I'm going to give away what I already purchased of this product now that I've found a non-irritating replacement. Argan Repair Oil -- this particular hair oil is nicely balanced and is especially effective on the length of my hair. I'll use it primarily when I'm nearing washday and my lengths begin to dry out a big. It effectively moisturizes my hair without making it greasy, and a little goes a long way. Fulvic Acid Dry Shampoo -- a big miss for me. It wasn't effective at all at the dispenser was a complete waste of time. It had to open it up and apply it to my scalp line with a makeup brush ... then it proceeded to not work AT ALL. The 3/4 of the Curl + Wave line -- a HUGE miss for me, even though I'm a curly girl. The Curl Shampoo was ineffective (especially when placed beside the hugely effective Original) and I had to wash my hair too often to rectify the problem. The Curl Conditioner did nothing for my hair at all. The Curl Spray is like ... tacky water? Not moisturizing at all and left a nasty residue on my hair that made it LESS managable. The only redeeming product from this line is the: Curl Lotion -- this is a good, lightweight defining cream. I detest defining creams as a rule, because I don't like the texture or manageability of my hair after using them. This is one of the better one's I've tried and it doesn't a moderate job of holding my style.

    LolaVie

    Level 4
    Amanda PLevel 4 27 Reviews

    3 months ago

    I finally got around to trying LolaVie after a long wait -- I picked up a travel kit that included the brand's four primary products (shampoo, condish, detangling spray, and serum). I was genuinely surprised, and pleased. For reference, I have super dense, very (VERY) long, curly hair. I also have a history of scalp eczema, migraine, and allergies -- I am consequently highly skeptical of ingredients and FRAGRANCE. Honestly, I didn't have high hopes for LolaVie given my hair type and scalp issues. Also, my hair doesn't look or act anything like Jennifer Aniston's, LOL. The ingredient list pulled me in. I found the fragrance mild, even pleasant -- it's citrus forward with a sweet herb background (think rosemary or clary sage, rather than mint or oregano). It has absolutely no "spice", "musk", and only the faintest hint of cream/vanilla. It smells very clean, which is what I prefer. The scent strength is probably 3/10 and the staying power 6/10 (though my hair tends to retain scent). It DID NOT trigger my migraines or allergies. Overall, this scorecard is excellent. Shampoo -- a mild, non-stripping shampoo. I will probably continue using it for the time being in conjunction with Act&Acre original (which is definitely more clarifying while still being gentle). LolaVie is in my estimation an excellent "maintenance" shampoo, which is good for every 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th washday (depending on your schedule). You'll eventually need a clarifier, though. You also can't expect a literal "squeaky" clean, which isn't necessary for your maintenance washes. I wash twice for every shampoo, and LolaVie is no exception. It removed my pre-wash treatment (Act&Acre) completely with two washes and my hair DID NOT feel dehydrated. Conditioner -- the biggest surprise of the lot. I generally cannot use traditional conditioner (I have to defer to deep treatments as my primary conditioner, plus additional leave-in). This conditioner is medium-weight (imo), creamy, and HIGHLY effective. It takes a minute to wash out (at least if you have thick hair), so be patient and reap the rewards. I didn't think this conditioner would even begin to condition my hair based on the texture alone, but I have rarely been so utterly wrong. Today (day 3) it is still manageable and soft. If you have thin or oily hair, I would condition the length of your hair only and avoid applying it to your scalp ( a good rule for anyone, really), and defer to the detangler spray to condition your roots. Detangling Spray -- the 2nd biggest surprise of the lot. Disclosure ... I have rarely reached for a spray to manage my detangling because I have aggressively tangly hair. I use creams to detangle because otherwise I'd be working it out for half an hour (no lies) and tear my roots, yet I am rarely happy with the outcome. If you're a curly person, you know that the weight of most creams aren't great for your style, even if they do a quick and gentle job of detangling. This spray, seriously, detangled my entire head in just a few minutes. After getting over my shock, I proceeded to finish my washday (easily) 15 minutes early. That is HUGE. I tried it again today (day 3) on my dry hair and it worked through easily, and loosened up my shed hairs without pulling. Perfecting Serum -- I'm not sure what to liken this product to. It's not a styling cream. It's not high moisture. It's only vaguely smoothing. I always use something to help soften my hair (keep it manageable) as a last step, so I used this serum. My hair is soft. My hair is manageable. However, I cannot determine if this serum contributed to that outcome. Maybe? Probably? At the very least it didn't hurt my hair or make it tacky. I'm glad I ignored the mixed reviews and gave it a shot anyway. Grab the travel kit if you want to try without the investment. I'll continue using 3/4 of these items in my routine.

    Grove Collaborative

    Level 4
    Amanda PLevel 4 27 Reviews

    3 months ago

    I use Grove regularly and really appreciate their versatility (also their store brand). Their prices are competitive, though not always significantly discounted. Yet, it is a signifiant boon to be able to shop multiple brands simultaneously without switching sites, which is difficult with sustainable/green/eco/cruelty-free brands. My household can shop with Grove for the majority of our household items (and some body care items). I was super surprised, and pleased, to see them offer brands I actually use (or know someone I trust who uses it): Dirty Labs Molly's Suds Biobag Stasher Osea Ursa Major Marley's Monsters Kari Gran Indie Lee Shea Moisture Hi-Bar I also love several of their store brand products. We now use their cleaning concentrates (for refill bottles), Swedish dishcloths, laundry bags, walnut sponges, etc. A big surprise was that our cats' new favorite treats come from Grove -- the Catnip N' Chill crunchy treats. All three of my cats go wild for them.

    Thrive Market

    Level 4
    Amanda PLevel 4 27 Reviews

    3 months ago

    Thrive Market is great. This is the place where you can get Rosey (store brand) cleaning/laundry products. Rosey has been getting consistently good marks in product tests and I personally have good experiences with their dish and bathroom products specifically. I discovered Thrive because I order a lot of my pantry items online and personally lean into less-processed, fewer ingredient foods. Thrive offers a lot of options on this front, in addition to numerous vegetarian/vegan options and (if you have food sensitivities) gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, etc. options. I've used them for a few years, and I appreciate that they're constantly expanding their offerings. They even have a handful of body products that I really enjoy. The best thing of all is that the discounts they provide are real. I price compare regularly for pantry and beauty staples (and I don't go cheap!), and you can save quite a bit of money by shopping through Thrive instead of a big box store or even the brand website. Also, Thrive brand grocery has been consistently good quality for me. They also give you the option to donate a percentage of your savings on each order. I always default to 50% -- it's a very convenient, reliable way to pay-it-forward.

    Therabody

    Level 4
    Amanda PLevel 4 27 Reviews

    3 months ago

    I bought a Theragun Pro about 3 years ago -- I have fibromyalgia and deep knots, and this percussive device had amazing reviews. Sadly, it just sits in storage and I'm genuinely hesitant to use it. First, it's VIOLENT. I have pretty incredible pain tolerance, prefer really aggressive massages ("bruise me or lose me", y'all), AND I'm used to regular physical therapy work that is more in the torture camp than cathartic. I actually enjoy a degree of cathartic pain. However, this thing feels like ... being agitated in an old-fashioned washing machine, while having jackhammers remove deep layers of concrete on top of your body, while being resented by your partner for involving them (you will be going Owowowow! or Agghhhhh! or Whyyyy!). Second, you MUST involve someone else -- partner, friend, PT coach. The website will lie and claim that you can angle it (with the adjustable head) to work on yourself but a) You can't achieve this for probably 75% of your body and b) Even when you can, it's too violent to hold in place and receive the "therapeutic benefits" at the same time. It wants to jump out of your hands. Third, the price isn't justifiable AT ALL. I regret spending that much on an therapy device that I don't use. Furthermore, you can get the same kind of item, only less violent, for far, far less money. Is it "the best" because it has more power? Depends on if you prefer using power-tools versus therapeutic devices on your already ailing body. Just no. That being said, it does do what it says it'll do ... beat the hell out of you with more power than any other brand. :-/

    Theragun Pro

    Stasher Bag

    Level 4
    Amanda PLevel 4 27 Reviews

    3 months ago

    I use Stasher bags literally every day. I own almost every size and format, and am always looking to score more on sale. I especially like the flat, sandwich bag size and the bowl format. These things, along with cloth napkins, have been the most surprising, versatile heroes in my kitchen. They're super practical, very easy to wash (dishwasher ftw), and are easy to sanitize if you let disgusting mold or stinky items set-up shop inside the bag (I found the instructions for how to do this on their website). I will occasionally use glass storage when I'm concerned about preserving the shape of an item, or if it's a very, very wet item (i.e, soup), because I'm paranoid ... but I've also tested the bowl bags on liquid items and they performed excellently. If you get your friend this item for Xmas or birthdays, they will be very grateful, too. Trust me. Invest in them slowly if on a budget -- you won't regret it.

    5 packReusable bagSandwich bag

    Ziba Foods

    Level 4
    Amanda PLevel 4 27 Reviews

    8 months ago

    Purchased through a Thingtesting offer

    I like Ziba (scored it with Thingdrop) but I'm not sure I'd order it in the wild. Let me explain: The mixes are all very fresh and straightforward, with nothing unexpected. Roasted almonds? Check. Mulberries? Check. Raisins? Check. They provide a variety of combos and single ingredient bags for different types of snacking, which is ideal. The thing is, I really, REALLY prefer raw (unroasted and unsalted) nuts, particularly when sprouted. I can't help missing that form factor with Ziba. Similarly, I'm not the ideal customer for dried fruits, or literally any kind of sugar bomb (natural or not). My spouse IS, but oddly he hasn't reached for the Ziba blends as often as I expected. My spouse said the raisins were tasty (he's very picky regarding raisins). I personally found the mulberries too dry and sweet (was expecting something more akin to a fresh, wild mulberry, which is actually sweet-tart). If you already know you like roasted, salted nuts and dried fruits, give it a try. It arrived super fresh and generously proportioned (not too many fruits versus nuts). As described but, to me, not special.

    Topicals

    Level 4
    Amanda PLevel 4 27 Reviews

    8 months ago

    I have incredibly sensitive, reactive skin, with rosacea (ocular, papular, and blotches), recurring perioral dermatitis, and eczema. I'm also prone to hives and facial swelling from allergic contact. Finding non-reactive skincare as my conditions have worsened over the past DECADE has been a nightmare. In the past two months, my face has COMPLETELY calmed down and looks glorious. The only changes to my routine have been: 1) Add Gallinee Vinegar toner 2) Swap LikeButter by Topicals for my previous moisturizers. It's like my facial skin has been waiting for LikeButter my whole life. I don't have redness, irritation, or congestion. My facial skin is finally comfortable. I've begun using this cream as my day AND night cream (it doesn't take much!), and per the recommendation of my aesthetician, I also extend my facial routine down my neck, chest, and breasts. It's glorious! Haven't tried the other products yet, but will once it's time to reorder. The tube has been lasting quite a while. I have my eye on their Mists (Faded and Body Butter) for use on my torso. FYI, my routine is (now) gentle cleanser, toner (see above), SOS spray, gentle vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, moisturizer, and (low-oleic) oil to finish. Now I just live in fear that they'll change the product or that the company will go out of business.

    23andMe

    Level 4
    Amanda PLevel 4 27 Reviews

    10 months ago

    I came to 23&Me for several reasons, but the main factor is that it provides the best health DNA profile on the market. I've followed them as a company for years, reading about their targeted research, and it really is impressive. They've directly contributed to breakthrough treatments and improving diagnostics in the medical field. They also provide a nice product to their customers, which is always being improved upon. Crucially, the DNA profile they provide includes a) The literal reading of your DNA (such as if you have a certain mutation) b) Your statistical predisposition for disease based on community response (ie, measuring likelihood based on the *fully optional* quiz responses of those people who share your DNA) and c) Tailored health management suggestions, including prompts for what to discuss with your doctor (and why), optional lifestyle or habit changes, etc. There are also novelty features, such as "% Neanderthal" and "Characteristics Likelihood" (red hair or feckless). I have had important discussions with my own doctors based on certain of my 23&Me results. They have answered some questions, raised others, and ultimately helped us narrow down a tailored plan for what annual checkups I need in the immediate, and what I can likely deprioritize.

    Feedback

    This is also a genealogical service, although I would say it is not as robust as its biggest competitors when it comes to tree building/management or historical data-pulling. It is difficult to say which service provides the best estimate of an "ethnicity profile" ... they are all very similar within a small margin of error, and all occasionally make an update that appears nonsensical. Some sites that deal in genealogy exclusively cost much less than 23&me at their entry price, and consequently have a much larger pool of individuals from which to estimate ethnicity based on DNA. Certain other sites may also have better representation (in their pool) of historically underrepresented communities. However, across the board this feature is still rather speculative, and for myself it was not my first priority in purchasing the product.

    From Roy

    Level 4
    Amanda PLevel 4 27 Reviews

    10 months ago

    We ordered a Pistachio and Cherry panettone as a Christmas present for ourselves this year. It was so sinfully good that we turned around and ordered a Banana Caramel Orange panettone this Spring. I researched online for days looking for a place to order a good panettone in the USA. The best options were to import from Italy (with varying quality reported, usually through a middleman) or to order direct from From Roy (with rave reviews across the board). I was not disappointed by my choice! Both my orders were packaged beautifully and arrived pristine. The panettone itself is gorgeous. It's almost a shame to cut it, but once you do you can't stop. You can taste the quality ingredients (buttery, quality fruits) and the texture is sublime. Great loft, not at all "cakey", almost silken or custardy interior with the expected cavernous holes of a long rise, with a dense and well caramelized exterior. My favorite was the Pistacho and Cherry (and I don't even like pistachios, haha), and my spouse's favorite was the Banana Caramel Orange. They're definitely expensive, but a justifiable expense IF you're in the market for a good panettone. I keep in mind that it doesn't take only great ingredients to turn one out, but years of experience and days of preparation PER PANETTONE. From Roy is an expert and it shows

    Feedback

    Don't change a thing. I'm now a repeat customer. Also, your hazelnut crema is the best we've found.