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Beauty Roundup: September 16, 2011

August proved a perfect time to turn the WWDBeautyNews over to intern Ali Stagnitta who tested do-it-yourself beauty products with a cadre of teenagers.

Teens Test Popular DIY Products

Editor’s Note: The waning weeks of August proved a perfect time to turn the WWDBeautyNews over to intern Ali Stagnitta who tested do-it-yourself beauty products with a cadre of teenagers.

The current demand for do-it-yourself beauty products is being fueled by quick and affordable items and an economic downturn, plus the promise of similar quality to salons. Many women are either using at-home items for in-between visits to stretch out the need for a spa or salon — or as their only option as they look for ways to save money. Retailers such as Ulta and Duane Reade are adding more DIY items. Do these items really deliver as touted? Stagnitta had several friends accustomed to beauty salon treatments put them to the test. The products include foam hair dye, minx-like nails, facial masks, a hot wax kit and a gel manicure.

Foam Hair Color: Foam hair colors are touted as being easier for new users than traditional hair colors — and cheaper. Checks to local New Jersey salons found a hair color costs between $60 and $80. Clairol Nice ‘N Easy has added a foam retailing for $11 that the tester agreed was easy to control the amount of color while also reducing the smell compared to other at-home colors.

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The bottom line: Foam hair color gets a thumbs-up, but the testers would like to see semi-permanent options, too.

Minx Nails: When Minx looks became popular in salons, many of the girls wanted to try the look, but were hesitant about the cost. That’s why tester Hunter Mulford was thrilled that for $8 she could experiment with Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects nails. “I get my nails done often at a salon and it costs a lot of money, but when I do them myself they don’t look as good. With this product I get cute nails for a low price and no mess,” said Mulford, a high school senior who picked a colorful design pattern. While it took some practice, she was able to perform the application on her hands and said she’d buy the product.

The scoop: Some teen testers struggled with one hand, but after practice were able to apply the nail strips proficiently and would buy, especially for special occasions.

At-Home Facials: Stagnitta took on the challenge of shopping for a home facial that could duplicate a spa visit. “I went to Bluemercury in Princeton, NJ. There, I came across a facial kit by Bliss and fell in love with its deep cleansing and amazing scent,” she said. Tester Emily Campeas, enjoyed using the facial and mask and shared that it made her skin feel fresher and smoother immediately after application. Although pricier than many at-home products at a cost of about $50, young girls don’t always have time for spa appointments and the testers voted it was worth the price.

What’s the verdict? While it is not at a price they could afford all the time, the facial was a special treat they enjoyed being able to do at home.

Waxing At Home: Women spend hundreds of dollars a year getting laser hair removal or going to salons to have someone awkwardly wax their bikini line. Spa prices for an eyebrow wax average about $20 and a bikini wax normally costs $25. With Sally Hansen’s “Spa Wax Hair Removal Kit,” women can remove unwanted body hair without leaving the house and without the salon price. The kit includes a 6-ounce spa wax, 0.5 ounce of soothing Azulene Finishing Oil, 20 cloth strips and 8 wooden spatulas for $10. Our tester, Jen Cheslock, shared with us her experience using the product. “It works,” she said, “but it’s not pain free, just like the normal waxing you’d get at a salon.”   

Would they use it again?
Our testers were a little scared off from the pain, but those with severe hair issues were willing to keep at it with hopes of make their skin less sensitive with more use.

Gel Nails At Home: Finally, one of the newest products on the shelves, Red Carpet Manicure LED gel nail color system was dubbed one of the best “at-home” products out there. Gel nails have become a huge hit. Their glossy finish and ability to last without a chip for two weeks is appealing to all manicure lovers.
However, their cost certainly adds up if you get them refilled every two weeks. Red Carpet Manicure has released a salon-like system to do gel nails at home. The kit contains a cuticle stick, an emery board, a buffer board, a pre- and post- application cleanser, adhesion sanitizer, a base coat gel, top coat gel, cuticle oil, an LED light and a huge variety of colors. The things provided in this kit would be sold at a professional retail price for about $300; however, they can be bought at stores such as Ulta for about $80.  wo testers found the system very easy to use and felt it duplicated the salon results.

The vote: Red Carpet lasted a long time, was easy to use and a hit with the users.

As long as the new breed of DIY items delivers, shoppers appear ready to use them.

People, Places and Things

A few words with teens who tested DIY products and what they felt about the items, especially versus professional services.

Emily Campeas, 17: I never had a spa facial. I am scared! But now I’ve tried at-home ones, I might be more inclined to do a spa one. I guess that’s the reverse of DIY. My skin felt better after the facial.

Hunter Mulford, 17:
I get my nails done in the salon, but now that I tried Salon Effects, I’ll do this at home. I also want to try the at-home gel nails.

Danielle Bastardi, 17: I am not allowed to spend the money for hair color at a salon. I’ve done my hair three times from a box at the drugstore with great success and plan to continue coloring my hair. I’d try a foam if it wasn’t a permanent color.

Ali Stagnitta, 17: Red Carpet manicure was my favorite DIY. It is so easy to use and lasts a long time.


What’s In Store

I Love Cosmetics Makes Official U.S. Debut: I Love Cosmetics was singled out at the NACDS Marketplace meeting and now the company will have a chance to see if American consumers take to the brand. Duane Reade will be among the first to stock it followed by Wal-mart and Navarro.

Scaring Up Halloween Sales: Halloween has turned into a sales opportunity for mass merchants with items such as false lashes and funky nails. According to a survey from Savers Inc. the average family will spend $300 on Halloween costumes and celebrations this year. More than half of those polled plan to dress up.