Category Archives: reviews

Tobi review | One sweater cardigan, two outfits

Another day, another Tobi clothing item to style and enjoy! You can read my first Tobi review here in this post, where I go into more detail about Tobi and its site and styles, and how I paired two Tobi clothing items together, a navy “Schoolboy Ribbed Sweater” and a black “Mel Pinstriped Scarf.”

This time around, I styled this Carly Draped Cardigan, which is my favorite of the three items I selected from Tobi. (It was originally priced $82 but is currently on sale for $31.) Sam was again VERY doubtful of this cardigan since I usually wear more structured pieces — but once I put it on, we both loved it!

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan

In fact, I loved this sweater cardigan so much that I wanted to feature TWO different ways I wore it. Y’all know how much I love remixing!

Librarian for Life + Style | Remixing a draped cardigan collage

Look #1 (casual remix):

The first outfit with this Carly Draped Cardigan (this style of cardigan is also called a “waterfall cardigan” or an “open cardigan”) is a casual look — but honestly, I would also wear this to work because my work place is pretty casual. I paired this cardigan over olive ankle pants, grey leather-and-suede ankle boots, and a grey tank top. You could also make this look a lot more casual by wearing sneakers or flats.

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, casual remix

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, casual remix

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, casual remix

This sweater is soooooo comfy and cozy, y’all. And the quality seems pretty high to me, as the material is soft (not scratchy!) and pretty substantial for knitwear. The ribbed detailing along the drape-y bits, cuffs, and hem speaks to the overall quality of this Carly Draped Cardigan.

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of Tobi grey sweater cardigan

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, closeup

I had a lot of fun playing with the front drape-y bits, as you can see in the photos below! I wanted to show y’all a few different ways you could style a draped cardigan like this.

First, I pinned one of the ends over to the other side, letting the ends cascade down.

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, casual remix

Next, I draped one of the ends across and over my opposite shoulder, letting the other end hang down to create another cool, asymmetrical look. (This was actually my favorite way to wear this cardigan.)

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, casual remix

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, casual remix

Finally, I took the end hanging down from the previous method and pinned it on the other side, so that the cardigan hems lined up a bit more.

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, casual remix

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, casual remix

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, casual remix

Details:

  • Carly Draped Cardigan:  c/o Tobi, new
  • Olive ankle pants: Tommy Hilfiger via Macy’s, old
  • Leather-and-suede ankle boots:  Naturalizer, old
  • Earrings:  Gift from my friend Stephanie, a few years old

Look #2 (work remix):

For this second look, I kept the grey cardigan and the ankle booties but switched out the ankle pants for tights and a black pencil skirt. I really liked the juxtaposition of the body-conscious foundation of the pencil skirt and tights with the unstructured and looser sweater cardigan on top.

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, work remix

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, work remix

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, work remix

I also think wearing black ankle boots would be a good choice with this outfit, as it would streamline the legs more. I will probably wear it that way next time!

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, work remix

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, work remix

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan, work remix

Details:

  • Carly Draped Cardigan:  c/o Tobi, new
  • Black pencil skirt:  ModCloth, old
  • Ribbed tights:  Walmart?, old
  • Tall high-heeled boots:  Rampage via Nordstrom, over a decade old

Which way did you like this cardigan best? Do you have a draped cardigan in your wardrobe? Which of my three Tobi items did you like best?

Please leave a comment and share!


Linkups:  Hello MondayVisible Monday#iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning HeadsStyle With a SmileWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy WednesdayWhat I Wore WednesdayI Feel Pretty WednesdaysWeekly Wednesday Fashion Linkup,  Whatcha Wearing WednesdayTop of the WorldThursdays Fashion FilesThursday ModaFashion FridayPassion for FashionFun Fashion FridayFabulous FridayFancy FridayFine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp

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Tobi Review | Oversized sweater + blanket scarf

I was recently contacted by online clothing retailer Tobi with an opportunity to choose a few items from their site to review and style. It was fun to browse through their extensive site and look at different pieces and visualize potential outfits. (Putting together outfits in my head is like my way of doing crosswords — it keeps my brain active!)

Full disclosure:  Although I was provided clothing items of my choice free-of-charge to style and review, all my opinions are my own words, thoughts, and experiences.

What’s Tobi?

Tobi is definitely focused on trendy, “fast fashion” pieces and a self-described L.A. style. Their size range is admittedly limited, only extending to size Large (equivalent to 8-10, although a generously sized 8-10); my body lands on the uppermost end of their sizing scale, so I purposely chose items that were NOT form-fitting. I also admit that I am not particularly trendy, and my style is… more “color-coordinated” than “L.A. cool.” But I viewed that as an interesting challenge, to see if I could “see myself” in any of their items. And I did! There are a lot of items on their site that are admittedly NOT my style — rompers may be fine for others but decidedly not for me! — and there looks to be a range of quality and styles with a range of price ranges to match. Tobi is known for their low prices and final sales, but I found a number of moderate-to-higher-priced items that also seemed to be higher quality. I focused on choosing more substantial and looser-fitting pieces — and it’s autumn, so that meant I had a lot of options with sweaters and knitwear! Hooray for me! The shipping was also super-fast, but there’s the caveat that I live on the West Coast, so the items didn’t have far to go.

I also have to admit that I was impressed with their openness on the Tobi website about their processes and policies. I was also impressed that they fund a scholarship program for young women, and they have a page showcasing the local non-profit organizations the company donates to. It’s fast fashion, yes, but Tobi also seems like a company that gives back for the long-term.

Two Tobi items I paired together:

In this outfit, I am wearing two of the three items I chose:  a long, oversized, v-neck navy sweater (the “School Boy Ribbed Sweater,” priced $78 but currently on sale for $19) and a black blanket scarf with white stripes (the “Mel Pinstripe Scarf,” priced $32 but currently on sale for $16).

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi navy sweater + black striped scarf

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi navy sweater + black striped scarf

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi navy sweater + black striped scarf

I primarily paired these two items together because I wanted to showcase again how you CAN wear navy + black together. My rule of thumb in combining navy + black is to be intentional about it. I am wearing one main navy piece — this simple yet bold navy sweater, which really is a standout — that I’ve paired with black leggings, tall boots, and my black pinstriped scarf. The “star” of this outfit is the sweater, and everything else is supporting it.

The sweater is purposely oversized — very ’80s, isn’t it, with its sloped shoulders and boxy shape? — and it’s the kind of sweater that honestly looks pretty shapeless on its own or on a hanger. I took it out of the box, and my husband Sam was NOT impressed and said it looked huge and wouldn’t fit me. I put it on, and guess what? He looooooved it! So did I! The sweater felt substantial enough in its ribbed weave and thickness, and felt very cozy and warm — not scratchy at all.

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi navy sweater

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of asymmetrical hem of Tobi navy sweater

My favorite detail of the sweater is how it’s longer in the back, which you can really tell in the photos above. That means there is extra coverage for one’s bottom, which I really appreciate, especially since I’m a pear-shaped lady. And the sweater is still long enough in the front to wear the sweater over leggings and not have to worry about anything showing. I would also wear this sweater with skinny jeans or ankle pants. The key with an oversized item of clothing is to pair it out with other pieces that fit closer to the body — this provides visual balance.

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi navy sweater + black striped scarf

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi navy sweater + black striped scarf

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi navy sweater + black striped scarf

And I LOVE LOVE LOVE this blanket scarf. It is so warm and soft. I love it so much that I have already worn this scarf twice! (If you’re an Instagram follower, you will have already spotted this scarf!) And the scarf’s pattern with its black background and thin white pinstripe is neutral enough to go with lots of other pieces in my wardrobe.

When pairing this navy sweater with the black scarf, leggings, and boots, I also replicated the navy + black color-coordinating with my earrings. I combined larger blue lapis lazuli earring studs with my smaller black studs. Just one more detail to make it clear that I intentionally mixed navy + black together! 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi navy sweater + black striped scarf closeup

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi navy sweater + black striped scarf

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi navy sweater + black striped scarf

Weather:  Cold and windy

Where:  Reference night shift at work

What:

I will be back on Friday with how I styled my third and final Tobi item!

Linkups:  Hello MondayVisible Monday#iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning HeadsStyle With a SmileWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy WednesdayWhat I Wore WednesdayI Feel Pretty WednesdaysWeekly Wednesday Fashion Linkup,  Whatcha Wearing WednesdayTop of the WorldThursdays Fashion FilesThursday ModaFashion FridayPassion for FashionFun Fashion FridayFabulous FridayFancy FridayFine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp

Everyday faves | The cream to my coffee

Everyday faves series

It’s time for a new entry in my now-monthly series about “Everyday faves,” to highlight everyday, or commonplace, things — or practices or habits — that make a difference in my life. For me, these posts are an exercise in self-reflection and appreciation.

Posts in the series have included:

The cream in my coffee

This month, I am highlighting the cream in my coffee. I haven’t always been a coffee drinker; I used to only drink tea. (And I still do drink tea a lot.) My husband, who likes to say he has coffee running through his veins, converted me to coffee a few years ago. (I have always loved the smell of coffee.) While he prefers his coffee black, I prefer mine with cream and sugar, or — the best of both worlds in my opinion — flavored coffee creamer.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, coffee creamer

Instagram pics of my coffee (and books)

If you follow my Instagram feed, then you’ll already know that I’m a coffee drinker. I have posted pics that include coffee cups or mugs, including:

Librarian for Life + Style | Instagram coffee pic

Librarian for Life + Style | Instagram coffee pic

Librarian for Life + Style | Instagram coffee pic

Current coffee creamer

I’ve tried different kinds of flavored creamers throughout the years, but my current favorite is Darigold in the french vanilla flavor.

Note:  This post is NOT sponsored by Darigold or by anyone else. I wanted to share my use of Darigold creamer with my readers via my “Everyday faves” monthly series.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, coffee creamer collage

Morning coffee ritual

My husband sets our programmable coffee machine each night, for whatever time I need coffee in the morning. (My schedule varies throughout the week.) He usually sets it for about a half-hour before I have to head off to work. I get dressed upstairs first, then head down for my morning coffee and then finish getting ready. I really enjoy this simple daily morning ritual:

  • Setting out a coffee cup.
  • Getting the creamer from the fridge and pouring a little creamer into the cup.
  • Pouring the coffee in and seeing it turn a caramel color.
  • Seeing the steam rise off the top and disappear into the morning air.

Bliss.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, coffee creamer collage

And yes, it’s SUPER important to me to put the creamer in FIRST, before pouring the coffee in, not after. Same goes for creamer or milk in tea. That way, the milk or creamer doesn’t curdle — which can happen when a cold substance hits an already hot substance, like if you poured the creamer in after you poured the coffee — plus you don’t have to bother about stirring the creamer around. Pouring in the coffee automatically swirls and stirs the creamer around. No need to dirty up a spoon! Yes, I am very practical, and proudly so. 😉

And now, it seems like a good time to have some coffee…

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, coffee creamer

Do you prefer coffee or tea? Do you have a preference for cream, sugar, etc.? Please leave a comment and share!


Linkups:  Hello MondayVisible Monday, #iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning Heads, Style With a SmileWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy Wednesday, What I Wore Wednesday, I Feel Pretty Wednesdays, Weekly Wednesday Fashion Linkup,  Whatcha Wearing WednesdayTop of the WorldThursdays Fashion Files, Thursday ModaCelebrating StyleFashion FridayPassion for Fashion, Fun Fashion FridayCharming FridayFriday Favorites, Fancy Friday, Fine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp

Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays | Trying out new hairstyles with new hairsprays

Today, I am reviewing the top range of Kenra Professional hairsprays — and trying out a new hairstyle variation to test each new hairspray!

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

First, some context. I signed up with Brandbacker a couple of years ago, an online service that matches up brands with style “influencers” (a fancy term for ” bloggers”). Bloggers apply for possible campaigns they’re interested in, and companies review and select bloggers who they feel are a good fit for their brand or product. (Through Brandbacker, I have reviewed the Billion Dollar Brows kit, which I still use, and more recently reviewed Finesse shampoo + conditioner, which I’m also still using.) I only apply to review products that feel authentic or interesting to me, are in my price range, and/or inspire me to think of new ways to experiment with my style, makeup, or hairstyles. Y’all know how I like to try new things!

For this campaign, here was my pitch and idea for a review post of the Kenra Professional hairsprays:

Librarian for Life + Style | Personal pitch for Kenra Professional campaign via Brandbacker

So I saw this as an opportunity to get to learn about and compare different kinds of hairsprays and to try out new hairstyles at the same time — and to demonstrate that short-haired ladies also like to experiment with our hair! Viva la short-haired lassies!

I had also admitted in this post last fall about my regular haircare routine that “I’ve never been able to find a hairspray that I really like,” so this felt like a good opportunity to try and see if I could finally find a hairspray that I like.

Here are the samples I received from Kenra Professional:

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

  • Kenra Volume Spray 25, 1.5 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Platinum HiDEF Hairspray 16, 8 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Ultra Freeze Spray 30, 10 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Platinum Finishing Spray 26, 10 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13, 10 ounce bottle

What’s with the numbers?

The back of the hairspray bottles clued me into what the numbers in the hairspray titles meant. They have a “hold index,” ranging from 0 (no hold) to 30 (most hold). And whatever the number of the hairspray, that’s where it falls in that “hold index.” Clever!

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

What is Kenra Professional?

Kenra Professional describes itself as a professional brand for stylists. “Our passion is developing best-in-class innovations, delivering superior and reliable results. Kenra Professional strives to elevate the stylists’ artistry and craft.”

Kenra Professional logo

Their website provides an interesting history and timeline for the company. They were founded in 1929 in Indianapolis with a “no tweeze” wax depilatory (!) and launched their first haircare line in 1960.

There is information about their products on their website, but not for purchase. Their products are most easily available on the Ulta site, and through salons — which makes sense, since they’re a company catering to stylists.

Let’s see how a regular, non-stylist person like me did with a stylist’s hairspray tools!

Note: I tried the hairsprays in order of their hold index, starting from 13 (the Perfect Medium Spray), all the way up to 30 (the Ultra Freeze Spray).


Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13


What the product promises:

“Perfect Medium Spray 13 combines styling control with a touchable, brush-through hold. This medium hold spray is fast-drying and finishes with a high shine.” It promised control without stiffness and to help with static and fly-aways.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

This full-size bottle of this hairspray sells for $17 on the Ulta website with a 4.5/5 rating. There’s also a travel-size option available on the Ulta website for $7.

My hairstyle idea:

In essence, this was my “control group” in this hairstyle and hairspray experiment. I started with this hairspray, as it was the lowest on the hold index, and it seemed like a more everyday “go to” kind of hairspray. So I stuck with my everyday hairstyle, with my bangs brushed forward, to test the promise of a “touchable, brush-through hold.” (FYI, I go more into detail about my usual haircare routine here in this post.)

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using the Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13

The hairspray smelled a little metallic right when I first sprayed it on, but that went away after a bit. My hair was definitely touchable all throughout the day. It didn’t really feel like I had any hairspray on at all, but that could be due to the fact that I tend to go pretty light on hairspray in general. It was quite windy this day last weekend, and I was walking around a lot outside. So my hair did wilt a little by the end of the day, which you can particularly tell in the side view in the right column. But no static or flyaways, and my hair did feel and look shiny.

Final verdict? Thumbs up, except for the initial smell of the spray. I will make sure I have the bathroom fan on when I use this again.


Kenra Platinum HiDEF Hairspray 16


What the product promises:

“HiDEF Hairspray 16 is a light-defusing finishing spray that holds tousled, undone styles with a matte, flake-free finish. The perfect finishing spray for any textured style.” It promised a matte finish, instant drying on contact, and the best choice for “undone styles” and “beachy waves.”

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

This hairspray sells for $23 on the Ulta website with a 3.5/5 rating.

My hairstyle idea:

I don’t have much hair to try out “beachy waves,” but I have been inspired by Adina @ Blue Collar Red Lipstick and her short pixie ‘do, especially when she curls the longer front part of her hair, as seen here. So I decided to try out this new kind of short ‘do for myself! I watched a couple of hair tutorial videos online for how to do beachy waves for short hair, including this video by Dominique Sachse, and this video by stillglamorus.

I brought out my smaller curling iron to curl the shorter pieces underneath and used my flat iron to create a wave effect on my longer hair up front.

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using Kenra Platinum HiDEF Hairspray 16. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Platinum HiDef Hairspray 16

It took much longer than my usual haircare routine to do this look, and toward the end, my husband shouted out from the living room, “I can smell the hairspray!” But I actually preferred the smell of this hairspray over the smell of the Perfect Medium Spray 13, plus I felt like the HiDEF spray played nice with the dry shampoo paste I had rubbed into my hair, to give it a bit more “grip” for the waves. I sprayed it over the waves before I finger-brushed them out a bit, and then again after I had played around with my part and the waves.

By the end of the day, as you can see, my hair had wilted a bit, and the style looked a bit messier to me with the ends a little frizzed out. But my hair didn’t feel too crunchy during the day, and I was able to brush it out easily at the end of the day.

Final verdict? I thought it worked well with the dry shampoo paste I use regularly. I also look forward to trying this hairspray out on my everyday style, just to compare how the “matte” finish compares to the “shiny” finish.


Kenra Volume Spray 25


What the product promises:

“Volume Spray 25 provides the maximum amount of volume and hold possible. It leaves hair looking natural and shiny while imparting the strength and volume necessary to make any style last all day.” It promised a fast-drying, flake-free, wind-resistant hold.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

The full-sized can of this hairspray sells for $18 on the Ulta website with a 4.7/5 rating. There’s also a travel-sized option, like the one I’m holding, available for $7.

My hairstyle idea:

When I thought about a hairdo that would put the hairspray’s volume and hold promise to the test, I thought a backlift hairstyle with sideswept bangs and a headband or scarf would do the trick.

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using the Kenra Volume Spray 25. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Volume Spray 25

The back of the hairspray bottle had a recommendation to build up volume in layers using the spray, so that’s what I did when I teased sections of the hair on my crown for the little pouf in the back. I also teased my bangs a little and sprayed those, swooping those to the side and pinning them at the base. The wide hair scarf helped support the poufy back bit, I think.

The day started out clear but had a misty drizzle by the end of the day. But that’s a good test for hairspray in the Pacific Northwest, to see if it holds up in misty rain conditions! And I’m pretty pleased with how my hairstyle held up. It wilted a bit, of course, but the volume at the crown is still decent. And my hair didn’t feel crunchy or sticky during the day. My bangs did “break” in the middle, so I had to pin them up higher halfway through the day, which explains why the bobby pin is so much more obvious on my hair in the after pics.

Final verdict? This one is the best-smelling of the bunch thus far, and I was impressed on how well it held up in drizzly rain. I also got lots of compliments on my hairstyle that day!


Kenra Platinum Finishing Spray 26


What the product promises:

“Finishing Spray 26 is the ultimate firm hold hairspray, providing maximum control with long-lasting lift and style retention. Its fast drying, humidity resistant formulation finishes styles with high shine, and it is completely shampoo soluble.” It promised a non-drying, all-day hold with shine.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

The full-size can of this hairspray sells for $22 on the Ulta website, with a 4.7/5 rating. There’s also a travel-sized option available for $9.

My hairstyle idea:

I’ve been wanting to try a more sculptural “quiff” hairstyle for a bit, to shake things up a bit. A “quiff” is a hairdo that has longer hair puffed up in the front, with shorter hair in the back and sides. Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton have been known to sport quiff hairstyles. I looked at a few hair video tutorials for inspiration, including this “Messy Pixie Cut Hairstyle Tutorial” video from Sarah H., another video called “7 Ways I Style my Pixie Cut” from Sarah H., and this “Rockabilly Pixie” video from KaYkAy.

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using the Platinum Finishing Spray 26. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Platinum Finishing Spray 25

Much to my surprise, this turned out to be my most favorite hairstyle thus far — but my least favorite hairspray. My hair felt stiff and crunchy, and I was hoping that nobody else would want to touch my hair, because it didn’t feel that good to my fingers! (Thankfully, no one did, although I did get compliments on the hairstyle.) I also had a little trouble getting my bobby pins out at the end of the day, because the hairspray had stuck them to my hair! It’s a serious hold, for sure, and an effective hold as you can see from the pics, but it just felt like too much for me personally.

Final verdict? Since we don’t have the kind of humidity like they describe, I’m not sure how useful this hairspray would be in the long run.


Kenra Ultra Freeze Spray 30


What the product promises:

“Ultra Freeze Spray 30 locks styles in place with a long-lasting, ultra-firm hold. This fast-drying formula defines, sculpts and freezes styles in place, while providing humidity resistance with a high shine, flake-free finish.” It promised the firmest hold while also keeping your hair shiny.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

This hairspray sells for $19 on the Ulta website with a 4.4/5 rating.

My hairstyle idea:

To put this high-shine and firm-hold promise to the test, I went for a slicked-back, wet look, with visions of Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible” video in my mind. I’ve tried this look before, but it tends to break up in chunks by the end of the day. So this hairspray sounded perfect to try for this kind of look again! I also upped the ante by doing a zig-zag part on the side, instead of my usual straight side part. [Here’s a video tutorial on how to do a zig-zag part yourself.]

Basically, I wanted comic-book hair — and I got it! 😀

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day, using the Ultra Freeze Spray 30. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Ultra Freeze Spray 30

I *loved* this look! People kept asking me all day if I had gotten my hair cut. Nope. Just different styling products! 😀

I was admittedly a little wary about using this strongest hold hairspray, the Ultra Freeze 30, the day after my disappointing outing with the 26. But I ended up really liking the Ultra Freeze 30! It definitely lived up to its description of being fast-drying and having ultra-firm hold. And my hair did look shiny. After the initial “freeze” of the hairspray, I realized that I could run a comb through my hair to break up the initial crunchiness — and it still held! My slicked-back hair did not break all day, and I had a very long day at work. (And after work, hence the different backdrop for these “end of the day” pics.)

Final verdict? Definitely keeping the Ultra Freeze 30 for when I need extra hold!

Any favorites?

The Volume Spray 25 was my favorite overall — and of course, the smallest bottle! I also appreciated the HiDEF Hairspray 16 for its matte finish, and the Ultra Freeze 30 for its shiny and extra-firm hold.

What I liked overall:

The packaging of the Kenra Professional sprays is sleek, which I liked. The nozzles on the sprays also click to the side to close or open, so that’s a handy detail.

I had honestly never thought much about differences in hairspray before — the idea of using different hairsprays for different purposes — and I liked that this review challenged me to better appreciate those differences. I understand now how the matte finish of the HiDEF Hairspray 16 would be a more appropriate choice for textured hairstyles, and how the shiny hold of the Ultra Freeze 30 would be a more appropriate choice for sleeker hairstyles. I could actually see and feel those differences up close, which was gratifying to discover, considering I’m NOT a stylist — just a woman doing the best she can with her hair on a daily basis.

When I was looking at different hair tutorials videos online, I also started noticing how many others were also using Kenra hairsprays! That speaks well about the brand to me.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

What I didn’t like:

The initial metallic smell of the Perfect Medium Spray 13 — all the other sprays smelt fine to me — and the crunchiness that resulted from the Platinum Finishing Spray 26. (I will try and see if any of my colleagues at work who have more textured hair than I do might benefit from this spray.)

And while I now can appreciate the differences in these hairsprays, that means that I now will have to keep mental track of which is which and when I need to use each one — but that’s also where the hold index and the tips on the back of the bottles come in handy!

Would I purchase this myself?

I do plan on purchasing a full bottle of the Volume Spray 25, as lack of volume is the main issue I have with my finer-textured hair. And I’m seriously considering travel sizes for the other sprays I did like, just in case… y’all know how much I love travel-sized products! 😉 The prices are a little spendy but not unreasonable, in my opinion, especially for a salon and stylist market. I am sure the full-sized bottles will last me a long time!

Overall, I quite enjoyed this hairspray and hairstyle experiment — and I hope y’all did, too!

Which of the hairsprays or hairstyles did you like best? Have you used Kenra Professional hairsprays or other products before? Please leave a comment and share!


Full Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, in conjunction with BrandBacker and Kenra Professional. I received samples of Kenra Professional’s top five hairsprays in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own and 100% honest.


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Everyday faves | Native deodorant

To celebrate my 5th blog anniversary, I’m personally hosting a giveaway for 5 lucky winners. This is the final day to enter the giveaway (!), so visit this post for all the details on how to enter. I will announce the 5 winners tomorrow.

Everyday faves series

This is the latest entry in my now-monthly series about “Everyday faves,” to highlight everyday, or commonplace, things — or practices or habits — that make a difference in my life. For me, these posts are an exercise in self-reflection and appreciation.

Posts in the series have included:

Native deodorant

This month, I’m highlighting my love of the all-natural, non-toxic deodorant from the Native brand. And this is probably the most literal entry in my “Everyday faves,” series thus far, since I wear deodorant EVERY DAY. 😀

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, Native deodorant

Going Native

Back in February, I posted on my Facebook page about first trying out the deodorant that I had read good things about. (Of course, now I can’t find the posts and articles I had been reading earlier this year. Murphy’s Law.

Librarian for Life + Style | Facebook post about trying Native deodorant

After trying out the deodorant for a couple of months, I posted a follow-up on my Facebook page:

Librarian for Life + Style | Facebook post about trying Native deodorant

You can read more customer reviews of Native products here on their site.

Switching over to an all-natural deodorant

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, Native deodorant

I chose two scents, because they were doing a special discount at the time if you bought two or more deodorants. I chose the “Lavender & Rose” scent and an Unscented one just in case I didn’t like the “Lavender & Rose” one. I do like the “Lavender & Rose” scent, and it’s not overpowering at all. The sticks came in this cardboard shipping box, seen above, and the box arrived in just a few days. Gotta love free AND fast shipping!

Both deodorants are in my medicine cabinet now, and I use each stick about equally. I just go with the scent — or unscent — depending on my mood each day. (I’ve also noticed they have seasonal scents available at different times.)

There was a card enclosed in the package, seen below, with tips for how to transition to using the Native all-natural deodorant. It does take a bit of time to make the switch, for your body to adjust. It felt like it took me a couple of weeks, but it didn’t feel hard at all to transition. I just felt a little extra sweaty the first week or two.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, Native deodorant

Does it work?

In a word, YES. It worked for me, at least. I waited a couple of months to write this review and post, because I wanted to make sure I really could recommend Native deodorant. And I do recommend it. The peace of mind alone is worth it, knowing that it’s non-toxic, aluminum-free and paraben-free. (There’s also a sensitive option, for those sensitive to baking soda.)

I still sweat when I’m wearing the Native deodorant, which is natural, but I don’t stink by the end of the day. (Thank goodness!) I put it on the morning, about three swipes back and forth, and then I can just go about my day. It’s AWESOME. Plus, it doesn’t seem to be leaving any gross residue so far on the underarms of my shirts and dresses. I used to use the “invisible” type of deodorants, like from Secret or Lady Speed Stick, but when it came time for laundry day, I would STILL find a build-up of white residue on the underarms of my dark shirts and dresses. I have not found that kind of residue build-up on my clothes thus far after two months of wearing Native deodorant.

I honestly don’t think I will ever go back to regular deodorants. I am a #GoNative convert. An all-natural deodorant that WORKS. It’s like the magical unicorn of body care products.

Get a free travel-size Native deodorant

If you’re also interested to #GoNative, then you can get a FREE travel-size deodorant with your next purchase by clicking this link. Plus, Native ALWAYS has free shipping and free returns.


Note:  For full transparency, this post is NOT sponsored by the Native brand. I’m writing about Native deodorant because I truly use it every day and love it and want my readers to know about it. However, please know that the link above is a referral link. This means when you get a free travel-size deodorant, then I’m eligible to get one, too. #GoNative!


Have you used an all-natural deodorant? Do you have a favorite brand that you swear by? Have you tried any that didn’t work for you? Please leave a comment and share!


Linkups:  Hello MondayVisible Monday, #iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning Heads, Style With a SmileWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy Wednesday, What I Wore Wednesday, I Feel Pretty Wednesdays, Weekly Wednesday Fashion Linkup,  Whatcha Wearing WednesdayTop of the WorldThursdays Fashion Files, Thursday ModaCelebrating StyleFashion FridayPassion for Fashion, Fun Fashion FridayCharming FridayFriday Favorites, Fancy Friday, Fine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp