I have a habit. Well, I call it a habit. My husband, mom, and therapist call it something else: an addiction. But wait, it's not what you think. I don't crave anything illegal or dangerous -- unless you think infomercials qualify.
You see, one of my favorite things to do is curl up on the couch and witness the Lint Lizard whisk away excess fluff, the InstaHang make picture-positioning A-B-C-D-Easy, and the Hawaii Chair whittle away someone's middle. The excited announcer makes it all seem so effortless! So simple! How can I resist?
I usually can't.
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More often than not, I willingly succumb to the "three easy payments of $19.95" and add to my growing collection of infomercial oddities. After all, what if these really are miracle products. Maybe I really could have the perfect skin, gorgeous hair, and chiseled abs of my infomercial-aided dreams.
I knew what I had to do: I had to try them out. All of them. For one week, I would only use these infomercial products in an attempt to fish out the crap and find the real gems. So keep reading. You know you want to know if that Shake Weight really is worth buying …
Having an excuse to watch infomercials and actually buy stuff all in the name of research? Too good to be true! I start out by perusing a few of my favorites and checking out the As Seen on TV website in case I've missed anything good.
Of course, the best part about these products is you can buy them from the comfort of your home and not have to subject yourself to the judgmental stares of store clerks. But, since I need to get my research done in a week, and can't wait for everything to be shipped, I head out to Bed, Bath & Beyond to pick up a few things. And, yeah, it's kind of embarrassing to buy Pajama Jeans, a facial hair trimmer, and a Slim Away belt in person. The checkout guy was perfectly pleasant (and in true "this is my life" form, ridiculously cute) but I still found myself lying and casually mentioning that the items were for a friend. Don't think he bought it though.
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Well, OK, it's an at-home spa day. There are a few gadgets that I don't have time for during the workweek, but still want to try. First up, that super-fun facial hair trimmer I had to buy in person. The Micro Touch Magic claims to be extra gentle, so I'm not too nervous. My skin is a little red afterwards but that's it. The bummer? It's so gentle that there's still a fair amount of hair left when I've finished. Kind of a letdown.
Next, the ubiquitous PedEgg. In reality, the abrasive surface isn't that different from other foot tools (like the Microplane) but the easy-to-hold shape does make it a breeze to use. My feet are callus-free in no time.
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Last up has to be one of the weirdest things in my new arsenal. It's the Blade Buddy, a tool that sharpens your disposable razors so you can use them much longer than you normally can. I love this idea since razors are freakin' expensive, so I'm really hoping it works. It seems simple enough, you coat it with shaving cream and run the razor along the surface a few times. I don't notice anything different the first time I use it, but by the end of the week I realized my razor was still sharp-ish, or at least sharper than it would have been otherwise. Pretty cool.
I finish my spa day on the couch with my Slanket (which I love shamelessly!) and watching -- what else? -- more infomercials.
The fact that Cindy Crawford looks amazing for her age is the main reason I opted to try her Meaningful Beauty skin care system. That, and because when I was a kid my mom bought her book "Cindy Crawford's Basic Face" and I became obsessed with it. (Is it any wonder I do what I do today?)
Infomercial makeup is all about the minerals, so I decide to try two types: BareMinerals (the one that started it all) and Sheer Cover (Leeza Gibbons' line). This is not my first go-round with mineral makeup, and every other time I've tried it, I've hated it. So I don't exactly have high hopes.
The weird thing is, when I apply either kind and look in the mirror, I feel like I'm wearing way too much and you can see every pore and line. But after a few hours it softened and I actually got a few compliments at work. So I'm still on the fence -- I don't think mineral makeup is for me, but I guess it can look good.
On the upside, while the foundation seems to highlight every flaw, BareMinerals makes some excellent mascara, blush, and eyeshadow, which I happily use.
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Of course, no beauty routine overhaul would be complete without new hair products. So I'm swapping out my usual shampoo and conditioner for Wen, the "revolutionary" cleansing cream from Chaz Dean, and my styling tools (flat iron and curling iron) for the Instyler, the "amazing rotating iron" that claims to both curl and straighten.
I've barely unpacked the Wen box when my husband begs me to throw out the brochure. Apparently Chaz Dean's piercing blue eyes freak him out. Oh-kaay. I make a note of how many pumps of product I need for my hair (16, which sounds insane) and trash the rest of the packaging.
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It's weird to "wash" my hair with conditioner, not to mention glob on so much of it, but the product feels tingly on my scalp and after a lot of massaging and rinsing my hair feels clean. Also a little flatter than usual; too bad I couldn't find any volumizing spray infomercials.
On the other hand, the Instyler claims to volumize as it straightens, so I give that a whirl … and a whirl … and a whirl. But nothing really happens. I've got the heat setting set for my hair type (fine/thin) but it just doesn't seem hot enough and my hair won't straighten. I feel like I'm using the hair version of children's plastic scissors -- I won't damage my hair but I'm having a heck of a time actually styling it.
This project started out as a beauty-based one, but since there's no shortage of workout products on TV, I decide to try one. I go for the iconic shake weight -- both because it claims you only need to do it for five minutes a day.
While I can't keep that South Park episode out of my head while I'm using it, I have to say that I can "feel the burn" in my arms after only a few minutes.
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I also try adding the Slim Away belt to increase my workout. This wrap claims to "seal in body heat to help you lose excess water weight" and "works for everyone -- size 50 down to size 22." I should have read that second part more carefully before I bought the thing, because I'm not quite in that size range (nor is "everyone," but I guess they're taking some liberties). When I try to wrap it around me, it's too big and the zippers won't line up. Looks like I'm hanging onto that water weight after all.
My time as an infomercial junkie has come to an end and, all in all, I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, there were a few duds, but after a week my hair is soft and shiny (if a tad flat), my skin has a glow, and my feet are sandal-ready. Moral of the story: You can find some quality products on TV, but if it sounds too good to be true (looking at you, Instyler and BareMinerals), it probably is.
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