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  • More Quick Product Reviews


    Here are a few more products we’ve tried recently:

    30 Day Shred– This is the latest workout DVD from The Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels. She’s not too annoying and I liked the workouts, which felt effective. But I don’t understand why manufacturers create DVDs so that you can’t skip the minutes-long opening. I don’t have five minutes to listen to Jillian’s spiel every time I work out. So I sold the DVD on Amazon. I guess that’s the barometer – I liked the workouts, but not enough to endure the intro every time I exercised.

    Bic Soleil razor – I hated this razor even more than I hated the Schick Intuition. With the Intuition, I felt like I was getting a good shave, but was afraid that I would cut myself because of the way it was shaped. With the Soleil, I felt like I was scraping sandpaper up my legs. Needless to say, I tossed the razor immediately.

    Oreo Cakesters – Marc described these as “stale Oreos,” which I found to be quite accurate. They’re not unpleasant, but we both prefer regular Oreos to these.

    Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers Cajun Style Chicken & Shrimp – I don’t like frozen entrees very much, but keep a few around for quick meals. They pretty much get divided into two categories: I’d buy them again or I wouldn’t buy them even if they were free. This particular entree falls into the first category – I was pleasantly surprised.

    Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers Sweet Spicy Orange Zest Chicken – Although this dish doesn’t have the crunch of traditional orange chicken, it was perfectly edible and I’d buy it again.

    Previously: Tips for Selling on Amazon and Earlier Quick Product Reviews

    A few Quick Product Reviews


    Fling Milk Chocolate bars – I had a coupon for a free package, so of course I picked one up. Marc said they were really good. Plus, they have an awesome slogan: “Naughty, but not that naughty.”

    AngelSoft toilet paper – I’ve gotten quite a few 4-packs for free after coupon at Ralphs, which is the only reason I even tried this brand. I don’t like it as much as our preferred brands, which are Charmin Ultra and Quilted Northern Ultra. I’ll also buy Cottonelle, if it’s the cheapest, although I don’t like it quite as much as Charmin or Quilted Northern. The AngelSoft is at the bottom of my list, so I’ve decided that I won’t pay for it, but I’ll definitely get it (and use it) when it’s free.

    Kids’ Crest Cavity Protection Sparkle Fun – Alex says this toothpaste is too “spicy” and hates it. He’s had to use it for a week or so, and he still hates it.

    Skintimate Cream Shave – These were free at drugstores a few weeks ago, and I just finished up my first tube. It’s a little weird, because the texture is so different from traditional shaving creams and gels. But I did find my legs were smoother and more moisturized with this “cream shave” versus traditional products. On the flip side, though, it was harder to wash out of the razor. Still, I’m perfectly happy to keep using this. I won’t pay a premium for it when I run out of my free tubes, but I’ll certainly buy it if it’s below my target price for shaving cream of $1 per can/tube.

    Previously: More quick product reviews

    Quick Product Reviews Part 4


    If you like these reviews, don’t forget to read my previous quick product reviews: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three. Most of these items were free or almost free thanks to coupons and sales.

    Garnier Fructis Fortifying Deep Conditioner – I got this conditioner free in a bonus pack last fall as part of a money-making deal at Walgreens. (Thanks again, Mercedes!) I liked the product a lot, but wouldn’t pay money for it when I’m getting all of my hair-care products for free in The Drugstore Game.

    Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser – I used up my last bottle of ProActiv cleanser and really didn’t want to pay the high price for a new one. Since the active ingredient is benzoyl peroxide, I looked for a drugstore cleanser with it as the main ingredient and found this product. It’s a lot harsher than ProActiv, so it’s dried my skin out a little bit, which the ProActiv never did. It also did nothing to prevent PMS-induced breakouts, which was a little worse than with ProActiv but only lasted about three days. The end verdict is that I’m sticking with this product for the price, which is less than one-third the price of ProActiv.

    Head & Shoulders Intensive Solutions zinc pyrithione shampoo– I don’t know if Head & Shoulders even makes this anymore since I can’t find it on their web site (link goes to Amazon for the picture; they’re out of stock). I don’t like this shampoo as much as the Herbal Essences version, so as long as that’s available, I won’t be buying more of this even if I can find it.

    Trader Joe’s Chocolate Decadence cereal – This is basically a chocolate granola, and it’s divine with milk or yogurt. It used to be $3.29 per box, but now it’s $1.99 per box – still expensive for cereal, considering I’ve been buying some for less than 20 cents per box, but worth it.

    Quaker Simple Harvest Chewy Multigrain Granola Bars – These are on the dry side, and not very tasty. For free, they’re a fine snack, but I wouldn’t pay for them.

    Keebler Sandies Shortbread Cookies
    – When I find these on steep sale, I pick up a few packages to take to the boys’ preschool. The teachers love them.

    Always Infinity pads – As pads go, these are super thin with great absorption. I won’t pay for them, since I can get pads for free through The Drugstore Game, but these are worth making extra trips for when they’re available for free. (Click through to sign up for a free sample.)

    Harry Potter: Books 6 and 7 – Having finally let go of the Twilight books, I’ve been rereading the sixth and seventh books in the Harry Potter series. They are even better than I remembered.

    Quick Product Reviews Part 3


    As with my previous quick product reviews, these are products that are new to me, and not necessarily new products. I acquired most of the products through the judicious use of coupons; some were free samples. 🙂

    • Quilted Northern Ultra Plush – I liked this very much and have added it to my very short list of acceptable toilet papers.
    • Schick Quattro for Women – As I mentioned in round one, I hated the Schick Intuition razor. The Quattro is okay, though. The Venus Embrace has a wider blade, so each stroke covers more area, which is my preference. But I’ve been using the Quattro for a couple of months and it’s been fine.
    • L’Oreal Advanced Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle Concentrate – The Revitalift products were free at drugstores in the late fall, and I’ve been using this one on my neck for a few months. (I’m afraid to use it on my very sensitive face.) Honestly, I haven’t noticed a scintilla of difference. I’ll probably keep using the products since they’re free and as long as they’re not irritating my skin, they can’t hurt. But I would never recommend spending money on them.
    • Pentel Handy-Line permanent marker – I think these are supposed to be comparable to Sharpies, but I had a retractable one that dried out much faster than my retractable Sharpie. I’m sticking with Sharpies.
    • Chex Mix cereal bars – We’ve tried the Turtle and Chocolate Chunk varieties and both are good. They’re kind of chewy and hard on the teeth, though – maybe they’ll be easier to eat in the summer because they’ll be a little softer.
    • Kashi cereal bars – The boys have been eating Trader Joe’s cereal bars as an on-the-go snack for months, and Alex likes the Kashi version but Tyler doesn’t. I don’t care too much for cereal bars in general (they’re basically Nutri-grain bars, but these are a little more natural), but I’m sure there’s a subtle difference that Tyler is picking up on.
    • Kellogg’s Fiber Plus bars – These are more cardboard-like than the Chex bars, but they have a lot more fiber because of that. They’re okay, but they’re not my first choice for a quick snack.
    • Quaker High Fiber instant oatmeal – The extra fiber seems to be the result of serious chemicals, the flavor of which really comes through. I’m eating what we’ve opened, but I won’t buy more.
    • Cascade Action Gel Packs (Apple Cinnamon) – The apple cinnamon variety was on clearance at Target a couple of months ago (maybe because they don’t make them anymore?) so I snagged two 25-count bags for just 25 cents a piece. Fortunately, the scent doesn’t linger – which is a very good thing, because it’s not a good smell. The dishes still get clean, though, and that’s what really matters.

    More Quick Product Reviews


    My first post on quick product reviews was well-received, so here are a few more reviews. I’ve included items that were new to me, but not necessarily new on the market. I acquired these items through The Drugstore Game and free sample sites.

    1. Bounty Basic paper towels – These are bigger and stronger than CVS brand towels, but not nearly as strong or thick as regular Bounty, which is our usual paper towel. I’ll buy these again at a good price, but not as my first choice.
    2. Electrasol Powerball Tabs – I got these when they were a moneymaker at Rite Aid, but didn’t like them because sometimes they didn’t dissolve completely. This may be because I use the “short wash” cycle on my dishwasher, and/or because my dishwasher is quite old. I will probably still buy them if they are free, but they’re not my first choice (which remains Cascade gel).
    3. Electrasol Gelpacks – These were also a moneymaker at Rite Aid, and I got them because I didn’t like the tabs. I again found that sometimes there was a residue left in the dishwasher, which could be due to the reasons already mentioned. There was less residue if I filled the rinse cup with vinegar (which is a fabulous frugal alternative to commercial rinsing agents). Again, I’d buy these if they were free, but not as my first choice
    4. Kotex Ultra Thin Pads – The last time I used Kotex before I tried it recently was 20 years ago. I remembered them as unwieldy thick pads, and completely inferior to Always. But a free sample from Wal-Mart showed me that Kotex had caught up with the times, and that I was wasting money by being brand loyal to Always. I’ve since bought quite a few Kotex pads, since there are often good coupons and sales.
    5. Walgreens brand pads – These seem to work as well as name brand pads.
    6. CVS brand pads – Ditto. I’m definitely not brand loyal to any feminine pad anymore.
    7. Scott Extra Soft toilet paper – A month of two ago, Wal-Mart offered a full size roll of this toilet paper as a free sample. And it turned out to be a perfectly acceptable toilet paper, if you’re okay with public restroom quality toilet paper at home. But since our preferred brand is Charmin Ultra, this Scott TP is just too thin for us and we won’t be buying it unless it’s totally free.
    8. Cottonelle toilet paper – Although we don’t like Cottonelle as much as Charmin, it’s an acceptable substitute at the right price. And the CVS deal a couple of weeks ago was definitely the right price – we actually have more Cottonelle than Charmin in our stockpile now.

    Quick Product Reviews


    One of the many awesome things about The Drugstore Game is that I get to try lots of new products for free or almost-free. Some have been delightful surprises, others shocking disappointments.

    I’m going to start posting brief reviews of some of these items in case anyone is wondering what is and isn’t worth spending money on. There are too many items for one post, so this will be an ongoing series. I’ll start with one of my absolute favorite new items.

    1. Garnier Fructis Instant Melting Conditioner – This was free after Single Check Rebate at Rite Aid last month. I just started using it and it’s awesome. “Melting” is a great descriptor for it. This is one item I will make a special trip for when it’s on sale/free. In fact, I’m hoping it’s included in the 2/$3 after-SCR-deal that started yesterday in LA and starts tomorrow in most places. I’m sure I have coupons, so although I now “buy” shampoo and conditioner only if it’s free, I’ll gladly pay $1 for two of these.
    2. Schick Intuition razor – This was free at CVS a while back, but I just started using it. Unlike the Melting Conditioner, it’s awful. It’s huge and clunky and I keep feeling like I’m going to cut myself. I don’t even know if I can keep using it until the blade dulls, because I feel like I’m tempting fate too much. On the bright side, this is the only moisturizing strip I’ve ever had that actually feels like a moisturizing strip – I mean, it’s slimy in a good way, if that makes any sense.
    3. Schick Slim Twin razor – I picked up a free-after-coupon travel pack of these, and Marc promptly declared them his favorite razor for that area between his nose and his upper lip – the razor is indeed slim, so it gets in there better than any razor he’s had since I met him 10 years ago. It also seems to have a similar moisturizing strip as the Intuition. I actually paid for two full size packs of these when Walgreens had a great deal on them a couple of months ago, to make sure that Marc is well-stocked.
    4. Nizarol – My dermatologist recommended this anti-dandruff shampoo after he diagnosed me with alopecia areata (which I’m happy to report has completely filled in). I bought a bottle at Walgreens for $14.99 using a $10/$30 coupon at the end of May. But I don’t think this shampoo works that well on long hair, because it doesn’t lather much. I never felt like my hair was getting clean when I used it.
    5. Herbal Essences No Flakin’ Way – My dermatologist had also mentioned anti-dandruff shampoos containing zinc pyrithione, although he seemed to prefer Nizarol. But since the Nizarol really wasn’t working for me and I continued to have a little dandruff, I took advantage of Drugstore.com’s double cash back day at Ebates and bought three bottles of Herbal Essences No Flakin’ Way and two bottles of Head & Shoulders Intensive Solutions. I can’t find the Herbal Essences at local drugstores, and the Head & Shoulders is pretty expensive and excluded from the occasional sale, so I was happy with my deal. I’ve been using the Herbal Essences and it’s worked great. I get a good lather, my hair feels clean, and best of all, the dandruff is now gone. (I haven’t tried the H&S yet but will let you know how I like it when I do.)
    6. Gillette Venus Embrace – This is a much better razor than the Intuition. It’s a normal shape and size, and I don’t feel like I’m going to cut myself. The replacement blades are expensive, but I just keep getting free razors so it hasn’t been a problem yet. I do feel guilty about the environmental impact of continually replacing the razor instead of just the blade, but not bad enough to want to pay for the blades.
    7. SoyJoy bars – These were a money maker at CVS a couple of months ago, so I bought the maximum of 20 bars. But they tasted pretty bad. I think it’s an individual thing, and if you have the chance to try one for free, you should because you might like it. But I wouldn’t pay to find out.
    8. Walgreens brand diapers – One of my very first posts was about my brand loyalty to Pampers Cruisers, because they were the only diaper we trusted. We had massive blowouts with Huggies but not with Pampers, and although I knew that other brands might be cheaper, it just wasn’t worth the risk. But now, three years later, I’ve finally decided to risk other brands. The deals are just too irresistible, and Tyler’s old enough that we don’t have blowouts anymore. In fact, he’s just starting to potty train, so hopefully I won’t be buying diapers for that much longer. I’ve got a package of Luvs I need to try, but in the meantime, we’re into our second package of Walgreens brand diapers. The first package was Premium but the second isn’t, and both types have been perfectly fine. We don’t use them at night, because I’ve taken the Walgreens diapers to daycare, but I’ll gladly buy them again when they’re on super sale.
    9. Huggies Clean Team wipes – My diaper loyalty was with Pampers, my baby wipes preference was with Huggies, but my flushable wipes loyalty was back with Pampers. I think when it came to flushable wipes, it actually had less to do with loyalty than knowledge: if I recall correctly, Kandoo products came on the market first, and I didn’t even realize Huggies made flushable wipes until fairly recently. Even though flushable wipes are hard on toilets (never flush more than two at a time!), we prefer them because it really does make wiping easier. Huggies seems to regularly put out $3 off 2 Clean Team coupons, so I’ve gotten good deals on the wipes. I think they tear a little more easily than Kandoo wipes but I’m definitely deciding which to buy based solely on price.
    10. CVS brand paper towels – These are awful and I’m never buying them again. They are small sheets and not very strong, the exact opposite of what you want in a paper towel.

    Image credit: Garnier.com.