What’s Good At Walgreens


I’ve recently had a revelation that everything I’ve ever bought at Rite-Aid/Walgreens/CVS/Duane Reade SUCKS and has failed to live up to its ambitious promises. (Except for cashews, ibuprofen, tampons and BioSilk.)

I estimate I’ve wasted at least a billion dollars in my life so far — SO FAR! — chasing impossible dreams of shiny hair, itch relief and clear sinuses. I may be a radical lesbian socialist feminist, but apparently that hasn’t stopped me from developing a traditionally consumerist/capitalist destructive/abusive relationship with the drugstore.

via thisisnthappiness.com

I felt like I was on a roll this year with anti-establishment ethos because last year I practically effortlessly killed my #1 Destructive Relationship With Consumerism: Reading what we refer to as “Women’s Magazines” (e.g., Glamour and Marie Claire).

via luna.typepad.com

See, as a “magazine person,” I read like 20 mags/month, and the Lady-Mags were enjoyable enough although I suspected they were brainwashing me into feeling I needed shinier hair. But last year those mags just got BORING.  Oh look, here’s an article about stuff I could buy if I had money but I don’t and if I did shouldn’t we be spending our money on arts education for public school students instead of on our eyelashes? Also airbrushing is boring the FUCK out of me, who said it was a good idea to make everyone look EXACTLY THE SAME. This isn’t complicated, America.

Anyhow, I don’t like those anymore and lest I revel in my enlightenment for one additional minute, I realize a far bigger problem has been lurking in the darkness all this time. It is Walgreens.

I’m sure you’re at the edge of your beanbag chair with anticipation about what brought me to this major life revelation which I hope some of you can relate to. It began on Friday night, when I dyed my hair orange.

This happens to me constantly, I’m an idiot, the little plastic castle is a surprise every time. So on Saturday I visited some cheap hair salon to get it fixed. Four hours later, my hair looked FANTASTIC but my scalp was ON FIRE.

That’s what happens when you bleach your own hair and then let somebody slather dye on to your scalp 24 hours later.

“I need a like, treatment, like a conditioner thingie to soothe my scalp,” I tell my friendly companion.

“Like what?”

“Some kind of leave-in treatment or something. Can we just go to Walgreens and see what they have?”


I’ve spent ten minutes staring blankly at the aisles and itching my head when my companion inquires if there’s something specific I’m trying to find, and if so, where might she assist me in locating it. When she asks me this, I’m standing dumbly in the African-American hair section, investigating oils. I’m trying to find something I haven’t already tried during previous times of crisis and thinking WHICH OF THESE OVERPRICED, SEDUCTIVELY PACKAGED AND ULTIMATELY COMPLETELY! FUCKING! USELESS PRODUCTS CAN I SPEND MY NON-EXISTENT MONEY ON TODAY? I HAVEN’T TRIED AVOCADOS!

Now, I’ve dealt with this exact scalp problem before. I’ve read 56 Yahoo! Answers, several Web MD articles, seven specialized message board threads and googled variations on ‘hair dye scalp itch’ until my fingers bled. So I get very uppity when my expertise on any number of minor ailments and their various remedies is questioned.

“What about this T-Gel stuff? It says ‘for moderate to severe–”

“Nope, that never works, tried it.”

“Tea tree oil?”

“Nope nope made it worse.”

“This Nioxin thing says it’ll treat –”

“That’s not true, that package is a bottle of lies!”

“Maybe we should go somewhere else–”

“No! Something here will fix me. Something will fix me I JUST HAVE TO FIND IT.”

My friend then departs in search of a salesperson’s assistance, which is both adorable and something I would never do. She’s Canadian and therefore probs unaware that here in America, our drugstore clerks are usually on drugs and know nothing about the store.

I’m staring at conditioning treatments when she returns to say they’re out of hair oil and to provide another bevy of suggestions for me to shoot down.

This is when it begins to dawn on me.


At this point in my years of consumption, selecting products at the drugstore isn’t about selecting a logical solution. It’s doing the mental arithmetic of which products have already failed me and which have yet to fail me and promptly purchasing the latter.

Something is not right here. After buying three things from Forever 21 that fell apart after the first wash, I stopped shopping there. Yet here I was in Walgreens.

I ask my friend if the stuff she buys at the drugstore works.

“All I really buy here is Old Spice,” she says, shrugging. “The only requirement is that it smells good.”

I pat her on the head. “Sigh, you’re such a simple boy.”

“And toothbrushes. Those are hard to fuck up.”

“You’d be surprised.”

Why does my reach so often exceed my grasp? Is it because ads and TV commercials are constantly telling us something better is out there and training our friends to offer product suggestions when an illness or problem of some kind is brought up?

Yup — the next thing could be THE THING. Buttttt it’s also likely that it won’t be!

Me: I have decided that Walgreens is robbing me. No over-the-counter medicine ever works. No hair product. You know what worked better for pimples than Oxy? NOTHING.
Laneia: That is true yes.
Me: Doing absolutely NOTHING made the pimple go away faster.
Laneia: I read a hippie book and there was a part about how when you focus on something that’s negative, it stays. So like, when you’re constantly trying to get rid of a zit, it will stay, b/c you won’t let it go mentally.
Me: Why do we buy the lies?
Laneia: Because it’s instant gratification I think. It feels like improvement in the aisle before you even pay for it. Like — THIS will make something better so you’ll have the space to think of something else so YES you will buy it!
Me: I can’t believe it took 28 years for me to figure this out
Laneia: Well also –we’re programmed, you and I, to try to find solutions because of insurance and our lack of it / lack of good insurance
Me: Exactly. If I had a real doctor I could just call? I can’t even imagine.
Laneia: I remember having a place right down the road. And you just go. Like Riese, you just go.
Me: Yeah I had a “family physician.”
Laneia: You just block off like an hour, and you’re good.
Me: There was a “well child” side and a “sick child” side.
Laneia: I’m jealous of my own children because of their health care.

And what happens when a product doesn’t work or makes things worse? We buy another product, or we go to the professional we would’ve probably visited the first time if we had health insurance/time. Back in the heyday of my youth I recall never seeking an over-the-counter solution to ANYTHING. In college, I’d just go straight to the health clinic every time I had a problem and get it fucking FIXED. (However, my relationship to “beauty” products has pretty much been an issue all my life.)

Am I a superhuman particularly resistant to anything that doesn’t come from the earth or a doctor’s office? Maybe. I never get colds or flus or fevers, I never take antibiotics unless it’s a LAST RESORT — to some degree, I’ve trained my immune system to not get scared of the natural world or copious amounts of recreational drugs & alcohol. But it remains very scared of processed chemicals.

Is trial & error ever actually worth it?

I have assembled, with the help of other dissatisfied customers, a list of shit that doesn’t work. Yeah, the research was done on a sample size of “1” person (not always the same person, though!) But whatever, this isn’t the Mayo Clinic. Let us know in the comments what works / doesn’t work for you!


1. Secret Platinum Protection (no better than regular Secret)
2. Tend-Skin Razor Burn Treatment
3. Mitchum (claims you can “skip a day” due to its strength, this is false)
4. Frizz-Ease Curl‑Boosting Mousse
5. Clear Eyes Drops
6. Any “volumizing” hair brush
7. Any “nail strenghtening polish remover”
8. L’Oreal Paris “Out of Bed” Texturizer
9. Monistat 1-Day/3-day/7-day
10. Any over-the-counter acne spot treatment
11. Tylenol Cold & Sinus
12. Cloraseptic (“you can’t get it on the spot that’s sore unless it’s on the tippy-top of your mouth”)
13. “Spray self-tanner, that shit says two shades darker and it’s NOT.”
14. Advil for Arthritis
15. Dermarest Eczema Medicated Lotion
16. Icy-Hot
17. Anbesol
18. Bayer Back & Body Ache
19. Certain Dri (“gave me a rash, did not stop the sweating”)
20. Sominex
21. Affrin Nasal Spray (“made me addicted to affrin”)
20. Herbal Essences Hairspray (“That hairspray SUCKS. HARD.”)
21. Feria Hair Colour (this one landed me in the hospital, actually)
22. Midol (“makes me jittery”)
23. All Whitening Toothpastes
24. Neutrogena Build-a-Tan
25. Nads
26. Orajel
27. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Chip-Free Top Coat
28. Any “long-lasting” lip color
29. Anything by Wet ‘n Wild



1. Ibuprofen
2. For radiant! skin!:  Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser & Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer.
3. For Shane/Allison-in-The-Breakfast Club eyes: CoverGirl Eyeliner Perfect Blend Pencil Black/Brown. (Also put concealer on your top eyelid and use the eyeliner as inefficient eye shadow for long-lasting smoky flavor)
4. For Silky Hair: Biosilk Silk Therapy
5. For Razor Burn: Bikini Zone Medicated Creme (you know) & Nivea for Men Sensitive After Shave Balm (legs)
6. To avoid razor burn altogether: Nivea for Men Shaving Gel, Sensitive
7. Studio 35 Nail Polish Remover
8. For long-lasting manicures: OPI Black Onyx
9. To prevent or protect blisters: Moleskin.
10. Toilet Paper


1. Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Extra Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner.
2. Noxzema (Riese also likes Noxzema)
3. Blistex DCT
4. Eucerine original cream
5. Aveeno positively nourishing smoothing body wash (pomegranate and rice)
6. Sally Hansen Insta-Dry in Cinnasnap
7. Unisom sleepgels

SO what happened to my head? I got some dumb products, per ushe. The Benadryl Itch Cream gave me a rash on my neck. The “deep treatment” conditioner had no impact, but I’ll def still use it. The baby oil made my hair oily.

Basically, after 29 years on earth, this experience finally convinced me that we’re all pawns in a massive government / corporate conspiracy wherin Johnson & Johnson sells us a product that fucks us with one hand and a product that allegedly fixes it on the other. So the best bet is to do away with chemicals altogether.

What fixed my poor head?


And switching to chemical-free all-natural shampoo/conditioner.


Here’s what sucks: drugstore shit is cheaper than organic shit. But sometimes it’s better to just get the massage straight away instead of wasting money on the Icy-Hot and Asprin.

So at this point — in my TOTALLY UNEDUCATED OPINION — any problem you have, whether it be “limp, lifeless hair” or “shooting pains in your uterus,” is best solved using:

1) Home or natural remedy

2) Stop using chemicals on things, cut out refined sugar

3) Nothing, just wait (this is what I usually do as I’m paradoxically convinced that most physical illness is actually mental/emotional)

4) Obtaining services and/or prescriptions or other professionally distributed products from a professional like a doctor or dentist or hairstylist or makeup artist

Anyone wanna talk about shit that works? Go to town OPEN THREAD.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3198 articles for us.


  1. I don’t get the flu or sick very often but basically any time I have an ache or illness my decision is to “sleep on it”. I’m convinced that everything will go away with lots of sleep usually over just one/possibly two nights.
    This especially works with random body aches. It’s almost a sure cure.

    • I have this same idea. I rarely want to take medication, except pain killers, when I’m sick. Last time I got a cold and then a sinus infection on top of it and my mother had to force me to take antibiotics. My mother, calling me twice a day to remind me to take pills, was just too embarrassing…

      Usually “sleep on it” is a good policy.

  2. And switching to chemical-free all-natural shampoo/conditioner.

    Like Dr. Bronner’s? Walgreens has that.

    • I have an irrational hatred of Dr Bronner’s cause I thought I was being healthy by using it for everything but didn’t understand why I was a pile of itch and my scalp got worse using the tea tree one as shampoo.

      Apparently, I’m allergic to coconut and it’s in (nearly) everything they sell. I’m a little bitter about it.

      But for those of you sans allergies, go to your local health food store or wherevs and buy this stuff. It works for EVERYTHING. However, in the words of my brother, “make sure you dilute it or it will burn your nipples.” (the peppermint)

      • I love Dr. Bronners! I use the peppermint one to clean my piercings because it makes them feel fresh and clean without irritating them. I second the dilution suggestion, it will totally burn your nipples!

      • FYI. Do not do dishes with it……I once thought it would be efficient to use one big bottle of Dr. Bronners for everything that needed soap. (I was camping at a music festival) …..everything I ate tasted like peppermint. The whole weekend. It would not go away.


        anyways, big YES to Dr. Bronners. only, don’t use it as mouthwash/toothpaste because it tastes way way way worse than it smells and makes you foam like a raccoon. I don’t dilute it and my nipples are still intact and burn free but it makes my nether regions tingle in a decidedly unpleasant manner.

        Shit That Does Work on my terrible, acne-prone skin: Acne.org products. kinda expensive, but HOT DAMN it is the only reason I can not be on birth control without looking like a spotty mess.

    • i use aubrey organics.

      it doesn’t make my hair as nice as the chemicals do, but when i kill my scalp, i use it.

      • I have a horrible itchy scalp. I’ve tried the tea tree (9 dollars a bottle!) Neutrogena, Head and Shoulders, none of it worked. What Im using right now is J.R. Liggetts natural shampoo bar that I got from a local small business called Green Earth Grocery. It didnt make my scalp not itch, but I dont get the residue and my hairstylist said my hair felt really healthy.

  3. as someone who has wasted hundreds of dollars at the drugstore, i consider myself an expert. what doesn’t work: john freida frizz ease shampoo or conditioner, any deodorant that has “clinical” in the title, covergirl liquid eyeliner (spent fucking eight dollars on that shit and i’m still fucking bitter) covergirl lip stains, biore pore strips (i’m actually torn on this one because it does work sometimes, but for six plus dollars, sometimes ain’t cutting it) WHAT DOES WORK: revlon nail polishes, dove deodorant and bodywash, SKINTAMINT, john frieda serum and hair cream, st. ives apricot scrub, maybeline falsies mascara, chloraseptic, and olay four in one face wipes (for lazy people!!)

        • skintimate! like intimate…for your skin.

          i concur, it totally works. my legs were a more painful/itchier place before i started using it…but now i’m out and i have yet to go to the drugstore. thus, last time i shaved…razor burn. :\

    • great. now i’m gonna have to go buy that mascara tomorrow. also i have a lot of feelings about this/spend too much money at work so i can figure out what works/doesn’t.

      • if it’s mascara you’re after, i highly recommend covergirl’s lash blast. after ages of trying to find the perfect mascara that wouldn’t empty my wallet, i found this & haven’t looked back.

    • covergirl liquid eyeliner — I CANNOT MAKE THIS WORK FOR ME.

      I actually also use Dove deodorant and revlon nail polish. I think OPI is better but Revlon isn’t that much worse and it’s much cheaper.

      • covergirl liquid eyeliner was a waste of my fucking time and money. asshole. i basically bought it because it had a foam tip, which i’ve heard is good for non-expert make-up wearers and so when i got home, i was excited to try it. when i opened the bottle, the motherfucker was dry. it was in a sealed package, so it made absolutely no sense that it was dry. when i turned the bottle over, some clear liquid came out, and so i threw the whole thing away. #coolstorybro

        if you want an alternative to liquid eyeliner, gel eyeliner works great and comes in a cute little pot. the maybeline version works great, but also stila smudge pots last longer…

        • i haven’t tried stila, but mac fluidline is good. as is the bobbi brown version. i just use it with a cheap art store small angled brush. the maybelline is drier compared with the others i’ve tried & i’ve found and doesn’t go on as smoothly or quite as dark as liquid liner would look. liquid liner in a felt tip pen type deal is easy to use as well. i can’t use a traditional liquid liner to save my life. #feelings

        • Physician’s Formula has a pen-style liquid eyeliner with a foamy tip and I love it more than Shane.

    • hm, clinical strength deodorant has worked for me (I think it was Secret?) as well as Biore pore strips (I used one from my sister’s pack of them on my nose when I went home for thanksgiving, and by the time I went back for Christmas I still did not have any acne on my nose, so I have been using those things ever since)

    • Second on John Frieda Serum. I use the Orange Kind for heat damage and it does work. Shiny ass hair. Be careful not to use too much tho. Even if you have long hair, two drops is plenty.
      Second on Dove Deodorant. I’ve never had bad luck with anything Dove, really, but their deodorant kicks ass!
      also Garnier Fructis stuff has always been good to me.

      Neutrogenia is recommended by my dermatologist and its good shit too. I like their makeup, shits expensive but WORTH IT.

  4. My family is decidedly anti-anythingnotorganic. Like, we don’t go to the doctor unless we actually think we’re going to die, we don’t take pills, we don’t get shots, etc. I was really sick for a week, and my aunt who is a homeopathist gave me the following herbs/minerals/elements/vitamins: echinacea, astralgus, nettles, mullein garlic, vitamin c, vitamin b, vitamin d, iron, calcium/magnesium, phosphorus, arsenicum (arsenic. Not even kidding.), and a couple other things that I don’t remember how to spell/say.
    So, to summarize, I was out for a week with a splitting headache and 104 fever, and my family feeds me arsenic.
    And I guess it worked, because I got better a couple days after taking it.
    Don’t go to Walgreens. Arsenic works better.

  5. This is a beautiful article and is the kind of thing that would actually make me want to read a “women’s magazine.” I don’t even want to start listing the things that don’t work but since my new year’s resolution is positivity, here’s what does:
    +NYC nail polish. That stuff costs $1 and lasts days longer than the $5 kind.
    +This really thick eucerin brand cream that is more like cement than actual lotion. I’ve been perscribed 23897 different creams and this is the only thing that keeps my skin from falling off in the winter.

  6. I’m a fan of Sudafed for that nasal congestion after a cold that JUST. WON’T. LEAVE. But of course, nowadays if you try to buy Sudafed, you might as well be wearing a turban in an airport.

    And the stuff they replace it with, phenylwhatsit, doesn’t do shit.

    • “But of course, nowadays if you try to buy Sudafed, you might as well be wearing a turban in an airport.”

      WIN! (especially in rural Missouri, the meth capitol (or al? i can never remember) of the northern midwest! (we can’t beat arkansas at meth manufacturing. . .)

    • XD that is weirdly awesome. But why are there so many pictures of Ed Hardy things?? Ed Hardy is not gay. Ed Hardy is for jerkwads.

  7. Shit that works, at least for me:
    Dr Bronner’s, as mentioned by Brianna.
    AquaNet hairspray (That shit is STRONG- I use it on my mohawk and it stays solid all day. Also can be used for coating charcoal drawings.)
    Nyquil (the poor girl’s sleeping pills)
    Sally Hansen Diamond Strength nail polish
    Splat hair dye

    • i would also submit dayquil as the poor girl’s adderall

      and also aussie 3-minute miracle. i’m all about that.

      • YES I just started using 3-Minute Miracle! I love it more than cookies. I have to use it every day because winter makes my hair die and behave sort of like straw. And not shampooing just makes it stick up in odd places. Next year I will be living in LA instead of Ohio and I won’t have to deal with this bullshit weather ever again. But in the meantime, 3-Minute Miracle.

    • Yes! Hairspray for coating charcoal drawings! …. sometimes I feel like its not so good for the lifespan of the paper/drawing though…

      • Some hairspray discolours paper.

        But the hairspray my sister uses doesn’t. :D And so far, my drawings are still fine. Also, yes, I don’t think this is going to help in the long run, but pshh, my art doesn’t need archiving.

    -Benzoyl peroxide 2.5% (nothing else ACTUALLY works for zits. Use generic)
    -Glide floss is worth the exorbitant $3.59. Suddenly, flossing is better than sex!!!
    -Outlast Lipstain (Krista was SO RIGHT http://effingdykes.blogspot.com/2010/09/bikini-kill.html)
    -Arizona Iced Tea because it’s ONLY A DOLLAR
    -Circus peanuts make a delicious breakfast
    -Vitamin D helps you never get sick and iron pills give you energy

    This thread reminds me of the first website I ever loved:

  9. Little secret for you guys:

    Fuck the clinical strength deodorant. Just buy men’s (something unscented if you don’t like smelling deliciously manly, which I kinda do). It costs like 1/3 the money.

    But I still get that problem where I have to switch deodorant brands every one or two sticks because it starts to smell funny on me. Anyone else have that problem?

    Stuff that works for me:
    Pepto-bismol (sometimes)
    Monistat (varying degrees of working–Riese, I am very very sorry that it does not work for you. I have to get the one day because by day two or three of the other one my body freaks out and itches like mad)
    Probiotics (again sometimes)

    I’m kind of a hippie tho and I try to use natural remedies where possible, so I use things like a vinegar rinse for dandruff (IT WORKS GREAT).

    • i don’t think the one-day kind had been invented yet the last time i tried that stuff? i think it was invented within the last 10 years or something

    • I use clinical strength women’s d.o. because the men’s kind interacts with my sweat (i think it is the iron?) and leaves AWFUL AWFUL yellow marks on all my white clothing. I think it depends on the p.H. of your body on what will work best.

      • the AWFUL AWFUL yellow marks are from aluminum. half credit for iron though, as they are both metals.

  10. good: got2b spiking putty works (short hair) also doesn’t make your hair all hard and painful
    and manic panic hair dye not permanent but good if your like me and change your hair color every two weeks

    bad: any thing involving butters coco or others(smell good though)

    as for meds i take full advantage of the Canadian health care system (so i can be of no real assistance)

    • oh jeez, cocoa butter works freaking great on my skin. lotion with cocoa butter in it? nope, no more effective than any other lotion everrr. but if you get those little sticks that are 100%, then it’s awesome.

      • Cocoa butter sticks are better than chapstick, except once I got bored and ate half of it because it smelled like chocolate

        • as a little kid, I ate half a tube of Avon bubblegum lip whatever because it was just delicious. we can be friends, Petra

  11. Forget Tylenol Cold and Sinus. This may sound a bit disgusting but if you have bad sinus problems, irrigating your sinuses with a nasal bulb syringe using warm distilled water mixed in with some non-iodized salt is a pretty good home remedy that works for me.

    • yeah there is this netty pot thing that i think people use? tylenol cold and sinus makes me dizzy and lightheaded and kind of nauseous

      • salty water works well for me with regards to the sinus problems. NONE of the over the counter sinus medication has ever helped me, it’s all shit.

        i pretty much have sinus problems all of the time but i find when it starts to get crazy if i take an antihistamine tablet everyday for like 4 or 5 days in a row it tends to clear it up for like a month or so

  12. I have to use about eleven different things on my hair, or it feels like wire. Now I’m just wondering which of those are the nine that don’t work…

  13. I have super curly hair that frizzes and looks a hot mess basically anytime I don’t have some serious product in it. (And if it’s humid outside, I might as well not have bothered.) I’ve tried absolutely everything. Do you know how hard it is to find hair products for mixed/bi-racial hair? Walk right on past Frizz Ease and any of the other serums. They’re useless. Sun Silk cream for curls worked until they changed their damn formula, so that’s out. Skip over to Garnier’s Sleek & Shine Smoothing Milk (except what I use is a cream and only reminds me of milk b/c it’s white…) works wonders and is super cheap. Like under three dollars cheap for a decent sized bottle.

    Also, Pantene’s Curly Hair – Dry to Moisturized works too. I love Pantene, because it’s always worked. They haven’t ever completely changed their product and screwed me over like most other things I’ve tried.

    Pepto-Bismol (or generic, at CVS anyways) usually works pretty well.

    Eucerin or Aveeno lotions work. Aveeno Baby is really good if you have super sensitive skin.

    NYC eyeliner. I’ve had the stick I paid $0.99 for years. Um, I also like Cover Girl’s Lashexact mascara. It’s the purple one. Otherwise, I don’t wear a lot of make-up.

    • Omg curly hair products…I am not biracial, but I can totally relate. Somehow, I am the only person with freakishly curly hair in my family.

      Have you ever noticed that they cancel the good curly hair products after like a year or two? Happens to me every. damn. time. Just when I get settled into using something.

      • every. single. fucking. time.

        I don’t know if they just like to play games with us or what, but it ALWAYS happens. I find something I like and then they suddenly get rid of it for no reason at all. I’m just happy to find someone to share this pain with me, because I’m the only one with curly hair in my family too. I have a brother, so his hair gets to be short and manageable.

        Also, this is slightly off topic, but do random people come up to you and go “oh! I love your hair” and then touch it? People do that to me. I don’t know why they have to be all up in my personal space just because my hair boings. When I was still in middle and high school, I felt like I needed a “No Touching” sign.

        • Oops, now I feel kinda bad. My wife has the curls you describe and when she has that mass of hair in a fluffy ponytail I regularly squeeze it while saying “floof!” Yes, she hates it. In my defense, I only do this at night when it doesn’t matter if I mess it all up. I, on the other hand, have the dreaded “wavy” hair…not straight, not curly, just BIG. Bleh.

          • It’s different if it’s someone you know, though. Family members (excluding my least favorite aunt) and close friends are allowed to touch my hair if they see fit. Especially makeout partners…mm I love that.

            The problem is with strangers and acquaintances. You think I’m joking…but no. And sometimes they don’t even ask. Exceptions are made for those under 5 years of age, but you would not believe the teenagers and adults (adults!) that think this is a good plan.

        • OH. MY. GOD.

          that is only the story of my life!



          This girl at breakfast had the nerve to touch my hair when I was hungover without asking…Needless to say, it did not end well. I had only met her once before! And she was fucking annoying.

          People are weird…No, it’s really not socially acceptable for you to PET A STRANGER. really. trust me.

          Also, do you ever get “is that a perm or is it real?”
          Um, I don’t know…is it 1987? Do I look 75? No? Okay, proooobably not a perm.

          • I get that question allll the time. Oh wait, does my hair look chemically fried to you? No? Okay, then.

            Even friends sometimes get on my nerves with the touching thing. I can deal with it if you just occasionally HAVE to touch my hair, and you ask first. People don’t get it though. If you touch it, IT GETS FRIZZY! I didn’t spend 10 minutes brushing the tangles out, so that you could come and run your fingers through it and make it look bad until the next time I take a spray bottle of water, brush, and cream to it. Thank you very much.

          • I relate to tthis… my hair isn’t even curly, or all that especially touch-inducing but i have this thing about people touching my head and SERIOUSLY why do people think it is ok to just reach out and touch someone’s hair?!!?!
            i feel like i was taught not to do this as a kid. are people not doing this now? can we go back to it? please and thanks.

            the only person allowed to touch my hair without asking is my mom, because she cannot be stopped and she gave birth to me, and whoever is coloring/cutting it. even makeout partners need to ask or it creeps me out.

        • Random creepers are ALWAYS trying to touch my hair. Old ladies are the #1 culprit, followed by ‘curious’ cougars, and children with vice grip and dirty hands. GROSS.

          People also ask me the perm question. Have you ever seen a perm like this? No. Are perms even A THING?

          Please don’t touch my hair unless we’re friends or about to be.

        • Me too. I have an afro and people try to see if they will leave a handprint or something. It’s crazy. And sometimes even my makeout partner is not allowed. She gets excited and tangles it.

          Kinky Curly worked amazing for my hair. It’s all natural, but expensive in terms of hair products (at least for me, 11 dollars and it’s smaller than a water bottle)

          I’m finding that extra virgin olive oil is a really great moisturizer for me.
          I use Tresseme anti-breakage or moisture-rich conditioner. When I do use shampoo (every couple of weeks or so) I use a pill-sized amount of suave natural for now

          Covergirl lashblast does work well. And this yellow and purple one I have…is it covergirl? The writing is worn off.

          Witch Hazel is an amazing no-wash makeup remover. I have acne flare-ups easily so I gotta be careful what I put on my face; I’ve been using neutrogena naturals for a week now and my face is looking pretty decent

          and forreal fuck deoderant none of it works for me for long. I have to keep switching every couple months or so

          • According to Google, the yellow and purple mascara is Maybelline’s The Colossal. I also really like Maybelline’s Lash Stilleto Ultimate Length. I haven’t tried the other one.

            I know what you mean about hair products being expensive. I used to use various kinds of serums. Every single kind involved a tiny bottle that cost way too much money.

            Why would people think it’d be okay to try and leave a handprint in your hair? That’s weird and special and ridiculous.

  14. Icy Hot doesn’t work? Lies. All lies. At least, it works for (my) muscles inasmuch as it relaxes them so that I can stretch. I love stretching, and therefore I love Icy Hot (Also Bengay, Flexall 454, Tiger Balm, VapoRub in a pinch. I might just have a menthol problem).

    On a more serious note, for real muscle strains I highly recommend Icy Hot Heat Therapy patches. They heat up when exposed to air, and it’s like having a six hour heating pad minus the awkwardness of traveling with an actual heating pad. They’re amazing.

    • For the love of god though do NOT rub your eye after using icy hot unless you’ve already washed your hands a couple times

      • Indeed. There are a few sensitive places that don’t feel better when approached by icy hot. (My chronic muscle tightness lives at the very top of my hamstrings, and if I’m not careful when applying, it seems to creep. No good).

      • scratch my comment. it should be: icy hot works for me too (i was distracted/had too many feelings)

    • Icy Hot makes me feel slightly better, but not THAT much better and I keep having to reapply it. I think I might be some sort of freak of science, nobody can cure me

      • Whoops NEVER Mind, I saw the Vicks comment above yours and forgot the actual comment was about Icy Hot. I take my Voltaren comment back!

    • I approve of the Tiger Balm! I use the extra strength kind, especially now that track’s in season, but growing up, my family always used the Eagle Brand green medicated oil: http://www.morningstarhealth.com/888951888791.html If you open the bottle, you can smell it across the entire room, so it’s not for you if you have a sensitive nose, but for muscle aches, it definitely works, though is also probably not recommended if you have sensitive skin.

  15. @Tui, I really cannot explain how much I despise homeopathy.

    But anyway, you guys, Walgreens has all the best easter candies that you cannot buy ANYWHERE ELSE. So I will never stop <3ing Walgreens even though basically everything else there sucks.

    • I couldn’t get over the irony of someone recommending it in a post complaining about overpriced stuff that doesn’t work. :-/

      • Ahahahahaha. Very good.

        I had this friend/roommate for a while in college and we used to have the worst arguments because she would always talk about how great homeopathy was (while being one of the sickliest humans I have ever known). Also however sometimes people think that “homeopathy” just means “any kinda natural medicine” and when I say things like about how peppermint spirits have changed my life are like “HA I thought you said you hated homeopathy, what now???”

        Seriously however: peppermint spirits HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE. I have had miserable stomach issues for pretty much all my life (pain, not nausea) and just recently I started taking a tincture of peppermint spirits — 20-30 drops/4 oz water, drink it, it tastes wonderful and usually works within 15 minutes. And it’s like 5 bucks at Whole Foods for a bottle that lasts months & months.

        • My wife is from India, and over there they have little hole in the wall (literaly, like, 4 ft wide) chemist stalls, and sell EVERYTHING- NO RX NEEDED! Anywho, they have these little concentrated mint gelcaps that are a fucking miracle for any kind of stomach pain/heartburn/indigestion.
          Whenever we go, or anyone we know goes, we buy tons of them. Also, the home remedy for nausea or stomach distress is so weird I was afraid to try it for years, until I was desparate/dying. They cut up lemon, put it in a jar with fresh ginger, store it FOR YEARS, (the stuff I ate was 15 years old!)It is totally black and disgusting, but actually doesn’t taste bad, kinda medicinal, which it is!! Cures everything.
          Okay one more thing. Even in hospital, the Indian cure for diahrea and dehydration is young coconut water. Like they crack open the coconut in the hospital room, stick a straw in it, and hand it to you, every 2 hours. CURED!!

    • In terms of candy, Walgreens is the shit.

      no other midnight-craving-and-World-Market-is-closed type store has the selection of my local Walgreens. THEY HAVE TOBLERONES and most people in Ohio have never even heard of this magical candy goodness. I basically only buy candy and/or Doritos there.

  16. “…I’m standing dumbly in the African-American hair section, investigating ‘oils’…” – is it bad that I immediately thought of Skins and the Emily/Naomi scene where they giggle hysterically over “oils”?

    I have really awful skin; it’s something I’ve had since birth. Ezcema, dry skin, oily skin, and acne all don’t faze me anymore. I’m Canadian so I place blind faith in whatever people tell me works. Whether it’s that nice man on teevee with the loud voice, or the dude at the optometrist’s, or the random pimply store clerk who tells me that this pimple cream works, I will believe them almost unconditionally. Here is my list of shit that doesn’t work, despite whatever the nice man on teevee might say:

    Aveeno (anything Aveeno really. it makes my skin feel weirdly slippery too.)
    Tersaseptic shampoo/face wash/soapy shit (sure your skin doesn’t get dry, but NOTHING ELSE HAPPENS EITHER)
    Band-Aids (waterproof? LIES.)
    Vaseline (jelly, lotion, whatever- don’t work)
    Neutrogena anti-dandruff shampoo
    Claritin non-drowsy (I had the worst ever bout of hay fever last spring and was such a fucking waterworks display at school while taking this i had to be sent home. Was fucking expensive too)
    Tylenol Cold & Sinus- Daytime (Nighttime works fine, and the drowsiness effect of antihistamine doesn’t seem to apply to me so I just take Nighttime now)
    Vitamin supplements (I keep trying to tell my parents that they don’t work but they figure since I’m not dead yet they must be doing something right)
    Robitussin (I had a sore throat, and after I drank it I started barfing too because it was so damn awful)

    Shit that does work, to a certain extent:
    Tylenol (the ones with paracetamol- I am a wimp when it comes to headaches and cramps so I pop one of these and I am instantly better)
    DanActive (seriously guys it’s like a miracle everyone around me has succumbed to the flu and I don’t feel a thing. This might have to do with the placebo effect though.)
    Ponds face cream

    Also I am a firm believer in the magical properties of tea, any tea. If you are feeling anything less than 100%, drink tea. If you are feeling 100% then drink tea anyway it can’t hurt.

    • Shit that be working on the regular:

      I agree Tylenol Arthritis is the best thing out there for cramps. Real talk.

      Tea is also SUPER AWESOME.

      Vaseline. Ashy knees? Vaseline. Cracked lips? Vaseline. Elbows looked like they got in a fight with concrete and lost? Vaseline. I’m sorry, Jactance, but Vaseline has been the go to product for my family fo’ years….hasn’t failed us yet! Oh, and are your feet cracked? Vaseline.

      Thermacare Heat Wraps: they may suck for cramps, but if it’s a cold day outside, instant heater. hehe.

      VICKS VAPORUB: yeahhh baby. clear noses!

      Neutrogena Sesame Oil- for when you feelin’ too bougie for lotion and vaseline

      -qtips. can we go wrong here? NO.

      -Baking Soda. Funky fridge? Baking soda. Funky breath? Baking soda. Bubblin’ tummy? Baking soda (you’ll see, it’s an antacid). Cookies to bake? Baking soda.
      Shit that don’t work:

      -The entire fucking African American hair aisle. Mass corporations don’t know what the FUCK to do with our hair! And not to mention, it’s still incredibly different to find makeup in drugstores that match my skin, but I digress….

      -Wet N Wild eyeliner. Shit smudges like hell.

      -Stayfree pads. Go ‘head. Buy the expensive ones that stay.

      -BIC razors. Do you like a bump collective on your pussy? No? Then don’t DO IT.

      -Cheap ass air fresheners. You spray ’em and yo’ shit still stank.

      -the makeup kits on sale. don’t do it. reconsider.

      -that one liquid eyeliner that gets in your eyes and burns your retinas and shit.

      -cotton balls

      Don’t worry kids. I’ll think of more….

      • ….”difficult” to find make-up that’s my skin tone….

        {More shit that don’t work:}

        Dr. Miracle’s. Just makes your scalp feel molested.

        Half the shampoos in the shampoo aisle.

        The Body Musk. Don’t worry…you’ll stink on your own without this one.

        -The whole “office” supplies section in Walgreens is an utter fail.

        -Any of the electronics. Have you looked at them lately?

        -Batteries: when will these mofos actually power some shit.

        • the hilarity of this comment made me laugh so hard that i had actual tears in my eyes. and i don’t think it’s just because i’m tipsy and its 2am

      • “-qtips. can we go wrong here?” YES. Don’t stick anything in your ears. Ever. Damaging an eardrum is easier than it looks.

  17. I have to argue about the anbesol. or is there some other brand of toothnumber out there that actually does work I’m confusing it with? ’cause something from duane reade (close enough) saved my ass last year.

  18. re: health insurance and spending more money on crappy products, may I present the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ Theory of Socioeconomic Injustice:

    “The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

    “Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

    “But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while a poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.”

    Which I have always found a pretty insightful analysis for a novel parodying detective noir. (Men At Arms, by Terry Pratchett, for those of you playing along at home.)

    • I wasn’t aware that there was an official theory that explains my exact thoughts. I think about/deal with this all the time.

      Me at the store: Well, this one is cheaper in the long run and better quality, but this is $x cheaper… I don’t have any money. *buys cheap product only to have to return for the same product in a continually shrinking window of time*

  19. shit that works:
    – Paul Mitchell on colored hair. goes from straw to silk
    – arnica on bruises. the faster you put it on after starting the bruise, the better it works. MAGIC. not even kidding.
    – antihistamines to make a cold feel less crappy when you feel it coming on. you’re still sick, but if you keep yourself dried out, you’re not snotty and miserable, which is the part of being sick that makes you want to off yourself. also, you can take 3-4x what otc dosage says, unless you’ve got pre-existing medical reasons/medications preventing you. doc taught me this.
    – second the Aquanet as art fixative. hella cheaper than krylon!
    – BWild spray glitter for skin/hair/clothes. is in fact actually GLITTERY, very much so, unlike every other brand of spray glitter I’ve ever tried. washes out/off of skin/clothes/hair with no problem.

  20. Afrin nasal spray (the original formula) is the only reason I can breathe whenever a cold migrates into my sinuses (which happens every time I get a cold).

    • Word. I am a nasal spray junkie. I keep one bottle in the medicine cabinet, and another in my work bag. Just in case. I maybe need it 3x a year, but when I need it, I neeeed it. And the directions for hours of use are just a suggestion, right?

      • I love Afrin, but I have in on the authority of my ear nose and throat doctor that it will erode the inside of your nose and make it impossible for him to help you if you use it more than once every 12 hours or if your not sick.

        So while Afrin is the only thing that makes me able to survive college in the frigid, germy north, I don’t mess around with the directions.

  21. I have limited experience with USA drug stores, however I can report that Walgreen’s maximum strength antibiotic cream with pain relief does fuck all for burn injuries, it didn’t seem to ease pain or infection. Skin Shield Liquid Bandage from Duane Reade, on the other hand, is magic.

    I’ve also discovered that dead sea salts / salt products work better than any drug store or dermatologist-prescribed treatment for psoriasis that I’ve tried, which is all of them.

    • I’m . . . pretty sure you’re not supposed to put antibiotic cream on burns? Maybe that was just for really bad burns . . . I should probably check my references. But there’s definitely SOMETHING about antibiotic cream and burns.

      • You’re not supposed to put any cream on burns right after they happen because the oil in the cream actually keeps the heat in. You’re supposed to use cold water (not ice) instead. Although sometimes after it’s cooled down and if it’s a bad enough burn you’ll want an antibiotic cream (like if you get secondary infections).

        • Oh it wasn’t really a burn by that point, I put the cream on weeks after because it’d turned into this infected scar thing. I just thought I’d save you guys the details.

  22. Shit that works (for me):

    -fucking expensive matrix smoothing shampoo and conditioner (seriously, does anyone have any recommendations for heavy duty conditioning-type stuff that isn’t $15/bottle? i’m broke-ass but sooo vain about my hair. it’s curly and it really needs super-strength moisture/conditioning, but NOT volume. at all.)

    -burt’s bees moisturizer (the only lotion that doesn’t make me feel icky and oily. i can put it on my face and not feel like i’m going to break out!)

    -nutrogena fancy schmancy non-oily sunscreen (again, i can put it on my face and not feel like i’m going to break out!)

    -qtips and cotton swabs (i use these things for everything. so many uses!)

    -softsoap pomegranite and mango body wash (a lot cheaper than the crazy stuff, but has a very nice gel-ish texture and i don’t have to use a shitton for full coverage)

    -neosporin (preventing infections is good!)

    -rubbing alcohol (clean your wounds before neosporin, because with antibiotic cream you gotta let it air-dry and sometimes you just don’t have the time)

    • Also, I hate that longs drugs is now CVS. Ew. Freaking CVS. Longs was so much better.

      They charge more and I can never find anything because they re-arranged the store. :(

      • i’m sorry about longs, but i did hear that cvs lets you exchange make-up if it doesn’t match your skin tone

    • $5 and these have never treated me wrong (this is the volumizing but I swear I’ve seen the smoothing one in the store): http://www.sallybeauty.com/volumizing-shampoo/SBS-264092,default,pd.html?cm_vc=SEARCH

      I totally hear you on the neutrogena sunscreen though, the only other stuff i’ve ever tried that didn’t make me break out was eucerin’s, which is equally expensive, and as a girl who will get sunburnt enough to need a hospital visit without lots of advance planning, my sunscreen is goddamn expensive!

  23. This thread is great. I am a manager for walgreens. yeah, I sold abit of my soul to corporate america for the cash (for now). But hey, I can be completely out at work and I can provide my girlfriend with insurance if she needs it. Also, we take an Oliva vacation every year. Evil corporate america has it’s perks…paid vacation ;)
    I admit we sell alot of crap but from my perspective here is what works:

    -for the spikey short haired ladies: http://www.amazon.com/FX-Surf-Head-Paste-oz/dp/B0013L7H06
    I seriously stopped using my Bumble and Bumble sumo tech. It works just as good for me.

    -Arrid xx deodorant. Cheap and it works great. http://www.amazon.com/Arrid-Antiperspirant-Deodorant-Unscented-2-7-Ounce/dp/B001E77NUS/ref=sr_1_3?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1295929639&sr=1-3

    -Walgreens Nighttime D. Forget the crap on the shelf. This shit makes the best cold sleep relief. http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/walgreens-nighttime-d-cold-%26-flu-relief-liquid/ID=prod6007950-product#BVRRWidgetID

    -Emergen-C: love this stuff. have been using it for years. I take it right when I get cold symptoms or whenever I want a boost of vitamin C. http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/emergen-c-1%2c000-mg-vitamin-c-dietary-supplement-fizzy-drink-mix-30-pack/ID=prod6000608-product

    – Ibprophen. Store brand, no matter what store works just fine for me.

    p.s. Thanks for that tumblr link. Love it!

  24. I used to have all kinds of skin/hair/eye/nail/brain issues, and then I stopped eating meat, started eating organic, and started actually hydrating, and they almost all went away. Except for the razor-burn, which I will be using your recommendations on.
    Also: Aquaphor. Miraculous if you have eczema.

    • i get TERRIBLE razor burn, and my skin is really thin (literally, not figuratively) an ex-boyfriend said i should just use aftershave for men’s faces and gel for sensitive man’s faces because men’s faces are about as sensitive as my legs. So yeah, Nivea has been great, I use their shave gel too.

  25. My general experience is that simple is better when it comes to things that go in/on my body.

    Things that work, from your walgreens or co-op:
    plain ibuprofen, generic salicylic acid facewash, jojoba oil (seriously, this is the miracle moisturizer), neti pots, nyquil, men’s deodorant, organic lotion (everything else just sits on your skin), probiotics, diva cups, expensive dental floss, expensive tweezers, knockoff zyrtec.

    Things that don’t work: fucking fake sudafed. this will never cease to anger me.

    I do enjoy paying a ridiculous amount of money for questionable hair product for my alternative lifestyle haircut.

    • in new york they were getting cleaner, the stores were all getting makeovers, with the new logo and everything. they were organized better, cleaner with more space between the aisles.


  26. Okay, so this reminds of how I wasted 8 years of my life working at CVS…but at least I got a discount on all the shit that doesn’t work.

  27. You guys, read the labels on your products!
    Most lotions have alcohol and/or petroleum based products in them. This is horrible for your skin. Same thing with shampoo, most have sulfate in them which dries the fuck out of hair and strips it of color.

    Bath and Body Works lotions may smell good but they just burn your dry skin… that’s the alcohol.

    My sister is a consultant for natural health and beauty products and she’s brought this to my attention: it takes 26 seconds for what you put on your skin to enter your bloodstream! So seriously start looking at what you’re putting on/in your body. The FDA does not regulate these products.

    • I’d like some evidence for that 26 second figure, please. Otherwise I wouldn’t have to drink heaps of water whenever I swim… ;)

        • Well, there is that. But from what I understand, only certain substances can pass through the skin/blood barrier that easily…

          Or maybe I’m just PMSing and cranky, lol. I think getting shirty on the Internet should be generally recognized as a PMS symptom ;)

        • Actually, to the contrary, the concentration of water in your body is higher than the concentration in, say, a pool (especially with its additives of chlorine and other pool-cleaning chemicals) or any other body of water. This is why your skin eventually shrivels up when you’ve been soaking for so long.

          • yeah so you lose water overall, therefore dina needs to drink water, yes? sorry i didn’t specify specifics, i think we are all in agreement

          • Oh! Sorry, I didn’t read that correctly. My brain function isn’t at its best at 5 am.

      • There’s a trick she uses demonstrate..but I never wanted to do it.
        If you put a garlic clove in between your toes you will begin to taste it after 30 seconds or so.

        • Speaking of natural remedies that actually work, according to my girlfriend, putting a whole, peeled garlic clove up your cootch clears up a yeast infection right quick. But it does make your breath smell like garlic – no joke!

    • Petroleum based products aren’t all bad. Because of skin that’s both terribly dry and eczema-prone, I use a cream which is basically paraffin. And its the only thing I’ve ever used that has: kept my skin from drying out in less than three hours without being horribly greasy, halved the number of rashes I get, and basically annihilated my eczema. Similarly, Vaseline isn’t going to cause anyone any distress, even if it does no good.

  28. I’m pretty sure Proactiv actually made my skin worse. Don’t believe the celebrities THEY ALL TELL LIES! I don’t think Proactiv is sold at Walgreens though.

    • It worked for me, but it DESTROYED EVERYTHING IT TOUCHED. Seriously, bleached my towels, my pillowcases, some of my clothes. I was mildly concerned as to what it was doing to me if it was ruining everything around me so I switched to Cetaphil Oily Skin wash and an oil free moisturiser from Lush (do you guys have Lush? You’re missing out if you don’t). Same effect minus the burning holes in things equals happy Cat

      • Yeah it gave all of my blue towels weird pink splotches and my pillow cases got all faded in spots. I decided the same thing. I’m sure it works for some people but my skin actually cleared up when I stopped using it.

        I use Burt’s Bees products now which seem to work better.

  29. Nyquil. Nyquil. Nyquil. And lots of Ibuprofen and Aleve. Only painkillers that work for me. Oh, I also love Icy Hot. Helps with night time charley horses in my legs. Hey guess what, nature freaks? I fucking love modern medicine. Doctors, scientists, researchers and pharmacists have spend 150 years, lots of money and effort on developing things to better the human condition and I am damn well taking advantage of that. Modern medicine allows us to live in comfort well into our 70s and 80s. 150 years ago? lucky if you hit 50. Think about that for a minute

  30. You know what works? Autostraddle does.
    I felt like crap, read Autostraddle, and POOF!
    Happy feelings and rainbows.
    End of story, bitches.

  31. I found Johnson & Johnson’s gauze (hospital grade rolled gauze ftw) and tape. It tops my “shit that does work” list and my “very useful shit I’m not allergic to” list. Band-Aids are nowhere near either of those lists, btw.

    Also: Burt’s Bees “Natural Acne Solutions Pore Refining Scrub”, everything else from Burt’s Bees pretty much

  32. I always liked Feria for the first few days until it turned red, no matter what colour I’d actually dyed it. It never landed me in the hospital, though, thankfully.

    Makeup-wise I really like Annabelle eye makeup, which costs like $3 and is like accentuating your face with essence of unicorn, but I think it’s only sold in Canada. Hair-wise, not gonna lie, I’ve spent huge amounts on money trying to get the perfect shampoo and conditioner, and then discovered that Suave coconut stuff works better than anything I’ve ever tried. It costs a dollar! Apparently $1.99 at some drugstores, but this is actualfax dollar shampoo that you can get at a dollar store. For a DOLLAR. And it is glorious. Sorry for the incoherent raving, but it’s about 150% better and $15 less than the shampoo I got from The Body Shop for oily hair that not only removed the oil from my hair but chunks of skin from my scalp.

    In conclusion, cheap drugstore stuff is the best. Except when it’s crap, but it’s usually no worse than the pricier stuff.

    • Also, according to a google search I just did, when I said “it is glorious” I should have probably also added “but full of toxins” to the end of that sentence. :/

  33. If you’re serious about reading/contributing to beauty product reviews, I recommend joining makeupalley.com. You have to become a member to read the reviews, but it’s free and I find it to be very helpful.

    • A lot of the evidence they cite is a bit spurious, imo. Even “this might be a problem for a small population of people” gets turned into “omg cancer”

  34. I swear by Dove bodywash and deodorant.

    I also support Aleve whole bunches. I use Aleve when I don’t have time to eat and generic naproxen + sodium when I do. I get heartburn from the generic stuff when I don’t have food, but it’s half the price.

    Fuck the fuck out of Tylenol/acetaminophen.

    Any suggestions for skin lotion that is a)cheap, b)works, and c)doesn’t smell like I’ve been storing my hands in a florist’s vadge for safe-keeping?

    • Neutrogena “Norwegian Formula” Hand Cream. I find that this stuff is pretty much the only decent lotion that exists. It’s completely scentless, absorbs into your skin rather than hanging out being oily all over the place, and you only need a tiny dab of it to make your whole hands smooth — which means a tube of it lasts forever (and costs 4-5 bucks, as I recall).

      The only thing is that it might be impractical if you wanted to coat your entire body in lotion or something. But for hands, face, elbows, etc., it’s a lifesaver in cold/dry conditions.

      • neutrogena norwegian formula hand cream contains 40% glycerin which is why it’s so super moisturising #funfact not that anyone cares when i’m trying to sell it to them.

        although be careful there’s a fragranced version as well as a fragrance free one.

    • I like burt’s bees, but that’s scented. I recommend cetaphil for light, non-scented moisture- not super oily and icky, good for sensitive skin.

    • wasteunit, thanks to your last line, ive shot cherry pepsi out of my nose. icy cold, super carbonated, fizzy-burny-goddamit that hurts! but yeah, i also use the norwegian formula stuff. works pretty good. does not smell like i would imagine a florists vadge smells.

  35. i don’t like thinking about the things that haven’t worked. buried in a dark past.

    what DOES work:

    secret clinical strength WATERPROOF (‘fresh scent?’) – the only thing that’s ever worked for me! my mom even made me get my dad some! lol.

    revlon photoperfect foundation. really light.

    opi in ‘lincoln park after dark.’ dark purple. perfect.

    healthysexyhair, straightsexyhair, or healthysexyhair masques for frizzy, damaged, or rebellious hair. magic. the serums work well, too.

    the semi-permanent garnier bamboo hair dye. healthier.

    neutrogena mist self tanner. really natural.

    airborne. whenever you’re not feeling your best.

    vitamin d. it’s winter.

    BUT i’ll tell you what. as a native european, i stock up on things like deodorant, lip balm, drugs, other random things in bulk whenever i’m abroad!

    because NOTHING beats spray deodorant!

  36. I concur with the ‘do nothing’ approach. Unless there’s something serious happening (based on doc’s opinion obv), then I just let it be. I figure my body will sort itself out.

  37. things that work: Lush, L’Occitane (the downside to L’Occitane is that it is terrifyingly expensive, but the upside is that your female friends might exclaim “so soft!” when they hug you)

    probably you can’t buy these at Walgreens but I don’t really know what Walgreens is because I am Australian.

    • Yes, Lush! I love them. And the shampoo bar that lasts for months. Do they have Lush in the US though?
      L’Occitane is expensive as hell, even in France =/

  38. Riese, have you tried MOROCCAN OIL for your hair?

    “The treatment restores over-processed hair that is effected by chemicals used in shampoos, color and perms, and harmful environmental effects. This formula is rich in anti-oxidants, protein and vitamins. Moroccan Oil is easily absorbed in wet or dry hair.”

    I’ve used it and I swear by it.

  39. Sudafed PE. live by that shit, for post nasal drip. Extra strength midol works for me but it takes a while. Tylenol PM when I cannot sleep.

  40. When I suffer from extremely dry skin, I go to the source and just put olive oil on it. Fixes the problem instantly.

    If my hair is a bit greasy but I don’t have time to shower, forget expensive dry shampoo, I put some baby powder on the roots, and Va va VOOM! Instant sexy volume.

    Now, products that I have found that work so well, I’m amazed include Sally Hansen Minute Manicure. I use it on my feet, and its like my feet turn from rhino-paws to rose petals. No more snagging on my sheets!

    Aloe socks! I have a latex allergy, so a lot of socks cause major irritation, but aloe socks smooth and moisturize your tootsies without giving me ankle rash from hell.

    Advil Liquigel Migraine Relief works really well too.

    In terms of beauty products, I do make up artistry on the side, and instead of a drug dealer, I have an aesthetician who imports skin care products from Israel that make my aged skin look I just got knocked up and I’m glowing (without any human parasites actually growing in my uterus).

  41. JESS IS RIGHT. Moroccan Oil is AMAZING. Plus, it smells so good that I want to put it all over me. Seriously. It smells really good. And it makes your hair super soft and shiny.

    Things that don’t work:
    Head-On: you apply it directly to your forehead and after a few minutes it just starts to tingle. It’s like low-intensity Icy Hot for your face. It does not alleviate headaches, it just makes you feel sort of magical (and greasy) on your face.
    Herbal Essences Tousle Me Gently Shampoo/Conditioner/Products: maybe it is just my hair but this shit does not make me look gently tousled, it makes my hair look poofy and out of control.

    • Additionally, a Thing That Works is witch hazel. That stuff works wonders for preventing/lessening razor burn.

  42. The only thing I’ve purchased from Rite Aid that has never disappointed me…Beer…the beer works people.

    • No beer at Walgreens in NJ, boo! But I went wine crazy at a random CVS in Miami recently. Booze at the drug store seems so wrong, and yet so right!

  43. i use conditioner to shave my legs. it’s cheap and makes my legs silky soft after i shave. . .

    i use suave on my hair cause i’m cheap, but i’m also a big fan of baseball hats. that is how i fix my hair in the morning.

    my fiancee got some lotion from the hospital she works at, and it’s the shit, it’s operating room lotion and does wonders on my dry hands.

    Oh, and this isn’t about walgreens, but see if there is a beauty school in your area. I pay 6 bucks to get my hair cut and they do a GREAT job every time. There are instructors all over the place. It rocks!

    • Oh man, I’ve heard about that lotion. It leaves you as silky and smooth as you were in the womb – or so I’ve heard. But I also will definitely try your conditioner-as-shaving-cream tip.

  44. I would like to point out that I was IN Walgreens when this article showed up in my twitter feed and I read it right there. I’m surprised this didn’t make the world explode.

    We switched to some fancy organic shampoo and conditioner with tea tree oil in it because tea tree oil supposedly repels lice. It was either switch shampoo or home school our kids. If I home schooled my kids, I’d kill them so switching shampoo seemed better than prison. It’s worked out for us so far.

  45. Anything that Toms makes. All of it’s crap. EspECIALLY their deodorant. I bought the peach kind because it was aluminum free, and within five minutes of applying it, I smelled like a sweaty peach. Bottom line, if it’s aluminum free, it DOES NOT WORK, take it from someone with really sweaty pits who has tried about everything under the damn sun. The thing that has worked best yet that I’m pretty sure you can get from the drugstore is Arm & Hammer Ultra Max Invisible Solid, but that shit is not organic.

  46. My friends and I all agree that Covergirl Lashblast mascara (the fat orange one) give about 99% of the population the best eyelashes ever. Seriously, without it I have short blond stub lashes and after I have…not short stub lashes.

    Also, I use vaseline on my lips and it’s wonderful and everyone else should too although I’m pretty intrigued by the Vick’s comment.

  47. I use Pantene for fine hair conditioner and it works REALLY well.
    Also, shampoo bars from LUSH. They last awhile, are relatively cheap, vegan, and make your hair shiny but not in an oily way.

  48. to all the girls like me with crazy curls in your hair ive tryed it all and they always change the formula of the one thing you find taht works but i found the cure all for stupidly curly hair Now Solutions almond oil for healthy skin will keep away the friz the tangles( never brush or comb your hair you can get all the tangles out with just your fingers takes a min, longer but trust me no friz) ive used the iol for years and all my girlfriends do to no chem.. that mess with your hair and ive used it in las vegas where i live and Ohio Tennese Texas Calli it works no mater the humidity its amazing and my hair is so healthy and always has nice shine ….. DONT use food grade oils tho they get in to every thing and dont just stay in your hair and will smell funny

    • Noted.

      Also, what is this phenomenon with companies always changing their formula for the curly hair products? It happens ever single time I find something I like. It’s so freaking frustrating.


    if you, like me, spent your entire life being incredibly self-conscious of your limp, scraggly hair, desperately trying every damn ‘thin to thick’ shampoo and crying into your tiny pigtails…I have discovered the promised land.

    Desert Essence Organics: Green Apple & Ginger Shampoo. Same goes for the conditioner. They’re labeled as ‘Thickening & Volumizing’ and by god they *actually work*. The first time I used the shampoo, I let my hair air dry and – my hair fluffed out by itself, choirs of angels sang, my scraggles pulled into loose ringlets, I cried tears of joy, and fuck, my hair smelled awesome.

    now granted everyone’s hair is different and I’ve noticed it doesn’t work quite as well with hard water, but if you have thin hair it is SO WORTH A TRY.

    I have to stay away from most skin lotions because I have super, super sensitive skin and I’m allergic to a couple of obscure things that I can’t pin down

    Things That Work For My Skin
    – olive oil, I try not to use this on my face very often because it’s relatively heavy and makes my face feel oily
    – jojoba oil, it sometimes irritates my face but works great on the rest of my body
    – sweet almond oil works pretty well
    – Safflower Oil is what I currently swear by, it’s as moisturizing as olive oil but lighter

    – don’t put petroleum or mineral oil on your skin
    – seriously how could that be a good idea

  50. i really love grocery shopping
    i really HATE drugstores, so i avoid them, but the only thing i really like from them is the vaseline cocoa butter lotion. it smells so good, and it makes your skin so soft. seriously, someone mentions how soft my hands are at least once a week. so if you don’t want to be creeped out 1+ time/week, don’t but it, but otherwise, it’s great.

    dr. bronner’s sadly didn’t work too well for me; i have super thick hair and it made it really dry and sad. i use a different natural shampoo now, because i really like the co-op

  51. “But whatever, this isn’t the Mayo Clinic. ”

    Oh god, I had to laugh at that. I’m at The Mayo Clinic for my healthcare, thanks to one of my parents being employed there.

    I have found in my personal experience that even if The Drugs come from The Mayo Clinic, they still never seem to work how they are supposed to.

    Things I have found recently:
    Ginger helps reduce chronic nausea and can increase oxygen intake, therefor also serving as a bit of a “wakeup drink”.
    Melatonin is a natural sleep aid that doesn’t make me feel sick to my stomach or loopy when trying to sleep.

    Acupuncture is awesome, if you can fine good practitioners. and it has defos worked to reduce my headaches/nausea.

  52. Things that do not work:
    – Store brand face washes. They only made my face dry out like whoa and then start prickling in pain. Never again, despite (or because of) how cheap they are.
    – Nearly every lotion, ever. My hands are super dry, especially inbetween my fingers. Most lotions I use only work for about an hour or two before I have to put more on.

    Things that work:
    – St. Ive’s exfoliating apricot scrub. Since I’ve started using this, my face is the softest I’ve ever recalled it being. And then I smell like apricots for a few hours!
    – True Blue Spa Heel of Approval cracked heel treatment. Because I’m in sports and am a fairly active person, when the weather gets cold and dry, my heels start painfully cracking, but this cream alleviated a lot of it! My feet still aren’t supple, but those are probably just calluses from sports. And hey, better than splitting skin.

  53. First, stay away from any product that states As Seen on TV…unless it’s a snuggie…

    Loading doses of Aleve aka naproxen sodium or Advil aka ibuprofen (loading dose = use as directed on label for 48 hours prior) for cramps. Keep taking as directed until cramp time is done. For those with sensitive stomachs or over the age of 30 (shit starts to fall apart trust me) drink a glass of milk or eat a small snack prior to taking Aleve or Advil type medications.
    For yeast infections…eat yogurt in combination with one of the multi day Monistat type medications or drink buttermilk. Yogurt tastes better by far.
    For sleep issues try melatononin and if you’re having some pain/aches as well purchase something called Percogesic. White/yellow/orange bottle. Also try chloratabs which is generic Chloratrimiton.
    For a good lotion that doesn’t smell like a florist…Vaseline men’s skin lotion works well and smells good. Big pump jar is like 4 bucks.

  54. Oh and to keep the germs away take a generic multivitamin…Centrum performance (or the Walgreen generic alternative) or Women’s One a Day. Again, don’t take on empty stomach or you will feel nauseated.


    – true blue spa heel of approval: you can find this at bath & body works. actually, anything by true blue spa would apply to this list.
    – covergirl lashblast mascara: this works for nearly everyone!
    – vaseline: lifesaver, especially in the winter when every bit of your skin insists upon cracking/drying out.
    – burt’s bees natural acne solution purifying gel cleanser
    – burt’s bees replenishing lip balm with pomegranate oil: in combination with aforementioned vaseline, this is HEAVEN.
    – coconut oil: i have really long, wavy hair that tends to frizz at any given opportunity. most conditioners build up really easily in it, which gets frustrating after it takes weeks to get my hair back to normal. get coconut oil, heat it up for ten seconds or so, put a few drops in your hair, and voila! instant softness without the added hassle.

    i think someone mentioned this site a little earlier, but just in case: for really helpful reviews on products, i highly recommend makeupalley.com. make an account (it’s free and only takes a few moments!) and read everyone’s reviews before you buy a product. it’s saved me loads of time & money that i would have wasted attempting products that don’t seem to work on anyone, period.

  56. SEA SALT! SEA SALT! SEA SALT is the magic cure and preventative for common cold symptoms. I swear by it, and I haven’t had a cold that has lasted for more than a day for two years. When H1-N1 was going around most doctors and nurses were suggesting gargling with salt water on a regular basis to prevent getting it.

    If you can brave the Netipot give it a shot. It’s great for your daily self-cleansing routine. It’s basically a salt bath for the sinuses. It’s perfect for those with persistent allergies, just plain ol’ stuffy noses, and to keep yourself from getting sick in general. Otherwise, just gurgle salt water. That’ll do the trick too. If you’re afraid of getting water up your nose, or putting it there on purpose with the netipot, keep in mind that adding salt to the water somehow magically makes that awful brain burn effect not happen.

  57. Shit that works:
    Axe body wash
    All 15 of my prescriptions/vitamins/supplements
    Cepacol for sore throat
    Chapstick… I’m addicted
    Lube for nosebleeds caused by cold dry air
    1 bottle saline spray + 1 drop peppermint oil for stuffy nose… it’s like vick’s you spray up your nose
    Epsom salts in bath water for sore muscles
    Sippy cups cause they’re cute and I’m clumsy as hell (just don’t try to drink beer out of it. The flavor changes too much.)

  58. I have frizzy wavy/curly hair, and I’ve tried every expensive “anti-frizz” thing out there. I ended up borrowing on of my 10-year-old camper’s Herball Essences None of Your Frizzness Smoothing Leave-In Creme this summer and it is the best stuff ever. It was like, 3/4 dollars for the bottle and it actually works. Plus, it smells lovely and doesn’t make your hair look greasy.

  59. cetaphil!!!!!!! “gentle cleanser”, literally the only thing that makes me not break out is using this and not anything else ever on my face. i use all the hippie points that i get from using all natural shampoos and soaps and shit to buy this, which is made exclusively from parabens.

    also, i love drugstores. i think that they fulfill some consumerist longing i have that has to do with being sort of poor but not THAT poor, so like i want something and i can’t buy like, the things i actually need so i go to the drugstore and wander around and buy something i kind of legitimately need like face cleanser and it satisfies me for the time being. also i totally have that “it will fix me” thing that riese is talking about.

    • “i go to the drugstore and wander around and buy something i kind of legitimately need like face cleanser and it satisfies me”

      Oh my God, I’m not alone.

  60. Covergirl lashblast does work well. And this yellow and purple one I have…is it maybelline? The writing is worn off.

    Witch Hazel is an amazing no-wash makeup remover. I have acne flare-ups easily so I gotta be careful what I put on my face; I’ve been using neutrogena naturals for a week now and my face is looking pretty decent

    and forreal fuck deoderant none of it works for me for long. I have to keep switching every couple months or so. So far secret at least lasts the whole day.

    The only thing I don’t mind “splurging” on is pads and tampons. No cheap shit on that; my period is not a game. Tampax pearl and Always infinity

  61. I had bad “acne” for years and bought every acne treatment in Rite Aid and Walgreens. And then I went to the doctor and found out I really had was rosacea. He gave me a prescription for a gel that cleared it up in three days.

    Other things that didn’t work for me:
    Creme of Nature De-tangling shampoo
    Tylenol Cold & Sinus
    Moisturizing Body Wash will try to tell you that your skin will be so moisturized you won’t need lotion – this is a falsehood.

    Garnier Fructis Fortifying Shampoo & Conditioner
    Biore Warming Anti-blackhead cream cleanse
    Vicks Dayquil
    Crest Pro Health Mouthwash
    Aveeno skin care products
    Oreo Brownies

    Take it or leave it:
    Benadryl cleared my sinus problems by knocking me right the hell out. This is also how NyQuil treats my cold.
    Regular Oreos

  62. Wow, I read all of these comments. I gotta try the Desert Essence Organics line of stuff.

    Back when I had disposable income, Walgreens was the shit. Open 24 hours and full of the kind of products I like to waste money on: cheap makeup, styling products, bath/skincare products, plain hair accessories. Plus you can also get light bulbs, wine bottle openers, toothpaste, pain reliever, ice cream, munchies, soda, beer/wine. Great place for a late night shopping binge.

    Things I love:

    FX hair product line – great products for the price (the quality rivals expensive brands I’ve used), and sometimes it’s buy one/get one free. I use their heat protection spray, curl enhancing spray, and root lifter.

    Nivea Happy Sensation lotion – I’ve always been a Neutrogena girl but I got this in a set for Christmas. AMAZING. I’m seriously addicted. Not greasy, keeps my skin soft a long time, smells great.

    Eyelash curler, any brand – I’ve got light brown, straight, downward-facing eyelashes. Sucks ass. I admire anyone who doesn’t have lashes like this. When I do makeup, I spend more time trying to fix my lashes than anything else.

    Burt’s Bees lip balm – replenishing or beeswax formulas

    The Body Shop Olive Body Scrub – best scrub I’ve ever used. I’ve only used it on my face since I want to make it last and it’s a lot better than the St. Ives apricot kind I used for years. I like that this one lightly moisturizes my skin.

    Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew post-treatment regenerating moisturizer – This is the moisturizer that comes in the micro-polish set (the other product is a scrub). I thought the scrub was okay but the moisturizer is fantastic!

    Softsoap body washes – Really affordable (can be found on sale often at Walgreens), wide variety of great types/scents, and never dry out my skin.

  63. Guys guys guys guys guys GUYS. Listen!
    Two words: Lush Cosmetics.
    Do it. All lotion, deodorant,shampoo, face wash, or whatever needs can be solved here. 100% vegetarian, 80% of the products are vegan, NEVER tested on animals, all in recycled plastic, using fair-trade ingredients and only the best high-quality essential oils to scent them. Just trust me guys. Slightly expensive but worth it. (P.S. I work there if you can’t tell)

  64. I just like to wander aimlessly around Walgreens and RiteAid after midnight and look at things, read labels and generally feel insane. And often I find awesome things in the sale bin!

    But seriously, I probably spend more at drugstores than I do on food. And I am a Foodie.

  65. I am so late coming into this thread, but speaking of cutting out refined carbs/sugar towards the end there…

    I bought/read the book Sugar Shock! a few days ago, and man has it scared me shitless. I’ve been struggling with binge eating disorder for just over 5 (I know…) years. I just CANNOT eat any sort of refined carbs/sweets without sirens going off in my brain, compelling me to eat every last morsel of carbs in the house.

    It started when I was 18, and went to NYC with my mom. For about a year prior to that, I had decided to lose weight by trying my best to cut out any refined carbs/sweets/soft drinks/margarine from my diet. I gradually weaned myself off of that shit, and looked and felt TERRIFIC. I still allowed myself a wee bit once in a while, but my diet consisted of mostly whole grains, dairy, fruit/veggies, and lean meat/fish (I haven’t eaten any red meat in years).

    So we go to NY, and I was like, “Dude, I’m going to indulge!” Not because I was craving anything rich, but because I was in New fucking Yawk, and I was going to have cheesecake. After 4 days of excessive cheesecake/sweet/fried food eating, I felt absolutely terrible. It’s as though any appetite I had for anything healthy had just evaporated. ALL I wanted now was junk food.

    My mom says, “Well, after depriving yourself of sweets for so long, your body was telling you that it needs it back.” And then after reading Sugar Shock!, I was like, “Wait, that doesn’t make sense…why would I NEED refined carbohydrates? The human body is not biologically programmed to NEED that stuff.”

    Refined carbs are poison for your body. It’s that simple. After “depriving” myself of junk food for so long, my body couldn’t handle all of the crap I inhaled when I was in NY. It was literally an overnight thing. What happened while I was on my health kick at 17-18 years of age was that I developed such a sensitivity to sugar, that my body goes haywire when I ingest it, now. IMMEDIATELY, I become cranky, lethargic, bitchy (er), and eat half a loaf of bread and chase it with a bag of chips. And once you become dependent on that stuff, trying to cut it out again is agonizing (especially when you live in a house with family members who eat nothing BUT refined carbs and other shitty food).

    Seriously, read Sugar Shock!, and trust Mother Nature.

  66. Riese-I would really love to hear the story of how you figured out the Nads did not work:) I had a pretty awesome experience with my sister in which we came to the same conclusion. NADS SUCKS.

  67. Shit that works:

    Neti pots. Awesome, AWESOME sinus relief. If it’s too bad for the Neti, then you’ve got problems.

    Neutrogena fragrance free moisture wrap body intensive treatment.

    Neutrogena Norwegian Formula fragrance free hand cream.

    (For the above two, I have severe eczema and extremely sensitive skin. Nothing else works for me, and yes, if you mention it, I’ve tried it. Gentle enough that I was able to use both on my baby, too.)

    For burned scalps from dye: Kolestral. Got it from Sally Beauty Supply. Recommended by my stylist after we figured out that my scalp couldn’t take direct contact with dye (sigh).

    Ditto on the scalps: Scalp rehab shampoo and conditioner by John Kaytaz. I have to order it online, but it works beautifully.

    Drugstore.com also sells a shampoo called Free and Clear for Sensitive Skin. Recommended by my dermatologist for my little girl and me. Works very well if you’ve got highly sensitive skin, as we do.

    All I can find for soap is Cetaphil. Sigh.

  68. Does anybody know a good facial moisturizer? My skin is extremely sensitive and also acne prone and I need something affordable. I got this aloe vera cream from the Body Shop as a gift and it’s great but it’s like 20 dollars for a tiny little container. Please recommend something!

    • I also have sensitive (and dry!) skin. I currently use the type of Cetaphil moisturizer that is the tub container thing for my face because I need something heavy-duty for dry winter weather. I used Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture (the type for sensitive skin) for a while, but it didn’t really last (I’d use it in the morning and later in the day – afternoon probably- my face would be noticeably dry again) – it might work in the summer if you needed something light?

      While I used to shy away from moisturizer because I was worried about getting acne (did I really connect moisturizer with acne in my head, so long ago? is that a thing?), to be honest, acne has never been too much of a problem for me. So I know there are also moisturizers with acne medication in them… I used to use the Clean & Clear one but that turned out to be not moisturizing enough (or drying??) for me. I think there’s an Aveeno version that’s probably better because Aveeno stuff is great for sensitive skin in my experience.

  69. For hair, in my opinion all shampoos and conditioners work the same on my hair.

    I’ve got very thick, wavy hair which can only be dried naturally to avoid the majority of frizz, but I’ve found that Pantene Repair/Protect serum works well, not sure what the name is, but it’s meant to be like a hair mask to be used on wet hair and then washed off but I use a small amount on wet hair to stick it all down while it’s drying and tie it up and it sorta goes all stiff but can be finger-combed out when dry and really helps minimise the frizz while drying, cause once it’s there and dry you can’t get rid of it by combing it down.

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