Unbiased Review: oVertone Haircare conditioners for bright colored hair

oVertone seems to buy a lot of paid placements in various blogs so I decided to buy it myself and do an unbiased review of their products. All of my reviews are my honest opinion, but given that so many women who review products in the beauty sphere say that and are lying to you I feel the need to re-iterate my policy: I do not play that shit.

I’ve been dyeing my hair bright colors off and on since I was 17. Red generally fades on me in about 1-2 weeks and needs to be touched up. I generally use semi permanent hair color for this. The brand almost everyone knows, Manic Panic has never worked very well for me. I prefer LaRiche Directions or – my absolute favorite is Special Effects. I don’t know who runs these shops but I do know I bought dye from both of them and they showed up at my door quickly.

SFX is the most underrated semi-permanent haircolor in existence. It’s a billion times stronger than MP and lasts much longer on me.

But I digress. Red is a very high maintenance color which is probably why I am getting ready to add more black into this to make it less of a pain in the ass to deal with.


What is oVertone?

oVertone is a set of 2 conditioners that you use after shampooing that is supposed to condition your hair while adding more of that bright color back into your hair. In the past I have found color depositing conditioners to be a waste of money due to lack of color range and lack of effectiveness, so I was really excited to try this since oVertone claims that you can even dye your hair with these.

From their site:

“The oVertone conditioners are vegan color-depositing formulas that keep your fantasy hair color bright or add fantasy color to your natural colored or bleached strands.”

So what does it look like? Here’s the bottle of daily conditioner on the left and the tub of weekly deep conditioner ont he right. It’s in purple because…well I’ll get to that in the next part. The point here is that the system consists of a daily conditioner ($17 USD) and a deeper weekly conditioner ($28 USD). You can buy a “Complete System” which consists of both conditioners plus a travel size daily conditioner for $47 USD.

So how was it?

I found oVertone to be a mixed bag. At the time I started their system I had burgundy red hair. They don’t offer that color and instead force you to buy both red and purple together. Do the math. That is not cheap. This immediately annoyed me but I figured if it would help me reduce salon visits that it may be worth it.

Daily Conditioner:

I found that the daily conditioner was just OK. The trouble was that if I did not use the weekly deep conditioner my color still seemed to fade pretty fast into a shit-salmon shade.

My hair is Caucasian wavy hair which means that it tends to be on the dry side. It always has been dry even before I ever dyed it any color. I did not find the daily conditioner to be very moisturizing so after leaving it on for 5 minutes and rinsing I found that I had to use my normal conditioner to make my hair feel decent. (Currently that is Aveda Smooth Infusion.)

Weekly Tub of Conditioner:

The tub of weekly conditioner was much better. This one you leave on for 15 minutes and have to use gloves with. It was slightly more moisturizing and deposited much more color. I still did not find it to be moisturizing enough for me. If you have hair that isn’t always thirsty you may like it a lot, so I’d say if you have Caucasian naturally straight hair you may have better results than me. I didn’t get results that mirrored what they have on their website, but then again their site appears heavily photoshopped. Go figure.

I ended up giving the purple set to my friend’s daughter and recommending that if she liked it to only order the weekly one. One good thing about this system is that unlike re-dyeing with a semi-perm dye every week, it won’t stain your bathroom much so she will be able to upkeep it a bit without causing her parents a heart attack with a stained tub. That I think is the best usage for this.

I personally went back to re-dyeing with Special Effects Nuclear Red once a week and alternating with this stuff / spiking this stuff with SFX to make it work better and conditioning with my conditioner after this. When it’s used up I won’t be repurchasing oVertone because I can’t see any benefit of spending this much on a product other than less staining on my tub.

Dude, I’m fine with using Comet to clean my tub once a week if it means just using a $12 bottle of Semi-Perm dye that lasts months vs this monopoly money guy level of holy shit that didn’t keep the red as well as it would seem from the photos on their site and left my hair needing more moisture. I’d be fine paying it if it really made me feel like it were giving me that much of a quality boost to my life and it really wasn’t.


I feel like the daily conditioner isn’t worth buying and the weekly conditioner is. If you have dry hair, you may not like it because it seems to be formulated for hair that isn’t always thirsty.

I highly dislike that they force people who don’t fit into their limited color range to spend double on what is already a pricey product which amplifies the costs and amplifies my expectations of the product. I also didn’t like that this gave me 4 good-sized bottles/tubs to lug about with me when I travel or forced me to fuss with decanting the product into a smaller bottle. This added more effort.

I feel like they should reduce that price point or formulate more colors to bring reality in line with customer expectations. I can tell you straight off that I went as harsh as I did on this review purely because of the cost and inconvenience I experienced when traveling. If it were more moderately priced I would have given it a higher recommendation and possibly repurchased. But maybe not because neither conditioner felt more moisturizing than a semi permanent dye (which is not even a conditioner) and I always had to follow it up with a conditioner of my own. Again, if you do not have dry hair this will not be a problem for you.

While oVertone is the best color depositing conditioner I have ever tired for color deposit, it didn’t perform well when it came to conditioning dry hair.

To be clear: oVertone is NOT a bad product – the weekly deep conditioner DOES deposit a good – even impressive amount of color, but it still fell short for me due to my hair type. I recommend for dry hair that you just using your own color safe shampoo and re-dye once a week if you have dry hair like mine.

TL; DR: oVertone is a great idea that doesn’t work as well on my hair type as it should for the price point but it’s still an impressive product that is really close to being a game-changer for everyone. It did help me look a bit better between my salon appointments but for the cost it should be more moisturizing. There are so many products out there that will do the same thing on me for 1/4 the price. If I have to follow up with my own conditioner I may as well just use a $12 semi perm dye in it’s place and follow that up with my conditioner as per usual. If they come out with a more moisturizing version then I’ll be trying this again.

Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based CMO and entrepreneur that is obsessed with progressive rock / metal, marketing, and nightlife. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.

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 Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab debuts Crimson Peak fragrances and they (and others) are pretty terrific

I’ve been aware of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab for many years since I used to be very active in the NYC goth club scene. When they first started out – or at least when I first learned of them – they were this sort of underground fragrance company that made scents with a dark twist. Since then the company seems to have grown quite a bit and now they have partnered with the likes of Neil Gaiman, Jim Henson Studios, and, most recently, Guillermo Del Toro / Legendary Pictures on their Crimson Peak film. They now make fragrances that are officially licensed and tell the stories they are connected to through smell.


BPAL graciously sent me a gift box of fragrances to try so that I could write about them.


Most relevant to this Halloween season are the Crimson Peak Fragrances, Nail Lacquer, Atmosphere Spray and Mementos. Yep – that last link? They even have jewelry and keepsake handcrafted boxes based on Crimson Peak available.

I was glad to check this out since I have always liked BPAL and the creativity they have consistently shown in fragrance design. I am an art and music type of person so the idea that you could tell a story with fragrance is like sorcery to me – and that’s pretty much what BPAL is. Sorcery.

I am actually not a big corporate fragrance person. I sort of find most of the luxury fragrances you can buy in department stores to all smell of the same alcohol and cat piss based undertone. BPAL’s fragrances are more related to the types of fragrances you’d find in a hippie store than corporate, so that undertone that I dislike is markedly absent from all of their offerings. The range is pretty wide so if you are thinking everything is going to be patchouli you’d be mistaken. The descriptions on BPAL’s site are exactly what you’ll get. Again I say this is sorcery because I couldn’t have come up with these descriptions, but when I tested them, yes those descriptions are spot on.

They also included samples of some of their other lines. Some of the ones that they sent which stood out were:

Edith Cushing
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind: pearlescent vanilla musk with white sandalwood, grey amber, white patchouli, ambrette seed, and oudh.

The Organ Grinder
Almond milk, sarsaparilla, tobacco smoke, High John the Conqueror root, coconut hull, black patchouli and white pine bark.

Fraggle Rock – Red
Sporty and energetic: sweet red currant, tangy cranberry, pink musk, and spicy pink pepper.

Eat Me
Three white cakes, vanilla, and red and black currants.

Miskatonic University
The scent of Irish coffee, dusty tomes and polished oakwood halls.

I feel like anyone who is a fan of weird dark nerdy stuff (probably most people who follow my blog, TBH) and likes scents for themselves or their home would really like this which is why I agreed to write about it. The fragrances are all high quality and really stay, so I’d recommend moderation when you apply. I spilled some on my hand and it’s still there after a few hand washings, so this is some seriously concentrated, high quality fragrance. I’ve spent serious coin on fragrances/products known for their fragrance in the past *cough* Mooroccanoil Body Souffle *couch* and they didn’t last long at all once applied. You won’t have that problem with BPAL.

Check out their Crimson Peak line and more here. How can you not love a company that has a fragrance called Miskatonic University?

Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based CMO and entrepreneur that is obsessed with progressive rock / metal, marketing, and nightlife. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.

Hang out with me:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/onezumi
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 Makeup Forever partners with transgender model Andreja Pejic

There’s been a lot of talk about transgender issues because of Caitlin Jenner and the amazing new campaign by Makeup Forever starring Andreja Pejic. If you haven’t seen the latter, here you go:

In my personal world that I’ve created none of this is an issue because we have a diverse mix of all genders in my organization. More than once I’ve been approached and told that it was very positive and remarkable that any gender issues were a non-issue. What I mean by that is that they were immediately accepted and not negatively questioned no matter who they were or how they identified. We are quite proud of our positive atmosphere.

That’s how I roll. Accept people or GTFO. I’ve been marginalized many times in life due to not fitting in. I sure as hell will not allow any of that to happen to anyone else on my watch.

I have no time for people who define themselves by what they don’t like or reduce themselves to fearing what they don’t understand. There’s a lot of things in life that I personally don’t care for and wouldn’t do myself. For example I’d never tattoo my face. That doesn’t mean someone who does can’t have my full respect.

Even if you don’t understand someone it’s not your business to make it your issue. You accept people as important human beings and that’s the end of it. People are important. I don’t care what race/class/gender they are. You don’t have to be “this tall” to have my unconditional friendship, so to speak. I am pretty sure we all read the Dr. Seuss book about the Star-bellied Sneetches. That’s some first grade shit there.

I had intended to write more here but I will follow up this post later with a more personal post on the topic. In the meantime I think I’m gonna schedule a makeup session with MUFE in advance of my next photo shoot.

Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based CMO and entrepreneur that is obsessed with progressive rock / metal, marketing, and nightlife. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.

Hang out with me:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/onezumi
Instagram: http://instagram.com/theonezumi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onezumi

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 Haunted Mansion: HARVEYS Disney Diamond Celebration Seatbeltbags | Disneyland Resort

It looks like there’s another Haunted Mansion bag, this time by Harvey’s and not Dooney and Bourke. I’m quite happy about that since I had nothing but trouble when all of the HM Dooneys I bought fell apart within weeks. I received the worst customer service of my life and I am still fighting them to get this fixed since October. I have a long blog post coming out soon about this.

Also available are Peter Pan, Enchanted Tiki Room, Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice in Wonderland/ teacups. They claim they may be online for sale in late summer.


Harvey bags are much higher quality. Unfortunately, it looks like you need to call Disneyland Merchandise to get one now. Details are here.

Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based CMO and entrepreneur that is obsessed with progressive rock / metal, marketing, and nightlife. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.

Hang out with me:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/onezumi
Instagram: http://instagram.com/theonezumi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onezumi

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 Woodbridge, NJ Nordstrom makeup / beauty stylist review: An awful experience and a surprise $495 bill

In my quest to push myself out of my own comfort zone and try new things I decided to try the Nordstrom cross brand makeup beauty stylist last weekend. Nordstrom offered this to me after hearing that I am doing (Re)Generation Who. Since I’m about to be in a video with Tom Baker and more it’s safe to say that I should get my shit on point. Supposedly they set me up with their best makeup stylist and called out managers to help me and it was a Thing.

But they failed so badly that It’s almost like they studied how to fail and put some serious work into it.

My idea was to just audit my current routine and do a small update if there’s anything new/better out there today. Since I was literally out of my normal foundation, concealer and brow pencil, budget-wise I knew it’d be an investment, but I wasn’t looking to spend more than $200 max. It’s not like I’m Freddy Krueger. I knew it’d be a higher price point than a simple refresh due to having to restock my usual Go To items. My foundation is normally about $50 on its own because I’m allergic to so many things.

What I didn’t expect was to emerge with a badly done look that was very ugly and did not fit my needs. I was also pushed into a surprise $495 bill which was brought to my attention only when I was paying.

Yep. 495 dollars. Can I get a “What the FUCK?”

I think we can all agree that most people, myself included, don’t need more than $200 of makeup unless they are just collecting it. Even if you have to buy the nicer shit due to allergies – nobody needs $495 of makeup in order to look good for an event.

Let me explain how this clusterfuck went down.

Nordstrom beauty stylists are free – you just pay for what you buy and they are not supposed to be pushy. At first I was having a great time. They were friendly. We were laughing and having fun. But what it really was was that they had figured out how to say what I wanted to hear. At the time it seemed like they were just cool people and were not pushy. What it really was was some Next Level Shit pushy that doesn’t seem pushy until you pay and leave and realize you’ve been dogged.

What they were really doing is getting me relaxed so that when they switched me out to ridiculously-priced items in front of a “friendly” audience I’d accept it because I wouldn’t want to embarrass myself by saying It was too expensive.

My husband never says anything negative about my appearance unless I am having a major issue and need to be told about it. For example, if I have peeling skin or crusty concealer on my face he will tell me. I can have a wide range of looks and he won’t notice which is better or worse – he says it all looks great.

However in this case when I got home he exclaimed how bad my makeup looked.

That’s huge.

And he was right. The lipstick wasn’t on my lips right so it created a bizarre deformed shape. The eyeliner was hurriedly done. It had smudged in random areas around my eyes where it had bled and not been cleaned up.

I don’t even want to post this pic because they made me look so SO BAD. Here’s just one of my eyes. See how the liner is smudged underneath and the inner corner has white sparkles on the inside? This is actually the better eye. The other one has black dots underneath where the liner smudged. My face is swollen in random parts from the allergy and the makeup is a trainwreck. The brow filler wasn’t even taken through my entire brow – look at that huge blank spot on the bottom. What did he do? Just draw a horizontal line? Check out that bumpy-ass eyeliner. Apologies for the hair in the shot. I wasn’t exactly thinking this photo would ever see the light of day:


He couldn’t even put lipstick on properly. Look at how lopsided this is. I guess he had no idea how to color in the lines in his coloring books as a kid:


This was just 10 minutes after leaving the store. Sweat and wear didn’t even come into play yet.

The stylist made oblique claims that he worked on models at Fashion Week and knew Laura Mercier personally and so forth. He showed me a picture in his phone that in retrospect – those ladies weren’t fashion models and their makeup was like prom makeup. Maybe he did some people’s makeup during fashion week in the same way I’ve done my own makeup at home during FW, but there’s no way they had anything to do with high end shit.

The foundation was ok. It was on my face, I guess. The eyeshadow looked like a kid hit the inner corners of my eyes with chalk. It was totally unblended and created a very unflattering appearance of a hard vertical line on my eyelid. The blush was on so subtle that there was no way in hell it would show up on a camera under bright lights for filming.

The entire idea behind this exercise in stupidity was to have a face that doesn’t disappear on camera under bright lights!

There’s no way they looked at the email I had sent them beforehand at all where I detailed out my allergies and my need of simple ingredients. They immediately put 3 highly-fragranced kinds of face cream/serums on me. It was a great head game strategy he was using. Tell me one of them wasn’t as good and then sing the praises of the other 2. This way the customer mistakenly feels confident that he’s giving a real opinion instead of having planted a fall guy in order to strengthen his sales pitch.

By the time I got home I was having an allergic reaction to God knows what. My eyes were puffy and it felt like someone had doused my face with alcohol and lit it on fire. A day later I am still experiencing painful issues with my eyes.

In the store the makeup looked ok. The lighting is rather dim (probably intentional) and when they send 3 people over to tell you how stunning it is it’s hard not to believe them. I’m now convinced that this is planned. They must have a routine where they send other sales people over to coo over you to strengthen the sale.

I can’t see how, with a chunk of liner missing on my left eye and black smudges in random places anyone would say that looked good. I’m also really disturbed that they guy used his hands and almost no brushes on my face. That’s disgusting and not professional.

I ended up leaving Nordstrom with a sloppily-done face of makeup that was far worse than what I’d wear on a lazy Sunday and a bill for $495. I’ve woken up from naps with better makeup than this.

One of the serums I was willing to try as a splurge purchase. The guy asks me if I want to get the “slightly larger” bottle that comes with a free gift. What he didn’t tell me was that this “slightly-larger” bottle was 120 dollars while he simultaneously threw the second bottle of $100 serum into my bag that I didn’t intend to buy.

I noticed later that these serums were the main ones in their current front page marketing campaign, so it’s obvious to me that this was sales-driven and not service driven. There was no focus on who I actually am or why I was there. Which is a shame for them, because if they had paid attention they’d know that if they unethically jacked me they’d end up here with this story on my blog that gets 6000+ unique readers per day.

But really, they shouldn’t be doing this to ANYONE.

They seemed to be avoiding lower priced items like MAC and pushing Chanel and YSL which are double the price. If the manager who set this up knew who I was, the stylist clearly hadn’t paid attention to any of that. I kept telling him during the session why I was there and he still didn’t seem to get it and instead directed me to friendly conversation.

You can imagine my surprise when the bill was rung up and had ballooned from a reasonable number to $495. They made sure plenty of “friends” were there to put subtle pressure. I did not expect that after the friendly conversation we had been having.

The manager came over and asked how it was and honestly this was so beyond fucked up there was nothing I could say. I would not ever be coming back. She can’t fix this. Once you lose my trust it’s done. I was coming here over Macy’s because they supposedly are more service-oriented. My mistake.

So I just said it was great, paid it, went to the bathroom to have a legit rage fit, and then went to another Nordstrom that night and returned the entire God damn bag of useless products.

Screw them. And screw their “free gift with purchase”.

Even if some of the products were good he had proven to me that he’s full of shit and everything sold is based on lies and mind games.

Not interested. Done.

I can’t recommend Nordstrom for makeup consultations unless you know what you want in advance and understand that they are all on commission.

The joke was on me, but later it was on them when I returned all $495 worth of bullshit they pressure sold me. That person who processed the return said something pissy at me for doing that but honestly – fuck you and fuck your company for pushing me to buy things that don’t fit who I am or why I was there. Fuck you for inviting me out under the pretense that you were there to help me.

It’s not my fault I returned that stuff. It’s THEIR fault. If that had been things I’d use I certainly wouldn’t be returning it. I believe in paying for quality – not shit that I might use 4 times and sit on a shelf.

Nordstrom didn’t provide me with service. They provided me with mind games and hard sales veiled in friendliness and preyed on the social taboo of not wanting to look like you can’t afford or don’t want to pay something. I don’t know if they looked at my blog and thought I was some high roller with money falling out of my ass and thought I’d be an easy mark or what – but even if I did have money falling out of my ass $495 of stupid face creams and badly-applied eyeshadow is not what I’d ever do with my money – nor is it why I came here. No one with sensitive skin wants to try that much shit at once. How will you know what’s causing the irritation?

What could have been a scenario where I would have become a repeat customer and brought them a fleet of other people as repeat customers ended up not being a good time at all.

I went to Sephora the following day and spoke with a makeup artist while buying my usual Makeup Forever HD foundation. Unlike Nordstrom they are not on commission at Sephora and they are very helpful. I got to try their Color IQ system. It’s basically a volor calibrator thing that they scan you with. It matched me digitally with all the foundations in the store so I could know what shade I was always.

Multiple workers here actually immediately knew the Beauty Stylist by name after I said that I had just had a bad experience at Nordstrom and a $495 bill. I am guessing that they have had to help others who had this experience because this stylist clearly is known by name for this.

At Sephora I managed to get $95 worth of items that actually fit my life, will be used daily, and did what the $495 of bullshit the Nordstrom Beauty Stylist pushed on me did. I never felt pushed or lied to at Sephora. I do think I found out who will be doing my makeup next. She works at Sephora and helped me pick out a fierce lip color. I made sure to get her card. They do makeovers as well.

This is my 3rd bad experience at Nordstrom in Woodbridge, NJ. A store that I previously thought very highly of is now a Buyer Beware until they get their shit together and become customer-centric again. I hope that this is only this location, but it’s left a bad taste in my mouth. The beauty industry is probably the biggest industry based on lies and mind games. I found that out for sure – up close and personal – on this day.

EDIT: Months later the Beauty Stylist in question keeps sending me pushy invites to his in-store sales events. All of my inquiries to their customer service were ignored or routed back to the same guy for another round of hard sales.

This has been one of the worst experiences I have ever had at a department store in my life. I am so upset because I had previously been such a huge fan of Nordstrom. Not anymore.

But hey, Neiman Marcus reached out to me. Maybe I can finally get someone to give me a proper makeup consult.

Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based CMO and entrepreneur that is obsessed with progressive rock / metal, marketing, and nightlife. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.

Hang out with me:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/onezumi
Instagram: http://instagram.com/theonezumi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onezumi

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