Run Monster

Products I love.

So far, I’ve been adamant about keeping this blog exclusively about things relating to the sport of running. Today, I’m going to venture into the world of ‘life style blogging’ by telling you about some things, both running-related and not, that I really adore. My inspiration for this post came from the products themselves because I feel like I owe it to the world to tell you how great they are. So, in no particular order, here are a few of my favorite things:

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream:

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I have dry, chemically-sensitive skin, which means that historically I’ve struggled to find a moisturizer that is: 1) heavy enough to ward off dry skin flakes, 2) gentle enough not to cause a chemical burn and/or rash, and 3) not excessively greasy. I’ve finally found such a moisturizer in Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream. This stuff is freaking wonderful. It has a nice creamy/silky quality to it without feeling heavy; it absorbs quickly; it’s not at all greasy; it doesn’t smell strongly of perfume nor does it smell funky from a lack of added scent; and it keeps my skin hydrated throughout the day. Most impressively, my skin doesn’t show any signs of chemical reactivity.

I got a tester of this product over Christmas and loved it so much that I nursed my tester for nearly a month. When I finally ran out, I splurged for the large size (4.2 fl oz) which costs $46.50. Now, I wouldn’t normally support spending so much money on a facial moisturizer, but this stuff is so great that it’s worth it. AND, you don’t need much to moisturize your entire face and neck so this large jar can easily last 5-6 months.

Brooks Pure Connect 2’s:

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These are fantastic minimalist shoes for a mid-foot striker with high arches. I remember going into City Sports one day last summer with the intention of just trying on a pair of minimalist shoes for kicks, and I ended up buying these because they felt so amazing on my arches. My feet feel like they are being hugged – but not squeezed – by these shoes. I started out only doing short, fast workouts with them, but I’ve transitioned into using them for runs of all types*. In fact, I raced the Rock n Roll Phoenix Half Marathon in them in January and had such a great experience that I plan to race in them from now on.

Another great thing about the Pure Connect 2’s? You can now buy them for $60-$80 online. What a deal.

*I alternate the Pure Connect 2’s with another pair of traditional running shoes, the Mizuno Wave Prophecy 2’s. More on alternating shoes in a future post!

Sulfate-free Shampoo and Conditioner: (Specifically, Theorie Green Tea Collection)

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Apparently, a lot of people won’t see a huge difference between traditional shampoos/conditioners and sulfate-free versions. I, however, have noticed a huge difference and after doing more research, I learned that this is likely because I have fine, curly hair. Sulfates are responsible for making shampoo lather (which we all love) but they can be very drying and irritating.

Shampoos that contain sulfates strip the scalp of oil, which causes strands to curl less and to be more brittle and frizzy. Having your scalp stripped of all natural oils also causes the oil glands in your scalp to overproduce, making it necessary to wash your hair everyday (thus repeating the cycle!).

I found that the first few weeks of using sulfate-free shampoo weren’t great because my scalp was recalibrating; but, eventually I noticed my hair drying into more distinct ringlets (yay!) and staying fresh – that is, not getting super oily – for longer (yay!). My suspicions that my sulfate-free shampoo was responsible for these nice changes were reinforced this past week when I bought a traditional shampoo and saw my hair return to its half-curl/awkward wave state. My scalp also felt itchy each day after I used the new shampoo, and went back to normal when I alternated with my sulfate-free stuff. Mystery solved!

I’ll never go back to regular shampoo.

As a last note on price, sulfate-free shampoos are slightly more expensive than traditional ones, but as with everything, you really don’t need to spend a fortune to get good stuff. The Theorie shampoo I fell in love with was purchased at TJ Maxx for $14.99, and although that’s almost triple the price of a drugstore shampoo, I’ve had it since October (it’s now almost May…) since I alternate it and don’t need to wash my hair as often. I bought a new sulfate-free shampoo for $6.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond (Marc Anthony brand), and there were tons of other sulfate-free products with similarly reasonable price tags.

Scrub Daddy:

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I HATE sponges. They get that terrible smell after just a week or two and that smell won’t wash out of your hands. I will literally scrape a dirty pan with my fingernails over using a sponge (although I usually just use brushes). I was introduced to the Scrub Daddy by my roommate, and even though I was prepared to hate it and avoid it along will all other sponges, I actually love this thing.

As advertised, it is soft in warm water and firm in cold water, which means you can customize its scrub-ability. It also dries incredibly quickly, which means it doesn’t start to mildew! We’ve had ours for about two months, and it’s still odor-free. It seems gimmicky, but it’s not. The Scrub Daddy is the real deal.

Isopure Protein Powder:

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I decided, once back in college and again just recently, that I would benefit from having a protein shake after my longer/harder runs. In both instances, I went to GNC and had the friendly muscle head behind the counter painstakingly go through and explain to me every protein powder they had available. Both times, the protein powder that won me over was Isopure. Here’s why:

-Isopure tastes good. You know that funky protein-y taste? It’s very minimal in this stuff. Go see for yourself.

-In two scoops of powder (which is the recommended serving), you get 50 grams of protein – 100% of your daily protein needs. I usually only use one scoop and thus only get 25 grams of protein, but that’s still more than I’d get from many grocery store protein powders.

-It’s carb-free. I’m absolutely not one to worry about carbs, but I like that Isopure doesn’t have any carbs (or in some flavors, has very few carbs) because I usually mix it with carb-y juice anyway. I also feel like my diet is sufficiently high in carbs and insufficiently high in protein, so having a protein powder that is carb-free makes my diet more balanced.\

-Lastly, Isopure uses whey protein which I’ve been told is very easily absorbed by the body.

The only downside about Isopure is that it is pricey ($60-$100 for 3lbs). This is another reason why I usually only use one scoop in my shakes – to double the life span. It should be noted that the price range is so large for the 3 lb tub because this product has crazy sales. I would never spend $100 on this stuff, and by taking advantage of sales I never have to.


There are lots of other products I love, but I’ll leave you with these for now. I should also mention that the Broad Street Run is in 6 days!! I’m getting so excited!

-Run Monster



2 comments on “Products I love.

  1. Lina
    May 1, 2014

    This was such a great post! I am sold on all of those things! I want to try that Scrub daddy sponge – what an awesome invention. Also, I hate sulfate-free shampoos (I feel like my hair is still dirty when I wash it with them), but you have convinced me that I need to give them another go. Maybe I will cave and buy one from TJ Maxx. I do go there on a near-daily basis…

    • runmonster
      May 1, 2014

      Thanks!!! I am so obsessed with TJ Maxx. Let me know which shampoos you try – I’d love to compare notes, as always.

      Also…move back?

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BRMC Feel the Love 5kFebruary 8th, 2014
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