Your Guide to Vitamins

So, you’ve decided that, with the New Year, you want to work on your overall health and have decided to start taking vitamins … great! Perhaps you simply noticed that you haven’t been performing at 100 percent and decided that a boost of essential minerals will help you feel your best … awesome! Truth be told, no matter what reason brought you to the proverbial vitamin aisle, we’re glad you are here.

A lot of women are starting to understand that the right combination of supplements gives your body much-needed minerals that help boost your daily performance as well as helping you fight toxins, rejuvenate from the inside out, and help you keep your figure.  

But, when you stroll down the vitamin aisle (or browse your vitamin retailer’s site) you might lose your drive to find the right supplements to take. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, as the world of vitamins is a confusing one, to say the least.

So, rather than discouraging your vitamin use, we thought we would bring you a complete guide of all the essential vitamins. Everything from providing a who’s who in the world of vitamins to the perfect combination for your health level is included below.

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The Glossary

You’ve probably heard the names of most, if not all, of these vitamins. However, do you know what they do or why they are so useful? Chances are, no … but that’s okay! Below we brought you a helpful glossary to decode all those confusing vitamin labels.

 

  • Acetyl Glutathione

 

Glutathione is one of the most powerful antioxidants that our bodies produce. That’s important because our bodies need antioxidants to fight free radicals, clear heavy metals, and support our immune system. However, chronic illness, long-term exposure to toxins, stress, and gaining weight diminish the glutathione found in our bodies. When glutathione levels start to deplete, our energy levels remain low and then every part of our body begins to show major signs of aging.

 

  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid

 

Another antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid, helps keep your inflammation down, balances your blood sugar, and helps your skin retain elasticity. Not to mention, it improves the effectiveness of other antioxidants in your body. That alone is reason enough to take it!

 

  • B complex

 

When you see “B complex,” that includes 11 different nutrients, including B6 and B12. B complex is essential to overall health, as it breaks down protein, fat, and carbohydrates, and sustains your energy levels. These vitamins also work to maintain the health of your heart and promote a healthy immune system. They are also effective at fighting stress, fatigue, headaches, mood imbalances, and menstrual disorders. It is especially important for those who stick to a vegetarian or vegan diet to get plenty of the B12 vitamin, as it is found in mostly meat, and fortified plant milks and cereals.

 

  • Vitamin C

 

Most probably know that Vitamin C does help you maintain a healthy immune system; however, it also boosts HDL or the “good” cholesterol. Plus, vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights DNA-damaging free radicals, making it great for your skin, too!

 

  • CoQ10

 

An extremely powerful antioxidant that increases your energy, contains anti-aging properties, and can improve cardiovascular health. While this is important for anyone, it is especially effective for those over 40.

 

  • Vitamin D3

 

Vitamin D is great because it aids in just about every function in your body. This pre-hormone (despite its name, it’s not a vitamin) has a role in fighting disease, building strength in the muscle and bones, boosting the immune system, and helping fight inflammation, and it has anti-cancer effects. Note, though, to get enough daily vitamin D, you need to rely on vitamins and the sun, as you won’t get enough from food alone.

 

  • Fish Oil

 

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil is vital to your overall heath. It promotes joint, vision and cardiovascular health, fights against chronic disease, and supports healthy skin, hair, and nails.

 

  • Iron

 

This mineral prevents anemia, which is an iron deficiency. An iron deficiency is also linked to impaired memory and an inability to focus. Additionally, iron supports a healthy immune system.

 

  • Magnesium

 

Magnesium maintains normal muscle and nerve function, regulates blood sugar levels, and keeps your bones strong. It also has the benefit of relaxing achy muscles and easing constipation.

 

  • Multivitamins

 

If you take anything, make it a multivitamin. These are great for protecting our bodies from the everyday stress and fatigue we face, as well as making up for diets that may lack in nutrition. There really isn’t a good reason to skip on these bad boys!

 

  • Powdered Greens

 

If you aren’t eating enough greens every day, this is a great way to pick up that slack. These are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are delivered in a daily scoop to your morning smoothie or drink. Powdered greens enhance your immunity, boost energy levels, and aid your digestive process.

 

  • Probiotics

 

Probiotics are the naturally occurring “good” bacteria that are found in your gut. By taking probiotics, you will ensure that your gut and intestinal tract are producing enough of the good bacteria and promoting healthy digestion.

 

  • Zinc

 

Zinc regulates immune function, as well as supports the healthy function of organs and tissue. Also, zinc helps maintain the skin’s integrity and structure, helping wounds heal properly. Additionally, zinc has been linked to memory and how we learn.

Your Go-To Guide

There is a perfect combination of vitamins for every situation. Whether you are looking for an everyday combo or something more specific, such as you have the winter blues, these are good suggestions for what ails you.  

 

  • For everyday use:
    • Multivitamin
    • Vitamin D3
    • Fish Oil
    • Probiotics

 

  • When you’re sleep deprived:
  • Magnesium
  • CoQ10
  • Acetyl-glutathione

 

  • When you’re stressed out:
  • B complex
  • Magnesium
  • L-Thiamine
  • Acetyl-glutathione

 

  • For days you experience low energy levels:
  • B complex
  • Powdered greens
  • Acetyl-glutathione

 

  • For those who in live in a cold climate:
  • Magnesium
  • B complex
  • Powdered greens

 

  • When you need help trying to lose weight:
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid
  • Acetyl-glutathione

 

  • Vegetarians:
  • B complex, especially B12
  • CoQ10
  • Acetyl-glutathione

 

  • Fight aging:
  • B complex
  • Alpha-Lipoic acid
  • CoQ10
  • Acetyl-glutathione  

 

  • When you’re constipated:
  • Magnesium
  • Probiotics

 

  • In need of an immunity boost:
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Zinc
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Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

When old man winter hits, most people take shelter by spending days and weeks on end indoors. Meaning, you not only expose yourself to possible seasonal depression or cabin fever, but you are likely not getting enough vitamin D during these months. Those who live in particularly cold or harsh winter climates may not spend enough time in the sun all year long, putting them at greater risk for a deficiency.

Additionally, if you work indoors, and only head outdoors under the full protection of sunblock, sunglasses and a hat, you’re doing a great job of protecting yourself from skin cancer and protecting yourself from early aging. However, you’re also blocking your body from receiving enough vitamin D. While you certainly shouldn’t spend time in the sun unprotected, you do need an adequate amount of vitamin D for essential body function and immune health.

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If you think you might not get enough vitamin D, you’re not alone. In fact, an estimated one billion people across the globe have insufficient levels of the essential vitamin, and this is not a vitamin you want to go without.

The only foolproof way to know for sure that you have a deficiency is through blood testing. However, if you experience one or more of the following, you may want to look further into testing or express your concerns to your doctor.

 

 

  • You have a darker skin tone.

 

Those with darker skin tones have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. The reason being, if you have dark skin, you need about 10 times more sun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D as those with fair skin tones.

Those with darker skin tones have more pigmentation in their skin, which acts as a natural sunscreen, meaning you have to spend more time in the sun to get the same effect. With that being said, those with dark and fair skin alike need to use adequate sun protection when outside for long periods of time. It’s okay to spend about 15 minutes without sun protection, but any longer than that, and you are putting yourself at risk for skin cancer.

 

  • You’re older than 50.

 

As you age, your skin doesn’t produce as much vitamin D in response to sun exposure. Combine that with the fact that a lot of older adults spend more time indoors, and you can see why there would be a lack of the essential vitamin.

 

  • You feel blue.

 

Just as we previously mentioned above, a lot of people experience seasonal depression during the winter months. This makes sense, as bright light (i.e. the sun) increases serotonin, the hormone that is responsible for elevating your mood. Likewise, the hormone falls with the decreased amount of sun exposure. Studies have shown that people who generally experience symptoms of depression and/or are diagnosed with depression, often have lower vitamin D levels.

 

  • You’re overweight.

 

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble, hormone-like mineral, meaning body fat collects it. So, a person who is overweight or obese, or who even weighs more due to muscle mass, is going to need more vitamin D for the same effect than a person with a healthier weight.

 

  • Your bones ache.

 

Do you often experience aches and pains, along with feelings of fatigue? This is a classic sign of a vitamin D deficiency; however, a lot of people who complain of throbbing or aching bones get misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.  

 

  • You experience head sweating.

 

A sweaty head is often one of the first signs you may experience when your body lacks vitamin D.

 

  • You feel it in your gut.

 

As we previously mentioned, vitamin D is fat-soluble. This makes it hard for your body to absorb the vitamin if you have gastrointestinal conditions such as Crohn’s, celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and inflammatory bowel disease.

More symptoms that indicate a possible vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Frequent bone breaks/fractures
  • Inadequate bone growth in children
  • Muscle weaknesses and aches
  • Frequent colds, flus, and respiratory tract infections
  • General lethargy

You might have noticed that a lot of the symptoms also appear to be signs that you or your children aren’t getting enough calcium. That’s because vitamin D is vital in calcium absorption. While the symptoms, such as feeling depressed, and aching muscles and bones are able to disappear once you treat your deficiency, going too long without diagnosis or letting the deficiency go on for too long may lead to other, more serious ailments.

Long-term consequences of a vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Increased risk of common cancers
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Lower immune function
  • Hypertension
  • Muscle weakness
  • Infectious diseases

If, after reading the above information, you believe you have a deficiency, you’ll want to up your daily amount of vitamin D. However, it’s not as simple as bringing more leafy greens or fruit into your diet. In fact, very few foods have vitamin D in them.

Some foods that include D vitamins include:

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines
  • Egg yolk
  • Liver
  • Cod liver oil
  • Fortified milk
  • Fortified cereal
  • Mushrooms

Note, however, that fortified milk and cereal have to be eaten in large amounts to make a difference. This means you would have to eat fortified cereal and milk every day to make a difference.

That’s why it’s easier for children and adults to get the vitamin D they need through supplements. When shopping for supplements, make sure you look for D3 (stay away from D2), and keep in mind that vitamin A, K2, and magnesium all help your body absorb and use D3, so taking those along with your vitamin D will ensure that your body uses it.

The recommended daily amount differs, depending on your age. Infants need 400 IU, children and adults need 600 IU, and those who are over 70 need at least 800 IU. If you are having trouble absorbing your supplements, try these strategies:

  • Increase your intake
  • Rely on more sun exposure
  • Take your vitamin D sublingually. That means, rather than swallowing it, you’ll hold it under your tongue.

Spring Cleaning for Your Health

As the last bit of winter ice melts away, spring is on everyone’s minds. As we all get ready to embrace the warmer weather, blooming flowers, and bright, blue skies, we usually adjust our habits in order to leave the winter cold behind. Meaning, we leave the dark, artificial lights our houses gave us and spend more time in the fresh spring air. We transition our wardrobe, clean our homes, and, believe it or not, adjust our diets.

When you hear the term “spring cleaning,” undoubtedly you picture a weekend filled with cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of clutter in your home. This is an awesome ritual to take part of, and both you and your home benefit. Moving around the furniture, organizing your closets, and sweeping out the dust and stale air isn’t just good for the house. You probably feel better after you do it. This is because cluttered and stuffy spaces affect everything, from your quality of sleep and eating habits to your peace of mind.

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However, when you take your spring cleanse into the kitchen—yes, farther than reorganizing the pantry—you will better be able to welcome the new season with a new and fresh energy. Throughout the winter it’s likely you turned to warmer and heavier food choices, which is normal and totally okay.

We all eat differently depending on the season, but it’s likely that your body could use a boost. Just as you clean out your house, detoxing your body of the hearty winter meals, holiday indulgences, and all-around less active lifestyle is hugely important.

So, if you’re still feeling the winter blues and need help transitioning into the new season, here are spring cleaning tips for a healthier, happier lifestyle to embrace the springtime and all its new beginnings.

 

 

  • Flush your system.

 

The best way to jumpstart your spring cleanse is by flushing your system with water and tea. Water is essential to any healthy lifestyle. Drinking enough water throughout the day not only hydrates you, but also revs up your metabolism and gives you a spike in energy levels. Specifically, when you drink a glass of cold water first thing in the morning, you give a kick start to your metabolism, which is a great way to start your day. Include lemon to your glass of H2O for added health benefits.

If you find it hard to stick to water throughout the day, then opt for teas. Tea is super hydrating, and most of them are loaded with antioxidants and cleansing properties. In the morning or during that afternoon slump, sip black or green tea. They both give you a jolt of energy from the caffeine, without the jitters. Some great cleansing teas are dandelion, burdock, ginger, licorice root, fennel, and cardamom. If you’re feeling under the weather, reach for oolong, and, when you need to relax or have trouble sleeping, drink chamomile.

 

  • Drink homemade juices.

 

Don’t let the first point confuse you. Spring is the best season for homemade juices and broths. When you opt to make your own juices and broths, you have complete and utter control over the ingredients, ensuring they are high quality.

The enzymes in fresh fruit and veggies flush out your toxins and give your body the extra nutrients that it’s been craving all winter long. While any fruit or vegetable is a good option, leafy green veggies are particularly cleansing during this transition. Ingredients such as dandelion, endive, parsley, beet, kale, arugula, spinach, chards, and bok choy should be at the top of your list to try.   

 

  • Get outside.

 

Since you’ve probably had to stay indoors all winter long or work out in the stale air of the gym, you’re probably itching to get outside. Don’t hesitate to head outdoors on a nice afternoon. Whether you bring your workout routine into nature or you just soak up some sunshine and fresh air, it will do you some good!

Take a walk or hike through the woods, on weekends complete your yoga session outdoors, or skip the treadmill and go for a run in the spring air. Spending time in nature is good for our bodies and mindset alike. When outside, we tend to slow down, forget about the stresses of the moment, and appreciate the little things. As you know, mental health is part of an overall active and healthy lifestyle. Be sure to pay close attention to revitalizing yours after the harsh winter.  

 

  • Manage your stress levels .

 

We don’t need to tell you to chill out. Stress wreaks havoc on your overall health. Stress can lead to so many problems, such as IBS, bloating, heartburn, headaches, anxiety, palpitations—the list could go on and on! Regular exercise will help reduce stress, but be sure to take time out of each day for yourself. Practice yoga, aim to mediate each day—even if it is just for 10 minutes a day—and take deep breaths.

 

  • Banish bloat.

 

Bloating is caused by overeating, eating food that is loaded with sugar and carbs, as well as eating raw foods or eating in a stressful environment. During the winter months, it’s easy to do all of these, but, if you find yourself guilty of the above, now is the best time to eat in ways that banish bloat.

Make sure you take the time to eat mindfully. This means slowly chew your food and enjoy your meal. Don’t sit in front of the TV or sit at your desk at work. Also, keep in mind, warm and anti-inflammatory foods are usually easier to digest.

Solid options that ease stomach and intestinal discomfort include:

    • Cucumber
    • Banana
    • Papaya
    • Asparagus
    • Fennel seeds
    • Ginger
    • Peppermint
    • Chamomile

 

  • Shop right.

 

This might seem like common sense, but if you shop right, then you will eat right. Head to your local farmer’s market and grocery store for fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. When you prepare fresh meals that give you nutrition and energy, you’ll feel better and have the right mindset to welcome spring.

 

5 Tips for Choosing the Best Possible Beauty Vitamin for You

Being beautiful – it’s something we all want, and it’s not hard to understand why. When you know you look your best, it’s that much easier to step out into the world and be your best as well. You smile a little wider. You’re a little friendlier and more outgoing. You’re that much more likely to really reach out and truly seize the opportunities that come your way over the course of a day, the little ones as well as the big ones.

If it were possible to become the most vibrant, beautiful version of yourself by taking a magic pill every morning, wouldn’t you? Well, the bad news is science hasn’t quite come up with a magic solution to our beauty needs just yet. The good news is that a high quality beauty vitamin can come really close when it’s included as part of a whole body health and beauty program. Here we’ll discuss what you should be looking for in a beauty vitamin to make sure you’re getting the quality and value you deserve.

 

  • Focus on whole body health and wellness, not just beauty.

 

The kind of beauty most of us dream of possessing isn’t just skin deep. It’s something that really does appear to radiate from the inside out. That’s because, biologically speaking, outer beauty is an unmistakable sign of whole body health. The more of a priority you make whole body health, the more it will show on the outside.

That said, a beauty vitamin shouldn’t just focus on clearing up your skin or making your fingernails stronger. It should be just as focused on helping you meet and maintain your overall health goals. A healthy body is a beautiful, energetic body as well.

 

  • Only trust products that prioritize quality.

 

Not all commercial beauty vitamin supplements are going to be equal when it comes to the quality of the product. You want the company you buy from to place just as high a premium on quality as you do. After all, this is something you’ll be putting into your body on a daily basis. You want it to be as safe and beneficial as the foods you choose so carefully.

Does the company you’re thinking about buying from produce only ethically sourced supplements? Are the vitamins you’re considering manufactured in the United States, or do they come from overseas factories where quality control might be a concern? Are all of the supplements offered by this company fully adherent with the FDA’s strict safety standards? If the answers to any of these questions are unclear, keep looking.  

 

  • Look for products that simplify beauty and nutrition.

 

If you’ve done much research when it comes to beauty supplements, then you already know that there are quite a few different vitamins and minerals out there that are recommended for various beauty purposes. If you want strong, healthy hair and nails, you take biotin. Want younger looking skin? Go for the Vitamin D. Sick of those irritating break-outs that still occur from time to time? Well then, it’s all about probiotics. It can get confusing (not to mention expensive) to invest in an entire bottle of every single nutrient you want to try.

Choose a beauty supplement that takes some of the guesswork (and the expense) out of putting together a nutrition-focused beauty regimen. For instance, AJA Vitamins specializes in all-in-one beauty packets that contain all of the individual supplements you need to be your best and look your best. Simply choose the regimen custom designed to fit your unique set of beauty goals and buy one box of daily supplement packs. No hassle, no clutter, and no unnecessary expense! Everything you need is just right there in one simple, user-friendly packet.

 

  • Choose a company with a reputation for excellence.

 

If you were in the market for a new car or a stereo system, how would you go about choosing the company you buy from? You’d select a brand name that’s been around a while – a brand that’s become synonymous with time-honored concepts like quality, performance, and reliability. Reputations like that aren’t built in a vacuum. They only occur when a given company does a consistently fantastic job of producing quality product over the years.

You should approach your choice in beauty vitamins with the same mindset. You don’t necessarily have to choose a product that you can find on any grocery store shelf, but you should make it a point to pick one that comes attached to a consistent reputation for excellence. How do other people that use that supplement feel about the results? Would they recommend that same product to their best friend, their mother, or their sister?

 

  • Make sure the product you’re choosing was designed with your lifestyle and goals in mind.

 

As touched on above, you should definitely be approaching the world of beauty supplements with whole body health in mind. However, it’s important to realize that not everyone has the same exact set of goals in mind when it comes to their beauty and health routine. What are yours? Would you like to improve your focus or your energy levels? Are you trying to lose weight, detoxify your system, or stay as youthful as possible? Make sure the supplement regimen you’re considering is formulated with your unique set of aspirations in mind.

You also might want to consider whether or not the product you have in mind is convenient enough. If you’re like most modern people, you’re busier than busy. Can you order or reorder your supplements online? Does the packaging make it easy to take it with you on the go or when you travel? How good are the company’s reps at responding to any questions you might have?

At the end of the day, a beauty and wellness supplement has the potential to change your life and your beauty routine in wonderful ways you never imagined. However, it’s important to make sure you make the right choices. Explore the possibilities today!

 

Upcoming Action Figure Releases

Superheroes are everywhere right now. You can’t turn on the television without seeing a trailer for the new Avengers, Batman vs. Superman, or Deadpool.

The popularity of the DC Universe, Marvel, and other action hero movies has resulted in a major boon for the action figure collector crowd.

DC and Marvel have released trailers for some sure-to-be blockbuster movies that will be at theaters in the near future. As a result, licensed figure manufacturers have announced new action figures based on the movie heroes and villains.

As always, if you decide to preorder any of these figures, make sure you buy them from credible and reliable online sources.

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Batman vs. Superman

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

The long-awaited Batman vs. Superman will be at the cinemas at the end of March 2016. In reaction to the increasing fan excitement, a number of action figures are planned.

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Batman vs. Superman Dawn of Justice Play Arts Kai Superman Figure

Superman has been part of the action figure lexicon since the early days in the 1960s and 1970s. This Play Arts Kai figure has fully articulating joints, and a flexible chest and cape, enabling you to place the figure in different realistic poses similar to those made famous in the movies.

Not only is the detail of the actual figure remarkable, but the interchangeable accessories are also. With the ability to change Superman’s hands and facial expressions, this figure is one of the most versatile ever manufactured.

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice Armored Batman Statue

This action figure shows Batman wearing armor that can allow him to match the Man of Steel’s super strength. Striking an intimating pose, this figure shows Batman getting ready for his encounter with Superman.

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice ARTFX+ Statue Set

Depicting the penultimate moment of conflict between Batman and Superman, this action figure set shows the pure power and grit of the contest. With Batman blocking, yet ready to throw his right hand at Superman, the Caped Crusader is the epitome of determination.

The figure depicts Superman bearing down on the Dark Knight hoping to land a devastating blow to end this fight quickly. With superb detail, from the mesh on Batman’s armor to the ripples in Superman’s cape, you will not be disappointed if you add this to your collection.

Suicide Squad

The deadliest criminals on the planet are now tasked with saving it; hence, the name “Suicide Squad.” Manufacturers plan on releasing several figures to coincide with the feature film release in August 2016.

Deadshot

Deadshot is the world’s deadliest assassin. He never misses, and neither does this figure. Standing a foot tall, this action figure shows the master marksman with his arm extended, ready to take the shot.

From his armor to the magazines around his waist, the Deadshot figure has exquisite detail, right down to the red tint on his eyepiece. With an intense stare, the soldier who never misses will be a great addition to your collection.

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Harley Quinn

Armed with a baseball bat and an impish smile, you know she is up to no good. The detail on the action figure is amazing. Right down to the tattoos and shirt rips, this is as authentic as it gets.

The Joker

The ultimate bad boy, Joker’s maniacal laugh has become synonymous with evil and anarchy.

The detail on this figure is incredible. From the silver teeth to the painted toes, this 12-inch figure is sure to be the stand-out attraction of your collection.

 

Captain America Civil War

Captain America has been an icon of American culture since World War II. This new line of figures, based on the upcoming movie set for release in May 2016, will make a great addition to anyone’s collection.

Marvel Universe Variant Play Arts Kai Captain America Figure

Fully articulated, this Captain America action figure can be placed in a variety of the icon poses associated with this superhero. With sharp angles and the stunning red, white, and blue, this figure is what you have come to expect from the leader of the Avengers.

This figure comes with numerous accessories, which include different hand attachments for the Vibranium shield.  

Civil War Winter Soldier Sixth Scale Figure

This figure of Bucky Barnes, friend, enemy, then friend again to Captain America, has an incredible, movie-quality feel to it. With over 30 areas of movement, this figure not only comes with a high-quality base, but with multiple accessories, as well.

Deadpool Rocket Ride Premium Motion Statue

The breakout star of the Marvel Universe, Deadpool has become the go-to action figure to have in your ensemble. Wade Wilson is the “Merc with the Mouth,” lambasting foes and friends alike. This action figure captures that attitude.

Deadpool doesn’t care if you like him or not. He does and says whatever comes to his mind. Place this figure on your desk, push the tail end, and you will swear that Deadpool is laughing at you.

Daredevil Premium Format Figure

Unique in the Marvel Universe, this superhero currently stars in a TV series. Blinded at birth, Matt Murdock fights evil in Hells Kitchen.

Using all of his remaining senses, Daredevil is able to battle and defeat anyone who gets in his way. This action figure shows off the power and grace which the Daredevil has come to be known for.

With blind justice at his feet, a stark red color, and a grim determined scowl, Daredevil is willing to do whatever it takes to bring order to Hell’s Kitchen  

The Punisher Sixth Scale Figure

This superhero will let nothing stand in his way. Frank Castle was marred by a tragedy that took the lives of his loved ones. Since then, he has been a one-man crusader bringing his own brand of justice to those who break the law.

Sporting his classic skull t-shirt, this action figure is an intimidating presence. With his flak jacket, side arms, and rifle, it is not wise to get in The Punisher’s way. Standing at a foot tall, this figure offers a wide range of features, which include removable accessories and his full arsenal of weapons.

Conclusion

Any one of these action figures would be a welcome addition to your collection. It is probably a smart idea to pre-order them, as they are sure to sell out quickly.

Toy Biz Lord of the Rings Film Release Figures

Lord of the Rings has been a beloved franchise created from the mind of J. R. R. Tolkien. The first book, which was meant to be a sequel to Tolkien’s previous published book The Hobbit, was published in the mid-1950s, yet its impact still holds a considerable influence on pop culture today.

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What started out as a series of books has grown into a franchise of movies, video games, and even collectible figures made in the likeness of the movie characters. Lord of the Rings has gone far and beyond what most books are able to do, and it still holds its place as best-selling novel of all time to this day.

The most popular film rendition to come out of the franchise has been Peter Jackson’s trilogy that depicts the events of every book in the series. The movies themselves have rendered a large fanbase on their own and, as a result, led to the creation of collectible figures released at the time of the movies.

Toy Biz Collection

In the year of the first movie’s release, up until two years after the last film’s release, a company by the name of Toy Biz began a collection of action figures to accompany the depicted characters.

Laser-scanning technology captured the facial features of each actor and portrayed it on a scaled replica. The figures could be posed, and they ranged from 4-14 inches. Over time, a total of four series were released for the franchise, each with their own individual packaging and versions of the same characters.

Packaging

The figures released with Toy Biz were all packaged in what is referred to as “half-moon boxes.” These boxes have a clear plastic casing that gives visibility to the figure itself and wraps around about halfway through the packaging before being cut off by a sturdy strip of cardboard that is animated with specific scenery related to the movie.

These packages came in multiple waves that differed in terms of figure size, multiple characters, and box art; this was all dependent on which year the wave was released.

Each wave was released in individual series that varied from 4 to 5 per wave, which did not include special exclusives and gift packages released within each wave. The series included characters that may or may not have been featured in the previous wave, and often included different outfits and poses.

Depicted Characters

The waves covered all three movies and depicted many of the most significant characters, often accompanied by a particular weapon and positioned in a certain pose. A few of the main characters associated with the first movie were Boromir, Frodo, Galadriel, and Strider, along with an elven warrior and a unique twilight Frodo.

For the second movie, characters like Aragorn, Legolas, Faramir, Merry, and Pippin made their first appearance, or reappearance in a different costume, in the Toy Biz collection.

The third movie included characters like Smeagol, which came equipped with authentic movie phrases, and Saruman the White with his staff and the Eye of Sauron.

After Toy Biz

Toy Biz ceased production of their high quality detailed figures in 2005, but the desire to collect such figures did not cease. Lord of the Rings continued to hold a significant place in collector’s culture, and many other companies stepped up to provide their own take on the characters of the movies.

As the depiction of characters in figure form grew as an art form, individual characters from the movies were remade by a different company into figures once again, but this time with more features and greater attention to detail to truly appeal to the fans and collectors of these types of figures.

Asmus and Lord of the Rings

Asmus is the name of the toy company that took over making some of the most detailed depictions of Lord of the Ring characters available to date.

Their focus is strictly on characters from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, similarly to Toy Biz, and have once again revolutionized the ability to incorporate detail and features into a single figure, much like their predecessors.

Currently, Asmus is reproducing some of the most well-known characters of the franchise into figures once again and aims to develop a figure for many of the popular characters seen in the films.

Aragorn

One of the most iconic and identifiable characters from the franchise is Aragorn, played by Viggo Mortensen in the movies. In a 2015 release of his character by Asmus, the figure stood at the sixth scale with more than 36 points of articulation features.

These features include several pairs of hands that can be alternated to portray relaxed posture, weapon holding, and fists. Different weapons and armor are also included to be interchanged at the whim of the owner.

Unlike most of the former Toy Biz figures, this one stands on an interactive base that is just as detailed as the figure itself.

Merry and Pippin

Two other characters that were prominently featured in the Toy Biz collection were Merry and Pippin, who were portrayed by Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, respectively. Although they were previously packaged separately in the series that Toy Biz put out, Asmus chose to release a sixth scale that contained both characters in one package.

Both characters have their own features, including handsets that are posed in a relaxing position, weapon holding position, and open palm position. Each character has their own distinct clothing and accessories specific to details of the movie.

Mouth of Sauron

Among The Return of the King figures Asmus has to offer is the Mouth of Sauron, played by Bruce Spence, in sixth scale. This figure has interchangeable mouths and a sword, and it stands on its own figure stand.

Saruman

A newly released sixth scale figure from Asmus is Saruman, played by Christopher Lee in the movies. The figure guarantees an entirely realistic portrayal of the character and a similar set of hand pairs as the other characters.

Conclusion

Toy Biz paved the way for the creation of high definition Lord of the Rings collectible figures. They released figures in different poses, costumes, and expressions across the span of five years as the movies were being released.

Likewise, Asmus has mimicked the concept of creating incredibly detailed likenesses of the featured characters, but with something Toy Biz did not formerly provide: interchangeable accessories.

The expansion of this franchise and continued popularity of collectible figures is very telling of the future of the Lord of the Rings, and the worth of the figures created by Toy Biz, as well as those currently being produced by Asmus.

 

How to Choose the Right Hairspray

Want to tame your hair? Thinking about using a hairspray? Hairsprays are some of the most commonly used styling products in the world, but, unfortunately, when it comes to purchasing them, we’re inundated with multiple choices to choose from, making our choice a much more difficult one. In reality, how do we know for sure we’re choosing the right hairspray that really suits our needs? The following are a few simple hairspray buying tips you can use to help make your selection a much more informed one.  

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Tips for Selecting the Perfect Hairspray

Like any other hairstyling product, using the wrong type may damage your hair and cause it to dry out or for you to experience split ends. This is why it’s crucial that your choice will benefit you and your hair needs. Finding the right hairspray doesn’t have to be hard; you just need the right information so you can easily make an informed decision. By following these tips below, you can easily make your hairspray choice a much easier one.

Tip #1: Purpose – Before even choosing your hairspray, it’s important to first work out the purpose for which you will be using it. Are you looking to add extra holding strength, extra definition, flexibility, or volume? By choosing the purpose of your hairspray, you will be able to accurately limit the options dramatically. This will help to make your selection easier.

Tip #2 – Hair Changes – If you’re someone who wants to change your hairstyle throughout the day, it is best to choose a hairspray which is labeled “flexible.” Flexible hairspray isn’t designed to hold your hair strong like other types. While it’s designed to define the hairstyle, it will also allow you to brush your hair without causing too much resistance. Other types of hairspray you can use are light and medium hold formulas. Light formulas are perfect if you only need to tame those loose hairs.

Tip #3: Classic Hairstyles – For classic strong holding hairstyles that need to stay in place throughout the day, it’s advisable to use a strong hold formula. Strong hold hairsprays are used by dancers, models, and other professionals to ensure a perfectly neat hairstyle that won’t deteriorate throughout the day. It’s also important to know that these sprays tend to be thicker in consistency and may be heavier than your average hairspray. They may also take a little time to wash out at the end of the day.

Tip #4: Flaking – Last minute flaking is something that many people experience unexpectedly. In cases such as this, it’s advisable to use a non-aerosol hairspray which doesn’t leave a layer of residue. If you have fine hair, however, you should avoid this hairspray type, as it will cause unnecessary frustration due to extra weight.

Tip #4: Volume – For those who have fine hair, you’ll find it’s hard to maximize volume, although, with new advancements in the cosmetic industry, you can now purchase hairsprays which add additional volume and body to your hair. Volumizing hairspray should be used on hair where it lacks quality volume. Hairspray such as this is ideal for those who don’t want to use multiple products to gain the desired results.

Tip #5: Heat Activation – Did you know that many styling products available on the market are heat activated? This means they work a lot better when first applied during the styling session instead of at the end. While using the blow dryer to dry your hair, you can apply hairspray to the under layers and the roots to help enhance the volume effortlessly.

Tip #6: Choose for Your Hair Type – One important thing to remember when purchasing a hairspray is that it shouldn’t fight the natural texture of your hair. This is why it’s best to buy a formula that is specific to your hair needs. The best way to work this out is by checking the labels of the sprays. There should be labels featuring the type of hair: curls, full body, thin, and so on.

Tip #6: Special Features – Did you know that some hairsprays consists of special features which are perfect for a variety of applications? Hairsprays which feature UV protection are ideal for outdoor use when in the sun a lot. Humidity-resistant hairsprays are also a great choice for outdoor conditions because they offer more control over your hair when unexpected weather conditions arise.

Advantages of Using Hairspray

There are a number of different benefits you can receive when it comes to using hairspray. These advantages will help you in your everyday life to keep your hair looking great at all times. Some hairspray advantages include:

  • Helps to keep your hair controlled throughout your day.
  • Gives you a very stylish look.
  • Can help to reduce the look of oily hair.
  • Can help to define and form curls.
  • Adds more volume to your hair.

Disadvantages of Hairspray

Just like anything else in life, hairspray does come with a few disadvantages. Although minor, it’s still important to know what the disadvantages are so you can make an informed decision for your individual needs. Some hairspray disadvantages include:

  • May make your hair look duller than it is.
  • May take you longer to wash your hair.
  • Some people may have an allergic reaction to a specific formula.
  • Some may not work as well as others.
  • Some tend to be stickier than others.

Remember, it’s very important to stop using a hairspray if you experience an allergic reaction. If you’re still experiencing the side effects days after using a hairspray, it’s important to seek medical advice from a fully trained professional.

Conclusion

Hairsprays are come available within a a large variety to choose from. You don’t have to be an expert to select the right one; all you need is some knowledge, patience, and a little time to check each individual one that you’re interested in. If that task seems too overwhelming, or you just don’t want to take the time, you can always consult your hair professional to recommend the best option for your needs,  Once you find the one you like, you won’t go back. So, how’d you do purchasing your hairspray this time?