Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment

I received a mini duo with clear and sugar rose as a birthday gift (with purchase of course) from Sephora.  I've been wanting to try this for a long time because it always gets high ratings but have been put off by the $22.50 price tag.  The first thing I will say is that I don't notice any difference between the tinted and the clear.  Maybe it would be more noticeable with one of the darker colors.  The second thing I will say is that this stuff is really good.  It goes on very easily and feels nice and slippery on your lips.  It's less waxy than traditional lip balm and not sticky like lip gloss.  It also have the loveliest scent.  I couldn't tell you what it smells like, it just smells nice.  It moisturizes your lips and almost works like a primer to mute imperfections.  I'm keeping one on my desk (next to my eos which I am no longer using) and one in my purse.  It is all great until you go back to the price.  It just seems a little high for a regular or tinted lip balm.  If you've tried other things on your lips with no success, this might be worth the splurge.  Or if you just want to smell a pleasant scent all day.  As for me, I'll decide when my minis run out and keep you posted!



http://www.fresh.com/skincare/lip-care-skincare/sugar-lip-treatment-spf-15

Monday, December 10, 2012

Clairol Root Touch-Up

Do you ever look in the mirror and have an "ack!" moment where you realize your greys have taken over your whole head?  That's what happened to me last week.  (For the record, it also often happens to me with my eyebrows.  I don't notice for weeks and then all of a sudden realize I look like Bert.)  I couldn't wait to order color from eSalon and I had a package of Clairol's Root Touch-Up at home.  I decided it would have to do to cover up the worst spots.

It comes with the color and developer, plastic gloves, a small tray, and a small application brush.  You use the brush to mix the color and developer in the tray and then apply it with the brush.  I mentioned in my eSalon review that I love applying color with a brush now and this is no exception.  It goes on easily and I feel like the brush really gets it through your hair.  You leave it on for 15-20 and then rinse.  No need to wash your hair.  I however had a huge need to wash my hair at the time so I did with color friendly shampoo. 

It did a good job of covering my greys and the color did match my hair/previous color.  I would say within 5-7 days many greys were starting to show through again.  I suppose this could be because I washed it after but I don't really think so since it looked good at first.  And of course, this product is not meant to be a long term solution.  I think it is a good product if, say, you have a special occasion and just need a quick touch up.  You can get it on sale for a decent price and I plan to keep a box around for just such occasions in the future.

http://www.clairol.com/en-US/products/nice-n-easy/root-touch-up

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Too Faced Beauty Editor Darlings Set

Do yourself a favor and buy this set immediately!  I will review the products separately but I want all my readers to have a chance to get in on this great deal while it lasts.  I love all five of these products and they come in a generous size.  So, treat yourself during the holiday season =)





http://www.sephora.com/beauty-editor-darlings-set-P376647?skuId=1474238

Ojon damage reverse™ instant restorative hair serum

Hair oils made from exotic nuts are all the rage these days.  So how do you know which one is best?  By reading my blog, of course! 

I am a huge fan of this trend.  All of the oils I've tried so far have been great.  This particular one comes from the nut of the Ojon tree found in the rainforests of Central America.  According to their website, the oil is extracted in an eco-friendly manner so we're not destroying the rainforest just for better hair.  I put this on my wet hair and let it air dry.  I couldn't believe how soft my hair was!  It didn't make it frizz free with that method but it was easy to comb or brush through and with a little extra help from the Organix healing oil, my hair looked great.  How much you use will really depend on your hair type.  The great thing is that it is sold in three different sizes - something I think more companies should do.  It is moderately priced and has a lovely scent.  I still prefer a spray oil for dry hair because I think it diffuses better but I plan to use this pre-drying at least until this bottle is finished.




http://www.ojon.com/product/4726/18463/Shop-by-Product/Shop-by-Product-Type/Treatment/damage-reverse-Instant-Restorative-Hair-Serum/index.tmpl

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Goody QuikStyle Paddle brush

I consider this post more of a warning than a review.  When I saw this, I thought it was a great idea and went and purchased it at CVS the same day for $12.99.  I don't know that it cuts down drying time significantly (the microfiber "bristles" can only hold so much water) but, IT DAMAGED MY HAIR.  After two uses, I have a lot of breakage at the top of my head that wasn't there before and it made it frizzy during blow drying anyway.  I would stay as far away from this as you can (which shouldn't be tough...lol).  It's going to take months to repair the damage this did.



http://www.goody.com/Products/Styling%20Tools/QUIK%20STYLE%20Paddle%20Brush?gclid=CKTgioG09LMCFUWo4AodR1cAdw&utm_expid=65472210-0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Faclk%3Fsa%3Dl%26ai%3DC60uHlnO3UIKaHO_L6QH_04CwBsOG-cwC-6H8kznzlr2MlQEIABACKAJQo87R6fr_____AWDJhqOH1KOAEKABnaXu3APIAQGqBCJP0DMDUVbhNFL_F6x6nDykaHDDrRyzyqln3GgjnI8piyMx%26sig%3DAOD64_1zUtIR7gD2ya9ra5bS_kf-nKR5dA%26ved%3D0CDUQ0Qw%26adurl%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.goody.com%2FProducts%2FStyling%252520Tools%2FQUIK%252520STYLE%252520Paddle%252520Brush%26rct%3Dj%26frm%3D1%26q%3Dgoody%2Bquik%2Bstyle%2Bbrush

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Phytospecific Phytorelaxer

I promised this review awhile ago but held off because I was unsure.  Unfortunately, time has not made things much clearer.  This comes in two "indexes," 1, for delicate, fine hair and 2, for normal, thick or resistant hair.  I used number 2.  The biggest downside of this product is the 60 dollar price tag.  I was able to justify it by the reviews I read which said you could get two treatments out of it and the fact that it would cost more to go to a salon.  This product is used in salons though.  It even has halfway marks on the bottles to help you out.

In the box are a pre-care balm, straightening cream, index inductor, neutralizing and cleansing emulsion, and milky restructurer.  I am a bad person who never does a strand test but I decided to do one in this case because you can straighten the rest of your hair right after you do it.  It's a good thing I did because the inductor and cleansing emulsion look very similar and I didn't read the bottles.  Also I was lucky because I only used half.  It turned the product a bright pink which I thought was pretty cool.  I put it on my strand and followed the instructions as best as I could.  The second downside is that the instructions are a little strange.  It says to apply the solution with the back of a comb and then to also use that during straightening.  It was only when I went to use the cleansing emulsion I realized my mistake.  I did not however re-do the strand test.  I mixed it all up and applied it to my hair the way I thought I should.  Unlike other straighteners, this has a very thick texture, almost clay-like and you don't comb through it while it's in your hair.  I left it on the required time and proceeded to the neutralizing, cleansing emulsion.  It is nice that you get to wash your hair after.  Then I used the restructurer, of which I still have a lot left after thoroughly coating my hair.

After blow-drying, my hair looked amazing.  Super straight and shiny.  And it lasted several days.  It still looked great after washing it again with my regular shampoo and conditioner.  So, why would I still be unsure.  Well, I still have to blow it dry or it frizzes.  I know that doesn't seem like much but, if you've read some of my other post you know that I want perfect hair with no effort.  The other reason is that it was great for a couple of weeks but then I started waking up with my old hair "bumps" again so it didn't last as long as it should have at that price.

My recommendation, if you want a chemical-free straightener, would be to find a salon that uses this or to work something out with your stylist where you can bring this in and have them use it (although unless they are familiar with the product, they may have a hard time with the directions as well).  I did send an email to Phyto to ask for clarification but never received a response.  I will update if I ever find out.  If I do get clarification, I may actually try this product again on my own.  Otherwise I will just keep looking!

http://www.sephora.com/phytospecific-phytorelaxer-index-2-normal-thick-resistant-hair-P6120?skuId=365700

http://phytospecific.com/phyto_usa.html

Monday, November 12, 2012

Philosophy full of promise moisturizer

As I began this review, I looked back so I could link to my favorite Philosophy product, Purity Made Simple.  Much to my shock and chagrin, I have not reviewed it!!!  I will rememdy that shortly but for now I'll stick to this one. 

I love Philosophy's packaging and cute product names.  In addition to the Purity, they have a fwe other products I've enjoyed.  However, their face creams never seem to make the cut and this one is no different.  It never delivers on its promise.  It's not a bad product, it just isn't any better than ones you can get in the drugstore much cheaper.  My philosophy is that I don't mind paying for something that works so I won't be buying this again.




http://www.philosophy.com/skin-care-moisturizers/full-of-promise-restoring-cream,en_US,pd.html

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dr. Brandt Flaws No More r3p Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for...peptides?  Peptides, what the heck are those?  Well, from my layman's perspective, this is how I understand it.  The collagen in our skin is made up of long strings of amino acids.  When collagen breaks down, it forms shorter chains called peptides which signals the skin to "fix" the skin by producing more collagen.  By applying these manufactured peptides to the skin, the theory is that will ramp up the collagen production making your face look younger and less wrinkled.

I was lucky to try a large sample of this to really get a good feel for the product.  The first thing I noticed was the smell.  It smelled kind of metallic.  Once you put it on your face though, you could no longer detect the scent.  It is a very thick, rich cream and I like the way it went on.  I felt like it gave my face a soft, sort of matte texture while still moisturizing.  I only wash my face at night anymore so that's the only time I applied it.  In the morning I rinse my face with water, add more eye cream, and apply my Smashbox BB cream.  This was a great product for that routine.  It kept my face moisturized but not greasy.  I am beginning to think there really is no miracle cure out there.  Our skin is going to age.  We are going to have wrinkles.  But a product can help minimize the telltale signs of aging.  (Maybe they should call it Flaws But Less.)  The biggest downside is the price tag ($125).  It will keep me searching for a cheaper alternative.  However, if I do decide to splurge, this product is at the top of my list.



http://www.drbrandtskincare.com/product/flaws+no+more+r3p+cream.do?sortby=ourPicks

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Undereye Primer

I really wanted to like this after my great (and continued) experience with Smashbox's BB Cream.  So much so that I ordered an additional sample when I ran out of my first one.  Unfortunately I had to face the fact that it just didn't really do much.  Lately, instead of washing my face twice a day, I only do it at night.  In the morning I splash water on my face, reapply my eye cream and then put on my BB Cream.  I though this product would be perfect.  It would still hydrate but help with my under eye circles and fairy trails.  On my second sample, I tried using the primer on one side and my eye cream on the other.  I checked it several times throughout the day and I couldn't tell a difference between the two sides.  And this was with and without concealer.  I would skip this and buy a good concealer.

http://www.smashbox.com/product/6027/22899/Eyes/ConcealerBrightener/PHOTO-FINISH-HYDRATING-UNDER-EYE-PRIMER/New/index.tmpl

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Phytodefrisant botanical hair relaxing balm

I was very surprised to find out that this company, started by French hairstylist Patrick Ales, has been around since the mid 50s.  I had occasionally seen the products and liked the clinical looking packaging but had never tried them.  In my quest to tame my frizz and get rid of a few stubborn "bumps" in my hair, I got this from Sephora based on the very high reviews.  Although it is not a permanent solution, and you have to use it with a blow dryer or straightener, it says it will gradually make your hair straighter with use (at least that's what I thought it said).  I usually blow dry my hair anyway and thought that maybe I could get away with letting it air dry once in awhile.  As I've mentioned, all I really want is wash and go hair that looks like I just stepped out of a shampoo commercial.  Never give up the dream, right?

This product mostly does what it says it will do.  It helps reduce frizz and helps keep hair straighter between washings (mine would often get messed up while I slept).  However, I think calling it a relaxing balm is going a bit far.  There is a big difference between straightening and smoothing.  I would call this a smoothing product.  In the instructions it said it will make your hair "smoother with use" which was my mistake.  My hair didn't get any straighter or easier to blow dry after using this for several weeks.  I felt like it made my hair feel a little stiff but it wasn't really bad and if you normally use products in your hair it probably wouldn't bother you.

In the end, I would recommend trying this product if you already spend time styling your hair and are just looking for a better product.  Like I said, it works the way it says it will, it just doesn't work the way I wanted it to.  I went a different route and used their permanent (but still botanical) hair relaxer and that review will be coming up soon!


http://www.phyto-usa.com/Products/ProductDetails.aspx?PID=27

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Organix Moraccan Oil Weightless Healing Oil and Alterna Bamboo Kendi Oil Dry Mist

In August of 2011 I wrote about Argan oil (also called Moroccan oil) for the first time.  Then back in June, I wrote about Moroccan Oil's Frizz Control.  I really liked the product and although I sometimes used it as a treatment by spraying it in dry hair, it made it look greasy so it had to be shampooed out.  It helped my hair more than any other product I'd tried but it still wasn't enough to conquer the humidity of a DC summer.  I really liked the spray because I felt like it was more evenly distributed through my hair.  So I began looking into products I can use on dry hair.  On Sephora, I discovered Alterna Bamboo Kendi Oil Dry Mist.  My first post ever was about my Alterna conditioner so I ordered it immediately even though I hadn't heard of Kendi oil.  It turns out to be another nut oil, this one from Indonesia.  I started using the spray in two ways.  First, I would spray it on towel dried hair.  Just like the Moroccan Oil Frizz Control, if I got to a bad tangle, I'd just give it an extra pump and my comb would glide right through.  Second, I would use it right after drying my hair and whenever it got a little unruly.  It seemed like I couldn't use too much in between washings (every 2-3 days).  However, when I realized how quickly I was going through it, I realized this was going to be pretty pricey to sustain and so I went searching again.  This time for a cheaper alternative.

I found the Organix Moroccan Oil Dry Healing Oil online and purchased it at Rite Aid where they were (luckily) having a 2 for 1 sale.  I use it in the same was as the Alterna and it works just as good.  I love this stuff!  It is like liquid gold.  Normally I wouldn't advocate a product that you use a lot of but in this case, I think how much you use depends on your hair.  I keep a bottle at home and a bottle at work.  I often just spray a little bit on my ends when they are looking frazzled.  The smell is a little stronger than the Alterna which had a very nice, mellow smell, but it isn't bad and it is milder than the Moroccan Oil brand.  I just can't say enough good things about this product.  If your hair needs moisture or frizz control, I suggest you go out and get some right away!  You can thank me later.


Liquid Gold

http://www.organixhair.com/product/weightless-healing-oil
http://www.alternahaircare.com/bamboo/smooth/kendi-dry-oil-mist/

Monday, October 1, 2012

Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer

Jack Black has a line of beauty care products?  Considering he's not exactly at the forefront of fashion, I found that a little odd.  It turns out this company was founded in 2000 and named before the actor became widely popular.  (I'm sure they were pretty bummed when they realized people would be associating their product with the guy who was in such hits as "Johnny Skidmarks" and "Laser Fart.") 

I got a sample of this when ordering from Sephora.  I did not realize at the time it is a line for men.  All I know is that I put it on and my hands felt transformed.  They looked and felt soft without feeling greasy.  Any moisturizer will also help diminish the look of wrinkles and this one is no exception.  It is fragrance free although it does have a scent and I would say it is on the manlier side.  It doesn't smell like car oil and beer though and the smell fades quickly.  For as well as this product works, it is worth it.  And much appreciated by someone who has a sensitivity to stronger scents.  I bought the 3 oz size for $15 which is expensive but the bottle is bigger than I expected and I wouldn't be surprised if it lasted 6 months since you don't have to use a lot.  It says you can use it on your heels and elbows which I will try but that isn't such a big problem after sandal and short sleeve weather is over.  I usually use a regular body lotion on my hands and I had a tendency to not use it very often because it felt so greasy.  Now I can have soft, pretty hands anytime I want.  So, sorry boys, one more product to steal from you!



http://www.getjackblack.com/Products/Industrial-Strength-Hand-Healer-with-Vitamins-A-and-E__4002O.aspx

eos Lip Balm - smooth sphere

I was standing in line at Target waiting to check out when I spotted this lip balm.  The egg shape immediately peaked my curiosity as did the pink color.  It also said 95% organic and 100% natural so, being the good little impulse buyer that I am, I threw it on the conveyor belt.  I tried it as soon as I got home.  All you do is twist the top and apply the (also egg-shaped) balm to your lips.  I ended up with Strawberry Sorbet and it smells and tastes wonderful (not that I recommend eating it!).  It's a little weird to put on because it's so big.  It's fine for the middle part of your mouth but you have to open wide to get the corners.  It works fine and doesn't feel overly heavy.  They're tag line is "Can a lip balm make you smile? We think so."  And they're right.  It's cute packaging and for that alone I think it's worth it.  It also comes in a medicated version and a stick if you're not into the egg.



http://evolutionofsmooth.com/products/lipbalm-sphere/summer-fruit.html

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Mascara Wave #10 - Too Faced LashGASM

When you name your product LashGASM, you are setting the expectation bar pretty high!  I don't think it quite meets those expectations although it could maybe be called LashTINGLE.  It's been several months since I reviewed a new mascara because I found a couple I like and have been using those.  But, in my quest to find the best products for myself and for you, I opened this mini from the sampler I got from Sephora way back in December of 2011. 

As you can probably tell from my above comment, I really like this product.  It gives a nice, medium lash - not too much for daytime and not too wimpy for night.  And you can layer it for a more dramatic evening look.  It's got the short rubber bristles that are so popular now and it says each bristle has a hook on the end.  I can't see that with my naked eye.  My biggest problem is the amount and thickness of my lashes.  This enhances the latter while making the former seem more abundant.  They also don't get crunchy which is a huge plus.  The only problem I've found is that it does smear a little.  But, I really mean a little.  Every now and then I have to swipe a little smudge from my eyelid but it doesn't bleed down under my eyes (I mostly only wear mascara on my top lashes except when I use Clinique's Bottom Lash).  I think the biggest problem with all mascaras is that after a month or so, they don't work as well.  I think it's the nature of the beast because the product is always going to get compromised by oxygen.  I wish they would sell the mini versions.  It would be cheaper and you wouldn't feel like you had to keep using a mascara that no longer worked because you paid so much for it.


I am honestly undecided on whether or not I will buy a full size.  If I decide to, I'll update this post but I do think it's worth a try.  It is my favorite daily mascara of all the ones I've tried so far.


https://www.toofaced.com/p-487-lashgasm-mascara.aspx

Monday, September 24, 2012

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream (spf 35)

B.B. stands for Beauty Balm although in Smashbox's case it should stand for Beauty Bomb (as in, it's da!).

Originally called Blemish Balm and developed in 1960s Germany for dermatology patients after surgery, the cream was discovered by Korean actresses around 1985.  They loved the lightening affects and sheer coverage.  The products have remained very popular in South Korea and Japan ever since.  As best as I can tell, they only entered the mainstream US market in 2011.

It is a skin care meets make up hybrid promising to replace moisturizer, primer, sunscreen, foundation and powder (the last two depending on the amount of coverage you want).  I tried a Garnier brand when they first came out but it made my face greasy and was immediately returned.  I bought the Smashbox while shopping with a friend in Light/Medium.  I absolutely love it.  I think it does everything it claims.  My face is moisturized, my skin tone more even, and it keeps my face from getting too shiny all day long only without a matte finish which, let's face it, isn't really a natural look.  After only a couple of weeks, my slight tan faded and I ordered it in Light.  I would say the biggest problem is that it is only offered in 5 shades.  Although both shades I have work because they blend really well.  Sometimes this is all I use and on the occasions when I do wear more make up, I use a dusting of Tarte Smooth Operator to help set the other make up.

There are many brands out there in a range of prices but unless this stops working, I will consider myself lucky that I found this on only my second try.



http://www.smashbox.com/bb-cream

Hairspray!

I don't use a lot of hairspray, usually just a little on my bangs.  Lately I've been using Alterna Caviar Anti-aging Working hairspray in a trial size I got with a sampling of their products.  Before that I was using Redken Quick Dry 18 which I discovered while in a friend's wedding.  I really liked that one but I found the big can constantly got stopped up.  I HATE THAT!  So, I've been using the Alterna and not thinking much about it.  But then I ran out.  Thinking hairspray is hairspray, I picked up a trial size of Nexxus.  I don't remember what kind but it was in a gold can with a black top.  The first time I used it was shocking.  It came out in almost a stream.  If I held my arm as far away as I could while still pointing the product at my head, it was almost ok.  But it also has a really strong scent.  I mean, you can smell it all day long.  It had to go.  Next up is an anti-humidity hairspray from Garnier.  It comes out fine and the scent is subtle and pleasant.  Unfortunately, it doesn't really work.  It doesn't hold my hair in place and I mostly can't even tell I have it on.  I mean, I'm not looking for crunchy 80s hair but I can usually feel a difference.

The point of all this is that, like most products, there are good and bad hairsprays.  If you thought they were all the same and aren't really happy with your current spray, I would give something else a try.  As for me, I will be ordering more Alterna stat!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Charlotte Ronson A Summer's Kiss Face and Body Glow

I bought this in the $10 size to get free shipping on an order.  I figured I could use it on my legs to boost the little bit of tan I got this summer.  It also says you can use it on your face.  Thankfully I didn't try that first!  The name is a little misleading.  It's more like a slobbery, wet kiss from a St. Bernard.  It's just too much.  Too dark, too much sparkle, too thick.  I wouldn't recommend this for anyone over 14 and definitely don't use it on your face unless you are going to Halloween as Snookie!



http://www.sephora.com/a-summer-s-kiss-face-body-glow-P293106

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Conair MiniPro 1/2" Ceramic Straightener

No matter how much product or time I put into my hair in the morning, if it is rainy or humid out, I come in to work looking like I've been possessed by Zuul.
Once here, my options for fixing it were limited...until now.  I discovered this mini straightener after trying to Amika.  I loved the idea of it but it way too hot.  I could barely even hold it and I was afraid I was going to burn myself.  So, I returned it and tried this.  Unfortunately, one of the things you lose when going so small is the option for different heat settings.  This one also gets very hot but there are ridges on the handle before the plates and, if you stay behind them, it's fine.  One of the benefits of it getting hot is that you can also use it to curl your hair.  Now, this isn't going to straighten (or curl) like a full size iron.  The plates are only 1/2" thick.  But it does a great job for touch ups on my thick hair and to do my bangs.  I actually find it easier to work with than my full size straightener although I'm not ready to give that up entirely!

If you have weather-challenged hair, I highly recommend this product.  It heats up very quickly and it comes with a cute, heat resistant pouch so it's great even when you don't have time to let it cool all the way down.
(It's hard to see the ruler but it is about 6 inches long [about the size a checkbook])

http://www.conair.com/minipro-ceramic-straightener-p-647.html

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain and Lipstain + Balm

This is first and foremost a knock-off of Tarte LipSurgence natural lip tint, right down to the peppermint aroma but at less than half the price.  So is it worth it?  I got this in Honey which is a brownish pink color.  The color is very nice although it doesn't seem to go on as smoothly as the Tarte.  The color stays on ok if you're not eating or drinking (and I'm pretty sure it would come off from kissing!) but it doesn't chap your lips like some other lip stains do.  As I said in my post on Tarte, I find the darker colors stain a little better and that might be part of the problem with this.  I also like that you don't have to use a sharpener, just turn it up from the bottom.  I would recommend giving this a try if you are looking for something light with a great smell that will not dry out your lips.  Be careful not to confuse it with Revlon's Just Bitten Lipstain + Balm, which is what I originally wanted to get.  That one is a true lipstain that has a separate top coat.  Why you would call two products almost the identical name is beyond me (although it is a great name).  I bought one of those in Twilight (ignoring all book/movie associations).  As with other lips stains, this goes on like a felt tip marker and you have to be very careful, quick and precise.  However, the color stays on much longer.  Unfortunately, the packaging was incredibly hard to remove and the balm came off with the end cap so I wasn't able to use it (I used one from another long lasting lipstick).  I would try this if you are looking for longer lasting color and don't mind the 2-step process.  Just be careful when you're taking off the plastic!



http://www.revlon.com/Revlon-Home/Products/Lips/Lipstain/Just-Bitten-Kissable-Balm-Stain.aspx
http://www.revlon.com/Revlon-Home/Products/Lips/Lipstain/Just-Bitten-Lip-Stain.aspx

Monday, August 20, 2012

eSalon Customized Hair Color - Updated

I have never been able to bring myself to pay 50+ to have my hair colored at a Salon.  Especially since I only do single color.  Instead, I've always used hair color from the drugstore and it has mostly worked out fine.  The bad parts are, I usually make a huge mess (hair color all over my bathroom and me), sometimes I can miss spots and, because I use dark brown, my hair often looks black and kind of phony until I wash it a couple of times.  I found myself not coloring on a regular basis.  I'd just wait until the grays were too much to handle.  Then, I read about eSalon.  It is customizable, salon quality, hair color you do at home and, while it is a little more expensive than drugstore brands, it is way cheaper than going to the salon.  Of course, you still have the same issues doing it at home as you had before but, and I will explain, it isn't as bad.

The first step is to go to their website (https://www.esalon.com/) and fill out a profile.  They ask you about your current hair, what you want, how your hair reacts to color, etc.  You will also be given the opportunity to upload photos and I suggest you do to get the best results.  They have such confidence in their product that the first order only costs $4.95 for S&H.  It took 7 days for mine to ship (it says 2-3 days on their website although I hadn't seen it then) and arrived 2 days after it shipped.  In the first shipment you get: 2 bottles of customized hair color, 2 bottles of developer, 2 pairs of gloves (very nice!), a packet of stain guard, a stain remover towelette, a packet of conditioner, an application brush, and personalized instructions.

I sectioned my hair into 4 parts per the instructions (something I don't always do) and applied the stain guard around my hairline and neck.  I chose to use the brush to apply it since I've never done it that way before.  Well, I am a convert!  I will never again go back to applying hair color directly from the developer bottle.  It takes more time but it is much neater and I felt like I really got all the hair covered, especially the greys.  I left it on for the recommended time and then followed their instructions for finishing - you mix the leftover hair color with water and massage it into your hair for 2 minutes before rinsing and then applying the conditioner.  The hair color turned out beautiful.  It was very rich and deep but natural looking and all my greys were covered.  It looked great for a couple of weeks and then I noticed all my greys were showing again.  Not just at the roots but like the hair color had washed off.  Since I am only covering greys, I couldn't tell if it was my whole head or just the greys.  In my feedback email, I mentioned this.  They replied and said the would take it into consideration for my next shipment.  (You are put on auto-ship and you chose the frequency but it is also very easy to turn off.)

My 2nd shipment came in July and only contained one bottle of hair color and developer because at this point you are touching up I guess.  It also did not have the brush but I had saved it from before.  Otherwise, it had all the other stuff. 


My instructions this time called for it to be on longer and I believe they slightly changed the formula.  It has been more than two weeks and the hair color still looks great and my greys are still not showing (yay!).  I will continue to get shipments and I may even move up the date since I am only on every 12 weeks.  I should mention that the options for hair color are limited by your natural or dyed color - basically, the darker your hair, the less options but you knew that, right?  For $4.95, I really can't see why you wouldn't try this. 

Update:  After more than a month, my color looks great and the only grey I see is new growth.  I think I'll move up my shipment date!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Too Faced 3 Way Lash Lining Tool

Liquid eyeliner has been around since the 60s and it has it's pros and cons.  It usually stays on longer than pencil and gives you a very definitive line.  On the con side, you have to be very quick and precise and it gives you a very definitive line.  In the past, I have used liquid eyeliner with a little black eye shadow smudged over it to soften the line because that is the look I like.  This new lash lining "tool" from Too Faced is a little different although you could probably achieve the same look with a single point eyeliner, it would just take a little more work. 
 

As you can see, the tip consists of 3 prongs.  You can use these to create dots in between your eyelashes giving the appearance of thicker lashes.  This is mostly how I use it.  I actually don't think it shows much without mascara, but when you add mascara, it definitely makes it look like you have more lashes.  The second way to use it is to create a tightline near your lashes.  You can do this by going either above or below your lash line.  I prefer to go above so I don't accidentally get it on my water line.  I read a review that said it works on the water line but I haven't found that to be true.  It might be ok if you did top and bottom, but if you only do the top, it will bleed down onto your bottom and outside your eye.  The third way to use it is to slightly angle it to give yourself a thicker line.  You can turn it up at the end for a Cat's eye look.  Be warned though, this will give you the 60s, Brigitte Bardo look.  I love how dark this is and I feel like I have a lot of control when using it.  It really doesn't budge once it's dry.  I love that but it can also be a con.  If you take your time, this is a great new "tool" to add to your collection.

 (I recommend watching the video on their site to see it in action)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow!

I don't usually write a review after sampling something one time but I am going to make an exception in this case.  I had read other reviews of this product and had really considered buying it.  I don't like to wear heavy foundation but I do like a little something to even out my skin tone.  I go between tinted moisturizers/primers and foundations in all its forms (liquid, powder, mousse, etc.).  I was happy when this one of the free samples with purchase from Sephora.  Well, once again, Benefit does not live up to the hype.  I'm not sure the color was perfect for me because it was only two choices but I picked the closest one.  The color isn't the problem.  It did not go on smoothly at all!  It was hard to spread around with my fingers.  By the time I got to work, my face was shiny in my normal areas and especially on my nose.  My pores didn't look any smaller and it really didn't even out my skin.  I definitely will add this to my list of "fails."



Origins Plantscription anti-aging eye cream

This eye cream has a nice texture, goes on easily, absorbs quickly and gives a nice finish.  Unfortunately, that's all it does.  I didn't notice any difference with my fairy trails or dark circles (I need to think of a new names for those too!).  I think if you are younger, or just genetically blessed, this could be a good eye cream although you could probably use something cheaper that works just as well.  I even preferred the sample of their GinZing eye cream (although it didn't work miracles either) which is $13.50 less.  I think it is comparable with the Burt's Bees Radiance eye cream and, because of the price, I would recommend that one first.  This one will be returned as my search continues.



http://www.origins.com/product/3855/22761/Skincare/Daily-Essentials/Eye-Care/Plantscription/Anti-aging-eye-cream/index.tmpl

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Updated - tarte smooth operator™ Amazonian clay finishing powder

I think I'm in love!  I was standing in line at Sephora when I saw this sample you could get with bonus points.  I opened it and spread what I thought was a sort of hard cream on the back of my hand.  It gave me a beautiful, matte finish that felt so soft.  I was so excited I got an extra one for my sister.  My intention was to keep it in my purse for touch ups when my skin gets oily, as it always does.  Imagine my dismay when I realized it was a powder.  (Not sure how I missed that in the store.)  I still tried using it with my finger and it worked ok but I found myself using it less and less.

Jump to several months later when I am cleaning out my purse to make a switch.  I decided there has to be some use for this.  I also must confess that I totally skipped over the word "finishing" in the name.  I decided to try to use it as a primer.  Lo and behold...it worked great!  I put this on with a brush before my concealer and tinted powder/sunscreen.  It seems to keep my make up in place and my face from getting too oily.  It even helps smooth out my fairy trails.  I also like that, as a powder, it doesn't add a lot of "weight."  And you can use it on top of your make up, as it is intended, as well.

I know there are a lot of primers and finishing products out there and I have had mixed results.  For now, I am going to stick with this one and may even try it in the bronze flavor.

Update 9/25/12 - I did end up trying the bronze and somehow it just wasn't the same.  It didn't give the same smooth even finish of the original and I took it back.

http://tartecosmetics.com/tarte-item-smooth-operator-finishing-powder

Thursday, July 26, 2012

L'Oreal EverPure and EverCreme Shampoo - Updated

For the most part, I believe that conditioner is more important than shampoo.  I have been lucky to find one that, even though expensive, works great on my hair.  And I love the coordinating shampoo but the price for the two of them is kind of ridiculous so I am always searching for a less expensive one.  In the past couple years, I go back to L'Oreal's EverPure moisturizing formula.  It is a creamy shampoo that gives a good lather (not necessary, of course, but nice) with a Rosemary Juniper scent that is refreshing and not overpowering.  After shampooing, my hair feels clean and it is very easy to comb my conditioner through.  I even gave some to a male friend with longer curly hair and he is hooked.  He says it makes his hair nicer than it has ever been.











It was only out of curiosity that I tried the new EverCreme.  Texturally it is even creamier than the EverPure.  The scent is called Camelina which is a flowering plant that produces oil.  It doesn't smell as good as the EverPure but it isn't bad.

The good thing about both these shampoos is that they are sulfate-free so they are good for color-treated hair and keratin treatments.  I'm not sure if I will go back to the EverPure after I finish the new one (I just saw the EverCreme has an "intense nourishing formula!) but both are excellent products are drugstore prices and availability.

Update:  After using the EverCreme for over a month, I've decided it doesn't seem to easily spread through my hair.  I always feel like I am missing spots.  I will finish this bottle and then buy more EverPure.

Pureology Super Smooth Shampoo

Note to self: do not ask for a shampoo recommendation from a new stylist.  They will just push on you whatever the salon is hawking that month.  That's how I discovered Pureology Super Smooth Shampoo.  I told her I was looking for a less expensive alternative to Alterna (Alterna alternative...hehe).  She recommended this for my hair type and I didn't ask about the price because I told her how much the Alterna costs ($32).  When they rang it up, it was $27!  I guess I should have been more specific that I was looking for a more significant reduction in cost. 

So, to the chase.  It is an ok shampoo although my hair did not seem any smoother.  The smell is a little strong for me and sort of smells like flowers only fake.  The worst part is that it made me break out terribly on my shoulders and back.  I have to be careful because I have issues with that but as long as I keep my hair off my back and shoulders until it is dry, I am usually ok.  Not so in this case.  I had all these painful bumps not to mention how bad it looked.  No one wants that but it is especially bad in the summer time.  I really wouldn't recommend this shampoo.  You can get something better in a drugstore for a quarter of the price.  I don't think I'd try any of their other products either.  Aside from this bad experience, their packaging is boring and doesn't catch the eye.  And sadly, it is that that usually gets me!

http://www.pureology.com/systems/super-smooth/shampoo

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sephora Collection Age Defy moisturizer and eye cream

I originally got the moisturizer as a sample when I was at the store.  I have a little bit of an issue with the Sephora brand considering they started out as a retailer for other beauty brands.  I feel like they could stock more variety in the stores if they took away their own products.  However, their products are usually cheaper than the others they sell (sometimes significantly) while keeping the quality of higher priced brands.

Although I love Oil of Olay, I still don't feel like I've found the moisturizer for me so I figured I'd give it a try.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  This is one of the first moisturizers I've ever used that showed an immediate difference.  And it was just moisture vs. non-moisture.  It really seemed to smooth away the fine wrinkles on my cheeks.  It's very thick and creamy but does not feel that way once you put it on.  It also has spf 15 which isn't really enough but better than nothing.

It worked so well I tried it on my biggest problem area, under my eye.  I have a bunch of small wrinkles which I just found out is called cross-hatching.  What?  Could we think of more insulting names for wrinkles?  Crows feet?  From here on out, I will only refer to them as fairy trails and sunbursts.  So, it did a really decent job on my undereye fairy trails but stung my eyes somewhat.  When I went to buy the full size, I saw they also had an eye cream and bought them as a duo hoping the eye cream would be gentler around the eye area.  Unfortunately, it is not.  I rub my eyes too much (probably explains the fairy trails) and they would sometimes start to sting and water for what seemed like no reason.  I can only think it is the eye cream.  So, even though it works better than anything I have tried so far, I can't use it.  But if you don't have sensitive eyes, it's definitely worth a shot.

I am sticking with the face moisturizer until it is empty but I will probably try other products when it runs out.  It works really well but I still don't think it is the ultimate moisturizer for me.




http://www.sephora.com/age-defy-moisture-cream-spf-15-P276328?skuId=1259894
http://www.sephora.com/age-defy-eye-cream-P276325

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Mascara Wave #9 - eyeko Skinny Brush Mascara

This mascara was gimmicky enough to catch my eye ;-) and I'm so glad it did!  Two major things immediately set this mascara apart.  First, it comes in a soft tube.  I'm not sure how much of a difference it will make since you are supposed to renew your mascara every three months but the idea is to get as much as possible out of the product.  It is also easier to tell when you are running low.  The second thing is the eyeko mascara shield.  This looks like a guitar pick and you are supposed to put it between your lashes and eyelid to keep the mascara from getting on your eyelids.  What a brilliant idea.  Unfortunately, I'm not brilliant enough or coordinated enough to make use of it.

So, if neither of the gimmicks are very useful, why is it so great?  Because it works!  Fancy that.  This is a very black mascara that creates dramatic long and thick eyelashes.  The thin brush makes it very easy to maneuver.  It smudges just the tiniest bit if you are sweating a lot but not enough to negate how wonderful it makes your lashes look.  A word of caution:  this is a very dramatic look.  Probably not suitable for daytime use.  But, when the sun goes down and you need to get your freak on, you'll be ready with this awesome mascara.


(The one on the right.  I will probably try the others at some point)

http://www.eyeko.com/eyeko-skinny-brush-mascara-p-187.html?colour=6

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tools of the Trade

As much as I love beauty products, I am usually satisfied with whatever method of application they come with.  However, there are a few essential tools that every woman should have.  The most important is a good pair (or two) of tweezers.  As far as I'm concerned, buying anything besides Tweezerman is a waste of money.  You would think tweezers would be fairly standard and I don't know why Tweezerman are so much better...I just know they are.  I have a pair in my make-up bag and one at home.  I have a friend who keeps them in her car because you often see so much more in the harsh light of day.  I personally prefer the slant edge because you can use the tips for ingrown hairs or splinters but you have a larger surface for plucking eyebrows, etc.

My second recommendation would be a good blush brush.  The ones that come with blush are never fluffy enough to do a good job.  More often than not, you end up with two streaks and most people cannot pull that off.  I like a retractable brush because it keeps it shape better and keeps your make up bag cleaner.  I like this travel one from Sephora because it's big enough to work but compact enough to fit even in your purse.

My third suggestion is an eyelash comb.  None of the mascaras I've reviewed (and there are more to come!) has been able to perfectly separate all of my lashes.  A quick run through with an eyelash comb can turn an otherwise so-so mascara into something great.  I went with Tweezerman on this too but I think any brand would work.  Just be careful when using them because they are very sharp.  I've ended up with tiny finger punctures more than once!

Last but not least, most women will want to have an eyelash curler.  I am lucky enough to not need one but I have seen what a difference it can make.  I've read that you are supposed to use it before applying mascara but I think it lasts longer if you do it after (and after you use your eyelash comb too).  Make sure to clean it before each use or you will end up with dried clumps on your sexy new lashes and no one wants that!

Of course there is a huge array of beauty tools available but, in my opinion, these are the ones that are essential to looking your best.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Moroccan Oil Frizz Control

Just when I thought I was done with frizz control products (because they never live up to their promises), a co-worker gave me a bottle of this to try.  I knew of the Moroccan Oil brand from a friend who uses it but, knowing that Moroccan Oil and argan oil are the same thing, I figured I would forgo the pretty packaging and just use pure argan oil.  Well, I am so glad fate stepped in.  Whatever they use in addition to the argan oil must help.  This product does amazing things for my hair.  I feel like it does a much better job than any of the keratin treatments or products I have used.  It says to spray 3-5 pumps on damp hair but that isn't enough for me.  I use as much as I need.  If I am combining through my hair and encounter a big tangle, I just spritz a little more in the spot and the comb glides through.  Even letting my hair air dry, the frizz is significantly minimized.  I've also used it as a treatment by spraying it in dry hair and leaving for several hours to overnight before shampooing.  Keep in mind that I have a lot of hair and most people will probably not need to use as much although, except when using it on dry hair, I have never gotten an oily feeling.  I will definitely be trying some of their other products.



http://www.moroccanoil.com/en_US/products/Frizz-Control

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Alterna Sparkling Champagne Spray

I am always trying to do something different with my hair but, when your color is coffee brown, it's hard to do anything that doesn't involve bleach.  Although I've used it to put a couple streaks in my hair, I am not prepared to do that kind of damage.  I was looking for temporary highlights that would show in my hair when I came across this product.  It's in my favorite caviar line so I had to try it.  It is supposed to give a subtle, sparkling look to all hair colors.  They are right about the subtle part but it does show.  You have to hold it as far from your head as possible or it ends up looking a little wet/greasy.  It does give you all over shimmer but I did have to point it out to people when I was out.  However, I still like it.  It has a nice scent and, even if I'm the only one who knows it's there, it makes me feel like a sparkly princess and, really, isn't that what we all want?

http://www.alternahaircare.com/stylist-champagne-spray/

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment by Kate Somerville

Kate Somerville's medi-skin clinic in California is the go-to place for many celebrity's skin care needs.  I have had some trouble finding much background information on her but I did find some other interesting things.  From her clinic website:  "Skin Health Experts Medical Corporation is overseen by Medical Director Dr. Danny Farahmandian, and all medi-based services are performed by Nurse Practitioners and Registered Nurses. Esthetic services are performed by certified estheticians, overseen and trained by Kate Somerville."

I was happy to receive a sample of this exfoliator.  I had admired the packaging for some time.  As I've mentioned, I am a sucker for packaging and advertising.  This simple, clean, design manages to still give a feminine feel.  Not to mention the cute name for this product.

I was surprised when I saw the product which looks like a bright green mud.  Unlike most exfoliators I've used, there aren't visible scrubbing beads.  You apply a thin layer on your face and massage in for 30 seconds.  Then you let it sit for 2 minutes and let the enzymes work.  The feeling is pretty great.  It doesn't sting but it feels like it's doing something.  After 2 minutes, you rinse it off and use your normal moisturizer.  I have say, I think it's pretty fantastic.  I like that it does more than just slough off dead skin with harsh beads.  It makes your skin feel super soft and hydrated.  They warn that it can cause redness for up to 20 minutes due to increased circulation so I use it at night but I've never had a problem.  Adding this to your skin care routine once or twice a week can really give a boost to dull, damaged skin.

http://www.katesomerville.com/exfolikate-intensive-exfoliating-treatment/

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Love Affair With Keratin

Keratin treatment aka Brazilian Blowout aka Keratin Express aka BKT.  There are many different names but it all boils down to one key ingredient - keratin.  Keratin is the main protein in your hair, nails and skin.  This process was introduced in the US as an alternative to the more permanent (and some say harsher) Japanese Termal Straightening.  However, it soon came to light that the real secret ingredient that made it work was formaldehyde.  So much for a natural treatment.  So they started marketing formaldehyde-free formulas.  But, the tricky little buggers used chemicals very similar to or, in some cases just renamed, formaldehyde.  Brazilian Blowout was one of the worst offenders.  Now, call me crazy but I tend not to worry too much about chemicals in products.  First of all, I smoke.  I'm pretty sure there is nothing worse I can do.  Second, I think the FDA does a pretty good job of regulating these things.  Already, companies are changing their formulas to comply with consumers wishes. 

From what I can tell, the formaldehyde is what makes it last.  Formulas with lower amounts don't last as long.  That's why Express Treatments were introduced.  It's also why the new over-the-counter products only last about 30 days.  That is about as far as my research on Keratin Treatments has gotten me.  Now, on to the actual products!

Back in June, I tried the otc Organix Brazilian Treatment.  I thought it worked pretty well but, in the end, I couldn't stand the sickeningly sweet smell for the two days I couldn't wash it. 

Luckily I spottted a Living Social deal.  $122 at Salon DB in Arlington.  I bought it and called as soon as the voucher came through.  They were able to see me the Saturday of the same week.  I need to give a quick shout out to the salon.  They were great before I even walked in the door.  The owner called and asked me about my hair and told me about the treatment.  They use La Brasiliana which comes as a spray.  He let me know it was for 2 ounces and there would be an extra charge ($50) for each ounce over that.  I am used to this because my hair is long and thick but really appreciated hearing about it upfront.  When I got there, they washed my hair several times and put me under the dryer for what was supposed to be 20 minutes.  There's no way my hair will dry that quickly so it ended up being the longest step in the process.  She then sprayed the solution on my dry hair and blew it dry with a paddle brush.  Then she straight ironed it.  The result was beautiful.  The smell wasn't bad at all.  It did make my eyes burn and water some while she was putting it on but I just kept my eyes closed until it was dry.  I did not buy their complementary shampoo and conditioner but was told to use ones without sodium chloride.  I continued using my Alterna products.  However, after a couple of weeks, it seemed like my hair wasn't as smooth any more.  Especially if I let it air dry.  I read the ingredients and saw that it had other kinds of sodium so I stopped using it (I still haven't gotten a clear answer on whether it's only sodium chloride or any kind of salt that is a problem).  I switched to the Organix shampoo and various conditioners that met the parameters.

As I felt the treatment going away, I saw a deal on Groupon.  $149 at Gilda's Salon.  I bought it but I wasn't able to get in for a month.  So, I turned to the internet to see if there was something that could help.  In my research on BKT, I came across a few well-known brands, including Coppola's Keratin Complex.  Although you can't legally buy the treatment online, you can buy the supplementary products.  I chose the Vanilla Bean Deep Conditioner (because...hello?  Yum) and the Intense RX Repair Therapy because it got great reviews.  I only used the conditioner twice and it was very nice and the smell was incredible but then decided to save it until after my next treatment.  But I used the RX serum right away and I was not disappointed.  Even though it only works until the next shampoo, it works really well.  You just apply it to wet hair and blow it dry.  You can always use a flat iron to make it even smoother but, the whole point for me is to lessen the time it takes to do my hair.

So last Saturday, I went to Gilda's and got my treatment.  I was the only customer and that was nice.  They use the Anevolve system.  I always do a little research ahead of time and was excited about this.  They claim it is 100% formaledehyde-free (and indicate that includes all forms of it).  She washed my hair several times but this one was applied to wet hair.  She went through each section and applied it with a brush.  I was not charged any extra for my hair length.  After, she blew it dry with a paddle brush and then straight irnoned each section.  The result was even better than before.  It was amazing.  My hair was so shiny and smooth.  I'd never seen it like that before.  And it didn't feel like it had as much on it as it did after the first treatment.  I decided to go all in and get their shampoo and conditioner.  I washed it after 2 days and let it air dry.  I wasn't crazy about the shampoo.  They say it is a low-sudsing formula but it was more like no-sudsing.  And a lot of hair came out during the first wash.  After 2 washes, my hair was smooth but looked a little greasy.  I decided to go back to the Organix shampoo with the Anevolve conditioner.  This was Saturday night.  I let it air dry and then straightened it.  Although it stayed pretty smooth even though it was raining, it was not quite as good as I had hoped it would be.  And then this morning, as I was drying it I noticed breakage at the top!  What??  This is not good.  I don't wear my hair in ponytails and I didn't notice it before the treatment.  I am going to stop using their shampoo and conditioner because I feel like it doesn't do enough.  I want to be able to run my fingers through my hair without getting snagged.  Although they told me that they would honor the Groupon price for a 2nd treatment, I am leery of going back there now.  I will wait and see how it goes over the next month.

In general, I think the treatments work.  Be advised though, this is not really a straightening treatment.  It is a smoothing treatment.  Which is great if that's what you want.  What I want is silky, straight, wash-and-go hair.  Is that too much to ask?  For now it seems like it is but I'm getting closer.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bare Minerals SPF30 Natural Sunscreen

I have been remiss and I am going to start catching up with one of my new favorite products.  This powder formula contains Micronized Titanium Dioxide to protect against UVA/UVB rays.  It comes in a round tube only 4 inches high and 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  You take off the cap and twist the bottom to extend the brush.  To get the make up on the brush, you twist to "open," turn in upside down and shake until the powder appears on the brush.  I was a little skeptical of this because I've tried a few other products with this concept (at least one was a sponge instead of a brush) and they didn't work very well.  This comes out very easily.  Once you have enough on the brush, turn it back to "buff" and apply it to your face using a circular motion.

I haven't had occasion to really test out the sun protection properties, I just like it as a powder.  I also have not used it on my body which it says you can do.  Since I carry it in my purse though, I'm sure I will at some point when I am in a pinch.  I love the way it goes on and seems to melt into your skin.  If you get too much, just keep using the brush to blend it in.

There are some cons but, personally, nothing that would stop me from using it.  1) It only comes in 3 shades.  Even though it is a sunscreen, it does have color and if you get the wrong one, it will show.  If you aren't sure, go lighter.  I couldn't find a release date but it may be a newer product so hopefully they will come out with more shades.  2) There is a tendency for a small "cloud" to form while applying and, if you breathe it in through your mouth, it's a little irritating to your throat.  Apparently Dr. Oz has weighed in on this issue http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/price-beauty.  I don't think the small amount you might get by inhaling a little while applying is really going to make a difference.  Of course, I don't worry much about the chemicals in beauty products although whether out of naivete or stupidity, I'm not sure.  3) No mirror.  You almost don't need one but...almost.

I think the pros outweigh the cons.  I lightweight, portable sunscreen that also helps your skin look good?  Yes, please!  I have a bad habit of not removing my make up on the weekends and with this, I haven't noticed any breakouts.  The brush, besides being retractable, is removable for easy cleaning (something else I have yet to do).  It's hard to tell how much is in the bottle (?) but a little goes a long way so I think it will last.  Whether or not you spend a lot of time in the sun, I recommend trying this product.

http://www.bareescentuals.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-BareEscentuals-Site/default/Product-Show?pid=50339&utm_campaign=bazaarvoice&utm_medium=SearchVoice&utm_source=AskAndAnswer&utm_content=Default

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mascara Wave #8 - Hourglass Film Noir mascara

Like the femme fatale in a film noir, I have a love/hate relationship with the protagonist in this story.  This brush is the best I've found.  It's got spiral bristles and it's thinner than some of the others I've used.  (In the photo below, the Hourglass wand is on the left and the one on the right is Bare Minerals - reviewed on 12/9/11)  So thin, in fact, that I can use it on the backside of my lashes to give them even more volume.  It gives really nice volume and separation.  So, why the hate?  It smudges :-(  I tried making excuses for it - it's my eyeliner, I put on too much eye cream, etc. - but I finally had to face up to reality.  The good news is it got me thinking about how you love part of some products sometimes but not the whole thing.  So, I thought about using the brush from this mascara in another one where I like the formula but not the wand.  Brilliant, no?  Sadly, the opening is smaller than on most mascaras.  It could be done with almost any of the others I have but not this one.  Oh well, I guess the search continues!

                                 







Monday, February 13, 2012

Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder

Warning:  if you are not fair-skinned, this isn't for you.  Just don't want to waste any one's time.  If you are fair-skinned and want just a little boost, you might want to consider this.  I like it because it gives a very natural look.  You can use it all over your face, just on your cheeks, nose and brow or only on your cheeks as a blush.  It's a very neutral color.  It's also layering so you don't get big streaks of it across your face (if that's the look you're going for...sorry).  I don't think anything looks exactly like a real tan except a real tan and we all know that's a dermatological sin.  But, if you are looking to add a bit of color during the winter months or even inside under harsh fluorescent lights, this could be just what you're looking for.

If your skin is a little darker, don't feel left out.  You could use this as an every day powder.

http://www.benefitcosmetics.com/product/view/hoola

Mascara Wave #7 - Urband Decay Supercurl Curling Mascara

This mascara is great but I would never buy it.  That's odd.  Let me explain.  My biggest problem with my eyelashes is volume.  They are long enough and they have a natural curl (don't hate) but there aren't many of them.  This mascara has the comb-like brush and goes on very nicely.  It gives a lot of length and definition.  Unfortunately, it doesn't really plump them up.  It also looks super dark.  That surprises me.  I usually think black is black.  Well, somehow this black is black-er.  It doesn't smudge and, they sell the trial size online for $10.  I wish more companies did this.  One thing I am discovering about mascara is that 3 months is the max time you should use the same tube.  A trial size is really all you need.  So, if you are looking to take your lashes to great lengths, give this a try!

http://www.urbandecay.com/mascara/1_501,default,sc.html

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Mascara Wave #6 - Benefit BAD gal Lash

In my opinion, Benefit has some of the cutest packaging/marketing.  It's kitschy enough for the younger crowd but not too juvenile for those whose 20s are just a spot in the rear view mirror.  Unfortunately, I have found that what is on the package is often more appealing than what is in it.  The same goes for this mascara.  There's nothing wrong with it.  It's got a really nice, full brush (which I'm learning I prefer) and goes on pretty well.  No significant smudging or flaking.  However, there is nothing that makes it stand out either.  It doesn't give the plumping effect of their "They're Real!" mascara.  For $19 you can find something better or, you can get the same results with something from the drugstore.

http://www.benefitcosmetics.com/product/view/badgal-lash-mascara

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Too Faced Shadow Insurance Candlelight Softly Illuminating Eye Shadow Primer

And the prize for the product with the longest name goes to...Too Faced Shadow Insurance Candlelight Softly Illuminating Eye Shadow Primer!  Wow, all those descriptions and all it really tells you is that it's an eye shadow primer.  But, Too Faced has several eye shadow primers so they needed a way to differentiate.  I am not normally a big fan of eye shadow primer because, well, because I don't usually wear eyeshadow.  I got this sample in a "smoky eye" collection from Sephora (which sucks for me if you read my last post).

This is a gold-toned, shimmery cream.  The most important thing I can tell you is to use only a little bit.  You can always layer it if you want more.  I was really surprised by this product.  If you put light, matte eyeshadow on it, it peeks through giving just a little shimmer.  And it does help your shadow last without creasing.  (It does so for darker shadows as well but you can't see the shimmer through it.)  But, the best part is that it can be worn alone.  You can put a little bit on just your lower eyelid or your entire eyelid and it really brightens up your eyes.  It also stays on really well alone.  I highly recommend this as an alternative to thicker, whiter shadow primers.

http://www.toofaced.com/p-545-shadow-insurance-candlelight-softly-illuminating-eye-shadow-primer.aspx

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Confusing Beauty Advice in 2012

So today I am adding a new dimension to my blog.  I saw this article from the New York Times that a friend posted on Facebook and I knew I just had to comment.  The article, titled "You Can Fall Out of Bed and Look Good" can be found here http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/19/fashion/imperfect-makeup-is-a-trend-for-2012.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&smid=fb-share&src=tp&adxnnlx=1326993157-qyCx35VYy3cLSlq6Gqhnzg.

It basically talks about how the trend for 2012 is "minimalist."  This is according to leading make up artists.  Wow!  Sounds like great news, right?  Terry Barber of MAC says "the look is 'coming home from the party' not 'going to the party'"  Of course, if I look like I'm coming home from the party when I'm going to the party, what the hell am I going to look like when I really am coming home from the party?!  They even have helpful tips from experts on things like achieving the "popsicle mouth."  This makes you mouth look as if you have been sucking on a popsicle.  I know I'm a radical thinker but, maybe to achieve the look you should just suck on a popsicle.

Now comes my favorite part.

“Lose the smoky eyes,” said Mr. Barber of MAC. For a fresh look, he suggests swiping brown mascara just on the roots of your eyelashes, then dotting a bit of brown pencil in between (he likes MAC Coffee eye pencil). This year, texture, like metallic or wet eyelids, is all the rage. The total effect, he said, is “modern pared-down glam rock.”



Ms. Hamlin agreed. “The smoky eye will never go out of style, but a different way to use it is to use the metallic tones,” she said. “It just makes it a little bit softer.”

Another updated option is to almost reverse the smoky eye by applying shadow and liner below the bottom lash line instead of on the lid, according to Ms. Warren.

So wait...do I lose the smoky eyes or keep them because they never go out of style?  Or do I do the smoky eye underneath going for that oh-so-sexy raccoon look?  And isn't "pared-down glam rock" an oxymoron?

The article goes on to talk about eyebrows (the heavier the make up, the lighter the brows.  So now I'm supposed to look like Pink from the Wall?) and hair.  Apparently you need to keep it messy but shiny.  And to do this, you have to not wash it so often.  Ummmm....k? 

So, the good news is, minimalism is in.  The bad news?  It's going to take a lot of time (and possibly money) to achieve this look.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Mascara Wave #5 - FairyDrops Scandal Queen

I have to admit, the main reason I bought this sampler is because it included this mascara.  The full size is only available at Sephora.  It was developed by Japanese TV personality, Aya Yasuda.  It has a unique, semi-segmented brush that is patented in Japan.  It also contains fibers to help plump up your lashes. 

I feel like the brush is just a gimmick.  I don't find that it grabs any more lashes than some other wands.  However, I do like this mascara.  It gives a lot of volume without clumping lashes together too much.  It is probably more of a nighttime mascara since it gives a fairly dramatic look.  It doesn't bleed or smudge which is always one of my biggest complaints.  And the package is pretty cute.

Of course, the price is a bit of a deterrent ($24), as is the fact that you can only get it through Sephora.  However, if you are still looking for the perfect mascara to give you dark, plump lashes, I would give this a try.

Deal Alert!!  The sampler I bought at Sephora (Sephora Favorites Lashstash) is now down to $32.  It's 8 sample sizes, 2 full sizes, and a Clinique make up remover.

http://www.sephora.com/browse/brand_hierarchy.jhtml;jsessionid=ZSHYVTD4X1HOACV0KSKBPIQ?brandId=FAIRYDROPS

Monday, January 9, 2012

Murad Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture for eyes

I received this deluxe sample from Sephora and have been using it for almost a month.  My biggest problem area for wrinkles is under my eyes.  Not even crows feet (nice name, right?) but where my dark circles are.  Unfortunately the dark circles do nothing to hide the wrinkles!  Anyway, I am going to make this one short.  I didn't notice any difference between this, which costs $60 for .5 ounces, than the 18 dollar Burt's Bees.  Actually, the only eye cream I ever found that made a difference (in dark circles at least) was Dr. Dennis Gross (formerly MD Skincare) Lift & Lighten eye cream.  Kojic acid was the lightening ingredient.  Unfortunately, they changed their formula and took out the kojic acid and it no longer helped.  Of course, past experience won't keep from trying the next new thing!

http://www.murad.com/eye-care/hydro-dynamic-ultimate-moisture-for-eyes.jsp

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Mascara Wave #4 - Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash

My mom always told me I was fickle and I guess she was right.  One day I am singing the praises of Make Up For Ever and three days later...well, not so much.  This mascara has a spiral brush with medium thickness.  I found that it clumped my eyelashes together somewhat.  It gave it a spiky, dramatic look.  That might be ok if you are on stage but not great for every day wear.  In addition to black and brown, it comes in green, purple and blue (put them altogether for that sexy bruised look).  However, for $22 I think you can do a lot better.

http://www.makeupforever.com/products/smoky-lash.html