Monday, December 23, 2013

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lip Lock Moisture Balm

Lip balm is one of the few products that I have a hard time paying a lot of money for.  I use lip balm all the time and I go through tubes of lip balm faster than any other makeup product.  I keep one tube next to my bed and a separate tube in my purse, I am always trying new formulas but I feel like I keep coming back to either Burt's Bees or the C.O. Bigelow Mentha Matte formulas.  I have often wondered how different the formulas can really be between the lowest and highest ends of the lip balm range but I couldn't bring myself to buy any of the very high end formulas since I burn through every tube very quickly.  Would a more expensive be made with "better" ingredients and therefore would it be more effective in hydration and protection?

I have dry, chapped lips all throughout the year and my love of matte lipsticks make the problem even worse.  My lips tend to get even worse in the cooler months and they will get to a point where I can't wear lipstick for more than one or two days in a row.  This issue will not end until the end of March so this is the best time of the year for me to try any type of new lip balm formulas.  I have often wanted to try a really luxurious lip balm but could never bring myself to spend the money on this type of product.  Lips cannot hang onto moisture as they have no oil glands in them so lip balms need to be reapplied every few hours to maintain moisture level, there are no ingredients that will "cure" this issue and therefore I would need to use every type of lip balm at the same rapid rate.

With my last Sephora order, they were offering a deluxe sample of the Marc Jacobs Beauty lip balm as one of the Point Perks and I decided that this would be a great time for me to see how luxury lip balms perform.  "A buttery, rich lip balm with SPF 18 that locks in hydration.  Meet the ultimate makeout accessory—the addictive and refreshing minty flavor will keep you coming back for more. With nature’s best exotic oils and butters like andiroba, buriti, shea, and avocado, this moisture balm is too good not to share. Indulge. Hydrate. Repeat.  Broad spectrum SPF 18 protects lips from harmful UV rays which are the number one cause of premature skin aging, leading to skin discoloration, loss of elasticity, and the appearance of fine lines.", states the Sephora website when describing the Marc Jacobs Beauty Lip Lock Moisture Balm.

The active ingredients in this product are as follows: Andiroba, Buriti, Blackcurrant Seed, Meadowfoam Seed, Jojoba Seed Oils, Shea, and Avocado Butters.   This ingredients "provide immediate, locked-in hydration".  This product also contains Momordica Grosvenoir: Exotic natural sweetener known as the longevity fruit, "providing antioxidants, polysaccharides, and glycoprotein".

This lip balm feels heavenly when it is applied, it is soft and glides on the lips.  The texture is creamy, not oily, and is one of the best feeling lip balms that I have ever used.  I can see why this lip balm feels like a little luxury to those who purchase it, It hydrates like a dream and leaves my lips feeling soft and smooth.  The Marc Jacbos formulas feel nicer than either of my go-to lip balms when applied and when on the lips.

I was sold on this product until I drank coffee and ate breakfast with this product on my lips.  Every morning, I try to apply lip balm with my morning skincare routine and then let it sink into my lips before makeup application.  I usually lose most of the product that hasn't sunk in once I drink coffee and eat my toast and this product performed exactly like every other formula in that regard.  I have to reapply the Marc Jacobs formula just as much as I have to reapply my Burt's Bees and C.O. Bigelow formulas and therefore I don't really see the point in purchasing a full size of this product.

I have come to the conclusion that this is a lovely formula but it lasts just as long as every other lip balm and needs to be reapplied just as often.  I have burned through nearly half of my deluxe sample in about a week and I would need to repurchase tubes of this product all the time.  I mostly won't be ordering any of these in the full size but I will take the time to check out every Marc Jacobs Beauty set released in the next year to see if I can score more tubes of this product while trying other products from this company out.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Lorac Pro Eye Shadow Palette

I have just started to play around with one of the most hyped palettes in the beauty industry, the Lorac Pro Eye Shadow Palette came out in the summer of 2012 and became an instant hit.  I have never tried anything from Lorac before and skipped over this palette for quite a long time.  I have been seeing this palette used in all kinds of eye looks on YouTube and I went back and forth on ordering it for a weeks now.  I decided to order it when I received an early Christmas gift in the form of an Ulta gift card.  The palette just came in the mail yesterday morning so this post will contain the descriptions and photos that Lorac has provided on their website and an overall first impression of the palette.

I will be following this post up with a full review and then provide some examples of eye looks that I have created already with this palette.  I feel that I will need about a week in order to try enough shades for a full review and I believe that I will continue to follow this type of review pattern when I pick up new eye shadow palettes.  Does anyone have any type of feedback or requests on what they would like to see in the upcoming follow up posts on the Lorac Pro palette?

We will start with what expectations Lorac has set up for this palette.  "Go PRO with the LORAC PRO Palette! Created by celebrity makeup artist Carol Shaw, this PRO artistry palette is packed with 8 Shimmer and 8 Matte Eye Shadows in all the shades you need to create the hottest looks straight from the Red Carpet. LORAC’S velvety-smooth shadows are infused with soothing botanicals and are ultra-pigmented to perform wet or dry so you can shade, shadow, line and define your eyes, just like a PRO.", states the Lorac website.

One thing that I find very unique about this palette is that the shades are labeled only by the actual color name, Lorac breaks from the trend of creating cute names to name shades in palettes and I think that I might prefer this type of naming system.

The shades contained in the Lorac Pro Eye Shadow Palette...

- White (Matte),
- Cream (Matte)
- Taupe (Matte)
- Lt. Pink (Matte)
- Mauve (Matte)
- Sable (Matte)
- Espresso (Matte)
- Black (Matte)
- Nude (Shimmer)
- Champagne (Sparkle)
- Gold (Shimmer)
- Lt. Bronze (Shimmer)
- Pewter (Shimmer)
- Garnet (Shimmer)
- Deep Purple (Shimmer)
- Slate (Shimmer)

I originally skipped over this palette because the shades look very basic, I still feel that there is nothing unique about these shades and the overall color scheme of this palette.  Lorac Pro is a very good palette for someone that is just getting into makeup but there are few shades in this palette that I do not own already.  I bought this palette only because I kept watching and reading reviews of this very unique eye shadow formula, this formula is rumored to be very soft and very easy to blend.  I have only swatched this palette so far but I am impressed with how soft these shades are and how easy they blended when I took a brush to the swatches.

I find the shimmers to be the prettiest shades in this palette but I am the most interested in the matte shades.  Matte formulas tend to be drier and harder to blend and these mattes seem soft and very easy to work with.  I would not have bought this palette if I had not seen so many raves about the matte shades and I have far fewer mattes than I do shimmers.  We will see how these shades apply and work together in the coming days and I will be following up in about a week as to what I find when I really begin to work with this palette.

photo courtesy of Lorac

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Philosophy Pure Grace

There is less than one week until Christmas and I am spending this whole weekend trying to pretend that the holiday doesn't exist.  I have everything done to prepare for the holiday so I have decided to hit the gym this weekend and start to think ahead toward what types of products that I will want to start picking up when the spring collections hit us full force.  I am going to start making some decisions as to what I would like to change about this blog in the new year and how I plan to start rolling them out next month.  We are far into the holiday season that I am tired of anything having to do with the merriment and I want to start looking ahead into the future.

I started by spending some time digging through my perfume collection and trying to decide if there are any holes in the line up.  I have been seeing a lack of fresh fragrances that can be worn in all kinds of situations and I went to a Sephora near me early this morning.  I remembered how much I used to love Philosophy's Amazing Grace fragrance and that this is one of the few fragrances that I ever completely used up and then went out and repurchased a new bottle.  I finished up my last bottle in the early fall months and I was considering ordering another bottle for the spring months.

Amazing Grace was typically the fragrance that I turned to when I was looking to wear a clean, fresh fragrance and the lack of the fragrance is leaving a large hole in my collection.  I thought about this fragrance this morning when I was walking into Sephora and I headed right over to the Philosophy section of this store.  I had a bottle of Amazing Grace in my hand when I decided to spray a few other fragrances from this company on my kind.  Pure Grace is the fragrance that caught my attention and this is the fragrance that I walked out with a bottle of.

"Pure. Crisp. Clean. Pure Grace represents clean, modern simplicity. It is a universal scent that will change the way you feel about fragrance. Pure, crisp, and infinitely clean, the fragrance opens with a veil of water lily for subtle freshness. The heart has the simple, modern tones of leafy greens and lasting frosted musk brings for a refreshing, modern finish.", states the Sephora website.

The major notes of Pure Grace are: Bergamot, Water Lily, Lavender, Jasmine, Cool Greens, Musk.

This fragrance is great for when I need a break from my normal floral fragrance lineup.  The floral notes are very subtle in Pure Grace and is light enough to be worn all throughout the year.  This is one of the few jasmine fragrances that I would be able to wear during the hottest days of the summer.  This fragrance reminds me more of a clean "laundry" type of fragrance.  If I close my eyes while wearing this fragrance, I think about fresh laundry drying outside during the summer.

I will wear this fragrance here and there during the winter months but it will become more of a staple in my line up once the warmer weather hits.  My biggest issue with this fragrance is the lack of lasting power.  This is a complaint that I have had with nearly every single Philosophy fragrance that I have used and I find that I tend to use through them like water as I am re-applying them.  I am considering picking up a rollerball in this fragrance and keeping it in my bag with me once the weather warms up enough for me to start wearing it to work.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fitness Friday - Bananas

I have decided to highlight one of my diet staples and favorite fruits in today's Fitness Friday.  I eat a banana every morning for breakfast and this is one of the few fruits that I can easily get all throughout the year, I usually change my diet with the changing of the seasons but bananas are a staple of mine and I wanted to highlight the health benefits they offer.  I have eaten a banana every single day since college and this is a practice that I plan to continue for many years to come.  I will admit that I sometimes enjoy a frozen banana covered in milk chocolate and peanuts but we are going to ignore that fact for now...

I found some details about the health benefits of bananas from livescience.com and I am glad that I have been in the habit of eating bananas for so long.

"The curvy yellow fruits are high in "potassium and pectin, a form of fiber," said Laura Flores, a San Diego-based nutritionist. They can also be a good way to get magnesium and vitamins C and B6. "Bananas are high in antioxidants, which can provide protection from free radicals, which we come into contact with every day, from the sunlight to the lotion you put on your skin,"

"Bananas are known to reduce swelling, protect against developing type-2 diabetes, aid in weight loss, strengthen the nervous system and help with production of white blood cells, all due to the high level of vitamin B6 that bananas contain."

The website also lists the following benefits of this fruit...

- Bananas are good for your heart. They are packed with potassium, a mineral electrolyte that keeps electricity flowing throughout your body, which is required to keep your heart beating. Bananas' high potassium and low sodium content may also help protect your cardiovascular system against high blood pressure, according to the FDA.

- Bananas can be helpful in overcoming depression "due to high levels of tryptophan, which the body converts to serotonin, the mood-elevating brain neurotransmitter". Plus, vitamin B6 can help you sleep well, and magnesium helps to relax muscles.

- Bananas are high in fiber, which can help keep you regular. One banana can provide nearly 10 percent of your daily fiber requirement. Vitamin B6 can also help protect against Type 2 Diabetes and aid in weight loss. In general, bananas are a great weight loss food because they taste sweet and are filling, which helps curb cravings. They also help sustain blood sugar levels during workouts.

- Bananas may not be overflowing with calcium, but they are still helpful in keeping bones strong.  According to a 2009 article in the Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry, bananas contain an abundance of fructooligosaccharides. These are nondigestive carbohydrates that encourage digestive-friendly priobotics and enhance the body's ability to absorb calcium.

The article goes on to further state that people should eat no more than two bananas per day.  Excessive amounts can cause sleepiness and headaches.  They also contain a higher amount of sugar than most other fruits and this could quickly cause damage to teeth (if proper oral hygiene is not in place).

Bananas are a staple part of my diet in the morning, they are easy to find and can be purchased any time of the year.  A banana at breakfast helps hold me over until lunch and kills many cravings for mid morning Starbucks snacks...

photo courtesy of Google

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Benefit Rockateur Powder Blush

I have been on a blush collecting kick lately, I have been loving both the Josie Maran Cheek Gel and Tarte Amazonian Clay formulas over the past few months.  I have been collecting a bunch of shades from both of these formulas since the end of the summer and I decided that I needed to branch out and find more formulas to collect.  Benefit is a company known for their award-winning blush formulas and I have liked their Dandelion shade for years.  I was at Sephora the other night and was browsing for new blush formulas and shades when I was shown the newest product from that company.  Rockateur is the newest blush from Benefit and has been sold out ever since its release late last summer.  I had high hopes for this product however this shade is just not for me...

"A provocative rose gold cheek powder.  This rockin’ rose gold cheek powder gives a famously provocative flush that turns heads on stage and off. The crowd will go wild for its sexy faceted design, accented in luxe gold. The angled brush gives rich, show-stopping payoff every time.", states the Sephora's website.  Rockateur is the same great Benefit boxed blush formula however this is just not the shade for me.

Rockateur contains two versions of the rose gold shade in the box, the middle of the product is more of a deep rose matte hue while the outside rim of the product is a shimmery rose gold shade.  The Sephora associate showed me two ways to wear this product but we just couldn't really get it to work well with my skin tone.  We first tried to apply the matte part of the product on my cheekbones and then used the shimmery finish as a topper right on the highest points on my cheekbones.  The second way that we tried it was by swirling the blush brush all over the whole product to mix the two hues and then apply that to my cheekbones,

The first method of application was the better one for me, I loved this when we used the matte hue and I would have been willing to purchase it if the whole product was this shade.  The little bit used to highlight my cheekbones would look pretty with a bronzer in the summer months but seemed to be a bit too much for normal wear.  The second method didn't work at all, I would have only worn the shades mixed together when going out at night.  I would rarely ever use it in this fashion and I don't think that I would use it enough in the first method to both with purchasing this product.

I did like the matte hue in the middle of it, if this product would have been 75% of that shade then this would have been a great purchase for me.  However there is much more of the shimmer product contained in this product and I would spend more time trying to avoid the shimmer around the edges rather than ever using it.  I would rather try and find this shade in a matte finish from another brand and then look for a rose gold highlight to use where the Sephora associate applied the shimmer part of this product.  I am not a fan of shimmery blushes and I just tend to avoid shades with this finish.

I do love Benefit blushes but Rockateur is just not the shade for me...

photo courtesy of Sephora

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Prada Candy

I have decided to treat myself to a new fragrance for the holiday season and I picked one that even surprised me.  I had been testing new fragrances since early last month and there was one fragrance that I fell in love with and could not get out of my head.  My fragrance of choice was Prada Candy, a warm gourmand designed in the fashion that I usually tend to avoid.  I rarely wear warm gourmands and I grabbed the tester of this fragrance as an afterthought.  I had smelled the bottle of this fragrance when it was first released and I decided from the initial whiff that this wasn't a fragrance that I would normally gravitate to.  I prefer florals and oriental fragrances and rarely stray into the world of the sweet gourmand notes.  I still have a bottle of Jessica Simpson Fancy left and I only wear this fragrance once or twice a season, the caramel notes appeal to me but I tend to get sick of it after a few uses and then I put it aside.  The last fragrance that I thought I needed to add to my collection was another gourmand.

When I first smelled the tester, Prada Candy reminded me exactly of that fragrance.  I found the fragrance attractive but decided that it was one that I would rarely ever wear and passed over it.  I tried it out on my skin a few weeks ago for the first time and I began to change my mind on the fragrance.  I liked it more and more while wearing it and I kept trying it on each time that I went to Sephora until I decided to order it for myself several days ago.

The Sephora website provides the following fragrance description and notes contained in it.  "Prada Candy is a fragrance with a novel olfactory balance combining exceptionally high-quality ingredients in excessive proportions. Magnified by white musks, noble benzoin comes together with a modern caramel accord to give the fragrance a truly unique signature.  Prada Candy is impossible to ignore. Its packaging is bold, unconventional, and pop, yet luxurious materials make it sophisticated and timeless. A band of shocking pink saffiano hugs the top of the bottle, inspired by vintage flacons, and bearing the refined Prada logo in sleek gold lettering. The pump, perched on its golden neck like a shiny black half-moon, is the striking finale to the bottle."

The notes of the fragrance are: White Musks, Benzoin, Caramel Accord.

Candy is a fragrance that starts out very strong, I initially didn't feel like I would ever wear this fragrance based on how smells at this point.  It smells exactly like Jessica Simpson Fancy for the first 30 minutes of wear and then the strong caramel note starts to fade off and Candy begins to smell like a gourmand that is much easier to wear on a daily basis.  Once this fragrance fully develops, it smells like a wearable combination of the gourmand and musk notes.  Candy is much lighter than Fancy and can actually be worn in a professional environment, I have never found Fancy to be fully appropriate for this type of environment.  Candy allows me to wear this type of gourmand on a more daily basis and it is a very nice change from the florals that I am always wearing.  This fragrance has about five to six hours of wear and gets lighter throughout the day, some reviews dislike this aspect of the fragrance but it appealed to me since it allows me to wear this type of fragrance in a professional environment.

I finally decided to order a bottle of this fragrance and I have been wearing it nearly every single day since.  I also love the bottle, the bright pink detailing on it looks very attractive on my bureau and it makes me happy to look at it each morning.  I found a new fragrance love and I will be wearing it all the way until the spring months.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Too Faced Spring 2014 Collection - Haute Chocolate

There are less than two weeks until Christmas and the first spring makeup collection has been released very early this morning.  It is still a bit too early for me to start shopping this collection but I am excited to start getting some ideas of what products that I will want to put on my spring shopping list.  Too Faced is the brand that has released their spring collection online today and it will be released to the Sephora and Ulta websites by the end of the month.  The company's website was barely functioning this afternoon when I tried to log on and look at the new products, it seems to be up and functioning at this point however quite a few of the products are already sold out.  I know that Too Faced will restock all of these products on their website and then there will be many more places to order them by the end of the month so I was not in rush to try and get these products before anyone else...

This collection is quite small and there doesn't seem to be a theme that ties these color products together.  That being said, the name of this collection is "Haute Chocolate" and it seems that the new chocolate-inspired eye shadow palette is the hero product of this collection and I am quite sure that it will sell out very quickly.  I am excited about the new eye shadow palette released by this company but the blush and lipstick shades aren't really doing anything for me.  I have been loving the Tarte Amazonian Clay blushes so I am not really in the market for a brand new blush formula.  The new lipstick shades are in one of my least favorite formulas so I certainly won't be ordering any of these...

The Too Faced Spring 2014 collection...

Chocolate Bar Eye Shadow Palette - The Chocolate Bar experience begins as soon as you open the palette and the smell of sweet chocolate envelops you. The eye shadows are pigmented with pure, antioxidant-rich cocoa powder and includes 16 matte and shimmer shades of natural browns, delicate pinks and luscious plums. Includes our signature how-to Glamour Guide with three looks to get you started.  Too Faced Co-Founder and Creative Director Jerrod Blandino was inspired to combine the power of antioxidant-rich cocoa powder and makeup while having a chocolate facial and learning about the benefits of cocoa at a Hawaiian spa. Based on this inspiration we created our best-selling bronzer Chocolate Soleil and have now added the Chocolate Bar Eye Shadow Palette.
- Gilded Ganache - deep chocolate brown satin
- Milk Chocolate - medium brown matte
- Black Forrest Truffle - deep warm plum shimmer
- Triple Fudge - deep warm chocolate brown shimmer
- Salted Caramel - deep cool brown matte
- Marzipan - warm medium brown matte
- Semi-Sweet - medium champagne shimmer
- Strawberry Bon Bon - pale pink satin
- Candied Violet - bright violet purple satin
- Amaretto - medium warm brown shimmer
- Hazelnut - medium neutral brown shimmer
- Crème Brulee - medum warm gold shimmer
- Haute Chocolate - deep chocolate brown matte
- Cherry Cordial - deep plum satin
- White Chocolate - cool champagne matte
- Champagne Truffle - cool champagne shimmer

Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush - Choose from four no-fail color palette blushes to take the guesswork out of creating a sweet, romantic flush. In each baked, heart shaped blush there are three individual color swatches. The baking process and multiple colors create dimensional color to provide the look of younger, brighter, healthier skin. It’s like having Hollywood lighting wherever you go.  Blend all three swatches together for one universal shade or use each swatch individually for a custom color.
- Peach Beach - shimmering peach/rosy pink/shimmering light golden bronze
- Something About Berry - shimmering mauve pink/golden peach/shimmering magenta pink

La Crème Color Drenched Lipstick - There’s a reason why beauty editors, bloggers, and millions of social media fans are obsessed with La Crème Color Drenched Lipstick: it’s a completely unique, super-luxe combination of creamy color and intense hydration for unprecedented ultra-comfortable wear.  White Lotus Flower Extract is a sought-after antioxidant that contains hydrating, soothing, and lip-conditioning properties.  Power Peptides are known to stimulate collagen and aid in the appearance of smoother lips.  Creamy, one-swipe formula.
- Bon Bon - pink papaya
- Jelly Bean - raspberry red
- Lollipop - violet with orchid shimmer
- Pink Chocolate - berry brown
- Taffy - pink marshmallow nude

I think that the only product that I will order from this collection is the eye shadow palette, I can see that it is already sold out on the Too Faced website and I will need to wait for a few weeks to come back into stock.  This is one of the very few eye shadow palettes that I can see myself using all the time and creating all kinds of different eye looks from it.  I love all the neutrals in it and I would like to mix the purple hues into a few looks this winter. 

I have never tried this blush formula but it does not sound like my cup of tea.  I do not really like blush shades with a shimmer finish and I will be skipping over all of the shades in this formula.  I don't feel that I need to comment on the La Crème Lipsticks, I reviewed this formula a few days ago and this might be one of my least favorite products that I have tried lately.  I could barely keep this formula on my lips in the neutral hues and there is no way that I would try this formula in any type of deep or bold hue.

photo courtesy of Too Faced