Tuesday, May 31, 2011

By Lauren Luke My Luscious Greens Palette

For those of you that don't have any background with Lauren Luke, I will give you a quick lesson about her and her makeup line.  She works by herself and is the creative force behind her new makeup line.  she started with the beauty industry via You Tube.  During the mid 2000s, she began to upload videos of hereself onto the video website, beginning with her doing her own makeup and quickly becoming her teaching others recreate her makeup looks.  Over the years, she became a sensation on You Tube and was then picked up by insiders in the beauty industry and then she began to make her own makeup line.

Her first release was named The Launch Collection and it includes five palettes that contain every single product you need to pull off a full makeup look.  "Handpicked by me, each of my five makeup kits include three eye shadows, primer, two lipsticks, one blush, and the perfect deep black eye liner.  Check out my sheer lip gloss too, great with any look.  And whether you're looking for a day to night look, something classic or funky, or something a bit more sexy and sweet, I've created exclusive video tutorials for each kit to help you get the most out of your makeup.  I'll keep adding more based on your feedback, so make sure you check back often." 

In this collection of five palettes, we have a violet edition, a green one, and a blue one.  We also have a palette for smoky eyes and one that will help create a vintage glam look.  I am most excited for the green collection since it the most unique of all the palettes so that is the only that we are going to start with today.

"My Luscious Greens, for looks from down to earth to down right deadly.  This full face palette also comes with My Glossy Lips in fresh melon flavor."  It starts with the Nude Slip Eye Primer in either the pale or the dark shade.  Both of the colors are provided in the palette.  The first eye shadow is named Golden Morning, the champagne shade that most will use as a highlighter.  Goldern Fern is a medium gold olive eye shadow, one that some people will use in the crease or will use on the lid for a more natural look.  The last eye shadow is Evergreen, a deep olive green that can be used as a liner or on the lid.  The eye liner shade is Raven Black, which I believe would be best used on the upper lid only (I have never mastered cream eye liner on the lower waterline).  The blush is named Sunkissed and a more neutral peach shade that could be used by anyone with fair to medium skin of either undertones.  The lighter of the two lip colors is Petal Dew, a medium nude.  The darker shade is Tiger Lily, a deeper red coral. 

I watched the video tutorial that came with this palette and it really didn't teach my anything that I didn't know before.  These would be best used by someone who has never used more than two eye shadows at once or is very unsure with makeup application, it isn't going to teach a thing someone who is even moderately good with gtheir own application already.  And why are her nails chipped and nicked in the video?  I would put fresh nail polish on if I was shooting a video to promote my own company.  Back to the palette...

I first saw this palette and this line at Sephora and I just tried to search it and now I can't find this line at all on their website.  I played with the tester when I was there and the lipsticks seemed more on the sheer side but the eye shadows had great pigment.  now that this line is even harder to find, I do recommend ordering it from their website or finding a dupe of some of these pretty green shades.  When I was watching the application video, I noted some of the green shades look very close to ones that I already own from Kat Von D.  If you are after this palette just for the eye shadows (as I was), I actually would recommend the Kat Von D True Romance Eye Palette in Ludwig; Orbi, Dimebag, and Clay are almost dead on replicas of the three shades in this palette.  In addition, if you really are only chasing down the eye shadows, you might just want to head right to Sephora and buy the Kat Von D since it also contains five other very lovely shades.

When I first saw this palette, I thought that it was a great concept and I still do like it but I don't think it would be the best thing for myself.  These palettes would make lovely gifts or a great purchase if you don't own much makeup already.  All of the shades are dupeable, most ladies that I know already own an eye primer, and own many lip shades already.  When I watched the video and analyzed the application technique, I saw that the shades aren't as unique as I once thought.

photo courtesy of By Lauren Luke

Monday, May 30, 2011

Essie Summer 2011 Collection - Braziliant

Essie has a very strong spring collection with shades inspired by the beautiful St. Tropez.  Lovely pales and shades of blues.  I was in love with that collection and I would love if the summer collection would follow in its footsteps, however Brazil-inspired brights aren't really my thing.  I will look at all the new shades in this collection but I am betting that I will go back to the spring shades, that aqua shade is just too amazing to be topped.  Each season, Essie offers six new shades and this one is no exception.  We have four brights in this collection, one pale, and one pale lavender.  "If you want to pick up some color at the beach...  I say go Braziliant."

First, the non-brights from this collection.  My favorite shade is named Smooth Sailing and it is a "breezy lavender blue with a reflection of pearl".  I can still see that lavenders are still popular going into summer and they are my favorite shade to wear against tanned skin.  This one will work in very easily with all of the shades that I already own in my polish collection.  The second of the non-bright shades is the pale in the collection.  This shade is described as a "soft seafoam green" but really looks more of a very pale taupe to me.  This shade actually looks rathering unflattering, since it is quite cool but I don't view it as a green shade.  It reminds me more of a pale shade that went wrong in the sun.  So far, I only want the Smooth Sailing shade.

Now we move to the bright shades from this collection.  Too Too hot is the first shade and the least neon of this group.  Every single nail polish collection has to include some kind of red and this is that shade for this one.  This one is a "sizzling rich red coral" with a cream finish.  This one is a warmer red and I prefer more of the cool reds that we tend to see in the fall and winter.  I have enough cool reds that I love that I could skip on this one very easily.  The second shade is another one of my least favorites in the collection.  This is one of the orange shades and is named Meet Me At Sunset, a "vibrant deep orange".  I just can't stand orange shades and this one is no exception.  The other orange shade is Braziliant and I like this one even less than the other one.  "Hot orange with a touch of shimmer" is the way this shade is described and I can't stand oranges or brights so we all know that this one is out.  The last of the bright shades is Super Bossa Nova and is the one with the best name of the collection.  This is one is an "upbeat bright fuchsia" and is the only one of the brights that I actually like.  It is easier for me to like a bright purple than any other bright shade. 

So I only like two shades from this collection but that actually is more than I initially thought that I would.  I love both of the shades that are more on the purple side and will be easy to wear right into my collection.  The Super Bossa Nova shade will work only in the summer months but I think that Smooth Sailing will be able to be worn all year long.  Looks like I still prefer the spring collection from this company...

photo courtesy of allurabeauty.com

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Clinique Summer 2011 Collection - Bronze 2011

I have been quite a Clinique girl lately and this new summer collection just serves to strengthen my love of this company.  Two major reasons.  The first is that this collection starts with a bronzer and summer makeup bag set and the other is that there is a SPF product recommended with the collection.  Clinique has hit it out of the ballpark this summer since they are recommending both color and sun protection and they made sure all the product they suggested can fit into this bag, maing it perfect for beach days and long weekend getaways.  Or even just taking to work to touch up before hitting an outdoor cafe for dinner. 

"You're off to a glowing start with Almost Bronzer SPF 15 in a limited edition mini makeup bag.  Clinique makes looking great as easy as a walk on the beach with a simple yet sun-filled collection of beauty essentials, including Almost Bronzer SPF 15 in a cheery, bright mini makeup bag.  Toss in Clinique Sun SPF 45 Targeted Protection Stick, Lash Power Mascara, and Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm and you're good to go.", states the Clinique website as their description of the summer collection.  I just love this concept for a summer collection!

Here is the new collection...

Almost Bronzer SPF 15 with Mini Makeup Bag - Sheer bronzing duo protects with broad-spectrum SPF 15.  Versatile formula lets you customize and build your bronze from sun-kissed to suntanned for a natural look year-round.  Long-wearing.  Oil-free.  Comes with a cheery-bright mini makeup bag.  Limited edition.
- Light/Medium - suitable for light to light medium skin tones

Long Last Glosswear SPF 15 - Lip gloss juiced up with 8 hours of lasting shine.  Spends every minute comforting lips.  In 18 glistening shades from sheer to full intensity.  Moisture makes each one even more mouth-watering.  Protects lips, too.  Welcome to our juice bar.
- Stellar Plum - gold pearlized plum
- Cabana Crush - vibrant tawny pink with gold shimmer
- Fireberry - rich blue red with soft gold shimmer
- Airkiss - midtone pink with gold shimmer
- Juicy Apple - red punch
- Bonfire - burnished tawny red with gold shimmer

Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm - Super-nourishing balm is loaded with mango and shea butters.  Just what dry, delicate lips need to feel comfortably soft and smooth.  Eight natural-looking lip tints in all, each with a subtle sheen.
- Graped-Up - deep purple
- Woppin' Watermelon - bright rose pink
- Chunky Cherry - bright cherry red
- Mega Melon - neutral
- Whole Lotta Honey - light honey caramel
- Richer Raisin - deep burgundy

Lash Power Mascara Long Wearing Formula - Mascara with staying power.  Vows to look pretty for 24 hours without a smudge or smear.  Lasts through rain, sweat, humidity, tears.  Yet the formula removes easily with warm water.  Unique brush reaches and beautifully lengthens even the tiniest lashes.  Ophpthamologist tested. 
- Black Onyx - pure black

Clinique Sun SPF 45 Targeted Protection Stick - Clinique steps up protection against the aging and burning effects of UVA and UVB rays for fragile areas - eye-area, lips, nose, earlobes, even scars.  Enhanced UVA defense helps guard against premature aging.  Conditions, comforts.  Ophpthamologist and dermatologist tested.  Oil-free.

Quick Eyes Cream Shadow -Have a beautiful eye day, all day.  Light, velvety cream glides on vibrant colour that wears up to 10 hours, stays beautifully crease-proof and colour true.  In pearly shades from subtle to high-lustre.  Ophpthamologist tested.
- Starlight Pink - golden shimmery pink
- Rock Violet - muted silvery violet
- Lucky Penny - shimmering soft muted beige with a hint of pink
- Sparkling Nude - soft nude with gold shimmer

I just want everything from this collection, starting with the bronzer set and then going through all of the color cosmetics.  I love the bronzer shade and my skin never gets dark bronze even when I self-tan all summer.  This one will be perfect to look natural with my skin and I don't love yellow but I think that the bag is cute and I will use it a few times this summer.  I have been interested in the Chubby Sticks since I first saw them earlier in the spring; my favorite shades are Woppin' Watermelon and Chunky Cherry.  I hate reapplying lip gloss all night and I am hoping that these live up to their description.  I can skip these shades of the Glosswear since I already own some of them and I don't need any this time around.  I want all four of the Cream Shadow shades and it goes without saying that I will be buying the SPF 45 Stick. 

photo courtesy of Clinique

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Elizabeth Arden Mediterranean

I recently reviewed a bottle of Mediterranean as a birthday gift after I had previously admired the beautiful blue bottle and the Riveria inspired promo photos.  It's a good thing that I ended up liking the fragrance as much as I liked the packaging.  This fragrance is described as a "woody floral", all the middle hotes are florals and the the woods become evident during the drydown and allow the fragrance to last all day long.  Mediterranean is a very warm fragrance, reminding me of the smells of Italy that I encountered on my visit several years ago.  In fact, this fragrance reminds me so much of Italy that it could be from Dolce & Gabbana or Versace, Elizabeth Arden did a great job capturing the essence of Venice and the Italian lifestyle.

Catherine Zeta Jones is the model for this fragrance and her description of the fragrance is up on the company's website.  "I love Mediterranean, it is a captivating fragrance...one to wear when you're not feeling shy."  I agree with her on both counting, this is a very captivating fragrance and is not one to wear when you want to blend into the crowd.  This fragrance is one of the strongest ones that I have ever smelled and will last all day and into the night.

The top notes of this fragrance are: Peach Nectar Sorbet, Silician Mandarin, Damask Plum.  The middle notes are: Radiant Wisteria, Star Magnolia, Madagascar Orchid.  The bottom notes are: Addictive Sandalwood, Fluid Skin Musk, Golden Amber Whisper.  Magnolia is one of the few fragrance notes that always works for me and helps to explain why this fragrance lasts all day on my skin.  The strongest notes are the magnolia (of course), the peach, and sandalwood and amber base.  This fragrance is also very multi-faceted, I have worn it to work, out at night, or for a casual shopping day. 

This bottle is stunning and is what originally drew me to the fragrance in the first place.  The bottle is deep blue and resembles the ocean water of the Mediterranean.  It reminds me of the Italian glass that I saw all over Venice and always wanted to take home for my house.  The top of the bottle is a hammered silver topper and is the perfect complement to the blue shade.  This one looks beautiful on my dresser and is one that I could continue to display long after the fragrance is used up.  Which will be quite a long time, since I was given the biggest bottle of this perfume and it lasts so long that I don't need to reapply it throughout the day. 

This scent is my first from Elizabeth Arden and has set a high quality standard for this company.  It also makes me really miss Italy and I love that I can wear a bit of Italy with me throughout the whole summer.  I have never met anyone who has worn this fragrance so I am always unique when I have this on.  Ladies come up to ask me what I am wearing when I have this on and no one has ever heard of it so far but I believe that smelling is believing so head to the Elizabeth Arden counter and try this one on...

photo courtesy of Elizabeth Arden

Friday, May 27, 2011

Estee Lauder Summer 2011 Collection - Bronze Goddess

Estee Lauder does a variation on the same type of summer collection every single year.  Bronze Goddess is this year's summer collection and one of the biggest summer collections year after year.  The bronzers and summer makeup from Estee Lauder has been on the top picks of beauty editors ever since Tom Pecheux took the creative direction for this company over about two years ago.  This collection actually contains two parts, one part is the new colors and the other part is fragrance.  Bronze Goddess is a top pick for this company fragrance-wise and building a whole collection around it is a great marketing technique and I think that ensures this color collection's success over the next season. 

The makeup look on the cover model reminds me of the French Riveria and features bronzed skin, bright blue eye makeup, and a neutral lip.  The blue eye makeup won't be for me but I am betting that I can find some new bronzers for myself and perhaps a new lip shade.  I haven't gotten the change to work with the fragrance yet but I have heard from others in the beauty industry that it is a light citrus, which also isn't quite my first choice among fragrance types. 

Let's check the collection out since I can already tell that it will be considered one of the showstoppers on beauty this summer...

Bronze Goddess Sea Star Bronzing Blush - Bronzer and blush in one.  Use shades alone or blend.  A blush of endless of summer.  Shimmering sun-kissed colro to enhance your tan.  Sweep on cheeks - wear alone or over bronzer.  For a more dramatic glow, apply to "apple" of cheeks and temples and down center of face.  A mix of bronze with hints of pinks in the shade.

Bronze Goddess Soft Matte Bronzer - Silky and luxurious.  Natural, shine-free color.  Give yourself a heavenly glow with this silky, luxurious powder bronzer.  Works with virtually any skin tone.  Sweep it on and the smooth, oil-free powder gives face, shoulders, and decolletage a seductive bronze look.  Unique oil control complex keeps shine-free and comfortable. 

Bronze Goddess Island Oasis Eye Shadow Palette - Shimmering metallics and sunlit satin shadows.  Shades of paradise.  Highlight, define, and dramatize your eyes with the shimmering metallics and sunlit satin shadows of summer.  Luxurious compact contains six complementary shades to wear alone or together - the possibilites are endless. 
- shimmering taupe/deep bronze shimmer/warm sand/bright blue/medium shimmering gold/very deep brown shimmer

Shadestick Duo - Two intense eye shades for drama and definition.  Simply divine.  Two tempting eye shades for the ultimate goddess effect.  Intense, stay-true color is long-wearing with a high-shimmer metallic finish.  Smooth formula glides on easily, feels comfortable.  Can be used two ways for definition and drama: appky to lashline as a liner or apply all over lid as a shadow. 
- Pink Teal - rose pink and bright teal
- Gold Bronze - gold and bronze

Sumptuous Waterproof Bolf Volume Lifting Mascara - All weather.  All waterproof.  Bold, weightless volume.  At last, a waterproof mascara that gives you gorgeous lashes just the way you love them.  Full, curled, sexy.  And virtually indestructible.  Now lashes look beautiful in all lash conditions, from steamy humidity to a splash in the pool.  Bold Volume Waterproof formula provides all the benefits of the original Sumptuous - weightless volume, lift, and curl - plus advanced total waterproofing.  Ultra light, lash-thickening fibers plump even the most sparse lashes.  Lashes are soft and flexible, never brittle or spiky.  Exclusice Brushcomber thickens like a brush.  Defines and separates like a comb. 
- Black - black

Pure Color Gloss - Brillant color in three high shine finishes.  Lip gloss with the power to light up your face.  True Vision technology transforms ordinary color and makes it extraordinary.  Imagine with it will do for your lips.  In wide range of wearable shades with lasting shine for lasting impression.  You'll want them all.  True Vision color: maximized color impact; magnified vibrancy, clarity, and dimension; amplified brillance.  Each Pure Color Gloss shade comes in one of three distinct, multi-dimensional finishes: Mirror Shine, Dimensional Sparkle, and Luminous Shimmer; all of which have sheer - to - medium coverage.  High performance wear: feels light and luscious, never sticky; drenched with conditioners, flexible-tip applicator hugs every curve of your lips; smoothes on precisely , stays on perfectly.
- Sunburst - warm tangerine (sparkle)
- Plum Divine - cool deep plum  (shimmer)
- Blazing Coral - warm medium coral (sparkle)

Pure Color Nail Lacquer - High Shine.  Long wear.  Turn your fingertips into fashion statements with a wardrobe of sensational shades to add definition, polish, and style to your fingertips.  Designed by Tom Pecheux, world-renowned makeup artist and Estee Lauder Creative Makeup Director.  Tom combined today's top trends with timeless classics - all the colors he prefers for photo shoots and fashion shows.  Formulated with True Vision technology to transform ordinary color and make it extraordinary.  Rich, glossy with an intense mirror-like shine.  Fast-drying.  Long-wearing.  High-pigment, high-impact brillance in 3 effects: creme, pearl, and shimmer.  True Vision technology takes ordinary color and makes it extraordinary.  Choose from a multi-facted spectrum of modern and timeless shades.  Resists chipping - even in water.  High coverage won't fade, dull, or streak, even in strong sunlight.  The brush makes it easy - specially designed brush shape makes application incredibly easy.  In three strokes - middle, left, and right - you're done.
- Shimmering Bronze - true bronze shimmer

Bronze Goddess Soleil Eau Fraiche Skinscent - Summer's new sun-kissed fragrance.  Inspired by the warmth of the Mediterranean, a citrus floral blend with notes of Bergamot and Orange Blossom.  Top notes - Silician Citron, Calabrese Bergamot, Blood Orange, Sweet Tangerine, Provencal Lavender Flowers, Lemon Tree Leaves (Petitgrain).  Middle notes - Pittosporum, Neroli from Tunisia (Orpur), Moroccan Orange Blossom (Orpur), Indian Sambac, Grapefruit Tree Blossoms, Pink Lily Nectar.  Bottom notes - Blond Woods, Iris Accord, Ambrette Seeds, Crystalline Musks.

Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent - The fragrance that worships every inch of you.  A sensuous, sun-drenched blend of Bergamot and Mandarin, cooled with Tahitian Gardenia Petals and Coconut, warmed with Amber, Sandalwood, and Vetiver.  All heat, all desire,  all woman.  Top notes - Sicilian Bergamot, Mandarin.  Middle Notes - Tiare Milk (Tahitian Gardenia Petals), Coconut Oil, Orange Flower Buds, Jasmine, Magnolia Petals, Myrrh.  Base notes - Amber, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Caramel, Coconut Cream.

The second of the two listed Bronze Goddess scents sounds like one that I would be very interested in but the first one I can leave at the counter.  The second one seems to be more floral and has a coconut base so this one will make a Most Wanted list for next month.  I can't wait to wear this one all summer long, magnolia is favored note of mine too.  So I already tend to gravitate toward this note and the addition of all those others makes this a fragrance that I might not be able to pass up. 

The color collection is another story, many of these items are already sold out and most of the rest of them aren't my shades.  I'm not into the blush and bronzer combination, I bet that I would create a complete disaster on my cheeks with this product.  I really like the matte bronzer in this collection, I am so glad that the beauty industry is beginning to producr bronzers that have a natural matte finish instead of the shimmer finishes that we have been seeing for the past few years.  Personally, I never use shimmer bronzers unless I am putting it on my cheekbones only.  The only other items that I like in this collection are some of the eye makeup.  I love the eye shadow palette and am willing to ignore the pale blue shade in it since I love the golds and bronzes that it contains.  My last love from this collection is the Shadestick Duo in the gold shades, I will get use from this product all summer and well into the fall.  I can't wait to go to the counter and try this one out.  Otherwise, I can leave the lip colors since I am not looking for either plum or coral this summer and I don't think the nail polish shade will work with my skintone. 

photo courtesy of Estee Lauder

Thursday, May 26, 2011

MAC Surf Baby! Colour

Now we have come to the most exciting part of the new Surf Baby! collection!  The Colour part of this collection was always the part that I was most interested in and is where I will do most of my hauling of this collection.  The new Crushed Pigment Stacks and the Eye Shadows made my Most Wanted list for this month and I can't wait to go up the counter over the next few days.  I'm not as fond of the lip shades but the eye and the nail shades will be perfect for the summer. 

"The lure of the endless summer starts here with My Paradise Cheek Powder, Pigments, Summer Stash of Crushed Metallic Pigments, Hibiscus Lipstick, and Splashproof Lash Mascara that just won't smudge.  Journey to a world where feeling the rush means taking a risk.  Hang ten!"  From what I have read on the Makeup Alley boards, both Hibiscus and My Paradise sold out within the first hour or two after MAC put the products up on their website.  Hopefully, MAC will be doing some fast restocks on many of these products or a riot might occur at some of the counters over the weekend...

The Colour part of the collection...

Pigment - Pigment is a highly concentrated loose powder that contains ingredients to help it adhere to the skin.  Create a subtle wash of colour or an intense effect.  Does not streak or cake.  Easy to blend and long-lasting.
- Melon - soft bright golden peach
- Naked - fleshy beige with pearl (matte)

Surf Baby! Eye Shadow - Summer shades that are right for each and every Surf Baby.  A seasonal ode to the world's hippest culture, this cool collector's item comes in a hibiscus emblazed compact with a MAC logo on the lid.  Limited edition.
- Short Shorts - frosty white champagne
- Sun Blonde - dirty yellow gold
- Saffron - deep coral caramel
- Surf USA - frosted teal
- Swell Baby - mid-tone gray

Summer Stash: Crushed Metallic Pigment - A style-wave of four limited edition shades of crushed metallic pigment individually presented in a see-through stack.  Exotically floral as any hibiscus, pink and violet soar amidst a melange of silver, gold, and white pearl.  Limited edition.
- Pearl - light white pearl
- Peachy - light pink champage
- Pink - light violet with silver pearl
- Old Wine - brown bronze with gold pearl

Surf the Ocean: Crushed Metallic Pigment - A style-wave of four limited edition shades of crushed metallic pigment individually presented in a see-through stack.  Cool as water, blue and aqua-green shades of shimmer amidst bronze, silver, and platinum frost.  Limited edition.
- Titanium - frosty platinum
- Aquamarine - light yellow green
- Bronze - gold bronze
- Graphite - dirty graphite with silver pearl

Surf Baby! Powerpoint Eye Pencil - Waterproof enough to ride the waves without a smudge.  Cool in shade, shimmer, and attitude.  Packaging goes full-on Surf Baby! in the vibrant striped pattern of the collection.
- Gilded White - yellow white frost
- Blue Noon - teal with gold pearl

Splashproof Lash - Waterproof.  Thickens and lengthens.  Made for sports and high emotions.  Delivers natural-looking definition in one coat.  Keeps lashes silky, soft, flexible.  Brush tapers to evenly coat each lash, even at the inner corner of the eye.  Smudge resistant.
- Black - black

Surf Baby! Lipstick - Surf-cultured.  Shine-right.  Boldy floral sun-bright or delicately nude-y, these lipsticks wear their summer stripes with the cool grace of a real surfer dude.  Add their white casing and there's no doubt - summer starts here.  Limited edition.
- Naturally Eccentric - creamy white nude
- Hibiscus - bright orange coral
- Bust Out! - dirty midtone violet
- Mocha - peachy yellow-brown

Surf Baby! Lipglass - Summer's highest, most power-charged shine...shaded for the season.  Features a white cap and the vibrant striped pattern of MAC summer.  Limited edition.
- Girl On Board - pale white gold
- Good Lovin - soft peachy pink
- Strange Potion - soft coral pink
- Krazy Kahuna - warm midtone brown

Surf Baby! Cheek Powder - Micro-fine, creamy...flatters summer skin and freckles with low-to-buildable coverage.  Add a peach shade with gold hibiscus overspray and, sun or none, you're ready to glow.  Oversize white compact features MAC Surf Baby! logo.  Limited edition.

Surf Baby! Nail Lacquer - A shade the complements and enhances the surfer girl's groovy look, matched by a rich, creamy formula as smooth, slick, and chic as your surfboard.  A perfect way to Hang Ten.  Limited edition.
- Hangin' Loose - dirty pink nude
- Ocean Dip - midtone creamy aqua

239 Eye Shader Brush - Soft and dense to shade or blend eye shadow or emollient-based products.  This brush has a tapered, rounded edge with smooth, firm, fine fibres.  It can be used to build intense colour on the eyelid.  MAC professional brushes are hand-sculpted and assembled using the finest quality materials.  They feature wood handles and nickel-plated brass ferrules.

So lots of great summer picks from this part of the collection.  My favorites are still the Surf the Wave Crushed Pigment and the Eye Shadows.  Even though the Surf the Wave stack has a pale blue in it, the Pigment formula is easy to apply very sheerly so I could use it sparingly in the crease against all the more neutral shades in the stack.  From the Eye Shadows, my favorite is the Sun Blonde (gold) than the Short Shorts (champagne) however neither of these shades are very unique so the world won't end if I can't get my hands on them.  Good Lovin is the only lip product that I would purchase, I don't really like any of the other shades and I already own Strange Potion from Venomous Villians.  To finish everything off, I LOVE the Ocean Dip shade of the nail polish.  I don't know quite why I didn't see it when I first looked at the collection but I must go and get it.  I don't own any shade like this at the moment.

I need to get myself to the beach sometime very soon...

photo courtesy of Nordstrom

MAC Surf Baby! Face

The Surf Baby collection is now fully on the MAC website and is coming out on the Nordstrom and Macy*s websites and the counters will be bringing it out this week too.  This collection is so large that MAC divided it into two parts on the website, one is the Face collection and the other is the Colour collection.  The Face collection is the bronzers and the assorted products that would support them.  Last year, I loved the To The Beach collection and so far, I like what I have seen of Surf Baby!, I really like certain pieces of it but I overall liked To The Beach much more.  We are going to start with the Face collection here and go into the Colour collection the next post. 

"Bronzing for every dude and dudette looking for a killer tan.  Bring commotion to the ocean with Bronzing Powder and new Studio Careblend/Pressed Powder.  Add contours and dimension with the latest Skinsheen Bronzer Stick!  Defy sun-and-sea blasted lips with Suntints SPF 20 Liquid Lip Balms.  Stylishly striped Surf Baby! bags are ready for sea, splash, and sun."  I'm not so sure about working with the Bronzer Stick since I have never tried liquid bronzers before so I will need the MAC associates to help me with this product.  Whether or not, I like the liquid bronzer, I can't wait to try the powder bronzers in this collection.

Here is the Face part of this collection...

Surf Baby! Suntints SPF 20 Liquid Lip Balm - Summer's softest tint and luscious liquid shine.  more than pretty.  Defends lip against sun, wind, and salt.  With its MAC Surf Baby! striped vial, and easy-going nature, a must-have.  Limited edition.
- Lilt of Lily - soft creamy pale pink
- Pink Tinge - clean bright yellow pink
- Full of Grace - soft sheer rose

Surf Baby! Studio Careblend/Pressed Powder - Creamy, blend-able, no-streak bronzing powder that provides a naturally matte, lightly luminous finish.  Antioxidant formula ups the care factor.  In its white surf-rider striped MAC Surf Baby! compact - stylish!  Limited edition.
- Gold-Go-Lightly - mid tone golden tan brown
- Lush-Light Bronze - mid tone rosy pink brown

Surf Baby! Bronzing Powder - Our classic bronzing powder heads surfside in a compact featuring the vibrant stripes of the Surf Baby! collection.  Lays on the bronze as smoothly as you ride the waves!  Limited edition.
- Solar Riche - midtone deep orange brown
- Refined Golden - finely spun golden with soft pearl finish

Surf Baby! Skinsheen Bronzer Stick - Bronzes, shapes, and sculpts the face.  Sheer-to-medium buildable coverage that looks naturally radiant and sunny.  Stashable - with its MAC Surf Baby! look - way cool!  Limited edition.
- Gilty Bronze - coppery bronze with gold
- Tan-Tint - soft suntan bronze
- Billionaire Bronze - warm golden tan

129SH Powder Blush Brush - The 129 Blush Brush with a shorter handle.  Includes a travel pouch to keep your brush clean.  This brush is particularly good for blush application.  The fibres are soft and form a full, rounded shape.  MAC professional brushes are hand-sculpted and assembled using the finest quality materials.  They feature wood handles and nickel-plated brass ferrules.

Surf Baby! 1 - Our classic rectangular MAC makeup bag captures the surf spirit in the collection's signature multicolored striped pattern.  Mini-petite.  High quality coated canvas looks fresh -  a summer must-have!  Limited edition.  5 in x 4 in x 1.5 in.

Surf Baby! 2 - Our classic rectangular MAC makeup bag captures the surf spirit in the collection's signature multicoloted striped pattern.  Mini-petite.  High quality coated canvas looks fresh - a summer must-have!  Limited edition.  6.5 in x 4.5 in x 1.5 in.

First thoughts - I love this packaging!  The white and striped pattern will make these products very easy to find in my traincase and will allow me to not dig for five minutes to find one or two products.  Of the bronzing products, I only want the Studio product in the Lush-Light Bronze shade since that this is one with most pink in it, all of the others seem to be much warmer and almost more orange.  As I stated above, I still need to try out the bronzer sticks, since I haven't worked with anything like them before.  Last but not least, I want all three of the Suntints Lip Balm but I have heard that they are all very sheer and without tons of pigment so I feel that one will get me through.  My favorite shade is the Full of Grace shade, the one that is more rose than light pink.  I also want to buy the Surf Baby! 2 bag (the larger one), the bright colors on this one will also make it very easy to find in my tote bag.

Next up...the Colour Collection!!! 

photo courtesy of MAC

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bath and Body Works Signature Coconuts Cooling Body Mist with SPF 30

As I stated in my last post about the entire Signature Coconuts line, I wanted to do an additional post about one of the new products that came out with this collection, the Cooling Body Mist with SPF 30.  The first time that this product was released was with this collection and I am so hoping that this product will come out in other fragrances in their collection.  As I have already stated earlier, May is Melanoma Awareness Month and this product is another easy and fun way to get some additional sun protection.  And I am all for lovely smelling sun care products since I bet they will make people more likely to buy and actually wear them on a regular basis.  I bought this product the first day that Bath and Body Works had it out on the shelves.

Bath and Body Works describes the product in the following description.  "Our scented, easy-to-apply Signature Collections Coconuts Cooling Mist with SPF 30 refreshes summer skin while it protects.  Apply 15 - 20 minutes before sun exposure.  Hold mist about 4 inches from skin; apply evenly and liberally and enjoy a luscious burst of creamy coconut and exotic mango.  Do not spray into face; mist hand and apply to face.  Reapply after swimming, excessive perspiration or towel drying."

We all know that I love the Coconut Mango fragrance and will be using the body products all summer.  I have been playing with my bottle of this product for the past day or two and since it is raining, I haven't been able to take it for a full test drive.  The instrutions on the use of this product are the typical sunblock use instructions so I don't doubt that went used correctly, it will protect skin from the harmful rays of the sun.  I will love using this product at the beach since I often feel weird without some type of fragrance on but don't want to wear a heavy perfume to the beach. 

With the growing incidence of melanoma and other skin cancers, I am really hoping that a company that can make sun protection fun and a product that people actually want to wear will be helpful in educating the public and getting more people to consistently wear sun protection.  This product is very easy to apply and dries very quickly.  This product has a nozzle that allows a wide spray and  it helps to evenly cover all of your skin, making sure that you don't miss any areas.  It dries very quickly and doesn't feel tacky on the skin.  This product contains more of the chemical sun protection ingredients, not my preferred type of sunscreen but it still works quite well for me.  I really can't rave enough about how easy this product is to use and I really think that anyone can use this product and help save their skin.

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bath and Body Works Signature Coconuts

Coconut has always been a favorite scent of mine, one that I use all summer long and then continue to use all winter in order to escape the cold.  Last summer and earlier this spring, Bath and Body Works brought out and kept adding to the scents in their Signature Vanillas collection.  This week, they have released the summer version of this collection, the Signature Coconuts.  Just like the Vanillas were all a mix of one fruit note and a vanilla base, these are one fruit note and then a coconut base.  Since I already collect coconut fragrances, this collection is yet another way that I have stock my bureau with all types of yummy coconuts.

This collection contains three new fragrances; Coconut Mango, Coconut Pineapple, and Coconut Passionfruit.  I first tried the Coconut Mango when I bought one of the $1 bottles of lotion that was out around Mother's Day.  I tried all three of the lotions at that time but I decided that the Coconut Mango was my favorite.  Since I already love both coconut and mango scents, this scent was perfect for me and will become a favorite of mine this summer.

I have already stated that Coconut Mango is my favorite of the three scents.  Bath and Body Works has described the fragrance as "a luscious burst of creamy coconut and exotic mango".  This one is the perfect mix of coconut and mango, with the coconut coming out first on the skin and then the mango being stronger note on the dry down.  The top notes of this fragrance are: Juicy Thai Mango, Fuji Apple, White Nectarine.  The middle notes are: Passionflower, Vanilla Orchid, Casaba Melon.  The base notes are: Coconut Cream, Tahitian Vanilla, Indonesian Sandalwood.  This is one of my favorite fragrances from Bath and Body Works and is such a hit for me, it reminds me of how much I used to love the Tutti Dolci line from this company several years ago.

Coconut Pineapple is the second of the new fragrances and this one reminds me of the Fresh Pineapple scent that was released about four years ago for the summer.  I liked that fragrance and I believe that I still have a bottle or two left of it so I don't know that I will need to buy this fragrance.  This one is a mix of "creamy coconut and juicy pineapple".  This one is lighter than the Mango fragrance and smells more of the pineapple than the coconut but with my skin chemistry becomes more a sweet, fruity scent and neither of the notes in the become very evident.  The top notes are: Watery Pineapple, Fresh Papaya, Sparkling Passionfruit.  The heart notes are: Fluid Hedione, Yellow Honeysuckle, Watery Cantaloupe.  The base of this fragrance: Vanilla Madagascar, Coconut Cream, Driftwood.  This one is on the sweeter side and reminds me more of a pina colada mix than either of the two notes singularly.

The last of the three new fragrances is Coconut Passionfruit, the sweetest of all three fragrances.  Every passionfruit scent that I have ever smelled is on the sweet side and mixing this one with the coconut really sweetens the whole mix up. This one is my least favorite of three, not that I don't like it, I just prefer the other two fragrances.  Bath and Body Works describes this fragrance as a mix of "creamy coconut and tropical passionfruit".  This one is the creamiest of the three and the scent is on the lighter side.  The top notes are: Juicy Passionfruit, Fresh Papaya, Sparkling Tangerine.  The middle notes are: Tropical Tiare Blossom, Pink Lotus, White Peach.  The bottom notes are: Coconut Cream, Vanilla Madagascar, White Musk.  This one smells the least like coconut so this one isn't my style for fragrances.

All of these scents comes in the three traditional Signature products; the Shower Gel, the Body Lotion, and the Body Splash.  The Coconut Mango comes in two additional products that I am willing to bet will be limited edition for the launch.  It comes in the Smoothing Body Scrub that I had already looked at with the Into The Wild scent.  I wasn't a fan of this scrub, the Walnut shell in it is a too too gritty for me and I would prefer the creamy version of the body scrub that came out with the Island Escape line.  The second new product is the Coconut Mango SPF 30 Body Mist (this one will be covered in its own post following the one). 

So what did I end up buying?  Of course, I bought the Coconut Mango in the Body Lotion and the Shower Gel.  I was planning to buy multiples of the Coconut Mango products but I ended up trying the Coconut Pineapple on again and I fell in love with it since when it is on, it reminds me less of the Fresh Pineapple and more of a pina colada scent.  So instead of buying more of the Mango, I bought the Shower Gel and the Lotion in the Pineapple scent.  To round out my purchase, I bought the Sunscreen Spray to use this summer.  I skipped all the Body Splashes since I still prefer a more complex series of fragrances even in the relaxed days of the summer.  I just love having more coconut fragrances to play with this summer!

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

NARS Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base

Eye shadow primers aren't the most glamourous of makeup products but are one of the most useful.  I have tried my share of eye shadow primers and have continued to return to my beloved Urban Decay Primer Potion time after time.  However, with my love with glitter shadows, I always continue to test every eye primer that I can get my hands on since these types of shadows hold major fallout potential.  I have found that companies (like Urban Decay) that have a wide variety of eye shadow shades and finishes tend to have to highest quality of primers (MAC is the big exception to this rule) and tend to win my heart in the primer category.  When I was offered a large sample of the NARS primer from Sephora (Beauty Insider perks!), I went right for it, in the hopes that I would find another primer to be worthy of the love and praise that I heap on the Urban Decay product.

"No smudging, creasing, or caking.  The NARS Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base is the insider trick of the trade.  Never looking heavy-handed, this lightweight eye primer creates a seamless canvas that keeps cream and powder color looking brilliant, fresh, and just-applied all day.  A polymer and mineral powder blend creates a firm grip on color ensuring hours and hours of gorgeous wear.  Fortified with special deep-sea and antioxidant rice extracts, the Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base dries on contact and keeps the delicate eyelid smooth and prepared for color application.  Extends the wear of eye shadow, eye liner, and eye brown pencil.  Instantly transform to a matte finish and preps skin for color application.  Maximizes color intensity.  Dermatologist and ophthamologist tested.  Fragrance free."

I put this eye shadow primer to the most rigorous of testing.  Most of the other eye shadow primers that I have tried have fallen somewhere into my testing and have been put onto my discard pile.  My hardest exam for the primer to pass is both Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy Eye Shadow and Vincent Longo Wet Diamond Eye Shadows (worn dry).  Both of these two shadows have large pieces of glitter in them and have major fallout issues.  Fallout occurs when the glitter particles fall off my lids during application, both of these shadows can't be applied with brushes and must be tapped onto the lid with my fingers.  Lovely to wear, hell to apply at times.  This is the only primer other than the Urban Decay formula that has stood up to these shadows.  So for wear and durability, this primer ties the Primer Potion. 

The Urban Decay formula goes on thick and then needs to be blended in quickly before it sets and dries.  This formula goes on much thinner (in fact, so thin that the first time that I used this one, I added a second coat because I wasn't sure that I had put enough product on).  I quickly learned that using either one or two coats gave me the exact same result, so I never made that mistake again.  This primer goes on much drier, the Urban Decay version feels wet until it dries.  The dry feeling must be due to the mineral powder that is contained in this formula.  Eye shadow goes on easily with either formula and I didn't notice any difference in the application with either one. 

My testing already established that both formulas are pretty equal when it comes to tackiness and keeping eye shadow on my lids and not my cheeks.  With the Urban Decay formula, I get a full day's wear (at least 12 hours) and the NARS one works just as well.  I have successfully worn the NARS formula during rainstorms and so far humidity hasn't made the NARS formula budge.  Primer Potion performed exactly the same under the same conditions.  I have put the Urban Decay to one additional test that I haven't yet performed on the NARS primer.  Four words, long humid summer nights.  I am pretty confident in stating that I think that the NARS version will have no problem performing in this category just as well as the Urban Decay version. 

So far, this is the only eye shadow primer that has even begun to compare to my beloved Urban Decay Primer Potion.  One major different is the that Urban Decay version comes in four shades/finishes and the NARS is only available in one.  I love the colored versions of the Urban Decay primer since they allow me to have a bit of color on my lids and be fully confident that it will last all day and into the night.  I will continue to purchase the colored primers.  Now the bigger question?  How will I decide between the Urban Decay and NARS formulas?  I would purchase either of the two brands, if both were in stock at Sephora and I would be equally likely to purchase either from their company websites.  Last but not least, the new packaging from Urban Decay (squeeze tubes!) is my preference of the two packages.

I have now found an eye shadow primer that rivals my beloved Urban Decay Primer Potion and I have continued to confirm my idea that companies that make better and more varied eye shadows make much better primers.  Now if MAC would just revamp their formula and get on board with that theory...

photo courtesy of NARS

Monday, May 23, 2011

Surf Baby Available Now!

MAC has put the whole Surf Baby collection up on their website early and it is already beginning to sell out!  I haven't time at this very moment to get the whole collection up but I do encourage you all to head over to the MAC website and begin looking at it.  The collection is so large that it is divided into two parts; the colour collection and the face and body collection.  Pictured is one of the items that was most anticipated from Surf Baby, the Hibiscus Lipstick shade.

Start shopping and I will be getting the collections up when I have time around work this week.  So looking forward to these new Crushed Metallic Pigments in this collection...

photo courtesy of MAC

LUSH Miranda Soap

A LUSH Bar Soap can never fail to make my day!  This time around, I am trying out the Miranda soap, also known as The Girl From Ipanema soap from the LUSH Japan website.  A bit of background because I confuse everyone.  A close friend of mine lived and worked in Japan for two years and was able to go into LUSH in the major cities every few months.  One time, she bought me a piece of this lovely scented citrus soap and sent it over to me in the States.  I had never heard of this soap before and so I tried looking through the United States LUSH website.  Armed with a scent description and the bar itself, I was forced to give up becuase it resembled nothing on the website.  However, I was playing around on the site a day or two ago and found this new soap that I had never heard of before.  It is called Miranda and it IS my soap!!  Both the description and picture match exactly and I pulled a shot of the original up from the Japanese website and they are perfect matches.  I was so excited since I love this soap and have been keeping a small chunk aside, thinking that I would never see it again.

Like the Japanese version, this soap smells of sweet kiwi and orange, it is great choice to get me going in the morning.  "A fresh fruit salad of a soap, Miranda is made with fresh, organic kiwi fruit because they're bursting with Vitamin C and gently cleanse the skin.  We add in bergamot because it's soothing and smells of oranges.  There's toning ylang ylang and juniperberry for clearing up congested skin and refreshing tired spirits.  Simply fruit-tastic." 

This isn't the only product in the LUSH line that uses fresh kiwi as an active ingredient, it is in both a face mask and a shampoo.  For today's purposes, I will write about how well it works in the soap and leave the other two products for when I get to purchase and review them.  "Fresh kiwi fruit is an excellent addition to our palm free soap base in our juicy Miranda soap to really refresh the skin.  Kiwi fruits also contain excellent levels of Vitamins E and A and have exceptional mineral content too.  Kiwi fruits contain a very high level of anti-oxidant Vitamin C, even greater than that of oranges.  Anti-oxidants combat the formation of free radicals.  The damage our skin develops through the onslaught of sunlight pollution and the aging process can be helped the action of anti-oxidants.  Raw kiwi fruits contain an enzyme called actinidin that is capable of dissolving protein.  Enzymes accelarate a chemical reaction without being used up in the process and are known as catalysts.  Actinidin breaks down the surface protein based dead skin cells and dirt on the skin."

So, we all see that this soap not only smells fantastic, but it has a host of other great properties to it.  Personally, I never knew that Kiwi was this effective before since I rarely ever see it used as an active ingredient.  Hopefully more companies will pick up on how effective it is and begin to work with it but I won't hold my breath for products as high quality as those from LUSH.

This bar of soap ranks in my top five favorites soaps from LUSH and might even end up in my top five favorite overall products from this company.  The scent is nice and strong and just like the Rockstar soap, I can smell it in my bathroom long after my shower is over.  I use it right on the skin instead of on a washcloth so I get just a bit of foam from it.  It is a heavier soap and so far my bar has lasted over three weeks (this is not a big bar).  It doesn't dry out my skin at all so I could use it in the winter months without any problems.

LUSH soaps are always a winner for me and this is yet another one that I have come to hold in very high regard.  If a shower gel or body scrub would come out in this scent, I would be first in line for it...

photo courtesy of LUSH

Sunday, May 22, 2011

L'Occitane Summer 2011 Collection - Pivoine Flora

Pivoine Flora is the newest color collection from the French beauty company, L'Occitance.  I have known this brand mostly for skincare and body products but I have never worked with the makeup since it is much harder to find than the other products.  I wish that Sephora carried the whole makeup line from this company in their stores since then I wouldn't have to go to the L'Occitane store to get everything (it about an hour away).  I can only hope...

This collection is based on the blooming of the peony plant that always occurs in late spring and continues into the beginning of the summer months.  I have a peony plant in my yard and I always look forward to when all the pink flowers bloom and make my entire yard very fragrant.  This collection is named Pivoine Flora and is series of pinks for a look that is naturally beautiful.  The L'Occitane website gives the following description of the new makeup collection, "Every year in May, as the spring breeze caresses the peonies, they seem to come to life, dance and spin like graceful ballerinas..."

Here is the collection...

Pivoine Flora Lip Shine - This glistening lip gloss coats the lips with a natural shimmering sheen.  Its light, non-sticky, delicately scented syrup texture contains softening Peony extract to protect and pamper the lips, leaving them looking fabulous!
- Rose - natural rose shimmer
- Brun - warm bronze shimmer
- Peche - warm coral shimmer
- Grenadine - bright red shimmer

Pivoine Flora Color Cream - This duet of colored creams can be used according to your desires, to illuminate amd warm up the face.  Enriched with softening Peony extract and delicately scented, this smooth texture glides on with fingertips and blends easily. 
- Rose - pure rose shade accents the cheekbones while the pearly rose can be used to highlight your look
- Abricot - apricot shade accents the cheekbones while the golden beige can be used to highlight your look
- Beige - chocolate blush accents the cheekbones while the pearly beige shade can be used to highlight your look

Pivoine Flora Healthy Glow Face Powder - Enriched with softening Peony extract and delicately scented, this Healthy Glow Face Powder warsm up the complexion while leaving the skin soft and velvety.  the beautifully transparent texture is perfect to enhance and highlight all complexions.  Can be easily applied with a powder brush.  Simply dab onto key areas of the face (cheekbones, forehead, chin, nose) or over the entire face for a perfectly matte and even complexion.

Pivoine Flora Eye Duo - Enriched with softening Peony extract, these two satiny eye shadows can be used to create your desired look with touches of radiant and contrasting colors.  The lighter shade highlights the eyelid, while the darker shade gives definition and intensity for a more dramatic look.  When you mix the two shades on the back of your hand, a third unexpected color appears, enlarging the palette of colors!
- Blanche Etoile - pale white shimmer/deep navy
- Lilas - pale beige gold shimmer/medium cool lilac

Pivoine Flora Eye Quartet - Enriched with softening Peony extract, the eye shadows of this Petals Quartet, featuring rose, beige, and purplish shades, gracefully and beautifully highlight the eyes.  These satiny powder shadows glide on the eyelid with ease.  The four colors can be used separately for a natural look or combined for a more dramatic result - apply to your heart's desire.
- pale beige shimmer/pink bronze shimmer/medium rose shimmer/plum shimmer

Pivoine Flora Lipstick - This lipstick coats the lips with shimmering color veil.  The rich texture, delicately perfumed and enriched with softening Peony extract, gives an instant feeling of comfort and leaves a light, non-tacky feel on the lips.
- Cuivre - shimmering golden beige
- Rose - shimmering pink with gold reflections
- Fuschia - shimmering pure pink
- Cerise - shimmering crimson red

My favorites pieces of this collection are the lip products and the eye shadow quartet.  The eye shadow quartet will be perfect to create a more subtle lilac eye, I don't know much about the pigmentation from this company but I doubt that it will be as impactful as that of MAC or Urban Decay.  I am a bit afraid to order this product from the website since I can't try them out so I will either have to drive out to a store or find dupes of them.  I love shades from both the Lipstick and the Lip Glosses.  The Lipstick choice for me will be the Rose shade, this one will be an easy rose for me to pull off, both with a tan and in the winter months.  I also love the Cerise on first glance, but I would order the Rose shade first to see how this formula works and if I would like it in a more dramatic red.  Lip Gloss-wise, I need that Rose shade, I bet this one will be perfect for a naturally pretty look.

I will be conservative in ordering the makeup the first time, the Rose shades will be easy for me to pull off whatever the pigmentation ends up looking like on.  I really wish that Sephora would carry this color line in their store...

photo courtesy of L'Occitane

Saturday, May 21, 2011

O.P.I. for Sephora Summer 2011 Collection - Safari Luxe

Animal prints are right on trend this summer and this is one of the first major collections that I am seeing that embraces this trend.  I have seen lots of neutrals and bronzes this summer but so far, I haven't been seeing all out safari shades.  Until I saw this nail polish collection that is...  O.P.I. for Sephora has released a new collection for summer that is all safari hues and a group of animal print nail prints that stick right onto the nail.  I have been interested in these types of stick on products since I first saw some earlier this spring but I don't think that this type of product really works my style.  Maybe this collection will sway me...

"Inspired by animal-print fabrics, snakeskin pumps, and stacks of gold bracelets, Sephora by O.P.I.'s new Safari Luxe collection takes after one of the hottest trends to hit the runways: safari chic.  'We came up with a nail lacquer collection as stylish and fun as the trend itself,' says Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, O.P.I. VP and Artistic Director.  'And just like a leopard-print scarf spices up an outfit, each summery shade adds instant edginess to your wardrobe.'"  We have six new nail polish shades and three of the stick-on prints to chose from in this collection.

First the new nail polish shades...

Nail Polish - Fashion-forward, wearable nail colors for the modern woman who is looking for an effective, safe, environmentally conscious brand.  Sephora by O.P.I. Nail Color, a line of 54+ trend-setting shades, puts the final touch on fingertips and toes with a top-quality formula you have come to expect for O.P.I..  The long-lasting, chip-resistant polish ensures flawless results with each application, and its green ingredient list excludes DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde.  Sephora by O.P.I. combines the quality and color expertise of O.P.I., the world leader in professional nail color, with Sephora's reputation for the latest in beauty and sophistication.
- Caught With My Khakis Down - opaque fatigue green
- Don't Feed The Hand Models - opaque pink beige
- A Color That Can't Be Tamed - opaque mint green with fine holographic glitter
- I Don't Bite - opaque soft purple with fine holographic glitter
- Wild About Shimmer - sheer champagne with medium gold glitter
- Once A Cheetah, Always A Cheetah - opaque orange with medium gold glitter

Chic Print - Safari Luxe - Animal print pre-cut nail patches for extraordinary nails, instantly!  This innovative line, brewed by Minx and loved by your favorite celebrities, creates customized nails, featuring fierce patterns and prints to satisfy your wildest mani-and-pedi dreams.  One set of Chic Prints contains 16 nail patches of varying widths, for a one time application to fingers or toes.  The nail patch is a solid-film material with an adhesive bed that is activated by friction, allowing the patch to fit over the compound curves of your nails and seal onto the nail bed.  The patent-pending material removes easily by rubbing and peeling off.
- Giraffe - giraffe print (brown spots on clear background)
- Leopard - leopard print (black spots on gold background)
- Zebra/Leopard - one half zebra print, the other half leopard print (black stripes/black spots on a white background)

I am much in doubt that I could pull off the Chic Prints, maybe I would be able to wear them one night out to match a black dress adn then take them off in the morning.  I guess that if I were to try them out, I would buy the Leopard print ones, the black and gold ones.  If the Zebra wasn't combined with Leopard, then I would love the Zebra but there is just too much going on for me to pull this pair off.  From the nail polish shades, I think that my favorite is I Don't Bite, the lilac with holographic shimmer.  We all know that I have been loving lilacs and purples this spring and this is another one to add to my collection.  I also really like Wild About Shimmer, I could use this by itself or as a topcoat to other shades.  Caught With My Khakis down is one of my favorite names of all time and since I like the color, this one ends up on my shopping list too. 

photo courtesy of Sephora

Friday, May 20, 2011

Smashbox Summer 2011 Collection - Softbox

Softbox is the newest collection from Smashbox and I must start by saying that this is very small collection.  It actually only contains two new items, one eye palette and one lip gloss set.  The eye shadow palette has been a top pick of mine ever since I first spied pictures of it.  Lately, I have been using a Smashbox eye shadow at least twice a week and I never fail to get compliments on the shades and I am always happy with the wear and easy of use of this eye shadow formula.  You could say that Smashbox is beginning to rise up on teh list of my favorite makeup companies even though I have mostly been using their eye makeup so far.  Perhaps this lip gloss set will bring me over to their lip products yet too...

This collection is named Softbox and it contains shades that will help to create an easy summer look that is also polished enough to wear during the day to work.  "Inspired by the Softbox Studio at Smashbox - where natural light rules - our summer collection is all about effortless, diffused beauty."  I just love the neutrals that are in the eye palette and I can't wait to get my hands on this set. 

Softbox Eye Shadow Palette - Forget piling on eye makeup in the heat of summer.  Our pro artists have handpicked all of these hues (including 7 new shades and 4 best sellers!) with soft, naturally gorgeous eyes in mind.  Includes FREE step-by-step guide for creating three looks and a mini Photo Finish Lid Primer.  This set includes: 9 Eye Shadows, 2 Cream Liners, Double Ended Brush, Mini Photo Finish Lid Primer, Get The Look Guide.
- Nectar Eye Shadow - warm gold shimmer (new)
- Lucky Penny Eye Shadow - bronze shimmer (new)
- Sienna Eye Shadow - deep black brown
- Vanilla Eye Shadow - off white shimmer
- Sugar Eye Shadow - warm pink gold shimmer (new)
- Nude Eye Shadow - deep warm brown
- Flirt Eye Shadow - deep champagne with sparkle
- Stone Eye Shadow - deep matte warm charcoal
- Truffle Eye Shadow- deep black brown shimmer
- Bronze Cream Liner - warm bronze (new)
- Taupe Cream Liner - charcoal gray

Softbox Lip Gloss Collection - Just try to resist this beautifully wearable set of glossy goodness in take-everywhere travel sizes - perfect for summer getaways.  Plus, no matter what your day looks like, you're covered with both our classic and long-wearing formulas.  Includes 3 new shades and 3 bestsellers! 
- Infinite Limitless Long Wear Lip Gloss - pale beige shine
- 24/7 Limitless Long Wear Lip Gloss - deep sheer plum shine
- Afterglow Lip Gloss - shimmery pinky peach
- Brown Sugar - warm caramel shimmer (new)
- Glam - cool mauve shimmer (new)
- Illume - clear iridescent shimmer

I love both of these two sets and I looking forward to buying both of them.  If I had to choose, my favorite of the two is the eye shadow palette, I can work with all of these neutrals for the next few seasons.  I love the new Nectar Eye Shadow shade and this one is only available in the palette so far.  I also love the Vanilla and Sugar shades from this palette too.  From the lip set, I love the Afterglow and Glam shades.  Afterglow reminds me very much of NARS Orgasm so my interest here will be comparing the lip gloss formulas. 

photo courtesy of Smashbox

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Clinique Lash Doubling Mascara

Lash Doubling Mascara is my latest mascara find, in fact since it was just included in the Macy*s Clinique GWP, I have ended up with two tubes of it.  Good thing that I have been liking it so far...  We all know that I am extremely particular about mascara and that very few formulas give me the huge lashes that I am always on the lookout for.  My favorite mascara is still Diorshow Iconic and then Buxom Lash and Benefit's BadGal are tied for my second favorites.  I like mascaras that make my lashes look as large as if I was wearing fakes and very few mascaras give me these huge lashes.

This mascara is considered by Clinique to be a volumizing and thickening formula.  "Magnifies lashes to twice their size.  Thickens them to maximum volume.  In minimum time.  Unique tapered brush finds every lash.  For bigger, better lashes.  Ophthamologist tested", states the Clinique website when describing this product.  This formula is thickening, however the standard of many of the thickening formulas is twice the size of lashes and some get all the way to three times the current lash size.  The ones that I have listed above are in the 300% category and therefore give me bigger lashes than this formula can even hope for.  I do not expect miracles from this mascara  and that is how I will judge it knowing that this won't end up being one of my favorites for huge lashes. 

This formula does provide thicker lashes with a two coat application.  My lashes are larger but not the false lash look that I crave.  This mascara is better for someone who would like thicker lashes but doesn't want a dramatic effect, this is a better daytime mascara than a nighttime mascara.  This is a wetter formula and therefore I have found that it clumps easier than otehr formulas that I have tried.  It hasn't clumped much on the first coat but has almost always clumped after application of the second coat.  A lash comb is a must when working with this mascara and let about a minute elasp between the application. 

The tapered brush is a smaller brush than I am used to working with but it still is able to deliver the needed volume.  The tip of the brush really helps to find every single lash and define every single one.  I have found that mascara tends to stick onto the end of the brush and with how wet the formula is, really leads to the clumping issue with this product.  I use this product starting at the base of the lashes, wiggling it while moving it from root to tip. 

This formula lasts all day and I have experienced no problems with flaking.  Once I had a slight issue with smearing, on a day that it was very humid.  I don't think that this formula dries completely and won't work in wet weather.  For removal, makeup remover is needed but it removes much easier than the last few mascaras that I have tried.

This formula comes in two shades, Black and Black Brown.  Both of my tubes are Black.  I bought one tube several weeks ago at Clinique since I wanted to try a new mascara out and then I received the other one shortly after when I went back to pick up some other essentials and got the gift.  This is typcial black shade, dark and dense but nothing unique about it. 

This mascara is best for someone who wants a bit more volume but doesn't want to have a false lashes look.  I am confident in recommeding this to ladies to wear to work during the day but I wouldn't recommend it for any type of dramatic nighttime looks.  This won't become one of my three favorites but I can see it having mass appeal and I think that is the most thickening mascara that is available from this company.  To be realistic, I didn't expect a huge thickening formula from Clinique since that would be very different than much of their other makeup formulations.

photo courtesy of Clinique

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

NARS Lose Yourself Set

NARS released several new sets and palettes in the spring months to celebrate the opening of their new store and all their new products.  They are continuing the trend for this summer and the first release so far is the Lose Yourself set that was just released to Sephora.  This set consists of a blush and bronzer duo and a matching pink lip gloss.  These shades will go great with a tan and the Laguna bronzer contained in this set is one of NARS top-selling products and is a consistent Beauty Award winner in several magazines.  I love NARS pinks so I have a feeling that this will be a great set...

Sephora gives a description of the set on their website.  "A limited-edition gift set that pairs NARS Angelika/Laguna Blush Bronzer Duo with a mini Angelika Lip Gloss.  This set features bright and bronzy shades that summon the spirit of summer.  The brand's iconic Laguna Bronzer comes paired with the sophisticated and sparkling cotton-candy pink Angelika Blush plus a matching lip gloss for breezy, ready-to-wear look."  I just love the Angelika shade and this is a great pink blush to create the very popular dramatic pink cheek look.

This set contains a Blush and Bronzer Duo and a Lip Gloss...

Blush - Made with transparent pigments for a soft and sheer look.  Imparts a natural, healthy glow for any skin tone and may be worn alone or layered together for more depth and intensity.
- Angelika - cotton candy with gold particles

Bronzing Powder - Diffused powder with golden shimmer to create all-over warmth and contour for the entire face.  Bronzing Powder creates a natural looking glow which enhances or creates the looked tanned skin.  Fills in lines and pores for smoother looking skin.  Sheer color enhances or creates the look of tanned skin.  Subtle shimmer adds glow.  Imperceptible finish ideal for all skin tones.
- Laguna - brown with gold shimmer

Lip Gloss - Serious shine and sexy color in sheer, creamy, and semi-sheer formulas.  Extremely wearable and versatile shades, lip gloss may be worn alone or over other lip products for heightened drama.  Ultra-shiny and highly pigmented.  Convenient wand application.  Iconic shades.
- Angelika - cotton candy with gold particles

I just love these pinks, I can't wait to play with these two shades.  And the chance to pair them with the iconic Laguna Bronzer is just too good to pass up.  Bronzers have been my major shopping item so far this month since we are heading into summer and I have decided to go back to my tan look this time around.  This set is great way for any pale skinned lady to be in her comfort zone with the pink shades and then to begin to try out a bronzed look.  If the beauty industry made awards for best sets and palettes, I am confident that NARS would be one of the finalists. 

photo courtesy of Sephora

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Urban Decay Urban Bride Kit

June is traditionally the biggest months for weddings and that makes May the biggest month to shop for brides and bridal showers.  Also this month is the release of the new movies, Bridesmaids, to celebrate the upcoming wedding season.  The term "wedding season" brings to my mind the movie Wedding Crashers and my goal of becoming one of the first female wedding crashers.  All the food, all the style, and all the beautiful single groomsmen...  Wedding season indeed!

To celebrate the beginning of this season and the opening of the Bridesmaids movie, Urban Decay has released a new set called the Urban Bride Set and is a great gift for any bride-to-be.  I mean, how many dish sets and Chinese woks does one bride need?  I believe that every bride needs some new beauty products to get her through the big and to take something new on the honeymoon.  Urban Decay has answered this need and the need for wedding guests to give a unique gift that is just for the bride.  "The products in this keepsake box (a perfect gift) will keep her glowing, down the aisle, in pictures, on the dance floor, and when the real party starts. Bridesmaids will love it too!  If you are looking for something for something "new" to give your favorite bride, lavish her with this decadent gift-ready box of travel-size products designed to keep her looking exquisite all day (and night, wink wink)."

This set contains the following products...

Razor Sharp Ultra-Definition Finishing Powder - Designed for stars of films and flat screens, our high-tech translucent powder keeps you camera ready!  Skin appears flawless with a stunning, soft-focus effect, even under bright and unforgiving light.  Be Facebook-ready and camera-perfect everyday, thanks to our high tech finishing powder.  Urban Decay's Razor Sharp's silky, micro fine powder fools the eyes with "optical blurring", and miraculously seems to airbrush away skin's imperfections.  It's a smooth, flawless, soft-focus finish that's flattering under even the harshest of lights.  Use Urban Decay Razor Sharp as a finishing touch after foundation, or wear it alone to create a perfect "bare skin" look.  However you apply it, you'll be addicted to the tiny water particles that float on skin's surface and "burst" when applied.  So refreshing!  Our no-mess component with attached puff and handy on/off switch is freeway and subway friendly - take it anywhere beauty calls.  The universal shade suits all skintones, so you're covered for summer AND right into winter when your tan has faded away.

Eye Shadow Primer Potion - Our #1 best-selling product in a NEW easy-to-squeeze tube!  Apply before your eye shadow bot more vibrant CREASE-FREE color that lasts for 24+ hours.  This it it - the most legendary primer in the beauty industry.  Eye Shadow Primer Potion is coveted by makeup artists and makeup junkies alike because it guarantees more vibrant eye shadow that lasts for 24+ hours and NEVER CREASES!  Once you experience its powers (plus how smoothly it glides on - an added bonus) you'll never want to live without it.  Original formula dries down invisibly while Eden, Sin, and Greed are shades that also can be worn as shadows or highlighters.  Now this extraordinary elixir comes in an easy-to-squeeze tube so you can control how much you apply.  You also get more primer in every tube - 11 ml instead of the original 10!
- Original - dries down clear and is suitable for all skin tones

Supercurl Curling Mascara - Perfectly sculpted lashes get boost, separation, and tons of pretty curl from our Supercurl Mascara, and they'll last all day!  Curl makes a lady.  Sculpt your lashes with perfectly sexy curves to feel instantly prettier-than-pretty.  Our formula boosts curl, separates lashes, and literally crafts each one into an expertly-shaped, battable set.  Part of the secret lies in our molded and curved new technology wand that shapes lashes AND holds curl effectively throughout the day.  Even more impressive are the incredible conditioning ingredients in our formula - packed with glycoprotein for lash thickening, moringa seeds to help with curl definition, and Meadowfoam Seed Oil and Shea Butter for conditioning and smoothing.  Take that.  We'd probably love this mascara no matter what the tube looked like...  But in the spirir of looking pretty we put it in a stunning mirrored gunmetal tube, embellished with swirling black scrolls.  Go on with your pretty self.
- Black - black

Lip Junkie Lip Gloss - Get hooked on shine, without the sticky hangover.  Lip Junkie features a soft, luxe texture, stay-put shades and tastes like wedding mints.  Addicted yet?  You want a super-shiny gloss, but can't stand the sticky texture, right?  Wait till you feel the soft, cushiony texture of this gloss!  Lip Junkie stays put longer than other glosses, but never feels gummy or gooey.  It comes in a range of pretty amazing shades (if we do say so overselves), and the color payout is amazing.  Take your pick from sheer pretty neutrals, kick-ass brights, or glimmering near black.  And the flavor?  Think yummy wedding mints... a sweet mint with a little zing that makes breath feel fresh.
- Midnight Cowboy - sheer nude sparkle

All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray - Your makeup will last 16 hours!  Perfect for all skin types, this ultra-fine mist holds makeup for brides, dancers, and ladies who just like lookin' GOOD.  In an exclusive partnership with SKINDINAVIA, we developed this ground breaking setting spray that keeps your makeup on for 16 unbelievable hours.  Legenderay enough that it's already inspired imitations, All Nighter boosts a patent pending Temperature Control Technology that makes this weightless mist so powderful and sets it far above the competition.  Your makeup won't melt when it's warm and humid or become dehydrated when it's cold and windy.  Yes, it actually lowers the temperature of your makeup to hold foundation, eye shadow, blush, and concealer in place.  The sprayer, unlike others on the market, delivers a micro-fine mist that distributes product evenly over the skin. 

Sparkling Lickable Body Powder - A pretty veil of shimmer that looks, smells, and TASTES like it's namesake.  Dust onto arms, legs,and decollete... and let someone else kiss it away.  Time to spice things up?  Look no further.  These glistening and edible body powders cover your every last curve with a subtle glow and a seductive scent.
- Marshmellow - sparkling white

This is great gift to give any bride or bridesmaid.  The products in this set are all top-rated, best-selling products from this company and I would buy it for myself just to get all of these products to try out for myself.  We all know that I love Primer Potion and can't rave enough about how well it works for me.  My favorite product from this set (for a giggle) is the Marshmellow Powder and I think that the groom of the wedding will have some fun with that one too...

Or all of these products could be in my personal wedding crashing arsenal, I would need all of them to start the "wedding season"!

photo courtesy of Urban Decay

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bath and Body Works Into The Wild

I must say that Bath and Body Works has released so many new products this spring that I am beginning to have a hard time keeping up with all of them.  Everytime that I go into the store, I end up walking out with a bag full of stuff and a mental list of more items that I want to buy the next time around.  Starting with the Island Escape, then Carried Away and Country Chic, I have so many body products that I can barely store them anymore.  And then to top it all off, their newest fragrance, named Into The Wild, is a new favorite of mine and I now have another fragrance to buy when I am there.  I have a feeling that Into The Wild will be one of my new fragrances for this summer. 

Into The Wild is the newest addition to the Sexy line of fragrances and I love my Sexy scents all throughout the fall and winter.  I am so excited that I have new one that I can wear in the summer.  A Sexy scent for those long summer nights?  This one is coming home with me in all the forms that it is offered in.  This scent is a mixture of florals and a shot of mandarin to keep the fragrance from being too sweet.  "Mater perfumers have blended exotic mandarin and lush petals with white woods to create this seductive fragrance inspired by a sensuous escape into the jungle", states the Bath and Body Works website. 

The top notes are: Juicy Mandarin, Red Apple, Pear Blossom, Pimento Berry, Pink Currant Buds, Fresh Aldehydes.  The heart notes of the fragrance are: Magnolia Petals, Night Blooming Jasmine, Wild Honeysuckle.  The base notes are: Gold Patchouli, Okoume Wood, Tonka Crystals, White Moss, Warm Musk.  The notes that come out the strongest in this fragrance are the Magnolia, Jasmine, Honeysuckle, Mandarin, and the Pear.  This is one of the most unique fragrances that Bath and Body Works has come out with and it smells much more like a high end perfume than some of their other scents.  This one will work so well in the summer with a little dress and very high heels. 

This fragrance is available in the traditional formulas and one new item.  The traditional forms include the Shower Gel, Body Lotion, Triple Moisture Body Cream, Body Splash, and the EDT.  The new product is the Signature Smoothing Body Scrub, a Walnut Shell based body scrub.  "Our Signature Smoothing Body Scrub helps summer skin feel soft, smooth, and supremely sexy.  Super fine Walnut shells gently exfoliate and help smooth skin, while hydrating Coconut Milk and moisturizing Vitamin E nourishes to leave skin feeling soft and looking beautiful.  Sexy summer skin has never been easier."

So far, I have bought the Shower Gel and the Triple Moisture Body Cream and I plan to go back for the EDT within the next week or so.  I will be skipping out on the scrub, it wasn't quite as creamy as I was hoping it would be (like the one that was released with the Island Escape collection) and while the gold shimmer in it is very pretty, it all rinses off and leaves no trace.  I also thought the scrub could have rinsed off cleaner, I felt that there was a residue on my skin after I rinsed.  I wish that this product would have come in some type of shimmer product, it would have worked so well with this type of fragrance.  I actually thought that the scrub was a shimmer product when I first saw it from a distance, since the gold flecks were visible through the package.

To finish off my thoughts on this new fragrance, I must comment on the packaging.  This is rivaling Dark Kiss as one of the best bottles that Bath and Body Works has ever released.  This bottle looks exactly like what the fragrance smells like and represents.  I love the bronzed jungle goddess look for this summer and I am so excited to buy this one and wear it soon.

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Melanoma Awareness Month - Tips To Detect and Prevent

In addition to May being my birthday month and national wedding shopping month, it is also Melanoma Awareness Month.  This is the best time of the year to get into some great sun protection routines since we are going right into Memorial Day weekend and then into the next three months of sun and beaches.  I have received some general facts on melanoma and tips of the preventation and early detection of this cancer.

"While the incidence of common cancers is falling, the incidence of melanoma continues to rise at a rate faster than any of the seven most common cancers.  In fact, 1 in 55 people will be diagnosed with melanoma during their lifetime.  However, the survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early with an incredible 99%."  Dr. Brandt goes on to state that, "Early detection is crucial when it comes to melanoma.  Prevention is best, but being proactive about self-examination and dermatologist visits can literally be the difference between life and death."  Knowing these somber facts, we all want to start good sun habits this month and continue all summer and well past Labor Day.

Here are some tips from Dr. Brant about how to inspect for melanoma...

- Throughly inspect every inch of skin, using mirrors to help you get a clear view of tough-to-see places.
- Don't overlook areas like lips, between fingers and toes, under nails, palms and soles of feet - these spots can be just as susceptible.
- Use a blow dryer to throughly inspect your scalp - skin that gets a lot of sun and can be tough to protect.
- Women should be sure to lift breasts to inspect the underside - you can still get melanoma on areas the sun doesn't reach.
- Ask someone close to you to help you with your cheek - the more eyes, the better.
- Be sure to use the "ABCD" guide to assess freckles and moles: Be on the lookout for Asymmetry, uneven Borders, uneven Color, or large Diameters.
- If you're concerned about discoloration or growth, don't hestitate to see your dermalogist!  It could be one of the best of the best decisions of your life.
- Finally, preventation is the best cure - be sure to wear sunscreen everyday, rain or shine.  Brandt's UV SPF 30 High Protection Face Sunscreen provides superior protection against UVA/UVB rays while decreasing pigmentation caused by UV exposure to prevent photo-aging.

UV SPF 30 High Protection Face - Formulated to provide advanced broad spectrum UVA (PA+++) protection against UVB rays (SPF 30).  Dr. Brandt advanced sun care helps decrease pigmentation induced by UV exposure; preventing photo-aging.  Designed with dry-touch technology to absorb quickly, leaving the skin smooth and soft with a shine-free finish.  Hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. Water resistant for up to 80 minutes."

This sunscreen is meets my qualifications for being 30 or over and absorbing quickly and easily.  I received a sample of this product from a PR company and I am very impressed with it so far.  It applies easily and absorbs quickly without feeling sticky to the touch.  It is easy for me to use foundation over this product without any caking.  It doesn't dry my skin out and hasn't irritated it at all so far.  This product also comes in a tinted version too that can be used in place of foundation for light coverage. 

I am hoping that I have touched at least one person with this detection and prevention tips.  I really recommend that you do a full self check and then head out to buy a good sunscreen before the upcoming holiday weekend.  Even though it wasn't mentioned as one of Dr. Brandt's tips, I still believe that one of tje easiest ways to not being tempted by the allure of the sun is to have a bottle tan.  Being a light-skinned, light-eye Irish lassie, I couldn't live without sunless tanner every summer.  I can be fine with my pale skin all fall and winter and even cherish my porcelain complexion.  But as soon as the warm weather hits, I get very self-consious about being in a bikini and even a sundress in general.  Being tan already allows me to not be interested in getting any type of tan from the sun.

photo courtesy of Dr. Brandt