Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fall 2011 Trend Preview

Summer is in full swing and now is the perfect time to begin thinking about the upcoming fall season.  Spring and fall are my two favorite beauty times of the year so I always look forward to writing up my Trend Previews (from Allure magazine) and learning what are going to be the biggest beauty looks of the season.  There were some very lovely collections released last fall and I am hoping that this season can match or even top last year's.  For fall, I tend to be back and forth between deep lips and deep eyes and I always have a hint of gold somewhere in my look.  I am so excited for this fall so without further ado, the Fall 2011 Trend Preview (courtesy of Allure magazine)!.

- Floral Lipstick - Designers are quick to whip out floral pattersn in the spring - which is why flower-colored lipstick felt so refreshing on the fall runways.  A blend of carnation peach and petal pink creams looked innocent on lips at Nina Ricci; an opaque rose red matched the blush at Ralph Lauren; and at Jil Sander, red liner and orange-red lipstick created a radiant poppy mouth.  At Ralph Lauren, makeup artist Tom Pecheux applied a red cream to the middle of the lips, then blended it outward; the concentration of color in the center made lips look pouty.

- Clumpy Lashes - References to the 1960s were apparent in the thick lashes at shows such as Gucci and Lanvin.  Makeup artists coated the top and bottom lashes in layers (and layers) of mascara.  "They're very Bambi - individual and even clumpy," said makeup artist Lucia Pieroni at Alberta Ferretti, where she added false lashes.  Makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury, who loaded on the mascara, brushes translucent mascara on the lower lashes from smudging.

- Low Ponytails - Ponytails reached a new low this season - in a good way: "It's as low as we can get without the hair actually falling out," said hairstylist Sam McKnight at Balmain, where he fastened an elastic just an inch or two above the ends.  Of the many tails that hung loosely at the nape of the neck, Guido said, "It's classic but young - you can wear it with an evening dress."  To prevent a low style from dragging down your face, tease the crown, as Guido did backstage at Gianfranco Ferre.  A little volume up top made the low ponytail "ultraflattering and very feminine", he said.

- Strong Blush - Now's not the time to be bashful with blush.  This season, it was beautifully obvious.  "There's not only one way to do blush," said Pat McGarth who gave a rosy brightness to the models' cheeks, temples, and outer edges of the forehead at Versace.  "On the apples, it's sweet.  Go down and out with it for a flushed, outdoors look" - which makeup artists did at Oscar de la Renta and Marc Jacobs.  Makeup artist Nina Haverkamp says can definitely wear bold blush off the runway - just choose a sheer color, and apply it with a big brush.

- Metallic Eye Shadow - "Fall is all about playing with textures - and makeup with shine and iridesence is exciting", said makeup artist Peter Phillips.  He covered the models' eyelids in a golden gunmetal cream shadow at Chanel, which managed to look both soft in color and dramatic in impact.  Navy smoky eyes got the royal treatment at Jason Wu when makeup artist Diance Kendal dabbed gold in the center.  At Dsquared, makeup artist Val Garland applied bronze and gold with a wet brush for a paintlike finish.  A softer look: metallic cream shadow buffed over lids with your fingers.

- Buns and Braids - The mandate for fall: Loosen up.  At shows including Chanel, soft chignons looked effortlessly sexy.  There was no stressing about perfecting the braids at Lanvin or Emilio Pucci; they were gently wound at or below the neck, and pieces were left to fall out around the face.  For an easy knot like the ones at Chanel, McKnight suggests applying a texturizer first: "If the hair has a bite to it, it helps to hold the style."

- Monochrome - Sometimes, one color is all you need.  Case in point: the makeup at Marni.  Pechrux rubbed a purple pencil over his finger, than dabbed the color around the lashes to frame the eyes and over the lips "to create a monochromatic feeling," he said.  At Rodarte, makeup artist James Kaliardos used caramel-colored shades on the eyes, cheeks, lips, and even lashes.  Part of the appeal of this look is the different application of color over the face.  Pecheux used only his fingers: "When you do that, it doesn't feel like makeup; it's soft, with no hard lines."

- Crazy Hair - Call them overachievers or just a little out there: Some hairstylists used untraditional accessories to construct the more daring looks of the season.  Eugene Souleiman added navy, purple, or dark green extensions to the towering updos at Haider Ackermann; electric pieces were also rolled into the chignons at Fendi.  Other hairstylists added fabric to the hair.  At Thakoon, Odile Gilbert attached pieces of crocheted cloth at the back of the head for a basket-weave effect.  Hairstylist Ted Gibson wound fabric into the Heidi-style braids at Rachel Roy.  "Use lighter fabric for dark hair, and darker fabric for light hair", he said.

I have two favorites trends so far from this report: the Metallic Eye Shadow and Strong Blush.  I already have loved these looks and I can't wait to bring them into the fall season and buy some new products to continue creating these looks.  I have been using strong blush shades throughout the spring and I stopped the look in the summer.  I can't wait to pick it up again since I didn't get to buy every single blush shade that I liked this spring.  Metallic eye looks are always a favorite of mine especially with the use of gold eye shadow and I want to get more into using liquid and cream shadow formulas this fall.  The added photo is from Chanel and shows the Metallic Eye Shadow very well.  I also am going to follow the Floral Lipstick and Low Ponytails trends this fall.

The Crazy Hair and the Buns and Braids aren't quite my cup of tea though I could make the Buns part of the trend work better than any other aspect of them.  From Floral Lipstick, I will only be choosing certain shades, such as reds and pinks this fall.  I won't be getting into the warmer corals since that isn't what works with my skintone.

Time to start looking at the companies' website for the fall collections and to start deciding what trends work the best with my personal style...

photo courtesy of Chanel

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Marc Jacobs Curacao

In the beginning of the summer, Marc Jacobs released three new fragrances to add to his body splash collection, all of which are limited edition and therefore are very oriented to warm weather and laid back summer days.  The Marc Jacobs body splash line has never really appealed to me since the bottles are huge and it is very hard for me to love a fragrance so much that I want a 10 oz bottle of it, actaully so far I haven't even found one that I would use through that huge size without getting really sick of it.  So far, Curacao is the only fragrance that I might consider purchasing the full bottle of. 

A bit of background, Curacao is one of the French Antilles group of tropical islands.  This is an island known for its beautiful white sand beaches and it is a very popular destination for scuba divers.  In fact, had I tried this fragrance out a bit earlier, this would have been a great addition to be my Beach Week...

Sephora states the following as a product description, "This summer, take a break, relax, and get away for some fun.  Inspired by the first sip of a cool, sweet cocktail on a sun-soaked summer day, Marc Jacobs introduces a refreshing scent that's vibrant in color and crisp to the senses.  Indulge in the simple pleasures of summer." 

The fragrance notes are: Blood Oranges, Bitter Orange Bigrade, Lime, Mandarin, Violet, Pear, Apricot, White Moss, Amber, Musk, Sandalwood. 

I can see the inspiration for this fragrance when I looked at the pictures of the beaches in Curacao, especially for the aqua blue color of the perfume (which is what actually was my initial attraction to the fragrance).  This fragrance starts with a burst of orange and lime and it is intially a bit on the tart side.  After about an hour, the fragrance develops into more of a blood orange fragrance with hints of violet and apricot to sweeten and soften it.  The blood orange notes remains the strongest note in the fragrance through the whole time of wear.  The sandalwood comes out at the end and mixes well with the violet and the blood orange.  It lasts about five to six hours on my skin, which is about what I expect from a body splash.  This is a lighter intensity fragrance and will be best appreciated by someone who loves light fragrances or dominant citrus notes in their perfume.  This fragrance is best saved for the summertime since it is very heavy on the citrus and really reminds me of the beach. 

I like this fragrance however since citruses aren't always my cup of tea (and this fragrance smells of oranges the whole time on my skin) so I won't be buying this fragrance.  The major issue with thie fragrance is the same that I have with the rest of the Marc Jacobs splash line.  I would never use this whole bottle up, especially since I would save it for the summer only.  There is no point in my buying this since I would end up throwing at least half of it out within about five years.  If March Jacobs released this line in bottles that were four or five ounces, I know that I would be purchasing a bunch of these fragrances, especially this one.

I guess that these fragrances are sold in bigger bottles since most ladies tend to go through a splash faster than a perfume but I really wish that multiple sizes would be offered because I could never even get half-way through one of these bottles without getting annoyed with it.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Clinique Dramatically Different Face Lotion

Clinique Dramatically Different Face Lotion is one of those cult products that has been in every magazine and is beloved by most of the beauty industry.  This is a top seller for Clinique and has been for many years of the simple fact that it actually works as the company says it will.  It seems to be a miracle these days when a simple product works exactly as it is stated to do.  This is a consistent winner in the Allure Best of Beauty Awards and many other Reader's and Editor's Choice Awards.  I first tried this product in the Clinique Gift With Purchase earlier this year and I liked it so much that I went to the counter and bought the full size of this product. 

"The moisture 'drink' developed by Clinique's dermatologists to maintain optimal moisture balance for very dry skins, or skins dry in the cheeks, comfortable to oily in the T-zone.  Softens, smooths, improves.", states the Clinique website when describing the product. 

I first worked with this product in the very beginning of the warm weather when the weather was so humid that my heavier face creams just sat on the top of my skin.  I had this setting around from the gift and decided that it couldn't hurt me to try it and see what happened.  A dime size drop of this product was the perfect size to cover my whole face and neck, when I used more of it, it didn't sink in and just sat onto of my skin.  This product sinks in first to my cheek area and keeps eventhe driest areas of my face hydrated.  The oily areas don't always need this product so I tend to use it on my whole face at night and then just on my cheeks in the morning (along with whatever SPF I using that day). 

This product didn't irritate my skin at all and follows in the Clinique tradition of skincare that can be used on even the most sensitive of skin.  It didn't help to control of reduce any of the redness in my face, however this isn't what the product was designed for.  It doesn't make the redness any worse so I can still cover it up with makeup.  This product keeps my skin soft all day long and doesn't need to be reapplied at anytime throughout the day.

This product is one that I would only use during the summer months, this will not be hydrating enough to use in the winter months when I really need a very hydrating face cream.  This product may be recommended for dry to combination skin but I only feel that it can be used by those skin types in the warm weather.  To use this product in the fall and winter months, your skin needs to fall into the normal to combination-oily skin types.  This product just simply isn't thick enough and the formula doesn't contain humectants to make this an appropriate product to protect dry skin in the winter air. 

This is a cult favorite that lives up to its reputation for most of the population.  This product is versatile enough that any type of skin can make this work, depending on the time of the year and their skin's natural oil fluctuations throughout it.

photo courtesy of Clinique

Monday, June 27, 2011

LUSH Freedom Foamer Bubble Bar

I am sure that everyone is aware of the current debates over marriage equality in the federal and state governments (victory just occured in New York but there is a long way to go in many other states).  Many people feel very strongly on this issue, on both sides of the debate.  LUSH has long been a company that campaigns for human and animal rights and therefore I wasn't surprised when I read that they have released a limited edition product with all proceeds going to Freedom to Marry, an organization that supports same-sex marriages.   

I have some information from LUSH, describing both their views on the same-sex marriage subject and the product itself.  "At LUSH, we believe that our employees, customers, and community are valued and should be protected equally.  On June 13th, we launched a North America-wide campaign to stand up for same-sex marriage rights in the United States.  We, along with our campaign partners Freedom To Marry, are calling for the U.S. Federal Government to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, which would effectively overturn the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  The response so far has been remarkable; we've received an incredible outpouring of support from our customers and communities alike.  We're more hopeful than ever that change is truly possible.  We want to see an end to the ongoing discrimination against thousands of couples and families across America, but we can't do it without your support.  If you believe that same-sex couples and families in your community deserve the same civil rights and protections, join us by signing a postcard, telling your friends and family and sharing your story.  Together, let's make same-sex marriage legal in the United States."  Personally, I support the legalization of same-sex marriages in the United States so I am more than happy to give LUSH some press on this product and help to support their effects with Freedom to Marry.

But since this is still a beauty blog, let's check out the product itself.  "Lay back and soak in sparkling, emerald-green waters and mounds of fluffy bubbles.  We've created a limited edition Bubble Bar with the uplifting and refreshing scents of lemon, lime, and grapefruit oils - perfect for long, languid summer soaks.  We also think it's the perfect antidote to weary soles and a respite for freedom fighters.  LUSH is proud to partner with Freedom to Marry and their efforts to end discriminate in America.  All proceeds from the sale of this Bubble Bar will be donated to Freedom to Marry to support their "Why Marriage Matters" campaign."

Limited edition products like this from LUSH will sell out very quickly so if this is an itme that you find yourself interested in, you might wish to order it sooner than later.  This product will be wonderful on those hot days of the summer for refreshing and relaxing.  Personally, I have always loved any type of green colored bath product from LUSH since it leaves the water my favorite color.

Order this product and take a stand for human rights!

photo courtesy of LUSH

Sunday, June 26, 2011

MAC Bloggers' Obsessions

MAC newest collection is one that is made by the bloggers, for the bloggers!  MAC invited several of the top bloggers up to their lab late last winter and allowed them to each work with the professionals in the making of their own product and shade.  I first read about this on the Temptalia blog, a favorite of mine that I read at leat once a day.  I have been following her experiences since she first went up to the MAC facility and I was very excited when she put the pictures of her new eye shadow shade up.  As a blogger that has looked at so many products from MAC, I honestly can say that I wouldn't even know where to begin to create a whole new shade for this company.  MAC already has every single shade that I can think if in their limited edition/permanent collections and imaging a new one would take a lot of thought from me.

Here are the bloggers that were featured and the blog that they author: Amber Katz (http://www.beautybloggingjunkie.com/), Lesley Ellen Mirza (lipstickpowderandpaint.com), Lianne Farbes (themakeupgirl.net), Wendy Lam (http://www.nitrolicious.com/), Christina Mielke (http://www.temptalia.com/), Patrice Grell Yursik (http://www.afrobella.com/), Lily Nima (beautymaverick.typepad.com), Karen Monterichard (makeupandbeautyblog.com), and Aileen De Los Angeles (http://www.shadesofu.com/).  My favorite blog from this collection is Temptalia and I often read the Beauty Blogging Junkie Blog and with this collection I have found more blogs to add to my daily reading list.

"No one loves MAC more than a Beauty Blogger.  To thank Amber Katz, Lesley Ellen Mirza, Lianne Forbes, Wendy Lam, Christina Mielke, Patrice Grell Yursik, Lily Nima, Karen Monterichard, and Aileen De Los Angeles for their passionate devotion and always honest feedback, we invited them to our lab to custom create their own Eye Shadow or Lipglass.  Exclusively online, just like the makeup-mad minds that invented them."

Here are the new Eye Shadow and Lipglass shades created by the lucky blogger team...

Eye Shadow - Highly pigmented powder.  Applies evenly, blends well. 
- Parisian Skies - subdued gray-blue (Lesley)
- Hocus Pocus - dark sooty gray with silver pearl (Lianne)
- Sparkle Neely, Sparkle! - deep rusty brown with champagne glitter (Amber)
- Jealous Wakes - emerald green with teal and gold pearl (Christina)

Lipglass - A unique lip gloss available in a wide range of colours that can create a high gloss, glass-like finish or a subtle sheen.  Designed to be worn on its own, over Lip Pencil or Lipstick, Tinted Lipglass is the perfect product for creating shine that lasts.  It's pigmented, very shiny, and can impart subtle or dramatic colour.  It contains Jojoba Oil to help soften and condition the lips.  Tinted Lipglass is packaged in a convenient bottle with a sponge top applicator that provides a quick, smooth, even application.
- Evolution Revolution - warm peachy pink (Karen)
- Caqui - persimmon orange (Lily)
- Sonoran Rain - deep coral-red with gold and silver pearl (Aileen)
- Nitrolicious 2046 - intense shiny red (Wendy)
- All of My Purple Life - deep purple with subtle sparkle (Patrice)

I prefer the eye shadows to the glosses in this collection, many of the glosses are too deep for me to pull off.  My favorite piece is the eye shadow from Amber Katz, the Sparkle Neely, Sparkle! shade.  I also really like the Jealousy Wakes shade and the Hocus Pocus shade in the eye shadows.  I only like one Lipglass, the Evolution Revolution shade.  The major aspect of this collection that I am focused on is the texture of these products, bloggers wouldn't let a hard to apply or very chalky shadow get past their testing.  I know that MAC has had some hard to work with shades and I am confident that none of these will fall into that category.

After giving it a bit of thought, I decided what I would want to create if I was given this chance too.  I would want a Lipglass very much in the same shade of Way To Love, a light/medium yellow pink.  I would add a bit of shimmer to my formula and see how it looks with this addition.  I would request that this formula be a Plushglass, my favorite formula of MAC Lipglass.  I haven't a clue how I would name it, whether I would just pick some type of name that I liked or if I would try to match it to the shade.

photo courtesy of MAC

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Beach Week Day 7 - Lancome O D'Azur

Our last day of Beach Week is going to focus on a product that will help bring the beach to you if you are unable to get away this holiday.  Also we started the week with products from the South of France and now will be finishing it with products from the same place.  This summer, Lancome has released three new fragrances all inspired by the different areas of the South of France.  O D'Azur is the fragrance was inspired by the beaches of the South of France, making it the obvious choice to end out this theme week.  This fragrance is summery and light and I feel that it can be worn for either work or play.

"Carefree.  Enticing.  Surprising.  Drift away on a sensual voyage off the Mediterrean coast with O D'Azur.  The fruity-floral scents captures the feeling of relaxed sensuality on a late summer afternoon where the warm golden sand is complimented by the sparkling blue ocean.", states the Lancome website as a description of this fragrance. This fragrance manages to be both lovely and laid-back at the same time.  It is described as a fruity floral, however I found the fruit notes to coem out more on my skin.

The top notes of the fragrance are: Sicilian Bergamot, Calabria Lemon essence.  The heart notes are: Rose, Peony.  The base notes are: Modern Woody notes, Musk.  I found that the Bergamot, Lemon, and then the Peony notes are the strongest on me, the Rose notes don't come out near as much as they do in other fragrances.  I find this fragrance to be more like Dolce & Gabbana's Light Blue, mostly citrus and then fades down to the bottom notes within about an hour. 

This fragrance only lasts about two hours on my skin and smells very light the whole time.  Because of the lightness and crispness of the fragrance, I find that this fragrance could be worn at the beach or at work.  In fact, this is a great fragrance to wear to work in the summer months.  It will take you mentally to the beach even when you are stuck in an office in the city.

Well my first Beach Week has come to an end and I hope that you all enjoy it and that it has given you guys some ways to prepare for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.  Personally, I am really ready for the beach right now and I have a great fake tan to prove how ready that I am!

photo courtesy of Lancome

Friday, June 24, 2011

Beach Week Day 6 - Bath and Body Works True Blue Spa Suncare Products

Beach Week is beginning to come to an end and I wanted to back to some sun protection and sunless tanner products.  I first started using Bath and Body Works tanners in college and I am happy to report that they have come a long way since I first bought one in 2004.  In the newly repackaged True Blue Spa line, this company has released both suncreen and tanner options and I purchased them all to try out and see how they work.  I love that I can go to one store and quickly pick up a whole batch of products that I need to both get ready for the beach and to take to the beach.  For Beach Week, I decided to try a well-rounded selection of products to hit every single beach need that I possess.  To begin with, a new body sunscreen and then two new types of self-tanners and to finish it you, a new moisturizer that is targeted toward prolonging a tan.

The first item that I chose to buy from this line is the Cooling Sunscreen Mist SPF 30.  This is a new product that just came out in May.  I have already written about the product like this that came out with the Coconuts line and how effective it was.  I decided on purchasing this product along with the Coconut Mango sunscreen since this one has a very light citrus fragrance and came be used without it interfering with any other fragrance.  "Who wouldn't wear a sunscreen when it feels this good to put on?  This SPF 30 sunscreen is a cool, refreshing mist that's ridiculously easy to apply, which means that hard-to-reach backs will be neglected no more and tops of feet will tingle with delight."  This product works just as a traditional sunscreen does, I apply it 20 minutes before sun exposure and wait until it dries until I get fully dressed again.  This sunscreen is not a waterproof formula so I do recommend applying it affter getting out of the ocean or pool.  I also recommend reapplying it every two hours in order to get the maximum benefits from the product.  The active ingredients in this product are: Homosalate (15%), Octinoxate (7.5%), Octisalate (5%), and Oxybenzone (6%); all of which are used to protect skin from the sun's harmful rays.  This is great product and is so easy to apply that it is almost impossible to use it wrong.  The cooling aspect of it leaves a bit of tingle on the skin which is a relief on the very hot days of the summer.  The neutral fragrance of this product makes it very easy for anyone to use and won't offend even the most sensitive noses.

The second product that I bought is one of their self-tanners, the line contains both a gradual formula and the traditional self tanners.  Gradual formauls are the type of tanners that I rarely use, I have so many body products in my collection that I rarely use the same product more than two days in a row and therefore I prefer to use a traditional tanner once every few days.  The Moisturizing Gradual Tanner is a aloe vera based hydrator spiked with a bit of DHA to give a natural looking tan after several uses.  "Everyone knows the best tans come to those who wait.  Use our Moisturizing Gradual Tanner - Glow & Steady today, notice a gradual, natural darkening as the days go by.  Aloe Vera is know to calm and moisturize.  Isn't multi-tasking beautiful?"  My favorite aspect of this product is actually the hydration benefits, this gradual tanner left my skin so soft and smooth that I actually wanted to use it more than once or twice in a row.  Most experts recommend using gradual tanners for a minimum of five days in a row in order to build the tan up, the back of teh package on this one states that it should be used four days in a row.  After the first and second days, my skin looked exactly the same color-wise.  It took up to four days to get a noticeable glow and then on the fifth day, the tan really began to develop.  After the fifth application, I began using this product everyother dya just to maintain my tan.  This product didn't give me a deep tan and I would only recommend it for ladies that are pale skinned, if you already have a medium or deeper tone, then this product will not produce enough pigment to make any type of change in your skin.  I did like this product however it doesn't really change my view on gradual tanners but if this is the route that you prefer then I recommend this tanner.

The second self tanner that I tried is a traditional formula and actually ended up being on my short list of favorite tanning products. This product is named the Bronzing Self-Tanning Lotion and the performance of it is so much nicer than the original products that I first bought from this company.  The first self-tanner that I used in 2004 had little to no color, was harder to apply, and never seemed to dry.  I am happy to report that this product is a far cry from those.  "Strike gold right at home.  This luxurious sunless tanning lotion is a real treasure that will give you a perfect tan, thanks to a touch of instant sheer color that lets you see where you've applied it."  This formula contains Vitamin E to both hydrate the skin and to help the color last on the skin.  This formula is simply wonderful, everything from the texture to the color that it turns my skin.  The texture may be described as a lotion but it is a light gel that applied very easily, sinks right into the skin, and dries within less than five minutes.  Bronzer is in this product so I get a hint of tint in order to help me apply this and so far I haven't had any major errors with this product.  I first applied this product two days in a row to grow my color and then I apply it every three days to maintain this color.  This is in my listed of favorite tanners and I prefer this formula since I can apply it once and see results.  Personally I don't always get to plan my beach visits so I need a formula that can get me results really quickly.

The last product that I bought from Bath and Body Works is a hydrator that is made to extend the life of either a real or fake tan.  The After Sun Moisturizer contains Aloe Vera to help soothe and hydrate tanned skin.  "Once you achieve the perfect tan, you'll of course want to keep your pale, pasty friends jealous as long as possible.  However sun exposure can cause dry skin and cause free radicals to age and damage skin.  Our special after sun formula contains antioxidant Vitamins C and E to help combat free radicals and soothing, moisturizing Aloe Vera to calm."  This hydrator is another one that has more of a gel texture than a lotion.  It smells like sweet oranges and limes and the scent was first reason that I was attracted to this product.  This product has been out under different names in the True Blue Spa collection for years now and I first bought it back in college and have repurchased many times since.  It helps to extend the life of sunless tan, I have never tried it on a real tan (since I have never had one in the whole time that I have owned this product).  This is great product to use when it is hot out since it sinks in quickly and doesn't make your skin greasy.  I would just be over the moon if Bath and Body Works made a body wash in this same line with Aloe Vera in it too.

So now I have shown you guys some products to use at the beach, some more to get ready for the beach, and one to recover your skin from the beach.  Beach Week is drawing to a close and the Fourth of July is drawing nearer so it's time to beginning a vacation tanning regime!

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Beach Week Day 5 - The Body Shop Coconut Body Products

For the fifth day of Beach Week, we are going to look at some favorite body products of mine.  How many people state that the scent of coconut reminds them of the beach?  It reminds me of the beach and I use it all summer since I love it so much and then I also use it all winter to help me forget about the storms outside.  The Body Shop Coconut line is one of the first coconut based product lines and still remains one of the best on the beauty product market today.  I first bought one of these scrubs a few years ago and fell madly in love with it, prompting me to purchase more products in this scent one of the next times that I was shopping in the store.

The Body Shop has been covered in my England Week and many other times in this blog, I have loved these products for years and now that some of the line is carried at Sephora, it makes it even easier for me to pick up some of the my favorites.  The Coconut line contains organic, virgin, cold-pressed Community Trade coconut oil and coconut milk.  These ingredients give this line a leg up on the competition since they use real coconut and not artifical coconut fragrance in their product line.  This line of products are very hydrating and the scent is pure coconut that reminds me of exotic beaches.  This line of products can take you to the islands in your shower.  I have purchased three products in this scents; the Shower Cream, the Body Scrubs, and the matching Body Butter.

The Shower Cream is the easiest way to use this product on a daily basis, it can be used morning and night to start and end your day off in the right mood.  The Sephora website states the following as a product description.  "A soap-free, moisture-rich creamy body cleanser.  This coconut scented body wash creates big, foamy lather in the bath or shower and rinses easily away.  Formulated with real cocoa butter, it gently cleanses the skin while conditioning and softening."  This cleanser contains two major active ingredients, both of which are organically derived and therefore set the body apart from others on the market.  Community Fair Trade Brazilian Soya Oil restores the skin's natural moisture barrier, helping to restore smoothness and suppleness to the skin.  Coconut Oil Derived Cleansing Agent cleanses the skin and enriches the foam and lather.  This shower cream is gentler on the skin than many other chemical-based products.  I have found that it doesn't foam up quite as much as some other washes however it is much better for dry skin and I love to use in both the summer and the winter.  This product rinses clean and only leaves a hint of fragrance on the skin, so it won't compete with any other perfume that you use during the day.

My favorite product in the Coconut line is the Body Scrub.  I first used the scrubs from this company when I bought the Mango.  I ended up disliking the Mango so I wasn't really keen on buying more scrubs withthat same texture however this product had a very different look and texture when I played with it in the store.  I bought it to try and I loved it from the first time that I used it.  The Mango Scrub was more oily and had a jelly finish however this one has more of a creamy finish.  "Reveal softer, glowing skin with gently exfoliating coconut husks and ground coconut shells in a creamy, moisturizing scrub with pure Community Trade organic cold-pressed virgin coconut oil", states The Body Shop's website.  The organic, virgin, cold-pressed Community Trade Coconut Oil and Coconut Milk condition, moisturize, and soften skin, while helping to replenish moisture levels in the skin.  In addition to the coconut oil and milk, this product also contains Organic Community Trade Babassu Oil which is a very effective moisturizer that helps to restore skin's natural moisture balance.  This scrub is creamy and gentle, with the coconut husks to helps lightly exfoliate the skin.  This product doesn't provide as deep a scrub as salt or sugar would but it is great for very dry or sensitive skin.

The final step of this collection is the Body Butter.  This is hydrating product from the product collection and can be used after showering or at the beach.  I have always loved the butters from this company and the Coconut rivals the Mango as my favorite in the collection.  "Drench your skin in a rich, intensive cream with a lush coconut scent that moisturizes for up to 24 hours and made with Community Trade pure organic cold-pressed virgin coconut oil.  Absorbs easily to help condition, soften, and smooth the skin, providing moisture for up to 24 hours.  Leaves the skin deliciously fragranced with the tropical scent of coconut.", states The Body Shop when describing this body butter.  This butter contains both coconut oil, shea, and cocoa butter to help soften and soothe the skin.  Organic, virgin, cold-pressed Community Trade coconut oil softens and conditions skin.  Community Trade shea butter and Commuity Trade cocoa butter moisturize and soften skin.  This butter is very hydrating, rubs in easily, and leaves the most divine coconut fragrance on the skin.

I know that not everyone loves to wear coconut fragrances but no one can deny that coconut makes them think of summer and the beach.  The Body Shop's coconut line is a favorite of mine because it contains the actual coconut oil and smells simply divine.  The scrub and the body butter rank in my top ten list of favorite body products both for scent and texture.  Another benefit to this product line in the summer months is that the ingredients used are very soothing to skin that has seen too much sun after a long day.  I wouldn't recommend the scrub for sunburned skin but the wash won't irritate and will help to keep the moisture in the skin.  The butter will help replenish lost moisture in the skin and will soothe the burn. 

I love coconut but if you don't I also recommend trying the Mango product line from this company to reap many of the same benefits.  I do wish that the Coconut line contained a bubble bath since then I could bring the beach to my bathtub next December...

photo courtesy of The Body Shop

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Beach Week Day 4 - Fekkai Marine Summer Hair Shampoo and Beach Waves

We are already half way through Beach Week!  So far we have looked at self-tanners, a fantastic sunscreen, and the only acceptable makeup at the beach.  Today we are chaning it up a bit and we will look at my two favorite products from the Fekkai summer hair collection.  This collection has come out for several years in a row now, each time just in time for summer and then it disappears by the time that we are all beginning to think about fall.  This year, the Marine Summer Hair collection contains four products, two that are re-releases from earlier collections and two that are brand new.  Today's post is about my two favorites from this line, which actually are the two returning products.

Hair in the summer needs to be treated differently than it does the rest of the year, especially if your hair is color treated or on the drier side.  My hair is both of these so mine can be a bit of a pain to deal with in hot weather.  The sun, the ocean, and the pool water can really dry your hair out but ordinary hydrating products don't always do the trick since salt and chemicals can build up on the hair, rendering some of the hydrating products less effective or not effective at all.  Knowing these facts, Fekkai created a very special line of hair care products made specifically to deal with these issues.  "Take the summer off from frizz, fuss, and damage.  Our complete summer hair care regimen draws on AquaTherapy technology to defend against the damaging effects of sun, saltwater, and chlorine - and now - humidity."

The shampoo from this collection is made to clean out both the chemicals from the pool and the salt the accumulates from the ocean.  This is not your typical clarifying shampoo and won't work the same way, it is targeted for special chemicals and salts, not just for stripping product build-up from the hair.  I purchased this product to make sure that the chlorine from swimming didn't kill my color treated hair this summer.  "Marine botanicals moisturize and gently detoxify to leave hair shiny, soft, and free of chlorine, residue, and impurities.  UV shield helps prevent fading."  This shampoo is more of a creamy texture than any traditional clarifying shampoo, it has more the texture of the shampoo in the Fekkai Essential Shea line.  It foams up easily and rinses cleanly.  The scent of it reminds me of a subtle coconut scent, almost more like a pina colada type of fragrance than a sunscreen type of fragrance.  It left my hair about as soft as any other type of Fekkai hydrating shampoo and the shine factor was about the same too.  I used this product to get chlorine out of my hair and it really helped to get the chemicals out and then the hydrate my hair.  I followed it up with the Fekkai Essential Shea conditioner to further hydrate my hair. 

Beach Waves is a leave-in styling product that also happens to be one of Fekkai's best sellers and top rated products.  This is the first product that I purchased from the Fekkai Summer Hair line several years ago and this was my official introduction to the product line.  "Marine waters create surf-sexy texture, and sea kelp hydrates and blocks moisture loss for sexy, tousled waves, anytime and anywhere.  UV shield helps prevent fading."  This product can be used both at the beach and any other time to create beachy waves.  When used at the beach, I sprayed it on wet hair, scrunched quickly, and then let my hair dry.  This product creates a much nicer wave than the other curl products that I have used, including the other curl spray that is offered by Fekkai.  When not at the beach, this product helps to create the laid-back waves and great texture that could only be found before when getting out of the surf.  It is best when used in the same fashion in the morning.  I find the look that this product created is best used for more casual situations, I wouldn't go into the office with my hair in loose in waves.  This product is so different than other curl sprays because it creates a different texture, it created loose waves for me instead of the curls that I tend to get with other products.

I love that Fekkai has come out with a whole line that is just for summer hair and that allows ladies to have the beachy look even on the weekends in the city.  If you can't get to the Hamptons, then these products will take the Hamptons to you...

photo courtesy of Fekkai

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Beach Week Day 3 - Clinique Lash Power Mascara

I am not a person that wears makeup to the beach or pool.  I personally think it is tacky when women show up wearing a full face of makeup at the beach.  I don't have time at the beach to keep up with my makeup and prefer to let a glow light up my face.  In addition, I find that wearing makeup at the beach means messy touch-ups after it begins to wear off and most of it ends up becoming a melted mess in your beach bag.  the only piece of makeup that I will give you is a bit of waterproof mascara.  A light touch will makeup your lashes lovely and defined and won't look made up when you are playing in the surf.

I purchased one waterproof mascara this summer and I bought it for two reasons; the first being that I wanted to wear a bit of tint on my lashes when I go to the beach and the other reason being that I wanted to try something that won't smudge in humid weather.  I have had some issues with wetter mascaras during the summer (especially Givenchy Phenomen'eyes) smearing and smudging when the humidity rises.  I have been hesistant about trying a long wearing formula since I have had problems in the past with this type of formula irritating my eyes, especially if I have contacts in.  Clinique's mascaras are all tested for sensitive eyes so I hoped that if any formula wouldn't be irritating, it would be a product from this brand.

Lash Power is the formula that fits the bill from Clinique.  "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.  Ophthalmologist tested."  This product is available in both black and brown shades, of course I bought the black, I'm not a fan of brown mascaras. 

I used this mascara is two different ways.  The first way is use by itself and the second is use over another mascara.  By itself, this mascara produces long and defined lashes but not the volume that I crave in a mascara.  Clinique recommends that this product is best applied in several thin coats instead of one thick coat.  I agree with the several thin coats, it is much easier to keep the lashes defined with applied this way. This style of application gives the lengthened and defined lashes, they are enhanced yet natural enough that it looks appropriate at the beach or pool.  To get a more dramatic look, I tried to use this product over another volumizing mascara.  I kept this experiment in the Clinique line, applying one coat of Lash Power over one coat of Lash Doubling.  It didn't clump but I made sure that I kept the coats as thin as I could.  This type of application allowed me to have the volumized lash look that I normally favor.

The application of this mascara alone stood up to all the circumstances of use.  It didn't stray or smudge when I wore it during the day for regular activities.  It was in place after running on the treadmill and stayed on during the quick shower that I took after running.  The application of the two wasn't quite as successful.  It was fine during regular activities in humid weather but didn't hold up quite as well in the water.  Also, I could see a difference between the two trials in the removal of the mascara.  The mascara alone didn't even remove with eye makeup remover, I had to take a wash cloth that was soaked in warm water and then wipe it off in the shower.  In the second experiment, the eye makeup remover got about half the application of the two mascaras off and the rest came off in the shower.  I realized that my thinking with the two mascara was on point however, I can't fully cover the volumizing formula with the waterproof formula. 

With a product like this, I will concede to mascara at the beach or pool.  I feel better with mascara on and I know that many other ladies do too.  This is very nice waterproof formula and it stays in place no matter what your activities for the day are.  I don't think that I would do the layering for the beach or the pool since I don't think that the combination would hold up to extended time in the water.  However, I would do this mascara by itself to hold up the elements.  A bit of lash definition never hurt anyone at the beach however full full eye makeup still isn't a "Do" for the beach.

photo courtesy of Clinique

Monday, June 20, 2011

Beach Week Day 2 - Lancaster Sun Care Face Cream SPF 30

Yesterday, we looked at the best-selling self tanner spawned from the South of France and today we are looking at the sunscreen company that is holds the record for current best-selling sunscreens in Europe.  Lancaster makes both sunscreens and self-tanners and I have bought and rebought both of these products.  Today we are going to look more at the suncare since that is the area of products that I prefer from this company.  This line isn't seen as much in the United States as I think that it should be and now is even harder to find since some of the retailers no longer carry it.  I first bought these products from Bath and Body Works when the flagship stores were in existence.  My only hopes now are to order the products from Beauty.com.

Since I know that not everyone is familiar with this line, I had added a quick write up of the line from the Beauty.com website.  "60 years of innovation.  Time after time, during six decades of pioneering cosmetics technology, Lancaster 'got there first' with big breakthroughs in anti-aging skin care and sun care thanks to non-stop research, development, and cutting-edge knowledge.  Lancaster began its passionate success story in 1971 and as an Anti-Age Expert has unique technology to ensure double defense line protection in all its products.  Since then, the fabulous Lancaster tan has become a legend - adding to the unique reputation the brand enjoys worldwide.  Today Lancaster, with over 500 patents pending worldwide, remains a key player in the skin and sun care field."

I had to pick one product to focus on in their huge skin and sun care collection and I decided to focus on my favorite facial sunscreen in the line.  I know many people that don't consistently wear facial sunscreen since it doesn't always work with their makeup or might break them out.  I am one of those people who must wear a high SPF every single day and foundation or face cream with an SPF of 15 or less doesn't do it for me. 

My top choice from this collection is the High Protection Age-Defying Cream SPF 30 for Face.  This sunscreen is recommended for skin that is highly sensitive to sunburn.  In the South of France, it is sunny and warm most of the year so top quality sun protection is important to all those who live and vacation there.  "This rich, yet non-oily, face cream provides: Protection against the sun's UVA rays and a high level of UVB protection against sunburn during sun exposure; Protection against the visible signs of premature aging with Lancaster's exclusive RPF complex that neutralizes free radicals; Hydration thanks to special ingredients that protect skin from dehydration, dryness, and flaking.  A unique calming complex soothes and comforts the skin."  This sunscreen is water-resistant, non pore clogging, dermatologist tested, and RPF tested.  RPF is exclusive to Lancaster, it is complex that neutralizes free radicals and will further protection skin from signs of aging associated with free radical damage. 

There are five active ingredients in this sunscreen that form a barrier against the harmful rays of the sun.  It contains Avobenzone (3%), Octinoxate (7.5%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (2%), and Oxybenzone (3%).  These ingredients combine to form a potent protectant from the sun's harmful rays.  If it works in the South of France, then I knew that it would work in Pennsylvania and help to protect my skin.

I used this product every morning on bare skin.  I have found that sunscreen is best applied to a bare face.  When applied before anything else, it bonds to the skin better and isn't diluted down by any other type of product on the face.  I have never suffered any type of burn when using this product and it worked really well when I used it at the beach several summers ago.  I have used this sunscreen both on its own and under makeup and have never had a problem with it either way.  It didn't break my skin out and I was afraid that it would change the texture of my makeup (since the last thing that I want during warm weather is to add yet another layer of product to my face) however, I had no problems using this under face cream and both liquid and powder foundation.  It didn't clump or cause my makeup to wear strange.  I was very happy with this product and found that this is a great choice for someone with combination to dry skin.

Lancaster creates top quality sun products and is unique in the face that they also put the RPF complex in their products so that they provide both sun protection and skin enhancing qualities.  I have found that most facial care products do one or the other well and the other factor is substandard.  This is one of the few sunscreens that I can wear to the beach or pool by itself and not feel that I am cheating my skin out of vital care.  The free radical protection is found in the face sunscreens but not as much in the body so I do recommend using both a body and a separate face formula to reap the top benefits from this line of products.

photo courtesy of Beauty.com

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Beach Week Day 1 - St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Spray

To start this week off, I will return to one of my favorite sunless tanner lines, St. Tropez.  I have used St. Tropez for a very long time and so far has been the only tanner line that I have continued to return to year after year.  St. Tropez is a top contender in the tanner line and many people consider it to be the best that is available on the market today.  I have used both the mousse and the lotion from this line and have repurchased the mousse formula more times than I can count.  This time around, I was in a hurry when I went to Sephora to pick up more tanner and they were sold out of the mousse formula.  I decided to try out something new, hoping it would still have the same fantastic St. Tropez tanner formula.  I had never tried any type of tanning spray product before so this was a beauty adventure when I gave this product a try.

St. Tropez was founded over ten years ago in France and very quickly became one of the best selling and most loved line of tanners.  This line got its first claim to fame as being used on the Baywatch show and was later reported to be the top choice of many celebrities, including Jessica Simpson.  The products in this line are available for purchase to use in the privacy of your bathroom or used by professionals in top of the line salons.  I have never tried this product in a salon, I have found that these products are so easy to work with that I don't need the help of a professional to get a even, glowing tan.

The St. Tropez website provides a complete description of this product and several tips to help you use this product.  "This super-fine self tan spray delivers the ultra-even, ultra-smooth all-over tan you've always wanted.  Infused with conditioning aloe vera and long-lasting color, you'll have a perfectly natural looking tan in an instant.  With 360 degree spray technology.  Our innovative Aromaguard fragrance technology eliminates the tell-tale self tan aroma by a minimum of 70% and instead gives a beautiful subtle, yet refreshing fragrance." 

St. Tropez recommends the typical self tanning regimen; exfoliate, moisturize, and then apply the tanner itself.  They make all the products that are needed to accomplish this purpose and I have bought all of the products before.  After the usual exfoliating and hydrating, St. Tropez provides instructions that are unique to this type of product.  "Hold the nozzle about 6" away from your skin and spray all over.  Blend with your hand or mitt if necessary to make sure you're covered as it's only missed areas that can look patchy.  Once you've got even coverage, wait until you're touch-dry before getting dressed."  St. Tropez also recommends applying this product several times a week in order to both achieve and maintain your desired shade of tan.

I started out by doing the usual exfoliating and moisturizing before I applied this product for the first time.  It went on very easy and dried quite quickly, I was happy with the initial application.  I didn't find this product to be near as tinted as the other products in the line and therefore I couldn't really tell when I was making mistakes.  This formula is much more a shot in the dark.  I thought that this would be the eaasiest formula to apply since all I had to do was spray it on and let it dry.

Well, I found out when I woke up the next morning that I was completely, 100% wrong about the ease of application.  I missed some spots completely and definitely had some zebra stripes on my arms and legs.  My back and stomach were fine since I used a slightly finer mist action and was able to just spray the whole area without much moving around.  I was really bad at the areas of my arms and legs that required me to continually move the spray action.  This was one of my worst tans that I have ever done, especially since this formula provides such a deep tan on the first application.  I first tried it out in May so at least I wasn't wearing a bikini until I was able to begin fixing it.  The second time around, I focused on trying to fill in some of the white areas and even the tan out.  I did somewhat better but I could sstill pick out some areas that needed a third coat for evening.

It took my about half way through the bottle to figure out the best way to work with this formula.  It really helps me to spray it all over one area of my body and then to use the mitt to rub it in and try to smooth it out.  It went on best this way but then ended up taking much longer than my normal routine to get it applied and let it dry. 

I found the ease of use of this product to be very over-exaggerated.  This product was quite hard for me to get a handle on and I have been tanning for years, with all different types of formulations.  I also accidently sprayed my wall and I had to stop the process to quickly clean the area.  I considered trying this product in the shower (after the water is turned off ) so that I can quickly wipe the walls down.  However, then I wasn't totally dry since the shower was still humid and the drying time wasn't correct this time around.  I had to settle on using this product in my bathroom and just being as careful as I could with the application. 

This product may not be my top choice from this company but it still contained many of the aspects that I love of the St. Tropex tan formula.  The tan was rich and golden and looked lovely (once I got it all evened out - maybe by the fourth application).  All St. Tropez formulas are long-lasting and I only needed to apply this product twice a week instead of the three or four that I have had to do with other companies.  The Aromaguard added to this formula is such an improvement, the old formula smelled to high heaven and induced migraines in me when I tried to use it in very humid weather.  It didn't completely get rid of the fragrance of the DHA however it makes it very managable and I ignore it while I sleep now. 

This wasn't my favorite way to apply a tanner and I doubt that I will continue to work with sprays in the future.  I still love the St. Tropez formula and I know that I will continue to buy and recommend the mousee formula for a long time.  This is the tanner that is used by the crowd in the South of France and that makes it a top pick for me.

photo courtesy of St. Tropez

Beach Week 2011 - Introduction

The past few weeks I have been completely obsessed with tanning and taking a trip to the beach.  I haven't gotten the time to run down for the weekend yet so at the moment, I am bringing the beach to myself.  The past few weeks, I have been trying out several self-tanners and I am now a lovely golden glow and I will be ready to put on my bikini as soon as time allows.

I decided to do a Theme Week based on my current love of the beach.  I wanted to get a chance to get all tanner and the last of my summer product reveiws in before the fall collections begin to hit (Too Faced already has their's up online!) and also before the Fourth of July so that you all have time to buy and use products that you like well before the holiday weekend.

Beach Week will consist of a mix of tanners and sunscreens to use on the beach, makeup that won't come off in the surf, and a few products that will bring the beach to you if you are stuck in the city.

Beach Week...  Here we go!

photo courtesy of Bestbeaches.com

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cargo Plant Love Lipstick

The Plant Love Lipstick from Cargo was the first 100% natural and EcoCert lipstick when it was released several years ago.  The lipstick is by far the first of its kind, both in formulation and in the packaging.  I first bought one of these lipsticks years ago, after thinking that I really liked the color in the store.  I got it home and it wasn't quite what I had in mind so it just sat in my traincase for quite a while before I started cleaning.  I had every intention of throwing the product away but I decided to try it out one last time and I decided that I liked it much better this time around.  Of course I would start to really like it now that Sephora is no longer stocking the line in their stores...

"Plant Love's 100% Natural, EcoCert certified lipsticks are gorgeously green on all levels - Product, Packaging, and Process."  This product and the concept is so unique that I gave a presentation on it in my marketing class for an example of product differentiation.  The lipstick formula is completely natural, with the major ingredients being several types of organic oils and an organic Caranuba Wax base.  Seeing as how it has been shown in studies that women shallow about eight pounds of lipstick throughout their lives, this is a formula that I have no problem accidently licking off my lips.  The lipstick tube is made from corn oil, using less pollution and energy to produce and not making Cargo dependant on the price of oil and plastics for the product.  The box that the lipstick comes in is laced with flower seeds and can be planted and then flower will grow up.  For my product differentiation presentation, this product got me the highest grade in the class.

This lipstick has a cream finish with a slight shimmer.  It is very hydrating and soft, however I only get about one to two hours wear from it.  It is not a long-lasting lipstick and it comes off as soon as I drink or eat anything.  The stick itself is also quite soft and cracked a bit when apply straight from the tube.  I am considering cutting the stick up and putting it in a container to apply with a lip brush.  Formula-wise, this is not among my favorites that I own.  I understand that a natural product will not have the long-lasting properties that other lipsticks have since that property often comes from chemical compounds.

I bought the Lindsay shade, the pink that was made with Lindsay Lohan (pre-breakdown and rehab phase).  I first thought this shade would be very sheer and more like a gloss than a lipstick (this was when I wasn't as big a fan of pink lips) and when it was full pigmentation, I pushed it to the side.  Since I have been using pink lipsticks all of this spring and summer, I tried this one again and now the shade was perfect.  This one is more a neutral, medium pink.  It works well for cool skin but I don't find it neutral enough for warmer skin tones.  I looked for this shade on the website and it is one of the only original shades that is no longer offered from this company.  I was upset since I love the color but with the negative publicity around her at the moment, I don't know that I would want her shade in my color collection either.  However, this product is offered in quite a few more shades and the Sarah Chalke shade isn't all that different from the original Lindsay shade.

Here are the rest of the shades (and the celebrity that inspired/helped create them)...

- Angie Harmon - Faith - muted mauve
- Angie Harmon - Grace - iced strawberry sorbet
- Courtney Cox - Cece - sheer berry
- Denise Richards - Lola - sheer sparkling praline
- Denise Richards - Sam - sheer red currant
- Gamba - sheer cranberry
- Joshua Tree - shimmering cinnamon sand
- Killarney - soft terracotta pink
- Majella - natural dusky rose
- Maria Menunous - sheer vibrant poppy
- Mariska Hartigay - sheer nude caramel
- Muir Woods - sheer spiced mauve
- Nahinni - shimmering honey copper
- Robin McGraw - Ageless - tropical coral
- Sagamartha - sheer rosewood
- Sarah Chalke - shimmering petal pink
- Yakushima - sparkling candy apple pink
- Yellowstone - rich iced rose

 The first shade that I would order from this line is the Sarah Chalke shade, it is the closest to the Lindsay shade and I do remember that I was going back and forth between the two shades when I originally bought Lindsay.  With the lack of lasting power in this formula, I don't think that I would use this product in dark or bright colors.  When I wear a high maintence lip shade, I need to know that it will last the whole day.  I think the only other shades that fit the bill are Cece, Faith, Killarney, and Majella.  No one these will be pigmented enough to be noticed when they begin to wear off. 

I give this product major points for uniqueness and for showing the world that you can have products that are both organic and very pretty at the same time.  I wish that this lipstick lasted a bit longer but I know that I can't have that and the organic ingredients at the same time.

photo courtesy of Cargo

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lippmann Collection Rich Girl Hand Cream

It has been said that a lady's hand reveal more about her than any other part of her body.  If you remember back to Gone With the Wind, Rhett saw through Scarlett's facade of richness as soon as he looked at her hands and saw how beat up they were.  The skin on the tops of our hands is among the thinnest on any area of our body and it often the most affected by the sun and the damage that it causes.  Many first impressions come in the form of a handshake and therefore a good hand cream is something that everyone should be in the habit of using daily.  Personally, I usually alternate between at least two different hand creams, one for the day and one for the evening.  My night hand cream is currently the Super Rich Hand Cream from Bath and Body Works and my day hand cream is this one from Lippmann Collection.

We all know that I love Lippmann Collection polishes and it was only a matter of time before I began trying out their whole line of products.  I bought this hand cream several weeks ago at Nordstrom, after being given a small sample a few months before.  I was intially attracted to this product for two major reasons.  The first reason was that it was a product from Lippmann Collection and the second is that it contains an SPF of 25.  The last thing that I can afford is to have age spots and visible sun damage on my hands since my skin is so pale to begin with.

The Lippmann Collection website states, "Your hands are the first reveal your age.  Keep them guessing with this award-winning hand cream that is formulated with shea butter, avocado, and jojoba oil for unparalleled hydration.  A botanical brightening complex to help even skin tone and a broad-spectrum sunscreen also lend a hand.  Apply a dime size, and then throughly massage into the hands and cuticles.  Intensely hydrating formula works instantly to moisturize and soften.  SPF 25 provides UVA and UVB protection.  Botanical brightening complex even skin pigmentation without irritation.  Cyclomethicone locks in moisture for continued comfort and hydration."

There is just so much to love with this product!  Of course, I love the sun protection since I need any help that I can get in that area with my skintone.  The scent is a very light floral that doesn't compete with any perfume that I wear and doesn't offend anyone that comes into contact with me. This hand cream is very rich and hydrating, mostly thanks to the Shea Butter in the formula.  You only need a little dab of this ceram to completely cover your hands, a dine size might even be a bit too much depending on how dry your hands are.  The first time that I used the product, I put on way too much and it didn't sink in nearly as well as I would have liked.  Less is more with this hand cream formula.   I don't really have any complaints about this product at all, which is pretty new for me.

The SPF is a nice added protection however you must continue to apply the product everytime after you wash your hands.  You must remember how often you use your wands during the day and then wash them or wioe them off.  Everytime that you do that, some of the sunscreen comes off.  So this is a product that you can't just put on once and forget about, like any other sun protection item, you do need to be diligent about repapplying.  Other than having to remember that the SPF is only as good as the way it is applied, I think that this is fabulous hand cream and one that every woman should try.

photo courtesy of Lippmann Collection

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Caudalie Vinopure Purifying Mask

It's summer and now my skin has done a complete switch from how dry it is in the winter months.  My favorite skincare line to return to in the warmer months is the Vinopure line from Caudalie, I have used products from this line for several summers now and have yet to really find products that suit me more.  The moisturizer in this line I have already covered for this blog and I will quickly recap it.  It provides a matte finish and helps to control oil without irritating my sensitive skin.  It does have to be layered with an SPF which I prefer since then I can choose my own SPF number.  Last time that I was at Sephora to pick up another tube of the moisturizer, I decided to add the face mask in this line to my purchase.  I had tried a small sample of this product when the line was carried at Bath and Body Works and I remember liking it so I was more than happy to purchase the full size of the product.

Caudalie states the following about their product, "This non-drying, purifying mask eliminates complexion dulling impurities to brighten the skin.  It cleanses deeply, tightens the pores, and regulates oil production.  Specially created for combination skin, it is also suitable for all skin types even the most sensitive."  This prosuct contains the following active ingredients: grape-seed oil; kaolin and bentonite clays; cypress, sage, and lavender oils; chamomile; sandalwood; and Vinolevure.  The grape-seed oil and Vinolevure are the patented Caudalie ingredients that are anti-oxidants and help to improve the skin texture and condition.  Kaolin and bentonite clays are purifying, help to control oil production and provide a matte finish.  The essential oils of cypress and sage are purifying while the lavender helps to soothe skin and allow it to be suitable for sensitive skin types. 

Caudalie recommends that this product be used twice a week, or even three times a week for oilier skin tones.  It can also be used to treat individual blemishes when used as a spot treatment.  I use this twice a week and only on my t-zone area, I have never tried it on my cheeks as I have no use for it on that area on my face.  It really helps to clean out my pores and I like it best on my nose for helping to clean up and control blackheads.  It can keep my skin oil-free for about two or three hours after use but it still comes back after that time.  I find it best for clarifying my t-zone area keeping my skin bright and clean.  My favorite way to use this product is as a spot treatement, traditional treatments with benzoyl peroxide can make my skin worse before it gets any better.  I have to be very careful with the application and even then, I am often still left with a red, dry patch after the healing has occured.  Dotted right on the blemish, it helps to clear it up and heal it.  Blemishes are usually healed in about three days, longer than the healing time for other chemicals but I love that I don't have the irritation from this product.  To be honest, it takes me longer than three or four days to get rid of the irritation so this product still comes out on top.

Another aspect of this product (and indeed the entire line of Caudalie products) is that it is safe for use by pregnant women.  I have had many friends that experienced major changes in their skin over the nine months that they were expecting and they are unable to use any type of traditional chemical anti-acne product.  This product is perfectly safe for them to use and allows them to have clear, even skin for their whole pregnancy.  This is very unique feat for a skincare line and really drives home how well made the line is and how gentle their products are. 

As usual, I have found another Caudalie product that I adore.  I'm still waiting to find a product that I don't like in this collection.  I love that I can finally use an anti-acne product that is effective and doesn't create more of a problem than the actual breakout.

photo courtesy of Caudalie

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vincent Longo Wet/Dry Diamond Eye Shadow

I am never a girl that wears matte eye shadow and is happy about it.  Shimmer is my style and often times the more the shimmer, the happier that I get.  Vincent Longo's makeup collection contains the eye shadow with the highest amount of shimmer in it that I have ever used.  In fact, the sparkle of it is so concentrated that it can become overkill quite easily.  I am referring to the Wet/Dry Diamond Eye Shadow formula.  We see from the name that this formula can be used in two ways to create two major looks.  Shimmer is the name of the game either way and this is a product that is best for those who really love their shimmer eye shadow formulations.  If you aren't that into shimmer, this product could be too much to pull off.

Vincent Longo's website describes both the product itself and the wet and dry usages.  "New, high-tech, light reflective pearls in a creamy soft, full-color baked eye powder makes Wet Diamond Eye Shadow unlike any other eye product available.  Eight gorgeous colors to choose from, Office to Evening, Natural to Dramatic!  Applied dry, it spreads a sheer veil of dazzling, diamond sparkle color over the eyelids.  Used wet, it goes on like a shimmering brilliant cream that lasts for hours without creasing."

 I actually was the most interested in the application techniques that are listed for this product since I don't use the product even remotely like they suggest (for either style of application).  "To use dry: Using Brush #22, dust Wet Diamond Powder over your entire eyelid or over your trio eye shadow application, concentrating on the brow bone and inner corners of the eyelid, as an easy way to take your look from day to night."  Brush #22 is a large eye shadow brush, closer to the size of NARS No.3, that is best used for highlighting or sheer washes on the eye.  "To use wet: Squeeze a pea size drop of Water Canvas Base onto the back of your hand.  Dip Brush #14 or #18 (for upper and lower lid application) or Brush #33 (for outer corner and lash line application) into Wet Diamond power and mix the powder into the Water Canvas Base."  Brush #14 and #18 are smaller eye shadow brushes using best for targeted color on the eye lid, #33 is another smaller brush but one that I find a better size for the crease or for blending.

Applied dry, this shadow is very shimmery and eye catching.  Applied wet, it takes on a cream finish and will be the most dazzling eye shadow that you have ever seen.  This is a formula that must be preceeded with a primer.  I have found the best primers for it are the Urban Decay Primer Potion or the NARS eye primer, these are the only two that I have tried that are tacky enough to actually hold this formula in place.  Without a primer, this formula causes a lot of fallout and will end up all over your cheeks very quickly.  When applying dry, I prefer to use my finger to pat it on instead of any type of brush.  I have found that any brush that I used caused the product to fly all over the place and created more disaster than anything else.  When I use it wet, I simply wet a liner brush and then dip it in the product to use as a liner on my upper eyelids.  I used it wet all over my lids once.  I put some on the back of my hand and then added water and applied it using the same fingertip type of application. 

If you wish to use this product during the day, you must follow the dry application and watch what shade you use.  This product is too shimmery for conservative offices or against a shimmery or glossy lip.  The "sheer veil" that this company describes it as is somewhat inaccurate, it is dazzling and very noticeable.  I have never used it over any other shadows, it is enough on its own.  Used wet, this is a nighttime only product and again you need to watch what other products you use it with.  When used wet, I really prefer it as a liner unless I am going all over for the evening.  I have found that many Longo products can be overkill when used as suggested so I do recommend trying this product out in as many different ways as possible. 

This product is currently available in eight shades, two of which I have purchased already...

- Palace Skye - shimmering deep charcoal gray
- Concerto - shimmering deep charcoal
- Dawn Flesh - shimmering pale champagne
- Mermaid Blue - shimmering medium navy
- Metropolitan - shimmering red plum
- Midnight Taboo - shimmering medium silver gray
- Tempest Bronze - shimmering medium bronze gold
- Verite - shimmering deep green

I own Dawn Flesh and Tempest Bronze.  Either shade could be used during the day, but I tend to get more use from Dawn Flesh during the day and Tempest Bronze at night.  I often use Dawn Flesh against a creamy or matte red lip or a nude lip.  Tempest Bronze is best used at night against a nude lip or as a liner against more of a pigmented lip.  All of the other shades are best reserved for nightime as they contain much pigment, especially the Metropolitan, Mermaid Blue, and Verite shades. 

This formula is amazing for a dramatic shimmering eye look, but I find it best used for nightime.  My favorites are the more neutral shades but I would like to buy the gray and charcoal shades too.

photo courtesy of Vincent Longo

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lipstick Queen Saint Lipstick

Lipstick Queen might be the last lipstick company that you ever try.  And this is coming from a lady who loves all of her MAC Lipsticks...  Lipstick Queen is a line that is very obviously devoted to all things lip.  You will not find any other type of product in this line and it is one of the smallest beauty product line on the market today.  However, evern though there isn't a ton of choices in products and shades in this line, you can argue that all of the offered products are top-notch since extra time was spent perfecting them instead of creating full makeup collections. 

Lipstick Queen has two full lipstick collections that are complements of each other.  Or some might say that they are opposites of each other, I find that both descriptions actually fit the collections equally well.  This is the only beauty company that I have ever seen pull collections like this off and they actually were the first reasons that I became interested in this company.  The collection is divided into two separate parts, one is the Sinner line and the other is the Saint line.  The Sinner line is full pigment, the Saint line is minimal pigment.  Today we are going to look at the Saint line and then see the Sinner line closer to the fall season.

"The sheerest, moistest, most serene lipsticks you have ever tried.  Just a hint of beauiful color but enough depth to make an impact whether it be a pink nude or a deep blackberry.  Absolutely no glitter (Saints are far too humble for such audacity.  Soul and style in one little stick."  The Saint formula contains only 10% pigment, and the then Sinner formula contains 90% pigment.  There are ten shades in total, one version in the Saint formula and the Sinner formula. 

The shades in the Saint formulation...

- Saint Berry - Sheer chocolate berry shade that delights the lips without adding to the hips.
- Saint Coral - As easy as it is breezy.  Who knew sheer coral could be this hip and savvy?
- Saint Natural - Being good may not come naturally but this light pinky shade looks so natural...  You would never know it.
- Saint Nude - Even Saints like to get naked and so will you with this sheer nude beige.
- Saint Pink - A suggestion of ballet pink to kiss the lips and lift the spirit.
- Saint Rouge - This color should be given sainthood.  It is that good.  A sheer divine touch of pinkish red that gets along with everyone.
- Saint Rose - Be touched by a rose with this soft sensual shade.
- Saint Wine - We will never tell!  Just a little wine on the lips never hurt anyone.
- Saint Red - Bee-stung and sexy...  This is the red for those who don't think they can wear red.  It is see-through and suggestive.  What a tease!
- Saint Rust - No harsh scorching here just a hint of sun kissed rusty red.

I started with this collection originally when I picked out the Sinner version of the Wine shade.  I was trying to match a black cocktail dress and that shade was recommened to me at the C. O. Bigelow store.  I bought that shade and then the Saint Wine shade to complement it.  The Saint Wine shade is a hint of deep berry on my lips, it is more of a stain than a lipstick.  It is much more hydrating than a traditional lip stain making it a better choice for me since my lips tend to dry out very easily.  However, it is not a long-lasting formula and it will need to be reapplied any time after drinking or eating.  Even without doing either of these activites, I do need to reapply it after three to four hours. 

Saint Wine is very wearable during the day and then I can easily switch to the Sinner version at night.  This version can be worn easily to work or against a stronger eye.  I wish that I had bought more than the just the Wine shade in these two formulas, this company's products are harder to find and I ended up really liking these formulations.  I also love the Saint Natural, the Saint Pink, the Saint Rouge, the Saint Rose, and the Saint Red shades.  I recommend any of the Saint shades for the daytime, they are easy to wear and anyone can pull them off even if you rarely wear lipstick.

photo courtesy of Lipstick Queen

Monday, June 13, 2011

Giorgio Armani Summer 2011 Collection - Heat

The summer collections are really beginning to wind down now and already I am starting to read about hints of fall in other blogs and magazines.  I just have a few collections left, I still can't believe it since we aren't even half way through the month of June.  Giorgio Armani's newest collection is named Heat, these shades are very bronzy and will work perfectly for those of us with bronze complexions.  Some of these shades might even be too bronze for the tan that I have been cultivating for the past few weeks.  Armani is very hard for me to find to begin with so I can't always just right on the bandwagon with the new products even though they are always so lovely that I would love to buy them all in a minute. 

The model for this collection is Megan Fox so that should give you all an idea of what tone of skin this collection is made for.  Her skin is deeper, more olive, and much warmer than mine so this isn't giving me much hope for this collection.  I'm afraid that both the bronzer and the cheek colors will be too deep and the lip products too warm.  The eye shadow palette is looking like it will be my best bet from this collection.  I am betting that I can skip out on much of this collection so it isn't a total disaster that it is so hard for me to find. 

Here is the new collection from Giorgio Armani Beauty...

Sheer Bronzer - Create the glow of sun-kissed skin with sheer bronzer, a soft micro-fine bronzing powder.  Copper and bronze hues warm skin, creating a sculpted glow with shimmering honey highlights.  All skin types.  Soft, micro-fine texture.  Shimmery, sun-kissed effect.  Buildable color.  Apply with the Blush Brush where light naturally hits the face across forehead, cheekbones, and temples for a healthy, radiant complexion.
- 1 Brown Sand - beige
- 2 Mauve - pink beige
- 5 Golden Sand - deep tan beige

Blushing Fabric Second Skin Blush - Premiering Blushing Fabric, a second skin blush, a new sensory experience from Armani.  Crafted as a micro-blend of pure water-soluble pigments and lacquers, this cushiony texture delivers a buildable color for cheek and face that is both impercetible and long-lasting.  Artist Tip - Squeeze a small amount to the back of your hand and apply with fingertips to the apple of your cheek.  Buff to perfection with the Blush Brush.  Blend to the desired result using your middle and pointer fingers.  For a natural bronzed glow use Sienna #4, or for more definition on your cheeks, use Raspberry #5.  Both limited edition with the Summer "Heat" look.
- Sienna #4 - warm bronze
- Raspberry #5 - deep berry rose

Heat Palette - Eye Quatuor - As seen on the show - the Armani bronze smoky eye in one signature amber palette.  Four shimmering shades of desert eye dust.  Shadows are created with unprecedented color technology, jet-milled and fine to the touch.  This extremely fine film of vibrant eye color blends perfectly to produce made to measure incandescent color without creasing or a dull powdery finish.  To create the Summer "Heat" look: 1. Apply a layer of White Gold over the entire eyelid.; 2. With the Eye Shadow Brush, contour with the Desert Earth Brown, applied either wet or dry.  For impactful eyes, add a touch of color in the outside corner.; 3. Finish by smudging the Burnt Amber with the Desert Earth on the eyelid for a smoky effect.
- deep brown/pink-toned champage shimmer/medium taupe shimmer/pale white gold shimmer

Eyes To Kill Waterproof Mascara - Empower the eye with more intensity with Eyes To Kill Waterproof Mascara, a long wear, lengthening, and volumizing formula now in Black-Brown for luscious glowing summer lashes.  Limited edition with Summer "Heat" look.  The "lash liner brush" instantly outlines and loads the lashes with a high-powered yet lightweight formula.  Use a zig-zag movement, starting at the root, and glide up to the tips to elongate, curve, separate, and extend the lashes with an unforgettable sheen.
- 3 Black-Brown - mix of black and and brown pigments

Sheer Lipstick - For your summer look with a new signature lip color.  Armani Sheer Lipstick will be your secret weapon, delivering comfort, moisture, and long-lasting luminescent color.  In 4 new limited edition buildable shades for a barely there shimmer to intense color coverage.  Infuse a bold note of color with the star color powered Sienna Red Brick #34.  Add playful vibrancy with Burnt Coral #35.  For the perfect feminine pout, choose the sophisticated Sunset Pink #36.  Or opt for Megan Fox's soft seductive lips with Sand Dune Beige #37, featured in the Summer "Heat" look.
- Sienna Red Brick #34 - deep warm brick red
- Burnt Coral #35 - bright warm coral
- Sunset Pink #36 - warm peach pink
- Sand Dune Beige #37 - nude beige

As I stated earlier, this collection is much too warm toned and deep for me to pull off.  The only item that I like is the eye shadow palette since this is the only one that will work for me in the least.  I do the bronze smoky eye look at lot in the summer time since I think blacks and grays can look too heavy in the warm weather.  I would order this eye shadow palette but I don't know that one item is worth me making the hour and a half drive to Saks just for it.  I think that I would like the Sheer Lipstick in the Sand Dune Beige shade however, I tend to prefer my nudes with a bit of pink in them and I know that I can find a shade like this at MAC.  I am intrigued about the blush but both of these shades will look awful on my skin.

I wish that I had an Armani counter nearer to me, then I could obsess more over this line.  I have to travel a bit to get to this line and therefore I feel like I have to buy products in order to make the trip worthwhile.  Time to see if I can combine a trip to the counter with something else...

photo courtesy of Giorgio Armani

Sunday, June 12, 2011

MAC Sized To Go

Sized To Go is newest summer collection from MAC and is unique in that offers no color selections and no new products.  What MAC has done is shrunk down the sizes on some of their best-selling skincare items and made them ready to go for traveling.  Since I rarely use MAC skincare, I am looking at this as a chance to try out a bunch of their products without having to spring for all the full sized products.  Since I already own so much skincare, I actually enjoy buying smaller sizes so that I can try them out and decide if I truly love them before buying the larger sized products.  I don't know if this collection will be at the counters or just on the website and in the stores so I suggest checking out the website and then calling your local counter to find out.

"In travel, small has a virtue that goes beyond size.  It's mandatory!  Fix +, Cleanse Off Oil, Cleanse Off Oil/Tranquil, Pro Eye Makeup Remover, Demi-Wipes, Studio Moisture Cream, Strobe Cream, Green Gel Cleanser, Oil Control Lotion - everything you need to keep your skin cleansed, refreshed, and hydrated."  I am so excited to try some of these products, I am tempted to order each little product and see how much I like it.

Sized To Go...

Pro Eye Makeup Remover - A mega-effective remover that lifts off every look - from delicate to dramatic - without smudges, tears, or aggression.  Pro-quality, yet decidedly gentle; calms, hydrates, and soothes skin with cucumber extract.  Makeup can be immediately reapplied.  A favourite of busy models.

Cleanse Off Oil - An industry-strength oil-based makeup remover that's gentle on the skin.  Botanically formulated with oils of olive fruit, evening primrose, and jojoba seed oil and absolutely 100 percent mineral oil-free.  Massages onto the skin to loosen all makeup, including waterproof mascara.  Emsulsifies into a lotion-type liquid with water; rinses off easily, no tissues required - and no residue!  Protects with Vitamin E.  Skin softening and conditioning.  Good for all skin types.

Cleanse Off Oil/Tranquil - A mineral oil-free makeup remover/cleanser for the skin.  Formulated with extracts of sea grass, peach leaf, soothing chamomile-derived bisabolol and scented with citrus-y yuzu, fused with conditioning botanical oils of grape seed, olive leaf, sunflower, and lavender.  Apply, splash with water.  Lifts off makeup, leaving skin clear, soft, relaxed.  Ultra-gentle: especially good for dry, mature, or stressed-out skins.

Fix + - An aqua-spritz of vitamins and minerals, infused with a calm-the-skin blend of green tea, chamolmile, cucumber, topped off with the fresh, natural, energizing scent of Sugi.  Adds radiance, finishes makeup.  Spray it on.  Skin drinks it up!

Studio Moisture Cream - A super-rich creamy moisturizer boosted with skin-nourishing extracts including passion fruit, spinach leaf, green tea, algae, wheat germ, and coconut.  Moistens, feeds, firms, and protects the skin.  Promotes a healthy radiance.  Diminishes the appearance of fine lines.  Good for day and night.

Strobe Cream - The ultimate quick fix for the skin.  Super-powered with potent botanicals; de-snoozes, de-stresses, moistens, freshens, and boosts the look of dull, flat, or tired-looking skin with a fully loaded vitamin zap and a mega dose of green tea.  Brightens and clarifies with iridescent particles and antioxidants.  Enhances the effect of light on all skin and in all lighting conditions from sunlight to spotlight.

Green Gel Cleanser - Fresh, vibrant, skin-tingling cleanser with refreshing extracts of cucumber and algae.  Full-on foam, yet delightfully soap-free.  Conditions, nourishes, and hydrates leaving skin clean, clear, smooth, and protected.  For a blast of freshness for the skin; just activate with water.

Oil Control Lotion - The ultimate no-shine base for oil control.  Natural exfoliants help improve texture and clarity.  Lightweight and instantly matte, bonds makeup to the skin for fewer touch-ups.  Oil-free hydration with natural colloidal minerals and antioxidants.  Formulated to help keep skin pH-balanced.  Use day or night.

Demi Wipes - Swipes away makeup, smudges, dirt and grime, pronto!  Oversized, luxurious, super-saturated with proactive Vitamin E.  Hydrates and nourishes highly efficiently.  Extremely refreshing.  Totally addictive.  Slickly packaged, re-sealable, ready to go!

I just love the idea of the smaller sizes of skincare.  I have been making a little shopping list as I read every single item description, I want to try them all.  I am most interested in the small size of Fix + to keep in my purse to use throughout the whole day.  I want the Strobe Cream for the same purpose come fall and winter.  Those are my two top picks from this collection but I want to try everything so I can get a read on the quality of MAC skincare.

photo courtesy of MAC