Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lancome Spring 2012 Collection - Roseraie des Delices

I feel like I wait all year for the Lancome spring color collection, every since Aaron de May took over as Creative Director of the brand, their spring collections have been their best release of the entire year.  I am hoping that 2012 does not break this trend, I never really like the summer collection since it is so heavily focused on bronzers and the warmer makeup hues that match this type of complexion.  I am in full spring makeup shopping mode right now so this collection was released at the perfect time to satisfy my shopping urges.  This collection contains lots of pink hues in every type of product.  I am most excited for the pretty pink blush in this collection and I am hoping that there is a great lipstick to match it...

The latest masterpiece from Aaron de May!

Color Design Spring 2012 Limited Edition Eye Shadow Palette - Create a fresh, sensual eye look just in time for the spring with Les Yeux Doux ("Soft Eyes"), available in two color palettes, Rose Romance and Vert Tendresse.  Encased in a luxurious black lacquered compact with a delicate green rose crown, "Les Yeux Doux" is a must for a fresh spring eye look.  Long-wear, 8 hour formula.  Color does not fade, continues to stay true.
- For a rosy, sensual look, 206 Rose Romance consists of a mix of soft pinks, peach, and burgundy.  Apply the shades in 5 simple steps (all over, lid, crease, highlighter, and liner) to design your customized eye look.  Contour and sculpt in soft day colors or intensify with dramatic evening hues for smoldering smoky effects.
- For a fresh pop of color, use 502 Vert Tendresse, a warm palette with shades of mint and forest greens.  Apply the shades in 5 simple steps (all over, lid, crease, highlighter, and liner) to design your customized eye look.  Contour and sculpt in soft day colors or intensify with dramatic evening hues for smoldering smoky effects.

Le Stylo Waterproof - Formulated for an intense eye look to withstand everything from tears to inclement weather, this waterproof eyeliner has a unique twist tip that never needs sharpening.  Won't skip, smudge, or streak.  The easy-glide, creamy texture helps you create any look you like. 
- 502 Green Petal - frosty mint green
- 600 Blanc - pure white

La Roseraie Illuminating Smooth Powder - La Roseraie ("Bed of Roses") compact is the new must-have of the Spring season.  The light texture of this multi-dimensional powder eases application and gives a transparent finish to the skin.  The bright rosy pink and pastel shimmer combination is a perfect all-in-one product for cheeks and face.

L'Absolu Rouge Nu - Discover delicious sheer shades that will adorn your lips with a delicate veil of color.  The 1st ultra caring lipstick with Pro-Xylane in a new infinitely light texture, and enriched with enhancing pigments to reveal the radiance of beautifully replenished lips.
- 388 Rose Petal- sheer bright pink
- 1141 Sweet Marmalade - sheer bright coral

Le French Touch Absolu Nu - Limited edition cult packaging inspired by Lancome's heritage lipsticks - fourth edition.  This sheer pink shade is inspired by mouth-watering cotton candy.  Enhance your natural lip tone in a veil of shiny, translucent color.  The 1st ultra caring lipstick with Pro-Xylane in a new infinitely light texture, and enriched with enhancing pigments to reveal the radiance of beautifully replenished lips.  A surprising sheer texture will adorn your lips with a delicate veil of color.
- 316 Cotton Candy - cool bright sheer pink

Color Fever Gloss - Discover limited edition pastel glosses in sheer shades of mint, tangerine, and rose for a natural, romantic spring look.  With one gliding stroke, lips look more sensual and voluptuous, thanks to Lancome's Vinyl Shine System that keeps color vibrant and shine luminous and lasting without any sticky or tacky feeling.  Moisture-boosting ingredients ensure lips feel soft, smooth, and comforted all day.  Application is always flawless with the unique Lip-Sculpt applicator that contours the curves of your lips perfectly.
- 386 Green Petal - translucent soft green
- 388 Rose Petal - sheer baby pink
- 387 Tangerine Petal - sheer soft coral

I was originally going to put a picture of the model wearing the full makeup look in this post but after seeing the blush compact up close, I decided that just a description didn't do it full justice.  I must have this blush, I can't even put into words how much that I love it, I just am afraid that I would never use it because the rose is just too pretty to destroy.  I must see this person and then decide if I would ever use it or just stare at it all day long...

I am debating whether or not I really want the pink eye shadow palette, I think it is very pretty but I already own a few pink shades and I don't even wear them as much as I could.  I don't know that I could pull off the complete pink face look, I will try it with the products that I currently have before I end buying this palette and getting little to no use from it.  The lip products are a whole different ball game though, I love many of these shades especially the new lipstick shades.  My favorite is the limited edition French Touch Absolu Nu, I love that bright cotton candy shade and that it has a sheer finish, I think that I actually own nothing like this in my lipstick wardrobe already.  The Rose Petal shade is great also, I am loving these bright pinks for the spring months!  Last but not least, I want the Color Fever Gloss in the Rose Petal, I haven't bought gloss in ages and this one is stunning.

Vive Aaron de May!

photo courtesy of Nordstrom

Monday, January 30, 2012

LUSH Valentine's Day Products

I am not going to go into my thoughts on Valentine's Day, I may not love this holiday but a new crop of LUSH products can brighten my day no matter what the theme of the line is.  And I must admit that the Valentine's Day product line is among the best of the limited edition products that they release during the year.  Valentine's Day is the perfect time for pink and girly products and what company does that better than LUSH?!  I remember the Leap Frog product from last year, who could forget that cute little frog product?  I always want to buy another one of him for novelty value alone, he makes me giggle and just looking at him always brightens my day.  So I might actually be able to say that I look forward to Valentine's Day just for this product collection...

LUSH's collection consists of a mixture of body and bath products and has the introduction of a fragrance this year, I have not yet tried their fragrance line in the store and I am very interested to see what type of fragrance this company feels is a good choice for this holiday. Since I am most interested in the fragrance choice, I have decided that that is where we will begin...
25:43 Gorilla Perfume - LUSH inventor and co-founder Marc Constantine created this perfume especially for his son Simon in honor of his wedding day.  Simon's bride wore this fresh and citrusy perfume down the aisle, and it captured the moment beautifully with notes of tonka and lime accord.  Simon (not to be bested by his Dad) later added notes of lemongrass, vanilla, ylang ylang, and litsea to round out the already light and clean essence of 25:43.  Born of a truly romantic notion, share this perfume with your partner to create your own scented memories!  Love is in the air: Since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the number of proposals there has tripled!  This inspired Simon to share his perfume.  Did you know?  The strongest sense tied to memory is smell.  Create beautifully fragranced moments with our most romantic perfume yet.  Behind the name: It took Marc twenty-five minutes and forty-three seconds to blend this masterpiece for Simon.  Talk about a flash of brillance!

Love Potion Massage Bar - Some people like to give candy-grams or flowers, but at LUSH, we think you should pop the all-important "Will you be my Valentine?" with a sensual, full body massage.  Call us forward, but we think few gestures are as effective!  Offer to massage your beloved with our Love-scented cocoa butter bar, Love Potion.  Fresh apple blossom, orris root infusion, and bergamot oils (along with aphrodisiac jasmine) cast a spell on their senses, leading them right down the path to shouting out, "Yes!  Yes!  I'll always be yours!" in sheer pleasure.  Job done.  It's all about the foreplay: Prep for your massage by drawing them a bath with our Fizzbanger Bath Bomb.  Plus, a name like that is definitely an icebreaker.  Double the 'Love': Follow your Love Potion massage with a spritz of our Love perfume!  Soft, romantic scents: Love Potion is full of gorgeous floral oils like carnation, ylang ylang, rose, apple blossom, and jasmine.

Sweetheart Bar Soap - If you have to declare your feelings for that someone special, give them a slice of our limited edition Sweetheart soap.  After all, it smells better (and is kinder to the environment) than a valentine and they'll be reminded of your adoration every time they soap up with the jasmine, vanilla, and sandalwood suds.  The cramy, moisturizing lather will leave them soft, smiling - and thinking of you!  If you are not quite ready to gift them with a P.S. I Love You, take it slow and work them into a lather with a slice of Sweetheart.  Chocolates are so last year: Give your Valentine a scrumptious smelling slice of Sweetheart instead of chocolates - it will definitely last longer!  No honey here: Like most of our handmade soaps, this skin softening wonder is vegan.  Snap up a slice: Sweetheart is only available for a limited time.

Magic Mushroom Bubble Bar - Magic Mushrrom has two distinctive scents.  In the red cap, there's the nostalgic fragrance of our Yummy Yummy Yummy shower gel (sniff); and in the white bit, we've used our siganture creamy vanilla scent.  Together, it blends to give you bubbles that smell like a bowl of fresh strawberries covered in cream.  There won't be mushroom for anyone else in your life - or bath - when you've got one.  Welcome back, little mushroom.  It's been one long year since we-ve said goodbye to our exceptionally fruity, sweetly creamy Bubble Bar and it's been tough.  Make mounds of frothy bubbles with this limited edition romancer. 

Leap Frog Bath Bomb - Another magical creation by Michelle, The Frog Prince is an extremely handsome and regal frog with a pair of vibrantly red and kissable lips.  Give him a quick peck, drop him in the tub, and wiat for your prince to come.  Simon's new fragrance is an aphrodisiac blend with sweet undertones; he used jasmine, neroli, and rosewood to create a sensual fragrance for those longing for their prince - or princess - to come.  It's not all about the fragrance with this one; it's also brimming with cocoa butter and almond oil for a luxuriously moisturizing soak.

The Ex-Factor Bath Bomb - Valentine's Day isn't for everyone.  It can make your blook boil when you're not with anyone and it can do the same when you are.  Our blue Bath Bomb was invented for wronged lovers and those who dislike the romantic sentiments of Valentine's Day.  While it has the cute blue color of a smurf, there's nothing quite so sweet about Ex-Factor.  Its musky, creamy scent and dissolvable limbs make for a wickedly fun bath, where you can fizz away appendages and head until your thirst for revenge has been satisified.

The Leap Forg isn't the only giggle that I get from this collection, The Ex-Factor gives me a good laugh too.  I will have to order both of these bombs just for the amusement that I get from them.  I think that Ex-Factor might be the perfect product for me to use on Valentine's Day night, I can play in the bathtub and kiss the holiday away until next year!

I think the Sweetheart soap is adorable even though I normally hate those types of products, I really must order a bar of this very soon.  And I must buy another Magic Mushroom Bubble Bar, I am on my last bottle of Yummy Yummy Yummy and I love that fragrance, this is now the only way that I can get my hands on it.

photo courtesy of LUSH

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Illamasqua Powder Blusher

One of my favorite looks from this winter is the contrast between pale skin and bright cheeks, I was so happy to see that this look will be continuing well into the spring months and took that as a sign that I should start bulking up my blush collection since the trend doesn't seem to be ending any time in the near future.  I have been ordering Illamasqua like crazy over the past few months from the Sephora website so I decided to start trying their blush line.  I had seen pictures and swatches from this product on many of the major beauty blogs, they always looked amazing and are highly pigmented.  I started with the powder formula, I didn't realize that they carried a cream formula too until I was playing around on the Sephora website.  I bought three of the powder blushes from Sephora and I am so happy that I did, they are among the best powder blushes that I have ever used.

These blushes are available from Sephora only (in the United States) and Illamasqua (European Union), the Sephora website carries the whole line and only certain stores in the country have the counters.  Which is bad for me since I got addicted to this company last year after trying out their Liquid Metal product and I have been a slave to the website ever since.  "A powder blusher.  Illuminate and enliven your complexion with the color and drama of Illamasqua Powder Blusher.  Color intense and highly pigmented, it can be used to shade, brighten, enhance, and define the shape of your face.  Be bold, be daring, and be the center of attention."

The available shades of the product...

- Ambition Shimmer - shimmering neutral pink
- Beg - muted warm rose
- Chased - lilac pink
- Create - honey beige
- Disobey - matte bronze
- Excite - vibrant coral
- Hussy - bright petal pink
- Katie - light milky pink
- Lover - vibrant apricot
- Morale Shimmer - shimmering magenta pink
- Nymph - bubble gum pink
- Panic - cherry red
- Thrust - magenta
- Tremble - light warm pink
- Tweak - reddish pink

I bought three of the pink shades from this blush line, I started with Kate and then recently purchased Nymph and Hussy.   Katie is the first shade that I fell in love with, it is a "light milky pink".  This is the palest shade of pink blush that I own.  It produces a perfect, pale pink flush on my cheeks.  This shade is very pale and very cool so only the palest of the pale skinned ladies can pull this shade off, this is one of the hardest shades of blush to wear since it is so pale.  I do wonder how much this shade would actually show up on someone with medium to tanned skin, I don't know how much wear I will get from this shade when I do my self-tanning in the summer months.  But I love this shade now when my skin is very pale.
Nymph is a bright bubble gum pink shade, it is very pigmented but still flattering.  This shade is a bit deeper than Katie and not quite as cool.  This shade is much more universal and I can see many ladies getting wear from this shade.  I will wear this one all year round, the bubble gum pink is very innocent and girly but will still show up against a bit of a tan.  Hussy is the most pigmented all of three shades and the one that I was most taken aback by when I first saw it in the pan.  It is described as "bright petal pink", it is warmer than the description implies and looks like a bright, warm rose in the pan.  I put way too much of this product on the first time that I used it and I looked like a had a fever, the color was so bright and intense.  I had to work with this shade a few times before I figured out the secret for perfect application, I just lightly tap my blush brush on this shade and that little bit of pigment is enough to create a bright cheek look.  This is the only shade that will appear as intense on tanned skin as it currently does on my pale skin.

With how pigmented these blushes are, you must pick out shades that you really love.  I overdid both Katie and Hussy the first time that I used them, now I just lightly tap my blush into the product and sweep it on my cheeks.  I didn't have the same issues with Nymph, this one wasn't quite as pigmented as those too.  Of the shades that I own, Katie is my favorite shade however I will not be wearing it near as much when my skin has a bit more color to it in the summer.  Hussy was my least favorite of the shades, there is nothing wrong with it but isn't wasn't what I had in mind when I ordered the shade.  The shade is still flattering on my skin and I will wear it more when I have some color in the summer months.  Nymph is the most basic of three, it is great bubble gum pink hue but it isn't as unique as the other two.  However I am very happy with these blushes and i love this formula.

Many of the shades in this line are unique, I don't know that I could pull off any of the orange, red, or purple hues though I would love to see how they look on different skin tones.  I am really gload that there is a company that takes blush pigmentation very serioulsy because I love bright cheeks but a very highly pigmented blush isn't always the easiest to find.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bath and Body Works Super Rich Body Cream Collection

One of my traditional favorite products from Bath and Body Works is the shea butter cream in the True Blue Spa line, I first used this product in college and have used it every single winter since to dry my dry skin.  The original cream is among the best products in the whole store and is one of the best products to try dry, easily irritated skin.  Several years ago, the product was also released in an unfragranced version for those who are senstive to fragrances.  This winter, Bath and Body Works expanded on this best-selling product and introduced it in three new fragrances to appeal to all those who love their scented body products.  The Lemon scent first caught my eye, I am so happy that this company has brought Lemon Vanilla back in some version of body products!

Let's start with the original product, this is one of the best on the market for dry, rough skin and most poeple fall in love it from the first time that they use it.  "Nothing makes skin feel better than incredibly rich Shea Butter.  This deluxe cream takes it even further with protecting, conditioning Vitamin E and Macademia Nut Oil.  Because you know more is really more.  Infused with Shea Butter for the ultimate spa experience.  Ultra-thick, moisture-rich texture.  Creamy coconut shea butter fragrance.  Not tested on animals."  This cream hydrates on contact with skin and helps my dry to retain moisture throughout the day.  A little bit of it goes a very long way and less is more when it comes to this cream.  I use a small amount and then emulsify it on my palm and then apply it to my skin.  A tube of this cream lasts me all winter and well into the spring months, this is one of the best creams for dry skin and I really recommend that anyone with dry winter skin try it out.

As I stated above, this fantastic cream is now available in three new fragrances.  We are going to start with the Lemon since everyone knows how much I love lemon scented body products, I bought this product about five minutes after smelling it for the first time.  My only complaint is that I wish there was more in this scent than just the cream, I would love if the hydrating shower cream that matches the original body cream came with this scent too.  I will just layer it with my Lemon Vanilla shower gel instead, I guess.  "Your favorite at-home spa collection is the best way to keep skin hydrated and feeling smooth with rich shea butter, Vitamin E, Macademia Nut Oil, and lemon to protect, nourish, and condition skin.  Ultra-thick, moisture-rich texture.  With invigorating lemon extract for a creamy lemon fragrance."  This product reminds me of a cross between the Lemon Vanilla and C.O. Bigelow Lemon Body Cream, the Bigelow version actually contained the lemon extract too and it helped to brighten skin.  I haven't seen that effect yet from this cream but I also don't know how much lemon oil is actually in this formula, it was an active ingredient in the Bigelow cream but it not be in this formula.  Needless to say, the brightening effect o the lemon was not why I purchased this product, I was more interested in the fragrance and hydrating power of this formula.

The second of the new versions is the Vanilla Almond, another scent that I loved and bought within minutes of trying it.  This scent reminded me of the Shea Cashmere and Silk product line that was around last fall, I just prefer the texture of this cream to that line anyway.  "Your favorite at-home spa collection is the best way to keep your skin hydrated and feeling smooth with rich shea better, Vitamin E, Macademia Nut Oil, and almond oil to protect, nourish, and condition skin.  Ultra-thick, moisture-rich texture.  With nourishing Almond Oil and a vanilla almond fragrance."  Pretty much I have the same comments for this scent that I have for the Lemon, I love this scent and wish that it came in a matching body wash.  This cream is the one that I am using right now since the rich scent is best for fall and winter and I can use the Lemon scent in the spring months. 

The last of the new fragrances is the only one that I didn't purchase, the Pomegranate version.  I have never liked the scent of pomegranates and they don't like me either so this cream is not the best choice for me.  I tried this cream on along with the others and this smelled awful on me, not a surprise.  "Your favorite at-home spa collection is the best way to keep your skin hydrated and feeling smooth with rich shea butter, Vitamin E, Macademia Hut Oil, and antioxidant-rich pomegranate to protect, nourish, and condition skin.  Ultra-thick, moisture-rich texture.  With extract from antioxidant-rich pomegranate for a juicy pomegrante fragrance."  This cream smells like rotten fruit on me which is a bit sad since I love using antioxidant products and this one would be a good way to reap those benefits all over my body.  I would love if the same benefits came in a fragrance that worked a bit better with my skin chemistry.

I love the new Lemon and Vanilla Almond versions of this product, I am so glad that I bought them and I will use them to help hydrate my skin in the winter months and throughout the spring.  I would love if these creams came with matching scented washes but I guess I can't have everything...

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

Friday, January 27, 2012

MAC A Shade of Red For Every Heart

I wrote about the Philosophy Valentine's Day products about a week ago and now I see that MAC has come out with a Valentine's Day collection also.  I believe that this company has done this for past few years and I love that a makeup company also realizes the impact of the holiday and released a full line of red lip shades to celebrate.  I may not be a fan of the holiday but we all know how much I love red lipstick shades and I am more than happy to see a whole collection of MAC's best reds in one place.  I also think that I see a few deep pinks mixed in here too, a shade that I will wear for the rest of the winter and well into the spring months.

The MAC website states the following in a description of the collection, "For Valentine's Day...a selection of reds, from the brightest to the darkest, for every whim and decadent desire."  I see every type of lip product in this collection, along with matching nail polish shades. 

Here is the Valentine's Day collection...

Lipstick - Colour plus texture for the lips.  Stands out on the runway.  Simmers on the street!  What made MAC famous.
- Cockney - sheer yellow red with multidimensional pearl (Lustre)
- Hang-up - deep berry (Cremesheen)
- Dare You - deep brown red (Cremesheen)

Pro Longwear Lipglass - A longwearing Lipglass that goes on smooth and lasts for up to six hours!  Envelops lips with shine and colour and pro-longs the hours between reappliction.
- Driven by Love - red-blue with slight pearl
- Lasting Achievement - mid-tone purple with slight pearl

Lip Pencil - A pencil designed for shaping, lining, or filling in the lip.  Lip Pencils have a smooth, creamy texture that is perfect for lining the lips or filling them in.  They are long-lasting and available in a wide selection of colours that each work well with many different lipstick shades.
- Beet - vivid reddish-pink
- Cherry - vivid bright bluish-red

Nail Lacquer - Revoluntionary new high gloss formula.  Three long-wearing finishes - Cream, Sheer, and Frosted.  Visibly different.  Provides no-streak/no-chip finish.  Contains conditioners and UV protection.  Go hi-lacquer!
- Vintage Vamp - rich deep retro wine (Cream)
- Rougemarie - immodestly sexy red-bleu (Cream)

Love these reds!  My favorite shade in this collection is the Lustre Lipstick in Cockney, a sheer neutral red shade.  I do wonder how close this is to Ladybug, I already love this shade but I do wonder if I need to own both of them.  I love the Hang-Up shade in the Lipstick too, this is a great deep berry that will work well for fall and winter.  I can skip over the lip glosses, I'm not a huge fan of very pigmented, shiny red glosses.  The same holds true for the Lip Pencils, I never use them and don't ever plan on starting.  I do love both of the Nail Lacquer shades, I always am in the market for new reds and these are great reds to boot.

photo courtesy of MAC

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Stila Kitten Collection

Today we are looking at yet another collection however this one is a permanent offering from Stila and has been for several years now.  Kitten at one time (and might still be) their best-selling eye shadow shade and it inspired a whole line of products in the same, ultra-flattering shade.  Kitten is a pink champagne that somehow always manages to look great however I wear it or whatever look that I pair it up with, there are very few products that can make the same claims and that is one of the huge reasons that this is such an iconic product line.  The only other shade that I can compare this to is the Midnight Cowboy shades from Urban Decay.  Like Kitten, it has been used in all types of makeup items for the simple reason that it is a universally flattering shade and works well with the trends from every single season.  I may buy new makeup shades every single season, but staples like this are the backbone of my collection...

Kitten is described as a "shimmering nude pink", it has a very shimmery finish and is an eye shadow that is best applied with a finger to build the shimmer and keep it in place.  The eye shadow was the first product available in this shade and then the rest of the line followed.  I often pair this eye shadow with bright lips or a more natural makeup look.  I bought the eye shadow years ago at Sephora and I have never regretted this purchase, I want to order other products in the line.  I am most interested in the lip gloss but I am betting that I could make the highlighter work well for me too.

Here are the products in the Kitten collection...

Eye Shadow - Inspire your inner artist and create a palette of color with Stila's award-winning eye shadows.  Our assortment offers something for every Stila girl - from classic neutrals to the hippest, trend-setting shades in mattes and shimmers.  Our award-winning shades are known for their high quality formula and texture which can be worn wet or dry.  Each sold in pans so you can replace your own.

Lip Glaze - Want lips that get all the attention they deserve?  Turn on the shine and you'll be turning heads with Stila's most popular lip gloss in our most iconic shade, Kitten!  Cosmetics experts agree - this top seller is an essential addition to any beauty bag.

All Over Shimmer Powder - Introducing a gorgeous all over shimmer powder with Kitten and a pale iridescent pink.  This multi-purpose powder instantly enhances the complexion with a fresh, radiant glow.  Inspired by light, Stila's All Over Shimmer Duo in Kitten creates a luminous, youthful glow.  Inspired by light, Stila's All Over Shimmer Duo in Kitten creates a luminous, youthful glow.  Packaged in a convenient compact with mirror, this powder can be used as an eye shadow, highlighter, cheek color, and decollete.  Enchances the complexion with natural, illuminating glow.  Micro-fine particles adheres to skin, lasting all day.  All-over-glow can be used on the eyes, cheeks, face, and decollete.  Packaged in an easy-to-carry compact with mirror.

Glitter Eye Liner - Inspired by Stila's best-selling, award-winning Kitten eye shadow, this new Kitten Glitter Eye Liner instantly lights up your eyes with twinkling multi-pearl glitter.  Kitten Glitter Eye Liner instantly lights up your eyes with twinkling multi-pearl glitter.  Kitten Glitter Eye Liner gives lids a touch of sparkle with a unique combination of glitter in champagne, rose gold, bronze, gold, and pink.  A glitter eye liner in Stila's best selling eye shadow shade Kitten.  Thin brush is easy to use.  Can be appiled to lashes, eye lids, etc.  Contains chamomile - soothes the skin and improves skin elasticity

Silk Shimmer Gloss - Pure shimmer and glossy delight!  The silk proteins make for smooth, moisture-rich wear, while ultra-fine pearl provides high shine and maximum comfort.  Vitamins A, C, and E supply anti-oxidant protection for the healthiest lips.  Silk fibers create smooth, luxurious, moisture-rich wear.  Ultra-fine pearl shimmer for high-watt shine and impeccable comfort.  Contains high levels of anti-oxidants, Vitamins A, C, E and minerals.

Smudge Pot - The verdict is in, and Smudge Pots take the prize for sexy eyes!  This unique gel eye liner and shadow is an innovative alternative to traditional powder and liquid formulas.  This clever little gel has an inky intensity that leaves powder shadows in the dust.  A favorite for the sultry, smoky eye.  Apply with a liner brush for razor-sharp precision or smudge it with your fingers for more complete coverage.  Remember to always close the airtight lid to keep the gel soft and pliable.

All of the products in this collection are the same shade of pinky champagne shimmer, I bought the eye shadow years ago and have been using it for years.  I don't know that I would buy the lip gloss in it, I don't think that this shade would be as flattering on me as the other products in this shade are.  I would love to own the Smudge Pot in this collection to wear against strong lip looks.  The last product that I want from this collection is the highlighter, this will be great to wear out at night.

Stila's Kitten is a cult product for many good reasons, it is a universally flattering shade and works with any eye or lip look that I can come up with.  If you haven't tried this shade, I strongly suggest that you start with one of the eye makeup products and see how well it works!

photo courtesy of Stila

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dior Anselm Reyle Collection from Dior

Chanel isn't the only company that released a second line this spring, Dior has followed suit with the Anselm Reyle Collection for Dior (actually Dior may have released their's first, according to some of the coverage that I have seen in fashion magazines).  This is another very small collection, it is targeted to eyes and nails only, with a strong emphasis on the purple hues that have been so popular this winter and spring.  This collection is actually a collaboration with German artist Anselm Reyle, apparently other companies are seeing how well MAC does these collaborations are going to start putting their own spin on it. 

A bit of background on the artist, Anselm Reyle specializes in all types of mediums, especially paint and sculpture.  He is best known as a master of abstract art and his use of foil as a medium in paintings.  This series is called "foil paintings", that are created using "foil arranged and installed in colored perspex boxes".  He best known series of sculptures are his version of traditional African tourist art, he takes what is traditionally sold in the marketplaces and puts his own spin on the artwork.  I looked at several of the "foil paintings" online and they are simply magnificant, it is hard to believe that typical household foil can be formed into these intricate structures and paintings.  I would love to see an exhibit of these works in person...guess this is yet another reason for me to move to New York City.

Here is the collaboration with Dior...

Anselm Reyle for Dior Eye Shadows Palette - A limited edition eye shadow palette created in partnership with the artist Anselm Reyle.  With this exclusive, chic, and ultra-modern palette, the artist reinterprets one of his favourite themes, that of the camouflage motif, in a combination of daring and unusual shades.  Hand pressed using traditional House of Dior expertise, it offers a variety of shimmering or matte looks in shades of violet, gray, and black for a sophisticated look.
- violet/gray/black

Anselm Reyle for Dior Dior Vernis - Striking shades of nail lacquers.  The "Anselm Reyle for Dior" palette in complemented by a fun range of trend-setting nail lacquers in striking colours.  Ultra Violet, Untitled Black, Pink Graffiti, Electric Blue, and Metallic Silver make up this electrifying range echoing Anselm Reyle's distinctive taste for fluorescent and saturated colours.
- Ultra Violet - bright blue lavender cream
- Untitled Black - true black cream
- Pink Graffiti - bright blue pink cream
- Metallic Silver - shimmering silver foil
- Electric Blue - bright blue cream

This might be one of the most beautiful eye palettes that has been released all season, it is another one that I would be afraid to use since it is so lovely.  I would be more likely to purchase the nail polishes from this collection, with Ultra Violet and Metallic Silver being my favorites of the collection.  I don't really need another metallic silver shade, I already own a great one from China Glaze and the silver foils aren't all that different.  My big pick from this collection Ultra Violet, it is very unique and I don't own any type of shade that is even close to this.

I love that Dior collaborated with an artist to make a collection, I hope that all types of beauty companies take up this trend!

photo courtesy of Dior

Monday, January 23, 2012

Philosophy Valentine's Day 2012 Products

Valentine's Day is right around the corner and it is time to begin shopping for the holiday.  We all know that I am not a Valentine's Day person and tend to skip right over the actual holiday itself.  However this does not stop me from buying all kinds of candy and body products that smell exactly like candy.  candy Hearts are among my favorite kinds of candy so I tend to buy bags and bags of them at this time of the year.  Philosophy has taken the scent of the Candy Hearts and based their entire Valentine's Day product line on it.  This makes me want to buy everything in the collection so that I can use it all year round and enjoy the scent of the candies.

This line comes in a full sized 3-in-1, lotion, lip gloss and a set that contains smaller version of the items, wrapped up and ready to give to your Valentine or a good friend.  I will be needing to buy the full sizes, otherwise I won't have enough to fill my candy heart cravings for the entire year.

The 3-in-1 is my top choice from the collection, I love Philosophy 3-in-1s and I think that they are among the best body washes available right now.  "A luxurious three-in-one cleanser with a sweet candy fragrance.  Show your valentine some love year-round with this multitasking cleanser and conditioner for hair and body.  The shampoo and shower gel combin provides a multi-sensory bathing experience with a gentle formula great for everyday use.  The rich, foaming lather leaves the body silky soft from head to toe and the candy heart scent will please and sugar lover."  I don't even feel the need to elaborate any more as to why I must own this product, it smells like candy hearts!

The second item that I want from the collection is the full size body lotion, I go through lotions so fast in the winter months that I am actually considering purchase two of these so that I don't burn through it well before I have the body wash finished.  "A silky, ultra-moisturizing lotion that melts into skin with a sweet candy fragrance.  Wrap yourself in the delicious essence of Valentine's Day year-round with this luxuriously hydrating body lotion.  The anti-oxidant rich formula is packed with natural oils and shea butter to help moisturize, soothe, and soften, while protecting against environmental attack.  The lightweight texture absorbs easily into skin and the candy hearts fragrance lingers with the perfect blend of sweet and tart."

The Lip Shine is the last piece of the collection, I'm not a fan of Philosophy Lip Shines so I am betting that I can skip over this lip gloss.  "A high gloss, high flavor lip shine in the sweet flavor of candy hearts.  A must-have for Valentine's Day, Sweet Talk Candy Hearts Lip Shine is the perfect candy-flavored lip shine for sweet, kissable lips.  This highly emollient lip shine hydrates lips, adds a smooth shine, and offers a sheer pink tint."  This lip gloss shade is a "sheer pink sparkle".  Pretty gloss but also pretty generic and I already own lots of pink lip glosses...

The set is called the Sweet Talk Trio, it contains the regular size in the lip gloss and smaller sizes in the body products.  "A three piece set of lavish products for hair, body, and lips with a sweet, yet tart fragrance.  Give your sweetie something to smile about with this trio of luxurious hydrating products.  The three-in-one gel delicately cleanses skin and conditions the hair.  The body lotion soothes and softens with a formula of natural oils, shea butter, and anti-oxidants.  The highly emollient lip shine adds a sheer pink tint to any pout.  A perfect blend of sweet and tart, the Candy Hearts fragrance will please any sugar lover." 

I really want the full sizes in both of the body products, I want to have enough product to use it all year round instead of just at Valentine's Day.  I can skip the lip gloss and I have no reason to by the set since I will be buying the full sizes.  I many not enjoy this holiday but at least I can eay candy hearts and smell like them too!

photo courtesy of Sephora

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chanel Knightsbridge Collection

As I was looking at the Chanel spring collection, I saw a second new collection on their website, the Knightsbridge Collection.  The name Knightsbridge made me think of London and some of the places that I remember reading about in Agatha Christie books, I love the English and have always wanted to visit London.  Therefore, I was very excited to check this collection out since all of the shades were inspired by London and named after well known areas of the city.  This collection is very small, it consists only of one new blush shade and the rest are lip shades.  There is lots of pinks in this collection so I am hoping that it contains some hits for me!

The Chanel website states, "Limited edition hues inspired by the rich and colourful spirit of London, exclusively on Chanel.com".  Now I know not to go to the counter looking for this product line...

The Knightsbridge collection from Chanel...

Poudre Tissee - This exclusive creation, part of the limited edition Knightsbridge Collection, brings a radiant flush and iridescent shimmer to the face.  A unique and flattering compact formula, the powder is decorated with the signature Chanel logo and an elegantly embossed surface.
- bright pink with light pink detailing

Rouge Allure - Hyde Park - The iconic Chanel lipstick debuts in an exclusive new shade - a vibrant coral pink named for a landmark Royal Park in London.  This ultra-flattering hue is part of the limited edition Knightsbridge Collection.
- Hyde Park - warm medium coral pink cream

Rouge Allure - Belgravia - This new addition to the iconic Chanel lipstick collection dresses lips in a lustrous and vibrant rose hue.  Part of the limited edition Knightsbridge Collection, the colour pays tribute to a region of London, rich with history and classic architecture.
- Belgravia - cool medium pink rose

Rouge Allure - Kensington - This lustrous lipstick formula is now rendered in a bold and brilliant fuchsia, inspired by London's most posh shopping districts.  This vivid shade is part of the limited edition Knightsbridge Collection.
- Kensington - bold medium pink fuchsia

Glossimer - Chelsea - This brilliant pink lip gloss delivers the ultimate pop of colour, along with subtle shimmer and a high shine glow.  Part of the limited edition Knightsbridge Collection, its striking hue is named for a thricing artistic and cultural area of London.
- Chelsea - bright pink shimmer

Chanel's new blush hues have been fanstatic this spring, I love this pink hue.  I am just afraid that I would never use it because I wouldn't want to ruin the "C"s in the lighter pink shade.  This is another one of the limited edition products from Chanel that is almost too beautiful to use and might just end up being a waste of money.  So the verdict is up on this product for the moment.  I love the Kensington Rouge Allure shade, I have really been into bright pink lip shade lately and this one will fit the bill perfectly. 

I now want to go shopping in London.  Perhaps I will bury myself in an Agatha Christie book and pretend that I lived in London during the 1930s...

photo courtesy of Chanel

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Clinique Almost Lipstick

This spring, Clinique has released new shades in their best selling Almost Lipstick product.  This line used to consist of one shade, the cult favorite Black Honey, a lipstick shade that I have worn for years and always counted among one of my favorite lip shades ever.  I often wished that more shades were available in this this formula and my wish has finally come true.  This lip product is now available in a range of eight shades, from the palest pink all the way down to the traditional Black Honey shade.  I have owned the original Black Honey shade for a long time now and I have already bought three of the new shades to go into the spring season.  This formula is more hydrating than the average lipstick so these are a great product to use in the winter when my lips are very chapped and the shades will work all the way into the warm weather.
"Transparent pigment merges with the unique, natural tone of your lips to create something wonderful and yours alone.  Sheer, glossy.  Emollient-rich and very lightweight.", states the Clinique website when describing the product.  This lipstick technically could be considered a tinted lip balm, each shade is sheer enough to be universally flattering, helping to create the coveted "my lips but better" look that never goes out of style.  Black Honey remains the most pigmented of the shades, the new shades are easy to wear even if you never wear color on your lips.

The shades!

- Black Honey - deep plum red
- Chic Honey - deep berry
- Flirty Honey - bright pink
- Lovely Honey - warm medium rose
- Luscious Honey - bright pink coral
- Shy Honey - cool pale pink
- Spicy Honey - warm medium beige
- Tender Honey - neutral medium bronze

We have already talked in detail about Black Honey so I am not going to revisit this shade today.  I purchased the Flirty Honey, Chic Honey, and Shy Honey.  Flirty Honey is my favorite of the shades, it is a sheer bright pink that will be best in the spring and summer months.  It is a bi too bright to wear already so I will be putting it away after testing it out.  This one is the most pigmented of the three that I bought and works well against many skin tones.  Chic Honey is a shade that is best for the fall and winter months, this one is a deep berry.  It isn't all that different than Black Honey, maybe a shade or two lighter.  If you already own Black Honey, you don't really need this one but I don't regret buying it because it will be another staple for me in the cool weather months.  Shy Honey is the least pigmented of the three, I get a very sheer pink tint on my lips.  If your lips are very pigmented to begin with, you will get next to no color from this shade.  I like this shade but it is the only one that I doubt that I will repurchase since it is just so sheer. 

All of the shades applied well, the formula is creamy and hydrating.  This formula makes chapped, dry lips look and feel much better.  This formula contains some of the most universal shades on the market today and I am confident that everyone will find at least one shade that they love from these.  My initial favorite when I saw pictures was the Shy Honey (the really light pink), I went to the counter to buy that one and Chic Honey.  I grabbed Flirty Honey as an afterthought when I was being rung out and that one ended up being my favorite of the group.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Friday, January 20, 2012

China Glaze Spring 2012 - Electropop

Coming on top of the new NARS collection, my excitement for the spring collections just keep building with the release of the new collection from China Glaze.  I missed out on the spring collection last year from this collection, when I finally looked at the swatches on Scrangie's blog, I realized that it could have been one of my favorite collections of that seasons.  I love the pale blues and greens in that collection and I search for shades from that collection each time that I visit Ulta and Sally Beauty Supply.  I feel like I have been waiting for the spring China Glaze collection since the beginning of the winter and it is finally here!  It isn't up yet on the Ulta or Sally Beuaty website but at least I can begin deciding what shades that I want to buy so I can order as soon as they come to those stores!

This collection is called Electropop and it is a breath of fresh air and holds promises of spring.  I have been wearing deep blues, reds, and purples the past few weeks and this collection gets me very excited for a change of scenery, I need some new pastel polishes this spring and this collection will be my starting point for shopping.  Mixed in with the pastels in this collection, China Glaze introduced a few new bright shades that will tempt me also.  I have bought so many deep jewel toned polishes since the beginning of the fall that I just want to wear some different shades.

Here is the spring collection from China Glaze!

- Kinetic Candy - pale blue-gray cream
- Electric Beat - medium periwinkle blue cream
- Aquadelic - bright aqua cream
- Gaga for Green - medium cool green cream
- Sunshine Pop - bright yellow shimmer
- Make Some Noise - bright warm coral jelly cream
- Wicked Style - bright pink berry cream
- Fuchsia Fanatic - bright fuchsia cream
- Gothic Lolita - medium cool lilac shimmer
- Dance Baby - pale pink cream
- Sweet Hook - pale lilac cream
- Techno - clear base with multi sizes of silver glitter

I can't decide if Kinetic Blue or Sweet Hook is my favorite shade, I love both of them and they both fill gaps in my nail polish collection and will both make my Most Wanted list for the upcoming month.  I can't wait to wear some of these great cool-toned pastels on my nails this spring.  I'm not really taken with any of the brights, so I will just be skipping to the pastels from this collection.  The other shades that I like are: Dance Baby, Gothic Lolita (love the name!), and Electric Beat. 
I am just so ready to add some new pastels to my nail polish collection and fill in some holes!

photo courtesy of China Glaze

Thursday, January 19, 2012

NARS Spring 2012 Collection

The collection that I have been waiting for ever since the beginning of the spring collection releases!  I have always loved NARS and go through phases where I buy tons of the stuff from them and I have a feeling that with the release of this new collection that one of these phases is beginning again.  Lately i have been buying blushes, lipstick, and nail polishes and NARS made great shades in every single one of these products especially blushes.  It doesn't matter that I just ordered a few new blush shades from Illamasqua, I will still find some that I want from this collection and will end up buying many of these too.  When I first look at the collection page, I immediately see some great pink shades, one of my favorite new trends for the spring season.

Here is the new collection from NARS...

Trio Eye Shadow - A trio of harmonious color combinations of eye shadow shades.  Worn alone or all together, all Trio Eye Shadow shades feature micro-fine poweders that are highly pigmented, longwearing, and crease-resistant.  Color glides on smoothly, evenly, and blends effortlessly.  True color application.  Can be applied dry or with a dampened brush for stronger intensity.  Multi-function; use for shading, lining, and highlighting the eyes.
- Douce France - icy pink/rose petal pink/deep rose

Duo Eye Shadow - Modern, unique, sometimes unexpected color combinations of eye shadow shades.  Worn alone or together, all Duo Eye Shadow shades feature micro-fine powders that are highly pigmented, longwearing, and crease resistant.  Color glides on smoothly, evenly, and blends effortlessly.  The effects can be subtle or smoldering - the options are endless.  True color application.  Can be applied dry or with a dampened brush for stronger intensity.  Multifunctional use for shading, lining, and highlighting the eyes..  Classic, neutral, and fashion-forward shade pairings.
- Paramaribo - metallic brass/metallic bronze
Shimmer Eye Shadow - Highly pigmented, velvety-matte, ultra-fine powders for shading, creating depth, and lining eyes.  Long-wearing, crease-resistant colors glide on smoothly and evenly and blend effortlessly.  Can be applied sheer or layered for a more dramatic effect.  True color application.  Can be applied dry or with a dampened brush for stronger intensity.  Multi-function; use for shading, lining, and brow color.  Rich, vivid shade range, from neutrals to high fashion hues.
- Lhasa - lavender gray

Soft Touch Shadow Pencil - Soft Touch Shadow Pencils provide easy, portable, long-wearing application.  These jumbo-sized pencils have versatile functionality to shade the lid, line, or highlight the eye.  Smooth, creamy texture delivers a smooth, velvety feel to the eye and make for easy blending and an ideal base for layering with a powder shadow for increased color intensity.  Portable application.  Smooth, creamy, long-wearing formula.  Easy and seamless blending.  Ideal base for layering with powder eye shadow to increase color intensity.
- Dark Rite - navy

Blush - The ultimate authority in blush, NARS offers the industry's most iconic shades for cheeks.  Natural, healthy-looking color that immediately enlivens the complexion.  A light application of even the highest intensity hues delivers a natural-looking finish.  Silky texture in matte and shimmery shades.  Micronized powder ensures soft, blendable application.  Iconic NARS shades.
- Gaiety - bright candy pink

Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil - Gorgeously glossy color in a jumbo lip pencil.  Spectacular shine in an innovative, lightweight formula and enriched with Vitamin E plus a blend of moisture-rich hyaluronic spheres that make lips appear fuller.  Ultra-smooth, buttery on lips.  Contains Vitamin E, hyaluronic spheres, and phytosterol esters; ingredients known to moisturize, increase hydration, and improve barrier function.  Convenient, easy application.
- Mexican Rose - hot pink

Lipstick - A lustrous, long-wearing lipstick infused with conditioners to provide comnfortable wear and sumptuously, silky color.  Smooth, ultra comfortable wear.  Sophisticated shade range.  Patented blend of conditioners and anti-oxidants hydrate, nourish, and protect lips.
- Bilbao - shimmering topaz

Pure Matte Lipstick - Bright.  Bold.  Perfectly matte.  This super-rich lipstick provides high impact payoff: an ultra-pigmented, long-wearing formula that glides on effortlessly with comfortable wear.  Contains wild mango butter, known to provide advanced moisturizing properties to repair dryness and scaling.  Long-wearing application.  Enriched with Vitamin E and acai oil for anti-oxidant benefits.
- Valparaiso - rich raspberry

Shimmer Nail Polish - Fashion-forward and classic NARS Nail Polish shades impart incredible luster and prolonged gloss rentention with UV protection to prevent polish discoloration.  An advanced polymer system provides extended wear and a durable, chip-resistant finish.  Modern, iconic shades.  Long-wearing, chip-resistant.  Toulene, formaldehyde, and DBP-free.
- Diamond Life - metallic violet

And from this collection I want...blush, nail polish, and lipstick!  It looks like NARS will just continue to fuel my obsession with these products.  My favorite piece of the collection is the Gaiety blush shade, I love the bright pink and this will be very flattering with my skintone.  My other favorites are the Diamond Life Nail Polish and the Pure Matte Lipstick in Valparaiso (I think this is the shade that the model for the collection is wearing), this shade will be wasy to wear all year round and could easily become a staple in my collection.  I think that the Trio Eye Shadow is very pretty and I would like to add it to my collection but it's not the end of the world if I don't buy it.

The rest of the collection is a bit too warm for me, especially the new Lipstick shade so I can safely skip on the rest of the collection.  I love NARS and this collection will be ushering in another phase of major NARS shopping.  Also NARS is coming up on the first anniversary of the opening of their first flagship store in New York City so I am hoping that this company might bring out something special to celebrate!

photo courtesy of NARS

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thierry Mugler A*Men

Right after my last semester ended, I reread Perfumes: The Guide from Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, a book that details almost every single fragrance currently on the market and gives a background on many of the large perfume houses and the science behind the making of the fragrances.  In addition to providing lots of information on fragrance, the book also makes recommendations of what the authors feel are some of the best crafted fragrances.  One of their choices as the best crafted fragrances is the Angel line from Thierry Mugler, they recommend all of the fragrances in the line including the mens ' version of the fragrance.  That fragrance is recommended for both genders, a fact that surprised me and made me want to out a mens fragrance on my skin.

I have never tried to wear a mens fragrance before, I know many women that love mens or unisex fragrances but I have always preferred girly floral scents, none of which smell anything like I would imagine a man wearing.  The Angel line of fragrances are considered to be gourmands, so I thought that this one might be a fragrance that would work for me also.  The mens's version contains all fo the gourmand notes in the original version but lightens it up a bit with mint and lavender notes.  I was seeing this as a lighter, easier to wear version of Angel. 

I love the description that is given in Perfumes: The Guide so we will start with this and then go into the actual fragrance description and notes from the Sephora website.  From Perfumes: The Guide; "Angel was at once the inspiration for dozens of perfumes and a devilishly hard act to follow.  To this day, of all the progeny only three stand out: Lolita Lempicka, Angel Innocent, and A*Men.  The dissonance at the heart of the original lay between the floral base and the remainder of the fragrance, a chocolate oriental.  This irreconcilable difference, this clash at a crossroads between two marching bands playing different tunes, was what made Angel unforgettably great.  Jacques Huclier has managed to reinterpret that effect brilliantly.  Instead of flowers, he gives one band a herbaceous lavender-mint chord brightened by aldehydes.  In the other, he reinforces the roasted section with caramel, coffee, and tar.  The result, while much less radiant than Angel (thank God for that), has the same wonderful, simultaneously poisonous and delicious eat-me-and-die feel as the original.  Hard to imagine on a guy, but a great feminine."

The official fragrance description from Sephora, "Angel Men, the first perfume for men by Thierry Mugler, offers an unexpected shock or woody and fiery notes.  When creating Angel Men, Thierry Mugler was inspired by a vision of an imaginary hero moving through a legendary universe in which the past, present, and future merge."  The notes of the fragrance are: Lavender, Bergamot, Helional, Aldehydes, Peppermint, Roasted Coffee, Patchouli, Caramel, Tonka Bean, Tar, Musk, Vanilla, Chocolate.

This fragrance was not quite what I had in mind, my body chemistry was at odds with this scent.  The first spary of it produced the strong lavender scent and then went right into the chocolate notes.  It was ok at first but as soon as the coffee, tonka bean, and tar notes began to develop, the fragrance became very strong on my skin and completely changed.  The coffee and tar notes really stood out and made the fragrance nauseating on me, one of my friends couldn't even stand next to me after I applied it.  I don't know if mens' fragrance are stronger in general or if the fragrances from this designer are very strong in general (the traditional Angel is) but this one was so strong that I couldn't breathe around it.  This fragrance was too masculine for me, but I imagine that it would be too feminine on most men, this is a fragrance that doesn't really fit into the traditional fragrance mold and therefore is among one of the hardest to wear.  This isn't a fragrance that works with my chemistry but I would lovely to smell someone who can wear it well!

photo courtesy of Sephora

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Benefit Total Moisture Face Cream

This is yet another post from my Sephora skincare hauls of the last few months!  This started as a deluxe Beauty Insider sample from Sephora and then I quickly ordered the full size in it.  I have never associated Benefit with skincare and I tend to head right to their brightly colored makeup displays in Sephora and at their counters in department stores.  I am doubting that I ever would have tried their skincare had I not gotten this sample from Sephora, it even lives in the shadows on the brand's page on the Sephora website.  I wasn't expecting all that much from this skin cream, I kind of assumed that Benefit released a skincare line just to grab a few extra dollars and I never saw it mercendised or recommended in my local Sephora.  And what happens when we assume?!  This a lovely skin cream for those of us with normal to dry skin that need a bit of extra moisture at night or during the coldest days of the winter, in fact I have just ordered another jar of this since I am getting low heading into the coldest days of the winter.

"A hydra-concentrated facial cream with tri-radiance complex.  Formulated for normal to dry skin, this concentrated facial cream provides immediate and long-term hydration for an ultra-radiant complexion.  It contains an exclusive "tri radiance complex" to help develop the skin's reserves of water and reinforce skin's moisture barrier.  This product contains natural plant-based squalene and mango butter emollients."

This is thick and very hydrating face cream, I use it at night currently but I might start using it during the day too if the weather gets even colder and drier.  I use enough of this cream to cover one of my fingertips and that is enough for me to cover my whole face.  I love that this cream is very concentrated, it absorbs very quickly and helps hydrate my face.  This is much higher quality skin cream than I ever expected to see from this company.

Squalene is one of the key ingredients in this face cream.  Squalene is a plant-based hydrating ingredient and is one of the most common hydrating ingredients on the market today.  It is a fat molecule so it helps to hydrate the skin and to hold the moisture in by strengthing skin's natural moisture barrier.  This ingredient also has anti-oxidant properties to help protect the skin all year round.  The Sephora website doesn't give any more details about the "tri-radiance complex" so I decided to check for more information on the Benefit website.  It gives very few details also except that it states that the squalene si part fo the complex so I am going to guess that this cream is  formulated to act as an anti-oxidant and to protect skin as it hydrates.  Mango butter is another plant-based emollient to help hydrate and protect the skin.  I believe that mango butter is what helps to give this cream its thick texture. 

This cream has one drawback, for me it is not that much of an issue but for others it could be.  This product has a very noticeable floral fragrance, I like it but if you are sensitive to fragrance than you would not be able to stand using this product.  I have complained about this before in skincare products, I prefer little to no fragrance since a fragrancve can ruin an otherwise amazing product.  This isn't the hugest issue and doesn't detract from the product performance but it is something that could be improved on.

Next time that you visit the Benefit counter, look past the blushes and mascara and give this cream a try.  I found their skincare to be quite impressive and on par with some of their best makeup items.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Monday, January 16, 2012

Urban Decay Spring 2012 Collection

I knew that a let down was coming for the spring makeup season and I believe that it is here.  The new collection from Urban Decay is very small and actually doesn't contain any new products.  The company released new shades of some of their best selling products, which is good in that I know that whatever I like is tried and tested and worth a purchase but I know that I am not going to find my next Holy Grail product in this group.  I also dislike how little organization this new collection has, there is no theme to the collection and almost no rhyme or reason as to what products and shades were chosen for it.  I really hate when a collection consists of random products and shades that are grouped together and called a collection.  Is it all that difficult to come up with a group of products with a theme and then provide a name for the whole collection?

This collection consists of a few new lip shades, a new concealer, and a few new shades of their famed 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil.  I was kind of wondering if Naked 2 was going to be part of this since it slowly coming back into stock but I guess that it was released too early to be part of this collection.  I bet it will be part of the collection on the Sephora website since they have finally begun to stock it in their stores and on their website.  This collection includes the release of Perversion in the 24/7 Glide On Liner, a shade that has previously been available in their best selling eye shadow formula.

Here are the new items from Urban Decay...

24/7 Concealer - Hide dark circles and blemishes with our creamy formula that dries matte and stays put.  Because it's a pencil, it's easy to apply with precision.  A concealer in pencil form equals precise application, and less mess - no brush, no dipping your finger into a pot, or squeezing a dollop onto a sponge.  Dot on tiny blemishes, or shade in large problem areas (like redness around the nose and chin).  The creamy formula blends easily, then dries down to a smudge-free matte finish.
- CIA - light ivory
- DEA - ivory beige
- FBI - neutral beige
- NSA - deep beige
- ATF - creamy brown
- DOD - reddish brown
- KGB - orangish dark brown
- MI6 - deepest brown

24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil - Creamy, forever lasting, award winning, and waterproof, 24/7 Pencils delight you with lush tropical hues, deep metallics, and unusally vibrant neutrals.  The best eye pencil ever, ever, ever!  Never before has a pencil this creamy and brilliant been waterproof, too.  Velvety-soft, this never-before-seen formula stays soft and creamy for blending (about 30 seconds), then dries down to a long-lasting finish that will not budge.  Line eyes with a hint of color or go for the full artistic, multi-hued effect with the wide selection of lush tropical hues, deep metallics, and unusually vibrant neutrals.  Incredible with Urban Decay Eye Shadows.  Created with 50% moisturizing ingredients suspended in a sophisticated waterproof formula, 24/7 Eye Pencils offer long-lasting color and a dreamy, creamy feel when applied.  With Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E, and Cottonseed Oil.
- Perversion - blackest-black matte
- Woodstock - sparkly hot pink with silver micro-glitter
- Demolition - deep brown with matte finish

Pocket Rocket Lip Gloss - Undress our men with the flick of your wrist.  Pocket Rocket Lip Gloss combines two of our favorite things: naked dudes and gorgeous lip color.  Undress our men with the flick of your wrist!  Inside the cap of our custom tube is a photo of a yummy man.  Tilt the tube back and forth to strip them to their undies (We've even included front and rear photos). Whether you swoon for a future senator or a tree hugger, one of our men is sure to please you.  Our guys make awesome gifts for bachelorette parties, baby showers, or bdays.
- Rashad - medium cool pink (sheer)
- Dustin - nude with iridescent fleck

Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Color - Sephora only.  Urban Decay's creamiest, most sumptuously pigmented lip pencil.  This formula delivers all the opaque, saturated, high impact color of your favorite lipstick and an arresting  high gloss finish in one chubby pencil.  And with a dynamic bright to deep shade range in creamy and sparkly textures, the runway ready possibilites are endless.  Even the glittery hues in this collection of high gloss lip pencils feel smooth on your lips (and leave not a trace of sparkle grit).  This conveniently portable pencil's high gloss shine can be blotted for a more stain-like effect, but no matter how you wear it, the color lasts.  Free of mineral oil and paraffin, this contains plant-derived ingredients that nourish lips.  Because the barrels and boxes are color-matched to each shade, locating the color you want it easy, even in the deep dark depths of an oversize tote.
- Apocalyse - deep plum
- Lovechild - pale pink

This collection is a total letdown, this might be the first Urban Decay collection that I want nothing from.  I wouldn't mind having the pink shade of the new Pocket Rocket gloss line but I can live without it, it's not a must have.  I'm not interested in any of the other lip products and I can skip the eye liners too.  I have the Zero shade already and when I am done with this pencil, I would consider checking Perversion out but I don't really need to add yet another black eye liner to my collection at the moment.  I don't care for the concealer pencil, I use full coverage creams and liquids, I need coverage for larger areas then just a blemish or two.  I know that this one states that it can be used on larger areas but its doesn't look as though it will work well and it will take much longer with this type of formula.

Hope summer collection is much better than this one...

photo courtesy of Urban Decay

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow Trio

I havent given much love to Clinique eye shadow lately, I have been using almost exclusively Urban Decay, Tarte, and MAC shadows.  Clinique is best known for their skincare products especially those that are formulated for sensitive or easily irritated skin types.  I have been using both their face cream and the Almost Lipstick a lot lately which made my remember the Eye Shadow Trio that I have and love from this collection.  I hadn't had some of the best experiences with this company's shadow so I skipped over them when I was buying foundation and lip gloss one day at the counter.  The counter was having some type of event and one of the makeup artists really wanted to do my eye makeup with a new trio that had just had just released.  I had some time so I was more than happy to give her the chance to play with it. 

Currently there are only four Eye Shadow Trios available from Clinique, a bit depressing sine I think that these are some of the better eye makeup combinations from this company.  "Three coordinating shades of velvety, shimmery colour to help create a wardrobe of looks, from subtle to dramatic.  Creamy, intense shadows build quickly, blend easily for lasting colour.  Wear them alone, as paired or layered together.  Ophthamolgist tested."  This trio contains three coordinating shadow shades, the highlighting shade takes up half the compact, since most people tend use the most of that shade.  The compact comes with a double-sided applicator, one side is a sponge tip and the other is a soft fan brush (overall applicator is too small to be useful and mine ended up in the trashcan). 

The four shades available in the Trio...

- Totally Neutral - classic neutral beige partnered with a deep grayed brown and midtone muted khaki gray
- Blushing Nude - palest neutral peach partnered with a midtone muted brown and tan with a hint of pink
- Come Heather - soft heathery violet partnered with a deep purple and a pale peach
- Ebb and Flow - palest blue green partnered with a midtoned seafoam and a blackened teal

I own Ebb and Flow, a more colorful trio then I tend to pick out.  I would typically use one colored shade with two neutral shades instead of doing thee colored shades.  Sometimes it pays to let someone else try something new out on you.  If left to my own devices I am willing to bet that I would have picked out any of the shades but Ebb and Flow.  I use the pale blue green shade as the highlighter, the seafoam in my crease, and then the blackened teal on my lid or as a liner.  This trio is striking enough to draw attnetion to my eyes but is still muted enough to be professional and use in a work setting.  The highlighter shade is the least pigmented of the three and is my least favorite, if I don't use a primer underneath it then it is barely visible on my skin.  The black teal shade is one of the most unique that I own and I wish that it was available in an eye liner formula. 

I hope that Clinique brings out more shades in this trio, I love the format and the way that the shades are put together.  I think Clinique will have a hit on their hands if more shades of this product are released over the next few seasons.

photo courtesy of Clinique

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dior Spring 2012 Collection - Garden Party

Garden Party from Dior is one of the most hyped collections of the spring and I have been seeing hints of it since the middle of December.  This collection is a full color collection that is based on spring flowers, it contains pastel hues and lots of pinks and purple shades.  This collection reminds me a lot of the Chanel spring collection with all the pink hues in it, I loved that one and I expect to love this one also.  Garden Party contains a palette called the Garden Clutch which I am already in love with and completely demonstrates the pride that Dior puts into its product presentation and packaging. 

Here is the Garden Party collection from Dior!

Garden Clutch - A lip and eye palette for a fresh look.  A pale pink case with a delicate woven decoration, and two silver-plated rosebud clasps.  The Dior Garden Clutch is a precious accessory inspired by Dior's jewelry making expertise.  The case opens to reveal the must-haves for fresh, radiant eyes and lips.  Three eye shadow shades to light up and emphasize the eyes and two lip glosses, one to enhance the lips, the other to give them color.
- Milly Garden - dark gray/light gray/cool bone/pale pink shimmer/medium pink cream

5 Couleurs Garden Edition - The legendary 5 Couleurs palette has been reinvented in a superb collector version: the shadows have been delicately embossed with a rose motif as if they have been hand-embroidered in the Dior Couture Ateliers.  Two palettes feature a range of fresh pastel harmonies, one in luminous green, the other in violets and delicate shades of pink.
- Garden Pastels - shades of greens and pale pink
- Garden Roses - shades of lilacs and pinks

3 Couleurs - Dior has reinvented the smoky eye thanks to a new 3 Couleurs Smoky palette.  A chiaro-scuro variations of effects and textures, this eye shadow trio provides infinite, easy, custom-made smoky eyes.  This original case reveals the secret of smoky "catwalk" eyes.  Its sliding lid is as astonishing as it is intelligent, revealing an innovative, pop-up mirror.  Inside, an ultra-smooth base prepares the eyelid.  The matte and iridescent shadows of this duo provide made-to-measure make up from the most simple pret-a-porter, to the most glamourous Couture looks.
- Smoky Navy - deep navy matte/medium navy blue shimmer/pale sky blue matte

Skinflash Primer - Radiance boosting makeup primer.  Inspired by backstage makeup technique, Skinflash Primer is an anti-fatigue remedy for a complexion that glows with beauty and light.  In one stroke of a brush, skin is smoothed and signs of fatigue and a dull complexion are swept away.  Created with the latest discoveries in optics, Photo-Smart Pigments boast photochromic properties that attract the light and optimally diffuse it over the complexion.  These pigments are able to adapt to all types of lighting and blend seamlessly into any skintone with one universal illuminating shade.  The formula's energizing and conditioning texture instantly restores freshness and vitality to a tired complexion.  Your skin will be left with a flawless surface - full of vitality and perfectly prepped for the application of foundation.

Diorskin Blush - Rosy Glow reacts with the moisture in each skin type, giving a delicious and subtle blush to the cheeks.  When applied, the initially fresh, light color develops into a rosy blush to suit each individual complexion, for an ultra-natural, tailor-made healthy glow that lasts all day.
- Rosy Glow - medium rose

Rouge Dior - Rouge Dior is a wardrobe of 32 sublime shades directly inspired by the deep, luxurious colors of Dior Haute Couture gowns to reveal all the beauty of triumphant and radiant feminity!  Instantly and day after day, this exceptional lipstick offers the lips the extreme splendor of full, smooth and perfectly defined youthfulness.  The secret?  A new generation of plumping hyaluronic acid microspheres.  Generously coated with pigments on the lip surface, they help boost the radiance and depth of color.  In a midnight blue Haute Couture case, with the canework motif dear to the brand, unveils the "Haute Couleur" stick, made even more extraordinary due to its unique shine and its engraved CD signature.
- Pisanelle Pink - medium neutral pink cream

Dior Addict - Straight from the runway, new Dior Addict Ultra Gloss features a featherweight formula with a flash-plumping, "spotlight shine" effect.  Hyaluronic spheres keep lips smooth and moisturized, while mirror-like micropearls reflect light in all directions for a dazzling finish!  Available in 18 catwalk colours, and 3 unique shade formulas, soft Glow, shimmering Pearl, and vibrant Flash
- Black-Tie Plum - deep cool plum shimmer

Dior Vernis - Dior creates a stir with these limited edition scented nail polishes.  Two fresh shades, soft green and flowery lilac that upon drying, release an intoxicating rose fragrance.
- Waterlily - pale mint green shimmer
- Forget-Me-Not - medium lilac cream

I am on the fence with the rose scented nail polishes, I love the scent of roses but scented nail polish reminds me of a polish formula that I would have loved in middle school.  I am willing to bet that either the polish is so scented that it gets in the way of other fragrances or it is so weak that you can only smell it when you put your hand right up to your nose.  And how often do we have time to do that during the day?  Nice concept but it wouldn't make me buy the polishes unless I liked the shades to begin with. 

I don't need to restate that my face piece of the collection is the Garden Clutch palette, it is a rare combination of both great packaing and lovely shades for lips and eyes.  This is one of the few makeup palettes that is lovely enough to set on my dresser to display.  I love the Garden Roses eye palette, the pinks and lilacs will be perfect for the spring season.  I can skip the other palette since I don't wear greens all that much.  The blush is another top choice of mine, I want to try this one out at the counter and I hope that it turns the perfect rose shade on me.  I had wanted the Rouge Dior in Pisanelle Pink a few months ago but never got around to purchasing it, perhaps this would be a good time to follow up on this shade. 
I love these collections witth all the pinks in them, however they are best for pale cool skintones and they are slightly polarizing since not everyone can wear these shades very well.

photo courtesy of Dior

Friday, January 13, 2012

Philosophy Amazing Grace

Philosophy's Amazing Grace is one of the fragrances that I put in the same category as Pink Sugar, wore it in my early 20s and now cannot wear any of the perfume versions of it.  These two fragrances have been best sellers for Sephora for years and I remember seeing then recommended to me as Top Picks when I first began ordering from there in college.  I bought my first bottle of Amazing Grace right after I got out of college and wore it religiously for several months, this actually is one of the bottles of perfume that I finished all the way to the last drop.  Wearing a fragrance all the time eventually burned me out on it and once the bottle was done, I put off buying another one until the next season.  And then the next season.  I never did end up buying that second bottle of perfume and instead bought it for my mother for Christmas.  Then she wore it almost everyday too...

Amazing Grace is the most popular fragrance for Philosophy and I believe that it was one of their first fragrances, if not their first fragrance.  I do know that it is their best selling and is available in the widest range of bath and body products of any scent from this company.  I may be done with the fragrance but I still list the body products among my favorites, exactly the same fate as the Pink Sugar fragrance.  This clean soapy floral fragrance is great any time of the year and I love picking up new products in this scent as they are released.

The Philosophy website provides a great description of the fragrance and the Sephora website fills in the blanks of the fragrance notes.  "Embrace your beauty, and express your feminity with Amazing Grace spray fragrance.  Our best-selling, amazingly clean, beautifully feminine scent."  Sephora states that this fragrance is "a uniquely feminine blend of soft, floral blossoms accented by a hint of light musk." 

I bought this fragrance is the EDT and the 3 in 1, I want to buy both of the hydrators that have been released in this fragrance too.  The EDT was my favorite piece of the product line initially but now it is the 3 in 1.  The fragrance mist was very light and I mostly wore it in the spring and summer months.  This fragrance smelled very soapy when I first sprayed it on, then the florals came out within the hour.  After about two or three hours, the musk came out and then the fragrance wore off soon after.  I got many compliments on this fragrance but it still never managed to be one of my favorites, I think it is because I smelled this fragrance all the time when I was walking down the street or at work and the appeal of it wore off.  Speaking of wearing off, this fragrance has one of the worst staying powers of any fragrance that I owned, it lasts less than three hours and I have to touch it multiple times during the day.  The lasting power is a big reason why I went through a medium sized bottle of this scent so quickly.

There is nothing wrong with this fragrance, but it just isn't unique enough for me.  I still like using the body products but I associate this product with college and it being a fragrance of the masses.  Another fragrance relegated to my fragrance graveyard...

photo courtesy of Philosophy

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Body Shop Chamomile Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

A new eye makeup remover is another one of my skincare spree purchases!  For the first time in ages, I have used up my stash of Caudalie Cleansing Water and decided that I should try out a new product.  I love the Cleansing Water but I wanted to see what else is out there and I knew that I could always return to my beloved Caudalie product if others didn't meet my standards for getting my makeup off without irritating my eye area.  I considered the famed Lancome eye makeup remover but I decided to try something that is a bit more natural and has a formula that is a bit closer to the Caudalie formula.  the last thing that I wanted to do with this experiment is made my eye area red, itchy, and irritated.  Thinking along these lines, I decided to order The Body Shop's Chamomile Eye Makeup Remover from the Sephora website.

The Body Shop's skin and body product line are considered part of the Sephora "natural and organic" line and are recommended for sensitive, easily irritated skin like my own.  I tried to find this product on the Sephora website again when I went to write this post however I can't find it so I got the details from The Body Shop's website.  "Float the day away with refreshing rosewater to gently cleanse and dissolve eye makeup.  Also conditions lashes so they feel soft and silky."

I give eye makeup remover quite a challenge on a daily basis, I use all kinds of primers under my eye shadows and at least two coats of mascara a day.  I have had many eye makeup removers that can only make a dent in getting all of my eye makeup off and I have to try and get the rest of it off in the shower with my regular face wash.  Which I hate doing since I don't feel that face wash can get eye makeup off and I don't like using it that closely around my eye area.  I have been using this new eye makeup remover for the past week and so far it has been performing better than I thought that it would.

This eye makeup remover effectively gets all of my eye makeup off with the first swipe of the cotton ball.  I do have to use a second swipe to get the rest of my mascara off from underneath my eyes but this is normal for me.  The product has a light scent, with the chamomile and the rosewater combining into a nice herbal fragrance.  This fragrance doesn't bother me at all and unless you are super sensitive to fragrance, then it shouldn't be an issue for anyone.  I love how gentle this product is and how it doesn't bother my eyes at all.  So far, this is only the second natural eye makeup remover that I have found that effectively gets my eye makeup off and doesn't irritate my eyes at the same time.

My only complaint about this product is the packaging and it's not even that big of a complaint.  The bottle is short and fat and I feel that it might involve a lot of shaking and squeezing to get product out as I get to the end of the product.  I prefer the Caudalie Cleansing Water bottle, it is tall and skinny and the product is very easy to get out until the very last drop.  This is a small complaint but it is the only thing that I would change about this product.

photo courtesy of The Body Shop

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bath and Body Works Escape to the Tropics

We have been seeing the spring makeup collections releasing and it was only a short time before the spring lines in body products began to follow.  The first new collection of fragrances that Bath and Body Works released is called Escape to the Tropics and it is a needed breath of fresh air now that winter is full upon us, with no signs of spring coming up anytime soon.  This collection is very close to the Island Escape collection that was released at this time last year.  I loved it then and I know that I will love this line too.  This line consists of three fragrances, two of which are returning scents from last year and one that is brand new.  The two returning scents were my favorites from last year and even though I still have a bit left over from last year but I know that I will buy some more this year since I loved them so much last winter.

The first of the returning fragrances is Bali Mango, one of the best mango scents that I have used in quite awhile.  The Body Shop's Mango line is still my favorite mango scent ever and is the most realistic, it is the true mango without any other notes added to it.  However, the Bali Mango is a close second favorite of mine and that it why I will be stocking up on some more of it this time around.  "An exotic getaway of juicy mango, sugar cane, pink passion flower, and luscious nectarine."  The top notes are: Tangerine, Asian Apple, Peony.  The middle notes of the fragrance are: Thai Lychee, Passion Flower, Pink Rose, Nectarine.  The bottom notes are: Raspberry Coulis, Skin Musk, Sugar Woods.  This is crisp, sweet mango scent and it is one of the stronger mango scents that I have used.  This is simply one of the best "tropical" scents that is available right now and if you like mango scents then you will want to buy yourself a few bottles of it.

The second scent is another one that was offered last year however it is under a different name this time around.  Last year, you might remember it being called Hawaii Coconut and this year it is named Aruba Coconut.  Last year, this was my favorite of the three scents and I bought more than enough of it to last me the whole year, but I know that I will be buying more of it this time around.  "An island blend of creamy coconut, exotic lychee, and white musk."  The top notes of the fragrance are: Juicy Thai Mango, Fuji Apple, White Nectarine.  The heart notes are: Passionflower, Vanilla Orchid, Casaba Melon.  The base notes are: Coconut Cream, Tahitian Vanilla, Indonesian Sandalwood.  This is one of my favorite coconut scents, it is very different from many of the others on the market today.  Most coconut scents are warm and creamy but this one is a bit more crisp with the Melon and Orchid notes in it.  This scent is less of a true coconut but more of a tropical floral with a coconut note in it. I just love this fragrance so much and I can't wait to buy more it this time around!

The new fragance for this year is Rio Rumberry and it is the only one that I don't like, it is a berry scent and I normally don't like berry scents.  Being that this is berry scent, I knew that I wouldn't like it as soon as I read the description on the Bath and Body Works website and it was confirmed when I smelled the fragrance for the first time.  This a very sweet berry scent, if you like berry scents then you will love this one.  "An exotic blend of tropical berries, fresh papaya, and vanilla blossom."  The top notes are: Thai Papaya, Tangelo, Fresh Coconut Water, Sparkling Summer Lemon.  The middle notes are: Tiare Flower Plumeria, Watery Starfruit.  The bottom notes of the fragrance are: Coconut Cream, Tahitian Vanilla, Indosnesian Sandalwood.  I just don't like berry scents so I will be skipping over this one.

This collection comes in the same products that many of the limited edition Bath and Body Works collections come in; the Body Mist, Body Lotion, Shower Gel, and Lip Gloss.  This time around the collection also comes in the Triple Moisture Body Cream and the GLowing Body Scrub.  The Triple Moisture Body Cream is one of my favorite moisturizers and I love that these fragrances are now offered in this product too.  I will be buying some of the body creams this year in additions to shower gels and body lotions.  I am on the fence with the body scrub formula this year, "Our Signature Glowing Body Scrub helps skin feel soft, smooth, and supremely sexy.  Bamboo gently exfoliates and helps smooth skin, while Coconut Milk extract and Vitamin E nourish to keep skin looking beautiful."  This version is very scrubby and reminds me of the scrub that came out last year with the Coconuts line (that I didn't really like all that much).  Last year, this line contains one of the best creamy scrubs that had come out in years and I wish that this year's collection contained the same formula scrub, I will be skipping the scrubs this time around. 

I love that this collection is back this year so that I can buy more products in the mango and coconut fragrances.  I will be buying some shower gels, lotions, and creams this year.  The only way that this line could be improved is to have the same scrub as last year instead of this new formula but I won't complain that much since I love two of the fragrances in this line.

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works