Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bath and Body Works True Blue Spa Island Spa Body Products

Bath and Body Works has had the Island Spa line of products out since I was in college, in fact I remember when I was working as an associate there and then line first released in the dead of winter.  I remember freaking out over the collection products and the line quickly became one of my favorites in the store.  And it remains so all the way up until today.  The True Blue Spa line has been out for as long as I can remember and has always contained some of the best products in the store for hydration and exfoliation.  I was a bit upset last winter when this line was repackaged and I didn't see the Island line immediately but they came back a bit later and now I have the full collection available to use again. 

This line originated as one of the only of of the few on the market to use monoi oil, both for its hydration and fragrance properties.  I imagine that many other companies have caught onto this ingredient by now so I don't really feel that it is as unique as it was when it was first released.  That being said, it doesn't lower the product in my estimation, all three of the products still perform very well and leave my shower full of a wonderful tropical fragrance.  This line currently offers three body products (it was much larger when it first came out); a body scrub, lotion, and matching shower gel.  The body scrub is still one of the best products that I have ever used and I continue to repurchase it as soon as I finish up a jar of it.

The body scrub used to be called Need a Margarita? and now has been renamed Citrus Body Scrub.  Having the word "margarita" in the title of the product was the perfect way to let you know what it smelled like, it is one of the best margarita scents that I have ever smelled.  "This tropical citrus scrub is the vacation that your skin needs from looking and feeling landlocked.  Sugar exfoliates to sweeten your spa experience balanced with just a little salt (the way you like it), while an exotic oil blend (Coconut, Almond, Avocado, Jojoba, and more) moisturizes and transports you to the tropical island of your choice every time you shower or bathe.  Sugar crystals provide exfoliation, resulting in smooth, glowing skin.  Effervescent margarita fragrance to transport you to the tropics."  This scrub is a sugar and salt base with oils that sit on the top of the product.  For best results, you must mix the oils in with the base before you use it.  If you don't, your first few applications of it will be all oil and the rest will be dry sugar and salt.  This is gritty scrub, perfect for getting all of the dead skin off your body and the oil in the formula leaves your skin soft and hydrated after your get out of the shower.  And the fact that it makes my shower smell like Margaritaville is just the icing on the already fantastic cake!

The body wash in this line is defined as a "shower cream", it is thicker and more hydrating than traditional shower gel but it still foams up, cleanses, and is made to be rinsed off.  This product was originally called Be More Pacific and wasn't included with the original release (though I do not remember quite when it came out, it was when I was still in college but my memory of when is a bit hazy).  It is now called the Nourishing Shower Cream.  "Give yourself the exotic vacation you deserve everyday.  The secret of this gentle cleansing, tropical shower cream is Tahitian Monoi Oil.  Tahitian Monoi Oil is an ingredient used by the best island spas for its deeply moisturizing, supremely soothing effects.  Tropical fruit fragrance transports you to an island getaway.  Silky lightweight formula."  This product comes out looking like a cream but foams up well when used with a puff.  It rinses relatively clean but I feel like I have a bit of residue on my skin after using this, it doesn't bother me but it is a different feeling than I get with using traditional shower gel formulas.  This is another product that I run out and rebuy as soon as I use one up, this is a favorite of mine to use all year round.

The last piece of this collection is the body lotion, a product that I believe was my first purchase from it when I was in college.  This is the product that turned me into a believer of both this collection and of the power of Monoi Oil.  This lotion is now called the Nourishing Body Lotion, but used to be called Tahiti Sweetie (such a cute name!).  "Need an escape but can't get away?  Your best remedy is Nourishing Body Lotion with Tahitian Monoi.  This exotic blend combines Coconut Oil and the Tiare Flower to give dry, tired skin a daily vacation.  Tahitian Monoi Oil is an ingredient used by the best island spas for its deeply moisturizing, supremely soothing benefits.  Lightweight lotion formula.  Tropcial fruit fragrance transports you to an island getaway."  This lotion is lightweight, silky, and is easily absorbed into the skin with no residue.  It is best used by someone with normal to slighty dry skin, this one doesn't hydrate well enough for me in the winter and I mostly use it in the spring and summer months.  This is yet another product that I buy every single time that I run out, I guess that I made the same statement for every single product in this collection but I just love all three of them so much.

I wish that this line was as large as it used to be, I remember some type of bath milk, a margarita shower gel, a foot scrub, and some type of oil (and that is just what I remember, I bet I am forgetting some of the products).  I love these products and have been buying and using them for years, I love the formula and the tropical fragrance. 

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

China Glaze The Hunger Games Collection - Captial Colors

China Glaze is releasing a second polish collection for the season in the beginning of March, the swatches of it are currently up on their website but I haven't seen it available anywhere else yet.  This collection coincides with the release of The Hunger Games movie, a film based on the best-selling young adult book.  I have not read the book but I have heard that it falls in the sci-fi genre and that the movie promises to be very true to the book, this is not a genre of book or movie that I am interested that much in so I doubt that I will see the movie when it releases this March.  I would be more likely to try and read through the book to get an idea of the plot and how China Glaze got their inspiration for the nail polish shades that they choose to be part of the collection. 

Let's start with a bit of background first.  I found the book on the Barnes and Noble website (after getting hopelessly distracted by new releases in the Mystery section) and will provide the description they put out on their website.  This title is actually a trilogy and is written by author Suzanne Collins.  I haven't read yet how the movie will be divided up, I hope that it was done the way The Lord of the Rings was.  If the director decides to smash all three books into one movie, there is then no hope for it being any better than fair.  A bit more research on this movie showed me that the film company is only doing the first book in this movie so this is what I will focus on.

The first book in the trilogy is The Hunger Games.  "Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?  In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts.  The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.  Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and her younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games.  But Katniss has been close to death before - and survival."

Looking at pictures of this movie, my head immediately goes to the spring 2011 Illamasqua color release, this world look exaclty like many of the pictures that were featured in Toxic Nature.  I guess this makes sense in that both were designed to take place in the future when the world as we know it is completely changed.  These shades are nothing like your traditional spring hues and would look much more appropriate in a fall collection, I would pick up my favorites now and then save them for a few months.  Many of shades have a shimmer or glitter texture and are all very attention getting.  These will be very interesting shades to pull off in a non-party environment.

The Capital Colors collection from China Glaze!

- Dress Me Up - medium rose brown cream
- Foie Gras - medium warm brown plum cream
- Fast Track - medium taupe with warm gold shimmer
- Hook and Line - medium gray frost
- Stone Cold - deep gray matte with silver shimmer
- Smoke and Ashes - pure black with blue and silver shimmer
- Agro - medium olive green shimmer
- Mahogany Magic - medium warm chocolate brown
- Harvest Moon - metallic copper shimmer
- Riveting - bright orange with gold shimmer
- Electrify - clear base with gold and red glitter
- Luxe and Lush - clear base with chunky silver glitter

OMG I love these colors!  I am hearing hints on the Makeup Alley boards that this collection is being spotted in a few Sally Beauty Supply stores already and so I must drive out to mine this week!  I can't even decide which is my favorite shade because I love so many of them and they are all so unique!  I checked out more swatches of these colors on the Scrangie blog and they are all so lovely.  I think that my favorite shade is Harvest Moon, it is the perfect shimmery rich copper shade.  I won't wear it until fall but it still is one of the best colors that I have seen so far this year.  Agro is very unique and would fill a big gap in my polish collection, as would Stone Cold.  I don't know how much wear I would get from these shades but I love both of them (I think that I would use them for pedicures more than manicures as these are not the easiest of shades to pull off).  I actually don't even own a matte polish so Stone Cold would be my first experience in working with this unique texture.  Smoke and Ashes is another shade that will fill a gap in my polish collection and that I must own for this fall.

I still am not that interested in the movie for this collection but I am riveted by the new shades of polish...

photo courtesy of Sally Beauty Supply

Monday, February 27, 2012

Deborah Lippmann Spring 2012 Collection - Resort Collection

I have been seeing hints of the new Deborah Lippmann spring nail polish shades in many of the March issues of the top beauty magazines and I have been so excited for the actual release of the line.  I have finally found it on the website and I am so excited to order the Mermaid's Dream shade, pale greens and blue are going to be huge this spring and this polish is one of the best and most unique shades that I have seen so far this season.  I know that I would wear these shades all spring and summer on my toes, I may not wear them quite as frequently on my nails since I have been really into pinks lately but I will be buying from this collection since these are two great new shades.

This collection is named the Resort Collection and consists of the two new shades in the popular pale blue and green hues of the spring.  I was hard-pressed to pick a favorite but I have to choose Mermaid's Dream as my favorite of the collection and one of my favorite new polishes of the whole spring season. 

The first shade of the collection is the much-hyped Mermaid's Dream, I fell in love with it as soon as I first saw it in a magazine a few weeks ago.  This is the shade that I have included a picture of so all of you can see why I fell so much in love with it.  This shade is described as "seafoam splendor" and has a glittered shimmer finish.  Based on the photos that I have been seeing of this, it looks like it would be sheer with just one coat and the full color would have to be built up with at least two or three coats.  I would wear it both ways, I think that it has the potential to be an attractive top coat on for a cool toned blue polish and it will be lovely when applied to it's true shade potential.  '

The other shade in the collection is named On The Beach, a bright blue hue that reminds me of the beautiful oceans of the Riveria.  This shade is "rich riveria blue" and has a creme finish to it.  This one will be more of a toe nail polish shade for me, this will be perfect with peep toes in the spring and I will wear it to the beach this whole summer. 

I have been loving blues and greens for the past few weeks and these are two fo the best shades that I have seen from all the collections so far.  Mermaid's Dream might be my favorite shade of the whole season and is my favorite green of the whole season so far.  I love this collection from Deborah Lippmann and my only complaint is that I wish that it was larger and contained more great pale green and blue hues for the season...

photo courtesy of Deborah Lippmann

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Academy Awards 2012 - Milla Jovovich's Red Lips

My early favorite of this year's Oscar awards is Milla Jovovich.  This is the best that we have ver seen her look, that white Elie Saab dress is simply stunning and very unique.  In addition to the perfect dress, her lips match the red carpet, with an old-fashioned matte red lip.  I would kill to know what shade this is because I will be buying it as my next red lipstick purchase. 

Her hairstyle tops off the whole look perfectly, it is a simple waved style that reminds me of the marcel looks that were so popular in the 1920s.  She looks like a 1950s movie star and is every inch old Hollywood glamour.  I challenge anyone to dethrone her as Best Dressed of the Oscars.

photo courtesy of justjared.com

Bath and Body Works St. Patty's Day Antibacterial Collection

St. Patty's Day is my favorite holiday of the entire year and I love when beauty companies treat it just as they treat Valentine's Day and Halloween.  For the longest time, I could never get products that are green hued and made just to celebrate this day.  However Bath and Body Works has changed this all around this year, last year they offered a few hand santiziers for this holiday but this year there are multiple scents in sanitizers and a matching hand soap to decorate my bathroom sink.  My dream is St. Patty's Day inspired body products and so far that hasn't come out yet but I can dream...

Happy early St. Patty's Day!

Green Apple Pocketbac Hand Sanitizer - Spread a little luck, not germs with our Who's Your Paddy? Pocketbac!  This pocket-sized bottle contains natural ingredients and powerful germ killers that help keep hands clean, fresh, and lightly fragranced with a charming blend of crisp apples, sparkling lemon, and vanilla bean.  Tahitian Palm Milk leaves hands feeling conditioned.  Kills germs without water.

Berry Lemonade Pocketbac Hand Sanitizer - Spread a little luck, not germs with our Kiss Me I'm Irish! Pocketbac.  This pocket-sized bottle contains natural ingredients and powerfel germ killers that help keep hands clean, fresh, and lightly fragranced with the scent of puckering fresh raspberries, nectarines, lemon, and pineapple.  Tahitian Palm Milk leaves hands feeling conditioned.  Kills germs without water.

Green Apple Gentle Foaming Hand Soap - Spread luck, not germs with our Kiss Me I'm IrishGentle Foaming Soap!  Soft bursts of this lightweight foam gently wash away dirt and germs, leaving skin soft and lightly scented with a charming blend of crisp green apples, sparkling lemon, and vanilla bean.  An exclusive blend of moisturizing honey, coconut milk, and olive fruit extracts helps to nourish and soften skin.  Mango fruit extract gently cleans and conditions hands.

I have purchased several of each Pocketbac already, I will use these all the way through the spring so that I can celebrate my favorite holiday the way that many people celebrate the Christmas season.  I prefer the green apple scent to the berry lemonade but I don't mind the berry lemonade.  I don't really see where berry lemonade comes into play with this holiday, I would have thought that a green grass type of fragrance would have been better but I'm not really complaining.  The last piece that I have to buy is the hand soap, I don't know that I will buy more than two of these since I use them pretty slowly and I would have them in my bathroom all the way until May if I buy too many.

I love finding new ways to celebrate my favorite holiday and I can't wait to get all these new products out on the first day of March!

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Guerlain Spring 2012 Collection - The Pinks and The Blacks

It is hard to believe that we have been working through spring collections for almost two months now and that we have about one more month until the weather improves enough to actually wear all the new shades.  I have seen some great pinks this season and I have been turned into a pink fanatic, I think that I have bought more pink shades this season than I ever have before.  The new collection from Guerlain is another one that contains pinks, I first saw hints of this collection at the beginning of the winter and I have been excited to see for quite a long time now.  There are only a few pieces available on the Guerlain website so I went over to the Nordstrom website to get the full range of products and details.

This collection is called The Pinks and The Blacks, it is a series of pale pinks spiked with touches of deep cool tones.  This collection contains one of the famous Guerlain powder products, the pressed version of the famed Meteorites highlighter.  Meteorites is one of the best selling and top rated highlighting products on the market and has one of the biggest followings among beauty bloggers and the Makeup Alley Makeup Board.  Personally, I am more excited for the eye compacts in this collection than any highlighter that this company could release but I may not be in the majority here.

The newest collection from Guerlain...

Meteorites Illuminating and Mattifying Pressed Powder - Guerlain, the pioneer and leader of powders, develops a pressed powder in perfect osmosis with the skin.  This fine, ultra-light, and imperceptible correcting powder delivers radiance in its purest form thanks to light itself.  The secret of this powder case: a constellation of minuscule multicolored radiant pearly particles with yellow, orange, green, red, violet or white reflections to recreate ideal radiance.  Nestled in an elegant powder case, this compact slips into the palm of your hand, the latest 'it' bag or your makeup pouch.  It goes everywhere you do to show off a radiant complexion in all circumstances.  In a round pebble - decorated with this legendary pink rosette and adorned with an integrated mirror as well as a lovely and incomparably soft puff - new Meteorites will be instantly embraced to become the ally of a perfect complexion.
- 01 Teint Rose - cool pink shimmer

Noir G Mascara - New Noir G is the first mascara to combine the extravagant luxury of a jewel case with a mirror and an extraordinary formula that adds volume, lengthens, and curls.  Ultra-black pigments create perfectly defined eyes without any risk of smearing, smudging, or clumping.  A fortifying agent helps to regenerate lashes by stimulating keratin for fortification and lash growth.  Like a magic wand, the ground-breaking Noir G goes one step further with a refillable applicator, making it convenient and easy to switch to a new wand as soon as you need it.  Pull on the case and with a click, the hidden mirror is revealed.  Add a quick twist and the brush appears, ready to create exceptional, stunning lashes.
- Black - black

Ecrin 6 Couleurs Eye Shadow Palette - A trend-setter one day and a sleek sophisticate the next, a woman's style changes with her mood.  Transform your look with one palette, six colors - the possibilites are endless.  This new Guerlain eye shadow palette caters to your every whim, offering a range of iridescent, matte, and satin shadows.  Each palette bears the name of a Guerlain boutique in Paris.  Choose your address!
- 66 Boulevard de Montparnasse - pale pink gold /dirty lavender/warm medium lavender/bright cool blue pink/deep warm red purple/dark cool plum

Ecrin 4 Couleurs Eye Shadow Palette - The essence of color: one palette, four shades.  Create, have fun, and dare to wear color as an accessory.  These palettes were specifically designed to be used together and can be mixed, matched, and blended with no fear of mistakes.  Application is extremely simple, intuitive, fun - risk-free!  Choose your range: each palette offers iridescent, matte, satin, and metallic shadows.
- 11 Les Roses - light pearl pink/medium matte bright pink/medium berry satin/deep plum matte
- 12 Les Aquas - light pearl teal/medium blue shimmer/shimmering silver/deep navy matte

Kiss Kiss Gloss - Lips get drenched in sheer, pearly, or sparkly color with the new Kiss Kiss Gloss!  Its revolutionary, nonsticky formula keeps lips moisturized while water-resistant and magnifying esters ensure long-lasting effects with a boost of volume.  Its flat, smooth brush provides accurate application.  Available in three different formulas: Petal Effect gives sheer coverage, Pearl Effect gets a boost of pearly essence, and Gloss Effect provides a subtle, sparkling finish.
- 870 Cherry Pink - pastel pink
- 872 Flush Pink - bright pink
- 871 Frosted Pink - clear shimmer with soft pink hints
- 869 Rose In Bloom - medium cool pink

Rouge G de Guerlain Lipcolor - At the first click, the case reveals a stunning mirror, a promise of your own personal luxury, and then an exceptional lipstick nestled within the case.  An exceptional accessory, Rouge G de Guerlain surpasses mere beauty with a breathtaking formula.  A precious ruby powder interacts with daylight to reveal spectacular radiance unachieved to date.  At the first contact, lips are immediately defined, smoothed, plumped, and hydrated.  As an ode to the color pink, four new glamorous shades have been created this spring!  Your lips will be left radiant and as soft as a flower petal.  The "Pink Collection" Rouge G comes in 4 Limited Edition shades.
- 75 Rose Barbare - deep pink red rose
- 73 Rose Ensoleille - medium warm coral pink
- 72 Rose Innocent - light cool blue pink
- 74 Rose Piquant - medium neutral rose

I love this collection!  My favorite piece is the Ecrin 6 Couleurs Eye Shadow Palette, this is one of the best ranges of pink and purple shades that I have seen this season and this might be the only eye palette that you would need to buy to create all the pink makeup looks you want this season.  I hate how hard this product is to find but I must try to get to a counter in New York City and buy this palette.  I don't need the other two palettes; the pink one is unnecessary if I purchase the Ecrin 6 Couleurs and the other palette contains blue shades that I would never use.  To round out the eye makeup products, I must try the new mascara formula.
I love almost all of the lip products, I would purchase the lipsticks first.  My favorite shade is the 75 Rose Barbare, this deep red rose will be perfect for spring and then again in the fall.  My second favorite shade is the 72 Rose Innocent, this light pink will be perfect for the spring.  My favorite of the lip glosses is 870 Cherry Pink even though I don't need another pink lip gloss in the least bit.  872 Flush Pink is my second favorite shade of gloss, I have been loving bright pink glosses so far this season and this one looks to be a great addition to my collection.

This collection might be one of my top five favorites of the spring season...

photo courtesy of Nordstrom

Friday, February 24, 2012

OPI for Sephora Spring 2012 Collection - Bohemian Brights

I still haven't found the Electropop collection from China Glaze at my Ulta store and I have been filling the void by checking out every other nail polish brand that I can think of.  I am hoping that this collection comes out before I go crazy, China Glaze is also coming out with another collection this spring for the release of The Hunger Games movie and I am dying for shades from both collections.  I may not be as excited about some of the other spring collections of nail polishes but at least I know that I can find them easily.  Today we will look at the newest collection from OPI for Sephora, a cery easy to find collection in which all the shades are almost always in stock. 

The newest collection from OPI for Sephora is called Bohemian Brights and is a bit different than many fo the collections that we have been seeing throughout the spring.  This collection is a series of bright polishes (but not neons) that will work from the end of the spring season and then into the summer months.  I am not a huge fan of bright polishes but I have been looking for a bright pink to add to my collection.  Which I do see in the overall picture for this collection so I looking forward to seeing this collection in person at a Sephora store.

"A stunning combination of relaxed neutrals and daring brights, each one makes the perfect companion to your spring wardrobe.  Inspired by vintage jewelry and free-spirited bohemian style, these hues are both statement-making and effortlessly chic - so you can unleash your free spirit."

Nail Colour - Fashion-forward, wearable nail colours for the modern woman who is looking for an effective, safe, environmentally conscious brand.  Sephora by OPI Nail Colour, a line of 54+ trend-setting shades, puts the final touch on fingertips and toes with a top-quality formula you have come to expect from OPI.  The long-lasting, chip-resistant polish ensures flawless results with each application, and its green ingredient list excludes DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde.  Sephora by OPI combines the quality and color expertise of OPI, the world leader in professional nail color, with Sephora's reputation for the latest in beauty and sophistication.
- Paisley Attention To Me - opaque tangerine orange
- What Aura Gonna Where? - opaque hot pink
- It's Totally Karma - opaque lime green
- Neutral Beauty - opaque honey tan
- I Only Shop Vintage - opaque metallic golden bronze
- Happy Earth Day To Me - opaque dark army brown
- White Hot - opaque white
- Bright As a Feather - opaque metallic light blue
- What's Your Sign - opaque metallic peach

Bohemian Brights Mini Nail Colour Set - A six-piece set of petite nail colors in spring's best brights and neutrals.  Bright, punchy hues groove with earthy chic shades in this stunning collection.  Each statement-making hue is as unique as the vintage jewelry a "bohemian-ista" wears so fashionably.  Adorn your fingers and toes with the long-wearing, chip-resistant formulas and take the travel-friendly sizes with you wherever you wander.
- Let's Hear It For The Free Spirit! - pink/orange shimmer
- What Aura You Gonna Wear? - bright pink
- It's Totally Karma - bright green
- Neutral Beauty - camel
- That's What Fringe Is For - brown shimmer
- Happy Earth Day To Me - olive

My favorite shade is the What Aura You Gonna Wear?, I love the bright pink hue and the fact that it has a cream finish.  This is the only shade that I really want from this collection, the neutrals are rather basic and the other brights aren't really my style.  Bright as a Feather is the only other shade that I like enough to purchase from this collection so I doubt that I will be buying all that much the next time that I visit this counter at Sephora. 

China Glaze...you are killing me at the moment!

photo courtesy of Sephora

Thursday, February 23, 2012

MAC Lightfully New

Lightfully New is the newest collection that is up on the MAC website however I didn't see it at the counter when I went by the other day.  Since this is a skincare collection, I wonder if it only available on the website and at the freestanding stores.  This collection is based on the original Lightful line of skincare that became a cult favorite several years back.  From what I remember, this collection was only available in the United States for a short period of time and was modeled after much of the skincare technology that was and is still very popular in Asia.  That line of skincare product focused on brightening the overall skintone and lightening areas of the face that were plagued by discoloration damage.  I hope that this collection is permanent since I hate limited edition skincare products since I will never be able to find them again after the initial purchase.

This collection is only available on the MAC website so far, I looked for it on both the Nordstrom and Macy's website and neither of them had any mention of it.  "A natural upgrade to the original Lightful formula!  Four new products for your daily regime, all featuring the active benefits of three freshly harvested seaweeds plus Super-Duo Charged Water.  Nourish, hydrate, de-oxidize, fortify the skin and add radiance the marine-bright way."  I have used products contained seaweed on my body before but I have never tried them out on my face so this collection will be the first time using this type of technology on my face.

The skincare products in the Lightfully New collection...

Lightful Moisture Cream - Now enhanced with the active high impact power of our Marine-Bright complex and Super-Duo Charged Water, this lightweight, gel-style moisturizing cream works harder to boost skin's moisture and instantly, over time, make the skin more luminous.

Lightful Essence - With the addition of Marine-Bright complex and Super-Duo Charged Water to its formula, this lightweight serum now acts more powerfully to moisten, condition, and plump skin for a smoother, more radiant look and feel.  Impact increases over time.

Lightful Softening Lotion - Infused with the active high power of our Marine-Bright complex, this softening lotion conditions the skin for a more radiant look and feel.  Impact increases over time.

Lightful Cleanser - With our Marine-Bright complex and Super-Dup Charged Water now contributing to its impact, this foaming, mousse-style cleanser intensifies the overall benenfits to your skin.  Actively cleanses, rebalances, refreshes, hydrates, and brightens the skin.

I have not tried the original Lightful line of products so I can't really comment on the difference between the two lines, I would hope that the new one would be better than the original but I will not comment either way.  I am willing to give this line of products a try since I am always looking to brighten my overall skintone, my two top choices from the line would be the Moisture Cream and the Essence.  These two products are the closest to the ones that I have been playing with from Clarins and I am hopeful that I will get the same type of results from these.  I have to revisit my local counter and see if the products can be purchased there or if I will have to order from the MAC website.

photo courtesy of MAC

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

MAC Viva Glam Nicki and Ricky

I have been going crazy for this collection since I first heard about it last summer/early fall.  It finally has been released, first on the MAC website last week and then it finally got to my local counter at the beginning of this week.  I had been stalking the MAC website for the past week so I could see it when it first came out, I wanted to see as many pictures of the lipstick shade as possible since I was somewhat afraid to order it with just seeing the one promotional picture, my skintone is so radically different from Nicki Minaj's that I can't decide how it will look on me.  It took days for my counter to get this product out and I still haven't seen the Lip Conditioner at the counter yet.  I still am a bit surprised that it only had a small display on the counter and that Shop MAC, Cook MAC still had the biggest area of the counter.  I always thought that Viva Glam was among the biggest sellers for MAC...

The MAC website provides very little in the way of a description of the products so I decided to wait until they were up on the Nordstrom website instead of trying to see what I find on the MAC website.  The Nicki part of this collection is a bright pink lipstick and the Ricky part of this collection is a clear Lip Conditioner (suitable for both genders).  I was most interested in the lipstick of course, I had originally thought that the Lip Conditioner was going to be more of tinted pink hue (before I knew that it had anything to do with Ricky) and I was really excited for a tinted pink lip balm.  Once I saw the Lip Conditioner on the MAC website, I knew that I could skip over it since I don't really need another clear lip balm.

The Nordstrom website contains a full description of both products.  "MAC and hip hop diva Nicki Minaj join forces to to create Viva Glam Nicki, a sizzling shade of flamingo pink with a satin finish.  Every cent from the sale goes toward helping women, men, and children living with and affected by HIV and AIDS."  On Nicki Minaj, this shade looks like a neutral bright pink but it looked very different when I swatched it on my hand at the counter.  It is a bright yellow pink and was much warmer than it looked on the website.  It looked more like a bright coral pink shade on me and was much too warm to be flattering on my skin.  It looked awful on me and I was so glad that I didn't just order it from the website since it looked so different on my skin than it did on Nicki Minaj.  I was so bummed that it didn't work since I have wanted this lip shade for so long...

The Lip Conditioner wasn't even shown at the counter, however I know what a clear lip balm looks like so I feel confident that I can skip over it without looking at the product itself.  "Pop icon Ricky Martin amps up Viva Glam with a lip conditioner that goes from day to dance floor.  Untinted, it keeps lips soft and supple.  Every cent from the sale goes toward helping women, men, and children living with and affected by HIV and AIDS."  This isn't a product that I need at the moment.

I was so upset that this lipstick didn't work for me, I love to support the MAC AIDS Foundation and I was just so excited for another bright pink lipstick to add to my collection.  I just it just wasn't meant to be this time around, hopefully the next Viva Glam release will be better than this one for my skintone.

photo courtesy of Nordstrom

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment

The Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment might be one of the best loved hair products while being one of the most hated at the exact same time.  Let me explain...this mask hydrates and nourishes like nothing else on the market but smells awful.  Simply awful...and the scent lingers the longest with use of the hair mask.  Ojon is one of the most unique brands on the market today, the entire line uses pure ojon oil to help hydrate and restore dry, damaged hair.   This line started out at a group of products only for very dry, damaged hair and has taken off to include products for every single type of hair issue.
First we will start with a description of the ojon oil and the background behind it.  I found the best description on the Ojon website and that is where I will be pulling the information from.  "Everyday sun, pollution, coloring, harsh chemicals, heat styling, friction from combing, diet, stress, and the natural aging process cause serious damage to your hair, making it limp and lackluster, coarse, dull, tangled, difficult to style and manage.  Now whatever the damage, you can transform your hair to perfect health with Ojon hair treatments formulated with nature's golden elixir.  This 500 year-old beauty secret was discovered by Ojon founder Denis Simioni in the remote regions of the tropical rainforest in Central America.  The velvety-smooth, golden elixir is is obtained from the nut of the native Ojon tree and is hand-extracted according to ancient, eco-friendly traditions.  In one year, a single Ojon tree yields less than 8000 nuts, just enough to produce three cups of this precious natural ingredient.  The purity of this precious oil is what creates its natural affinity for hair.  Whenever pure Ojon oil comes into contact with hair, it helps restore radiance, suppleness, bounce, body, volume, and vibrancy to help repair even the most damaged hair."

The nut oil in this product is really what makes it so unique, Ojon owns the patent on this ingredient so the effects from this line are not available from use of any other product.  It is what makes this hair mask so hydrating and repairitve and also what makes this product smell so bad.  I first bought one of these masks several years ago and bought another one when I ran out, the product can't be beat and I learned to ignore the fragrance of it...

The Restorative Hair Treatment is one of the best known products in the Ojon line and the associate at Sephora told me that she recommends this treatment to anyone that complains of dryness or dullness of their hair.  "This clinically proven cult classic is now purified using an exclusive double-filtration method and is fortified with nature's golden elixir plus Rouge Oleifera to create the next generation of our deeply restorative treatment.  After just one treatment, it restores vibrant health to even the most deeply damaged hair.  Plus helps increase hair's strength against breakage.  Hair is soft, silky, and manageable.  A must-have for lifeless, dull, brittle, frizzy, flyway or unmanagable hair."

I use this product about once a month in the winter and maybe once every two months in the summer.  It is more tolerable in the winter months since it smells very strong and I use it with a hot towel on my head.  I coat my hair from the ears down when I use this product and then put a warm towel around my whole head.  I keep the towel warm for about the next half hour with the use of a hair dryer (see why this is not the best to use during the warm weather?!) and then I rinse it off in the shower.  I usually need at least two washings to get all the residue and the smell out of my hair.  It leaves my hair soft and very shiny for the next few weeks and is worth all the trouble that I go through to use it. 

This product is not recommended for use five days before or after hair coloring as it will affect how the hair shaft keeps the color.  I do have to plan when I use this product pretty carefully since I have plan around colorings and when I have the time to really use this product correctly.  This does make the product much more high maintence than many other deep treatments on the market today but the results are just soooo worth the stress.

I noticed when I was looking at this product on the company's website that they have reformulated a bit since I bought my last jar of it.  The company states that they have lightened the fragrance of the product and I am really excited to buy another jar of this now.  I might have to update this post in a few months since my least favorite part of the product have been changed, I am hopeful that this company hasn't changed any other aspect since this is one of the best deep treatments that I have ever used.

photo courtesy of Ojon

Monday, February 20, 2012

True Blood Pam's Hair Color

Is vampire my new look for spring?  I have been told by someone who is in the beauty industry that she thinks I would look great with this color hair since my skintone is similar.  I would start with highlights and then work my way up to this shade of pale blond and the whole look wouldn't fully emerge until next fall.  Is this is bit too much or is a big change a good thing?

photo courtesy of True Blood Wiki

Friday, February 17, 2012

Estee Lauder Spring 2012 Collection - Topaz

Well Valentine's Day is officially over and now I am just counting the days until spring begins, I think that this is the most depressing time of the year since it seems like it takes forever for the warmer weather to come.  I am about half way through looking at spring collections and we have seen some great collections so far and that gets me even more excited to pair all the great pink shades that I have been seeing with a sundress.  One of the more unique looking collections this season is the new one from Estee Lauder, this collection is named Topaz and it consists of blues and bronzes.  This collection almost looks more like a summer collection since these shades will look best against summer-bronzed skin. 

This collection consists of bronze face shades, neutral lips, and bright shimmering blues for the eyes and nails.  This might not be the best collection for me since I don't do blue eye makeup or bronze face shades, the nail polish might be my best bet in this collection.  I am happy that I am seeing something different at least and I can see this collection having appeal to those with warmer skin tones (most of what we have been seeing this whole season are best for cool skin tones). 

The Topaz collection from Estee Lauder!

Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee - High polish for your skin.  Innovative tri-blend liquid, powder, gel formula goes beyond face powder to give you a sexy, sophisticated glow.  The perfect mix of pigment and pearls for a multi-reflective finish.  Smooths on as an all-over sheen soft sheen.  Builds for luminous pearl highlighting.
- Topaz Chameleon - medium bronze shimmer

Pure Color Five Color Eye Shadow Palette - Eye shadow palette created by Tom Pecheux for the ultimate eye shadow expression.  A high-style mix of textures and shades to inspire creative blending, highlighting and color accenting.  Release your inner artist.  The versatile 5-color palette allows you to play with intensities, mix and blend shades, express different attitudes - soft to bold.  Holds 5 varying color intensities and finishes: matte, satin, shimmer, and metallic.  Use the shades for a touch of trend or to make an all-out color statement.  The highlighter is the magic touch.  Use it to brighten the look and widen eyes instantly.  The deepest shade structures and defines the eyes.  True Vision Color: maximized color impact; magnified vibrancy, clarity, and dimension; long-wearing, stays color-true, won't fade.  Sleek compact includes applicator and mirror.
- Topaz Mosaic - medium champage shimmer/medium warm bronze shimmer/medium taupe shimmer/deep chocolate shimmer/pure gold shimmer

Pure Color Intense Kajal Eye Crayon - Creamy crayon packs intense, smouldering color impact in one single stroke.  Rich, deeply pigmented shades.  Glides on velvety smooth.  Blends easily.  For added drama, apply on the lower rim of the eye.  Use as a liner along lashline and softly smudge over lids to intensify the smoky look.
- Dramatic Black - pure deep black
- Dramatic Teal - bright blue teal
Pure Color Gloss - Lip gloss with the power to light up your face.  True Vision technology transforms ordinary color and makes it extraordinary.  Imagine what it will do for your lips.  In a wide range of wearable shades with lasting shine for a lasting impression.  You will want them all.  True Vision Color: maximized color impact; magnified vibrancy, clarity, and dimension; amplified brilliance.  Each Pure Color Gloss shade comes in one of three distinct, multi-dimensional finishes: Mirror Shine; Luminous Shimmer; Dimensional Sparkle.  All with sheer-to-medium coverage.  High Performance Wear: feels light and luscious, never sticky; drenched with conditioners; flexible-tip applicator hugs every curve of your lips; smooths on preciously, stays on perfectly.
- Citron Kiss - pure shimmering gold

Pure Color Sensuous Rouge Lip Color - So addictive, your lips will crave more.  The only lipstick with indulgent, creamy color wrapped around a luscious soft center.  Our most moisturizing lipstick.  Caresses your lips with two moisture-rich formulas: ultra creamy color outside, lip-loving elixir in the center.  For a double infusion of delicious color and moisture.  Lips have never felt this sensuous.  Contains an exotic blend of fruit extracts, including red raspberry seed oil, passionfruit, and murumuru and shea butters.  Plus a new warm vanilla scent.  True Vision Color: maxmized color impact; magnified vibrany, clarity, and dimension; amplified brilliance.  Soft, luminous finish.  Light-catching pearls create a soft, luminous finish.  Lips instantly look fuller.  Buttery-smooth texture.  Looks as good as it feels.  Medium-to-full buildable coverage.  Long-lasting wear.  Feather-resistant.
- Sensuous Nude - deep warm nude cream
- Sultry Caramel - deep warm caramel cream
- Sublime Nectar - bright warm peach cream

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

This is not a collection for me with the exception of the nail polish shade, I really love this teal shade and I want to get this the next time that I get to the counter.  The eye shadow palette is also a top pick of mine from this collection, I already own many of these shades but I have never tried one of the palettes from Estee Lauder so I might have to pick this one up to try out their pigmentation and texture.  Other than these two products, the rest of the collection is just too warm for me to find flattering.  All of the lip shades will look great on someone other than me, the gold lip gloss is really pretty but won't flatter my skintone.  The same applies for all of the face products.

This collection is much better for warmer skintones and therefore I will not be buying all that much from it, but I am happy to see a bit of diversity in the spring collections and a break from all the cool toned pale shades.

photo courtesy of Estee Lauder

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Phyto Phyto 7 Daily Hydrating Botanical Cream

I have reviewed many Phyto hair care products on this blog and this is one of the few hair brands that I continue to repurchase products from over and over.  I have been using this line since I first got out of college in 2006 and still continue to faithfully use products from this line.  My favorites are the PhytoCitrus line of color care products and the Phyto 9 Leave In.  Phyto 9 is a god-send this time of the year, with the dry winter air sapping my hair of all moisture and luster.  The last time that I ran out to Sephora to replenish my supply of this leave-in treatment, I discovered that Sephora was sold out of it and I needed to try something else out until it came back in stock.
I thought that my safest bet would be to try another leave-in product from Phyto.  I choose to buy the Phyto 7 Leave-In treatment, a slightly lighter version of the Phyto 9 product that I had been using.  Phyto 9 has nine natural plant extracts and Phyto 7 has two less.  Phyto 7 is included in the collection for dry hair, where Phyto 9 is in the collection for very dry hair.  I expected this product to be a bit less hydrating and I was suprised at how much of a difference the two less botanical ingredients made.

"A daily leave-in treatment for fine to medium-textured hair.  Infused with seven pure and natural plant extracts, this weightless cream instantly hydrates, smoothes, and protects tresses while preventing frizz, static, and split ends.  Hair is left shiny and managable."  The seven active plant extracts are: Mallow, Soybean, Burdock, Rosemary, Sage, Calendula, and Willow.  All of these extracts are used in the product to aid in hydration and helping the hair shaft to retain moisture.

Why the description of this product states that it is for fine to normal hair when it is in the dry hair collection is well beyond me, unless Phyto completely changed their product line around.  Aside from the labeling confusion, this product helped hydrate my hair but wasn't near as hydrating as the Phyto 9.  Phyto 9 is the better of the two products for my hair.  Phyto 7 has a lighter texture, it absorbs into my wet hair quickly and left no residue on my hair shaft.  It helped to hydrate my dry ends, of course it was better than using nothing in my hair but still left a bit to be desired.  I might use this product during the spring and summer months when ny hair isn't as dry and I am not fighting static and flyways. 

Someone with fine or normal hair isn't the target market for a hydrating leave-in, even one that is light and leaves no residue.  This product would be better marketed to people with dry hair as they are the primary purchasers of leave-in creams.  I hope that my Phyto 9 is available the next time that I go to Sephora, this version was a bit too light for my hair this time of the year.  I might revisit it next May since my hair will not be as dry that time of the year.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

OPI Spring 2012 Collection - Holland Collection

We have been seeing some great nail polish collections so far this spring and I am excited to see even more great new shades!  So far, my favorite has been China Glaze but I am really excited to see the newest collection from OPI, I have been seeing pieces of it in many of the beauty magazines over the past month and it is finally out and on the website.  Last year, this company did a collection based on major cities in the United States and they have done the same theme throughout the years on countries from all over the world.  This spring's collection is another version of this type of collection, all of the shades are based on the culture and history of Holland.  Kiss Me On My Tulips is my early favorite from this collection, I have seen it in multiple magazines so far and I love the deep pink shade.
This collection consists of fourteen new shades, all types of colors and finishes.  They range from a pale nude all the way down to a deep eggplant.  In this respect, this isn't your typical spring collection since many of the shades are deeper than what we have been seeing so far this season.  However this collection is so diverse that everyone can find at least one shade to suit them.

The shades...

- A Roll in The Hague - bright neon orange cream
- Did You 'Ear About Van Gogh? - neutral light cream beige
- Dutch 'Ya Just Love OPI? - deep reddish purple with a shimmer finish
- Gouda Gouda Two Shoes - dirty warm rose cream
- I Don't Give a Rotterdam! - dusky perwinkle blue with silver shimmer
- I Have A Herring Problem - slate blue with silver shimmer
- Kiss Me on My Tulips - bright cool pink cream
- Pedal Faster Suzi! - light blue pink with silver shimmer
- Red Lights Ahead...Where? - bright coral red cream
- Thanks a WindMillion - dirty mint green cream
- Vampsterdam - deep eggplant with silver shimmer
- Wooden Shoe Like To Know? - medium warm chocolate brown with gold shimmer

As I stated above, my favorite shade is Kiss Me on My Tulips, the tulips that blossom every spring in Holland are lovely and this shade is a great representation of them, along with being perfectly on trend.  This is my number one pick from the collection and is making my next Most Wanted list.  My second favorite shade is the oddball shade in the spring collection, Vampsterdam is the deep eggplant with silver shimmer and would fit in much better in a fall collection.  I will buy it now and get it out to use next fall.  Pedal Faste Suzi! is the light pink shade with silver shimmer and I would get a lot of wear from it with my current pink obsession.  To round out the collection, I want two shades that will fit perfectly with all the light blues and greens that are so popular this spring; Thanks a WindMillion and I Don't Give a Rotterdam!

I like this collection more than I have liked the past few from the OPI and it is pretty rare that I find a shade from OPI that I get obsessed with it and must purchase it.  The collection does contain a great range of shades but it seems like some of them were just thrown in with no rhyme or reason (why is there a deep eggplant in this collection?!), some of the shades are directly on trends but others are completely out of the blue...

photo courtesy of OPI

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

MAC Mineralize Perfectly Finished

Mineralize Perfectly Finished is the first of the big releases from MAC this week, however this one pales in comparison to the Nicki Minaj and Viva Glam lip product range that is coming out at the end of the week.  I am betting that MAC released this small face product collection early in hopes that it would get any attention at all.  A new foundation/concealer formula versus the super hyped up Viva Glam collection?  After all the hype surrouding Nicki Minaj, I can't really see many people get excited about this small collection.  I am not currently looking for any type of product that is covered in this collection so I will check it out right now since it is new but I won't be purchasing anything from it until I am shopping for new base makeup products.

MAC states the following about the new product line, "Look what's happening in Mineralize - a new, creamy, mineral-rich Concealer to match SPF 15 Foundation/Loose for a naturally radiant, flawless finish.  Follow with the dazzle of our new Mineralize Eye Shadow Duos."  I don't see any mention of the Eye Shadow Duos, all I see in this collection is the foundation and the concealer so I guess that is all that we will be looking at today.
The new face makeup formulation from MAC...

Mineralize SPF 15 Foundation/Loose - A silky mineral-rich Mineralize Foundation/Loose with everyday SPF 15 protection.  Provides a medium-buildable natural to natural-satin finish.  Brushes on for a smooth, radiant look.  Helps skin stay healthy and nourished.  Available in a wide range of shades for all skin tones.

Mineralize Concealer - Enriched with minerals and nourishing botanicals, this creamy, easy-to-blend Concealer covers and perfects while moisturizing the skin.  Confortable and longwearing.  Provides medium coverage with a natural luminous finish.  Available in a wide range of shades for all skin tones.

188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush - A flat-topped, full circular brush used for lightweight application and blending of any formula colour - fluid, cream, powder, or pigment.  Ideal for creating soft layers or adding textures.  Made from a soft blend or goat and synthetic fibers.

I would be interested in trying this concealer out but as I stated above, I don't need a new concealer at the moment.  Next time that I am running low on this product, I will check it out and at the counter and see if it something that I might be interested in, I normally don't use liquid concealers that have the sponge tip since I feel that they don't cover imperfections well enough.

photo courtesy of MAC

Monday, February 13, 2012

Smashbox Spring 2012 Collection - Be Discovered

Smashbox spring collections are usually among my favorites every single year, there is something about the way that this company creates a spring collection that manages to look completely different every year and always contains shades that are flattering on so many ladies.  My favorite collection is still the spring look from 2010, it was a series of pink shades that were introduced for Valentine's Day and then were still right on trend for the rest of the spring, no other collection from this company has ever compared to that one.  I wish that I had been able to buy more products from that line before it was completely sold out at Sephora...

This year's spring collection is named Be Discovered and something about the name and the overall theme of the collection seemed so familiar as soon as I found it on the Smashbox website.  Something that had to do with fall was my first thought and this was nagging at me so I knew that it wouldn't stop bothering me until I looked up their past few collections.  I went back in my Archives and saw that their collection from last fall was named Girls On Film and the palettes that were offered with that collection were quite similar in set up to the ones that we are seeing in this new collection.  I wasn't really all that taken with the Girls On Film collection, there was nothing wrong with it but there was nothing that really jumped out at me as something that I needed to purchase.  Smashbox has long tradition of great spring collections so I really hope that this one is different enough from the fall products.

"Your 15 minutes of fame is calling!  Work it with the freshest A-list looks, hot off our sets for spring.", states the Smashbox website in a description of the collection products.  This is a typical Smashbox collection, it contains eye, lip, and cheek products and there is no major emphasis on only category.  The fact that this company always releases a balanced collection is one of my favorite aspects of their collections, I know that I will find something good no matter what type of products I am most interested in at the moment.

Here is the new collection from Smashbox!

Be Discovered Eye Shadow Palette - From red carpets to runways, pastel lids rule this spring!  Get 'em with this perfectly on-trend palette.  Eight richly pigmented, blendable shadows will have you creating endlessly pretty looks all season long.  Finish up any look with a touch of the opal shade on inner corners of the eyes.  Instantly brightening!
- Bliss - pale champage gold shimmer
- Rosewater - pale pink shimmer
- Opal - pale opal shimmer
- Mist - pale silver shimmer
- Adobe - matte cool medium brown
- Champage - medium beige shimmer
- Pebble - matte deep cool brown
- Lilac - medium lilac shimmer

Be Discovered Cream Cheek Trio - Our cult-fave cream cheek color is back!  This time in fresh, modern hues fit for today's hottest "it" girls.  These super blendable, velvety shades look good alone, or mix and layer for your perfect flush of color!
- Show Biz - raspberry/bubble gum/cool highlight
- In Lights - warm coral/sparkling rose/warm highlight

Be Discovered Jet Set Eyeliner and Brush - Superstars like you don't have time for smudged liner!  Create show-stopping definition that lasts all day with this innovative gel-based formula.  It glides on easily and dries to a waterproof finish for looks that won't budge.  Includes angled liner brush!  To intensify any look, try lining the inner rims of eyes for heightened drama and definition.
- Dark Slate - deep slate blue
- Deep Brown - deep warm brown

Be Discovered Be Legendary Lipstick - Air kiss with the best of them, thanks to this ultra-luxe lipstick!  Get lustrous, saturated color worthy of any red carpet with one swipe of the creamy formula.  Plus, it's packed with vitamins and shea butter for lasting hydration and comfortable wear.  Shine with the best of them!  For high-impact luster, add a dab of our pearlscent Reflection High Shine Lip Gloss in the center of the lips.
- Pink Petal - hot pink
- Honey - rosy nude
- Melondrama - soft peach

This is another collection that is nice but not up to the standards that I have seen in previous seasons from this company.  I like every piece in the collection but there is nothing that I am dying to own or is unique enough for me to chase after the next time that I go to Sephora.  My favorite piece of the collection is the eye shadow palette, I like the range of cool shades that is included with this collection and I know that I would get a good amount of use from it this spring. 

I like that this collection contains pink shades for both lips and cheeks too.  The Show Biz trio blush contains two great pinks and a highlighter for blending.  I have to see this product the next time that I go to Sephora since I actually haven't tried a Smashbox blush formula yet.  The Be Legendary Lipstick is a new formula and I want to buy a few of these to really review the lipstick formula itself.  I want to start with the Pink Petal shade since I have been all over pinks this spring.  I will be following up with another review once I have been able to buy several of these lipsticks.

Nice collection but I do hope that this isn't the best collection of the year from Smashbox.  If it is, this might be a bit of a boring year...

photo courtesy of Smashbox

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Favorite Products at this Time!

It is the middle of February and I am currently in the beauty product limbo that occurs as one season is coming to an end and I am looking forward to the beginning of another.  My major beauty concerns right now are keep my skin hydrated and reducing redness since it is sensitive and prone to dryness and redness during the winter season.  I am getting my skin ready for that first group of warm days in the spring when I can start using a light helping of bronzer and start rocking my spring makeup hues.

I am in the same place with makeup and fragrances too.  I am getting very sick of the shades and scents that I have been wearing since the middle of September and it is beginning to reach of point where I am getting headaches from any type of woody oriental fragrance.  I am using up the last little bits in any of the my bottles and clearing out space on my dresser for some new fragrances.  This is my version of spring cleaning!  Looking on the bright side, I have been starting to incorporate some of the new pink shades that I have been buying into my current makeup regime to bright my outlook on the current wintery weather.
Summary - I am interested in two things right now and all of my current favorite beauty products support these two obsessions!

My favorites right now!

Philosophy Purity Made Simple - "A highly effective one-step facial cleanser.  Philosophy Purity Made Simple is a pH-balanced formula that rapidly dissolves dirt and makeup while deep cleaning pores.  The best-selling cleanser contains infusions of sage, chamomile, and carrot.  Purity Made Simple is a part of a collection of Philosophy products designed to soothe even the most dry and sensitive skin."  This might be one of my favorite face washes that I have ever used, I love it more and more every time that I use!  This will be best in the fall and winter months, it will be too heavy during the warm weather months so I will be buying another bottle of this at the end of next summer.  It fully cleans dirt, oil, and makeup off my face without leaving any residue.  It doesn't foam up so it doesn't contain any harsh surfactants that will strip and dry my skin out.  This product is top-rated and one of the company best-sellers for a reason; it works well and without any excess ingredients to dry out sensitive skin.

Benefit Total Moisture Face Cream - "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."  I am currently on my second jar of this product, it is nearly unprecedented that I finish a face cream and then run right out and rebuy the exact same product, I expected very little of this product when I first got the Beauty Insider sample from Sephora but I quickly fell in love with the texture and the way that it leaves my skin feeling.  I started using this only as a face cream when I first got the sample in December but now I am using it twice a day, both in the morning and at night.  It helps to leave my skin perfectly hydrated and glowing.  It leaves no greasy residue and absorbs quickly and evenly.  Like the above face wsh, I will stop using this in the spring but will be buying another jar (third jar!!!) at the end of the next summer.

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Shy Honey - "A glossy, ultra-light lipstick.  Not quite a gloss, and not quite a lipstick, this transparent formula merges with the unique, natural tone of your lips to create a look that's all your own.  It's sheer, emollient-rich formula glides on for easy layering."  Shy Honey is a sheer light cool pink shade, I am trying to save my bright pinks for the spring and this is a way for me to start rocking my pinks early.  The formula is very hydrating and helps to soothe my chapped lips and ease them into the next season.  I own a bunch of these glosses and wear them all the time, I love this formula and I was so happy when Clinique introduced it in a full shade range.

Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Katie - "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."  Katie is a light milky pink, it is perfect against my winter pale skin.  This shade is very cool and very pigmented so it is a harder shade to pull off for some people but it is just perfect for me and I will be wearing this all spring.  I don't know how well this will so up against a tan so I have to wear it as much as I can now.  The shade makes my cheeks pop and brightens my whole face, I love the trend of bright cheeks and this brand of blushes is one of the best for pigmentation that I have ever used.

China Glaze Nail Lacquer in Princess Grace - "China Glaze is professional-level nail enamel made with a special blend of polymers and resins that combine to create a nail lacquer that is long-lasting, chip-resistant, and resistant to color and shine fading.  Will not thicken in the bottle, no thinners necessary."  Princess Grace is a cool pale pink shade with a frosty finish.  This is another item that is slowly taking me over to my spring makeup look while not look odd in the winter months, it is perfect for Valentine's Day.  The polish lasts about three days without chipping and never loses shine or radiance, China Glaze is one of my favorite polish lines.  This shade matches so many different looks that it might become a staple for me and I can see myself using through this whole bottle and repurchasing it before the summer is over.

Pink is already my current obsession and it will just continue to grow throughout the spring months...

photo courtesy of Sephora

Kat Von D True Romance Eye Shadow Palette in Mi Vida Loca

Kat Von D has released a series of new products to Sephora this spring, starting with this eye shadow palette.  In addition to adding a new palette to her best-selling True Romance line, there will be a series of nail polishes and eye liners that will be coming out too.  We will start with the eye shadow palette since I am hearing that this will be the center of the new products and all the rest will be in shades to match those contained in this palette.  Kat Von D True Romance Eye Shadow Palettes are among some of the best quality available from the beauty industry today and are by fat the best product in her entire makeup range.  I have heard all kinds of mixed reviews on the rest of the line but I have rarely heard a bad review on any of these palettes, Ludwig still holds a prime spot in my traincase even though I have owned it for over three years at this point.

The newest addition to the True Romance Eye Shadow Palette line is named Mi Vida Loca and is the most colorful eye palette so far in this line.  The line started out by offering palettes that only created Kat's favorite look, the smoky eye.  Over the last year, she has been adding to this line, first introducing shades that would help to create a more colorful smoky eye and now she has released a palette that contains all bright hues.  This palette will be perfect for anyone that is looking to create a bright, funky eye makeup look this spring.  This palette is right on trend with many of the looks that we have been seeing all over the spring runways and I bet that it will sell out very quickly.

Sephora is the only retailed for the Kat Von D line and therefore I had to pull all the product details from their website.  "A palette of eight bright eye shadows and a mini eye liner for creating a variety of bold looks.  This collection from Kat Von D kicks off with eight stunning eye shadows and an on-the-go mini eyeliner, each in a daring shade that embraces the heritage of 80's neon colors.  The True Romance shadows are formulated with rich, long-lasting pigments that effortlessly blend and layer to create a variety of stunning looks.  The eyeliner has a creamy, waterproof formula that glides on smooth along the lash line for a bold result.  The sleek metal case is embossed with a hand-drawn design in a profusion of sassy, neon colors."  The name of this palette was inspired by the "Mi Vida Loca" tattoo that Kat Von D has on her back.
The eight eye shadows in this palette are as follows...

- Swan Song - iridescent pearl
- Marya - shimmery vanilla
- No Regrets - shimmery gold
- Drama For Yo Mama - shimmery kelly green
- Mad Max - matte sky blue
- Dublin - iridescent purple
- Sparklehorse - hot pink purple sparkle
- Altruism - pearl soft pink

The eyeliner is an electric blue shade named Wonderchild.  I love how Kat mixed up the brights in this palette, allowing all types of fun looks to be created.  Four of the hues are very colorful and the other four are more neutral (to tone them down I think), with the eyeliner being a very bright hue.  With the exception of Mad Max, I would use every single one of these shades this spring but since this isn't a type of look that I create very often, I would use through this palette very slowly and I can almost guarentee that I would never use the bright blue eyeliner hue. 

The selection of brights is great and the neutrals that are provided to blend with them are wonderful hues too.  I love this mixture of shades (except all the bright blues) and since I have been going crazy for pinks lately, I am very excited to see them well represented in this palette.  I have to check this palette out the next time that I go to Sephora and try out the hues in it.  Personally, I think that it makes more sense for me to buy one palette of brights rather than purchase single shadows in these hues since I may not wear very much after this spring/summer season.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Essie Spring 2012 Collection

I have been mooning over the China Glaze Electropop collection for the past two weeks and stalking my local Ulta for its release.  I haven't seen it in person yet but during my obsessive stalking, I stumlbed over the newest collection from Essie.  It may not be the new China Glaze collection but I need something to look out to hold me over until the full release.  Essie's new collection came out right in time to distract me and feed my craving for new spring nail polish shades.  This collection consists of six new shades, typical for an Essie collection.  Three of the new shades are pastels, two are definitely brights, and the last one is a bit more muted than any of the others. 

"Follow my navigate-her to new worlds of color.", states the company founder of Essie when describing the theme of this series of polish shades.  It appears like this company was inspired by a nautical theme when coming up with this collection, however it is not your typical reds and blues in this collection.  We have a series of pink hues here, with one bright coral and a pastel mint green shade to round it out.  I think that the shades are very pretty, I just don't quite understand how the nautical theme came out of this group of polishes...

We will start with the pastel polishes since they are what I have been chasing down from China Glaze.  A Crewed Interest is a "luminous peach shade" with a cream finish.  This one is a true pale peach, it is on the warmer side.  It is pretty but not very unique, how many other companies have a shade that looks exactly like this in their polish line-up?!  This shade is a good basic and would work well in the professional environment but I don't think that it is going to inspire lust from many people.  the second of the pastel shades is Navigate Her, a "light, bright green".  This shade is a mint cream and might be my favorite of the collection, it reminds me of the old MAC shade Peppermint Patty (Spring 2009 - Sugar Sweet collection) that was sold out before I was ever able to get to the counter.  I love this shade and I can see this one being very popular this spring, I must pick this up the next time that I head over to Ulta.  The last of the pastel range in this collection is To Buy Or Not To Buy.  It is my second favorite shade of the collection, a "lavender with shimmer".  I love this type of shade in the spring months, it's the perfect cool pale lilac hue and will fit in very well with the rest of the nail polish trends.

Next we will go onto the bright hues in this collection.  I don't really like either of these shades, they are one the warmer side and we all know that isn't the best coloring for my skintone.  I don't see myself wanting to buy either of these at the moment.  Orange, It's Obvious is a "bright orange" and one of the ugliest shades that I have seen this season.  It is a true bright orange, think the shade of buoys in the ocean.  Not my cup of tea and I think this would be better as a summer shade instead of a spring shade.  The second of the bright polishes is Ole Caliente.  This is a "red-orange with a pink undertone" and is another one that would have been much better in the summer.  This one is more attractive than the orange shade but the only way that I would consider wearing it is for a beach pedicure.  Maybe.  Both of these shades are cream finishes, which is really good since these bright hues plus a shimmer finish would have bordered on tacky.  I will not be finding any brights for myself from this collection.

The last shade in this collection was the hardest shade to place.  It has potential to be a bright but lacks the "pow" that the coral and orange shades have.  That isn't to say that it is bad shade but it seems somewhat out of place with the rest of the shades in this collection.  Tour de Finance is the oddest name that I have seen recently for a nail polish.  Do they mean finance as in Wall Street and the Stock Market?  If so, what does that have to do with this nail polish collection and how would that name have anything to do with this nail polish shade?  I admit that I am baffled as to this name.  The shade itself is a "fushcia with shimmer", it is another one of the pretty not but not unique shades in this collection.  This collection would have been complete without it and I can't see this one being a cult favorite either.

I love two of the pastel shades in this collection, however the rest of the collection doesn't do anything for me.  The brights are way too warm and loud for me to pull off.  The other two shades are so generic and boring that they are instantly forgettable.  This is an ok collection but I just don't really see where these shades came from and how they tie into a nautical theme...

photo courtesy of Essie

Friday, February 10, 2012

MAC Cook MAC

Cook MAC is the second part of the big MAC spring color release.  We just finished look at Shop MAC and I loved many of the great pini shades that were included with the collection.  Shop MAc contained lots of lip products and shades, it looks like Cook MAC contain more products for eyes.  Also, Cook MAC contains the much hyped bright nail shades that have been included with this collection.  All I have been obsessed with lately is bright lips and nail shades so I have some really high hopes for this part of the collection and I can't wait to get to the counter over the weekend and do some major shopping.

The MAC website gives the following description about this part of the collection, "Gourment glamour is here.  Look delicious while you whip it up!  Our recipe for kitchen kouture is here in savoury shades for Eyes and Lips.  Dishy Nail Lacquers, too.  Bon appetit!"  This collection is all about the Fluidlines, Tendertones, and Nail Lacquers.  I have never tried Tendertones as they come in and out with various collections and aren't offered with the entire line of products.

Cook MAC!

Cook MAC Fluidline - Fluidline's gel formula is a simple way to create the gourmet line.  Provides the precision of a liquid liner with a silkier finish.  Applies with a brush in a dip-and-stroke action.  Long-wearing.  Limited edition.
- Midnight Snack - soft black
- Added Goodness - blackened mauve
- Wholesome - blackened brown

Opulash - Superlative style and state-of-the-art science merge.  A new formula in a more saturated intense black with extra-volumization, expansion, and curl delivered dramatically with our most bodacious brush yet.  Lasts 15 hours!

Cook MAC Tendertone Lip Balm - The next generation of lip conditioner that combines the look of a gloss and the conditioning benefits of a balm with SPF 12 sun protection.  Features a light strawberry-kiwi flavor.
- Tread Gently - soft lime green with yellow pearl
- Purring - sheer tangerine with pearl
- Hush, Hush - sheer gold with yellow gold pearl
- Hot 'n' Saucy - soft cherry red

Studio Careblend/Pressed Powder - Formulated to provide a smooth, virtually invisible, fresh-looking finish, this soft, cream-like powder is carefully blended to provide the skin with extra care, nourishment, and comfort.  Available in two shades.

Cook MAC Nail Lacquer - Sweet.  Spicy.  Not yet dishy enough?  Add a dash of Nail Lacquer!  Deliciously shaded in bright acid green, aqua, and coral.  Limited edition.
- Al Fredo - bright acid green
- Kid Orange - coral
- Salad Dressing - midtone dirty aqua

211 Pointed Liner Brush - An extra-fine tipped synthetic fibre brush that delivers an exact, definite, even stroke when lining the eyes.  Perfect with any formula!

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

I am a bit disappointed by this half of the collection, the eye liners aren't very interesting and the Tendertones are too warm for my skintone.  I can safely skip all the liners and pretty much this entire part of the collection.  The only Tendertone that I am interested in is the sheer red shade, Hot 'n' Saucy.  I would love to see how the yellow green shade works on the lips, I am betting that it is so sheer that it leaves no yellow trace on the lips at all.  The nail polish shades are too bright and warm for me, the only one that I like is Salad Dressing, which I have seen compared to China Glaze For Audrey (a favorite of mine) so I don't really need this shade.

I feel like this part of the collection is rather exaggerated and not quite as wearable in real life as the Shop MAC part of this collection.  With the exception of the one Tendertone shade, I can't pull these colors off and I will be skipping over this part when I go to the counter this weekend.

photo courtesy of MAC 

MAC Shop MAC

What I originally thought was one big collection from MAC has actually been released in two collections.  Shop MAC, Cook MAC is a huge release for the spring, the shades cater to many of the big trends on the runways, there are tons of bright shades and also lots of pinks.  This collection was made to remind people of the 1950s housewives, who "shopped and cooked" all day long.  This collection has inspired lots of debate over what MAC was thinking when they released a collection that some decided "demeaned" women and reenforced gender roles.  MAC assures us in the collection overview that this collection is not to be taken so seriously and is a collection that is made purely for fun. 

"Shop 'til you drop with this tongue-in-cheek collection that elevates the everyday into the extraordinary.  Try and Buy our delicious, delovely assortment of Eye Shadow x 4, mouthwateringly Kissable Lipcolour and Cremeblend Blush.  Check it out!"  I really don't think that MAC intended to be insulting with this collection, it may not have been the smartest idea that MAC has ever come up with but I don't find that they demeaned gender roles with these collections.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the collection, today we are going to be looking at the products and shades and not debating gender roles.

Shop MAC!

Call Me Bubbles: Eye Shadow x 4 - Fresh Daily!  With this Shop MAC compact of four cool-n-spicy coral eye shadows, eyes find their look-du-jour!  Easy to spot in its delicious Shop MAC packaging.  Limited edition!
- Call Me Bubbles - light tan (Satin)
- Fresh Daisy - orange (Frost)
- Full of Flavour - coral (Matte)
- Brash - frosty reddish copper (Veluxe Pearl)

Shop and Drop: Eye Shadow x 4 - A violet inspired quartet of shades to turn that shopping aisle into a high fashion runway!  More than a snack, a colourful buffet!  Comes ready to go in the signature packaging of Shop MAC.  Limited edition!
- Sugar Snack - light pink (Matte)
- Hypnotizing - frosted gray mauve (Frost)
- Power Boosted - violet (Veluxe Pearl)
- Shop and Drop - deep blue (Satin)

Colour Added: Eye Shadow x 4 - Add some teal to that shopping list!  Mix darks with lights!  Four shades to play with so eyes look fresh and fabulous every day.  Shop MAC's colourful packaging only adds to the dazzle.  Limited edition!
- Laundry Daze - light yellow (Satin)
- Colour Added - bright yellow (Veluxe Pearl)
- Pre-Packaged - muted turquiose (Veluxe Pearl)
- Self-Serve - deep gray (Satin)

Shop MAC Lipstick - Spring lips dish it up!  With our shop-til-you-drop shades and the collection's colourful and fun packaging these shades stay fashionable long after check-out.  Limited edition!
- Innocence, Beware! - light yellow pink
- Watch Me Simmer - bright pink-orange
- Naughty Saute - bright pepto pink
- Quick Sizzle - bright pink
- Dish It Up - berry pink
- Runaway Red - rich red-blue

Shop MAC Kissable Lipcolour - Delicious...flows on with the slick ease of a gloss.  Has a look as creamy and pigment-rich as a lipstick.  Shop MAC's fun packaging sets the style - and seals the deal!  Limited edition!
- Enchantee - light blue pink
- Woo Me - light pinky nude
- So Vain - muted dirty coral
- Scan-delicious - blue fuchsia
- Flaunting It - gray mauve

Shop MAC Cremeblend Blush - Creamy, easy to blend medium coverage formula imparts a natural finish that's smooth, dewy-fresh, long lasting.  The icing on the cake: the collection's signature gingham outer packaging.
- Optimistic Orange - bright coral
- Florida - bright fuchsia
- Restores Dazzle! - rich plum

None of the eye shadow quartets are really calling my name from this collection, I like both Shop and Drop and Call Me Bubbles but I don't really know that I love them enough to brave the crowds for these, I am betting that this collection will be a sell out at the counters and none of them are all that unique for me to really fight for.  The lipsticks hold a lot more promise for me, I love the pinks in this collection (pink has really been my obsession for the past few weeks and it seems like all of the great pinks are now landing right into my lap).  Innocence, Beware might be one the closest shades to the long gone Way To Love that I have seen in recent months from MAC and therefore that drives this shade all the way to the top of my shopping list.  Naughty Saute, Quick Sizzle, and Dish It Up are some awesome bright pinks and this shade is my new lip shade love, I can't wait to see these at the counter. 

I haven't tried the Kissable Lipcolour yet but I feel that I must play with the testers at the counter since this product contains some great shades.  Enchantee and Woo Me will be good for either a more natural spring look or against a brighter eye makeup look.  Lastly, the Cremeblend Blush in Florida is another bright pink. 

We are half way through the Shop MAC, Cook MAC collection.  We have finished the Shop MAC part and the lip shades were the best part of it.  Now onto Cook MAC!

photo courtesy of MAC

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fresh Lotus Eye Gel

Fresh Lotus Eye Gel is the last piece of my Sephora skincare shopping spree at the end of last year, I now finally have a full grouping of face care in my bathroom and have tested everything out.  The Lotus Eye Gel is the first skincare product that I have ever used from Fresh and while I have heard lots of great things about their fragrance and body product lines, I don't always hear many people talk about their targeted skincare products.  I decided to try this one out, in hopes that these formulas would be close to the ones that I already love from Caudalie.  Fresh is another skincare company that believes in using more natural ingredients and keeping excess chemicals and preservatives out of their products.  I can get around this type of thinking, however I have gotten the best results for me typically come from eye creams that contain some types of chemical de-pigmenting complex. 

Fresh Lotus Eye Gel is "a hydrating and revitalizing treatment gel that alleviates puffiness, dark circles, and signs of fatigue".  The texture of the this eye product is more a gel than I am used to, I normally use eye creams or a cream-gel mixture.  Gel formula eye products are more used to treat puffiness than dark circles, so I knew almost instantly what type of results that I would be getting from this product.  I was told in the Sephora store this this product both reduced puffiness and reduced dark circles but the description that I am seeing on the website talks much more about puffiness and hydration than dark circles.  Now I have issues with both hydration and puffiness so I will see results from this formula but under-eyes are my main complaint so I knew that I would not see the optimal results that I would want from this product.

"Then Lotus Eye Gel features a unique combination of preventative botanicals.  Lotus flower extract, a powerful anti-oxidant packed with polyphenols, defends against wrinkle-causing free radicals.  Stimulating soft orange extract and ginko biloba reduce puffiness.  Antioxidant-rich grapeseed polyphenols and jojoba help to protect the skin.  Soothing cucumber fruit extract helps to revive tired eyes."  One of the co-founders of Fresh, Lez Glazman offered some additional information about the lotus plant, "The lotus plant has been cultivated in eastern Asia for over 3000 years.  Thought be to sacred by many cultures, it is also highly revered for its anti-inflammatory properties."

In addition to all the information that was provided on this product, the Sephora website also published some of the results of the research done in the testing stages of this product.  "The Lotus Eye Gel is proven to: Significantly moisturize the eye area for up to 2 hours after application (in-vivio test); Preserve the initial hydration of the eye area for up to 6 hours after application (in-vivio); Immediately brighten the eye area and improve the appearance of under-eye bags after just 4 weeks (in-vivio test, 31 subjects, 4 weeks of twice daily application)."

Other results and findings from the lab testing of this product...

- 100% reported softer, more supple skin
- 97% felt it hydrated and soothed the eye area
- 94% said it relaxed crow's feet while protecting the eye area
- 90% noticed the eye area was revitalized and silky soft
- 87% felt it firmed and toned the skin and reported a more radiant, healthier-looking eye area

I have been using this product for about three weeks now, I use it once in the morning and then again in the evening.  The texture is great, I love the light gel since it sinks in quickly and isn't greasy in any way.  It has helped and been effective in two areas, hydration and the reduction of undereye puffiness.  My eye area can get dry in the winter however I haven't had an issue with that since beginning use with this product, my eye area feels smoother and my concealer goes on my easier.  After only three weeks, I am already beginning to see results in the reduction of puffiness.  I am seeing nothing in the way of reducing the appearance of undereye circles, I know that this gel is not made to reduce their appearance but I was just hoping that it would help a bit in this area.  I noted above that this product helps my concealer go on better so it easier for me to conceal the circles but that is it the only result that I see from it in this area.

I'm not unhappy with this product, my undereye area is improved and looks better than it did before I started the product.  I recommend it to people who are looking to reduce puffiness and not circles.  On a final note, this product smells very strongly of cucumber, if this bothers you than this product isn't for you.

photo courtesy of Sephora