Sunday, March 31, 2013

Philosophy Hope In a Jar Night Face Cream

Several weeks ago, I wrote a Theme Week featuring all kinds of great skincare ingredients that have helped my skin in the past and that have been proven to work by the industry.  One of the items that I covered was the best selling moisturizer from Philosophy, the Hope In a Jar product.  This face cream is one of the best known products on the Sephora website and is a consistent top seller for any company that carries it.  This moisturizer was covered under the lactic acid ingredient post, an ingredient that helps to increase total cell turnover and helps to boost hydration levels in the skin.  The reason that this moisturizer is such a top seller is because it actually delivers on its promises and is a simple yet very effective formula.  I would have no hesitation to re-purchase this product again in the future and I think that Philosophy overall has a very solid skincare product line.

Earlier this month, a new product joined the Philosophy skin care line up and it was an instant sell out at my closest Sephora store and it was out of stock online went I tried to order it.  I considered trying another face cream and ordering this one later on in the season but I ended up waiting until I got the email from Sephora stating that the product was back in stock and that I could order it any time.  I actually pushed off my entire Sephora order to wait for this product and just left it all in my Shopping Cart until I could add this product and make the order.  I have been using it for about a week now and I can very happily state that this product was well worth the wait and is one of my favorite night creams that I have ever used!

The product description and details come from the Sephora website, "An intensive retexturizing moisturizer that repairs skin overnight for a beautiful, well-rested appearance.  Wake to more radiant, refreshed skin with this night version of Philosophy’s much-loved Hope In A Jar moisturizer. The gentle formula boosts nighttime renewal to retexturize skin, as it plumps the appearance of fine lines and evens skintone. Patented qusomes help deliver potent glycolic acid to the skin, while gradual-release technology minimizes the potential for irritation. With regular use, skin becomes noticeably smoother, lines are visibly softened, and your rosy glow is restored."

The clinical trail results were provided also...

"Based on once-daily use, a clinical and consumer study of 48 participants reported:
- 92% felt softer, comfortably hydrated skin overnight
- 90% showed significant improvement in the appearance of fine lines after 2 weeks of use"

The texture of this product was the first item that I noted when I tried it, this moisturizer has the texture of thick cake frosting.  I applied this all over my face and my dry skin just drank it in.  I had to get the product out of my eye brows but other than that, it absorbed instantly and left my skin feeling very hydrated.  The next morning, my skin still felt fully hydrated and wasn't as dry as usual when I got out of the shower.  I do not use this product during the day, I use a lighter lotion from Clinique and we will get into the "Why" when I talk ingredients in the next paragraph.  After a week of use every single night, my skin retains moisture better and looks brighter and fresher than before.  This is a great hydrating face cream for dry skin, I don't see this working well on normal skin types as it is a very thick formula.  I will use this product throughout the rest o the spring but I don't know if I can use it in the summer or if I will put it away for the fall.  This is an aspect of the product that I will have to report back on in June.

My thoughts on the formula - I wasn't expecting the hit of glycolic acid to be in this product and I will confess that I was so excited to order this product that I really didn't closely read the details of it.  My skin and glycolic acid don't always get along, it has to be in small doses and I have to watch my skin's reactions with the use of it.  This product doesn't not bother my skin at all, very surprising to me but I see that this has an extra ingredient added into it to keep the product gentle for all skin types.  This formula is best for a night cream, this ingredient mix has a major potential to make skin sensitive to the sun and I would not use it in the daytime to avoid the risk of a sunburn. 

Over the past week, my skin has vastly improved in hydration level and looks my clearer than it did before I began using this product.  This is a great skin cream from Philosophy but only if you have drier skin, this is not recommended for normal skin with the hydration level that it provides.  This is my current favorite night cream and might be among the best that I have ever used and I will be purchasing it again as soon as I run out.  I will have to see how it works during the summer months and if I need a lighter formula so I will report back on that aspect of the product but so far, I am very happy with what I am getting right now from this cream!

photo courtesy of Sephora

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chanel Summer 2013 Collection - L'Ete Papillon de Chanel

The summer collections are now beginning to trickle out and we will start looking at them in the next few days.  I expect that a few will come out early and then by the middle of next month, they will all be out in full force and we will have our pick of items to look at each day.  So far, I have only seen a handful of summer collections releasing but it is on the earlier side of the season, I am not yet ready for summer yet since I still have a good month of shopping for spring items yet.  Starting summer collections this early will give me some ideas of what I must own for the summer and to determine how fast I think that they will sell out and what my priorities are for shopping the next few weeks.  The Sephora Friends and Family will begin in the middle of April and I am also getting a shopping list ready for what I want to order during this event.  I think that my credit cards might be crying by the end of April...

The first summer collection that I have seen released is also one of the ones that I am the most excited about, Chanel always releases their seasonal collections on the early side of the season and often their collection will set the tone for the rest of the season.  The new collection is named L'Ete Papillon de Chanel, which translate out to the Butterfly Summer of Chanel.  I am envisioning a very colorful collection that contains great shades for every single facial feature.  I have been seeing hints of bright shades being very popular for summer and all kinds of bright blue eye makeup.  Bright blue eye makeup is not my cup of tea so this might be more of a season of me going for neutral eyes and bright lips and nails but we will see what all comes out in the next few months...

"The dazzling colours of butterflies inspire a joyful look for face and fingertips with the enchanting Summer collection. Lashes flutter in electric shades of mascara and eyelids are adorned with gleaming colours. Nails and lips complete the effect with shades of sunlit brilliance.", states the Chanel website when describing the overall collection.  I am so excited to see what colors are int he collection and what items I will be coveting for the next few weeks!

Here is the newest collection from Chanel!

Les 4 Ombres - One essential compact offers unlimited eye looks, with shade combinations that range from matte to satin to shimmer. Versatile smudge-proof formula can be applied dry for subtle shading, or dampened for more intense colour, all with long-wearing results -- in even extreme climates. Dermatologist tested.
- 44 Metamorphose - cool dusty aqua/cool slate gray/cool shimmering white/deep navy

Stylo Yeux Waterproof - Waterproof, smudge-proof eyeliner delivers long-lasting definition with a twist of the wrist: Colour winds up when you need it, winds down when you don't. Gentle, soft, silicone-enriched formula delivers smooth, even lining. A built-in sharpener at the opposite end detaches for quick refreshes.
- 57 True Blue - robin's egg blue

Stylo Eye Shadow - A smooth-gliding pen applicator delivers a new lightweight, long-wear shadow that highlights eyes with gleaming colour. A cooling, water-infused formula creates a shimmering veil on lids—or precisely lines the eyes with perfect definition. An exclusive creation from the L’ÉTÉ PAPILLON DE CHANEL Collection.
- 07 Moon River - medium neutral taupe
- 17 Cool Gold - medium true gold with gold shimmer
- 27 Pink Lagoon - medium cool blue pink
- 37 Jade Shore - medium cool medium jade green
- 47 Blue Bay - medium slate blue
- 57 Black Stream - true black

Inimitable Waterproof Mascara - The mascara that delivers it all -- volume, length, curl and precise separation -- in a long-wearing, waterproof formula that won't flake or smudge. Pro-Vitamin B5 hydrates and conditions lashes to keep them supple and healthy-looking. A unique brush design provides perfect definition of lashes, even the finest.
- 47 Aqua Blue - bright aqua
- 57 Blue Note - navy blue
- 37 Lime Light - bright lime green
- 27 Zest - bright gold

Rouge Coco Shine - The next chapter in the brilliant ROUGE COCO SHINE story: ROUGE COCO SHINE Hydrating Colour Lipshine, an innovative formula with intensified pigments to take colour and sheen to a new level of vibrancy. Sheer, shiny, colour-rich shades are effortlessly chic, infinitely wearable. Hydratendre Complex softens and plumps lips for a healthier, fuller appearance.
- 467 Pygmalion - deep magenta pink cream
- 457 Idylle - warm medium beige cream

Levres Scintillantes - Gorgeous shimmer and a high-shine glow is delivered effortlessly to lips with just one stroke of this best-selling lip gloss. A wide range of shades, from sheer and natural to sparkling and rich, look beautiful on their own, or over your favorite CHANEL lipstick. Equally beautiful: the conditioning formula's comfort and long wear.
- 377 Zephyr - sheer sparkling peach
- 427 Envolee - sheer sparkling light coral
- 437 Eden - sheer magenta cream

Le Vernis - Classic and trend-defining shades from the runways of Paris. State-of-the-art formula strengthens and moisturizes nails as it delivers long-wearing, high-shine, chip-resistant colour. Applies evenly without streaking.  All Chanel nail products are formaldehyde-free, toluene-free and DBP-free.
- Lilis - deep warm coral cream
- Azure - medium aqua shimmer
- Bel-Argus - medium denim blue shimmer

I love this collection and this one starts off my summer beauty product shopping on the right foot!  I still have some spring shopping yet to do but this collection motivates me to get the spring shopping finished within the next two weeks and then to begin summer makeup shopping.  I am now beginning to think about my summer look...bronze skin with bright lips and nails and then perhaps mixing in a bright eye makeup look or two.  I think that this summer will be very much about lips and nails for me and that my lip gloss and lipstick collection will really be growing over the next few months...

My favorite pieces of this collection are from the lip and nail products.  My favorite piece of this collection is the Le Vernis in Azure, I love this shimmering aqua nail polish and I will be wearing this shade all summer long.  I have a feeling that this one will be selling out very quickly and I will need to visit the counter soon and if it is available yet.  I wouldn't mind purchasing the Bel-Argus shade too but I don't need it the way that I need Azure.  The next pieces on my shopping list come from the new lip shades, I want items from both of the formulas that are in this collection.  From Le Rouge Coco, I love the deep magenta pink shade (Pygmalion) and the similar shade in the lip gloss (Eden), these will work well for me throughout the year and I could start wearing them as soon as I buy them!

The eye makeup isn't as good for me as the rest of the season...Le 4 Ombres does not appeal to me at all, I don't really wear navy shades and therefore will not be purchasing this palette.  The single eye shadows have a bit more appeal to me, I want the gold and taupe shades and will wear them with the bright lip shades that I want from this collection.  I am very on the fence about the colored mascaras in this collection, I am very interested in the gold mascara but really do wonder how it will look on the lashes and if I could pull it off.  This is one that I will need to see pictures of people wearing it and then make a further decision, perhaps I will be wrong but I am not seeing this work for me at all.

Summer collections are beginning and Chanel is leading the pack!  I am very excited to see what else is coming out in the next few weeks!

photo courtesy of Chanel

Friday, March 29, 2013

Benefit World Famous Neutrals - Most Glamorous Nudes Ever

Benefit has released several great new palettes for this spring and this is the last one that we have to look at.  I have been waiting to look at this palette since I first saw all the new released from Benefit, a palette full of neutral shades is the one that I would be the most likely to buy and therefore my early favorite of the palette collection.  I still use both of my Naked palettes from Urban Decay on a weekly basis and often look for other palettes that will work well with both of them.  I already have many neutral shades for my eyes but I always buy more since I use them very often and mix them with almost all of the colored eye makeup shades that I own.  My eye makeup collection has only been growing like crazy over the past few months and I fully plan to add this palette to it very soon. 

This is the one palette from Benefit that is eye makeup only, most of them lately have contained products for every feature of the face.  I am actually even more excited that this one is just for eye makeup, I rarely use neutrals on my cheeks or lips and I am very happy that this palette will not have products that I don't use in it.  I can safely say that I will use every single shade in this palette even without going into details yet.  This palette contains a combination of cream and powder eye shadow formulas so this palette will allow me to try more products from this company, I have not yet tried any of their cream eye shadows and this would be a perfect way to do so!  In addition, I found out that this is only one of a series of neutral palettes from Benefit so we will look at one today and then the others over the next few weeks.

The product description and shade details are available on the Sephora website, "An eyeshadow kit featuring the most glamorous nudes ever!  These rich, illuminating eyeshadows in award-winning creaseless creams and new longwear powder-shadows make going glam easy! The universally flattering shades layer beautifully—and the tips and tricks show you how to create looks for daytime and playtime."

The products that are contained in this palette are the Longwearing Powder Eye Shadow and the Creaseless Cream Eye Shadow.

Longwearing Powder Eye Shadow - A powder eye shadow that lasts.  Finally, powder eye shadow in a fabulous long-wearing formula. This soft and silky shadow comes in 12 wearable shades and three finishes: matte, satin, and sheen. From pale shell to brilliant silver, these Benefit eye shadows have got you covered!  Make it last extra long! Layer long-wear powder shadow over your creaseless cream shadow for extra staying power.
- Call My Buff - pale shell
- Gilt-y Pleasure - golden sand
- It's Complicated - golden peach
- Kiss Me, I'm Tipsy - spiced brown

Creaseless Cream Eye Shadow - A long-wear cream eye shadow that won’t crease or smudge.  Benefit’s award-winning cream shadows are as crease-resistant and smudge-proof as ever! The 10 incredibly wearable shades (including original favorites RSVP, Birthday Suit, and Skinny Jeans) glide on easily and last all day. It’s fresh and fabulous color for all!  Make it last even longer! Layer long-wear powder shadow over your creaseless cream shadow for extra staying power.
- Birthday Suit - brushed chrome
- Two Cents - polished copper

I love all six of these eye shadow shades and I must have this palette!  I can't even pick my favorite shade out yet since I think that I will love all of them when I pair them up and mix them together.  My early pick for a favorite might be the copper shade in the cream eye shadow formula, this formula is said to be top-rated and coppers are often wonderful when done in a cream formula.  I am so excited to buy this palette and then to look at the other two that are part of the World Famous Neutrals collection, I do wonder if either of the other two might top this one or is this one will remain my favorite throughout the season.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Thursday, March 28, 2013

MAC Fashion Sets

After a somewhat sleepy past few weeks from MAC, they have now released a brand new collection and I know that this will be the first of many collections that will now be coming out for the end of spring and the summer months.  I have heard so much about the upcoming Baking Beauties collection and I cannot wait until it comes out in the middle of April, my shopping list is ready to go and I am so just so excited to see what MAC brings out in the next two months.  Today is the first day that the new Fashion Sets collection is available online and I want to look at the new products as soon as possible!

Fashion Sets contains only three types of products: eye, lip, and nail products.  There was a very similar collection late last spring and I really think this new version of it is more of an update than a brand new collection.  This collection last spring was based on several shades and they are offered in each of the forms and will create a look that allows you to match all of your makeup.  I get really excited about matching lip and nail shades, I love how polished that look is and I would love to go back to the days of glamour.  Speaking of past days of glamour, I am counting the days until The Great Gatsby comes out.

The MAC and Nordstrom website both have the collection available and provide the same collection description.  "Bold brights with a modern edge in four coordinated sets featuring our favourite textures and finishes. Each available in Lipstick, Lipglass, Nail Lacquer and Eye Shadow."  I think I see a bright pink shade here...

Fashion Sets from MAC!

Fashion Sets Eye Shadow - Highly pigmented powder. Applies evenly, blends well.
- Heroine - bright cobalt blue (Matte)
- Ablaze - mid-tone coral (Matte)
- Silly - clean blue pink (Frost)
- Embrace Me - soft pink (Satin)

Fashion Sets Lipstick -  Colour plus texture for the lips. Stands out on the runway. Simmers on the street! What made M·A·C famous.
- Heroine - bright violet purple (Matte)
- Ablaze - bright apricot cream (Matte)
- Silly - bright pink cream (Matte)
- Embrace Me - bright fuchsia cream (Matte)

Fashion Sets 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 colors that work well with many different lipstick shades. The color of Lip Pencils is protected by vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant, and they contain emollients that moisturize the lips. Lip Pencils can be worn alone, with Lipstick or Lipglass.
- Heroine - bright purple
- Ablaze - bright apricot
- Silly - bright pink
- Embrace Me - vivid pinkish fuchsia

Fashion Sets Lipglass - A unique lip gloss available in a wide variety of colors that can create a high-gloss, glass-like finish or a subtle sheen. Designed to be worn on its own, over Lip Pencil or Lipstick, Tinted Lipglass is the perfect product for creating shine that lasts. It's pigmented, very shiny and can impart subtle or dramatic color. It contains jojoba oil to help soften and condition the lips. Tinted Lipglass is packaged in a convenient bottle with a sponge-tip applicator that provides a quick, smooth, even application.
- Heroine - bright purple
- Ablaze - bright orange
- Silly - bright pink
- Embrace Me - bright fuchsia

Fashion Sets Nail Lacquer - Revolutionary new high-gloss formula. Visibly different. Provides a no-streak/no-chip finish. Contains conditioners and UV protection. Go hi-lacquer!
- Heroine - bright violet (Cream)
- Ablaze - bright orange (Cream)
- Silly - bright pink (Cream)
- Embrace Me - bright fuchsia (Cream)

I really like this collection and I am already getting some great ideas about how I can create new looks for the spring and summer from it.  My early favorite is the Silly shade, I have been collecting and wearing bright pinks since last summer and my love of this trend is showing no signs of ending.  I was afraid of bright pink shades for so long and avoided them but I became hooked on this color after trying one NARS pink lipstick.  Now I chase down pink shades and wear them as often as I can!

What do I love from this collection?  There is a pretty long list and I have decided to organize my shopping list by color for this collection.  Heroine: I must have the Nail Lacquer from this shade, this will be a hard shade for me to wear and I will skip over the eye and lip makeup from this shade.  Ablaze: This bright orange shade is just not for me and I will be skipping over it totally.  Silly: This is my favorite of the new shades, I want the Lipstick, Lipglass, Nail Lacquer, and Eye Shadow in it; I just love pink shades for this time of the year and this is a great choice.  Embrace Me: This is my second favorite of the shades, I want the Lipstick and Nail Lacquer in this hue.  Embrace Me is deep enough toned that I should be able to take it into the fall months and wear it for several extra months.

With this introduction to MAC's warm weather collections, I am very excited to see what else is coming out in the next two months.  I am still counting the days until Baking Beauties and will be using my Archie's Girls makeup products until that collection arrives to their website and the counters!

photo courtesy of Nordstrom

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

China Glaze Glitz Bitz n' Pieces Nail Polish Collection

I now have begun stalking the China Glaze website to see when their summer collection comes out since I am craving some bright new pink and aqua polishes and I have some very high hopes for the next China Glaze collection.  While stalking their website, I noticed that there was a collection listed up there that I had somehow missed out on earlier this spring and we are going to look at it very quickly right now.  We are in the time period where the spring collections are finished and I am eagerly awaiting the new summer collections and by the next week they should be coming out.  The small collection that I missed earlier on is named the Glitz Bitz n' Pieces collection and contains six new polish shades that are all dramatic glitter polishes and will really appeal to certain customers. 

This is not a polish collection for me, I am sick of the glitter pieces in polishes and I am basically over nail art so I am getting sick of the very dramatic nail looks.  However, these trends show no signs of letting up so I know that I will be seeing these types of polishes for the next few months.  I will just try and ignore them the best that I can but I feel like when this trend finally does end, the nail polish trends are going to swing so far the other way that we will be wearing neutrals and pales for the next few seasons.

Here is the Glitz Bitz n' Pieces collection...

- Bling it On - black and purple large glitter in a clear base
- Glitz n' Pieces - black and silver large glitter in a clear base
- Graffiti Glitter - emerald green and black large glitter in a clear base
- Mosaic Madness - deep blue and black large glitter in a clear base
- Razzle me, Dazzle Me - pale pink and black large glitter in a clear base
- Scattered and Tattered - deep red and black large glitter in a clear base

I don't like any of these shades but I still say that they look much better when I found blogger swatches of them online rather than just looking at the pictures of the bottles on the China Glaze website and Facebook page.  The glitter in all of these pieces are much too big for me to pull off on a normal day, I could only consider using them in an accent manicure when going out at night.  The only shade that I am even somewhat interested in is the Mosaic Madness, I do like the deep blue glitter in it.  I could imagine myself using this shade in an accent manicure over a pale blue nail polish shade.  This is still the only way that I could consider wearing one of these polishes so I still doubt that I will be buying any of these shades.  This is collection that I will be skipping over...

photo courtesy of China Glaze's Facebook page

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bath and Body Works Beautiful Day

Spring is technically here even though Mother Nature decided to hand us flurries yesterday and I am determined to move into using fragrances and color products that are perfect for spring.  I haven't yet found a new fragrance that I love yet for the season, Flight of Fancy was basically a dud for me and I am putting my purchase of See by Chloe on hold since that would not be a spring fragrance for me.  I will keep using my current bottle of Chloe for the next few weeks (good thing that I love that fragrance) until I try a few more out.  Bath and Body Works has just released a new fragrance for the spring and maybe this one will be the big winner for me this season, Beautiful Day is their newest fragrance choice for the spring and I bought a small vial of it when I bought all of my lotions and shower gels for Fresh Picked.

All of the items in Beautiful Day have now been released and I am about half finished with my sample vial and I am deciding if I will be going forward with this fragrance this spring.  This fragrance is very light and is a combination of green apples and light florals, this is not really my type of fragrance and is very similar in construction to Anna Sui's Flight of Fancy that I really wasn't a big fan of.  The last green apple fragrance that I used was DKNY's Be Delicious and this fragrance is very similar to me.

"As beautiful as the perfect spring day...with sun-kissed apples, wild daisies, and fresh pink peonies.", is the fragrance description from Bath and Body Works.  I have also heard this fragrance described as "spring in a bottle" and I can absolutely see where that description comes from.  More information is provided when I looked at the EDT itself, I started with this product because this is the small tube that I have been using over the past few weeks.  "Our exclusive Beautiful Day fragrance makes you feel like you're having the perfect spring day, full of carefree, delicious moments. The scent starts with a sparkle of sun-kissed apple and finishes with a dash of wild daisies & fresh pink peonies, for a truly bright fragrance that lasts all day!"

The top notes of the fragrance are: Sun-kissed Apple, Dewy Pear, Sparkling Cassis.  The heart notes of Beautiful Day are: Wild Daisies, Lily of the Valley, Fresh Pink Peony.  The bottom notes are: White Peach, Blonde Woods.

This is going to be another one of those fragrances where I don't use the Fragrance Mist or EDT but like and purchase the body products.  The EDT is very apply on me, with just a few hints of florals.  I do not really like fragrances that are this fruity.  With the floral hints, this becomes a fragrance that I do not mind but do not really love, I would use up my sample but I won't be purchasing the full size of the EDT.  This apple fades off me in about an hour and half but then the whole fragrance fades off very quickly after that, this fragrance just doesn't not smell strong enough on me or last long enough for me to wear it.  DKNY's Be Delicious is stronger on me and I would be more likely to repurchase that product rather than this one for the simple fact that I have to reapply this one too much.

The body products are another area of interest for me, I do like the Shower Gel and Body Lotion and I will most likely add them to my collection.  This fragrance comes in the typical product line up: Shower Gel, Body Lotion, Triple Moisture Body Cream, and Shimmer Mist.  It is also available in two brand new forms that I have never seen before and we will look closer at them.

The new forms of Beautiful Day!

Swirl Gel Lotion - Sparkle with radiance and enjoy every delicious moment of spring with our luminous Swirl Gel Lotion. Nourishing formula adds a hint of shimmer for gorgeous, glowing skin.  Shea Butter, soothing Aloe Vera and protective Vitamin E hydrate skin with moisture that lasts all day.

2-in-1 Superfruit Body Scrub and Wash - Say hello to gorgeous skin with our 2-in-1 Superfruit Body Scrub & Wash. Made from antioxidant-rich pomegranate, blueberry and cranberry seeds, our exclusive Superfruit Seed Complex leaves skin feeling ultra-soft, sexy and smooth. Massage onto skin to create a cleansing lather and rinse.  Intensely exfoliating formula reveals instantly smoother skin.

I will buy the Shower Gel and Body Lotion/Triple Moisture Cream in this fragrance and I am considering trying out the body scrub.  This company used to have some of the best body scrubs but they have been disappearing over the years and I would be very happy if I found a new formula that I loved and could buy in a series of fragrances.  I will have to try this one out and then I will report back, I don't love that it has seeds in it since they can have too jagged of edges and tear at skin but I will try this product and see if they create an issue.

Beautiful Day is a great fragrance for those who like light and fruity fragrances but just isn't strong enough for someone who likes a good floral.  This will be another fragrance from Bath and Body Works that I will only use in the body products and nothing else.

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

Monday, March 25, 2013

Urban Decay Beauty Balm

I have been sort of ignoring the new beauty balm formulas for the past few months, I am very fond of tinted moisturizers and have found several formulas that I really love.  I never saw the difference between the product and tinted moisturizer and have never really read any reviews that talked about how they differed.  Beauty Balm was a product that I was somewhat interested in but always put off buying and using.  What finally changed my mind?  I think that the major factor that finally changed my mind and persuaded me to buy one is that Urban Decay has introduced a version of this product with their spring collection and I can almost never avoid a new product or formula from this company because I love their makeup so much.  So I now own and have been using my first Beauty Balm formula for the past few days...

Beauty Balm is supposed to be a more advanced version of a tinted moisturizer, it contains a small amount of foundation suspended in a hydrating base along with SPF and special ingredients to improve the overall appearance of small flaws on the face.  I still think that this formula is so similar to a tinted moisturizer formula that you might not need both.  Also...now a CC Cream exists?!  What is next?

I have been using this product for the past few days and I will say that it took me several uses to decide what I really think of it.  I started by using it as I use tinted moisturizer however I learn through trial and error that there are better ways to use this product.  First we are going to look at the product description from the Sephora website then we will talk about how I used to the fullest advantage and then my overall thoughts and how it compares to a tinted moisturizer.

"A five-in-one beauty balm that minimizes the appearance of pores, lines, wrinkles, and redness instantly for skin that looks firmer in eight weeks.  Blur flaws in seconds and get serious anti aging benefits in just eight weeks. This lightweight, velvety, oil-free miracle works instantly and over the long term. Naked Skin Beauty Balm is invisible on your skin (zero rub-off): the universal shade glides on and dries down to a translucent, flawless finish that works on most skintones. While many beauty balms are tinted to provide coverage, Naked Skin diffuses light with high-tech pigments to give you amazing, natural, naked-looking skin that keeps getting better every week. Unlike a lot of beauty balms, Naked Skin delivers measurable anti aging benefits—and the claims to prove it."

"The multitasking Naked Skin is like an instant retoucher in a tube. Optical blurring pigments instantly even out skintone and minimize the appearance of pores, lines, wrinkles, and redness. SPF 20 shields skin from sun damage and Pepha®-Protect helps inhibit DNA damage. Vitasource™ and Glyage® improve the appearance of skin's firmness and elasticity, and provide measurable anti aging benefits, while the extremely blendable formula creates a smooth finish, so makeup goes on beautifully and stays put. Moisturizing but never greasy, it hydrates skin instantly and improves hydration over time."

The clinical results from product use...

"In a clinical study, immediately after use:
- 65% of participants’ complexion looked significantly improved
- 59% of participants’ skin looked significantly lifted
- 68% of participants’ skin hydration improved significantly"

"After eight weeks of use:
- 93% of participants had significantly firmer-, more lifted-looking skin
- 90% had significantly more radiant-looking skin
- 84% had a significant improvement in the appearance of fine lines
- Over 84% had skin that looked significantly smoother and more hydrated"

When I looked at how to use this product, I noticed immediately that it is not made to be used exactly as tinted moisturizer is and can be used several different ways for best results.  I first tried using it just as I would a tinted moisturizer, right on bare skin.  I didn't really like it this way, it wasn't hydrating enough and didn't spread and blend well enough for me.  I then tried it over moisturizer (one of the suggested methods of usage) and I liked it much better.  My skin felt much better hydrated and then since I could blend it better, my skin was much improved in tone and redness and other flaws were reduced.  After using it in this fashion, I was much happier with the product.  My skin is just too dry to use a light lotion on it and think that it will remain hydrated throughout the day.  I then tried to use this product another way the next morning, I applied face lotion as usual and then a small dab of primer to my skin before using the Beauty Balm, this is my favorite way to apply it.  When I use all three products, the finish and coverage are much more similar to foundation and allow me to use a very small bit of concealer and loose powder to top off my look for the day.

This formula of Beauty Balm reminds me more of a very light coverage foundation, it is best used with other products and not on its own.  With the combination of products, this product produces a smooth finish for my skin with a great amount of redness and flaw reduction.  It lasts pretty well throughout the day and I don't see any residue on my white collars.  I will follow up if I get the long term results from this product that were seen in the clinical trials but I bought it for coverage and not for anti-aging benefits.  I do need to treat this product more as a foundation and I cannot use it by itself (unlike tinted moisturizer).  I am looking forward to using this product in the summertime with primer and bronzer to create a very natural tan glow.  I have a feeling that there will be more information to come as I use this product and similar formulas more often.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Anna Sui Flight of Fancy

The new fragrances for spring are coming out very quickly right now and I have been adding tons of perfume samples to each of my Sephora website orders so that I can start trying them all out and decide what ones I will want to order in the coming weeks.  I decided that I wanted to buy several new fragrances when my tax return comes in and I have decided that I want to add a new Bond NYC fragrance to my line up but I will want to buy more than one fragrance these season so I am trying every single sample that I can order.  The one that I have been using over the past two days is a new fragrance from fashion designer Anna Sui. 

I remember first reading about Anna Sui and her designs many years ago when I read Seventeen Magazine and she was considered up and coming talent and was featured in their magazine for several years in a row.  After a few years, there was next to nothing about her in any magazine that I read and I thought that her clothing and beauty product lines were no longer.  I hadn't heard anything from her or about her in years before I suddenly saw her fragrances listed on the Sephora website at the very beginning of this month.  I still have no idea where her items came from or what she has been doing over the past few years and I want to try her new fragrances out this spring.

The first fragrance that I have tried from this "new" line is Flight of Fancy, this is the one that Sephora seems to be marketing the most and was only one that they had samples of.  This was not quite the fragrance for me so I am hoping that the other three that Sephora offers are better for me.  This isn't a bad fragrance but it is not very unique and doesn't last long enough on my skin.

" Fashion designer Anna Sui’s Flight of Fancy is about the allure of exploration and the thrill of discovery.  There is a time of transformation in a woman’s life when she sets out on a glorious adventure to discover herself. A time when she knows, instinctively, that she will change. And so, she opens her heart to every enticing possibility, every Flight of Fancy.  Radiant and embracing, luscious and young, the floral-fresh fragrance leads to a dream world where blossoms sparkle in the sun. Sweet lychee is transparent and spellbinding, while delicate freesia evokes a sense of fresh, clean air and warm, sunny days. A combination of smooth woods and musky notes capture the sensual tranquility of this fragrance."

The notes of the fragrance are as follows: Lychee, Java Lemon, Yuzu, Rose Blossom, Star Magnolia, Purple Rain Freesia, Amber Crystals, Skin Musk, White Woods.
This fragrance starts out heavy on the Lemon and Lychee notes and then goes more into the Star Magnolia and Freesia.  After the floral notes develops, it disappears about an hour later and I had to reapply it several times a day to keep the fragrance alive.  This fragrance actually smells exactly like Bath and Body Works Country Chic fragrance however it doesn't even last half as long on me.  This fragrance might appeal to a lady who likes a light fragrance or is sensitive to fragrances and doesn't want something strong to wear.  This fragrance has appeal to many ladies, citrus and floral blends are very popular and easy to wear in many environments.  This is not a fragrance that I would ever wear because it is too generic and it doesn't last at all.  I was very disappointed with this fragrance and I hope that the others from Anna Sui are quite different...

photo courtesy of Sephora

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Illamasqua Cream Pigment

To celebrate both the official beginning of spring and my week of vacation, I decided that I should make a Sephora order for both some new skincare and new color products.  It came in the other afternoon and I spent a great day playing around with my new products and I am going to review each one over the next few days.  I was so excited to make this order because I have been watching the new night cream from Philosophy for the past few weeks and when I went to make an order at the beginning of the month, it was already sold out and I put off my entire order.  I was so excited to see it back in stock that I ordered right away after I got the notification from Sephora's Customer Service and I would have kept putting this order off had this product not been in stock.

In addition to what might be my new favorite night cream, I also ordered two makeup items: Illamasqua's Cream Pigment and the new Beauty Balm formula from Urban Decay.  I still need to play around with the Beauty Balm before I review it (this is my first Beauty Balm formula) but I am ready to go with the Illamasqua product.  I first saw this product two springs ago in the Toxic Nature collection and this is said to be one of their top rated products and was recommended to me on the Makeup Alley Makeup Board.  So what was I looking for that this product was recommended by several people?  I wanted to find the best pale lilac eye shadow and this one was recommended to me by several people and I really wanted to try it out.  Not that it took much convincing for me to order from Illamasqua...

"A color-rich, water-resistant cream pigment for the lips, cheeks, and eyes that lasts as long as you do.  This versatile cream pigment creates the ultimate in textures on the face, eyes, lips, and anywhere else on the body you fancy. Apply with an Illamasqua brush or simply use your fingers for a buildable and highly pigmented finish that is water-resistant and long-wearing."  This product comes in five shades, four of which I believe were with the original release of the product.

The shades are...

- Mould - matte grape
- Hollow - matte toffee
- Bedaub - matte mint green
- Dab - matte pale lilac
- Delirium - matte rose taupe

I ordered the Dab shade from this product and I am already deciding what other shades that I would like from the formula.  This product is made to used on lips, cheeks, and eyes however I have only used this product on my eyes and I doubt that I would use this shade on any other feature.  This formula is very similar to the rest of the Illamasqua products, it is very pigmented, easy to apply, and lasts all day long without budging.  I use this with an eye primer to avoid creasing and I dab my finger in the pot and then pat it on my eyelids.  I then use a clean finger to blend the product in and soften the edges.  This product delivers vibrant color and it never fades throughout the day, I have never once had to touch this product up.  When I go to remove my makeup at night, this product is still in place and I need a separate eye makeup remover to fully get it off. 

If you like cream eye shadow formulas, this is one of the best that I have ever used.  It is very pigmented and will not budge until you take it off at night.  The next shade that I want to order is the pale mint green shade, Bedaub, this shade will also be perfect for spring and summer.  After that, I want to order both Hollow and Delirium for the cooler weather.  Delirium is the only shade that I might be able to wear on more than one facial feature but I would never wear the others as anything other than eye makeup.  There is a very good reason that Illamasqua is one of my favorite makeup brands and this is yet another great selection from them!

photo courtesy of Sephora

Friday, March 22, 2013

MAC Gently Off Eye and Lip Makeup Remover

Eye makeup remover is one of those necessary evils for me, I cannot get all of my eye makeup off without the use of a separate product.  Any type of traditional face wash will not get my eye makeup off, between mascara and primers, trying to use a face wash will only result in a big mess on my eyelids and under my eyes.  I have raised the white flag and just given up trying to use one product and know that I must use a separate eye makeup remover if I want to correctly get all of my makeup off.  I liked the Sephora Collection product that I had been using for the past few months but I decided that I wanted to try a new product and wanted to find one that is made to get all kinds of professional makeup looks off my face.

I decided to see what MAC had available since I was already mascara shopping from this company and wanted to see if I could get everything done at one counter.  MAC makes several eye makeup removers and I looked at each one online and decided that I would ask for recommendations the next time that I go to the counter and see what the makeup artists there use to get their makeup off.  All of the makeup artists at the counter that I go to wear tons of eye makeup and if it will get all of theirs off, then it will be more than able to get all of mine off.  What was recommended to me as the best eye makeup remover from MAC was the Gently Off Eye and Lip Makeup Remover and I added a bottle of it to the pile that I already had behind the counter.

This eye makeup remover is a oil-based formula, a type of formulation that I haven't used in years and have very little knowledge of.  I have used oil-based washes in the past and know that they get makeup off like no other kind of cleanser so I was willing to try this type of product out.  "Oil and water do mix, for twice the impact – just shake. A dual-phase, easy-does-it formula that sweeps off even tenacious waterproof mascara and lip colour. Absolutely gentle; suitable for all. Cucumber extract soothes, Damascus Rose flower water refreshes. No need to rinse.", states the MAC website for the description of the product.

The first thing that I learned about this product is that you must shake it and mix the oils for it to be effective, I tried using it without shaking and had eye makeup residue all over my eyes.  After shaking, I tap the top of the bottle unto my cotton balls and shake enough product out to dampen the cotton balls.  Dampening the top of cotton balls releases enough product to get all of my eye makeup off without any issues.  One or two swipes on my each eye will get all the makeup and primer off and I love that my mascara doesn't smear down on my cheeks with the use of this product.  I am very happy with this formula.

My issue with this product is that I do not like the bottle.  It is a traditional squeeze bottle but I have found that I have to tap the bottle several times to get any product out at all and I didn't like the product the first few times that I used it because I wasn't getting enough product out to correctly clean off my eye makeup.  I learned how much was needed within a few uses and I have no problem with it now but I wasn't happy when I first tried it.  This bottle makes it harder than need be to get the product out and could turn off users of it.

This is a great eye makeup remover formula, my only issues are with the bottle.  The formula is a great oil-based formula and gets all of my eye makeup off without fussing.  This is one of my favorite eye makeup removers that I have ever used and I will re-purchase this one again when I run out of it.

photo courtesy of MAC

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bath and Body Works True Blue Spa Raspberry Body Products

Bath and Body Works has put out some great collections so far this spring, Fresh Picked contains some of the best fragrances that I have seen in years from this company and I love the direction that they appear to be going in.  White I have been raving over Fresh Picked for the past month, I have been quietly collecting and loving one of the new lines in the True Blue Spa collection.  Ever since college, True Blue Spa has contained some of the best quality products in the store and I have been using many of these products for years now.  Needless to say, anytime that I hear about new products in this line, I immediately get interested and a purchase (or two) is the result.

I was really excited to see that the Mango Butter line came back from Spa, I was obsessed with this line last year and now I have the chance to pick up some more of it before I run out.  With the Mango line, the company introduced a line of Raspberry products.  I typically hate the scent of raspberry, Sun Ripened Raspberry still makes me gag and I have never found a true raspberry scent that I enjoy and that works with my body chemistry.  I wasn't impressed the first time that I saw this line.  However after trying and smelling the products, it quickly became evident that this is not just a raspberry scent but a combination of raspberry and mojtio.  The mojito scent in the mix makes all the difference because I utterly love these body products.  The combination makes it less sweet and more wearable than just the berry and great for the spring and summer months.  Now I have another True Blue Spa product obsession...

There are four products in the Raspberry line and I bought all four of them already.  There is a Body Wash, a Cream Gel moisturizer, a Scrub, and a Bar Soap (just like the Mango one!!).

Raspberry Yogurt Shower Smoothie - Our creamy yogurt-enriched shower gel is a skin nourishing body cocktail that cleanses and replenishes skin with Vitamin E and nutrient-rich raspberries.  Raspberry Extract and antioxidant Vitamin E provide nourishment to skin.  Rich & creamy formula provides abundant lather.  Juicy & effervescent raspberry fragrance smells just like an exotic raspberry cocktail.  Not tested on animals.

Raspberry Mojito Cream Gel - Replenish parched skin with a healthy shot of antioxidant-rich raspberry, Jojoba oil and Vitamin C! Our ultra-moisturizing formula leaves skin feeling soft, satiny and fragranced with an exotic fruit cocktail to remind you it's always 5 o'clock somewhere!  Exotic Jojoba Oil adds moisture to skin as it pampers.  Lightweight, moisturizing cream gel absorbs easily and replenishes tired, dry skin.  Juicy & effervescent fragrance smells just like a refreshing raspberry mojito.  Not tested on animals.

Raspberry Margarita Body Scrub - Celebrate happy hour as you scrub your way to soft skin! Sugar exfoliates white antioxidants, Vitamin C, raspberry extract and moisturizing oils take you away on a tropical getaway!  Sugar exfoliates to sweeten your spa experience while antioxidant Vitamin C, raspberry extract and an exotic blend of moisturizing oils provide pampering nourishment.  Intensely exfoliating formula reveals instantly smoother skin.  Juicy & effervescent raspberry fragrance smells just like an exotic raspberry cocktail.  Not tested on animals.

Raspberry Nourishing Body Bar - It's superfood for your skin! Smooth, soften and cleanse from head-to-toe with body bar's rich lather bursting with a fresh n' fruity fragrance! Replenishes vital nutrients with vitamin rich raspberry extract.  Replenishing Glycerin and vitamin-rich raspberry extract attract moisture to skin.  Juicy and effervescent raspberry fragrance.  Not tested on animals.

Yes I have bought all of these products so far and I can't wait until I have the room in my shower to break them out.  The Cream Gel product is the most unique, it feels like jelly and absorbs in very quickly and instantly leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated.  It is a really interesting product and will appeal to those who don't like the feel of a traditional lotion or cream.  My second favorite product is the scrub, it is less oily than most scrubs and is really abrasive (without be overboard) and it will get all the dead skin off before self tanning or for the rough dry patches that I get at the end of winter. 

The last thing that I needed was yet another reason to collect True Blue Spa but I found it in the Raspberry line and now my shower will be smelling like sweet mojitos!

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

OPI Oz The Great and Powerful Nail Polish Collection

The new movie Oz movie has already turned into a hit at the box office and has become THE movie for beauty product and collection tie ins.  We have already looked at the new eye shadow palettes from Urban Decay that were inspired by two of the main characters of the movie and now we are going to look at the nail polish collection that OPI has just brought out to tie in with the movie.  The Glinda eye palette that I have been wanting from Urban Decay has been out of stock for the past few times that I have checked it on the Sephora website and I can't wait for it to come back in stock, the Glinda palette has the prettiest lilac shades and will be perfect for spring.  While I am waiting for that item to come back in stock, I will need to get my Oz fill from the new OPI polish collection.

The Oz collection from OPI contains seven new polish shades, one of which has the new Liquid Sand finish (that I cannot stand) and six with the traditional polish finishes.  Some of these polishes have a very intense glitter finish and others are more subtle, these are not polishes that can be worn in a professional atmosphere but will be great for going out at night.  The other polishes are more sheer and neutral and will be very easy to wear in any environment, I can see both areas of this collection selling out very quickly.

We are going to start with the sheer shades as I tend to buy shades like this all the time, I love that I can get several days of wear from these and I don't have to worry about if my polish hue is appropriate to the environment.

- Don't Burst My Bubble - sheer off white cream with a cool undertone
- Glints of Glinda - sheer neutral beige cream
- I Theodora You - sheer neutral pale pink cream

I think that the glitter shades will be the most popular of the collection and these will sell out first and become cult favorites.

- Lights of Emerald City - clear base with square silver glitter pieces
- When Monkeys Fly - clear base with big chunks of gold glitter pieces and small silver pieces
- Which Witch is Which - clear base with small silver glitter

The last shade is my least favorite already, being that it has the Liquid Sand finish that I could not stand from the first time that I saw a picture of it.  I feel that the Liquid Sand finish looks like your polish was smudged when it was wet and is over the top.  I know that many people like this finish and disagree with me but I would not buy any shade with this finish any time soon.
- What Wizardy is This? - olive base color with gold and bronze shimmer

I like some of the shades in this collection but this isn't one of my favorites from OPI, there have been much stronger collections over the years and this doesn't contain a great range of shades.  My favorite shade is I Theodora You, this pale pink will fit right into my polish collection and would be on constant rotation for me for the next few seasons.  Don't Burst My Bubble is the other shade that I would purchase from the collection, Glints of Glinda won't be as flattering on me as the other two.  Which Witch is Which is the only glitter finish shade that I like but it is much to similar to the glitter top coat in last year's Ballerina Collection and I bought that one already and don't need a second bottle of this type of top coat.  The other two glitters are just ugly and I would never use them.  I am not a fan of this collection and I will just keep waiting for that eye palette from Urban Decay for my Oz fix...

photo courtesy of Amazon

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sephora and Pantone Color of the Year - Emerald Collection

I have been obsessed with the color emerald ever since Sephora first stated that it was the color of the year.  So far, I have been ordering emerald colored nail polish shades and I also bought an emerald drop pendant necklace to wear throughout the spring.  I love the combination of pink and emerald and I have been mixing up accessories and beauty products in this combination since the end of last month and this trend shows no ending in sight for me.  In addition to showcasing a series of emerald products from all different brands, Sephora's house brand has also created an entire line for spring inspired by this color and so far has been sold out every time that I look for a certain product in it and I have had to be content with ordering from the other brands.

The full collection is up on the Sephora website and it is time for me to start looking at all the product and to make a very detailed wish list.  I have seen pictures of eye makeup from this collection and some amazing looking green nail polish hues and I do believe that I also saw some sets and palettes in this collection too.  I am also excited about the fact that Sephora has added cheek and lip shades that are not green (very good!) but are made to complement green eye makeup hues.  I believe that some of them are pinks so now I can take my love of pink and green combinations to my makeup.  This has so much potential for me!

"Energize your look with universally flattering shadow palettes, high-shine lacquers, professional accessories, and more.  This year, Sephora + Pantone Universe evolve their breakthrough partnership to forecast the color of radical modernism, where graphic shock meets the speed of modern life. Transfixing and dynamic, the Color of the Year sparks a highly charged mood for the seasons ahead. Visualize a color revolution of infinite potential—from subtle effects to saturated statements—fueled by a hunger for high-tech impact. Experience Emerald from every angle through never-before-seen formulas designed to energize the way you wear color in 2013. Connect. Charge. Power up with the Color of the Year.", states the Sephora website when describing the overall Emerald Collection.  I now also feel that I must have an emerald compact mirror and an emerald brush set...

Here is the Emerald Collection!

The Color of the Year Collection - A six-piece set of the most pigmented formulas from the 2013 Color of the Year collection for endless, luminous beauty.  Enhance and magnify your look with this collection of rich, high-pigment formulas drenched in Emerald, an energetic color that induces power and unmistakable vibrancy. The brilliant prismatic eye shadow glides on silky for bold, all-day wear and the three-shadow palette intensifies eyes with complementary Emerald tones for a supernatural, futuristic look. The glitter dust accents with dramatic shimmer and the striking lid stain doubles as a vivid liner and shadow. The waterproof eyeliner flaunts the universal tone with a silky matte finish and the highlighting mascara finishes your look with a daring Emerald splash on your lashes.
- Color Grid Shadow Block Bionic
- Color Code Prismatic Shadow Block
- 1 oz Lightspeed Glitter Dust
- 0.055 oz Graphic Sculpt Waterproof Jumbo Eyeliner
- 0.1 oz Color Cube Lid Stain
- 0.4 oz Color Watt Highlighting Mascara
- 0.4 oz size for Color Code Prismatic Color Block

Emerald Tip Nail Ring - An innovative, striking ring worn at the tip of the finger that features the Color of the Year with a luminous twist.  Flaunt the energizing spirit of Emerald with this eye-catching ring. Worn at the tip of the finger, this ring showcases the Color of the Year and turns heads with a glinting, sparkling rhinestone. One size fits most.

Emerald Compact Mirror - A sleek, compact mirror saturated in radiant Emerald, the 2013 Color of the Year.  Luminous and powerful—experience the vivaciousness of Emerald with this compact mirror as you travel the world or make a simple skip across town. Perfect for quick touch-ups and slim enough for your purse or gym bag, this vivid green mirror energizes any situation.

Color Theory Shadow Block - Elemental - A striking eye shadow trio that enhances and intensifies the eyes with shades inspired by the Color of the Year.  Enhance and invigorate your eyes with this shadow palette that delivers a pearlized, sheer finish for a more natural look. The reflective properties of diamond dust and micro-fine platinum powder diffuse light, creating a luminous soft-focus effect. The neutral tones featured in this palette draw out a new facet of Emerald, highlighting the Color of the Year as a perfect everyday accent. No matter how you wear Emerald—from subtle to dramatic—its universally flattering tone complements and intensifies every iris.
- emerald shimmer/appleblossom/camel

Color Theory Shadow Block - Bionic - A striking eye shadow trio that enhances and intensifies the eyes with complementary tones to the Color of the Year.  Enhance and invigorate your eyes with this bold, high-pigment shadow palette that delivers a supernatural, futuristic look. The vibrancy of cobalt activates Emerald’s blue tones, drawing out a striking facet of the Color of the Year that is perfectly highlighted by silver. These shadow formulas feature a blendable, smooth texture that feels silky soft to the touch. No matter how you wear Emerald—from subtle to dramatic—its universally flattering tone complements and intensifies every iris.
- emerald/white asylum/crown blue

Color Theory Shadow Block - Eclipsed - A striking eye shadow trio that enhances and intensifies the eyes with complementary tones to the Color of the Year.  Enhance and invigorate your eyes with this shadow palette that delivers a trio of rich, satiny formulas for a smoky, elusive look. The reflective properties of diamond dust and micro-fine platinum powder diffuse light, creating a smoldering effect. The deep, neutral shades featured in this palette draw out a striking facet of Emerald for a gorgeous smoky eye lit with a hint of shimmer. No matter how you wear Emerald—from subtle to dramatic—its universally flattering tone complements and intensifies every iris.
- emerald glitter/amberlight/olivine

Color Code Prismatic Shadow Block - A cream eye shadow in lively Emerald that glides on easy and wears comfortably all day.  Play with the power and elegance of Emerald with this high-pigment shadow for allover color. The water-resistant formula promises to stay put, without creases or smudging, yet the silky texture blends beautifully for added versatility. No matter how you wear Emerald—from subtle to dramatic—its universally flattering tone complements and intensifies every iris.

Color Theory Sculpting Blush - A futuristic pressed powder blush that delivers comfortable wear and pure hues inspired by the Color of the Year.  Wear powder perfection with this lightweight blush featuring a duet of complementary tones especially formulated to harmonize with Emerald looks. This powder is enriched with actives to preserve skin elasticity and packed with brown seaweed extract for a soft and supple complexion. The slim compact includes a hidden mirror that snaps magnetically in place for easy application anywhere, anytime.
- dusty pink/pink mist

Colorbyte Lip Wands - A set of four luscious lip glosses with an ultra shiny finish and complementary tones that enhance Emerald looks.  From soft and neutral to bold and bright, this set of glosses has been specially formulated to highlight and harmonize with the Color of the Year. This innovative gloss coats lips in stunning, glossy color while moisturizing with vitamin E and hyaluronic spheres. The non-tacky formula improves volume and softness and the universally flattering shades promise always-radiant results.
- touch of emerald/cameo brown/georgia peach/crocus

Holographic Dobbie - A versatile cosmetic bag and storage tote with a glimmering reflective finish.  Keep all your beauty essentials by your side with this chic, holographic bag perfect for travel and at-home storage. The two-toned faux leather will protect your favorite brushes, makeup, and hair accessories, and the special hook on the inside flap allows you to hang the bag for added convenience. 

Color Block Beauty Box - A stunning bag drenched in the vivid and energizing Color of the Year.  Keep all of your beauty supplies safe and secure with this gorgeous case decorated in Emerald, the color of possibility and power. The sturdy design zips closed to keep beauty essentials organized while you’re home or away and a smaller case inside can be removed for travel or the gym.

Horizon Light Brush Collection - A delightful five-piece brush set that changes colors in the palm of your hand or when exposed to light.  This impressive brush set was designed to provide a super soft feel against the skin and flawless application every time. The synthetic bristles contain fine cuticles on each filament that mimic natural hair and help ensure excellent powder pick up for both wet and dry formulas. The heat-activated, color-changing handles turn from violet to white in your palm, and the brush hairs turn violet when exposed to the sun or UV light.  The brush heads have been treated with an antibacterial spray to guard against buildup and can easily be washed with alcohol, mild soap and water, or a brush cleanser.
- Angled blush brush
- Large shadow brush
- Smudge brush
- Crease brush
- Angled liner brush

I am actually disappointed with this range of colors, I am not seeing anything that I am in love with and nothing that I really consider that I must have from the color products.  The accessories are my favorite pieces of the collection and these are the parts of it that I really feel that I need to add to my product collection.  That color-changing brush set is just amazing beyond belief and I must have this the next time that I visit Sephora.

I like many of the color products in this collection but I don't love them enough to track them down.  My favorite piece is the eye shadow palette that I have pictured here, the Shadow Block in Eclipse.  I would get lots of use from this bronze and deep moss green palette but none of the shades are very unique and I know that I could find very similar shades from many other companies (that probably have better formulas at the same time), I have never had much love for Sephora brand cosmetics and would only really buy items from this company if I find the colors or products to be very unique.  There is nothing in this collection that find worthy of the chase, the blush is very pretty but again, I would not have to look hard to find these shades from many other companies.

Perhaps I was too excited about this collection and that is why I feel so let down but this just isn't really what I was picturing when I first saw pictures on blogs and emails from Sephora...

photo courtesy of Sephora

Monday, March 18, 2013

Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Thirst Quenching Face Serum

Yesterday we finished up the last of the spring collections and we will be beginning the summer collections in about three or four weeks.  I am very excited to take my time off this week and spend at least a good day or two beauty product shopping and I am so much looking forward to the weather getting and to start wearing my new spring outfits and fragrances.  But I just looked out of the window...and it is snowing.  Class is actually cancelled tonight due to the winter weather so I am just thinking spring in my brain and curling up with my textbooks in front of the fire place.  Perhaps the weather will be nicer by the end of the week for the actual first day of spring...

I have been battling very dry skin later than usual this spring due the longer winter weather and today I want to spotlight a key product in my arsenal to fight dry skin.  I have always loved Caudalie products and I will never hesitate to try a new product from them and I have almost always loved every single product that I buy.  The newest product that I have been using is a newer hydration serum from this company, the Vinosource S.O.S. Thirst Quenching Face Serum.  I typically use the redness reducing Vinosource serum from this company but this product looked really interesting when it came out late last summer and I decided to try a bottle out.  I am almost through the bottle that I have been using for the past few weeks and am already plotting to order another bottle during the upcoming Sephora Friends and Family sale.

"An oil-free serum that captures and continually diffuses water deep within the skin to restore its moisture balance and leave skin feeling soft and supple.  Organic grape water is the key ingredient for reactivating the skin’s hydration mechanisms and replenishing its water reserves, while polyphenol antioxidents provide protection against UV rays and free radicals. Gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin, this serum is an ideal base for moisturizer, allowing for deeper penetration that will leave skin refreshed, hydrated, and comfortably soft. This hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and oil-free formula is perfect for all skin types. For best results, use with Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet.", states the Sephora website when describing the product.

Sephora also provides the following clinical results with the use of the product. "Organic Grape Water: - 61% decreased sensitivity and 121% increased hydration".

I have been in love with this product so far and I can see a difference in my skin after four full weeks of use and I will continue to use this throughout the spring and summer.  First of all, I want to start off my review of the product by stating that this is not a moisturizer and can not be used in place of your moisturizer, the results will not be to your liking and this is not how it was made to used.  This product is made to be used before moisturizer and will set up your skin to allow the hydrating benefits to penetrate deeper and have more impact on your skin.  When I use the product by itself, I do not see much difference in my skin, I have to apply moisturizer with it and then I see a world of difference in my skin hydration level and texture.  My skin is much softer and I have to use much less product to see results that I would only see if I covered my face with tons of product. 

Sephora recommends that this product be used twice a day on clean, dry skin.  I started by using it only at night but then went up to using it twice a day to reap the full benefits of the serum.  When I only used the product once, I used it at night and my face looked great but I never could duplicate the results in the morning.   I learned quickly that I had to use this product twice a day or I would not get the benefits from it. 

I will be buying another bottle of this product very soon as my winter skin issues don't seem to be ending at any time soon.  I do wonder if there will be a point to me using it in the summer when I am self tanning as my skincare routine does change but I will cross that bridge when I get there.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Clinique Spring 2013 Collection - Spring Violets

The last of the three Clinique collections is based on violet shades and I am really excited about this part of the collection!  I have already talked about how many purple and lilac shades of eye makeup that I have been looking at and buying all season and I am so excited to see what shades of eye shadow are in this part of the spring collection.  I have not yet found a true grape purple eye shadow or a good plum shade of eye liner and I think that this collection could provide the rest of the shades that I need to round out my purple collection.  Looks like I have another counter to hit next time that I go to Macy*s...

I have always loved purple and lilac shades and tend to buy a bunch of them for my eyes each spring season.  But I have never been able to get enough and always want to add more shades to my collection.  I haven't bought much eye makeup from Clinique lately but I used to buy from them all the time and loved each time that I bought so I am ready to buy more eye makeup from this company.

"A bright full-bloom bouquet.  Fresh, fabulous, and fun.", states the Clinique website.  I want to see what lilac shades are made for eyes in this collection and perhaps a lilac lip gloss.  I have never found a lilac lip gloss that I really love (and MAC has many of them that I have tried at counters and have not found the perfect one yet).  Let's check out the last collection of the spring!

Spring Violets from Clinique!

Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes - Sheer wash of lightweight, creamy colour slips on. Layerable and long-wearing. Versatile, too. Glide one on for a swift wash of colour. Contour with another to add depth, and yet another to highlight. There's no need to stop at just one. Appropriate for sensitive eyes and contact lens-wearers.
- 09 Lavish Lilac - deep warm plum shimmer

Quickliner for Eyes Intense - No need to be subtle when it's now so easy to move into the deepest, most dramatic range. Find all the intensity of a liquid liner in one simple stroke. Silky formula glides on. Stays on all day. Never needs sharpening. "Smoke" with the smudge tip on the opposite end. Ophthalmologist Tested.Two great ways to wear it.
- Intense Plum - deep plum cream

Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm - Tempt lips with a soft cushion of colour that's not quite sheer, not quite opaque-just the perfect happy medium. Loaded with mango and shea butters so lips feel comfortably soft and smooth. Eight vibrant shades in all.
- Grandest Grape - medium sheer magenta berry cream

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

Blushing Blush Powder Blush - Silky formula sweeps effortlessly over cheekbones to create a natural look. Fresh, jet-milled colour builds and blends beautifully to desired intensity with custom sculpting brush. Long-wearing, colour-true. Oil-free.
- Iced Lotus - blue pink with white shimmer

I am actually the most let down by this part of the collection, I was expecting a very different type of product selection from this collection.  All of the eye makeup is more on the plum side and I am not looking for plum shades this time of the year, I would be more interested in this part of the collection in the fall and winter months.  I think that my favorite part of the new collections is still the pink hues that we started out with and I will buy the most from this area of the spring releases.

Well the spring collections are over and now we will move onto the summer collections at the beginning of April.  Now it is time for me to look at what else I need to buy for the spring and finish up my shopping!

photo courtesy of Clinique

Clinique Spring 2013 Collection - Spring Gingers

Earlier today we looked at the first of the three new collections from Clinique and I fell in love with many of the new pinks that they brought out this with these collections.  The second of the collections is one that I doubt that I will really like, this one is based on ginger tones and will contain shades that have the potential to be too warm for my skin tone.  I will look at this collection and check each product out, I am sure that some of my readers will find these shades to be very flattering and will love this area of the spring collections. 

The name "Spring Gingers" out a very different picture in my head than what the shades actually look like.  I am seeing a deep green eye shadow pencil and a bright pink lip hue, I was envisioning warm bronze and tawny shades that will complement the first hints of a tan.  I guess that I was wrong and perhaps that means that I will be able to easily find products from Spring Gingers.  "Sunny warmth with a splash of flirty, fresh-faced appeal.", is the collection description from Clinique.  Let's see how this collection plays out...

The Spring Gingers collection from Clinique!

Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes - Sheer wash of lightweight, creamy colour slips on. Layerable and long-wearing. Versatile, too. Glide one on for a swift wash of colour. Contour with another to add depth, and yet another to highlight. There's no need to stop at just one. Appropriate for sensitive eyes and contact lens-wearers.
- 06 Mighty Moss - deep moss green shimmer

Quickliner for Eyes Intense - No need to be subtle when it's now so easy to move into the deepest, most dramatic range. Find all the intensity of a liquid liner in one simple stroke. Silky formula glides on. Stays on all day. Never needs sharpening. "Smoke" with the smudge tip on the opposite end. Ophthalmologist Tested.Two great ways to wear it.
- Intense Ivy - deep moss green

Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm - Tempt lips with a soft cushion of colour that's not quite sheer, not quite opaque-just the perfect happy medium. Loaded with mango and shea butters so lips feel comfortably soft and smooth. Eight vibrant shades in all.
- Mightiest Maraschino - bright pink red cream

High Impact Mascara - Kicks up the volume and length of each and every lash for a look that's lusher, plusher, bolder. Pure, deep colour only adds to the impact. Wear it once and you'll feel naked without it. Ophthalmologist Tested.
- Black - deep black

Blushing Blush Powder Blush - Silky formula sweeps effortlessly over cheekbones to create a natural look. Fresh, jet-milled colour builds and blends beautifully to desired intensity with custom sculpting brush. Long-wearing, colour-true. Oil-free.
- Cupid - pale dusty pink with matte finish

I really like this part of the spring looks too but not quite as much as I liked the first spring look.  I don't think that I consider any of the these products and shades to be must haves and I would be ok if I didn't get to pick any of them up.  I think that my favorite pieces are the eye makeup products, I love the moss colors in the eye shadow and liner.  I already own an olive colored eye liner from MAC but I want to find a deeper hue to create a deeper moss green eye.  I could skip over every other item in the collection but I really want the eye makeup products.  Personally, I would not use them in a spring makeup look and would save them until the fall. 

This is the second of the three collections, so far I have liked both so far and now I am excited to look at the last Clinique collection.  And my last spring collection of 2013...

photo courtesy of Clinique

Clinique Spring 2013 Collection - Spring Berries

We are now on the last of the spring collections and the beginning of my vacation from work.  It is also my favorite holiday of the year and I will enjoying myself today both with beauty products and then some time with friends later on.  But before I start decking myself out in green, we are going to look at the last of the spring collections, there are three new spring looks from Clinique and I am checking each one out.  I have been having great results from this company's skincare products over the past few months and now I am really excited to try more makeup from this line, especially foundations and other forms of face makeup.  I am suddenly craving a BB cream or a primer from this product line...

The new Clinique collection contains three version of spring makeup looks and we are looking at the first one right now, Spring Berries.  "Pretty, just-picked pinks show their playful side."  I looked at this collection first because I have been adding new pinks shades to my colleciton like crazy and I bet that this will be my favorite of the three!

Here is the Spring Berries collection from Clinique!

Chubby Stick Shadow Tint - Sheer wash of lightweight, creamy colour slips on. Layerable and long-wearing. Versatile, too.  Glide one on for a swift wash of colour. Contour with another to add depth, and yet another to highlight. There's no need to stop at just one. Appropriate for sensitive eyes and contact lens-wearers.
- 07 Pink and Plenty - pale pink

Quickliner for Eyes Intense - No need to be subtle when it's now so easy to move into the deepest, most dramatic range. Find all the intensity of a liquid liner in one simple stroke. Silky formula glides on. Stays on all day. Never needs sharpening. "Smoke" with the smudge tip on the opposite end. Ophthalmologist Tested.Two great ways to wear it.
- Intense Charcoal - deep charcoal gray

Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm - Tempt lips with a soft cushion of colour that's not quite sheer, not quite opaque-just the perfect happy medium. Loaded with mango and shea butters so lips feel comfortably soft and smooth. Eight vibrant shades in all.
- Plushest Punch - deep berry pink

High Impact Waterproof Mascara - Instant volume and length that resists flaking, clumping, smudging. Our waterproof version of High Impact Mascara can stand up to heat, humidity, an active day. Safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers. Ophthalmologist tested, too.
- Black - deep black

Blushing Blush Powder Blush - Silky formula sweeps effortlessly over cheekbones to create a natural look. Fresh, jet-milled colour builds and blends beautifully to desired intensity with custom sculpting brush. Long-wearing, colour-true. Oil-free.
- Cupid - pale dusty rose cream

I am in love with the Chubby Stick shade, this deep pink will be lovely for the spring and summer but I know that I would use it well into the colder weather months.  This product will be going right onto my Most Wanted list for the next month and I see a trip to the counter in my near future.  I love how this is a new formula and is full of moisturizing ingredients that will help soothe my chapped lips.  I want to see every other color that this product comes out in and I hope that I find more that I want to buy.

I think my next purchase from this part of the collection will be the blush shade, I haven't added many new blushes to my collection lately and I want to try more face makeup items from this line.  I like this pink shade and it will work very well with my skin tone and many different type of makeup looks.  High Impact is mascara formula that I haven't used for several years but I do remember liking it and I should get another tube of it to try out and review soon.  I wonder if a Clinique Gift with Purchase is coming up any time soon since my list could be very long this time around.

The first of the spring looks should be my favorite but we have two more to look at and let's see what else I find that I want to buy!

photo courtesy of Clinique