Sunday, June 30, 2013

Oscar de la Renta Essential Luxuries - Sargasso

Today we are going back to one of the products that was included in my June Glossybox.  We have already looked at the SpaRitual Nail Lacquer and today we are switching courses to look at one of the perfume samples that was sent in my box.  The June box celebrates all beauty product brands and designers that are from the United States and looks at how each one represents the concept of American Beauty.  One of the most influential fashion houses for the past few decades is the House of Oscar de la Renta and he has created six new fragrances for his loyal fans.  Samples of each of the six scents were included with this Glossybox and I am currently working my way through putting each one of them to the test.

With my Glossybox was a small magazine that provided me with a start when deciding what fragrance to use first.  I wanted to find a fragrance that was light and pretty for the summer months so I could start with something very appropriate to the season.  I chose Sargasso to start my education around the Oscar de la Renta Essential Luxuries fragrance collection.

The Glossybox magazine gives a nice description of the fragrance and we are also going to look at the official fragrance description from the Saks Fifth Avenue website.  "A crisp, green, invigorating accord is the essence of 'sea spray' in a splashy Eau de Colonge.  Fresh citrus notes, watery cucumber, and an unexpected revitalizing greenness combine with warm sunshine and patchouli for a lasting serene finish.".  The Saks Fifth Avenue website provides the exact same description of Sargasso and this is the exclusive retailer of this fragrance and the rest of the scents in the collection. 

Sargasso could very easily be unisex, this is a green fragrance with hints of fresh sea air notes mixed in with it.  It is a very unique fragrance, I do not own anything like it at all and I am thinking of buying the full size version of this fragrance to fill a hole in my perfume collection.  Sargasso is a very nice "summer weekend" fragrance, this fragrance would fit perfectly with farmer's markets, boating, and casual outside lunches.  I would not see this fragrance working well in a professional environment, it doesn't fit with a suit and heels.

I am very fond of Sargasso but I wish that it had more lasting power.  I get a great hit of the 'sea spray' when I first apply this fragrance and then this stays with me for the next two or three hours of wear.  I place this fragrance in the Green category, there is nothing floral or warm about Sargasso.  I own less Green fragrances than any other kind so this was a refreshing break for me.  I never got much of the patchouli note, this fragrance doesn't have much of a base to it and this base note never comes out for me.  Sargasso is very light and only lasts about two to three hours on my skin, it goes from the 'sea spray' to nothing when I wear it.  I would like for this scent to last longer, I have to reapply throughout the day to keep it fresh.

Sargasso is my first from the Oscar de la Renta Essential Luxuries fragrance collection and I will be trying the next ones out very soon.  This is a contender for my early favorite of this line because it is very unique and I love Green fragrances and this one smells like a day in a small village near the ocean.  This would the ideal fragrance to take the Hamptons for a weekend getaway.

photo courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Stila Lip Glaze

Today we are going to look at a product that will make many of you laugh that I have not used it before.  I'm not kidding...I have used several products from Stila before (eye shadows and tinted moisturizer are among my favorites from them) and have given many of their sets as gifts.  Even though I have given many of my friends the big Lip Glaze gift sets that they make around the holiday season, I have somehow never bought one for myself and resisted the urge to try any of them.  I have heard very mixed reviews on these lip glosses, people either love or hate them but almost everyone agrees that there isn't enough product in the tube and they burn through them very quickly.

My lip gloss addiction runs very much to MAC and NARS, I am not often in the market to try new lip gloss formulas since I have such a large collection of my beloved Lipglasses.  I happened upon the Stila Lip Glaze formula when my brother gave me a few of these glosses for my birthday last month.  I was hooked on this formula after using one of the shades a few times however I completely agree that I can almost see the product getting used up in the tube each time that I release more gloss.  I didn't need another lip gloss obsession but now I have one...

The Sephora website contains all of the shades of this product and will often have exclusive gifts containing many shades of these glosses for the holidays.  " An ultra high-shine lip gloss in a nifty click pen.  Stila's ever-popular lip glaze is back in action with larger pens (twice the size of the original) guaranteed to keep your lips glossier, longer. The gloss gives lips a punch of color and adds a delicious scent. Whatever sweet flavor you are in the mood for, it is sure to be found in this collection of classic shades."

My favorite aspects of this lip gloss is the formula.  I love that the formula is on the thicker side (more like NARS) and therefore will last for several hours after initial application.  It is one of the better wearing glosses that I have used, I will still have it on after eating or drinking and do not have to reapply as much as I do with Lipglasses.  This is a sticky formula gloss and will not appeal to anyone that does not like that feeling on her lips, I have had to pull my hair out of my lip gloss several times already when wearing one of these shades and I will admit that this can get annoying when it is a windy day and my hair is all over the place.  This lip gloss formula has a time and place (or certain hairstyle). 

The pen style applicator still slightly puts me off this product, as I said earlier I can see the product advancing up and agree with most people that there isn't enough product in these tubes.  I will give Stila a lot of credit for making the tubes larger and giving us more product without much of a price bump.  The sets that contain the small tubes are the best choice for trying out colors and then I would recommend buying the best ones in the large size.  I am looking forward to the holidays so that I can order myself a big set of these and trying out a whole range of shades!

The color list is pretty extensive and we will look at right now...

- Brown Sugar - shimmering golden nude
- Vanilla - pearly nude gloss
- Apricot - melon nectarine
- Banana - shimmering gold
- Kitten - nude pink shimmer
- Kaleidoscope - glimmering pale pink
- Grapefruit - frosted pink
- Passion Fruit - shimmering bright pink
- Watermelon - clear pink
- Guava - sheer rosy mauve
- Raspberry - high gloss fuchsia
- Tangerine - shimmering peachy melon
- Starfruit - shimmering coral
- Fruit Punch - creamy red
- Strawberry - deep red
- Cranberry - sheer brick red
- Black Cherry - sheer deep purple
- Sugar Plum - sheer nude plum
- Blackberry - purple wine
- Roseberry - glimmering nude plum
- Berry - pearly mauve gloss
- Mocha - sheer plum brown

I was given Brown Sugar and Kitten, two neutral hues that look great with any eye makeup look that I pair them with.  I have used Brown Sugar more than I thought that I would, this is the shade that is pictured and looks really deep in the tube but becomes the perfect sheer nude on the lips.  I love this shade and this is my favorite of the two.  Kitten is a lighter version that has a bit more pink in it, they look very similar on the lip and both shades are very easy to wear.  I also want to buy the following shades: Vanilla, Kaleidoscope, Passion Fruit, Watermelon, Strawberry, Sugar Plum, and Berry.  The last three shades I will put off buying until fall since they are deeper hues that will work very well with the fall trends that we have looked at in a previous post.

I didn't need a new lip gloss love but I found it and will have more lip glosses to collect and add to my already huge lip gloss collection.  This is a formula that is best suited for ladies that like a longer wearing lip gloss formula and don't mind it being a bit stickier than many other formulas.  The shades that I have tried are sheer and could work very well in any type of circumstance or with almost any look.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Friday, June 28, 2013

Dior Instant Gentle Cleansing Face Oil

I have been using the Korres Milk Cleansing Face Wash for the past few months now and really thought that I had changed my preference to cream face cleansers over any other kind.  Normally, I was a foam and gel face wash person but I have used quite a few quality cream formulas over the years and never really declared my preference until I worked with the Korres formula.  I now might have to turn all of my thoughts on their heads after Sephora sent me a huge sample of the brand new Dior Instant Gentle Cleansing Face Oil and now I have ordered a large sized bottle for when I run out of my Korres formula.

I wasn't shopping for a new face wash when I read my email with the offer from Sephora but since I was going to order soon anyway, I decided to order right away and add the huge free sample into my shopping cart.  I was glad that I acted right away because this was completely out of stock within a few hours of my receiving the email.  I haven't used many oil face washes over the years, just one from Nude which I liked but never repurchased.  For many years, face oils were only available from Asian brands and the most famous was the formula from Shu Uemura but many varied brands have released their versions of the oil formula over the past two years and I think that I will spend some more time trying them out. 

The new product from Dior is their first oil face wash and the first skincare product that I have used from this company.  As of right now, this product is exclusive to Sephora but I am not sure how long that will be the case. 

"A gentle cleansing oil for the face and eye area.  Suitable for all skin types, this cleansing oil preserves the skin’s natural hydration for outstanding cleansing results. Even though it’s an oil, it leaves no greasy residue. Formulated with Pure Lily Extract, which is present in Dior’s Instant Cleansing Water, it helps inhibit skin inflammation, leaving the skin looking soft and supple."

This oil is best used on wet skin, about a quarter-sized drop was needed for me to get a full lather in my hand and have enough to cover my entire face.  Face oils are considered to be the best kind of face washes to remove layers of makeup and I tested this theory.  I used this product and then dried my face off and used the Clinique face toner to see much excess makeup residue was left over.  There was a very small amount of product on the cotton ball, much less than when I use some formula cream cleansers.  This product performs very well in the cleansing and makeup removal aspect, I refuse to not use a separate eye makeup remover so I cannot comment about how it performs to remove any type of eye makeup.

The oil face wash combines through cleansing with hydration of the skin, this cleanser does not leave my skin feeling dry or tight and I love this.  I have had quite a few gel cleansers that I feel like I need to immediately use a hydrator afterwards or my face feels like it will crack open and off.  I have not once had this feeling yet with the use of this product and this makes me very happy.  I think that I will be using this type of formula in the fall and winter and then into the early spring.  This wash from Dior is a present to my dry, sensitive skin!

photo courtesy of Dior

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Smashbox Fall 2013 Collection - Fade to Black

The Too Faced fall collection was the first of the collections for this season and now the Smashbox fall collection has followed suit.  I haven't bought much from Smashbox recently however one of my friends counts this among her favorite makeup lines and is always picking up new items from this line so I have been keeping touch with all the new products that are coming out from this company.  The new collection is called Fade to Black and I will confess that the Rolling Stones song "Paint it Black" jumped right into my head when I first read the title of this new collection. 

This collection is on the smaller side and reminds me very much of the Too Faced collection that we have already looked it.  It centers around a great eye shadow palette and then two more products/shades that were made to complement it.  One of the products is another eye makeup product and the other is a lip product.  I will be looking to most closely at the eye shadow palette since I am trying to bulk up my eye makeup collection and not my lip and nail product collection.  The eye shadow palette contains two sets of colors that are designed to be used together but I am sure could be mixed and matched to the users' content.

The Smashbox website and the Sephora website do not provide much of a collection description so I will replace my normal collection description with my own thoughts.  This is a collection that will focus strongly on a solid eye shadow palette that will help to create the beautiful deep smoky eye look that is always popular in the fall and winter months.  I would surmise that it was designed by key Smashbox makeup artists to help anyone create a smoky eye look, no matter how much experience the user has.  The rest of the collection are new shades that will work best in conjunction with the eye shadow palette.

Here is the Smashbox Fade to Black collection...

Fade to Black Photo Op Eye Shadow Palette - Super versatile, seriously cool. This palette of neutrals starts with the most wearable nudes and ends with the fiercest blacks--all in a range of finishes, from matte to shimmer.
- Fade Out - soft pastel pink, soft shimmery silver, soft matte grey, violet with multi-color sheen, earthy brown with subtle sheen, deep matte purple, black with cranberry pearl

Fade to Black Be Legendary Lipstick - Just one swipe and you'll see this is the stuff beauty legends are made of. From modern mattes to hydrating creams, our ultra-luxe formula glides on for show-stopping, saturated color every time. 
Cream shades - Lustrous finish, Shea butter for lasting moisturization, Vitamins C and E (antioxidants) to protect
Matte shades - Silky, matte finish, Adherence power, Vitamins C and E (antioxidants) to protect
- Black Cherry - deep cranberry
- Cognac - warm raisin

Waterproof Shadow Liner - Stayput shadow and longwearing liner in one- there's even a built-in smudger! Give eyes soft definition wherever, whenever with this travel-friendly, mistakeproof shadow liner. The creamy, waterproof formula glides on effortlessly for lasting look possibilities.  Totally waterproof, crease-resistant formula.  Smudge as a liner or blend as a shadow for allover, long-wearing color.  Light reflecting pearls give high drama color and shimmer, while emollients create a silky, creamy texture.
- Blackest Black - deep creamy black
- Black Gold - deep gold with black pearl

The eye shadow palette is my favorite piece of this collection, I love these deep purples and browns combined with the pale neutral highlighters.  I will use this palette all throughout the fall and winter months and I can already think of shades from the Urban Decay Naked Palettes that will work well with these shades.  This will be a key piece for me this fall!  My second favorite item from this collection is the Waterproof Shadow Liner in the Black Gold shade, I can see myself using this shade when getting dressed up and then adding black cream eye liner to finish the look off.  Lastly, I really like the Black Cherry shade of the Be Legendary Lipstick, this is a shade that will be both perfect for the cold weather and will fill a hole in my lip product collection.

The second of the fall collections is another good one so I have some very high hopes for this fall season!

photo courtesy of Smashbox

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Zooey Deschanel's Bangs



I have been thinking about getting thick, short bangs for several months now.  I talked to my stylist at my last hair appointment and she recommended that we table this discussion to fall because of the problems styling thick bangs during the hot summer weather.  So I have about two and a half months until the time will come for me to make a decision and so I will be looking at pictures for the next few weeks to decide what cut I am going to get in mid September. 

Zooey Deschanel is my bang goddess right now, I love every single way that she wears and styles her bangs and I am collecting pictures of her on my Pinterest and this blog.  I will appreciate any feedback that you guys have on these pictures to give me some ideas of what I will want to get done.

I like the way that these bangs are thick but not fully straight across.  I am not sure that I could pull off the straight across look and this is one that I would try for the first haircut and then I could decide on the straight across bangs later on.  We are going to think of these bangs as the potential for the first cut and then make another decision at my next hair cut after that.

photo courtesy of Pinterest

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Philosophy Just Release Me Dual-Phase Oil-Free Makeup Remover

Philosophy skin care products have been among my top purchases in skin care since the beginning of the spring months, I can't remember the last time that I bought body products or fragrances from this company but the current and newer skincare products from this company have been top quality.  I just finished up the last drops of my eye makeup remover from MAC and then I decided to try one from this company since I have had such great results from their face washes and creams.  I love their new night cream formula and will be ordering another one as soon the winter comes and my current pot runs out. 

The newest product that I purchased from this company is the Just Release Me Dual-Phase Oil-Free Makeup Remover, many of the cleansers from this company are top rated at Sephora and have won Allure awards for many years running.  I have used both the cream and foam face washes from Philosophy and have gotten great results from both versions of the formula.  I was sure that an eye makeup remover from this company would give me good results while not irritating my skin and I have not been disappointed by this formula.

The Sephora states the following as a product description, "A dual-phase, extremely mild, oil-free eye makeup remover.  Philosophy Just Release Me™ Dual-Phase Oil-Free Makeup Remover gently yet effectively breaks down and removes the toughest eye makeup, even waterproof makeup, without irritating the eyes. Formulated with natural aloe, and chamomile and cucumber extracts, this soothing essential works to calm, clean, cool, and refresh the eye area.  This opthalmologist-tested must-have does not contain propylene glycol or polyethylene glycol. It is safe for contact lens wearers."

The following ingredients are found in this formula...

- Aloe Barbadenis Leaf Extract - Moisturizes soothes and calms the skin.
- Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract - Calms and soothes the skin.
- Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract - Refreshes softens and moisturizes the skin.
- Echinacea Purpurea Extract - Calms and soothes the skin.

This formula is considered oil-free and is a large change from the oil-based formula that I had been using for the past few months. The oil-based formula from MAC worked very well to get all of my eye makeup off (minus a few last traces of mascara some days) but would leave oily traces on my lids that I then had to wash off in the shower.  This formula cleans the eye makeup off completely (of course minus a few traces of mascara here and there - I will never find a formula that will get all of my mascara off) and doesn't leave the oily residue on the skin.  I have not had any problems with irritation on my eye area after using this formula and this is one of my most important reasons to choose any type of eye makeup formula.

My only complaint with this product is the bottle, the neck and mouth of the bottle are much larger than any other formula that I have used.  Typically, the product will have a very small opening in the bottle and only several drops will be allowed out at one time.  I can quickly saturate an entire cotton ball if I am not careful when using this product and I think that I am wasting product and letting too much out at once.  This is the worst aspect of this product and I am experimenting with tipping the bottle in different ways to allow the least amount of product possible to  come out at any given time.

This is another solid face care product from Philosophy, I really feel that their face care is becoming much better than any of their body products or recent fragrances.  I wish that we would see some great new 3 in 1 fragrances from this company, every season in the mid 2000's saw a release of some great new scents and I had a huge collection of them.  With the exception of Senorita Margarita, I have not been using any products from them lately and I miss buying new scents each season...

photo courtesy of Sephora

Monday, June 24, 2013

Butter London Nail Foundation Flawless Base Coat

Yesterday we looked at a brand new (to me at least) nail polish brand called SpaRitual and today we are going to continue to trend of nail polish and products.  My latest Sephora package arrived last week and I ordered two new products from Butter London that I was very excited to try.  I ordered both the base and top coats from Butter London and have been using both of them to see how well they enhanced the performance of my polish and its wear.

I go through top and base coats like water, I use one or both of them with nearly every single manicure and pedicure and am always looking for new formulas to try.  Today we are going to look at the base coat from Butter London and we will then follow with the matching top coat in the next few days.  I started with wanting to ordered the base coat alone but then decided to throw the top coat in my online cart at the last moment to see how they work when used together.

My obsession with this base coat, Nail Foundation Flawless Base Coat, started a few weeks ago wen I was reading an issue of Vogue.  The article that I was reading focused on the models' backstage beauty habits before they go out on the runway.  This was the base coat that many of the manicure artists used on the models but then the article went on to say how many of the ladies then bought this product for themselves to use alone for simple matte manicure.  Sine you all know how much I love to wear pale cream polishes on my nails, this polish appealed to me right away and ended up in my Sephora shopping cart within a few hours.

"A basecoat that hides and smooths tiny ridges and imperfections in the nail giving a wonderful result to the look of your lacquer.  This silk-finish, stain-resistant basecoat provides the perfect foundation on which to paint butter LONDON™ nail lacquer. The non-toxic formula has a matte effect that’s so beautiful, you can also wear it alone.  Butter LONDON is a new-era design house, creating extraordinary moments in color by living on the inside edge of fashion. Butter LONDON does not add formaldehyde, toluene, or DBP to any of its nail formulas. It's color without compromise. For brilliant results, use butter LONDON lacquers with the corresponding butter LONDON base and topcoats. When used together, the products last significantly longer than a typical manicure."

I have this product both of the ways that were suggested and this is one of the best (if not the best) base coats that I have ever used, I love that I can use it alone or with other polishes.  When used as a traditional base coat, it helps to create a smooth finish for polish and I love using it to smooth out the ridges in my nails.  My nails are awful with ridges and this helps to improve the wear of my polish and improves the overall texture.  When worn alone, it creates a nude hue on the nail with a sheer matte finish and lasts for about three days without any type of wear issues.

What way do I prefer this base coat?  I really don't know which way it works the best, it is a very nice base coat formula but I am just tickled pink that I can use it in multiple ways and brush two coats on when I need a quick low maintenance manicure.  I think this is officially my new favorite base coat and based on the fact that it was out of stock on the Sephora website for two weeks after I read the Vogue article, I will order another bottle of this polish for a back up when mine starts to get low.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Sunday, June 23, 2013

SpaRitual Nail Lacquer

As you will recall, I signed up for the Glossybox beauty boxes earlier this month and my first box arrived yesterday morning, this box continued all products from the United States and is a great way for me to find some new brands and decide if I want to pick up any additional products for the summer months.  I am still going through my box and beginning to try the products out but I have tried one product out already and I am going to review today.  The box contained a mixture of trial and full-sized items and I was very happy to see that I received a full-sized SpaRitual Nail Lacquer in a pretty deep red shade. 

SpaRitual is a brand that I have never heard of before and I love learning about new nail polish brands since I collect several new shades every single season right now.  China Glaze and Butter London are still my current favorite polish brands to collect right now but I always want to grow my collection and see what else is out there on the market.  I found this brand on the Beauty.com website, one that I occasionally order from and might end up ordering much more from very soon.

"SpaRitual has designed a lush, shimmering palette of Nail Lacquers orchestrated in a range of four dynamic harmonies. The SpaRitual Color Harmony Ritual fuses the disciplines of color therapy and numerology to provide a quick mental retreat and moment of contemplation.  Each SpaRitual shade is associated with a unique message or meaning and numerological value.  Vegan nail lacquers free of DBP, formaldehyde and toluene."

The color range from this line is huge, I was surprised at how many shades where in this relatively unknown product line.  I received the shade Spellbound, a deep shimmering red that reminds me of fall leaves and a shade that I used to have several years ago from Deborah Lippmann.  I am not going to go over every single shade in this range, they start with pales and then go all the way down to jewel tones and I can see that nearly every texture is represented with this polish line.  I see all kinds of shimmers, glitters, and creams in this line and I want to grab a few more shades of polish very soon.

I can already see a few shades that really appeal to me, I will list them here as a preview to all the shades in this polish line.  I love...

- It's Raining Men - pale gray blue cream with iridescent finish
- Jet Setter - pale pink shimmer
- Crystal Waters - aqua blue with a green iridescent finish
- Emerald City - medium blue green cream
- Charleston - shimmering platinum silver
- Beyond Love - deep pink shimmer with silver glitter
- Fire - deep red shimmer with red glitter

What impressed me most about this polish was the formula, it is completely vegan and free of many of the big chemicals in other brands.  The formula is so very different but it wears exactly like only from China Glaze or OPI, it makes me wonder what is not in this polish that is can be considered vegan and still wear exactly like other and then why these ingredients are still contained in other polish formulas.  This will be a point of research for me for the next few weeks while I try out more shades from this line to see if the quality is consistent through all the different finishes.

photo courtesy of Beauty.com

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Bare Minerals READY Bronzer

I have been talking about my search for a second bronzer formula for the past few weeks and I can finally write that I have found a second bronzer formula for the summer!  I have been looking critically at every formula that was in the summer collections, regardless of pricing, brand, or availability.  I kept coming back to some of the MAC collections but since I am already using a great bronzer from this company and I wanted to find a different type of formula from another company.  I was even considering trying a cream bronzer but I still don't feel comfortable working with this type of product and I cannot find many reviews on these products. 

I finally went into Sephora and found one of my favorite Sales Associates there and asked her point blank for what she thought was the best formula powder bronzer in the store.  I did not want the best selling or what the company considers to be the highest rated, I wanted her favorite to use and one that she has sold and recommended to customers.  She lead me in the direction of Bare Minerals READY Bronzer, a brand that I wasn't expecting and one that I don't use very much from.  She put a bit on my face and I was sold on buying the formula and giving it a try at home. 

The Bare Minerals READY Bronzer is a matte powder formula that also contains anti-aging benefits for the skin.  "A bronzer with antiaging benefits.  BareMinerals Ready™ Bronzer buffs on rich golden bronze color for a beautifully even, buildable glow. Powered by bareMinerals’ proprietary SeaNutritive Mineral™ Complex with antioxidants and cold-pressed carrot oil, this silky long-wearing formula delivers incredible antiaging benefits. Color lasts for up to eight hours."

This formula is available in three shades...

- The Skinny Dip - light tan
- The High Dive - tan
- The Deep End - dark tan

I purchased the lightest shade of this formula, it is great for ladies that have normally fair skin and add a bit of color in the summer months, it looks very natural with my fake tan and I am quite fond of this shade.  The formula is very easy to use and wear, I use it on my cheeks, chin, and forehead with a huge, fluffy bronzer brush.  This formula goes on sheer and leaves a natural hint of color, there is nothing "fake" or "orange" about this formula, it doesn't oxidize in the sun and doesn't look fake even after eight or more hours of wear. 

This company also makes a loose powder bronzer which I have heard is actually among one of their hardest products to use and look natural but this pressed powder bronzer is a great choice.  I am so glad that the matte powder bronzers are stating to become much easier to find, I dislike wearing that much shimmer on my face during the day.  This is great choice for a natural looking bronzer and will on rotation with my favorite formula from MAC all summer.  The search for a second bronzer to rotate with is over!

photo courtesy of Sephora

Friday, June 21, 2013

Too Faced Fall 2013 Collection - Pretty Rebel

A couple of days ago we looked at the Fall 2013 Preview from Allure Magazine and today we are starting with the first of the fall collections.  Too Faced always releases their collections well ahead of the curve and almost always sets some of the big beauty trends for the rest of the season and therefore we will begin with their new collection, Pretty Rebel, this morning.

Before I begin looking and collections and products, I decided that I needed to make a list of the items that I need the most this season and what trends I think that I will find the most flattering and buy the most items from.  I am thinking that I will need another neutral palette, I use them so much all throughout the year and then some more bronze and neutral eye shadow shades.  I also want a few new neutral eye liners to add to my eye makeup collection.  I want to jump on the berry lip trend so I think that I will try and skip over buying more than one new red and try some medium and deep berry tones. 

The Pretty Rebel collection is a smaller than normal Too Faced color collection that contains one standout eye shadow palette and a brand new lipstick formula.  I think that each year this company releases one great eye shadow palette that instantly becomes a best seller and will create fever at the Sephora and Ulta counters.  I have two palettes from this company, both of which I use on a pretty regular basis (though nothing beats my Urban Decay Naked Palettes) and I wouldn't mind starting the fall shopping season by adding another to my collection.

Here is the Pretty Rebel Collection from Too Faced!

Pretty Rebel Beauty Eye Shadow Palette - Be the face of rebellion. Ten shadows so powerful they are sure to overturn any boring beauty routine, from deep jewel tones to badass metallics to scene-stealing pinks.  Our revolutionary silky formula is easy to blend and offers gorgeous color payoff .  Our signature, how-to Glamour Guide offers step-by-step application instructions for creating Pretty Rebel looks in minutes.
- Dainty - matte off white
- Charming - matte deep brown
- Girly - shimmering deep taupe
- Totally Fetch - satin deep magenta
- Miss Sparkles - satin black with large silver glitter pieces
- Ringleader - satin light peach
- Gangsta - satin medium brown
- Instigator - satin medium warm gold
- Badass - navy blue with silver shimmer
- Jailbird - shimmering medium silver

Lip Injection Color Bomb - Go big and go bold. We added an explosion of satin color to our lip plumper, so lips come alive with more color, volume (up to 20%!) and softness. Natural botanicals smooth and moisturize for extra kissability. It’s no wonder our lip plumper—one of the industry’s first—is still such a best-seller.  Vitamins A, C & E and mango butter drench lips in moisture.  Six new shades including Eastwood Red, inspired by actress Francesca Eastwood.
- Bigger Berry - medium berry cream
- Candy Burst - sheer cool nude cream
- Coral Pop - medium peachy coral cream
- Eastwood Red - medium yellow read cream
- Never Enough Nude - sheer neutral nude cream
- Plump It Up Pink - medium blue pink cream

Glitter Glaze Sparkling Eye Shadow Top Coat - All glamour girls love glitter. Our Glitter Glaze works double time to pour on the sparkle. Wear it over bare skin to create a shimmer they just can’t resist, or layer over shadow for an attention-grabbing flash of metallic color.  Adheres on contact; dries instantly.  Available in two versatile, amped-up, shimmering shades: Silver Spark and Goldie Rocks.  Transforms all the old shadows in your collection into new, wearable shades.
- Goldie Rocks - metallic gold
- Silver Sparkle - metallic silver

My favorite piece of this new collection is the Pretty Rebel Eye Shadow Palette, this will be going on my Most Wanted list for next month and will be mine very soon.  I want to mix it up with that deep magenta shade and use it in the crease of some of my neutral eye looks this fall.  The Glitter Glaze is a great idea but not one that I would see myself getting a lot of use from this fall so I will be skipping over both shades at this time.  I am a bit on the fence about the Lip Injection Color Bomb, I used original Lip Injection when plumpers were popular in 2005 and this was one of the best but always made me feel like I had been punched right in the mouth.  I will have to apply one of these in Sephora and then wait and see what the reaction feels like.  If I like the formula, I would want the Candy Burst and Never Enough Nude shades, I don't need a ton of color and extra volume.  More to come on this formula!

Fall collections are here!

photo courtesy of Too Faced

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Origins Super Spot Remover Acne Treatment

I have been using the Boscia Willowbark Breakout Treatment for quite a long time now and like the results that I get from it and how it doesn't irritate my skin.  I usually get maybe one or two breakouts a month and my skin issues are sensitivity and dryness and therefore I do not need a heavy acne treatment and prefer to completely stay away from products that contain any very strong ingredients.  The only product that I need in my skincare regime to care for my occasional blemishes is a spot treatment and one small bottle will last me a very long time.  I liked the more natural formula of the Boscia treatment and wanted to try another brand with a similar formula.  I decided to try the Origins formula after looking through all the treatments on Sephora website and ruling out those that promise to be much too strong for my skin.

I was actually considering buying another tube of the Boscia but since I am always switching products up, I ordered the small tube of Super Spot Remover Acne Treatment from Origins.  I have been getting very nice results from the Origins products that I have been trying over the past few months and I was more than happy to order another product from this line, I wish that I still had a full Origins store around me instead of just counters at Macy*s and Sephora. 

I ordered this product from Sephora and all descriptions and details are from this website.  "A blemish-busting acne spot treatment with salicylic acid.  Red PMS pimple? Bad joke breakout? Heal, fight, and fade it fast. Just dab on a dot and feel blemish-busting salicylic acid instantly help speed healing while anti-spot technology helps visibly correct post pimple darkening. Skin-calming caffeine and red algae help relieve irritating redness. And to help keep skin looking spotless, super exfoliators eliminate excess oils and pore-clogging debris."  This formula is deemed to be safe all skin types.

I ordered this bottle right before I was due to get my monthly blemish so that I could use it right away.  I had one medium-sized blemish on my chin and used this product on it at night and then once again in the morning.  After the first use, I could see that the blemish had gone down in size and the red hue was much lessened.  Two uses got rid o the whole blemish and cleared the whole area up, I was very happy that this product worked quickly however the blemish was not a large one.

I would only recommend the product to people with skin similar to mine, it works very nicely on occasional blemishes and skin that is not considered to be acne-prone or oily.  I don't think that this product would strong enough to clear up persistent acne problems or very oily skin that leads to blemishes.  I very much like this product but I would not recommend it to those who have larger acne issues than mine, this product is best for very occasional breakouts and those who have problems with more traditional acne ingredients causing dryness and redness to the skin.

Another Origins winner for me...I think I will keep ordering more items from this company and I need to visit a store than carries more of the makeup items than the counters currently do!

photo courtesy of Sephora

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

LUSH Silky Underwear Dusting Powder

Silky Underwear is one the cult products from LUSH, this product has been featured in nearly every magazine over the years and is almost always featured when LUSH creates huge giftsets of their best-selling products.  In addition to this being a cult favorite, the fragrance of Silky Underwear has now been released in other products and nearly a whole line of jasmine products has been crated by this company.  I love the scent of jasmine and I love adding more jasmine products to my body product collection.  I ordered this product from LUSH a couple weeks ago and now I want to add more of their jasmine products. 

I only ordered this product because I was curious out about it and I wanted to see why this was such a top selling product.  I have never used a dusting powder before and I decided that summer was the best season to try this type of product out.  The heat is now here and I have been working out both in the gym and outside so I need a couple extra products to make me feel like a lovely lady this time of the year.  This product appealed to me because of the cute name and pretty fragrance, I have been feeling pretty gross after some workouts lately.

"Silky Underwear was the first dusting powder that we ever created, and it has continued to capture the imagination (and more), of our customers. It remains the smoothest, most luxurious and best-selling powder we make. Grated cocoa butter melts onto the skin for a silky sensation, and the absorbent powders make sure your body doesn't feel greasy. In fact, it helps your clothes go on more easily or even better, slip off easier. With the sexy jasmine and vetivert scent that clouds you in aphrodisiac fragrance it’s been known to happen. Slip on some Silky Underwear and find out for yourself."

The main ingredient in this product is Jasmine and the LUSH website provides even more details on this ingredient and then the other products that it is contained in.  "Jasmine belongs to the large olive family (Oleaceae), which consists of woody shrubs and climbers. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Old World, but has been widely cultivated elsewhere. Jasmines can be grown in cold climates, but usually require frost protection or greenhouse cultivation to flourish. We buy our jasmine absolute from Egypt and India.  The star-shaped flowers are white to pale yellow and extremely fragrant. They open to release their scent at night. Several unrelated plants are also referred to as 'jasmines'.  Indian Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese traditional medicine feature the use of jasmine blossoms and oil. In India, the oil was considered luxurious and an indication of wealth; and the flowers are widely grown in home gardens as well as for commercial production. Jasmine flowers are also important in Hindu ceremonies and are mentioned in religious texts.  Both men and women have long used jasmine oil in India as an aphrodisiac, hair and beauty tonic and as a sensual perfume."

I sprinkle a bit of this powder on it the morning (in the areas that females tend to have a higher amount of sweat glands) and it helps to keep me fresh all through my work day and the hot commute home.  I have to reapply after the gym or running but that is to be expected.  I would also reapply before going out at night.  The best part of this product is the pretty fragrance, I love the sweet scent of the jasmine flower and it makes me feel pretty just to apply this product.

This product is a great addition for those who work out and run during the summer time, if you don't then this product may not be necessary.  Whether you work out or not, this product is a great way to make yourself feel pretty and girly in even the hottest of weather.

photo courtesy of LUSH

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fall 2013 Trend Preview

It may only be the beginning of summer to most people but the fall makeup collections are on the way very quickly and we are going to look at the Fall Trend Report from the May issue of Allure today.  I am not quite sure when the first collections are going to come out so I want to be ready to go as soon as they start to launch.  In previous years, Too Faced has been the first collection to come out and they normally release their collection at the end of June.  So I guess that fall collections will begin in two weeks or less...

I have been turning to Allure for the Fall Trend Preview for quite a few years now and it has been instrumental in helping me plan out my fall shopping list and in helping me decide what products in my current collection that I will be able to keep using in the fall and winter months.  Last year, I was all about the bright pink and red lipstick looks and deep bronze eye makeup that was all over the runways and I am excited to see what looks I will be playing with this fall.

Here is the Allure Fall Trend Report!

Painterly Makeup - "There are the trendy, fleeting, capricious looks of the fashion shows.  And then - very seldom -  there are the looks that make us feel like we're back in an art-history seminar.  The soft Botticelli curls.  The painted-on red lips.  Even the knowing arch of an eyebrow.  If we can't look like the models at the Bottega Veneta show, we just want to gaze at them."

Wide Headbands - "You probably already own the only hair accessory you need this season.  Hairstylists relied on wide black headbands to give elegant updos a more relaxed attitude (Nina Ricci, Balenciaga) and dress up simple braids (Valentino)."

Pop Art - "With strokes of silver shadow and stained pink lips, there was something ethereal and pretty about the makeup at Dior.  In a case of art imitating art, McGrath looked to the Any Warhol drawings that decorated some of the dresses in the collection.  'Using pale pastel colors and just filling in small areas, we're almost making the girls' face into those illustrations,' she said."

Eyes That Twinkle - "At Chanel, makeup artist Peter Philips glued confetti-size pieces of glitter onto the lids and lashes so when models walked down the runway, it looked like they had little disco balls taped to their eyes.  To do it at home - without endangering your retinas - sweep clear mascara over your lashes, then dust silver glitter shadow from the crease all the way to the tips of your lashes."

Berry Red - "It's a shame that berry red lipstick isn't a commodity traded on the New York Stock Exchange.  The blue-based red was skyrocketing on the runway this season.  Gucci Westman used it at Oscar de la Renta, Pecheux used it at Anthony Vaccarello and Derek Lam, and McGarth whipped it out so much that we wondered if she'd left her other lipsticks at home.  Not only does the feminine hue feel totally fall appropriate, but there are also tons of way to wear it."

Double Vision - "Put away your blending brush.  At Michael Kors, two shades stayed distinct in the color-blocked cat eyes.  Makeup artist Dick Page started with cream shadows - black from the middle of the lids past the outer corners; iridescent lilac on the inner half of the lids - then topped them with matching powders for more oomph.  Apply the shadows with two different brushes.  'That way you won't muddy the colors,' said Page."

Glam-Rock Eyes - "At Gucci, we found the makeup look you'll wear every evening this fall.  McGrath choose a rich shade of metallic cranberry that she smudged all over the eyes.  And trust when we say it was completely and totally hot."

Faux Fringe - "A thick, jagged layer of eye-skimming bangs is sexy and cool and all the other adjectives we usually ascribe to Jane Birkin.  Granted, at the Emilio Pucci show, none of these bangs were real.  To create the most believable version of clip-on fringe, Murenn broke out tinted mousse (Roux Fanci-Full Colot Styling Mousse) to add a bit of colour and texture to the hair - and blend everything together."

Doddle Art - "Nail art has evolved to nail doodling.  The graffiti-inspired designs at Creatures of the Wind can be duplicated with fine-tipped Sharpies.  Once your polish dries, use the markers to draw squiggly lines on half the nail in whatever colors your procrastinating-teenager self desires."

I put up a picture from the upcoming Chanel fall collection, one of my favorite lines for every season but they always tend to outdo themselves every fall.  I am pretty excited for this fall and I think that my early favorite look with be the Deep Berry Lips look.  This is an extension of the red lipstick that I love wearing every fall and this will allow me a new range of colors to choose from when getting dressed up.  I am interested in the Glam-Rock Eyes too, I have never used a cranberry colored shadow but I loved the picture that went with this look and I want to buy at least one eye shadow in the shade and try it out.  The same goes for Double Vision, I want to see if I can re-create the look pictured in Allure and then I want to try it out with other shades of eye shadows.

The look that was pictured for Painterly Makeup would be a classic look that I want to learn to create because it will be a look that I can wear in fall and then in many more seasons to come, it is the most classic look in this Trend Report.  The last trend that I want to try is the Faux Fringe...but I think I want mine to be real.  Now its time to wait for the fall collections to come out and see what I want to pick up for the season!

photo courtesy of Chanel

Monday, June 17, 2013

100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara

I used to use 100% Pure several years ago when Bath and Body Works carried outside brands at select stores in the country.  Once it was discontinued from this store, I had a lot of problems finding the line and usually had to order it online and hope that I liked the fragrances when they arrived.  Last month, I found the line at the Fresh Market near my house and now I can go right back to shopping and loving this line and I decided to begin by shopping the makeup line this time around.

When I used the line before, I had only used the body products and the lip products.  I want to try everything else in this line now, starting with the eye and face products.  I have never used many natural eye makeup products and this should be an interesting experience if nothing else.  Last week, I purchased the Fruit Pigmented Mascara in this line and have been using it for the past few days.  I like the idea of using natural products closer to my sensitive eye area but I will say that this mascara formula is not capable of crating the style of lashes that I prefer and I need multiple coats to get my lashes anywhere close to thick and false-looking. 

"100% natural, 100% vegetarian.  Colored with black tea and berry pigments.  Lengthens, separates, thickens and glosses lashes.  Water and smudge resistant; suitable for sensitive eyes."

This mascara comes in four shades:
- Black Tea - black
- Blackberry - plum
- Blueberry - navy
- Dark Chocolate - deep brown

I bought the Black Tea mascara since black mascara is the only shade that I wear.  This mascara is best for women that prefer more natural looking lashes or that already have long, thick natural lashes.  Neither of these describe me so this mascara is not the best formula for me.  One coat gives my lashes a black tint but I need two full coats to get any type of additional volume to my eyelashes.  The formula works well to separate my lashes and keep them defined and non-clumpy.  This formula is not made to help hold any kind of curl either.  This formula starts to flake off in about eight hours and it pretty much almost worn off by the time that I am home from a full day of work and then class at night.

As I said earlier, this formula is best for those who like a more natural lash look or who already have great eyelashes.  I am burning through this mascara because I have to use at least two or three coats of it in the morning, I can't see that I will get much more than two months from this tube.  I don't think that I am really a candidate for natural mascara formulas.

I thought that removal would be easy with this product because it is more natural and doesn't have the chemicals and polymers that more traditional formulas contain.  I wrong in this aspect of the product, I need MAC eye makeup remover to get this product off and I can only get about 75% of the product off my lashes and then the rest ends up on my face after my shower.  Maybe if I needed to use less of the product then this wouldn't be so much of an issue but I can't see myself using only one coat of the product.

This formula is one that I would only use on a casual weekend day, it makes my lashes darker but I need to apply a lot of product to get my lashes to look even the slightest bit thicker.  I don't know that I would even be able to expect the same type of results that I get from a DiorShow or They're Real! from this type of formula as the developers have many less ingredients that they can work with.  I like the concept behind this mascara but the performance is not what I need from a mascara so I will not be buying another tube of it.  However I am still interested in what other eye makeup products are in this line and I will pick up a few each time that I visit Fresh Market for food.

photo courtesy of 100% Pure

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bare Minerals Prime Time Eyelid Primer

I know that some of you are raising your eye brows at the title of this post, I have never liked products from Bare Minerals especially any of their face products.  I have always liked their Buxom line and have been collecting these lip glosses for the past few years so I decided that I would retry the Bare Minerals line and stay away from the face products.  I have been looking for a new eye shadow primer ever since the one that I own from Tarte started to get low and wanted to go with a brand that I have never used eye makeup from before.  So I searched on Sephora and this formula from Bare Minerals turned up and I decided to order it and give it a shot.

I have had on and off luck with eye shadow primers.  I love the Urban Decay and NARS formulas but haven't had good luck with the formulas from Tarte or MAC so it can't be worse than any one that I have used before.  MAC is the worst formula for eye shadow primer which amuses me because I love everything else in the MAC line.  Strange.

This product can be found at Sephora and at any stand alone Bare Minerals store, I tend to avoid the one in my mall since I only like a few pieces in their product line.  The Sephora website provides a great product description of this eye primer.  " A repackaged edition—now double in size—of Bare Escentuals' bestselling silky eyelid primer.  Designed especially for use with bareMinerals, this primer is an oil-free, fragrance-free way to maximize the color and extend the wear of your favorite bareMinerals Eyeshadows, Glimmers, and Glimpses. The gentle formula goes on sheer and lightweight yet provides heavy-duty staying power for the most vibrant and lasting color. Perfect for those days when you need all-day, all-night wear, the sheer, neutral tint doesn't interfere with your favorite colors, while the bareMinerals-infused smoothing base keeps excess oil from affecting wear."

This primer is a thicker formula than the Tarte one that I just finished up and this was the first clue for me that I had found a formula that I would love.  The Tarte and MAC formulas were creamier than the others that I have tried and I found that the best formulas are thicker and tackier and therefore keep my eye shadow and liner in place.  I love Urban Decay Eye Shadows, especially the glitter-infused shades.  However these are the shades that create the most fall-out and if I am not wearing a good eye primer, I will find the glitter all over my cheeks by mid-morning.

This formula is very thick and actually involves some extra squeezing on the tube to get it out.  The first time that I used it, I actually thought something was wrong with the tube because so little product was coming out.  I squeezed a bit harder and then a small ball of product came out.  I rubbed it between my fingers to apply the product and then tapped it on my eyelids.  This product is best applied with a light tapping motion and the little ball that came out was more than enough to cover both of my lids.  I used a bit less of the product and it was the perfect amount to cover both lids with no excess product left over. 

This formula is as high quality as Urban Decay and NARS, I was very impressed with it and would be more than happy to purchase it again.  I have just found that the thicker, tackier formulas work the best for me and I have to use primers that have this texture.  When I use this product in the morning, my eye makeup stays in place until I take it off at night.  Last night, I went to the gym after work and my eye makeup was still in place after 30 minutes on the treadmill.  This is a great product for me and it actually makes me want to buy more eye makeup from Bare Minerals.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Current Favorites!

The heart of summer has now arrived and I am all about running outside, eating the best fresh fruit from the farmer's market, and wearing as many shades of bright greens and pinks as I can.  So far this summer I have been adding the gym into my life at least three times a week and am now appreciating products that can easily take me from work to working out and the right into casual playtime.  I feel that I tend to love many of the same products from summer to summer and then just add a few more new ones into the mix.  My newest love for this summer is from Bath and Body Works, my Pure Paradise Fine Fragrance Mist will lead off the Favorites list as it is my new fragrance love for the warm weather!

My Current Favorites!

Bath and Body Works Pure Paradise Fine Fragrance Mist - "Lavishly splash or lightly spritz your favorite fragrance, either way you'll fall in love at first mist! Our carefully crafted bottle and sophisticated pump delivers great coverage while conditioning aloe mist nourishes skin for the lightest, most refreshing way to fragrance!  A summer-chic blend of sparkling star fruit & ocean-kissed frangipani blossoms it's pure paradise in a bottle!  Mid Notes: Luscious Gardenia, Frangipani, Watery Lily.  Dry Notes: White Musk, Blond Woods, Sun-Kissed Coconut.  Top Notes: Fresh Star Fruit, Juicy Guava, Dewy Cassis."  This is new scent that I added about three weeks ago to my fragrance collection and one that I put on my dresser right away, it is very rare that I find a Fragrance Mist from Bath and Body Works that I love and want to add to my collection, normally I either use only their body products or buy the perfume in a scent that I love.  I almost never use Fragrance Mist but this one was so lovely that I bought it right way when I smelled it.  This is the perfect light tropical floral that actually smells crisp and clean instead of strong and cloying.  I have tried tropical florals from Comptoir Sud and have found that many of them tend toward a mixture of Gardenia notes and Coconut Milk, a combination that is very hard to get correct.  This scent is what I have always envisioned when trying out the tropical florals and I loved this one as soon as I first smelled it.  I own it in the Fragrance Mist and all the matching body products, I will wear them all summer long!

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Collide - "A vivacious nail varnish.  Leave your mark with bold, rich, vibrant colors that stand out. The formula is long-wearing and chip-resistant and contains individual finishes from matte to high gloss. Apply two coats for high intensity and use with Illamasqua Nail Base Coat and Illamasqua Nail Top Coat for the perfect finish. Make a statement and talk with your hands!"  Collide is a "bright neon pink with a satin finish" and has been a favorite of mine for years.  Anyone that has read this blog for the past few years know that I pull this polish shade out as soon as the weather warms and will be on my Favorites list until the end of summer.  This bright pink shade matches a favorite pair of pink flats and everything that I own from Lilly Pulitzer.  Illamasqua Nail Varnish is one the best quality polishes that I have ever used, they last for about five days with minor chipping and the high shine finish stays just as long.  I will use this shade for both manicures and pedicures all throughout the summer and am considering trying this shade and a bright aqua for new twist on an accent manicure.  A perennial summer favorite!

MAC Cremesheen Glass in Floating Lotus - A lip finish that fuses the creamy, sheen-filled nature of Cremesheen Lipstick with the shine of M∙A∙C Lipglass. Soft, comfortable, non-sticky. Applies with a doe-foot applicator. Use as a top layer to its namesake Lipstick or on its own."  Floating Lotus is a "frosted soft rose" and has quickly risen to the top of my traincase after trying it out for the first time several weeks ago.  I use this lip gloss all the time and it is one of the best shades that I have ever used, the formula is very hydrating and the pigmented formula leaves my lips a great pink shade.  I will be buying more shades in this formula over the next few weeks.

MAC Prep + Prime Skin Face Primer - "An ultra-fluid lotion formulated with special-effect silicones. Calms and soothes the skin, blots away excess oil, and evens out skin redness. Improves the laydown and application of foundation or powder."  I have used this primer several times before and this is one of the few primers that I continue to repurchase over and over again.  This primer works well all year long and somehow manages to prevent excess skin in the summer months and then hydrate dry areas in the rest of the year.  This creates a great base for foundation and Urban Decay Beauty Balm.  I have been using the Beauty Balm for about three weeks now with bronzer (instead of my traditional foundation and powder routine) and I have been very happy with the results from the combination.  I will keep this combination up for the rest of the summer!

Urban Decay Eye Shadow in Maui Wowie -  "Urban Decay’s groundbreaking new eye shadow formula.  This reformulation of Urban Decay’s eye shadow features even softer, amazingly velvety texture; richer, more dense and decadent color; smoother, more uniform pigment distribution and blendability; and longer-lasting, more crease-free wear. The new line of shadows features a completely revamped assortment of shades, new textures, and a totally redesigned token compact.  The secret to the new formula is Urban Decay’s Pigment Infusion System™, a vehicle for color that holds tightly to pigment and gives the formula its glide. The proprietory blend of ingredients allows color to weave itself through the formula resulting in insane color payout, color that stays on your lids, and sparkle that doesn’t fall. The amazing technology works for every shade and finish. Every Urban Decay shade is silky, blendable, and stays put."  Maui Wowie is a "metallic golden beige with silver shimmer" and I have worn it for about two years now.  This is favorite of mine all throughout the year but I especially love this beautiful gold in the summer months, it brightens my blue eyes and complements my fake tan.  I love pairing this eye shadow with a bright pink lip shade for both day and night.

My favorites now area ll about getting the summer started on the right note!

photo courtesy of MAC

Lancome and Alber Elbaz Collection

One of the most anticipated collections for the summer/early fall has been released this week and I am very excited to see it in person.  I have been seeing pictures of it in beauty magazines and blogs for the past two months and now I finally have the chance to see it in person and decide what items and shades that I will want to add to my makeup collection.  The first aspect of this collection that I was very attracted to is the very beautiful packaging, this is one of the most visually appealing collections that I have seen in a long time and it grabbed me instantly when I first saw a preview of it several weeks ago on a beauty blog. 

This new collection is a collaboration between French beauty house Lancôme and designer Alber Elbaz.  The Lancôme website presents this collection as a show and that is the format that I will use to present it.  To open the show, Lancôme provides a brief description of who Alber Elbaz is.  "Alber Elbaz stands among today's major contemporary designers.  Born in Morocco and raised in Israel, he studied in the United States to inject his realm with a healthy dose of good mood."  Alber Elbaz is a very unique designer and one that I am very glad that Lancôme has decided to collaborate with.  The first act of the show is about his collaboration with Lancôme.  The information at this stage is nearly impossible to pull from the Lancôme website so I will pulling the product description from Sephora and as much information from articles that I can find.

The collaboration between Lancôme and Alber Elbaz!

Hyponose Drama Mascara - A bold mascara dressed up in fashion designer Alber Elbaz’s iconic prints.  For the first time, the genius and boldness of Lanvin's artistic director Alber Elbaz partners with Lancôme’s eye expertise to doll up their legendary mascaras. Achieve spectacularly intense eyes with this convex brush designed to coat and separate each and every lash for scandalous volume. Swathed in its flamenco-style bright-pink polka-dot dress, Drama embodies self-assured and passionate ultrafemininity.

Definicils High Definition Mascara - A bold mascara dressed up in fashion designer Alber Elbaz’s iconic prints.  For the first time, the genius and boldness of Lanvin's artistic director Alber Elbaz partners with Lancôme’s eye expertise to doll up their legendary mascaras. Achieve lavishly long, perfectly defined lashes with this award-winning mascara known for providing the ultimate in separation. Carefully selected polymers coat each lash from root to tip to help lengthen and outline each lash for unmatched definition. This bestselling mascara’s unique brush applicator has specially grooved bristles that hold the perfect amount of product for gradual, even application every time.

Hyponose Star Mascara - A bold mascara dressed up in fashion designer Alber Elbaz’s iconic prints.  For the first time, the genius and boldness of Lanvin's artistic director Alber Elbaz partners with Lancôme’s eye expertise to doll up their legendary mascaras. The Hypnôse Star Mascara is already a tribute to the glamour of the silver screen with its double-sided brush designed to define stunning Hollywood eyes. In this star-studded electric blue "fur," it a virtual studio goddess. A new star is born!

Eye Brightening All in One 5 Shadow and Liner Palette/Star - A bold harmony for a sculpted eye look. Color Design Palette brings makeup artist results within the reach of every woman, thanks to its unique *wet technology* formula for variable levels of shadow intensity.
- pure white/shimmering silver/deep charcoal/bright navy blue with silver shimmer

Eye Brightening All in One 5 Shadow and Liner Palette/Definicils - A bold harmony for a sculpted eye look. Color Design Palette brings makeup artist results within the reach of every woman, thanks to its unique 'wet technology' formula for variable levels of shadow intensity.
- pale matte nude/shimmering pale gold/shimmering warm bronze/tarnished gold with neutral shimmer

Eye Brightening All in One 5 Shadow and Liner Palette/Doll - A bold harmony for a sculpted eye look. Color Design Palette brings makeup artist results within the reach of every woman, thanks to its unique 'wet technology' formula for variable levels of shadow intensity.
- warm matte nude/shimmering pale bronze/deep bronze/medium rose with shimmer

This is a collection that is much more about packaging than the actual product inside, I was hoping for more new products and not just current products in great packaging.  I like Lancôme products but I don't know that I would go out of my way to order these products only because I like the packaging.  The product inside is not anything special and I am not in love with any of the new (or repackaged) colors in this small collection.  I wouldn't mind buying the original formula Hyponse Mascara from this collection, I have never tried this formula but I have heard so many good reviews of it that I would try it out.  Correction - I would try it out with or without the Alber Elbaz special packaging but I would just love to have this product in the very pretty packaging.

I do like two of the eye shadow palettes but they are not very unique.  I like Definicils and Doll, the two more neutral palettes.  The shades are almost exactly like what I own from the Urban Decay Naked Palettes but I always wear shades like this and I know that I would get a lot of use from them.  I might look further into reviews of these shadows and see if these are palettes that I should be investing my money in.

I am somewhat disappointed because the collection seems to be all packaging and show and not as much substance as I would like it to be.  I am sure that the products are high quality but there is nothing special that sets them apart from the rest of the products in the Lancôme color line.  If I wouldn't buy the products in the regular Lancôme packaging then I wouldn't buy them just fo rthis packaging.

photo courtesy of Lancome

Friday, June 14, 2013

Benefit The Bronze of Champions Set

Benefit has released several great palettes and sets this spring and today we are going to look at the last of the new ones.  We have looked at all the Neutral palettes and I have been stalking the counter at Sephora so that I can buy at least two of the three palettes.  The set that we are going to look at today is a perfect pick for the summer months, The Bronze of Champions is a set that is primed and perfect for the summer months and I am always on the hunt for great new bronzer formulas to add to my collection.  This set contains Benefit's top selling bronzer and then several shades of makeup to complement my newly bronzed skin...and a great new lip gloss for the summer.  I have been all about Benefit products over the past two years and I want to add as many more of them to my collection as I can.

I can't say what I am the most excited about yet for this collection, I think that I am ready to add another bronzer formula to my collection and I am hoping that this set contains one that I will love to use.  I also want to try this lip gloss formula, I haven't used many lip products from this company and I need to start using them.

"A total bronze kit for eyes, lips, and cheeks.  Get your goddess on with these believable-bronze makeup essentials! Filled with sexy bestsellers, this TAN-talizing box of beauty has all you need to get out there and glow for glory.", states the Sephora website when describing the overall set.  There are quite a few products contained in this set and we will look at each one in more detail so I can decide if there are enough that I want contained in this set for me to purchase the whole set.

The contents of The Bronze of Champions Set...

Watt's Up! Soft Focus Highlighter for Face - A soft-focus highlighter for face.  This cream-to-powder highlighter turns up the wattage with a delicate, gorgeous champagne glow. Its smooth application and luminous sheen switches on the "wow" factor for any complexion. Apply it to cheeks and browbones, then sculpt with the soft-glow blender for your perfect gleam.

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.
- Bikini-Tini - oyster pink

Longwear 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.
- Thanks a Latte - golden brown

Hoola Bronzing Powder - A beautiful bronzing powder.  This powder is like Barbados in a box! Sweep Hoola across the chin, cheeks, and forehead with the accompanying brush for a healthy, natural looking tan year-round— no tanning bed necessary.  Always tap off excess powder to avoid applying too much color. This is a contouring bronzer that can also be used to highlight features of your face.

Ultra Plush Lip Gloss - A silky, plush gloss that glides onto lips.  This dazzling lip gloss drenches your lips in brilliant shine and a burst of juicy color that's never sticky. Loaded with crystal brilliance, color glides on smooth. Just one stroke will give you glimmering, shimmering lips!  The irresistible shades, from sultry nudes to punchy pinks, come in soft-squeeze tubes with a custom tip designed for perfectly even application. To create a beautifully pulled-together look in seconds, pair your favorite gloss with its complementing box o’ powder.
- Hoola - shimmering golden nude

They're Real! Mascara - A jet-black mascara that lengthens, curls, volumizes, lifts, and separates lashes for a spectacular "out-to-here" look.  This breakthrough bestseller reveals lashes you never knew you had! The specially designed brush features staggered bristles that grab close to the root, boosting length and volume beyond belief. The custom-domed tip uses precision bristles to lift, define, and curl even your tiniest lashes. With a glossy, jet-black, long-wearing formula, you’ll flaunt luxurious, silky lashes that won’t smudge, clump, or dry out. True story!  Go horizontal! The staggered bristles grab close to the root, boosting length and volume. Then go vertical! The custom-domed tip with precision bristles lift, define, and curl even your tiniest lashes.  
I must buy this set!  I want that bronzer formula and the lip gloss formula, I was a bit afraid that the lip gloss would have been a bronze color but I like this warm nude hue for the summer months.  I have already used several tubes of the They're Real! Mascara and this formula holds a place among the best ones that I have ever used so I am more than happy to add another tube of it to my collection.  I have not tried either of the eye shadows or the highlighter however I have seen all of these products in many palettes and have heard very good things about them in beauty magazines and blogs.  I would like to try all of these products and I will be buying this set the next time that I go to Sephora!

photo courtesy of Sephora

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bath and Body Works 60-Second Manicure Hand Scrub

One of the hardest places on my body to successfully self tan is my hands, I have never found a good way to make my hands look natural and completely streak-free.  I have struggled with this year after year and I doubt that I will ever find a way to make this an easy process.  I have decided that I need to focus more on the preparation and the maintenance of the tan.  I have a good regime started for tanning and I will need to just add an extra step or two to improve upon it.  I have been using the Bath and Body Works True Blue Spa Smoothing Foot Scrub for years now to keep my feet an even, streak-free tan and I have decided to use the hand scrub in this collection to see if I get the same results.

I had originally used this product back in college when it was first released and I have used it on and off ever since.  However I have mostly been using it during the late fall and winter in order to try and relive some of the chapping that occurs every cold weather season.  I had not thought of using it any other time of the year since I really don't need it unless my skin is very dry and cracked.  This is the best hand scrub that I have ever tried and I have tried several from a range of salon brands and this is the clear winner and one that I am going to try to make the self tanner on my hands a bit less of an issue. 

"Why wait? This sugar-based exfoliating treatment makes quick work of dull, dry skin and ragged cuticles to give even the most mani-deprived hands a taste of soft, smooth, spa manicure perfection - in just one minute.  Sugar crystals provide exfoliation, resulting in smooth, glowing skin.  Light citrus fragrance.", states the Bath and Body Works website.

To use - "Massage treatment into wet hands for a full minute, paying special attention to any rough areas. Rinse clean to reveal hands that look like they've spent the whole day at the spa."

I use this scrub once a week to get rid of the dry skin that is soaking up too much of the tanner and creating the issues with the streaks and the deep spots than tend to appear on my hands.  This product has some great benefits but a few downsides to it at the same time.  The major benefit is that it is more effective than anything else that I have tried to get dead skin off and help to improve rough, dry areas.  Use of this scrub makes my hand cream work much more effectively and this continues to improve my tanning experience.

The main issue that I have with this product is that I can only use it once a week (at maximum), it takes too much of my tanner off to make me happy and I need to use it sparingly or I will take all of my tan off and I will never be able to build up a good fake tan.  I have accepted this because this is the best hand scrub out there and will help my hands to absorb the tanner better and more evenly (and make them look much more natural than they did before I tried using this product).

I am glad that I started using this product again, I remember how many times I used to wash  my hands with it when I first tried it out and it really is the best hand scrub on the market.  I have tried quite a few and this is the best one and I highly recommend this product for anyone that has dry skin on their hands.

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sephora Collection Ariel Mermaid's Song 4 Piece Lip Gloss Set

At the end of last year, Sephora Collection released a special collection that combined makeup and fragrance with the love of Disney that is so prominent in this country.  I visited Disney World when I was a child and I loved everything Disney until I entered my teenage years.  I went through quite a few years without seeing any kind of Disney movie but now that I am in my late twenties, I have begun to enjoy some of my favorite childhood movies again.  Snow White is a current favorite of mine however I have had a soft spot for The Lion King and The Little Mermaid since I was a young girl.  I am not obsessed with Disney as many of my friends still are but I do enjoy watching the movies now and then and I have grabbed a few beauty looks from Snow White.  Now I see that Sephora Collection has brought out a pretty summer collection that teams up great makeup and our favorite red-headed mermaid from The Little Mermaid. 

I am not going to view this entire collection, I don't have much interest in it and I doubt that many of my readers will be interested in buying the whole collection.  I have no objection to looking at a few pieces of it but this collection is much too young for me and I wouldn't be able to use many of the makeup shades and any type of fragrance that would come out with it.  I would be interested in a lip gloss set for the summer, I love bright lip glosses for the summer and I am excited to try something fun over the next three months.  I think a Disney-inspired lip gloss collection is just the thing to have some fun...

This collection is only available at Sephora and all the details will come from this company's website.  "A set of four flirty lip glosses in shades that dare you to be bold.  Fun and feisty, this set of lip formulas speaks volumes. This collection of glistening glosses features shades inspired by Ursula’s earrings, Ariel’s pink dress and iconic red hair, and her sisters’ darling shells. Take advice from your favorite mermaid: Be empowered. Be bold."

The four shades that were inspired by The Little Mermaid are...

- Mermaid - courageous coral
- Red Head - rich red
- Dream Girl - perky pink
- Sea Witch - bold berry

I think that the first three shades will be my choices for the summer but then I will save Sea Witch for the fall and winter months.  I am so excited to try these out, the Sephora Collection lip glosses are not the best quality that I have ever used but the color range is awesome and I have some picks from them already in my collection.  I think it is time to watch some Disney movies...

photo courtesy of Sephora

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Alterna Bamboo UV+ Color Protection Vibrant Color Shampoo and Conditioner

I was first introduced to the Alterna line of hair care products late last spring when I first visited my new salon and I have been using some of their styling products ever since. I am very fickle when it comes to hair care products and I rarely purchase the same products twice in a row.  One of the only products that I am very committed to is the Matrix Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner...and one of the others is a serum from Alterna.  The logical next step was to order a shampoo and conditioner from the Alterna line and alternate it with the Matrix products.  I always alternate at least two sets of shampoo and conditioner so that I can protect my color and highlights and prevent overall build up issues.  I had just finished up a round of Fekkai products when I decided that I wanted to try a completely different company and I decided on the color line of product from Alterna

I order both the shampoo and conditioner from the Bamboo UV+ Color Protection Vibrant Color line of products.  The serum that I first tried from this company was part of the Bamboo line and I think that this is a dominating ingredient in many of their hair care products.  I have been alternating this shampoo and conditioner with my Matrix favorites for the past week and I can easily state that I have a new hair care line that I will be ordering more items from.  I had heard many compliments on the Alterna products and I can see that they were completely correct.

Starting the shampoo...  "A color-preserving and protecting shampoo with rinse-resistant Color Hold® UV+ Technology for the highest level of color protection.  This gentle, daily use shampoo free of sulfates and sodium chloride cleanses, nourishes, and moisturizes, laying the foundation for healthy hair with vibrant color. Strengthening pure organic bamboo extract with color-locking, protecting Kalahari melon extract in this gentle sulfate- and sodium- chloride-free cleanser nourishes hair while maintaining healthy vibrant color. This formula is ideal for preventing color wash-out and fade-out with a high level of color protection, and contains rinse-resistant UV filters that protect against oxidative color damage."

My first impression of this shampoo is that it is much thicker in formula than I had expected, the formula is sulfate-free and these formula shampoos tend to be thicker than those with the chemicals contained in it.  The lather that was produced by this product was minimal, I used too much of it the first time around and not enough water to use it correctly.  The next time I made sure that my hair was truly soaked and I only used a quarter-sized drop of the product, this time the product rinsed much cleaner and worked much better.  Less is more when it comes to this formula.

Moving to the conditioner...  "A color-protecting and strengthening conditioner that prevents color fade-out.  This conditioner combines strengthening pure organic bamboo extract with color-locking, damage-locking Kalahari melon extract in a paraben- and sodium-chloride-free conditioner. Its formula infuses hair with nourishing moisture and vital nutrients to keep it strong and healthy with beautifully vibrant color. Featuring rinse-resistant UV filters that protect against oxidative color damage, this conditioner extends the life of your color."

The conditioner is very concentrated and is another product where a little bit goes a long way.  It was very hydrated and rinsed clean without creating any issues with build up.  My hair is very soft and easy to manage and style.  I really liked this formula from the first time that I used it.

My color has been going strong for the past few weeks with the use of this duo and the one from Matrix and my hair is very soft and easy to style.  This is one of the shampoo and conditioner sets that I would be interested in repurchasing and very few hair products make this cut.  I am now looking to see what other products from Alterna that I might want to order and try out.  This is one of the best hair care lines that I have used recently and I cannot see that I would ever stop using products from this collection.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bond No 9 Chinatown

Friday afternoon, a very exciting package appeared on my doorstep and I have been in love with the contents of the little box ever since.  Earlier this year, I promised myself that if I survive my spring semester (and the 175 page paper that I had to write) that I would purchase a special perfume for myself and I set the money aside from my tax return as soon as it came.  After the semester was over, it took my about three weeks to decide what fragrance that I wanted and what one would be a special purchase for me.  I decided on a fragrance from the line Bond No 9 very quickly, I have to order these fragrances from Nordstrom or Saks Fifth Avenue's websites and throughout the spring, I ordered small samples of the fragrances from Amazon so that I could try several of them out and learn which ones were worthy of the full bottle purchase.  The leaders for me were Chinatown and Madison Square Park, fragrances that had both been suggested to me on the Makeup Alley Fragrance Board.  In fact, they were both recommended to me, one to wear in the warm weather and then the other to wear in the cold weather.  It was a hard decision but I ordered the bottle of Chinatown as the weather will be getting colder by the time that I have the open space on my bureau for the bottle itself.

Chinatown is one of the older Bond No 9 fragrances and came out right as the brand earning its place in the niche fragrance market.  This fragrance is one of the top rated fragrances and it considered to be one of the iconic Bond No 9 fragrances.  I first read a rave review of this fragrance in "Perfumes: The Guide" by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez and this is one of the very few fragrances that earned 5 out of 5 stars by the authors.  Another factor that tipped the scales in Chinatown's favor...

We will start with the fragrance description from the Nordstrom website and then go into the comments from "Perfumes: The Guide".  The Nordstrom website states, "Superpower meets Supercity. The emerging superpower energy with the avant-garde cachet of downtown New York. A sultry, mouth-watering, equal-opportunity East-meets-West bouquet."  The notes of the fragrance are: Peach Blossoms, Gardenia, Tuberose, Patchouli, Cardamom.

Onto the review from Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez.  "The endearingly plucky firm of Bond No 9 has produced its first and so far only masterpiece.  Composed by the young Aurelien Guichard (son of the great Jean of Roure, now Givaudan), it is one of those fragrances that smells so immediately, compellingly, irresistibly great that the only sane response is love at first sniff.  Chinatown is at once oddly familiar and very surprising, as if the lyrics in a favorite love song had been rearranged to make a new poem, just as affecting but unplanned by the original author.  On the one hand, Chinatown harks back to classic, haughty green chypres like Cabochard, Givenchy III, and the first Scherrer.  On the other hand, it has an odd, almost medicinal note reminiscent of the mouthwatering dried-fruit smell of Prunol, a base original composed by Edmond Roudnitska for the defunct firm of De Laire.  The combination strikes a precarious but totally convincing balance between remoteness and affability that suggests a personality at once full of charm and dangerous to know.  Some people find it too sweet.  To my nose it smells liked a corner of a small French grocery in summer, in the exact spot where the smell of floor wax meets that of ripe peaches.  A treasure in a beautiful bottle."

This is a very complex fragrance and I can't give any better review than the one that was included in "Perfumes: The Guide", I have never smelled this fragrance on anyone else that I have come into contact with and doubt that I will find many ladies in my area that wear it.  On me, this fragrance has a peach note that is evident right when it is applied and then softens down into the white floral notes.  I normally don't love white floral fragrance but this scent is unique and there is something special about the blend that makes me love it more and more.  The Patchouli note is very light on my skin and more serves to keep the florals alive throughout the day.  This fragrance lasts all day on my skin and wears well into the night, I can smell the quality difference between the fragrances in this line and some of the ones that I buy at Sephora.

Chinatown has a cult following for a good reason...it is very unique and a beautiful fragrance.  I will be counting this fragrance among my favorites for years to come.  I find this fragrance is more appropriate for fall and winter as the white floral notes are stronger on me then I like to wear in the warm weather.  I get many compliments on this fragrance and I will continue to use it and try more fragrances from this niche perfume house.

photo courtesy of Nordstrom