Monday, 31 May 2010

Ive been a bad beauty blogger. Ive been using a new product on an almost daily basis for the last month and havent written up anything about it. What was I thinking? I did a major beauty haul a month ago thanks to the Sephora Insider 15% off sales, and Im still working through everything I picked up in terms of trying out and reviewing. I honestly have no idea why it is taking me so long to do this. Okay, I do. Ive made a major lifestyle change in terms of fitness and working out, and so time spent in front of the mirror playing with new toys has been cut back as I have instead been sweating my ass literally off at Physique 57 and bikram yoga. Review posts to come on this whole exercise malarkey. 

Anyway, it means that products have been tried and tested and I havent been sharing! One major new purchase was my Benefit Hoola powder ($28). Hoola is a mid-tone matte bronzer. Im an NW20, and I love the color on my. It definitely adds a warmed up glow to my skin. There are two factors for me that make it a great bronzer it is very buildable, meaning that I dont instantly end up looking like an oompa loompa, and it is matte. This is a major issue I have with summer products why do companies believe that every summer product must have shimmer? I get it looks gorgeous in the sun, but it is too much for the office, and sometimes I dont want to glow, I just want to look a little darker. Although it is buildable, it does require a light touch. Too much too soon leaves me looking a muddy and patchy.

Benefit Hoola is now part of my regular morning make up routine. As my final step I use a big bronzer brush on my forehead, temples, nose, chin, and neck. Since Ive started using it Ive had plenty of compliments about looking more tan, and whether Ive had some sun. I love the generous size of the Benefit powders although they are $28, you do get a lot of product. Normally I dont get too worried about the cost per oz for my make up because I so very rarely finish a product, but the simple gorgeousness of Hoola means that I know its going to be part of my daily routine for quite some time, so getting a good amount makes a difference to me. I know that Ill be picking up a couple more bronzers in the upcoming MAC To The Beach collection, but all of them have shimmer, so wont be replacing Hoola in my office appropriate every day look. 

This post contains an affiliate link. Affiliate links in no way influence the outcome of reviews on this blog. Our responsibility is to you, the reader! 

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Nails of the Week: Color Club Uptown Girl

Another installment from the Color Club Rebel Debutante collection. I hate purple. I have no idea what possessed me to buy this polish. My review of it is completely biased, based on the simple fact that I think purple is a terrible, terrible color and good things have never come of it. So, um, the formula was thick and easy to go on, but I did use 3 coats here to try and get a more even finish. I guess this color has a nic-ish muted dusty purple feel. But at the end of the day, it's a purple, and I must have had too many glasses of wine when I placed this order. 

Friday, 28 May 2010

EOTD Sunset Eyes

Sunset eyes always seem so dramatic when I see them online, and so I was a little nervous trying this look out. However, when I was done I loved it! It was far more subtle and fun in real life. I also cannot get over how much I love the Elf Liquid Liner. It's just so easy to get that super thin liquid line with it for my less than skillful fingers.

All MAC unless otherwise stated:

Base: Elf Shadow Primer
Inner Lid: Goldmine
Middle Lid: Off The Page (LE - bright orange)
Outer Lid and Crease: Hot Hot Hot (LE - pinky orange)
Crease: Passionate
Highlight: Shroom
Upper Liner: Elf Liquid Liner in Black
Lower Liner: Urban Decay in El Dorado

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Urban Decay Stardust Shadows: A Glittery Feast!

Urban Decay came out with their Stardust Eye Shadow back in February. They are billed as being extra sparkly with no fall-out. Those are big claims for glitter eyeshadow. I have been swatching them in Sephora for quite some time, and when Urban Decay had a Friends and Family sale, I jumped at the chance to try out a couple. I picked Atmosphere and Space Cowboy. Atmosphere is a bright turquoise with silver glitter pieces. Space Cowboy is beige with silver sparkle.

The packaging for the shadows is a little bit different from the other Urban Decay shadows I've seen. They come in a rubberized square case where you have to squeeze them open. Interesting! The consistency of the Stardust shadows is also quite strange. They are sheer to go on at first, although if you swatch them heavily you will get some good color payoff, and they can also be used wet. They feel slightly gritty as well, due to the large amount of glitter. The glitter payoff is good - they really are the sparkliest shadows that I have ever seen. I wore them yesterday and was also impressed with the staying power. I wasn't entirely fall-out free, but it was pretty good, considering the level of sparkle I was getting.

The major thing I found with these two shadows though was that they were impossible to blend. They just didn't want to do it. Once they were on my lid (I was using UD Primer Potion as a base), they were impossible to move around or blend with each other. I was trying to blend out a sheer wash of turquoise into the beige, and it just was not happening. I think you need to go with a very light hand with these and really build up the color that you are looking for.

I do think that these are the best glitter shadows on the market. In particular I liked Space Cowboy as it's almost colorless, so just provides a wash of glitter on your lid which is pretty cool. They definitely require a bit of practice to have them work they way you want them to though.

This post contains an affiliate link. Affiliate links in no way influence the outcome of reviews. Our responsibility is to you, the reader!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

FOTD Summer Sparkly Eyes

I did this FOTD yesterday when I was ill with food poisoning. It gave me something to do for 10 minutes to distract me from my general misery, but I also realise that my eyes look ridiculously tired, and it's because they are - I had had about 3 hours sleep.

I was also doing this to test out a bunch of products that I have had sitting in my drawer for a while. I actually swatched the Make Up Forever HD Blushes and Urban Decay Stardust Shadows over a month ago - the shame! I'll have reviews up for both later in the week.

As this was the first time using the Stardust shadows, I didn't get quite the effect I wanted. I was really looking for a deeper color near my lids, and a wash of teal working up. I tried to do this with blending the color up from my lids, but the shadow just did not want to play.

I liked the MUFE blush for the sheer hint of color, but it was not the easiest to apply. Full review up later this week!

Products used:
Clinique Sheer City Sun Block
Urban Decay De-Slick Oil Control Make Up Setting Spray
Tinted Moisturizer (my mix using Kiehls Ultra Facial and MAC Studio Sculpt in NW25)

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin
Urban Decay Stardust Shadow in Atmosphere
Urban Decay Stardst Shadow in Midnight Cowboy
Maybelline Colossal Mascara
Elf Eyebrow Kit in Medium

Make Up For Ever HD Blush in #3 Nip Slip

Urban Decay Lipstick in Naked

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Nails of the Week: Essie Eternal Optimist

I picked up this color because it was featured in the J Crew catalog, and if you know anything about me, it's that I cannot resist anything endorsed by Jenna Lyons of J Crew fame. I do like this polish, but I do not think that it is anything particularly special. It remind me of OPI Tickle My France-y a lot, and I'll try and do a comparison later on to compare all of my nude browns, as I have been collecting quite a lot. Eternal Optimist went on very sheer. This is three coats, and although it does not show up too well in this picture, there was a very slight visible tip line. Very slight. You'd need to be freakishly staring at my hands to discern it.

Summary? A good color, not amazing. Most likely dupable.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

The Blog That Could

This week has been very exciting for my little blog. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to guest post over at Karen's amazing Make Up and Beauty Blog. I wrote about office appropriate make up - a subject close to my heart as I have to do it 5 days a week!

I was also accepted into Beauty Blog Link Love- a weekly round up of some of the best blog posts on beauty from the week. The quality of bloggers who are a part of this is incredible, so I feel really honored.

With that, it's time for me to go get started on my day. Hope you have a lovely weekend! :)

Kiehls Milk, Honey and Almond Scrub Smooths Your Rough Edges

As you may be aware, I've been making some changes to my skin routine. The first major change was my purchase of the Clarisonic Mia. (For my review, click here.). For the last month or so, I haven't used any other masks or scrubs. The other day I decided to give my skin a more in depth scrub just to rid it of any buildup I've had. I’ve usually loved most thing from Kiehls, and I had picked up their Milk, Honey, and Almond Scrub back in December during their Friends & Family sale, so I knew it was about time I tried it out.

The scrub comes in a tub, which is not the most conducive to shower scrubbing. I don’t know about you, but I do all my face scrubbing in the shower, so this is important to me, and something I wish all manufacturers would take a note of. It smells really yummy – like delicious sweet almond honey goodness. There are grains of almonds all the through the medium thickness paste. I massaged this all over my face using gentle, upward circular movements, and then rinsed off after a couple of minutes. I was very pleased with the smoothness of my skin afterwards, and it was a little drier than if I had just cleansed it, but nothing serious. The extra smoothness lasted about a day or so before returning to my normal texture. 
I found this to be an gentle, effective scrub. It's not a micro-dermal exfoliator, and uses no AHA acids, so in that sense, it is simple, and gentle on your skin. I like it for giving my skin an extra polish and smoothness when I feel it is getting clogged up, without being too rough or intense. The tub is a generous 6oz for $20.50, and I honestly think that that's going to last me a while.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

EOTD: Humid Greens

All of the recent buzz about MAC To The Beach got me intrigued about a permanent color I have in my collection that's being promoted - Humid. I've barely used it! It's a gorgeous, rich, shimmery green, and since I have green eyes, this could really make them go! I put together a quick EOTD to try and figure out just how to use greens.

All MAC unless otherwise stated
Base: Elf Shadow Primer
Inner Lid: Soft Force (Nylon would dupe)
Middle Lid: Goldmine
Outer Lid and Crease: Humid
Crease: Smut
Lower Liner: Urban Decay 24/7 Graffiti

I think I did okay, but it's not my favorite look. I need to work on getting the golds and greens to really shimmer and pop - maybe a gold base? Or a darker look with Bronze?

How do you use greens?

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Nails of the Week: Essie Van D'Go

Essie Van D'Go came out earlier this year as part of their Art of Spring collection. Honestly, I have absolutely no idea why I bought this polish. It is just so not like me! And by so not like me, I mean that it is a relatively sensible color that I could wear anywhere and people won't give me weird looks.

However, after that random rant, I do admit that I like the safe peachy coral color. It's very pretty for the office, and actually I can see going well with tanned toes in a pedicure. However, I'm pretty sure it's totally dupable. The formula on this one was very thin, and it took 3 coats to get a good finish, which was annoying.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Sweet Pop of Color Technique For Summer

I was over looking at the awesome Karen at Make Up and Beauty Blog. She recently posted about what the hell to do with the Tokidoki Liner in Pink . She swiped a thick line on her eyelid, and then a super thin line in black liquid liner. It's an awesome technique that gives a pop of color without being scary or overwhelming. I decided to try this out myself. I don't have a Tokidoki liner myself, but used the age old technique of a fine liner, some water, and bright eyeshadow. For my Black liquid liner, I used Elf's liquid liner. I got this free with an order once, but it's only a buck, and I am constantly surprised by how good it is.

For the first eye, I used MAC's Da Bling. This looks awesome - I love the sweet pinkness, and it contrasts nicely against the black liner. To get the liner this thin. I actually line the eyelashes, just allowing the tip of the liner to go against the lid. I used Elf's Eyelid Primer which I got in the same freebie pack as the liner, and again is a nice surprise. Elf is such a random brand - so much is utterly terrible, but there are a few hidden gems in there.

For the second eye, I used MAC's Humid. This is a permanent shade and is also part of the upcoming To The Beach collection. I really wish I used this shadow more often, as it's a beautiful, rich green that would make my green eyes pop if I ever remembered to use it! However, the shade here was too dark and didn't contrast enough with either the black, or provide the pop of color that I was looking for.

I love this technique! It's also so clean, quick, and easy. My next experiment with either be with a bright purple or sky blue. Have you tried this look before? Any other color suggestions?

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Elf Brow Kit

One of the products I picked up a whole ago as part of my second Elf haul was the Eyebrow Kit. If you follow the Elf logic that each of their products is a budget version of a high-end product, then this would most likely be compared to Benefit’s Brow-Zings kit. Disclaimer right now – I’ve never used the BrowZings compact, so have no grounds to compare to.
The packaging is perfectly acceptable – a matte black plastic case housing a small palette of powder and one of dark wax. Nothing to get excited about, and nothing to complain about either. I do have a complaint about the brush. It is double ended for the powder and wax, and is the most ridiculous rinky-dink thing ever. I could barely even hold it, never mind control it while using it on my eyebrows. Completely useless, really.

Nekkid brows - actually, whole nekkid eye!

waxed and powdered - the rest is still nekkid so no laughing!

I chose medium out of the three shades available. I have reasonably dark brows, and have natural mid-brown hair. However, I found that if I wore either the wax or the powder, I got a nice color, but if I used the powder to set the wax, the color came out too dark, and my brows started to overtake my whole face. Not a good look. One or the other was all good though. The wax provided a more defined finish, and the powder a softer look. I’m thinking that maybe I got the wrong color, but if I did, there is not much hope for the natural blondes out there with this product. However, if you do have dark brows, then I would definitely check this out. Plus, there's a lot of product here - I'm guessing at least a year, if not more, of product. Aside from the brush, this is a decent product, and for $3, you can't really go wrong. 

This post contains an affiliate links. Affiliate links in no way influence the outcome of reviews. 

Monday, 17 May 2010

Drugstore Dupe Alert! Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub

Back in November, I blogged about the amazingness that is the Philosophy Miracle Worker Kit. That kit really kicked my skin's ass, and put it in really smooth good shape. However, with the ever experimenting nature of a beauty blogger, I naturally had to go and see if there were alternatives to the awesome products I had been introduced to.

One of the products that came with the kit was the Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash. Standalone, it costs $25/8oz, so I consider it to be a bit of a pricey daily scrub. It promises to provide immediate resurfacing benefits, and acts as a cleansing mini-peel but it still gentle enough for daily use. It has a grainy texture, as you would expect. I used it on a daily basis until it was all used up (about 3 months), and I really loved the smoothness that it gave me, along with absolutely no irritation. My skin would feel drier than after having used a regular cleanser when I came out of the shower, but nothing that some moisturizer didn't fix. In all, I really, really liked it.

As I said, liking a product for me does not guarantee loyalty. Sorry, Philosophy.

I love both high-end and drugstore products, but had never tried Aveeno. I had heard great things about their Skin Brightening Daily Scrub ($7.49/5oz), so thought it would be worth trying out for a comparison. The Aveeno scrub has micro-exfoliating beads which do feel larger than the Philosophy scrub, and therefore less gentle from a scrub perspective, but not to the point that I would be concerned using it on a daily basis. Where Aveeno's main strength I feel comes from the scrubbing particles, the Philosophy scrub also seems to have some resurfacing coming from the actual cleanser (I checked - citric acid is waay down there as an ingredient).

The end result from these two daily scrubs was the same - smooth, clean, clear skin. The Philosophy one did feel like it was working just a touch harder, but $18 harder? No way. If you are looking to introduce a daily scrub into your skincare regime, I would highly recommend Aveeno's Skin Brightening Daily Scrub as a gentle, skin smoothing product with a price tag that doesn't hurt either.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Best Ever Nails of the Day Ever. Ever.

Does the title give it away? That I'm ridiculously in love with my current manicure. Maybe just a little? I can't believe I had all the ingredients for this little creation in my nail varnish stash for at least 3 weeks and I have waited so long to try this out. Oh wonderful amazingness, how can I describe why I love you so much? Is it the thick black? The gorgeous pink? The M A T T E N E S S of it all? Is it just a great way of mixing things that shouldn't go together? Is it because it dried in about 3 minutes and took 7 total???? Anyway, total heart.

The black is from Wet N Wild. So wonderful. One thick coat of creamy black goodness. I thought because of the whole 99c price tag that it would be more gray than black, but I was so so wrong.

The pink glitter is China Glaze Glam. I hate glitter. I love this.

The top coat is China Glaze Matte Magic. I've heard Essie Matte About You is better. This is good enough for now.

I'm already sad about the fact that this will be removed tomorrow night and replaced with something much more office appropriate.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Korres Mango Butter Lipstick in Rose #22

Korres Mango Butter Lipstick in Rose #22 ($18) is a delicious, smooth, slightly sheer rose pink with gold shimmer. This lipstick is smooth. I have never put on a lipstick that felt so wonderfully rich, smooth, buttery, and moisturizing. It does mean that it doesn't have the longest staying power (2hrs for me), but putting it on every time was such a delight that honestly, I didn't care. I loved the color. It's a very pretty, neutral spring color, and the gold adds a touch of brightness. It is not an amazingly dramatic lipstick, and is very sheer, so if you are looking for a bright, or something with a lot of pigment, I suggest you steer clear of this one. If you are looking for something with a simple touch of pretty pink, then #22 is worth a look.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Color Club Gossip Column and Dupe

Another pick from the Color Club Rebel Debutante line. This one is a little more Rebel and a little less Debutante, but it's not totally out there wild. I really liked the richness and warmth of this blue. It did feel quite mature and grown up, rather than an in your face bright. As always, I adore cremes as well. It applied very well, with no issues. This is 2 coats.

However, I did have a little bit of deja vu, so compared it with American Apparel Peacock. Ummm, to me, they are total dupes. The American Apparel is a little more tricky to apply due to the crazy long brushes they have. The ring and index are American Apparel Peacock, and the middle and pinkie Gossip Column.

On another note, has anyone seen the new American Apparel line of polishes they are releasing soon? They look soo pretty!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Clinique City Block Saves My Face

The last couple of hot days here in New York have given me the opportunity to test out Cliniques Super City Sheer SPF 40 Sunblock ($17.50 / 1.4oz). It is an oil-free tinted sunblock that blocks both UVA and B rays, which means it both stops sunburn and reduces sun damage. The tint is sheer and light, so this product would be suitable for any light to mid-toned girls, but may show up as ashy or ghostly on darker girls. The tint faded, and the tell-tale white tone of SPF came through, although this too blended fairly easily into my skin. The tint was also so sheer that it didnt really provide me with any discernable coverage, and I definitely  require a touch more base to even out my skin tone. This made my skin feel quite greasy, but I have not yet come across an SPF product that does not have this issue. Instead, I have been applying City Sheer at least 10-15 minutes before your regular base to give your skin time to soak it in. When I wore nothing else, it did sink in nicely and didnt leave me looking shiny, and the same when I left some time between applying products.  It was also fairly hardwearing I put it on, went for a bike ride, lay in the sun, and biked home again in 90 on Saturday afternoon, so naturally there was a bit of sweat, but it didnt wear off or leave me burnt at all. I was certainly pleased with the level of protection I felt. Ive worn it for about 4 days straight, and havent had any issues with breakout out or any other skin issues, so that is a major plus as well. 

 Blob on the left, blended out on the right

I cannot say that Im super thrilled about this product, or think that its amazing. I love the high level of protection and the hard wearing nature, but it doesnt solve the greasy feeling or poor photos that is associated with SPF protection. Ill definitely keep using it throughout the summer, but doubt Ill actually purchase again. Have you come across a really good facial suncream? Or regular suncream? Id really like to know.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Korres Guava Lipstick in Pink #17

There's nothing like a good pink lipstick to cheer up your mood, no? Unfortunately, for me, Korres Pink #17 just doesn't do it for me. The color feels amazing (soft, rich, smooth, moisturizing), lasts reasonably well (3-4 hours), and comes in a very handy slim shape, but I'm sorry, it just doesn't feel like a Pink to me, and the color feels too warm, too dark, too fall-like for me to want to wear in Spring and Summer. Korres #17, I wanted to love you, I really did, but it's not love at first swipe.

Ever had a product you really wanted to love but couldn't? Do tell!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Nails of the Week: Color Club Who Are You Wearing?

Another one from the Rebel Debutante Collection. This is a pretty very light beigey-neutral cream. A gorgeous neutral, and this is just 2 coats. But wait, it looks familiar?! I hunted through my collection and found Essie Body Language. Take a look below and see if you can spot Essie vs Color Club. To me, they are perfect dupes!

(Essie Body Language is index and ring, Color Club Who Are You Wearing is on the middle and pinkie)

Monday, 3 May 2010

Tarte Makes My Raspberry Popsicle Last All Afternoon

One of the products that I have been most excited about trying out this year was the Tarte Natural Lipstain. They look like a juicy jumbo crayon with luscious bright sheer color. Like all Tarte products, they are formulated without sulphates or parabens and have not been tested on animals. They promise to slide on and provide a natural stain that is both hydrating and lasts all day. Even though I had previously been disappointed by Tarte's signature product, their Cheek Stain, I really wanted these products to do what they promised.

I picked two colors, Joy, a peachy color, and Amused, a bright pink. The first one I tried was Joy, and I was immediately disappointed. The color completely disappeared on my lips, and you could not see any difference. I decided immediately to return it, and hence forgot to swatch it on my arm - sorry readers!!!

The next color I tried was Amused. WOW!! You know that "I've been sucking a rasperry popsicle" stain that so many product promise? This one delivers just that. It's a gorgeous raspberry stain with a hint of a shine. The color lasted about 5 hours. While I loved the color, I have to admit I did find the product a little drying, although I was out in the sun at the time. Luckily, with a stain, applying clear lip balm is no issue. This is going to become one of my summer go-to colors.


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