Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Summer Lip Favorites Part 1

Summer is probably my favorite season for lip products. I just love love love the bright colors bringing to mind raspberry popsicles and orange soda. I’m a big fan of sheer, jelly style colors which are easy to wear – slick and go! For evenings, some gold shimmer can kick up a look to summer goddess. Cosmetics companies this year have really raised their game in terms of corals, golds, and bright pinks for us lucky girls to play around with. I really like a shiny, summery lip with neutral eyes. Keeping the cheeks bright in the same family can be fun, or neutral with a touch of bronzer to bring out your natural glow.

I'm going to do a couple of posts about my favorite colors. This was originally one post until I realized that I'm a summer gloss junkie and have faaar too many for just 1!!!

I'm going to work from left to right here to talk about each product.


  1. Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess – a yummy jelly, thick raspberry gloss. It has a slight blue shimmer to it as well. There’s something about it which does make me feel all goddess-like. Until I realize that I’ve spilt my ice cream down my shirt.
  2. Tarte Amused Lip Stain – a jumbo pencil that moisturizes (although not quite as much as Tarte claims!!), smells deliciously pepperminty, and makes you look like you’ve spent the afternoon eating raspberry popsicles is a summer must have. If I’m running out the door and have no make-up on, this is my go-to single product. Yum yum yumminess.
  3. MAC  Lipglass in Totally It - I got this as part of the Holiday 2009 lipgloss sets. I have seen these in CCOs recently actually. This color is a shout it out gorgeous bright pink, very similar in color to Tarte's Amused Lip Stain.
  4. MAC Lipglass in Hush Hush Rose - a pretty, bright, coolish, pink with gold shimmer. It is actually quite pigmented for a gloss. I wear it alone for a pop of pretty shine. Unfortunately, it's a limited edition from this year's Spring Color Forecast. 
  5. Stila Lip Glaze in Raspberry - this is one of my oldest products!!! I've had this for years. (Wait, I shouldn't tell you that, should I? I should have tidied everything out and all that. Ooops). It's a perfect sheer summer fuchsia. It is quite sticky, but I do love the twist packaging. 
  6. Cover Girl Wet Slicks in Raspberry Splash - can you sense that I will buy ANYTHING if it has the world raspberry in the title? Really. I bought this on a total whim in Miami when all my bags were lost. It is almost clear, but it snuck in here because the packaging makes it look much more pigmented. It has a pleasant scent and a little bit of a minty kick. A cheap thrill, if you will. 
  7. MAC Lip Gelee in Lush & Bright - this is not a subtle product!!! This is more over the top shiny glittery, shimmery FUN!!! It came out in the Lily Pulitzer collection, which so should have been a summer collection, but whatever. I don't wear this super often, because the glitter in it can be a bit overkill, but it is fun. Think poolside with heels, ya know? That kind of trashy but fun.

What are your favorite summer lip colors? Are you a sucker for anything raspberry or coral?

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

My Favorite Summer Highlighters and One That's Totally Lame-o

Summer is all about the highlighting. It’s time to take advantage of that gorgeous sun and make our skin literally glow! Highlighters are up there in my favorite products ever, so I wanted to share some of my collection with you guys and hear about which highlighters you really love. Highlighters can be used in a variety of ways. Traditionally, I wear them on my cheekbones, temples, down my nose and above my top lip on my cupid’s bow to give my skin a shimmery glow.

MAC Strobe Cream is one of my most versatile highlighting products. For a start – you get so much of it! I could literally be using this for years and not run out. It has quite a runny consistency, so a little goes a long way.  I break highlighters down into warm and cool for the most part, and this is definitely a cooler toned highlighter, throwing off a cool, pink-toned shimmer when the light hits it. It feels lovely and light to wear, and blends very quickly and easily. I have added MAC Strobe Cream to tinted highlighters, moisturizers, used it on my shoulders and my legs, basically everything, and it works like a dream. The running consistency does take a little getting used to, but I consider this to be one of those must-have MAC products.

NARS Albatross is frequently recognized as one of the best all time highlighters. I have to admit, I totally agree. It’s a simple, sheer powder with gold-toned iridescent shimmer. The gold shimmer works particularly well with my skin tone, and I love how flattering it is. I find powder highlighters slightly less flexible to work with than cream ones, but this product more than makes up for that with its beautiful, not too sparkly shimmer than instantly wakes up your face. I find that this looks particularly amazing at night, when you might be going for a stronger, more done look. It really does scream glamour!

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips in Miami Strip are a recent discovery, and I’ll admit that the first time I wore them, I was a little overwhelmed. As you can see, it's one of the more shimmery ones I have swatched here. However, I’ve learnt that with a light touch, they can be an amazing, hard-working, multi-tasking super product, ready to give a natural, my face but better glow all over. They come in lots of different shades, so I’m sure there’s the perfect color out there for you, and at a price that’s hard to beat.

NARS Orgasm Illuminator came out last winter to much fanfare as an update to the ever popular Orgasm line. As a huge fan of the original blush in cream format, I was very eager to try it out. I’m not going to lie, at first I was disappointed and confused. The consistency is incredibly thin and sheer, so it can feel quite difficult to control. The color is gorgeous rose blushing pink with gold shimmer in the tube, but again, is so sheer on your skin. However, it’s gorgeous as a subtle glow from within look, and I love, love wearing it during the day as part of a natural, sheer look. 

All four highlighters compared
L-R MAC Strobe, NARS Albatross, Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips, NARS Orgasm Illuminator

I also feel obliged to post about one product which really didn’t hit the mark for me: Elf’s All Over Highlighter stick. This stick is modeled and marketed as a cheaper alternative to NARS’s Multiple, especially the incredibly popular Copacabana shade. There are Elf products that I love. This is not one of them. Even if you had had zero experience of NARS Multiples (I have, but not Copacabana), you would find this product horrible to work with. It is a sheer white cream based stick with shimmer through it. I have 2 HUGE problems with this highlighter. The first is the feel of the product – it is sticky!! It’s like putting lipgloss on your face! But less liquidy than lipgloss. Maybe more like glue? So that is very unpleasant. Secondly, the color is simply not sheer enough, and gives you a white cast wherever you use it. Again, maybe as if you’ve applied glue to your face? Either way, even though it is a dollar, it is most definitely a wasted dollar. 

So there you have it – a couple of awesome highlighting products, and one definite dud. What products did I miss, or do I need to try?

Monday, 28 June 2010

Beauty Blogger Fail: Need Some Drugstore Love!

When scrabbling through my make up collection the other day, I realized that it has been a while since I indulged in some drugstore hauling. The vast majority of my make up collection comes from brands like MAC, Benefit, NARS and Tarte, with only the odd drugstore product nestling in there. I swear by Covergirl and Maybelline mascaras, and recently discovered the pretty shimmery summer glow that comes from Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Blush / Bronzer, but I have to admit that I don’t get the same excitement or thrill from a drugstore haul that I do from Sephora. Definitely a part of it is the packaging. Almost all drugstore packaging feels plasticky and cheap, which I don't love. Another part of it is the lack of testers to try out the shades - I do sometimes feel like I'm taking a leap into the unknown and just buying something based upon either the name or reputation.

BUT!!!! I know that there are some amazing, awesome, wonderful, must have, must buy drugstore products out there, and I really want to get to trying some. I wandered around Duane Reade today (NYC drugstore), and saw lots of great Maybelline Color Sensational lip products that looked like they'd be fun, and some Covergirl glosses. I need to find some great BOGO deals so I can go crazy in the summer jelly gloss department. Before I go wild in the drugstore aisles, I would really appreciate your ideas of what are must have products though - help a girl out! :)

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Peach and Purple Subtle EOTD

Peaches and purples don't sound as if they could possibly play nicely together, but honestly, they can!! This is another look using Urban Decay colors from various palettes over the years that I've picked up. When Urban Decay get it right, they do get it very, very right.

All products Urban Decay unless otherwise stated:
Base: MAC Paint in Bare Canvas
Inner Lid: X
Middle Lid and Outer: Baked
Outer and Crease: Last Call
Crease: Flash
Highlighter: MAC Shroom
Liner: Lucky
Mascara: Maybelline Full N Soft
Brows: Elf Brow Kit in Medium

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Current Favorites

Maybe its because my drawer is filled with lipsticks that have been used just once or twice. Or maybe its because I have 2 unopened bronzers waiting to be tried. Either way, Ive been feeling overwhelmed and a little bit disgusted by the thought of new products at the moment. Dont get me wrong if I could get a Hipness blush from the recent MAC To The Beach launch, Id be thrilled, and if someone dropped a bunch of the new Bobbi Brown Lip Shines on my desk, Id swoon, but the chances of me right now heading into Sephora and actually dropping a bunch of hard-earned dough on new colors isnt very likely. Im sure every beauty blogger goes through a phase of not needing or loving or any new products. Im also pretty sure it wont last long, and in a week Ill be back to trying the latest must-have. 

No purchases does not mean no make-up though. Ive been using the following products and loving them, so I thought I should share them with you. 

1.      Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow in Birthday Suit. Ive been wearing this almost every day now for weeks. Perfect neutral color, glides on a like a dream, has a pretty shimmer suitable for summer. So good that Ive been wearing this on weekends as well, even though its part of my work make up stash. It really is that good. 

2.      Korres Lip Butter in #22 Rose. This is the most beautiful spring or summer pink. It has pretty rose pink color, a slight gold shimmer, and a glossy finish. It wears like dream feeling rich and luscious on my lips. It really feels as good as it looks. Yum. 

3.      MAC To The Beach Cream Bronzer in To The Beach.  This is the first cream bronzer that I have tried that has a light, silky, sheer texture, all of which make it a dream to blend and perfect for providing a subtle summer glow. It has a gold shimmer finish, so I only wear this on weekends or evenings. It is not too far from my skin tone, so just had a hint of a glow. I love how sheer the product is and how easy it is to apply. I often find that with cream products the consistency is too thick to blend easily, but these are a dream to work with. I dab them on with my Elf Cream Brush (check name) and go! 

4.      MAC Powerpoint in Industry. No one ever talks about how great grey eyeliner is. This is a travesty. Grey eyeliner is amazing for providing a subtle touch of definition. I got Industry this time last year, and every couple of months go through a period of wearing it every day, and this is one of those periods. I love how soft and creamy the pencil is, and that there is no shimmer whatsoever. This is a solid I cant believe I dont have this in my collection product. 

5.      Benefit Hoola Bronzer. I blogger about how Im a recent convert to this, and I use it absolutely every day. I love the color, the finish, how easy it is to use, that I get a good amount of product. To be honest, there is pretty much nothing I dont love about this bronzer. It makes me look alive every day, and for that I thank it. 

What are the products that you keep going back to after the excitement of the brand new has faded?

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Urban Decay Smoky Eye Look

I recently dismantled my Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland palette so that all my shadows are in palettes and easy to find. I am sure that some beauty bloggers would have literally cried as I shamelessly tore apart the gorgeous packaging. Honestly though, it was a shame that those colors were not getting the true love that they deserved.

When Urban Decay shadows are good, they are very, very good. And when they are bad they are glittery. This look had a bit of both. The Alice in Wonderland palette has a surprising array of neutral colors, and I wanted to put something together that would be great for summer time glam. You know - late nights, cocktails on the roof deck, golden smoky. One of the shadows I was most excited about was Maui Wowie (Wonderland in Alice), which is a dirty gold. It looked so pretty and versatile in the pan, but ended up being a horrible glittery, fall-out mess. Honestly, I did clean up before I took these pictures, but even then there was still glitter everywhere. Such a shame. The rest of the shadows were beautiful to use - soft, rich, easy to blend. Mushroom is a particular favorite, although I already have it from the Book of Shadows Vol II. It's the perfect transition shade between brown and gray. I probably could have defined the crease more and gone a bit more over the top.

All products Urban Decay unless otherwise stated.

Base: MAC Paint in Bare Canvas
Inner Lid: Maui Wowie
Middle and Outer Lid: Mushroom
Outer Lid and Crease: Baked
Crease: Oil Slick
Highlight: Vanilla
Waterline: El Dorado
Lower Line: Stash
Mascara: Maybelline Full and Soft

Monday, 21 June 2010

Review: Physicians Formula Strips

Shimmer Strips Custom Bronzer, Blush & Eye Shadow
($12) are widely thought to be the best drugstore dupe for the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick. I have to admit right now that I've never tried the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick so cannot attest to the dupe factor. Instead, I'll have to review the PF Shimmer Strips in their own right.

Shimmer Strips are a palette of 5 similarly toned shimmery powders that can either be worn alone or swirled together as a blush or bronzer. I chose the shade Miami Glow, which ranges from pink to bronze. The powders felt reasonably smooth, and were all quite sheer. All 5 of the colors were very shimmery. I really liked them as individual colors, although I think that most people would have a similar range of neutrals in their eye-shadow collection. For the photo I took here, I actually used the colors on my eyes as well to do a super quick eye brightening look.

When swirled together, the colors take on more of a golden bronze look. This is where the Shimmer Strips lived up to their name: they are very shimmery! I hardly ever wear anything with shimmer in it, so the first time I put it on, I absolutely hated it. I thought it was garish and shiny, even though it is called a shimmer strip. I've now been wearing it for a couple of hours, and I have to admit, I do like the "glowing" effect, but I do think that it's a little much for just during the day. The shade is also quite light, so even for me there is no bronzing here, and I'm very pale. Instead, I can see this working well as a "lit from within" highlighter for wearing in the evening.

So, daytime eyes, nighttime glow - what a little hard worker this little palette is. I am pleasantly surprised by this product, especially in the quality of the shadows on their own. Miami Glow is a little on the light side for most girls, but I'm sure that there is a great color out there for you.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Beauty Blog Link Love

Over at theNotice, Rae talks about a new Burt's Bees lip balm... and how it reminds her of an old Lip Smacker!

Maggie shares this Foxy dupe of Too Faced's Sexpresso and Peachfuzz duo over at The Polka-Dotted Apple.

Kim Porter talks about a miracle moisturizer that's also a makeup primer, remover, and more!

Vesna from Beauty addict blog discovered one of her blushes is fake, so read this post to find out how to spot a fake Benefit Coralista!

Head over to Beautifully Glossy to discover a lip balm that GlossQueen thinks is an essential.

Glitter Geek is obsessed with everything sparkly, and she puts a glistening spin on the summer smoky eye.

Need some wedding makeup ideas? Check out Audrey Dao's wedding looks!

Pop over to melovemakeup for swatches and thoughts on the New Revlon Colorburst Lipsticks!

Get the only 10 tips you'll ever need for a fool-proof fake tan on

Champagne, French macarons and make up...Hellcandy spends an indulgent afternoon with Terry De Gunzburg, founder of By Terry.

Vex in the City takes a look at Mai Couture's Blush Papier - blush with a difference!

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed discovers the joy that is cream blushes!

Eyelining Obsession thinks you shouldn't have to spend a fortune on great eye brushes.

You can wear nudes too! Spiced Beauty shows off MAC Lovin' it Lipstick with lip swatches.

Jen from A Beauty Junkie in London has been feeling all posh whilst checking out Estee Lauder's new Pure Colour Shadow.

Retrodiva splurges a bit with Chanel's Coco Rouge and Red Shine Glossamer. Find out if she thinks it's worth it!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

MAC To The Beach FOTD

This is an easy sunset eyes that I put together to try out some of the recently launched MAC To The Beach collection. I didn't officially review the collection because I felt that there were so many reviews out there already that I was not really adding anything to the mix. I've had a chance to play around with some of the products for the last week or so, and I really love the cream bronzer consistency and texture. I know a lot of people gave Beachbound Glaze Lipstick a hard time because it is so sheer, but I love it. I think it gives that gorgeous bronzey, beach goddess look so well.

All products MAC unless otherwise stated:
Base: MAC Paint in Bare Canvas
Inner Lid: Goldmine
Outerlid and Crease: Amber Lights
Highlight: Shroom
Line: Nehru
Mascara: Maybelline Full and Soft
Brows: Elf Brow Kit in Medium

Base: Tinted Moisturizer Mix
Bronze: Cream Bronzer in To The Beach
Blush: NARS Orgasm (Cream)


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Estee Lauder Doesn't Make Me A Goddess

This was the first time I tried out Estee Lauder's Bronze Goddess Liquid Eyeshadow in Teal. It's a gorgeous, lush, rich, teal color, with plenty of pigmentation. However, I really had a hard time working with it. I used it with Elf
Eyelid Primer
, (a surprisingly good product) and had a really hard time blending it out. I think that it makes the most amazing liner and thick shadow line, or smudged close to the lashes. However, I wanted to try and build a gradually richer wash, and failed completely miserably. These pictures demonstrate that! It comes with a doe foot applicator that I pretty much had no idea what to do with either.

This product was limited edition. I wish I could recommend it more (maybe in more skillful hands?), because the color is beautiful. I had the worst time actually making something pretty with it though.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Sugary Sweet Pink FOTD

I wanted to see whether it's possible to do a pink-themed FOTD and not end up looking weird or ill. I think I more or less pulled it off, but mascara really saves the day here. I had a lot of fun experimenting with these colors.

Base: UDPP in Sin
Inner / Highlight: MAC Sweet Lust
Middle: UD Sphynx
Outer: MAC Da Bling
Crease: MAC Da Bling and Stars and Rockets
Mascara: Maybelline Full N Soft
Brows: Elf Brow Kit in Medium

Base: Tinted Moisturizer Mix

Cheeks: NARS Orgasm (Cream)

MAC Lusterglass Pinkarat

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Upcoming Giveaway!

I have 90 followers!! That's so incredible and humbling! 10 more, and I'll be doing another giveaway. I can't wait! In the meantime, check out my giveaway for a chance to win one of 2 $20 giftcards.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Kiehls Light Weight Body Lotion is an Under Rated Secret Weapon

Kiehls Creme De Corps Body Lotion is their signature product - it's a rich, gorgeous, creamy lotion that can turn the driest skin into silk, and keeps them that way for a couple of days at least. I use it about once or twice a week to keep my legs smooth and ash-free. However, it takes a while to sink in, and sometimes can feel like overkill. For a daily lotion or something to use in a rush (don't look at me as if I'm crazy - you know there are "rush days" for body lotion too!), look no further that Kiehls Light Weight Body Lotion ($22). It provides that gorgeous silky softness but sinks quickly into the skin. I adore how light it is to use and how quickly I can get dressed after using it. It's more of a daily lotion rather than the extravagance of the original, but I find myself reaching for it more and more. Definitely a bottle I'll be purchasing again and again.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Nails of the Week: Opi Panda-monium Pink

I'm not the most obvious candidate for a good pink nail varnish, but sometimes a cool, bubblegum pink varnish is exactly what I'm in the mood for. OPI Panda-monium Pink came out a couple of months ago with the Hong Kong collection, and I love it for the rich smoothness of the application and the gorgeous cool-toned pink. It's a deliciously smooth creme. Yum.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Physique 57 Reinvents Hot Body

In case you hadn't noticed, summer is pretty much here. (Although as I type this, it is completely pouring with rain and dark outside!). About 6 weeks ago I decided I had to do something fast or I was never going to be able to bare my body comfortably until I made a conscious decision to tone everything up. I started to research NY gyms to find the best one for me. Initially, I so thought I was going to be an Equinox girl, but on my journeys around Google I saw a couple of references to Physique 57. I found that it was based on the Lotte Berk Bar Technique, which basically combines the muscle lengthening approach of ballet with interval training, resulting in a lean, sculpted body. Kelly Ripa swears by Physique 57, and there are studios specializing in the Bar Technique all over New York, and the rest of the US.

I was a little nervous when I signed up for my beginner intro month at Physique 57. I had heard how tough the class was, and I hadn't worked out in months. I was right to be nervous, because that first class was TOUGH, but the instructors were great, and enthusiastic. Physique has several levels of class - beginner, intermediate, advanced, and open which is for everyone. I loved this approach as it allowed me to graduate through the classes. After a month, I was at intermediate level - go me!!!

The classes each had a very set structure - quick warm-up, 5 or so minutes of arm work, stretch, a horrible period of thigh burning work, stretch, butt, stretch, abs, stretch and cool-down. However, the exercises are pretty much unlike anything you have ever come across before in your life, and the emphasis is on small, controlled movements that sculpt your body. Try this technique and you will never realise how much pain "up and inch, down an inch" can really be! As the technique is novel, and requires good form, the instructors are supposed to walk around making corrections, rather like a yoga class. This varies from instructor, to be honest. All of the instructors are amazing at energizing the class and keeping you motivated, although when I did an early morning class I found an inner voice saying "and up, and down" for hours afterward! They also, of course, all have amazingly hot bodies and incredible flexibility. The music in the classes was also consistently really good.

Does it work? Yes - after 5 weeks I have a much tighter butt, defined abs, more arm tone, and more leg tone. I walk taller, and my posture is better. I feel stronger, happier, and encouraged to keep up the hard work. 

The studios are gorgeous - bright, clean, carpeted, wall to wall mirrors (great for checking form), and the changing rooms, although I never used them, were clean with everything you could ever wish for. There are 2 in NYC - Soho and Columbus Circle. The class choice was also amazing - there are 3 early morning (6 or 7am classes) each day, and dozens of classes throughout the day and evening of varying levels. This to me is a huge plus - exercise is hard enough to work into your schedule, and giving me a huge choice of classes makes it more likely I'm actually going to make it.

Physique 57 isn't perfect though. For a start, for all these amazing facilities, there is a hefty price tag: $250 introductory month, or $440 per month after that for unlimited classes. Each class is $35, or you can buy bundles of 5, 10, or 20.

Secondly, the instructors varied in terms of ability to troubleshoot and correct, which, if you are consistently doing something wrong over time, could lead to problems. I also thought that the thigh sections were too long, and too hard, risking both bulking on my thighs, and knee problems. This might not be an issue for other people, but legs have a tendency to bulk up.

To sum up:

The pluses:
  • effective body sculpting
  • fun classes with great cheerleading instructors
  • amazing facilities
  • flexible schedule
The negatives:
  • too much thigh work
  • instructor skills vary
All in all, I am not continuing with Physique for the moment, but I would certainly consider going back sometime if there was a way I could do another month at $250. More than that is just not in my budget right now.  Instead, I'm trying out some other Bar classes across NY. Check back soon for reviews!!

For those who want to work out at home, Physique 57 also sell a range of DVDs through their website which will show you how to carve your butt out in your living room - nice!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Nails of the Week: American Apparel Factory Gray

I don't think I've ever hidden my love of gray nail varnishes, an this one is no exception. It's a lovely, dusky, darkened gray creme. American Apparel have incredibly long brushes, but once you get used to them they are a doddle to apply. I can never quite decide if grays are office appropriate, as they are just on the cusp of muted, quiet colors, but not exactly conservative. I'll try it out and see!

American Apparel polishes retail for $6, or 3 for $15.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Beauty Blog Link Love

Over at theNotice, Rae has been bitten stung by the Misikko bug -- and she is not pleased!

Betty Girl Makeup is back, and continuing on with her series on contouring!

Vex in the City shares her delight at discovering the wonders of Mehron's new Celebré HD-Pro foundation.

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed checks out the multitude of choices in lash enhancers.

Louise pens a love letter to a BLUE eyeshadow, and is now trying to deal with her embarrassment.

Mz. More from The Glamorous Gleam tells you all about her experience with the Zoya Nail Polish Exchange, and shows off her new goodies!

Does your significant other complain about "too girly" shower gel scents? Want a happy medium? Look no further and discover what shower gel Hellcandy and her bf are raving about!

Jeweled Thumb shares how she spot cleans her brushes, and reviews 6 cleansers to help you find the best one for you!

Hot Beauty Health shares the top beach beauty buys for summer 2010!

Krasey Beauty meets Dany Sanz, the artist, legend, and creator of Make Up For Ever.

Spiced Beauty shows you that you can look fab in red lipstick... even if it just costs a dollar!

There's a new natural cosmetics line on the block! Lipglossiping casts her eye over Bourjois' little sister, Une.

Jolie Laide Girl is glowing with Make Up Forever's HD Blushes.

Learn how to get 'Perfect Skin' with the help of makeup artist Jon Hennessy at Makeup by Kim Porter.

Phyrra shows you the newest collection from Aromaleigh, Victoria’s Revenge. If you like steampunk, you’ll love this collection!


Find out what Audrey Dao is giving away for June's Reader of the Month Giveaway!

Cindy from Prime Beauty is a Stila IT girl and you can be too, with her awesome Stila giveaway!

Friday, 4 June 2010 Makes My Life Easier PLUS GIVEAWAY

Reviewing a grocery website on a beauty blog might not seem obvious, but I have to tell you, Alice has changed my life. Alice is a grocery website with a difference, and the differences make everything about it oh-so-special. Let me break it down for you. 

1.      The prices. Ohmigoodness, the prices. When you live in NYC, you get used to the fact that everything is expensive, but paying $5 for Pantene was just not making sense to me. Alices prices are lower than anything Ive seen in a store here, and lower than other big name online retailers like For example, my Neutrogena wipes are $5.89 on and $7.99 on

2.      The shipping. Always free, as long as you order a minimum of 6 items. But when one of your items can be something super cheap like a can of dog food, this is super easy to achieve. It usually takes 24hrs for me to receive a your Alice order has been shipped email, and 48hrs later and my big blue box is with me. 

3.      The freebies. Alice doesnt just give you free stuff every so often, shes clever about it too. So far Ive received a box of green tea bags, a decent sized Cascade Rinse tester (still going strong 5 washes later), some pet stain remover (they saw the dog food cans!), and some shampoo and conditioner.
4.      The sales. Alice frequently has gift card sales offering 15% or 30% off gift cards. Theres no reason why you cant buy those for yourself. I know I have plenty of times. I then type the gift card in, and the credit is applied to my account until it is all used up. Thats like buying $100 for $85!!!

5.      The re-order alerts. Alice keeps a record of what products you have purchased, and based on your usage and averages across other users reminds you when it might be time to reorder. No more running out of trash bags and cursing when you toss the last bag out! 
6.      The customer service. Alice has hands down some of the best customer service Ive ever had. They have live chat which actually works, and can also be contacted via email and twitter. Last month, I had the rare occasion to be upset some handwash I had ordered had spilled over my order and I was immediately offered a generous credit to my account to make up for the mistake. Furthermore, on my next order, I was emailed to follow up and make sure there had been no other accidents. Amazing.

Alice does not have the breadth of stock that some other online retailers may have, but almost every big name beauty brand is on there, with lower prices for LOreal, Aveeno, and Neutrogena than Ive seen elsewhere. Not only that, but you can score some breakfast cereal, Ziploc bags, and washing up liquid at the same time. 

Still not convinced? Well, lucky readers, I have 2 $20 value gift cards to give away to users who have never used Alice before! Just comment below for a chance to win. You must not  have an account to be able to use these cards. US residents only.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Nails of the Week: Wet N Wild Craze

Wet N Wild is not a brand I'm super familiar with to say the least. I've only bought a couple of nail varnishes from them. The first that I tried out was the black, which was uh-mazing. Seriously, why were there no black polishes this good when I was growing up? Not that I was a teenage goth, but I sure would have appreciated the option. This was the second. It's apparently from a new, limited edition line, and was pricey for Wet N Wild - $1.99!! It's a gold shimmer with silver and the odd copper sparkle. This is 2 coats, and it would probably go completely opaque in 3. The brush is lovely and wide, so it was super easy to put on. I like this for summer a lot - it's just a nice, simple idea well executed.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Urban Decay Gets in a Slick

On a New York summer day, you can start out looking chic, sophisticated, and in control, and by 11am look shiny, harassed, and frazzled. Urban Decay is promising to keep our shininess under control while we worry about getting on with the rest of our lives.

Urban Decays De-Slick Oil Control Make Up Setting Spray ($29) is to control excess shine, particularly in the heat. It is a spray bottle that you apply once before make up and once after. Can I just say that this is the ugliest packaging Ive pretty much ever seen? Im sorry, Urban Decay, normally I love your kooky approach to packaging, but this just looks cheap. It really looks like a bad drugstore product that got discontinued and is now found in the bargain bucket bin. This gets chucked in the cupboard rather than displayed proudly on my shelves.
But you know, you cant judge a book by its cover. Does this product actually work? I gave it quite the challenge. First I applied sunscreen and let it settle for about 30 minutes. Then I gave my face a quick spritz and put on my tinted moisturizer. I used a cream blusher (MUFE HD), did my eyes, and then gave my face a final spritz. At this point, I used no powder, but had no shine.

I then went out in the New York sun for a couple of hours, and ran a couple of hours. It was 90 out there. And sweaty. When I came back to the apartment 3hrs later, I was pleased. My make up was in place, and I wasnt shiny at all, given the first tough test I gave it. Urban Decay promise it can do so much more than that, so I kept working it. This time I took it shopping and then sitting in the shade on a warm day for another couple of hours. Another 3hrs later, and I was shining. All that non-shine power had been broken down by the city heat and humidity.
I admit that I gave it a pretty tough test, but to be honest, those are real, New York summer conditions. I was really impressed after the first couple of hours. It was doing so much better than I thought, so it is an improvement over doing nothing, but unfortunately, it just doesnt have the staying power to go a full day in the heat. Think of it as reinforcements rather than full on defense against shine on a hot day.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Make Up Forever HD Blushes

Make Up For Ever is the kind of brand that inspires real devotion from its fans in the same way that MAC does. I have to admit to not knowing as much about the brand as I would like. They have a reputation for professional quality products with incredible color pay-off. I do find that the price point is a little high for me to experiment with trying things out, and I find the numbering system confusing. I know that names can be cliched (how many espresso, almond, vanilla shadows do you have in your collection? Enough for several frappuccinos I'm sure!), but at least they are memorable.

With that said, I was excited to try out the new HD blushes as they seemed to be a half-way point between a cream blush and a more liquid tint. They come in a pump bottle much like foundation, and there are a range of 14 shades. Each one is completely matte, which in my books is a big thumbs up. I know you all must think I'm a freak for liking matte products so much, but in my eyes, if I want shimmer, I can always add that later with highlighter, and matte is just so chic.

I chose two shades - #3 Truth or Dare which is a bright pink, and #5 Nip Slip, which is a neutral pink. Both the colors were fantastic for me. Nip Slip (so rude!!) is a fabulous, every day touch of color pink that goes perfectly with my skin tone for adding a touch of color and contour. Truth or Dare is a bright pink that definitely shouts for attention - for those days that you want your blush to be the talking point and you're going natural with everything else. I also see it working with darker toned girls.

L-R #5 Nip Slip, #3Truth or Dare

 As I mentioned earlier, it comes in a pump action container. This, in theory, would be awesome for hygiene purposes. In reality it is pretty bad. The pump dispenses too much color (especially with a bright color like Truth or Dare), and I end up having to put the excess pumped out in a tiny tub, and then I'll have to use that over the next couple of days to stop it drying out. Otherwise, I'll end up with 1/5 of the container on my face and 4/5 wiped on a tissue and thrown in the trash. It is really poorly executed idea.

The product itself is amazing. Easy to blend, great color, long staying power, buildable. I wore it on a really hot day and it stayed put well, but never became shiny. Really, really fabulous, and well worth the money. If only the container could do such an amazing product justice.

 FOTD using Nip Slip

 FOTD using Truth or Dare

I honestly have a feeling that MUFE will realise that the pump action, while great in theory, needs to adjustment to be great in practice, so maybe I will buy this product again. The rest of the color line looks fabulous that it's all I can do to stop myself checking out the peach shades.


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