Sunday, June 28, 2015

Want To Be On My Blogroll? (promote your blog, no strings)

Every few months, I try to check out my blogroll to see if there is anyone to remove or add, but with the enormous influx of beauty bloggers since I started back in 2009 (holy !@#$ has it been that long?!), I am not exactly aware of everyone and I've found that although the larger, more professional blogs get a lot of traffic, some of the newbies are lacking. So... if you've been blogging for 3 months or more and feel you stay ethical, please leave your link in the comments. I will take a look at your blog and if I like it and want to promote it, I will add it to my blogroll! Also, uh guys, no one has entered by Butter London giveaway, and you're technically required to do nothing to enter... so it's here if you are interested! Let me know if you run into any technical difficulties and I'll switch from the widget to something more user friendly, like a google docs survey; assuming they haven't removed it when they did the google+ overhaul.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Review: Butter London Lippy Bloody Brilliant Lip Crayon in Lady Bird (and win one!)

Butter London recently sent me some items to review and while I've mentioned their Lippy Bloody Brilliant Lip Crayon here and there, I haven't done a proper review. In case you couldn't already tell, I have been quite pleased with the product. It's described as an "all-in-one formula" with "highly pigmented colour" and the "intense shine of a gloss". Now I wouldn't call it intense shine, necessarily; but I actually prefer it this way; it's glossy, pigmented and comfortable on the lips.
While it doesn't promise to stain the lips; it does wear off and since I'm horrible about drinking enough water, after a few hours it did go a bit patchy on my lips and clung to the dry patches that had developed. Moisturized lips are a must and so is some amount of reapplication, especially if you are eating or drinking; however this was 6 hours after application with some drinking (not water like I should have been, but an iced coffee). Still, a little lip balm and a tissue to wipe off the excess and my lips handled another application and looked just like I first applied it.
The pencil features a built in sharpener in the lid and I really like how the color is at the end of the stick so I can find in my stash or handbag easily.
From left to right is 1 swipe, 2 swipes, and kind of a "fill in" like you might do with a lip pencil. As you can tell, it's glossy and pigmented, though the color isn't exactly coming across well. One other major reason I like this pencil is it doesn't smell strongly of mint which seems to be a trend with these lip crayons and I don't hate mint, but I don't love it.

Butter London generously sent another Lady Bird Lip Crayon for one of you to try out! Still in the box and never touched. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below! No required actions necessary but it wouldn't hurt to give @butterLONDON a shoutout on twitter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway






* Butter London provided products for review. I always provide my honest opinion of a product.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Follow Up Review: Cover Girl Intesify Me! Liquid Liner

Item received from Cover Girl

I tweeted about this yesterday, but I know not everyone follows me, though if you want to, I'm under the same name Jeweled Thumb. In any case, yesterday I had a much better means for testing the eyeliner. I walked approximately 5 miles yesterday in 90 degree weather and about 3/4 of the way through had to take a photograph that looked semi-presentable. I was sweating, but since I have dry skin (broken record) my foundation was more or less in place (Missha BB Cream actually with some Physicians Formula concealer and a tiny bit of powder to set), but I definitely wanted to give you an update on the eyeliner in more severe testing conditions. In and out of air conditioning, lengthy walking in hot weather, sweating... PS it was so hot yesterday in DC.

I applied the eyeliner at around 7am and while it didn't look perfect by any means, I had a better handle on the nib (though I'd still prefer something slimmer).

Here it is around 3pm after walking around in the heat:
So I had some spotting on my upper lid (but I'm not sure if that was the mascara or the eyeliner (for the record I was used a gasp non waterproof mascara also by Cover Girl that I bought myself - the one in the green tube since it tends to last really well, but still not great on holding a curl) and my standard business-y eye, Chanel Coquin (I need to find a dupe of this, I'm nearing pan) and Jemma Kidd Vanity Fair (likewise, but I think that dupe will be easier to find and I have a dip but don't think I need to worry about hitting pan anytime soon). I was eating lunch so lips had worn off. Cheeks were Tarte Air Blush in Shimmering Poppy which either wore off or was less evident because of the lighting. In any case, there you have it!

Proper testing conditions and I'll admit, impressive, but I still have dry skin so your mileage will vary!

* Cover Girl eyeliner received for review.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Review: Cover Girl Intesify Me! Liquid Liner

Cover Girl items were received for review purposes.

Before I start this review, I want to note a few things; first, I am horrible at applying liquid liner and I specifically stay away from it so if you're a pro at applying and think this looks interesting, don't let my review of it sway you from trying it out (you can always return it if you don't like it); and two, my husband and I had planned to see movies and then go out for dinner this past Saturday which would have been the perfect place to put non-waterproof items that claim longevity to the test (let's just say I easily get emotional during movies), but the theater would up changing the times so we walked around an air conditioned mall, sat in an air conditioned car and then ate dinner in an air conditioned restaurant, no crying involved.

The Cover Girl Intensify Me! liquid liner is super black and dries matte. It has an unusual shape. First of all, it's not quite a felt tip or a brush tip. It has no give and kind of reminds me of a marker in a way. And one part of the tip is perfectly flat and the other is a slim rectangle. This allows you to draw a very thin line or a thick line but you also have to be very careful to not bend the liner midway through so it doesn't tip to the other side.
 Thick side, and then when you turn it 90 degrees, you get the thin side below.
This is great if you have perfect eyesight and are perfect at applying liner. I, on the other hand, can barely see my eyes, even up close with a mirror without my glasses and kept on dotting the thick side on my eyelid. I was already running late according to our previous plans and wound up having to do a wing.
Yes I know it looks bad. It looks a bit better from far away, thank goodness and I was able to fix it a tiny bit before going out in public. What I did discover during applying this is although it hurts like a !@#$% to poke your eye with the marker, it is perfect for tight lining your upper lashline as you just gently tap the wide edge across. I would have stopped at that if not for the fact that I wanted to test whether it transferred to the lid and other important bits that I try to cover in a liner review. I didn't use an eye primer or shadow for that very reason.
From far away, it doesn't look awful, though my glasses cover up much of the problem areas!
This photo was taken about 9 hours after the initial application. No transfer to the upper lid. You can still see my horrible application, but it didn't seem to shift around and even though it took some effort to get the liner and mascara (review upcoming!) off my eyes, the liner itself washed off my hand with just soap and water.

I do want to mention as I tend to do that my skin is dry and things like foundation and eyeshadow tend to stick around longer than on some oily folks, but as far as first impressions go, I would buy this if I could just buy a pointy thin non rectangular felt tip, but since I can't and I have it, it'll be what I use to fill in the gaps on my upper lashline using the wide end and I won't even attempt this for properly lining the upper lashline or doing a wing, I prefer shorter thinner brush-like applicators for that. 

* Cover Girl products sent for review; lips were Butter London Ladybird which was also sent for review (review forthcoming) but I wanted to briefly mention how I freaking love this color - usually I can't do orange-red lips. Husband approved. Mission accomplished. Bad lining aside, he still liked the look so I can't complain too much but I wouldn't buy this.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Review: Sephora Collection Rouge Infusion Lip Stains

I was cleaning out the photos on my Iphone, which I am horrible about doing and found the lip swatches and photos of the Sephora Rouge Infusion Lip Duo that I had bought and tried months ago. Oops. In any case, I wanted to share my thoughts because these seem to have amazing reviews and I don't want anyone to get swayed. I had bought the set at my local Sephora inside JCPenney and thought it was an excellent deal. What I failed to realize at the time was either the product was super super old, I got duds or they expire well beyond the time listed on the packaging.

Sephora claims "This must-have lip stain delivers intense color with no sticky residue. It provides buildable coverage for a natural, sophisticated, or glamorous look. The weightless formula leaves lips stained, soft, hydrated, and refreshed upon application."

The set came with a mini of Red Essence #10 and full size Fuchsia Concentrate #05 and the back claimed they are good for 6 months after opening. I would question that as well as their shelf life unopened since I owned them for all of a week before I tested them on my lips. They smelled like paint but they didn't last like a long-wearing lipstain might (where you might accept the horrible smell because of the amazing lasting power, for instance). Each color applied and became patchy under an hour of wear; even when a light layer of product was used, even with the claim that they are buildable.

If too much product is applied, the product started balling up on the lips and almost flaking away (that's Red Essence above by the way).
The same thing happened with the Fuchsia color. It did not last through drinking. See below coffee mug for evidence. This was after letting the product dry, or at least I would think it would have dried after 10 minutes.
In case you were wondering, they don't taste good either.
And while it stained the outside of my lips a faint fuchsia color, it got the same balled up dry and crackly texture as the red.

Some of the reviews on Sephora indicate that these have a nice smell and last for ages, so as I said, it's possible I bought an old and/or bad batch, but what I would recommend is if you try these, make sure you stay away from those on sale and try to buy recent stock if you can. I wound up returning mine.

I would definitely recommend the L'Oreal one I tried over these. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Review: Touch Back Plus Shampoo and Conditioner

I have been itching to try the Touch Back Plus Shampoos and Conditioners I bought at ULTA. Two things, before I start my review, ULTA was doing some serious markup on these. Their website sells the shampoo and conditioner for $12.50 a bottle, though they do charge shipping (but it's a $3.95 flat rate), so if I like the stuff, I'll definitely be ordering direct! And second, not only do these not contain ammonia or peroxide, they are free of sulfates. They also have a few other products that I'm curious about, like the gray root marker. Anyway, I decided to do the color tonight. As you can see from above, I bought several different colors, as my natural color has dark brown and reddish highlights and quite frankly, I couldn't find another Dark Auburn (Dark Brown, Dark Auburn and Light Auburn). So, I'm going to force myself to breath and show you my before pictures first. My husband swears that the photos make it look worse than it really is (was? I'm still waiting for my hair to dry before doing the "afters") but I think it looks pretty darn accurate, unless I'm in a dark room, and to be 31 with so many obvious grays doesn't really make me feel great. Procrastinating again... here are the "befores".
 This was taken directly facing my right temple.
The left temple.
The top part. Not as bad as the temples for sure, but still more than I would like or expect at my age.

The application of the product is very easy. I actually applied the foam shampoo in front of the sink because without my glasses, I really can't see anything. I applied some Vaseline along the hairline and as the stylist at ULTA recommended, I used a fine tooth comb to comb the foam in, alternating between the dark brown and the dark auburn. She recommended that I left it in for more than 2 minutes (what the instructions say) because white or gray hair doesn't take dye well but I followed the instructions more or less since it was my first time. It was fairly easy. My comb rinsed off clean and when I washed it off in the tub, it didn't dye the white tub either.
With the conditioner, I used a slightly different method. Since it is a fairly thick cream, I did the application just over the tub with my hands. Still alternating between the dark brown and this time the light auburn. I left it in for a few minutes and combed my fingers through my hair (the entire length versus the various spots with the shampoo) and then rinsed it out until the water ran clear. There was no facial, body or bathroom staining that I could see. Here's the tub, but my husband rarely deep cleans and the bottom isn't smooth so it usually always looks like this.
Ignore the soap scum. But, there's definitely no dye sticking around.

After, I finished taking my actual shower, I wrapped my head up in a brown towel just in case and eventually took it down once it had dried a bit. My husband claimed that it looked better but I knew I would have a better idea when my hair was dry, or at least drier.
Here's how it looks down. Pretty standard since you can't see my temples or part. Below are side-by-side comparisons. Clearly obvious different lighting. I look like a vampire in one and some of them make the red look super red, but it's really not. So what do I think? I think it did something, but it didn't cover all my gray. I think it covered some of it. If it didn't, it certainly gives the illusion of covering more of it because of the additional gradient of tones. I'm going to give it a few more tries and leave it in longer like the stylist said. I had no burning or irritation. It doesn't dye the scalp or really anything else that would make it something I wouldn't consider using. But something tells me it isn't as effective as the boxed dyes with a host of nasty ingredients, so I will keep trying. A bonus, my hair doesn't feel dry.
 Part before (left) after (right)
Right temple (left) after (right)
Left temple (left) after (right).

What do you think?

Oh! I almost forgot! The only thing it dyed that I wasn't expecting were my (apparently) super dry cuticles and underneath the nail bed. Other than that... nothing else.

Monday, June 1, 2015

April and May Empties 2015

The empties posts continue. Although April showers are supposed to being May flowers; here in the DC area, April's fall-like weather (I had to pull back out my boots and tights) led to May showers ... well really downpours - there's one going on right now.

Here's what I finished in April and May:

  • Palmer's Cocoa Buter Formula Facial Skin Therapy Oil - Really good quality stuff you can get at the drugstore. As I've mentioned in prior posts, I mix this in with my normal cream moisturizer for extra moisture and because my skin is dry, it has no impact on makeup breakdown. Also nice by itself at night or to gently massage over dry patches (such as mostly healed breakouts and the like). I would definitely purchase another bottle once I get through my Tarte Marajuca oil (which is nice, but this is much more wallet friendly!)
  • Queen Helene's Royal Moisture Rich Condition - As with all Queen Helene brand stuff, this is very affordable and my hair drank this stuff up. I don't believe it has silicones, but the ingredient's list is super long, so I wouldn't say for certain. I would recommend for us dry haired, curly girls for sure.
  • Caudalie Cleansing Water - This cleansing water was far from my favorite. Aside from the lovely scent and nice small dispenser, I felt it was a chore to use up. The reason is it does not remove anything long wearing and forget about using it on waterproof mascara. It's not worth the hassle. With face makeup it's unremarkable and for the price I expect more. 
  • Bath & Body Works Vanilla Pistachio Foaming Handsoap - My very last bottle of this and I'm so sad about it cause it's so nice. Granted, now I have more vanilla pistachio scented things around, but a hand soap is nice and easy and can calm you down before going to bed... ahh it just smells so good!
  • Essie Smooth Trick Cuticle Oil - The easy dispenser is awesome in theory but not quite so great in practice. I suffer from dry cracked cuticles and skin and thought that this would be great to whip out while on the metro or while traveling without having to bring a glass bottle of a "proper" cuticle oil. The issue with this is the amount that gathers at the tip is dependent by how much you squeeze, and in this case, the items in my purse were squeezing it, leaving me a mess and wasted product. It got to the point where I had to keep it in its own plastic bag and then eventually, I had to just keep it at home. I know there are pen-like products that are housed in hard cases where this would happen less, but this has 1/2 ounce of oil, was/is reasonably priced and effective. I think it's discontinued at this point, but if anyone has any recommendations for something similar that doesn't cause a mess and doesn't wind up costing a ridiculous amount per ounce, I am definitely interested in hearing about them!
  • Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment - This is the deluxe sample size and I seriously scraped every last bit of this out before deeming it done because I didn't want to waste any. I hardly ever buy these; this one came in a set from Sephora for free - can't beat that! I am not terribly particular when it comes to balms, though I have my favorites. This is one that I wouldn't buy, but I know it works, so any opportunity for freebies is always good!
  • Supersmile Ultimate Lip Treatment Vanilla Almond - I remember this came in a Birchbox and I really had to force myself to use it. It was a bit more emollient than I typically like and picture vanilla, almond AND mint. Not my favorite flavor combination. Mostly effective, but not something I would consider purchasing.
  • Clinique Take the Day Off For lids, Lashes and Lips - This is definitely a dependable oldie but goodie; though I never wind up buying it since I can always manage to find minis as a 100 point perk at Sephora or gift with purchase.
  • Hada Labo Ultimate Anti-Aging Facial Mask- Already mentioned that this is great, especially those with dry skin. Also, significantly more cost effective than those from some of the major brands and ULTA puts these on sale fairly often and can be combined with coupons.
  • Epielle Cucumber Cleansing Tissues - A fairly consistent presence in my empties posts. These are only $1 at Big Lots and just as good as the ones from the drugstore (in most instances). I use these on my face as a pre-cleanse step most of the time.
  • La Fresh Instant Body Soother - I was doing my usual 5 mile mini self tours of NYC and didn't have time to shower and this proved to be absolutely perfect. Didn't have to deal with doing a full shower routine, but felt fresh enough to interact with people! Not sure I'd purchase on my own as the La Fresh wipes are quite expensive, but they are effective!
  • ELF Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths - I haven't used these on my face since the first time I used them, they seriously stung my eyes, but I was going through my makeup and getting rid of expired and/or dried out products and these took the swatches off like a champ, and I think last time I checked they were still $1. Not good for my face, but my hand can handle these!

So there you have it, my empties for April and May. I was going to try out the "hair dye" from my previous post but it is storming outside and I have a thing about taking a shower when it's raining, so maybe that particular post will have to wait.

What have you finished recently?

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Reviews Coming Soon to a Jeweled Thumb Blog Near You*

I'm a tad bit exhausted but I wanted to show you all what you can expect me to be blogging about soon. The Cover Girl and Butter London items were sent for review consideration. The hair dye related stuff was purchased by me; tonight actually!

I am going grey (well white as it turns out), especially around my temples and it's really starting to bother me as I'm only 31. These were on clearance at ULTA at around 75% off and don't have peroxide, ammonia or from what I can tell, formaldehyde and mention covering grey so fingers crossed. My hair is brown with some red in it, so I'm going to be mixing the brown with auburn and applying to those areas and not my entire head. I will report back. I am kind of scared to use "real" dye at this point in my life and these seem like a healthier option. But will they work? You guys will certainly find out!
Cover Girl sent me the new super sizer mascara and the intensify me liquid liner - which I'm usually horrible at applying ... we shall see!
Butter London reached out to me and sent their "shine out loud" collection and I'll be slowly working through the products. In any case, there will be a giveaway, so keep a look out for the reviews and giveaway post(s)!

I also have a few other posts in the works, but this is the most I can put together for now. You know, when there's a hole in your dining room, that's usually the priority.






* Had a lovely Memorial Day weekend trip with my MIL to the NYC family apartment. Then came back to absolute chaos. Hole in the ceiling, water raining down in our dining room, and plans to have to redo our Master bedroom/bathroom. Thanks, universe!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Love Laura Mercier Crème de Pistache But Hate The Price?

Let me introduce you to this lovely perfume, from Urban Outfitters: Pistachio Brulee. I know I'm far from their target market, but I do shop there occasionally and one time I spritzed this and fell in love. And I fell in love with the price point even more. Urban Outfitter's Gourmand EDP Fragrance in the scent Pistachio Bruleè is described as having notes of milk vanilla mousse, pistachio and vanilla bean. It comes in a beautiful simple yet elegant 1oz glass bottle, is an eau de parfum and retails for...

$18

Meanwhile, the Laura Mercier Crème de Pistache is an eau de toilette spray with 1.7oz of "juice" and retails for a staggering $55!

The entire Urban Outfitters gourmand range is said to be online only, but I've seen it in stores ever so often and it is totally worth a sniff if you are infatuated with the Laura Mercier but don't want to pull the trigger on something so pricey.

I'm not sure I can say for sure that they are complete dupes as I don't own the Laura Mercier, but it gives you same warm, nutty enveloping hug. I love pistachios and I love vanilla scents and this one also lasted particularly well on my skin as one would expect with an EDP! It's certainly enough to take the LM one off my Sephora wishlist.

Give it a sniff if you see it around and if you like it, I recommend purchasing it right away as their entire gourmand line seems to sell out fast when it's brought into stores.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Review: L'Oreal Infallible® Pro-Last Lipcolor in Cherry Noir #217

Even though I hadn't had great luck with the L'Oreal Infallible line, I decided to try the Pro-Last Lipcolor. I picked the shade Cherry Noir #217. For some reason I've been on a vampy red/berry kick even though we're in spring. Also, although the CVS I bought this at cost more than the L'Oreal website lists them for ($13.79 versus $12.99). I had been sent a 25% off coupon from CVS and had a $3 manufacturers coupon AND CVS is running an Extrabucks deal on L'Oreal makeup this week. My CVS didn't have a huge variety of shades, maybe 10 of the 24 shades currently offered. A lot of the pinks seemed too pale or yellow based, the reds too orange, and the mauves almost seemed too light, so I went for this, even though I was worried about the pearl in it since the last thing I wanted were frosty lips!
On one end you get a doe foot wand with the lipcolor. You can get a pretty good feel for the color here as well as the slight iridescence in the tube.
On the other end is the balm which promises to not only lock in the color, but keep lips moisturized. I remember that these moisturizing ends in the past have been more-or-less useless in keeping lips moisturized, so I didn't have high hopes.
This is the lipcolor (without the balm) immediately after application (on unmoisturized but not dry lips). Thankfully, it isn't overly frosty. The only problem I had was with the applicator - too much product comes off the applicator and results in a slightly messy application. The combination of the large doe foot and the fact that the product is liquidy doesn't lend itself to an easy application. Next time, I'm going to take a disposable pointed object of some kind (I think I still have some disposable lip brushes from my kit) to get the product precisely around the lip line and then smooth it over with a disposable eyeshadow sponge (this stuff is no joke to get off so I definitely won't be using a brush unless I knew I would be washing the brush directly after application). The color is definitely a win though!
After about 5 minutes, it was still rather tacky. Not uncomfortable, but clearly not dried down.
After taking this picture at the 10 minute mark, it still hadn't dried down completely, but it was getting there. Ultimately, it took about 15-20 minutes to dry down completely without my lips sticking together, which for some may be too much. It does accentuate lip lines, but not too bad from far away; these are close ups. I definitely preferred the color as it continued to dry as it got more vampy berry and less purple. A bit easier to pull off on my fair complexion. Just a note, I wasn't wearing any other makeup. And, it may take less time if you don't use the included applicator, but that's part of the appeal - an all in one product.
Then I applied the balm and I was actually really impressed. It reminds me of the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment (the mega one though I forget what it's called - extreme? in any case, it's in the white tube). You can instantly see the different in this picture versus the previous one. My lip lines are less noticeable and the lips themselves are a bit plumped out. I kind of want them to sell the balm on its own - well not for $14 but you know what I mean! It was just a pleasant surprise.

After I applied the balm, I had some coffee and there were no marks on my coffee mug and the balm and its moisturizing properties lasted for over an hour, which I thought was insane (in a good way). As I said, historically speaking, these toppers never last and as someone with dry lips, I usually wish they would have removed the balm and lowered the price, but in this case, the balm is totally worth it.
Hope I don't look too angry, I was concentrating on getting a good, in-focus shot! This was after nearly 4 hours of wear and drinking. I had reapplied the balm at this point, but my lips still looked fairly good. The color was still vibrant, the initial application mistakes were still there, but it hadn't moved further out of the lip lines.
And these are my lips after 10 hours of wear. I did get some fading on the top lip especially and as you'll see from the photo below, I am missing color around the very inside of the lips, but you've got to admit, this is still pretty impressive after meals and drinks.
What I found particularly interesting about this product was that even after removing it, or at least attempting to remove it with some Caudalie Cleansing Water, I still had a bit of a stain left and a resistant piece that had clung to a dry patch.
This is after two cotton pads doused with the Caudalie and you can still see it. Now, my lips are naturally pigmented, so it's not too obvious, but it took a lot of scrubbing to get that off. A positive and a negative perhaps? Even so, I think the lasting power is pretty incredible. I had to reapply the balm a couple times during the day (but I have to reapply balm anyway) but I never had to reapply the lipcolor; and by the 10th hour, I was not sad to remove it. I really like this shade and hope the drugstores near me give me a few other options other than this vampy color, which I rather like, but it's definitely not one for everyday!

Have you tried the new L'Oreal Infallible® Pro-Last Lipcolors? What did you think?