Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: Revlon Ultra HD™ Lipstick in Primrose #835

I know it's been awhile since these came out. I was hesitant to buy the Revlon Ultra HD™ Lipsticks given the lukewarm reviews, but I had a coupon and there was a deal, and well I got suckered in. There are certainly pros and cons about these lipsticks, though I have admittedly only tried one: Primrose #835, which unlike the horrible stock photos online is somewhere in between a rose and a red (though still in the rose family, if that makes sense - which makes it perfect for those of us scared to wear red during the daytime).
I've found the price for these all over the place, which isn't unusual with drugstore products. Walgreens and ULTA online say $9.99, sells them for $8.99 (though currently $7.19 on sale), Target seems to price them around the $7.99 mark. I don't recall how much I paid for mine, but I bought it at CVS which tends to head towards the higher end, but I know I used coupons and Extrabucks, so I doubt I paid much.
The packaging is both elegant and frustrating as you can't twist the lipstick down, which invariably means lipstick on the sides of the lovely clear tube. Not my favorite.

Revlon says that these Ultra HD lipsticks have "true color clarity without the heavy feel" and that they provide "high definition color in one smooth swipe" (note that they don't make mention of the wear time).
On the left we have 1 swipe and on the right, we have 2. I'd say that's pretty good. It's not patchy, it slides on smoothly and the pigment is pretty intense.
On unmoisturized lips, the lipstick isn't exactly awesome when it comes to gliding and eliminating the look of lip lines; however, I wore this lipstick over the course of 10 hours and here's what I found.

1. The lipstick doesn't last at all (unless you don't drink anything or eat anything) and definitely requires a lip liner if you want any longevity. As I mentioned above, Revlon doesn't appear to make claims about these being long-wearing, so the fact that they aren't shouldn't come as a great surprise.
2. They smell faintly like the Estee Lauder lipsticks, which may bother some, but I tend to like the smell of those so this lighter fragrance was fairly pleasant for me.
3. Ignoring the wear time, these are actually moisturizing and I felt my lips were in better condition after wearing and reapplying during the day than had I been wearing a different lip product - which I don't get with many of the famed moisturizing lip products on the market (the lip butters, for example, tend to dry my lips out).
4. As one would expect, since I found them moisturizing, they aren't sticky, there's no glitter and they are comfortable on the lips. I basically couldn't feel it.
5. The claims of  high pigment is definitely there - though as I mentioned, it's not long wearing.
6. I was a bit put off at first by the bold (to me) color of this lipstick, but I found it pretty wearable as the day wore on and dare I say, a little sexy? Not quite red, but red enough to make me feel as though I was wearing red.

So, in summary,  Revlon Ultra HD™ Lipstick in Primrose #835

high pigment
creamy formula
comfortable on the lips/moisturizing

poor packaging
poor lasting power
scent might bother some

True color clarity without the heavy feel check
High definition color in one smooth swipe mostly

Honestly, I'll probably pick up more of these as I dislike minty lip colors (which excludes the popular Colorburst Balm Stains) and as I said, I tend to find the lip butters drying. Next time, though, a lipliner is definitely in order!

Have you tried the Revlon Ultra HD™ Lipsticks? What were your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2014 Empties Part II

This part of my 2014 empties is going to focus on skincare. While I was taking photos I realized how many more cleansers than moisturizers I used up in 2014, which for me is a bit odd. Then I remembered that I mix most of my face creams with face oils (yes, even in the morning before makeup) and I have a nearly finished face oil in my bathroom right now (currently loving a drugstore one, actually - Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil - quite nice and much cheaper than the ones you can get at Sephora). Anyway, here's what I used up in 2014 (and a sneak peek - there will be a makeup/lip balm items empties post - including more than 1 foundation!).

 Several (7) packs of makeup remover wipes, starting from the left:
  • 2 packs of Lumene Gentle Cleansing Wipes 25 count - I remember these being nice, but not much else. Gentle which means not entirely effective, but I usually use wipes for face makeup anyway and use my *broken record* Makeupforever Sens'eyes for eye makeup.
  • Safeway Makeup-Remover Cleansing Towelettes (compare to Pond's) 15 count - Since I'm not a fan of the Pond's, I'm not sure what possessed me to pick these up, but my guess is I needed them in a pinch as I picked the smallest pack they sell. No other memories of these!
  • Olay Wet Cleansing Towelettes "Sensitive" 30 count - Sensitive is in air quotes since according to a previous mini review, these made my eyes water, so I used another pad for eye makeup removal. Meh. I seriously hope I don't have another packet of these floating around as they were only ok.
  • Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes 25 wipes - As it says in the linked review, I fell in love with these after getting them in one of the now defunct free Target beauty bags. Really like them but they are on the pricey side so I only buy when there is a particularly good sale and as I say in my review, they are much larger than your normal makeup wipe which is a bonus.
  • Nuance Salma Hayek Detoxifying Facial Cleansing & Toning Towelettes 25 wipes - I've been buying and using up these towelettes since they first came out (I think I've gone through at least 6 of these since they launched in 2011 - which considering the price is quite a lot for me). I still like them and as I've said, I only purchase when they are on sale.
  • Simple Kind To Eyes Eye Makeup Remover Pads - While I love the regular Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes, these suck. They just aren't effective. If I need another eye makeup remover to saturate an already "saturated" remover pad, then it's just not worth the money. The only redeeming thing is I didn't pay near full price as they came in a beauty box.
  • First Aid Beauty Daily Face Cream 1oz - As you can see, I really enjoyed this, though it wasn't quite moisturizing enough for me, hence my mention of face oils above. I've repurchased. I was a bit scared of some of the ingredients but it didn't break me out and it actually wears well under makeup.
  • Origins Drink-Up Intensive Overnight Mask - During a moment of sheer exhaustion, you can see my decision tree that mentions this product. Yes, I used it during the day and yes my makeup stayed on all day. What can I say? Dry skin does sometimes have its perks.
  • Eve Lom Cleanser (original) and Morning Time Cleanser (both 50mL/1.6oz)- I found it slightly amusing that when I first reviewed this back in 2011, I was pretty convinced I would never buy it due to the price point; well every since, spacenk has satisfied my craving for this product by putting their holiday sets on clearance most years - though I think I missed this last one. Even though these jars were meant for travel - (being the smallest size they offer), which I completely took advantage of, it took so long to use them up! I'm currently trying to get through one of the regular sizes and holy moly, a little goes a long way. I'm not defending the price point, but it's not as bad as you think considering the amount you use and my dry skin loves these. Sometimes, I leave it on extra long when I have time as more of a mask. And since there's nothing worse than the dry air of a train or airplane for my skin, I'm keeping the small empty jar around for future travel. 
  • Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil - I really liked this deluxe sample, but I'm not sure if I'd spring for the full size as I tend to prefer balm cleansers and when it's not a balm cleanser, it's an oil cleanser with a pump - though to be fair, the full size may be a pump and not a pipette, in which case, I would consider a repurchase.
  • Bliss Fabulous Foaming Facial Wash 2oz - This multi-purpose cleanser would not die. First of all, you need to use the smallest amount. This little deluxe size sample bottle lasted far longer than I thought it would. I am so glad I didn't spring for the full size when Sephora was offering it half price several months ago. For me, it's a little drying, but it's a nice product, especially if you're pressed for time since it's a cleanser and mild exfoliator in one. I'd probably recommend it more for normal to oily skin types though.
  • The Body Shop Moisture White Shisho Make-up Cleansing Oil - Really enjoyed this one and I'm eager to try the newer Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil waiting for me in my cupboard. Would repurchase with a sale, definitely, even if there isn't a pump!
  • Lierac Micellar Water - This cleansing water does a decent job of removing facial makeup but it doesn't nothing for anything remotely waterproof on the eyes. More convenient for some though since it's carried at various drugstores and with sales, it makes it less costly than some of the higher end versions.
  • Soap & Glory Clean Mary Cleansing Milk - Honestly, this is quite old, but when I found it in the back of my cabinet, I was compelled to use it up. It smelled the same and didn't have a weird texture and didn't irritate my skin so I went with it. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Peaches & Clean that Soap & Glory subsequently put out is the newer version of this. This is a great morning time cleanser as it has both oils and natural exfoliators, so it gives a minor exfoliation without being too drying prior to applying moisturizer and makeup.
Whew, just 2-3 more of these to go before I can get back in the rhythm of regularly scheduled empties posts. Check out Part I here!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

2014 Empties Part I

Even though I barely blogged in 2014, I kept all of my empties; does that seem crazy? Apparently, even a blogger at rest is still a blogger, along with all of these crazy habits. Since it's substantial, I thought I'd put it into parts. This part is hair. I've excluded one use packets and sachet-like samples, but these are the hair products I used in 2014. As you can tell, I'm super low maintenance with my hair. My hair is dry and it gets drier the longer it goes without washing, unless I use a styling aid of some sort. Also, I don't think it quite likes dry shampoo, but I'll get into that eventually...

Complete with a bust of Mozart... yes, I don't have a fancy light box. This is my piano.

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Conditioner 1 liter size - I accidentally bought a set that had two of the conditioners, I think I mentioned this before, probably with the other one. I think I have more too. It's not bad, but if you use the right shampoo, you don't have to deal with dandruff conditioner too which results in much better smelling hair.
Garnier Fructis Anti-Dandruff Shampoo - I don't remember hating it. I don't remember loving it. Though I must say, a much better scent than one of the other shampoos down the line.
Philip B Anti-Flake Relief Shampoo - This is my absolute favorite. I just wish it was a bit less costly. But it is really good, especially for those prone to dry flaky scalps as opposed to oily scalps. Smell is not exactly glorious, but it works better than most other related shampoos I've tried.
Neutrogena T/Gel - An oldie but a goodie? I mean, it smells horrible. It lingers longer than you would ever want it to. I beg you not to try to use orange smelling body wash or soap when you use this because it is seriously gag inducing. But it works and it's cheap-ish (though it does dry my hair out something fierce).
*Lea Journo Parfait Intense Hydrating Masque - I actually really really liked this. I believe it is silicone-free, though there are some words in the ingredients list that look vaguely similar. It lasted for quite awhile but the cost is really prohibitive since even when my hair is shorter, I still use a lot of conditioner/masks. Though if you wanted to treat yourself and you have dry hair, I would recommend it, even though I got it for free. For me though, I'd have to get some sort of deal to make it worthwhile.
Curls Unleashed No Restrictions Moisturizing Conditioner - I remember getting this very cheaply at Walgreens on clearance. This does have silicones, but it is not in the first 9 ingredients (and ahead of it is an oil - yay). In any case, I remember the texture of this one being either really odd or really cool. It was almost kind of fluffy and whipped, but also like pudding and green. In any case, I remember enjoying it. Not sure about repurchasing though, as it's not actually all that cheap when it's not on clearance (looks to be around the $14-$15 mark).
KenetMD Conditioner - for a hotel conditioner, this was actually really nice; nice enough that I brought it home with me. I know nothing about this brand other than the fact that the hair and body products impressed me for being hotel products from a brand I had never heard of.
Ojon Damage Reverse Restorative Conditioner - This was pretty useless and the 2floz lasted about two washings. I remember being shocked with how much I had to use to get any results (and they weren't particularly good either). Not worth the money!!

Now I can get rid of these bottles, yay!

Friday, February 13, 2015

How To Glow* Less Obviously

*And by glow, I mean sweat

So, I know that deodorant stains are the bane of many of our existences. For someone who tends to wear a lot of black, this has been a struggle for me for much of my life. I imagine that since a lot of the ads claim that they don't leave white marks, that other women have the same issue. Well, ladies, I think I may have figured it out.

This probably stems from my childhood and into early adulthood, where I swear I sweat more than the average person and therefore, I was convinced that applying the most deodorant would net the best results. I tried the liquid stuff, but in the winter, applying ice cold liquid to your underarms is not exactly pleasant.

But lately, I've been doing a little trick that I hope helps others out there.

Step 1: Apply your deodorant as normal
Step 2: Take a square of a soft toilet paper, half a tissue or if you are super environmentally conscious, a dry cloth of sort sort
Step 3: "Wipe off" your deodorant
Step 4: Be prepared to have no white marks.

So basically, the summary of this is that I was applying too much deodorant, and guess what? Even when removing the excess, my underarms don't sweat as though I didn't put deodorant on, but since there isn't an extra white cream around, it doesn't get down the sides of my shirts, etc.

If you haven't tried it, give it a go and see if it works for you.

Friday, February 6, 2015

First "High End" Makeup Purchase

Do you remember the first piece of high end makeup that you bought yourself? I remember my purchase clear as day. I was in college, just having discovered makeupalley and the boards were a flurry about one sale or another, so I went on the site and had a moment of shock when I noticed the prices. I really like my sales, so instead of the main section, I went to the clearance section and I saw this palette and I figured, even though it was way more than I would normally ever spend on makeup (I was used to drugstore prices and even remember when WetnWild was on sale 3 for 99 cents!), I bought it. Darn you makeupalley and taking me over to the dark side.

E-mail hoarder that I am, I still have my order confirmation:

Well, even though I apparently purchased something from Cargo as well that was $1 more, I remember the Femme Arsenal palette the most vividly. I think it was 70% off (actually this thread kind of confirms that), so it would have been originally $30 - way way way more than I would ever spend.

And guess what I found today when I was cleaning out some stuff, my beloved Femme Arsenal palette! I can't believe I kept this, and moved it... several times. But apparently, I got it for 70% off and then a little under 50% off on top of that - well let's just say, I've always been a bargain shopper.

I thought I would give it one last moment of respect on the blog before tossing it. It wasn't bad quality, but I did learn some things - I don't like cream products in with my powders in palettes, I like neutrals and berry lips, and I rarely use cream shadows or highlighters, especially in palette form, ick.
The simple metal packaging was fairly appealing - but boy does it look old... and dirty...
Obviously, I was totally into the names and phrases. I was totally the type to do graffiti and say "playa please"... right... (kidding)
The empty pan is the lip gloss "Boo Ya" which was a deep berry and which I clearly loved since there's no remnants in the pan. There are sizable dips in the two powder shades (in the middle) and less usage of the cream products.
Not bad for $9 - though there is absolutely no way I would have paid $30 for this. First of all, poor architecture student, 2nd - poor architecture student.
 They still swatch well!
And yes folks, apparently, after 10 years, my tastes have not changed. I still like boring slightly shimmery neutrals and berry lips.

What was your first high end makeup purchase? One that you bought with your own money? Do you remember it as vividly as this one (even though mine was online and not at a counter)?

PS I loved that Totally Juicy sugar scrub - memories...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review: GLAMGLOW SUPERMUD™ Clearing Treatment, Worth the Hype?

It seems that everyone and their mother raves about the GLAMGLOW line; whether it's the blue jar or the white jar or the black jar. I got a little packet of the GLAMGLOW SUPERMUD Clearing Treatment (the one in the white jar) in a Sephora order and was super eager to try it and yell from the roof tops how much I loved it like everyone else...

I got the same visible results as everyone else...
I was so excited that it appeared to be sucking out everything from my pores, but then I washed it off and really looked in the mirror.

I won't show you the photographic evidence (cause that's kind of gross), but I still had extractions after the mask. The mask didn't make the extractions less or more painful, but there was still gunk in my pores. My skin feels soft, but it generally feels soft after any type of mask. I don't have any major breakouts, but the hype surrounding this stuff is insane. I want to say that my sample was from a bad batch or that another time it would have gotten "the gunk out", but my conclusion is the mask is nice, but it's not worth $69 and it doesn't remove the gunk from your pores. If you have the mask and know how to safely extract your blackheads, see if you have anything to extract after this mask. I did and there was. Therefore, my conclusion is that the "seeing it work" is some kind of chemical interaction and not a magical oil extraction that many are touting. Perhaps I'm wrong.

To answer my own question, no - not worth the hype.

Nothing to disclose.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Back? Hopefully!

I never wanted to be the type of blogger that complained about everything, and I have always tried my best to keep this a drama free zone. That being said, the last 6 months have been hard. I don't want to go into details but blogging has been put on the back burner because of it. In any case, I knew that doing the "first post back" would be the hardest - and I almost did several times, since I've enjoyed, rediscovered, discovered, etc. some great products. But something inside me irrationally made me stop.

I'm not making any New Years resolutions this year. Thanks to a medical discovery last spring (genetic testing by the request of my doctor - I can't recommend this enough - I don't want to write a post about it, but I'd be happy to talk to people one-on-one), I have dropped nearly 90 pounds and for the first time in my adult life, am considered fairly normal for my height. But I have missed blogging, especially when people ask what my hobbies are. I've gotten even "worse" in stores helping people out. Most bloggers and youtubers are trying to clear things out and be minimal this year. I'm not making that a goal; however, I decided after seeing a bunch of products I've never used and probably won't use, in addition to products I love and want to share that love, well - to be completely wordy, I'm having a giveaway/sweepstakes. Hopefully some of you still read this. 

  • Julep Nail Appliques (I think the style name is Rivets)
  • Fing'rs Edge Royal Punk Nail Art*
  • Incoco Nail Polish Appliques in a pink, gold and black cheetah print
  • Revlon Natural Pink
  • Julep Drew
  • Nailene So Natural Short Length Square Shape Glue-On Nails*
  • Revlon Crazy Shine Nail Buffer
For a girl that rarely uses styling products, this is ridiculous...and they are perfect for travel, except I still don't use hairspray (and I don't need volume and oh right, I don't style my hair)!
  • Kenra Blow-Dry Spray 1.7oz
  • Kenra Volume Spray 1.5oz
  • Joico Fast-Dry Finishing Spray 1.5oz
  • John Frieda Full Repair with High Heat Protection 1.7oz
  • Alterna Bamboo Style Boho Waves Tousled Texture Mist .85oz
  • Rusk Glue Form & Control 1.5oz
  • Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach Spray 1.52oz
  • Oscar Blandi Instant Volumizing Conditioner 1.7oz
  • Bumble & Bumble Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner sachets
Please note that this batch is the only one that has used items (and by items, I mean the brushes - though they have been washed!). If you'd prefer I'd leave those out, just let me know and I'll toss them. But if you happen to have a niece or daughter that could use them, please let me spend the shipping on them!
  • A variety of makeup brushes of varying brands 
  • Lancome (310 Bisque), Boscia and Miracle Skin Transformer (medium), foundation and BB Cream samples
  • NYX single eyeshadow in Purple
  • Ardell Fashion Lashes in "Sweeties"

And finally, my favorite hand cream and lip balm of all time: Caudalie Hand & Nail Cream and Lip Conditioner. I seriously give a set of this to every female friend at least once and I invariably get them hooked. I bet I will get whoever wins this hooked too (in case you don't already love it)!

All you have to do to enter is comment on this post and say what you want to see on this blog in 2015. Unfortunately, due to some of the prizes, this is going to be US only, widget below.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How To Tell If You Have Dry Skin

Since I can't seem to stop making decision trees at work, here's one for a recent discovery that I thought might be entertaining:

In case you couldn't guess, I used the Origins Drink Up™ Intensive Overnight mask today as my normal daytime moisturizer. It sunk right in (no excess tissue-ing needed). My makeup lasted all day (about 12 hours). No dryness around some post breakouts. Basically, something that never happened, happened with a product that is meant to be a mask. I find that funny, really. But also, yeah, I have dry skin. So, if you also have dry skin, I might consider trying this as a daytime moisturizer, since it really didn't do much for me as an ultra hydrating overnight 'treatment' (for that I go to the big guns, oils and humectants).

This is brought to you by the workaholic who very occasionally decides it's hilarious to combine blogging and work. And I know I didn't use the right shape for the "decision" because the shape doesn't allow much in the way of text.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review: L'Occitane Cleansing And Softening Shower Oil With Almond Oil

A rare moment occurred which made me cash in some of my Sephora Beauty Reward points. It was the L'Occitane 500 point perk from March. Primarily because it contained a pretty generous sample of the above product, the Cleansing and Softening Shower Oil with Almond Oil (yikes! Mouthful) and second because it contained a pocket or book bag friendly size hand lotion, which I accidentally got my husband addicted to (he won't use anything else - though he won't even try the scented ones).

Anyway, I recently used up a shaving cream (massive empties post on the horizon btw) so I thought I would give this a whirl. I do really like it. I was a bit surprised at the scent. I was thinking it was going to smell like marzipan, but it's more of a fresh scent, it doesn't even really remind me of almonds, but that's ok. I like that it rinses away fairly clean but still leaves my legs soft and not irritated, but it reminded me of shaving with something else and that something else somehow compelled me to blog after a nearly 7 months hiatus.

The L'Occitane is pretty luxurious and priced accordingly. The 8.4oz bottle will run you $25. I actually find that rather reasonable but only if you plan to use this sparingly. I can't even imagine someone using this as a daily full-body cleanser, though I'm sure some do.

So, you're going to think I'm a little crazy when I say what this reminded me of. But back during the winter months when my legs were so itchy that during the day, I would try to find ways of getting a good scratch at them under my work pants without anyone noticing, I tried using The Body Shop's Beautifying Oil to shave with and aside from not foaming up and rinsing away, it is very similar. You're probably thinking why I would be so excited since that product is even more expensive per ounce. Well, of course you've heard of The Body Shop's sales and promotions. And then you know that you get more than one scent option... and well. The L'Occitane is nice but I foresee getting tired of the scent. What if I want strawberry or mango or satsuma? Tough cookie.

Not so fast - I can get a similar product, pay less (more than likely) and still get a close shave which doesn't leave my legs looking like the sidewalk (and probably a similar result with any body oil on the market - especially for us dry-skinned folk).

So there, hiatus officially broken. What's up, oh beauty world?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Favorite Flawless Base Combo

This has been one of my absolute favorite foundation combinations as of late. The Revlon Nearly Naked (in 010 Ivory) and the Revlon Colorstay Whipped (in Ivory). I love the finish of the Nearly Naked but it doesn't cover as much as I'd like and I love the coverage of the Colorstay Whipped but I've found that too many passes with my beauty blender causes it to get cakey and a bit drying on my skin. I've found the way both of these products look best is to use both of them. First, I apply a thin layer of the Nearly Naked with my fingers over well moisturized skin all over. Then I take a damp beauty blender and apply the Colorstay Whipped on my problem areas and/or breakouts. I've found that not using it all over and not using too many layers allows it to cover without looking mask like. I then spray generously with a makeup setting spray.

The combo lasts all day* but still looks natural and fresh. In a perfect world, we would want one foundation to do it all, but it's not always possible. At least this duo is fairly inexpensive especially with sales and coupons!

Do you have a magic duo? Share your combos below!

* Most foundations last all day on my dry skin, just for the record