Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Search For The Softest Travel Kabuki

I went to ULTA today for two purposes:

1. To find a nice travel kabuki that was soft - I've been doing my face makeup in the parking garage of my office before starting my day. I find myself less stressed once I'm actually at my work location (those of you in the DC Metro area will understand) and don't sweat it off trying to rush around the house before I leave. I have destroyed the soft mini kabuki I was using (it was a freebie after all) and the one that I've replaced it with is scratchy and far from soft.
2. To use up my rewards points - For those of you that are members of the ULTA points reward system that rewards you with money off your purchase (not the x-times annual gift voucher program), the points expire tomorrow. June 30th any of the points you have accumulated will disappear and ULTA is good with pretending the points don't expire since there is no mention of this June 30th date anywhere on the ULTA website.

Anyway, my search was noble and indeed would prove difficult.

I walked around the store petting each travel kabuki I could find. It was imperative the kabuki have a protective outer cover since it was going to spend the majority of the time in my hand bag. I tried expensive brands, cheap brands, semi-cheap brands. The softest one I could find was the Japonesque Travel Kabuki but it is $30. However...

In UTLA's regular line (not even the professional line), I found the softest most cost effective travel kabuki!
$18 still isn't pocket change, but my store honored the 50% off ULTA line sale (website does not) so I only paid $9 (or $0 if you prefer since I had $9 worth of rewards points)
If you read the reviews on ULTA's site, you'll see the packaging is flawed. Mine doesn't stay closed so I'm going to try exchanging it for another one. But this is by far the least expensive and softest kabuki at ULTA (even more so than the Too Faced retractable one). I'd recommend giving it a shot if you're looking for a decent one. Though, definitely test the packaging before bringing it home.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Quick! Cherry Culture Sale!

Not that the makeup in the ad makes me want to actually buy product, but Cherry Culture is having a 2 day sale for 20% off the entire store. Code is GR4S20.

I apologize for my semi-absence. I had family visiting up till Monday and either I was preparing for their visit or eating out, sleeping or entertaining during it! Hopefully more regular posts will resume shortly.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Holy !@#$% - Price Gauging

I noticed that Camera Ready Cosmetics was having an IMATS related online sale (they still are - use code "show" for 10% off till Monday at 11pm) and thought I may pick up some more of the Yaby Freestyle Palettes that they carry. They are quite convenient and excellent quality. I could have, but looked at the price and did a double take.
The last time I ordered the Freestyle Palettes, I paid $15.99. Granted, this was back in the late months of 2009 before Yaby got their big break with bloggers and youtubers. I'd imagine the price would go up but not to this extent!

$22.75 you have got to be kidding, no thanks Yaby!

Update on Miracle Skin Transformer

I recently reviewed the Miracle Skin Transformer™ Treat & Conceal Undereye Concealer and mentioned during the review that I thought the product itself was good but I was hesitant to recommend it given it's only availability was on the Miracle Skin website. Well, I was searching around on the Sephora website and found that they now carry the line (hopefully in stores too). At least you know that the Sephora return policy is very generous so if the color doesn't happen to work out, returning or exchanging the product will be easy (other retailers include Lord & Taylor, Dermadoctor &

Friday, June 24, 2011

Meaningful Beauty Thoughts So Far

As I mentioned in my Influenster Vox Box post, I received quite a few items to test from the Meaningful Beauty by Cindy Crawford line. I was excited about trying the brand. I had been occasionally seeing the infomercials and even though I'm not the line's target audience, it piqued my curiosity.

I've been testing the line for about a week now and I thought I would share my opinion of the line so far. Well, that's not the whole truth, after a day of going through the whole regimen, my skin broke out something fierce. As I basically tried everything, I decided to go through the line slowly. I've so far retested the cleanser (love!) and the eye cream (good for under makeup as it's not super rich - but not moisturizing enough for me for both day and night time use).

My only real problem with the line is that since it is only sold through the infomercials there's no real point in re-buying as you're stuck with all the products and I know at least one of them (possibly more) makes my skin break out in places I usually don't. I had 5 pimples on my cheeks after only a day of use.
The Skin Softening Cleanser is fabulous. It is a creamy thick gel-like consistency but it doesn't feel heavy and the best part about the cleanser is it doesn't foam or create any suds, which makes it non-stripping. I'd imagine it's free of sulfates but I'm not certain and there's no ingredient list on the website which puts me off the brand somewhat. It's very lightly scented and super gentle. I've enjoyed using this and I am one of those people that hates washing their face. I'd be much more inclined to buy this if I could buy the products separately. I'm certain this doesn't break me out, in fact, I think it may be improving my skin as I have all of one break out at the moment and I only used the Fixzit for 2 days following the breakout from the first day.
The Lifting Eye Cream is also nice but much more suited to day time use. I don't find it super rich or heavy which in some cases can be a bad thing. It's kind of a thicker gel and you can hardly feel it on the eye area. I like it during the day but means I need a richer eye cream at night which defeats the point a little. Should a girl really need 2 separate eye creams? I don't know. Either way, it doesn't make my eyes burn or tear which is always a bonus. Again, the issue arises with the whole having-to-buy-the-whole-line-thing. I'd be much happier if I could pick and choose but then again, it would probably be more expensive that way.

So those are my thoughts so far. I'll admit, I'm hesitant to try the other items knowing one of them caused such immediate break outs. I think it might have been the night cream or maybe the day cream. Either or both really, they were rich and almost uncomfortable on the skin. We'll see. For now, I'm liking the way my skin looks. I hope it continues.

Disclosure: These items were sent by Influenster for review purposes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: Archipelago Pomegranate Soap

I've always been a big fan of the Archipelago brand, though for some reason I hadn't yet tried their soaps. But since one came in the May Birchbox in one of my favorite scents, I anxiously awaited the moment when I finished my previous soap (small shower, only 1 cleansing option at a time *sniff*). The sample size I received was just over an ounce and the soap is usually 6.8oz and retails for $12.50. It is a bit pricey for soap so I definitely prefer the free sample in that regard.

Anyway, I've been using it in the shower for the past week or thereabouts and I quite like it. The lather is very soft and creamy (the only con of that is that the soap gets used up faster than a harder textured one). I didn't notice any consider dryness after showers aside from my hands which I usually always get from my dandruff shampoo. My skin feel smooth, soft and not stripped of all oils. It still requires a moisturizer afterwards but it wouldn't hurt to skip it. Anyone else hate applying moisturizer in the summer months?

I love the cute design etched in the top so this is the perfect guest soap. The scent is quite strong in the box but I found it very light and refreshing in the shower. I love crisp juicy scents (mainly citrus but pomegranate has that tartness that I like) in the shower and especially during the summer.

I personally don't think I would purchase this at full price, but definitely if I found it on sale. I'm a bar soap gal so I'm happy to find another brand that makes good ones.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Influenster Vox Box

I recently received my June Vox Box in the mail from Influenster. Influenster contacted me last year regarding their new social media site. It recently had a relaunch and the first box was a beauty one. Influenster is sort of like BzzAgent but has a slightly smaller scope. The idea is you join the site. You prove your influence by unlocking various badges and then those badges influence what kind of boxes you get.

This box contains
* Meaningful Beauty by Cindy Crawford skincare set
* Diamancel Foot Callus file
* Motagne Jeunesse Green Tea Peel Off Mask
* Garden Botanika Lip Treatment
* Softsoap Pampered Hands Foaming Hand Soap
* Pure Silk Shave Cream

Conveniently enough I had just run out of shaving cream and my feet have been looking unfortunate with the increase in sandal wearing. 

The idea is to try the products, review them and share them. So be on the lookout for reviews. I'm starting the Meaningful Beauty regimen tonight.
Anyone can join Influenster and I especially encourage joining the site if you're a blogger.

Disclosure: These items were sent by Influenster for review purposes.

Beauty Blog Link Love - 6/18/11 - #36

At Musing on Beauty, Mariella tries the Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman brushes and tells you everything about them.

Ever wonder how to airbrush your own makeup photos? Well, now you can - check out theNotice's basic Photoshop tutorial for your exclusive look behind the scenes of a beauty blog!

Now that summer's in the air, Musicalhouses shows you a Summer Eye Look and a Summer Lip Look for cheap!

Need melt proof makeup? Check out the new Summer collections from Tarte. Gouldylox has the swatches and details.

Madame B Fatale shows you how to use a conical wand!

Tired of eyeshadow and blush pots taking up too much space? Try de-potting them using Kajal Couture's de-potting tutorial and place them in palettes.

Phyrra's Independent Spotlight for June is with Belén from Lost in Makeupland!

Addicted to Beauty gets serious tween envy when she spies the Happy Faces hair salon. Who wouldn't want to get their hair done whilst sitting in a pink chevrolet?

Amy Antoinette shares her top tips for dealing with Keratosis Pilaris.

Lovelaughlauren tells us her favourite products from the last few months.

Prime Beauty discovered Burberry's newest lipstick formula, Lip Mists and has some insider info for you!

At Eyelining Obsessions Claire finds her perfect pink bluch while trying some ELF Barginous Blushes.

Rachel McAdams sends Lydia from Perfectly Imperfect running to the NARS counter. Find out why!

The coveted Asylum by Sugarpill is back in stock and in the Christina the Glitterholic's hands!

Looking for an affordable gel eye liner? Be sure to check out this fabulous Gel Eye Liner by Essence at Makeup, Beauty & More.


Handmade Reviews is hosting a Sigma Summer Giveaway with over $300 in prizes and winners every month.

Beauty Crazed is giving away 5 Lancome Desert Rose Blushes - they still think they are too pretty to use but maybe you aren't that squeamish so enter to win one!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Beauty Blog Backstage June 2011 - Featuring CucumPear!

I know it's been quite awhile since my last Beauty Blog Backstage post. I took a few months off but now I'm back and interviewing the lovely CucumPear! She does very neat nail art so check her out whenever you get the chance. Here are her responses (be on the lookout for my responses on her partner post).

1. Are there any nail polishes (colors not bases or topcoats) that you've managed to finish?

Very, very few in the last few years. I just have too many bottles to actually use any up. Back when I only had a dozen colours or so I did finish them more or less regularly. Since then I've gone through a couple of white crèmes (since I use them as base for neons and for frankening) and almost two bottles of Eyeko Vamp Polish, again mostly for frankening.

2. Since you've been blogging, what have you learned?

The most important things I've learned are how to clean up my cuticles using a brush and the importance of a good base coat. It's good to know that when I mess up my nail art I can remove it and start over once or twice as long as I have a fully dry and well-sealed base colour.

3. What is your favorite restaurant?

I don't really have one right now. I used to love a Chinese restaurant just around the corner with owners that really were Chinese and truly excellent food, but the owners retired and it's now under new management.

4. What is your most favorite nail polish shade?

That's a really hard question, I guess apple green. I do love most shades of green and teal, though.

5. Where would you like to visit?

I've been wanting to go to Japan for many years. Some day I shall manage, but I really should start learning Japanese as I've been meaning to do for ages.

6. Do you match your polish to clothes you are wearing?

Never on purpose unless I have a wedding or such to attend and am going to wear a very carefully planned outfit! I usually choose my clothing mostly independently from what I have on my nails, I try not to clash too badly, though. Overall I prefer complementing and contrasting to matching.

7. What are you craving right now?

A whole bunch of colours from BB Couture, somehow I always see polishes I need but never get around to actually ordering them. And also Raspberry Banana Split. Tastes so good!

If you are curious about Beauty Blogs' Backstage check out the website. It's quite fun to e-meet and learn more about your fellow bloggers!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: Sula Paint & Peel Polish in Sorbet

A month or so ago, Big Lots had a bunch of Sula Paint & Peel polishes for the very reasonable price of $2.50. They have been carried at ULTA recently and I think they are making a return based on Sula's tweets. I was feeling bored but didn't want to sit down for a full manicure so I brought out the shade Sorbet. In the bottle it looks a bit darker than on the nails and these pictures are awful (and don't mind my cuticles)! This is 24 hours of wear including 2 showers.

Even though these technically dry fast, they stay mushy for quite a while after painting them. The positive thing is that it didn't stain anything or move from the nail but I'll just say I tried going for the textured look? I got a lot of tip wear. I noticed a bit of the dried red on my desk at work at some point though it was easy to remove from the surface.

I'd say this stuff is good for a pick-me-up when you don't have time for a manicure but still want something on your nails but don't expect it to last long.

First coat was kind of streaky yet surprisingly opaque (more than I was expecting anyway). The 2nd coat more or less evened it out but I still got some streaks. I'd say lay down thicker layers as these polishes dry quickly.
This is my left hand. I couldn't get a good shot of my right hand but the wear was significantly worse. And the tops got more bumpy (likely because I'm right handed).

Sula's Paint & Peel polishes retail for $9 and are available online and at ULTA. They are water based and free of the big3.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Summer Lips

I'm not the biggest fan of the summer season. Ever since summer stopped equaling months off for relaxation, I've become a little less enthused. Also, business professional when it's 90 degrees outside isn't fun no matter how you slice it.

But that doesn't mean I dislike summer trends especially juicy sheer colors on the lips. Sheer lip products are by far my favorite and there have been some new releases (or new to me products) that I'd like to share.

First, Maybelline Colorsensational Highshine

I love these new lipsticks from Maybelline. I have been slowly acquiring the shades when they go on sale and if you are a fan of sheer lipsticks, you will love these! Some of the shades do have a bit of sparkle but it's very refined. I am not a big fan of the regular Colorsensational line as it's a bit drying on me but these are lovely.
Two of my new arrivals are Mauvilous Shine and Coral Lustre. These are fabulous and smell like fruit punch. Anywhere from $5 to $9 depending on the drugstore and location and often on sale. These are the perfect swipe and go color for the summer season.
The Missha The Style Crystal Shine Rouge Mixing lipsticks are meant to be applied on top of other colors, but I'm liking these on their own. At $10.99 they are a bit more expensive than the Maybellines but as you know Missha is well known for their sales and I didn't pay full price. These have a light balmy texture, smell faintly of white grape and the pink shade has some duochrome sparkle in it that creates a bit of shine, but again, not over the top glitter. The only caveat is they only have 2 colors in this line.
Oh Sleek you taunted me for so long with your inexpensive products across the pond. Thankfully, Jellyminx Thinks united me with this lovely tinted lip balm and I'm so glad she did. It smells coco-nutty and is creamy and moisturizing but still adds a nice pop of color to the lips. I'm kinda having a "gotta collect 'em all" Pokemon moment with these. This one is Pink Cadillac, a great bright pink perfect for summer.
And of course swatches.
Maybelline Mauvilous Shine
Maybelline Coral Lustre
Missha OR03
Missha PK06
Sleek Pink Cadillac

I'm sure I'm missing some but these are some I think everyone should try. What are your favorite summer lipsticks? Are you another sheer lip lover?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

June Birchbox

It's that time again!

The contents of my June Birchbox fit into 3 categories, 1) small samples 2) medium samples and 3) the main event. I think we have to thank the UK company Glossy Box for a bit of friendly competition. You know if Glossy Box maintains the trend of full size samples and eventually makes it across the pond, Birchbox subscribers would switch over (at least I would).

Anyway, onward.

Small Samples
First up, small samples included 2 Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads (full size is 20 applications for $32), Pangea Organics Balancing Oil packet and a sample vial of Kate Spade Twirl fragrance (full size is $65-$80). These are the type of samples that come free with online orders so a big yawn here.

Medium Samples
There were two medium (aka deluxe) samples in my box this month: Pangea Organics Toner Italian Green Mandarin & Sweet Lime 1.8floz (full size 4floz $26) and the Amika Hair Oil Treatment .34floz (full size 3.38floz $34).

The Main Event (!!)

Why hello there!

Laura Geller Blush n Brighten in Honey Dipped .32oz (full size .32oz $29.50)!!!!!!
Beautiful baked golden shade perfect for summer (and these Laura Geller blushes are super nice).

So I was quite thrilled with my 2nd Birchbox! I hope these full sizes products are now the norm! Nice surprise and deal for $10 including shipping!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Seeking Reviewer Tester Person

I was thinking this evening about some concealer that I reviewed about a month ago and how I don't use it since it's the wrong color. And it's not my color, my mother's color, my in-laws color... you get the picture.

Anyway, I thought I'd offer them up here for testing or reviewing. You don't have to have a blog (if you don't you can post right here on Jeweled Thumb and you would be my very first guest reviewer).

Anyway, to remind all of you, the product is the Miracle Skin Transformer Treat & Conceal Concealer in Light/Medium which I'd say is around a NC30 or thereabouts. Though I could be wrong. Anyway, I have 1 lightly used tube and 1 unused tube to offer. One person or two? Thoughts?

I thought this would be fun for a few reasons: 1. Everyone has a different opinion and I love hearing yours, 2. I'm not going to use this so it might as well go to some use! and 3. Everyone else would be able to hear what someone besides me thinks!

Please leave a comment below if you are interested. Please check the color swatch for reference. If it doesn't closely match you then please don't volunteer, maybe there will be some other review chances in the works.

(While I'd love reviewers from all over, I can never get to the post office when it's open so US would probably be easiest unless you don't mind waiting)

Thank you and thank you all for being so awesome. Seriously, you don't know how much I appreciate each and every one of you.

Missha 40% Off Eyes

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of a few Missha products (especially their BB Creams). I recently received an e-mail that today only their whole eye line is 40% off. I'd have posted it sooner but no updating at work I"m afraid. Missha has free shipping over $40 and always has samples and free gifts with your purchase.

I'm eying one of their new eyeshadow quads for summer. They look pretty luxe.
The original price is $22.99 but the $13.99 sale price is a bit easier to swallow, no?

And all their nail polishes are on sale too. They recently brought out new polishes in their crackle (er leopard) line:
pink (LPK01)
and purple (LPP01)

Those are only $4.19 with the sale.

And if that's not enough, all their BB Cream sets are 50% off.

This is going to be very hard to sit out!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Beauty Blog Link Love - 6/04/11 - #35

Madame B Fatale tests a fun gimmicky product with some not so amazing results.

Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone, and slip into summer? Then be sure to check out this melon and teal makeup look over at theNotice - you won't be disappointed!

Phyrra gives you her take on the Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Sticks.

AOYV shares her tryst with Inglot eyeshadows and shares with fellow Canadians how to access this fabulous brand.

Pammy Blogs Beauty finds a new "Holy Grail" product with MAC's Prep & Prime Vibrancy Eye Primer.

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed is already thinking about fall - but she can't help it, it's Chanel! Come check out the Illusions d'Ombres De Chanel fall collection and you'll understand why she's so weak!

Vesna from Beauty addict blog has a thing for Inglot products lately! Her favorite Inglot item at the moment is definitely 420P eyeshadow so check out what she loves about it so much!

Here's my link: Beautywoome just reviewed the best airbrush tan EVER.

Not having a good day (like Tracy, at Beauty Reflections)? See how the Sephora Flashy Liner helped her to face the day!

Want a fancy perfume but hate the price? Jeweled Thumb finds something similar to a popular and expensive Juicy Couture one. Best part? It's $10!

Beauty's Bad Habit shares her five favourite make-up finds for under £5 because everyone loves a bargain!

Need a sheer foundation for summer? Check out My Lips But Better's comparison chart for Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua vs. Clinique Moisture Surge. Which will be the winner?

Hair prone to frizz? With the weather in the UK always indecisive it's good to find something that can control that frizz. Has LaaLaa over at Dolce Vanity found that with Sedu Anti Frizz Polishing Treatment?

MAC's Big Bounce Shadows got a bad rap, but Kajal Couture shows you how to make them work.

Looking for a new curling iron? Sophie tries and tests the Remington Pearl Conical Wand!

Don't have the budget for the Mac Big Bounce shadows? Jo checks out Rimmels 8 hour colour mousse and is very impressed!

Nicoletta's Beauty Space tries out some of her favourite Sleek True Color lipsticks.

May Empties

Lorac Wet/Dry Powder Makeup in WD1 Yes! Ladies and Gentlemen, I have finally finished the LORAC powder foundation I have been using as a setting powder for months now (here's the link to the progress from March). I can't count how many times I dropped the powder and the packaging is quite chunky and rather flimsy for what it is and random plastic pieces of it are probably all over my bathroom. Even though this is marketed as a wet/dry powder makeup, I didn't have any luck using it wet as the brush wouldn't pick up any product (and the fact it turned orange). It is the lightest shade available and still seemed to go a bit yellow on me so it wasn't the greatest color match. This was only ok and something I had swapped for ages ago. I'm pretty happy that it's done and I can finally get rid of the clunky casing!
Skin Effects Cleansing Effects Gentle Foaming Cleanser for Sensitive Skin The gentle and sensitive claims are a lie. This was super drying and I was only able to use it a few days a week. I think from now on, I'm going to try to stay away from foaming cleansers unless I'm experiencing a random oily day. This is a CVS house brand that often goes on sale.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Facewash (sample) I got a sample of this the last time I was at The Body Shop. I found this cleanser made my skin tight. I enjoy the skin benefits of tea tree oil though I don't think I'll purchase this one.
Epielle Cucumber Cleansing Tissues GO BUY THESE! If you can find 'em that is. My Big Lots seems to have a near constant supply of these wipes and for $1 they are by far the cheapest of any face wipes I've found. They are lightly fragranced, soft and just as nice as the $6+ ones.
Haus of Gloi Who Needs Love Scrub I know it says whipped soap but it was definitely the foaming scrub. This was from the Valentine's Day collection and though I wasn't thrilled with this scent in the fragrance oil form, the scrub was a bit lighter (just a bit of raspberry and chocolate were what I could make out). I quite liked using this. I have a couple other of their scrubs to use up but I am dying to buy some of the summer scents they just launched!

So those were the products I used up last month. Have you used anything up recently?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Review: NYX All Purpose Makeup Remover Gel Type

When Cherry Culture was having their 50% off NYX sale a few weeks ago, I decided to pick this Makeup Remover Gel up as it reminded me of the La Roche Posay gel I liked so much. This is the same idea, as it is water based.

According to NYX:
"A water-based gel in a pump that gently removes all traces of makeup. This clear gel eliminates brow makeup, eye shadow, mascara, eye liner, liquid makeup, face powder, blush, lipstick, lip liner, lip gloss and even dirt. Vitamin B nourishes skin and leaves your face feeling soft and clean."

It retails for $9 and the pump bottle contains 3.04 ounces of product.

I do like this gel for the majority of my makeup removal but it barely even touched my Makeup Forever (MUFE) waterproof mascara (the true test for any remover so it seems). So much like most miscellar waters and gels, this doesn't remove waterproof mascara.

To be quite honest, the recent price increases in NYX products (among other things) has not made me super excited to try any new products from the brand and I do feel that $9 is a bit much for the line, especially for such a small bottle of remover. The bottle has a good quality pump and the makeup remover is pretty good for all things non-waterproof but it's not so awesome that it warrants the high price tag.

If you liked the La Roche Posay Gel Remover like I did, you might want to give this a shot but I'd personally wait for a sale if I were you.

INGREDIENTS: Aqua, L-glutamic acid/n-coco acylderivs, Compds, Glycerin, Protein extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Diazolidinyl urea/iodopropynyl butylcarbamate.