Wednesday, August 31, 2011

JT Asks: Giveaways & Widgets

As the blogging world has gotten fairly saturated with beauty blogs and also contests & giveaways, I'm curious to hear how you feel about them in general. My last few giveaways haven't gotten a great response or a large number of entries. Was it because of the contest widgets? Were the sponsored giveaways too intensive with too many demands (I'll be honest, I kind of thought so myself)? Were you not interested in what I was giving away? Are you simply over blog giveaways?

If I were to hold a giveaway in the upcoming weeks, what would you want to win?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Review: Caudalie Lip Conditioner

I don't quite recall how I got my hands on this product, but I decided to give the Jane Iredale one a rest and use up some of the other lip balms in my lip balm drawer. This one caught my eye with the simple tube and the easy lipstick-like application. Caudalie is a natural line of products found at Sephora and other boutiques and department stores. The line draws from the benefits of grape-based products, specifically grape seed variations as a substitute for some of the more harsh chemical products out there. The Caudalie Lip Conditioner has grape seed oil and grape seed extracts to moisturize the lips.

I am actually really pleased with this product. It's quite hard in the tube but once you apply it, it smooths right on and isn't waxy. However, it stops from being slippery or oily. It a great consistency and I find it very moisturizing. The bullet shaped product makes application very easy and the top makes a little click when you put it on so you don't fear the container will open up in your bag.

I think it smells like grapes but my husband claims it smells like a bakery? Either way, it is a soft non-offensive smell that is pleasant and not super strong.

The tube comes with 4g and retails for $12 which a bit expensive but I actually think it's worth it, especially if you can manage to get this in the sets that Caudalie puts out during the holiday season which are always a good value or during a percent off sale. I'd repurchase.

Lip Treatments by CAUDALIE at ShopStyle

* Plant origin

Disclosure: Shopsense platform utilized.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: Cover Girl Nature Luxe Foundation

I've put off doing the review of the Cover Girl Natureluxe Foundation (nature luxe?) forever. I've had the tube of it for a few months now and I guess that means I've tested it sufficiently. Of course, I bought the lightest shade #305 Alabaster.

This is one of the easiest foundations I've ever found to apply. The texture blends nearly seamlessly into the skin. I've found it easy to apply with my fingers but I suppose you could use a brush if you really wanted to. It's lightweight and has a very slight powdery finish which I didn't find accentuated my dry patches. It is buildable up to a point. I can get medium coverage without much effort, though the foundation itself does have limits. It covers small breakouts easily but if you have any really angry-red pimples, you'll need a separate concealer.

It lasts throughout the day on me a good 9+ hours but that's mostly due to my drier skin and I do not set with a powder. I am not a big fan of the smell, but it doesn't stick around long.

The packaging is another selling point for me. It's very portable with a smaller opening so it's mess-free and is definitely travel friendly unlike some glass bottled foundations. The price is a little high for the drugstore, but combined with sales and coupons, it's not too bad.

My biggest problem with this foundation is that it oxidizes... badly. It looks perfect when I first apply it. As I mentioned it blends flawlessly, I feel as though I don't have foundation on but my skin is evened out to near perfection and then I get halfway through the day and go in the bathroom and about halfway down my neck is an obnoxious orangey-pink line. Outside, it's even worse. I can see a bit of orange around my mouth, around my eyes. It is hideous looking and I am surprised no one has commented.

Basically, proceed with caution and let it wear throughout the day on you without interacting with the public and see how it reacts. Personally, the only way I've been able to use this is mixing a little of it with my regular foundation which admittedly does make the other one apply smoother but is nowhere near convenient.

I wish it didn't go orange on me because I love everything else about it.

Cover Girl Natureluxe foundation, SPF 10. Retails for around $13.99 at drugstores depending on your area.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Target Beauty Bag Sample

There's a new Target Sample Bag out! They have it named, "Target Beauty is All The Buzz" and they describe it as "The Prettiest Goodie Bag of Them All: Inside you’ll find things that soothe, cleanse, shimmer, repair, pamper, nourish…and in general just make you feel fabulous."

If you receive anything like what's in the picture, I'll say that it looks even more amazing than the last one! Hurry, these go fast!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review: Illuminaré All Day Eye Color SPF15

When I first visited Serenity Zone, my Groupon voucher included a face scan to detect damage. Given that I'm quite fair, I expected there to be some damage, what I wasn't expecting was a significant portion of sun damage was right below my eye brows. Not everyone applies foundation on the eye area and that skin is probably the most susceptible to losing elasticity as we age (there's a reason why eye lifts are so popular). I tend to get freckles right below my brows and on my lids and didn't really put two-and-two together until after the scan.

What I then found is very few (if any) eye products contain sunscreen. The very popular Urban Decay Primer Potion has none and in general, unless you count the insignificant protection a mineral eyeshadow will give you, most of the eye products don't protect against the sun. I was then on a search for an eye product that I could wear from lid to brow that would offer sun protection and look good during the day.

What I found were the Illuminaré All Day Eye Colors (specifically for me, the shade Latte).
Finally, eye colors with SPF 15! These semi-matte creamy eye colors are highly water-resistant and last all day without creasing or fading. The colors blend fast and easy using either fingertips or our special brushes. All of our eye colors can be used as eyeliners and brow fillers when used with our eyeliner/brow brush. They are safe for contact-lens wearers and sensitive eyes. Our Extra Coverage foundation formula is also a fabulous base for our eye colors. 100% oil-free. .25oz (7.5ml) 
Retail price: $18 a tube

I managed to get my hands on a full sample set of these (though I forget where I ordered them from). The colors are all skin tone, ranging from the lightest to the darkest tones. For fair girls the darker shades can be used for contouring, brow filling, eyeliner or just a nice dark base while the lightest shades give enough coverage to erase hyper-pigmentation on the lids, freckles, veins, etc.

The texture of these is a bit dry, they are very pigmented so a little goes a long way and they dry quickly. It is recommended that if you have dry lids, to apply something prior to the color that has more moisturizing properties, but oily lids can apply directly to the lids.

Once I finish my mini tube of Latte, I'm going to spring for a full size tube. It lasts all day on me and it is a great base for eyeshadow and it conceals everything on my lids.

I have swatches of all but the two lightest shades (Perla Rossa & Perla Bianca - both of which contain shimmer and are recommended for highlighting) below.
From left to right:
top row: Latte, Cafe Latte, Cappuccino, Mocha Cinnamon, Cafe Mocha
bottom row: Cafe Americano, Espresso

If you think you might be the shade Cafe Americano, Camera Ready Cosmetics has the shade 50% off till it sells out.

Other shades are available at Dermstore, Skinstore (20% off with code G2GFALL), and the Illuminaré website.

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide-5% & Titanium Dioxide-4.4%
Ingredients: Cyclomethicone, Iron Oxides, Decamethyl Cyclopentasiloxane, Quaternium 18 Hectorite, Lauryl Methacrylate/Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Dimethicone Copolymer, Propylene Carbonate, Phenoxyethanol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, PEG/ Ppg-20/15 Dimethicone, Alumina, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben

Disclosure: Some affiliate links were used.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cherry Culture Sale

Cherry Culture has put out another sale, 20% off everything through the 28th of August with code BCK2S.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Boscia 20% Customer Appreciation Week!

Dying to try the Boscia Makeup Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil because of Pink Sith or the Pure Purifying Black Strips because of Aquaheart's Obsessions before Sephora Friends & Family? Never fear! Sale code is here!

Through August 31st, take 20% off your order with code thankyou.

Review: Shaveworks The Cool Fix Targeted Gel Lotion

One of the things I was most excited to try from my August Birchbox was the Shaveworks The Cool Fix Targeted Gel Lotion which "treats ingrown hairs, razor bumps, razor burn and redness". As my skin is very sensitive, shaving nearly always irritates me to some extent so I was looking forward to a nice cooling lotion (especially cooling given the heat)!

I shaved, dried up and got ready and applied the lotion on my legs. First reaction, "oooh that feels nice"... second reaction "owww, it stings!" - yeah, my sensitive recently shaven legs could not deal with the product. It's fine the day following a shave, but shortly after is a no-go for me.

It has a slightly icy smell (also I think I smell a bit of menthol which is likely why it stung) and is a translucent blue color. I'll finish this as a regular moisturizer but won't be using it after shaving. Glad I didn't spring for a full size!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Current Faves: Chubby Pencils

Lately, I can't get enough of chubby eye pencils. The two newest additions to my ever-growing collection are the two above, which I have been reaching for everyday. They are both so easy to just swipe right at the lash line and go. I'd imagine they'd work great as bases too. I get no transfer upon application and no smudging throughout the day. Love love love.
freshly sharpened just for you!
I am loving the Sephora Waterproof Jumbo Liner 12HR in Taupe which I picked up during the Sephora hatbox promotion. At $10 it is pretty close to drugstore prices and I have found nothing like this at the drugstore. This lasts for 12+ hours (it's actually a little shocking it lives up to the claims)!

I received the Sue Devitt Eye Intensifier Pencil in Golden Triangle for participating a lot during the last Vox Box from Influenster. These pencils are significantly more expensive at $22 a pop but ULTA has sets of 2 for $35 which makes it only slightly more expensive than the Sephora liners. I find the color range for the Sue Devitt pencils much more work appropriate, their line consists of more classic colors, while the Sephora line is trying to compete with the somewhat crazier colored Urban Decay pencils. Same great lasting power. Golden Triangle is somewhere in between khaki and brown. It is beautiful yet subtle and fine for work.
 left Sephora Taupe | right Sue Devitt Golden Triangle
For some reason the green isn't showing up as much in the swatch, but it definitely has a green tinge, especially next to my brown eyes!

Both are made in Germany.

Both are awesome.

Go buy them!

Disclosure: I received the Sue Devitt because I love Influenster and talk about it a lot. I used shop sense links because I remembered this time. Once again, I make some pocket change if you click the links. Thankfully, I have a full time job and don't depend on it.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Link Loves: My Favorite UK Beauties (#3)

Today I thought I'd share a few of my favorite UK Beauty Bloggers (because I can and also because a couple weeks ago when I was writing my paper I made a few of these Link Love posts in advance).

Cami Loves Kiwi - Very eloquent and slightly verbose but always fun to read and watch (psst she makes the most entertaining vlogs).
Jellyminx Thinks - Kelly swatches everything including her entire MAC collection which means she is a lemming creator!
Lipglossiping - Charlotte takes amazing photographs so her swatches are nearly always spot-on.
Daily Polish - The name says it all. Swatches everyday, 540 and counting.

Do you have any favourite* (<-- look at me being all British spelling?!) UK bloggers?

*Actually, I'm going to share a little story. As some of you know, I studied Architecture in college (if not, now you know). Because the majority of my professors had either lived or studied in Europe, they used the British spelling of things (they also justified all their text) so of course me being the starry eyed architecture student followed suit (when your professors talk about having flats abroad, drinking espresso along the streets of Paris and Rome you kind of want to emulate them). It was only after I had switched my major after 4 long years of not sleeping did I change back to the normal American spelling of things. Any current or prior architecture students will understand! /end personal story time

L'oreal Valiant vs Revlon Carbonite

I was at CVS picking up a prescription and saw the L'oreal Colors of Hope collection that just came out. The palettes really didn't catch my eye, but one of the nail polishes definitely did! It's in the color Valiant #355 and I was pretty sure it was a dupe for Revlon Carbonite which is a close color to the Chanel Graphite.
In the bottles they look pretty similar.
But when you get them on the nails, Carbonite is definitely more glittery and speckled and Valiant is more of a true metallic, though the base color is very similar.
Here's a better picture (though you can see the sad state of my cuticles in this one - apologies!). From left to right: Revlon Carbonite (pointer), Revlon Carbonite (middle), L'oreal Valiant (ring), L'oreal Valient (pinkie)

Personally, I'm more of a fan of the Revlon. These retail for about $5 at drugstore nationwide. I hope this was helpful!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

When You Shouldn't Order

As a beauty junkie, it's hard to not partake during major sales, launches and events but sometimes sitting them out can be good for your wallet in a way you wouldn't expect. Companies constantly e-mail consumers with the newest thing and I know I am on the receiving end of far too many e-mails from brands trying to make me buy the latest and greatest product. The majority of these e-mails go right to the trash folder and eventually the company may catch on and think "oh, she hasn't ordered in awhile"... and they might send you free money.

In the last few years I have received countless e-mails begging me to come back and shop at a brand. Just to name a few: Victoria's Secret, Bliss,, Billion Dollar Babes, Gilt...

Each time a bit of time passes between purchases, companies will invariably send me a coupon code to use on my next order and many companies offer special coupon offers for birthdays, holidays and "just because".

A few years ago, even Neiman Marcus sent out holiday gift codes to everyone subscribed to their newsletter (it definitely caused a bit of a frenzy on makeupalley).

Gilt just sent me a $30 "please come back" and I bought a pair of $30 earrings for the $5.95 shipping and handling charge (though I've definitely spent a good chunk of change on the site without any special offers).

So sometimes it pays to sit out, get the annoying, sometimes multi-day e-mail alerts and wait for the begging to begin and the "we miss you" e-mails to pop up in your inbox!

Disclosure: I included some referral links in this post.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Have You Been To Nordstrom Rack Lately?

...If not, I would recommend taking a trip. There are great makeup deals to be had!

In one of the racks in the cosmetics section, I spied a bunch of Twilight products on clearance, including a bunch of the small palettes ($4.20), the body shimmer and lipgloss.
They also had the Duwop Lip Venon Twilight version for $2.40 on clearance! I thought for the price I would give it a try.

I also saw a bunch of Stila sets, though I didn't find them discounted enough to be worthwhile, especially with the online warehouse sales Stila has been offering as of late.

I also saw a few Mor skincare items, Bliss skincare and the usual array of haircare products. There were some Philosophy products available but nothing I needed or wanted.
They also had the old version of the Too Faced Smoky Eye Palette for the pretty awesome price of $12.97! And there were a good 30 of these so the majority of them were untouched. These are still $31.50 on the Too Faced site.
At only $12.97 that palette came home with me!

Definitely stop by your Nordstrom Rack if you have one near you and let me know if you find any great deals!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Salma Hayek Nuance Beauty - Initial Thoughts

Since the Salma Hayek Nuance line is "Buy 1 get 1 Free" at CVS this week, I thought I would do a few mini-reviews of the products I've tested or swatched thus far so you can get an idea of what to possibly try and what to skip. I'm hoping to try out more from the line myself so there may be future reviews. So far, I have mixed feelings. I think the price point on some of the items is a little high, some of them are a little weird, some are decent quality and probably worth the price - anyway, onward!
The first thing I tried was the Dark Cacao & Coffee Firming Body Cream which retails for $14.99 but I tested one of the free sample packets available. First of all, I think the price of this is a little ridiculous for a drugstore lotion (whether or not the firming claims are valid). Second, I don't know if Ms. Hayek did any kind of test market for this lotion cause it's gross looking. It's a murky brown-gray color which I posted on twitter but won't subject you all too and it just looks disgusting. It is not something I would want to rub all over my body but I did for the blog (for you, I did it for you!) and I survived. It's fairly moisturizing and light when you apply it. The smell is a bit pungent (DH wrinkled his nose when he entered the room) and sticks around for awhile after application. Really, my biggest issue is how the product looks and I will not be buying it!
I also picked up a sample packet of the Flawless Wear Tinted Moisturizer in the shade Light 245. I kind of had an idea that the light shade (the lightest in the range) wouldn't be light enough for my pale skin and from swatching it, it looks like I'm right. This retails for $13.99 and contains your typical 1floz of product which is a bit more comparable to drugstore prices. I didn't get a chance to wear this on my face as it would have looked ridiculous, but if you've tried it, definitely leave your comments below!
rubbed in a bit
One of the items I actually purchased was the Ultra Shine Lip Gloss which comes in your standard slanted squeeze tube and retails for $7.49 for about 1/2 oz. This promises "intense hydration" and has a lot of nourishing ingredients. It has a sweet smell and taste and is slightly sticky upon application but becomes a bit less so when it's been on the lips for a moment. I found this gloss similar to the Lancome Juicy Tubes - a bit sticky, gel-like, sheer formula, sweet taste & smell. This is ok, but I prefer more moisturizing & less sticky lip glosses. The shade I bought was Pomegranate which is a nice bright & juicy coraly-peachy-pink.

As you can see, so far I haven't found something in the line I'm in love with but I'm willing to try a few more things before giving up and this is the best week to do so with the sale! Any recommendations for those of you who have tried other items that you loved?

Have you tried anything from the Salma Hayek Nuance Beauty, Skincare & Bodycare range? I bought the cleansing wipes as well (though I haven't tried them yet) and I think I'm going to try the eyeshadow next or maybe a lipstick, or both?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Missha Deal (today only!)

If you've been curious about something other than the Perfect Cover BB Cream over at Missha, the MISA Cho Bo Yang BB Cream is on sale today for $9.99 which is about 80% off the normal price of $45.99. Pretty good deal! This particular BB Cream doesn't have the color range of the Perfect Cover version but I've heard it's very forgiving.

Anyone planning on picking this up?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Review: Yuko Aqua Gold Repair Through Leave-In Conditioner

I was recently sent the Yugo Aqua Gold Repair Through Leave-In Conditioner "for dry, sensitized, and damage hair". As many of you know, I have quite dry naturally curly hair which is prone to frizz especially during the humid summer months. So the fact that this was specifically made for my hair type made me quite excited.

I had previously used and raved about the Goldwell Sun Reflects Leave-in Conditioner. This one is very similar. The only major difference is this one is unscented (there is a smell to the product but it becomes nearly undetectable after application). While I was a fan of the citrus scent of the Goldwell, this one is a bit more convenient as it doesn't interfere with any perfume or fragrance you are wearing and if you are sensitive to scents in general, this would be a better and more accessible choice.

The spray deposits a fine mist and the product doesn't feel overly thick or sticky but somehow the moisture sticks around till the next time I wash my hair. When I spray it on my hand, it simply feels moisturizing and doesn't leave a residue and dries fairly quickly even without the addition of alcohol (which is great for all hair types).

The bottle retails for $24 and contains 6.8 ounces of product. It is available for purchase online as well as select salons throughout the US and Canada. I'll definitely be repurchasing and I actually prefer this over the Goldwell as it doesn't interact or clash with fragrances or lotions (and of course the fact that it isn't limited edition!).

Disclosure: This was sent by Yuko for review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Link Loves: Bring These Bloggers Back! (#2)

I thought I would do this week's link love a little different. This "episode" is themed "Bring These Bloggers Back". There are so many great bloggers in the big blogging sea but today I'm going to reference some bloggers that stopped posting or haven't in awhile. Maybe if I get them enough traffic they would consider coming back. Even though they've stopped posting, their blogs are still a wealth of information and entertainment.

The Pink Train Case
The Gloss Goss
A Beautyful Sentiment
New York City Pretty

Do you have any favorites that recently left the fold?

Next week we'll be back to current bloggers so stay tuned.

Bath & Body Works Fragrance Event

Who else popped by their local Bath & Body Works for the Paris Amour Fragrance Event? I definitely couldn't pass up the opportunity to get a free full sized lotion and try out their new fragrance, Paris Amour.
Paris Amour's notes breakdown:
* Top: Sparkling Mandarin, Petite Strawberry, Cassis, Pink Champagne, Apple Blossom, Dewy Freesia
* Middle: Luscious Peach, Jasmine Petals, French Tulip, Water Lily, Frangipani
* Dry: French Vanilla, Coconut Milk, Amber Wood, Sandalwood, Creamy Musk

I love these light fruity fragrances. It actually reminds me of a slightly softer version of Into The Wild which I am also a fan of. I'm not the biggest fan of floral notes in fragrances but the ones in Paris Amour are quite light and fresh.

The deal for the free Charmed Life lotion is still available online and in store for those of you on the west coast. It's already past 9pm here in Maryland. The minis are on sale for 3/$10 and they were honoring that as the Signature purchase. The girls at my Bath & Body Works were greeting everyone entering the store with a very enthused "Bonjour!" and I think they might have convinced me to enter some contest. Either way, it was a nice treat.

Anyone else pick up something at the event and the nice freebie? Did you try Paris Amour?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Current Fave: Sephora Collection Precision Pore Cleansing Pad

I picked up the Sephora Collection Precision Pore Cleansing Pad when Sephora had the VIB bonus gift hat box thing a week or so ago. I've been meaning to pick up one of the L'oreal cleansers that came with one of these little guys, but I think they discontinued the only one I would ever use so instead of shelling out $7 for the scrublet and a cleanser I would throw away, I decided to pick this up for a mere $5. This one is also prettier. 

As I mentioned in a prior post, I'm finding that mild daily exfoliation has really helped my skin battle breakouts. Since my skin is on the drier side, the foundation clings to dry bits even after cleansing my face and with a little exfoliation, I don't run into that issue as much. I still get some breakouts, but it has not reached the level that it was earlier this year (thanks to the Fixzit and then mild exfoliation).

This little pad has tiny little scrubbers. They are super fine and actually pretty soft. Not abrasive at all like some physical exfoliants. This plus a regular cleanser has been wonderful and these are very easy to disinfect too.

Did I mention it's pink?

Disclosure: Utilized the shop sense platform which I usually am too lazy to use with most of my posts. AKA if you click the link/picture, I make $.01. I know, I'm totally going to get rich.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

August Birchbox

I had already seen a few August Birchbox videos and blog posts so even though I was still disappointed with this month's box, I was more prepared for the disappointment when it came in the mail today. After several boxes with full sized or at least nicely sized deluxe samples, this one was a bit of a let down.
In this month's box:
* June Jacobs Papaya Purifying Enzyme Masque (3.7oz, $62|sample size .5oz)
* Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel (6oz, $16|sample size .6floz)
* Shaveworks The Cool Fix (2floz, $11 & 5.3floz, $25|sample size 1oz)
* Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer (1oz, $36|sample size .25oz)
* Twistband Hair Tie (set of 3, $5)

The thing that really annoyed me in this box was the Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel because it's in a packet that doesn't lend itself to multiple uses but the instructions only say to use a nickel sized dollop per use. It's something that I am interested in trying but couldn't they have put it in a bottle so it didn't look like a free sample you'd get in a sephora order?

Honestly, notating the products and their full sized values, the box isn't really a bad deal. Who knows who would actually pay $5 for 3 hair ties, but at nearly $2 per tie, it does add value to the box.

I'm excited to try the June Jacobs mask and the Shaveworks gel. So all in all, not a total fail but it doesn't come close to the boxes with the full sized items!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Review: Rimmel Moisture Renew Creamy Lipgloss

I picked up one of the new-ish Rimmel Moisture Renew Creamy Lipglosses recently. I picked the shade Pink Benefit #105 just to be safe. It is a very pale pink with a bit of shimmer. I believe at CVS it was $6.99 but of course it depends on your location and which store you go to (Walmart is usually cheaper but doesn't have the BOGO type of sales that CVS has). One of the major perks of this gloss is it has an SPF of 15. I wish more companies would put SPF in their lip products.
This has your typical doe-foot wand, however, like the Revlon Coloburst Glosses, is slightly bendy. This one fits on my lips better than the Revlon one and it seems a bit softer.
As I mentioned, Pink Benefit #105 is a very sheer light pink with a bit of shimmer. It's a nice safe color and probably works best over a lipstick. The formula of this is quite thin, not sticky at all, and moisturizing. I like this gloss...

except it stinks.

I'm not the biggest fan of the Moisture Renew Lipstick smell. But for some reason, the gloss scent sticks around a lot longer and it's stronger than in the lipstick and it seems they tried to cover the SPF smell more. I had my husband sniff it just cause I couldn't quite place the smell (he has a super sniffer). He said it smelled like roses or a type of flower and the SPF smell and I can swear there's a little eau de band aid. I almost wish Rimmel just left it as the SPF smell, at least that makes it a normal not great smelling thing that you're used to and can deal with. But the roses or tulips or whatever they are on top of the SPF... I'm not a fan.

So, if you can deal with having this right under your nose, than absolutely go for it. It's a really nice gloss otherwise. But if you don't like the sound of the above (well you should really still try it since I am a tiny bit dramatic and if you buy it at CVS, Rite Aid, etc you should be able to return) safely take a pass.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Link Loves, After: My First Foray (aka #1)

I just got back from another lovely facial at Serenity Zone Med Spa and now I'm going to write yet another paper. No reason to delay pampering due to something silly like, oh I don't know, not failing my graduate school class! You know I'm mostly joking, but my husband has promised a Harry Potter and lunch "date" tomorrow if I finish it by tonight so I better start cracking.

But before I do, I wanted to do my first "personalized" link love.

I've thought about this for some time. Even though the survey indicated that link loves have more positive than negative thoughts, the survey had less than 50 respondents and there are over 600 of you! Nevertheless, I've decided to dip my toes in the personalized link love waters. So every weekend, I'm going to share my favorite posts from around the blog-o-sphere or bloggers I think you should read in general. 

Cosmeddicted shares her pointers for completing a Project 10 Pan and also a staggering 20 products that she has recently used up! And she's starting another one soon according to the post (a bit crazy don't you think - though in a good way). Kudos to her, I don't have the patience to do something like that.

Olivia is the queen of reviews. One afternoon years ago I think I read practically every review she had posted on makeupalley and now her beauty blog is filled to the brim with even more information. I also admit that I still feel kind of lucky that we correspond on twitter, she's a bit of a makeupalley celebrity to me.

One of my all time favorite beauty bloggers (Nouveau Cheap) has been running this really cool series called "From The Vintage Vault" where she talks about some older makeup. Definitely brings back memories for me!

Elvira is the biggest lemming creator ever. Thankfully she is very honest (so if she likes something, I know it will be good). Honest is the nicest description I could use, Elvira! Anyway, the latest item is the Bosica Makeup Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil. Read the review and you'll want it too. Hey, I rhyme!

I want Sleek Pout Paints even more after reading this post from Le Petit Jardin De Liloo (aka tsunimee). I wish Superdrug would come to the US! 

Are 5 blogs enough to keep you all occupied while I write my paper? One can only hope.

This was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Mental note to copy and paste links of posts I want to feature throughout the week so I don't have to remember where I saw something or when it was posted. I am really forgetful.

Feel free to leave some great bloggers or blog posts you read this week (excluding your own). Procrastination is not a crime, I swear.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Giveaway Winner Results

The lucky winner of the $25 giftcard to SkincareRx/Apothica is...

Donna J!

Donna, I'll be e-mailing you requesting more info to forward to Apothica.

Congratulations and thank you to all who entered!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

July Empties

Becca Luminous Skin Colour in Porcelain - This lasted forever. It's quite a larger size for a foundation-like product as it's 1.7oz. It is very very sheer coverage, but how I wore it was layered with the Bare Escentuals/ Minerals foundation in Fair to have a nice slightly dewy base in preparation for the powder. It does give a hint of coverage so I didn't have to use nearly as many layers of the BE which cut down a bit of the flaking I get. It's pricey at $42 but a little goes a long way. A plus, it has an SPF of 25. I'm not sure if I would repurchase. I get a comparable result from BB Creams and the Missha ones always go on sale so I get them for a fraction of the price. However, I do have a "back up" if you will, just in another color which I'm slowly working my way through now.
Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals Foundation in Fair - If you believe it, this isn't even a full size of this product and I used it nearly everyday for 2 months and then every so often for years before I actually "hit pan". I've mentioned BE a lot on this blog and for good reason. Although it is a powder, if you use the right amount (very little), it looks very natural on the skin and in my opinion is the best powder makeup for those with drier skin types. This is a sample 2g/.06oz size so even at a slightly high $25, it is well worth the money, especially if you layer this with a tinted base as I do. I've started using a new full sized jar and I like the new little sifter that can close except the holes got considerably larger. Dear Leslie, make them smaller again! It is so hard to figure how many "taps" one needs when a big pile of powder comes out.
Jane Iredale Lip Drink Lip balm - I think this may be my new favorite. I love this and already popped open my back up. I usually apply this at night as it's metal and is a softer balm. I can really tell the difference the next morning as my lips are soft and smooth. Love!
Epielle Facial Cleansing Tissues - I don't like these as much as the Cucumber ones. This variety burns my eyes. Thankfully I only had this one pack and can go back to my beloved Cucumber wipes. Can't beat them for $1 at most Big Lots!
CVS Brand Luminous Cleansing Pads - These are the generics of the Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Cleansing Pads and I bought it considerably reduced on clearance. I really like these but the packaging is so bulky! The bulky packaging is also one of the reasons why I love them - let me explain. Because this is a screw top plastic tub (unlike the Epielle delivery system), the pads stay moist. They are also able to add more of the solution as it likely won't leak. I guess one can't have the best of both worlds. I also found with these cleansing pads that my skin likes daily exfoliation to a degree. Because I tend to get dry bits throughout the day, if I don't exfoliate, the foundation sticks around even past a regular cleansing so this really cut down on the breakouts I was getting. So I probably would repurchase though not right away as I have a mountain of half finished cleansers cluttering my bathroom.
Sircuit Skin Cosmeceuticals Fixzit - Do I even need to go into detail regarding this product?! I absolutely love it. Everyone should try it. If I could buy everyone that has breakouts it, I would. It is awesome. Check out my review with before and after pictures and you'll see why!

So not a ton of products this month but the two foundations got me a bit giddy (and wordy). What have you finished recently?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Review: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer

What a mouthful, right? I picked up the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer last week to try out in Fair. The concealer cost me $10.50 at a local-to-me CVS which honestly is pretty crazy for a drugstore concealer. I haven't tried the eraser foundation, mostly because those spongy tips drive me nuts especially if I'm going to be using them over breakouts. With this going around the eyes, I was less worried about harboring anymore bacteria than it was already going to.
Packaging besides the weird tip is pretty standard. I actually was surprised on how small it is, the promo pics make it appear much larger (or really longer) than it is.
Aside from the whole bacteria issue, the sponge tip is pretty cool. As with most products like this, you twist the little red thing below the sponge to wind the product up. 
Maybelline claims this "Erases dark circles, puffiness and fine lines."

Those are pretty extensive claims for a concealer. I can see it erasing the dark circles, but can you really erase puffiness? Anyway...

I wore this for about 3 days when temperatures were reaching 105 with higher heat indexes. I found this lasted throughout the whole day up till taking my makeup off at night 12+ hours later.

I also found it very pigmented. Very little needed is for application and so the sponge tip can go both ways. Either you twist very little but it's more than enough to cover your eye area or you twist too much and have to rub the excess off on a paper towel. The sponge tip does make application easy. It isn't streaky and is maybe a hair too large for the under eye area if you have deeper set eyes but should work for most people.

My problems with this were two-fold.
1. As evidenced by the sponge tip, this dries a whole lot darker than it is when you first apply it. The Fair color works great in theory, till it dries. It's not super dark or super orange but just enough so for me to notice it on my skin (in the summer no less when I am slightly less pasty than normal) which bugs me.
2. It lasts a long time but it is very drying. It starts flaking about an hour after I put it on and it feels tight and uncomfortable. It's not as though you can really tell from far away but then again, for $10.50, I expect more.

Whether it lives up to the treatment claims is unknown for me, mostly because I returned this already and I didn't use it enough to see any change in my under eye area. I definitely get more results with the Garnier and that feels so wonderful and cool going on.

So I would definitely not repurchase and I already got my money back (thanks to the CVS awesome beauty return policy).

And a quick recommendation, you know how fashion bloggers say to "size up" or "size down". I would recommend getting a shade lighter and "sizing down" than you would expect to need especially if you like to buy eye concealers slightly lighter than your foundation color for a brightening effect.

Have you tried this yet? What were your thoughts?

Monday, August 1, 2011

JT Asks: Link Loves Results

Thanks to everyone that took the little survey from my last JT Asks post. Instead of keeping the results of the survey to myself, I thought I would share the results with you all.

The responses were as follows:
I hate them!                                       6
I scan over them and don't read them 11
I have no real opinion of them            4
I love them! The more the better!       5
They help me find new blogs to read 19

For the negative/positive/neutral chart, I grouped the positive responses into "I love them! The more the better!" and "They help me find new blogs to read". Negative responses were "I scan over them and don't read them" and "I hate them!".

Most respondents only selected one option, 6 respondents selected more than one options.

I had a total of 38 participants; however, I'm fairly sure that google forms allows you to enter something twice so there could definitely be a margin of error with the results.

Basically, the conclusion is the grand majority of people like link loves. This actually surprised me from a blogging standpoint. I've stopped participating in the Beauty Blog Link Love just because it would almost pain me to post the long list on my blog. When it was smaller, there was a sense of community and I actually followed most if not all of my fellow link love posters. Now it just seems too big and mechanical to me. Just with any other extracurricular (if you will), I think stopping when it stops being fun is a good way to operate.

I've tossed the idea around of starting my own link love but until that comes to fruition, I won't be posting anymore in the near future.

Did the results from my survey surprise you? I'd love to keep an open dialogue regarding these issues.