Sunday, May 31, 2015

Reviews Coming Soon to a Jeweled Thumb Blog Near You*

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 15, 2015

Love Laura Mercier Crème de Pistache But Hate The Price?

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


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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 7, 2015

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fragrance Flash Reviews I

I was going through my blogger posts and realized I had quite a few posts that I had started but never finished, this being on of them. Flash fragrance reviews. I love fragrance and when I worked at ULTA years ago now, that's the section where I worked until I starting working in the makeup area. I got to know scents very well and amassed quite the collection so I rarely buy fragrance nowadays and stick to my (mostly) vanilla based fragrance. You can see an older post on my favorite fragrances here. Either way, I thought I'd finish this post and give you some first impressions of some recent spritzes. My husband is very sensitive to smells so there may be little phrases of his impressions as well, since he's pretty amusing.
Beckham Signature Women Eau De Toilette - I was going through my fragrance sample collection and found this. With notes of Candy apple, Patchouli, Musk, Vanilla, Heliotrope, Anise flower, Amber and Orchid, it sounded ok but yuck! In the sample vial it smells like mens cologne and on me it smells awful. It reminds me of something else that I can't quite place but it's a fairly generic type of scent. Either way, I think the anise with patchouli, musk and heliotrope makes it just too much for me. A pass.
Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black & White - I'm mentioning these together since not only have I tried them together and separately, but a lot of bloggers and youtubers alike have indicated they wear them together. Black is described as "an addictive blend of alluring violet, sensual sandalwood, and rich vanilla that strikes the perfect balance between masculine and feminine" and White "a captivating blend of delicate peony, chic muguet, and tender musk for a feminine scent with dark sophistication". Together, I found them simply overwhelming; I didn't really start enjoying the combination till about the 4th hour and the idea of smelling it so strongly on myself would make me nervous about wearing it - granted, it does have some lasting power with just one spritz of Black and one spritz of White. Apart, Black was a bit too spicy for me. I didn't really get the sandalwood or the rich vanilla; what I got was something similar to Opium. Sephora puts this fragrance in the same family as scents that I love, but it also describes it as a warm and spicy floral, which is odd since the 3 notes listed are all notes that tend to smell good on me (and I generally don't think of the 3 scents they mention as particularly spicy).  Something tells me there's something else in there. White somehow seemed to give me a top note of rose (unlisted), which I can smell from a mile away since I usually hate it, but again, there are only 3 notes listed in the description. As it settles down, it becomes a bit more sweet and definitely less overpowering than the Black scent. Black combined with a 2nd fragrance, like a straight vanilla works well, but I'm not sure it's worthy to "purchase" though I managed to buy 4 "try these fragrances and redeem rollerballs" when I saw them at my local Sephora in JCPenney on clearance for $15, so I'm going to have to get something. In any case, my husband was definitely not a fan and threatened to get rid of the clothes I was wearing at the time and that it "didn't smell like me".
Calvin Klein Euphoria - Pretty much a classic. Described as "a contrast between exotic fruits and seductive florals, for a rich, creamy, seductive signature", it lists notes of Pomegranate, Persimmon, Green Notes, Black Orchid, Lotus Blossom, Champaca Flower, Liquid Amber, Mahogany Wood, Black Violet, Cream Accord. You can definitely smell the bit of freshness and a tiny bit of the amber/wood/creamy notes that I tend to like, but I'm not sure it's for me, even though my husband remarked "it's more of a [my name] perfume". I had a headache that day and I was worried that the perfume caused it because certain florals can do that to me, but then again, tree pollen has been at an all time high and I am pretty much allergic to everything and have had on and off headaches since the trees started trying to procreate so who knows really.
Ralph Lauren Romance - A sweet Sephora employee and I were talking fragrance one day and she almost made me take a sample vial of this home. I think she wanted to at least look like she was working cause we were having a fun time. I also sold her on trying Philosophy Falling in Love (you know you like fragrance when you start 'selling' your favorites to Sephora team members)! Anyway, the notes listed on Sephora indicate "Sungoddess Rose, Marigold, Ginger, Chamomile Oil, Yellow Freesia, White Violet, Lotus Flower, Day Lily, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Musk". I basically wasn't a fan for the first 4 hours of wear time on this either. I don't like about half of these notes depending on where they are sourced from; heavy doses of freesia can give me an epic migraine and in this case, there doesn't seem to be a base of enough creaminess/vanilla to even things out for me. My husband took a sniff a few hours later and said it wasn't bad but we both agreed it just wasn't quite right. Thank goodness I didn't tell him it had patchouli. He claims to hate it, but half my fragrances have it as a note!

That's all for the moment, though there are a few I'll need to dig up from notes on my phone. In the meantime, since I am suddenly interested in trying all sorts of fragrances, I think I'll keep this up (or I hope so) since fragrance is fun, but it is very personal. Till then...

Monday, May 4, 2015

When You Need To Pop

Let's face it. Unless you're a saint, you've probably popped a breakout during your lifetime. Zits, spots or whatever you choose to call them are probably something most of us have dealt with. Some more than others, some longer than others. If you have the patience to wait for them to heal and go away before popping them, I salute your patience. Me? I can't help but do it occasionally and I'm giving my tips and tricks to get them gone with the least amount of scarring possible.

I am a bit of a picker and it's mostly when I'm bored and/or not paying attention. At work during a slow drag? Guilty. Sitting in DC traffic, you got me!

Probably the most important thing when dealing with breakouts is cleanliness. Don't try to do anything when you have makeup on. Likely, if you open anything, your foundation which has been clinging on your face for several hours will now be deposited into your lovely pore. The chances of a zit popping up in that exact place several days later is now quite a bit higher. The best time is after you have removed your makeup and cleansed your face.

And even if your fingers are super clean, I wouldn't use them. I know most recommend using some sort of tissue but I prefer Q-tips. One, I can actually see what I'm doing; two, my fingers are nowhere near my face and three, the "rolling" action many recommend (no squeezing) is very easy when you're using something that's rounded.

Now once again, don't pop your pimples, but if you've got to do it, I think Q-tips are the best option without going to a professional, of course!

PS I am not a skincare expert, nor a doctor! So feel free to take my recommendation like a grain of salt.