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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Whats In My Mailbox: Small Makeup Haul + Mini Reviews

Today was another good day in the world of Ang's Mailbox. Only, technically none of these products were IN my mailbox as much as they were on my doorstep or given to me personally by my mailman. I received some much anticipated, highly recommended, goods. I am working on their reviews already, the basics at least. I actually have to include the parts about how I actually TRIED the product and what I THINK of it, you know, the heart and soul of a review.

Coco Beau Big Fat Firm Foundation Brush! 

After watching and reading many positive reviews about this brush, I caved under pressure. The pressure I put on myself, mind you, so does that even count as being pressured? In any event, I bought it. It was around 27 Euros which was approximately in the $50's. I think I had a 15% coupon code from an online source but the bad news is there is no record of this and I could just be making it up all together since I can't find it in the first place.

This is the most mammoth foundation "paddle" style brush I have ever seen. If all goes as predicted, it should get the job done in record time. I am so excited to try it that I will probably go wash my face and reapply my foundation because I can't wait for the morning.
Overall First Impressions:
-Looks exactly how I hoped it would
-Feels exactly how I hoped it would 
-Took slightly less than 3 weeks to arrive
-Worth it! Can't wait to try!


I did just what I said I would! I washed off my makeup and I started all over again. Not a full-face by any means, but at least the foundation part. This brush is no joke, it is amazing! I am comparing it to my Sephora Pro-Platinum foundation brush for reference. With the Sephora, my hand usually starts cramping up because its smaller and I have to keep going and going with it and blending and blending. However, with the Coco Beau brush, its so large and heavy duty that its just easier to hold on to. Therefor you can hold it further back on the handle and let the brush do the work for you. In addition, the brush part of it doesn't bend so easily that you feel you have to grip it tighter to get more density. Overall, the large dense brush makes it easier to cover more ground with each swipe. And no shedding. Not that my Sephora brush did either, but I have some MAC brushes that do and it is a pain. Furthermore, the quality of the Coco Beau brush will be obvious once you have it in your hands. Its made very well and certainly looks like something I will have in my collection for a long time to come. Money well spent. Here is a review you may enjoy:

Lipstick Queen Lipstick in Saint: Natural
I have to admit, this shade was not at all what I expected it to be when I looked at swatches and other people's lips that were drenched in the Natural shade from the Saint line. Quickly, Lipstick Queen has Saints (sheer) and Sinners (opaque matte). I wanted a nude, of course. When don't I want a nude lipstick. Someone told me if I only tried one, try this one. I have to admit, its not what I would call "Natural". You will see this is swatches. 

The texture is Uh-may-zing. Its just great. Its smooth, hydrating, moisturizing, and every other word that is the opposite of dry. For a sheer, it deposits a lot of color, at least this shade on my lips. My lips are fairly pigmented and the more I look at them with this lipstick on, I am beginning to see that this shade is an amplified version of the natural color of my lips.
Lipliner (left) Lipstick (right)

Lipstick Queen: Lipliner, Natural
Again, not what I think of when I think "natural" but it does match well with the lipstick being that they are the same shade. First, I love the packaging of both items I got. Second, any lipliner that comes with its own sharpener is off to a good start in my makeup book. Again, Lipstick Queen has mastered the fine art of texture. This lip liner is very soft. Much softer than your typical MAC lipliner or any pencil liner, and softer than my favorite Chanel Natural lipliner. This is similar to the texture of an Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner actually. So that means, very easy to blend. And blendy enough to just fill in your lips and forget the lipstick. Don't let the softness fool you, I felt the texture of it after it was sitting for a couple of minutes on my arm and it was completely dry. I bet this means it ain't budging.

Overall First Impressions:
-Love the packaging
-Love the texture of both products, very comfortable on the lips
-Love the whole Lipstick Queen concept and product selection
-No fragrance, good or bad
-Will be trying more for sure, to get that nude I'm looking for!

Nail Product Review: OPI Chip Skip, Does It Help to Skip the Chip?!

I came across an interesting product today while perusing the OPI nail polish selection at Trade Secret. Trade Secret, in my town, seems like an undiscovered little jewel among an otherwise boring and typical shopping plaza that would inhabit a grocery store and a generic shoe store. Normally I see TS store in the mall but this one was on its own and on its own it was. An untapped resource of everything I was looking for but couldn't find at Ulta. While searching for OPI Sweetheart, I couldn't just buy ONE thing so I starting looking at the fancy nail treatments that I didn't need. I came across Chip Skip for $12.50.

The idea behind this product is to apply one coat before you apply your regular nail polish routine. This one coat will help to adhere the polish you apply afterwards to the Chip Skip and thus prevent premature chippage to your manicure. The texture is like water. I wondered, how is this going to work? The brush is teeny tiny so you do not wipe the excess off on the sides of the bottle like you would your normal polish, you simply take the wand from bottle to nail. You will notice an offensive odor that doesn't quite ever vanish. If you can get past this then the Chip Skip dries super quickly on the nail, and you can go about your manicure as planned.

Putting OPI Chip Skip to the Test!

I am doing one hand with Chip Skip followed by my new OPI Sweetheart polish (review is in the works) and the other hand sans Chip Skip but with the same polish. Both hands will be completed with the same OPI Top Coat to finish the look. I will report back if I start to notice any earth shattering results. Otherwise, about five days should be enough for me to gauge a very thorough and well-researched opinion of the product.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cle de Peau Concealer: How Does It Measure Up?

Hourglass (L) CDP (R)
The much anticipated Cle de Peau concealer has finally arrived. And I love it. It truly is a very very good concealer. While it is creamy and easy to blend, it isn't so sticky that it would has the potential to slide right off. The directions state that it is for concealing basically anything from freckles to acne to under eye circles. So naturally, I gave it a try within about 3 minutes of its arrival. The concealer came in a very sophisticated and chic packaging, of course. The blue and gold casing looked like it held a fancy lipstick but instead it held a fancy concealer. Now, if you didn't read what I said about this product in an earlier post, this is the go-to concealer for makeup artists and celebrity clients. I looked up the concealer online and all kinds of images of different gorgeous female celebs popped up and under the picture it would say which shade of Cle de Peau concealer was used on them. Anyone from Kim Kardashian to Carmen Elektra. And everyone in between. This is THE concealer. And as I have said before, THE concealer is $70. So let's review the good points of this concealer:

CDP Beige (L) Hourglass Pearl (R) Virtually NO difference in color
The Good Points:

-Great texture
-Works to cover under eye circles as well as anything else on your face that you want to hide, making it a very multi-purpose product
-Blends super easily
-Available in 4 shades which is 1 shade more than most high-end concealers
-Not sticky, but tacky enough to stay put

Cle de Peau Vs. Hourglass Hidden Corrector:

 I was anxious to compare it to my Hourglass Hidden Corrector Concealer, my previous love. I swatched them both and I couldn't tell one bit of difference in the color of each of them. The CDP "Beige" and the Hourglass "Pearl" are identical. Beige is the second lights of the CDP and Pear is the lightest Hourglass shade. What I love about both of these shades is there is no yellow undertone to them. They are true flesh color with a slight pinky undertone. Very slight. And maybe I'm just making that up because I think everything has to have an undertone. The two concealers are very similar but there was one difference: CDP wasn't quite as creamy (aka sticky) as Hourglass. They both blend flawlessly but Hourglass just doesn't last that long when I cover sun spots and freckles. Concealer needs a certain amount of stiffness to it to be able to weather the storms of the day, ya know? That was the one and only difference. 

The Verdict:

If you have more than under eye circles to contend with, I highly highly recommend  Cle de Peau. On the other hand, if you have minimal imperfections and just want to brighten up the under eye area or inner corners of the eye, go for something cheaper. CDP is more of your full coverage concealer when you have more than a couple of flaws to cover up. I have 5 problem spots, not counting under eyes, so it will be a staple in my collection forever and ever. After 3 hours it is still going strong on the sun spots. With any other concealer, you would be seeing those babies surface full force.  So for the time being, I have broken up with Hourglass Hidden Corrector and found its replacement immediately. I jumped right in, yes, but it felt right. And it is true, you do get what you pay for.    

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Just a Couple of Helpful Tips I've Learned Along the Way!

Hey girls! I want to share two makeup tips with you. The first one being from Bobbi Brown, world renowned makeup artist and Poppy King, The Lipstick Queen.

How to Apply Concealer Under the Eyes:

Take the concealer all the way up to the water line. Most of us stop somewhere underneath the bottom lashes because we don't want to poke ourselves in the eye or get any of the product in the eye. Take it all the way up and stop at the water line. You'll live. This simple trick will make you look much more awake and flawless. You can blend it with your fingers but I like to blend with the Sephora Pro-Platinum Airbrush Concealer brush, especially for this application tip. Doing this will conceal the redness or even puffyness we experience in the morning. A great concealer for doing this is the Hourglass Hidden Corrector. Since its in stick form, it is easy to just swipe and blend. And so what if you get product in your eye, the product is formulated to be safe for the eye area anyway. I know this doesn't mean directly IN the eye but after a bit of practice, you will have it down. So go ahead and try it and see what you think!

Red Lipstick Trick:

We all want to be bold and brave enough to wear red lipstick. I'm sure you've heard that if you are going to wear red (or dark) lipstick then its best to go minimal on the eye makeup. But what does this mean? Poppy King shared a great tip and I'm passing it along to you. Most of us apply our eye makeup well before we put on our lipstick, right? Well, when we do this we often get caught up in our eye makeup that by the time we put our red lipstick on, its all way too much when paired together. If you are going to wear red lipstick, put the lipstick on BEFORE you do your eye makeup. This will serve as a guideline for how much or how little you want to do with your eyes. Makes sense! Now, go be bold!

A beautiful way to wear red lips! Dita Von Teese insprired:

Poppy King, The Lipstick Queen: Who and What?!

Check it out!

Poppy King, an Australian entrepreneur, started her own cosmetics company at age 18.
Quite frustrated and unimpressed by the choices in lipsticks thatwere available at that time, she made it her mission to create something better. Lipstick was Poppy's main focus. She went on to create a line of opaque lipsticks through her company Poppy Industries, that were all the rage in Australia. Poppy Industries would be a multi-million dollar business. Not too bad for the girl with a dream.

 When the company attempted to expand in the late 90's to make its way to the US, the business collapsed and went into liquidation and finally completely dissolved in 2002. Poppy certainly didn't collapse along with it. Somewhere along the way she became a big time executive for Estee Lauder.

Fortunately, Poppy is back on the lipstick pedestal where she belongs, giving it another try with her own line, Lipstick Queen. I hear they are fantastic. The Lipstick Queen gives you a variety of options in both texture and coverage: a line of sheer (saints) and opaque (sinners) lipsticks as well as a variety of glosses.

 Particularly attention-grabbing is her "15 Minutes of Fame" lipgloss line that is inspired by the Pop Art movement of the 1970's. There is one gloss for each minute. My personal favorite is minute "5", a peachy-toned neutral. Perhaps Poppy is best known for her opaque lipsticks. These are matte finish but not at all drying, according to those that have used them. Which is a big big plus in the area of matte lipsticks.

Interestingly enough, Ms. King has created a lipstick and gloss combination called "Jean Queen". What this is is a shade that she designed to compliment any of your blue jeans. I have no idea how this is accomplished except for the fact that blue and pink do compliment one another naturally. But if you want more information on this creative concept, go to the website and watch "Lipstick Queen TV" where Poppy does a short video and explains the concept behind "Jean Queen."

But its more than just girl meets lipstick, girl falls in love with lipstick, girl creates lipstick. Poppy does lip readings! That's right, she can can tell a lot about a person from the way their mouths are shaped, particularly how the lips turn up or down or straight across. Very interesting...

And not surprisingly, I'm dying to try one of each of the lipsticks. On the top of my list? The "Saint" line in Natural, Nude, and Pink. I don't branch out much do I?

Saint: Natural
Saint: Nude
Lipstick Lessons: FAQ's about the line and general how to's:

What Others Are Saying! ( &

"I just wanted to say your lipsticks are AMAZING!!! I just received my order, (from Barneys NY) and I just love them"

"I am an Australia girl who fell in love with your lipsticks from the very start and wore nothing else for almost a decade. I was heartbroken when we lost your beautiful products, and I am so excited to see that you're back and that you're still committed to creating amazing lipsticks"

"If I had to choose just one lipstick to wear for the rest of my life, this would be it. The color is a beautiful warm "my lips but better" shade that is sheer, but still has a beautiful depth of color (if that makes sense). Saint Nude is something like NARS Dolce Vita, which some people claim is the universally flattering shade. While I find Dolce Vita to be a sheer rose that is neutral leaning toward cool, Saint Nude is a sheer neutral leaning toward warm. The packaging is a beautiful gold-toned tube, and when you put on the top it makes a satisfying little "click" so you know it's staying on. Lipstick Queen products aren't cheap or easy to come by, but this gem is worth the hunt and the price tag."

"Take it from a person who has spent enough money on lipstick to finance a small country: this is the BEST product out there. I have "Red Sinner" and I LOVE it. It's matte, but not drying. The color stays a long time and never bleeds. I'm not a fashionista, but I feel positively glam in this lipstick.
I've tried the really expensive stuff, but it doesn't hold a candle to Lipstick Queen."

UPDATE: They have LQ products at Barney's and if you order from Barney's website, they are doing free shipping for all UPS ground orders. This would be the best deal right now for LQ. How do I know this? Because I ordered Saint Natural and the matching lip liner. Bad bad bad girl!

Meet Poppy King, The Lipstick Queen

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Baby Steps: A Very Wearable Red For The Timid!

 I've touched on NYC lipsticks in my top lipstick picks of all time blog post. Now, there have been a few added to the list and maybe a few that have lost their top spot, but this one remains the same. A true red lipstick winner, this one is. It is Sheer Red by NYC. This is a 99 cent lipstick, so already what do you have to lose by trying it? I will tell you what you have to lose, 99 cents. The price of a candy bar. I call this post "baby steps" because a lot of women are petrified of wearing red lipstick. I don't blame them. Red lipstick can be a confusing shade to pull off. Red lipstick is not just red lipstick. There are plenty of different shades and undertones to contend with. You have to be familiar with your skin tone and what looks best for those with your skin tone. But I will simplify it for you. Most anyone looks good in raspberry reds or red lipsticks with blue undertones. If all of that sounds confusing, just get NYC Sheer Red and be done with it.

Oh yeah, some say it is a dupe for Nars Flamenco. I will include swatches of both! 
Nars Flamenco, NYC Sheer Red (L2R)
NYC Sheer Red is what it says, a sheer red. You can certainly build and build until a darker and more vibrant red is achieved. Or you can swipe it around once or twice and end up with a sheer red. And the texture is also pretty good for a 99 cent lipstick. It isn't drying and it is actually moisturizing. I don't really need a lip liner with the lipstick but that will depend on how defined your lips are. I have one red lip liner in my collection because I only own 3 red lipsticks. It's Red Diva by Rimmel and it goes with all of my red's.  And all of my reds are the raspberry-toned reds that I am speaking so highly of. 
These are my lips after quite a few coats of the NYC Sheer Red, no lip liner. You can see the shine and the sheerness of the lipstick.
What others are saying! (as quoted from

"Best 99 cents I've ever spent. Beautiful cherry red color, but I think "Semi-Sheer Red" is a more accurate name; for reference, this is definitely a more intense and brighter red than Lipstick Queen Medieval. Smells exactly like Twizzlers and even though I usually hate scented makeup, I kinda love it. Great d/s find."

"The perfect sheer red! I wear it without lip pencil, adding a little gloss for winter time chapped lips! Yes, you can nick the lipstick if you aren't careful placing the top back on, bummer. Great color, great value."

"As far as dirt-cheap thrills go, this is one of the best. I'm usually drawn to pink or nude lip colors, so this deep red is a bit of a departure for me. But for 99 cents, I figured I had nothing to lose, and I'm so glad I took that stylistic chance. My favorite way to wear it is to apply a little lip balm first and then push the color onto my lips, rather than swiping it on. It gives a pretty raspberry stain that lasts through the second round of cocktails."

And 84% of the other 105 reviews this lipstick has are also Pro-NYC Sheer Red. So if you have always said "red just doesn't look good on me", bite your tongue, go to Wal-Mart, Target, or Rite Aid and pick this little drugstore gem up. Maybe get a back-up because you are gonna love it and you never know when companies just randomly decide to discontinue shades that everyone loves! They did it to Port. RIP NYC Port Ultra-Moist lipstick.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My New Miracle Product: Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream

1.7 ounce from low $30's-$50's depending where you get it
Its all happening for me! Not only have I found a fantastic moisturizer but I have also put an end to the foundation frustration that I was previously experiencing, and enduring for the last several years. The inspiration behind this double whammy of happiness? Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream. It is perfect for me in every way. For starters, it isn't too thick nor is it too thin. It applies so smoothly and is extremely wearable under make-up. There is no need to wait until it sinks into your skin before applying foundation because your skin is prepped and ready to go directly after moisturizer application. I will say that much like anything out there, this product will not be right for everyone. I will include a portion of some of the highs and lows in accordance to ratings from so that you can see whose skin the product speaks to and whose it just pisses off.

Skin Type Suitability:

Normal with dry patches
Normal with slightly oily t-zone or one or two small areas
Dry sensitive
Dry Aging

Unsuitable Skin Types:

Really Oily
Acne Prone

My skin type: 
Fairly normal yet sensitive with dry patches around my mouth and nose and occasional oily-ness and breakouts in the chin area.
Why It Works for Me:
Medium-weight, not too thick nor too thin
Wearable under makeup, not sticky
Doesn't ball up or flake when applying more of the product or going on to foundation
Takes care of dry patches
Lasts all day! Dry patches never resurface

No SPF (but that also = no breakouts) Make sure you are getting your SPF from somewhere! Never forget sunscreen! Forgetting sunscreen on a daily basis makes it pretty pointless to even bother to take care of your skin in the first place. Drink plenty of water and wear your sunscreen! And SPF 15 isn't good enough, girls!

What People Have Said About It (
"Absolutely LOVE this one. It is creamy enough to make you feel well hydrated, but it doesn't feel greasy and heavy. Also, it made my skin feel really smooth! It was as if i had an invisible silk sheen over my face. Really beautiful product."

"I love this moisturiser. I does what it claims. It smooths out the skin. It isn't too oily too. I have acne prone skin and it is the best moisturiser I have used. I often use oil free moisturisers unaware that acne prone skin still needs a lot of moisture. This is a happy medium between the Active Moist and the more Intensive moisturisers. I would highly recommend this to those suffering with mild acne"
"This product saved my skin!"
"This has been my moisturizer for years now, I'm not tempted to try anything else apart from switching to Intensive Moisture Balance in the winter. Love its moisturizing capabilities, my skin feels smooth and comfortable with no dry patches and it never makes my face look oily. Will continue to use this, love it."

And The Not-So Loving Reviews:
"Very disappointed. Was recommended this moisturizer after a dermalogica facial where the therapist described my skin as "dry". I have always considered my skin as combination with an oily t-zone with blackheads, frequent breakouts etc but dry cheeks. Have been using this moisturizer (from Dry Skin kit) and now have almost acne on cheeks, chin etc.. At least 10-15 sore red lumps over my cheek areas where I would never usually break out.. Stopping this immediately before it gets worse. "

"Everyone is ranting about this problem and my beautician recommended this for my very oily, yet dehydrated skin. After using for like 2 weeks, i noticed bumps around and it really clogged my pores big time. I dismissed this thought away until I read some reviews saying that smoothing cream did clogged their pores too."

"Yes, it is very moisturizing but its so greasy that I am starting to loathe it. Oh just too bad that I have sensitive skin type. Its also an average performer to other moisturizer such as Sisley Ecological Compound. And if you must (x10) stick to Dermalogica, why not try Barrier Repair, it does it for me."

Final Thoughts:
If you are interested in seeing more reviews, is the best of the best place for product reviews and advice of any kind. But there you have it. And yes, there are good and bad reviews but I have noticed many of the bad reviews were from those that had no business using the moisturizer in the first place. If you have super oily skin, you should know better than to use a product that is formulated for dry skin. That is like a blond using brown hair dye and then writing a terrible review about how it made her hair brown. You can say something is crap but that really only means it is crap for you. We can't take reviews of any kind too seriously. The best tip is to look for those that share your skin type and see what they say about a product. I mean, if you had curly hair wouldn't you want to ask someone with curly hair how they get theirs so shiny and frizz free? It would be illogical to go up to a straight haired girl to ask the same question. In closing, I love this stuff.

New Foundation Routine:
I know that my new moisturizer is what is really making this all work for me. I will be brief. This is what I use now and I'm extremely pleased with the results:

Vitamin C serum, Dermalogica moisturizer, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation, Hourglass concealer, Korres Mineral Powder Foundation SPF 30

I do not use the Korres as a setting powder. I use it as a second foundation. The Chanel product is so sheer but it creates a great base that works to give me an even skin tone with a little bit of coverage. The Korres works to provide the coverage, the SPF, sets the concealer, and provides a beautiful sheen. Best part is, it looks great all day and doesn't amplify my dry patches by the end of the day which powders are known for doing. I am hopeful that my new budding relationship will last and the Honeymoon phase will never end. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cle de Peau Concealer: Is This $70 Product Worth the Hype?!

I don't know the answer to that question yet. I'm debating on purchasing this product as we speak. While $70 is pretty outrageous to pay for a concealer stick, it wouldn't be too outrageous if it works like a $70 concealer stick. But having just purchased the Hourglass Hidden Corrector Concealer, I will feel a bit wasteful if I purchase the twice as expensive+ Clea de Peau. That being said, I'm sure I can get over it and will have no problems whatsoever coming up with a way to justify the purchase. So what's the story with this coveted concealer?

This is what I know about it:

-Available in 4 shades: Ivory, Beige, Ochre, and Honey, in that order  from lightest to darkest.
-It's a stick
-It's $70
-A make-up artist favorite
-Enhanced with Revitalizing Moisture Complex to even skin tone and lock in moisture
-Provides maximum coverage
-Does not crease
-Kim Kardashian uses the "Ochre" shade
-A ton of celeb makeup artists use this product on their clients!

Where to buy?
-Neiman Marcus
-Bergdorf Goodman
-You get the idea

This is what people are saying about Cle de Peau Concealer (

"This is my favorite concealer of all time. It does an amazing job at hiding all of your imperfections!"

"HG! HG! This is by far the best concealer I have ever used. It lasts all day even on my very oily skin in my humid, over 100 degree climate."

"What can I say? This product is very deserving of all the hype it gets. Conceals perfectly, blends beautifully, stays all day!"

"Yes, this concealer is VERY expensive...BUT....God, so worth it. It covers everything. And on those mornings where I look like I didn't sleep a wink---it brightens me up right away and I walk into work looking fresh and radiant. It's not cakey at all, goes on smooth, and to be don't look like you're wearing makeup."

"Okay so this is the most expensive makeup product I own, but IT DOES WHAT IT SAYS! At first I bought this as an under eye concealer and it didn't work out well, however, i started using it on red spots on my skin, and HOLY MOLY- does it work. It is the holy grail- believe the hype- it's that good, but it doesn't cost a ridiculous amount."

In Closing:
As for the reviews, there are about 500 of them out there on between each of the shades and one overall category. Out of those 500, there is approximately a 75% "will purchase again" rate. This is a pretty successful percentage because we can love something and still not repurchase it because it could be comparable to so many other products we love. But 75% of 500 reviewers loving this so much that they'd shell out $70 over and over again really does say a lot. After much deliberation, I have to say I am leaning more towards the "I'm gonna buy it" side. It is just too tempting!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Relatively Small Makeup Haul and Mini Reviews!

I bought a few things over this past week from a collection of stores: Target, CVS, Belk, Sephora. The only completely planned and intentional purchase being the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation. I would almost call the Hourglass concealer intentional as well because it is something I fell in love with the first time I tried it out at a Sephora but they were out of all three shades. Much to my surprise and absolute excitement, they brought some of the Hourglass line to my local Sephora store. And this time, they had one left in my shade, Pearl. So, you see, although I didn't specifically go to Sephora looking for it that day, it was always on my radar and therefor I had to buy it. While in Target today, I decided to check out their Elf line. I remember when Elf first came to Target, they had a few odds and ends and then slowly added more to their supply. I've only ever purchased the $1 items from Elf and I've been curious about their "Studio" line which is around $3 an item. I picked up their false lashes which you don't see pictured because they are in the trash can. After spending about .44 seconds on my lids, I made the absolutely definitive decision that even $1 was too much to spend on Elf false eyelashes. Also in the line-up, a Pureology hair care product, Revlon Nude Lustre Super Lustrous Lipgloss,Revlon Colorstay Concealer, and Nivea Lip Care lip balm in Milk & Honey (not pictured).

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation: I would like to touch more on this in my Foundation Frustration post but just in case you don't care to read that one, I am going to make sure you find out about this product one way or another and so I've snuck it into this post as well! I like this stuff. Its nothing particularly fancy but I find that the fancy foundations are the ones that give me the most trouble. And it turns out that what I thought I was looking for (a full-coverage foundation) wasn't actually what I needed. 

It feels very lightweight on the face
It's sheer coverage so its a great summertime foundation when you don't want to be plastered with a thick layer of makeup to eventually just sweat off by the end of the day
Good shade selection for both yellow and pink undertones
You can apply it with your fingers
Very easy to work with and easy to blend
Tube applicator is more sanitary
Doesn't look cakey or cling to dry patches
SPF 15

For someone looking for full-coverage, the sheerness can be a negative thing
It isn't extremely long-wearing
I noticed a little bit of color transfer but not very badly
Some people prefer a higher SPF content
Must remember to shake it a good bit or it will come out very runny!

Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer: Pearl
This is the one I've been wanting for a very long time! And right before I purchased this one, I purchased the Revlon Colorstay Concealer to ease my stick-concealing craving until I got my hands on the Hourglass one. It was worth the wait. 
Very easy application especially for under eyes
Creamy but not sticky
Has enough tackiness to stick rather than slide off your face
Good for both under eyes and various other skin imperfections
Very blendable!

$32 for a concealer
Only 3 shades
Isn't an all-day wear concealer, you do have to reapply from time to time
Hourglass on the left, Revlon on the right (both are the lightest shades)
Revlon Colorstay Concealer: Light
I saw a fairly positive review on YouTube, which I will include, that inspired me to try this concealer. I've never actually owned and routinely used a drugstore concealer before. I've tried drugstore concealers but they usually never saw the light of day beyond the initial experimentation. 

Easy application
Pretty easy to blend
Easily accessible at most drugstores
Cheaper alternative to Hourglass

Doesn't have the tackiness that Hourglass has, making it prone to rubbing off sooner
Does appear a bit cakey in the under eye area, which can be a problem for fine lines
Most Colorstay products really do STAY but this one doesn't really live up to the name
$12.99 fairly expensive for a drugstore concealer

Elf Studio Line Pink Passion Blush:

I was drawn to the Elf blush because of how the packaging mimics that of the NARS blush. However, it is only $3 so it doesn't quite measure up to that of NARS. Its a matte blush that is heavily pigmented but also very powdery. Yes, it has great color payoff but you will have a lot of loose bright pink powder particles to contend with and that can be a bit messy. Normally, I like a soft and smooth powder product but it is almost too soft. The shade that I chose, Pink Passion, is similar to NARS Desire which is another bright pink matte shade. Another bonus is that you get a fairly good sized mirror inside of the compact. Overall, I like it and think it is worth the $3 price tag.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss Nude Lustre:

After falling in love with Peach Petal, I got on, my most trusted beauty site for product reviews, and noticed that the shade Nude Lustre was a definite fan favorite. Everyone loves a good nude gloss, right? I'm no exception! In fact, I prefer them. So I made sure to keep my eye out while at any of my drugstores, only, I couldn't ever find one. They had even taken the little name plate out for Nude Lustre and doubled up on the Peach Petal shade. My thought was that it was being phased out. While in Target, I was very happy to have spotted a full supply of the shade I'd been longing to try. This shade would be a very good match for the Soft Nude lipstick I just recently reviewed. It is basically the gloss version of that lipstick. Overall, I do prefer Peach Petal and that one will be hard to top, but I really like this one as well. While Peach Petal is more on the fleshy nude side, Nude Lustre is more of an orangey-nude. I hope that doesn't scare you because it is by no means orange. My love for the Super Lustrous line has been going strong and I'm 2 for 2 as it now stands. I'd say it is definitely worth the leg work it took to find it. $5.99

Pureology Thermal Anti-Fade Complex: Super Smooth Relaxing Serum

I haven't tried this yet but I'm pretty sure Pureology can't make a bad product. At least not one that I have tried. I've been on the hunt for a good serum that will keep my ends from frizzing. So far I haven't come up with anything that I really love so I shelled out the big bucks to splurge on Pureology. This product is supposed to smooth flyaways and promote shine while protecting your hair color. And since my hair has zero pigment to it, there isn't much color to protect. This serum has camellia and sesame oil as well as shea butter which work to condition the hair. I'm excited to try this one and I hope that it will reduce my need to try every single comparable thing that comes on the market. As always, Pureology is expensive. So far, the price has been worth it. $31

Nivea Milk & Honey Lip Balm:

Nivea can do no wrong in my eyes with their lip balms. I love every single one I've tried and the Milk & Honey is the newest addition to my collection. I am a big fan of anything honey. I love the smell and the moisturizing component that honey has (honey is a good moisturizing face mask for dry skin, btw). This stuff wears perfectly under lipgloss or lipstick and also serves very nicely as a nighttime lip balm if you are into moisturizing your lips overnight. I was quite pleased to wake up with soft lips that still had a tad bit of honey taste to them. And its yellow. No SPF though but they do make another one with SPF 30 that would be more of a daytime wear lip balm. So far, I've tried four of these and I just adore the texture and the appearance of my lips while keeping up with this product. One thing I hate is a slippery greasy feeling lip balm like certain ones I've tried from Blistex. On the flip side, I hate it if they are too thick because they don't wear nicely under my other lip products. I honestly think the Nivea Lip Care is the perfect balance. $4


Here are some (trusted and reputable) YouTube videos you may enjoy if you are looking for further product information on any of the ones I've I've reviewed!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Drugstore Gem: Revlon Color Burst Lipstick in Soft Nude

This will be short and sweet. There is a really good lipstick at the drugstore made by Revlon. Its from their Color Burst line with the simple sleek black packaging and snakeskin like texture on the case. What makes this lipstick special? It has a great consistency, very creamy, hydrating, but not so moisturizing that it lacks staying power or slides off your lips. That being said, it isn't at all drying. Color Burst is an appropriate name for the line because color it has and color it shows. These lipsticks are very opaque and rich in color, so if its sheer you're looking for, you will have to pass this one by. In the past I've tried the "Carnation" shade, which is a very bold without being over the top, pink. This time I went for the "Soft Nude" to compliment my other favorite, Revlon Petal Peach Super Lustre. Soft Nude is gorgeous and one of my favorite nude lipsticks by far. It isn't too orange, too concealer-ish, too pink, or too much of anything at all. Except perfection. Since "nude" is a very subjective shade, I will say that it is not a concealer nude like Mac Myth or Revlon Nude Attitude from the Matte line. I did some swatches with my other nude lipsticks that are in the current rotation so you can see how it compares. Around $7-$8 on average. And honestly, that's cheap for the quality you are getting in the Revlon Color Burst lipstick.

Soft Nude, MAC: Marquise D', Myth, Viva Glam Gaga2
Revlon Soft Nude


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fashion Focus: My Personal, Can't Live Without, Wardrobe Items!

In my experience, when a person has a passion for cosmetics they also have a passion for fashion. I guess it is all on the same lines of appearance, right? Would we spend a ba-jillion dollars on makeup but yet dress in sweatpants and t-shirts every day? Well, it's possible, but probably not very common. My interest in fashion runs as deep as my love for makeup. This blog could easily be a fashion blog but my knowledge for the beauty world exceeds my knowledge for the fashion world. Fashion is a wild animal that is very hard to get a handle on in the broader perspective that goes beyond your own closet. And besides, my tastes run a bit on the "champagne" side and I can't acquire all of the clothing I would want as easily as the makeup cravings. Makeup is just more accessible and the best stores for makeup are only slightly less accessible that the drugstore selection. This does not apply to fashion. But if they start selling cheaper versions of Chanel and Prada at the local drugstores, sign me up.

I am by no means Victoria Beckham, but I do love clothes and shoes and bags and accessories just as much as the next fashion obsessed girl. My style is predominately classic pieces that last throughout trends and fads, mixed in with more trendy shoes and accessories. After all, you don't want to put the majority of your money into expensive and trendy items because by next season, those trendy pieces may be collecting dust or be up for an Ebay auction. I will elaborate more on the ways to approach fashion in the following paragraphs.

But first, allow me to list for you the wardrobe essentials that I just could not live without. These are the pieces that you would see me in on any given day of the week. The items I'm willing to shell out extra money on because I am aware of their longevity in the fashion world. I live by the following style motto: I buy what I like. Sure, I read magazines and I get ideas and inspirations but I don't necessarily use them as rules or guidelines when I'm out at the mall or shopping online. It's that simple. I buy what I like. It could be this season, last season, or no season at all. I don't adhere to rules. I buy what is visually appealing to me. And these are the items that have that power over me:

Seven For All Mankind Jeans:

SFAM Josefina Vintage Cali
Not the most wow-inspiring or bling bling kind of jeans by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, they are aesthetically quite basic. But the feel and the comfort is anything but. I've had mostly success with the ones I've blindly picked through Zappos and what not but I will tell you that one pair wasn't as soft or stretchy or velvety smooth as the others. My personal faves and the best all around winners for comfort and feel:
-10th Anniverary Skinny Jean: not to be confused with the "Jeggings", these are thicker and regular denim material. These particular ones appear to not have much give when you first try them on. Be patient. After a few days of lounging in them, i.e. stretching them out, they will fit perfectly. True to size. 
 -Josefina Boyfriend Jean Vintage Cali wash: my favorite jeans to date. They are so unbelievably soft but not all of the washes are as soft and as comfortable as the Vintage California style. They are supposed to fit loose and relaxed in the hip and thigh area but its not uncommon to order 2 sizes down from what you normally wear. I did and they are perfect!

-Straight Leg in LA Dark: velvety velvety smooth. One thing about SFAM dark rinse is that they tend to bleed onto your other things. Wash them inside out on cold water. Its worth the risk because they use such a rich beautiful dye for their dark rinse jeans. These run an inch or so too long but I roll them up so its all good.

-Featherweight Denim Skinny: super-duper soft but   with zero give, these fit more like leggings. Tight ones. Look best with tunics. These do not bleed color like the LA Dark Straight Leg's. 

Me Too Ballet Flats:
I was on a mission to find the most comfortable ballet flats that exist in all of the land. Mission accomplished. It was between the Me Too and the Broch brands. Broch ran more expensive and I couldn't find a two-toned beige and black flat in that brand. So comfortable, fairly affordable (under $100), cushiony insoles, flexible, adorable styles and beautiful shades to choose from. They run small and I actually ordered a full size bigger because the half size was out of stock.  
Update: Full size bigger was the way to go! So amazingly comfortable. You can wear these flats to walk for miles, easily.

Long-sleeved Collared Button-up Shirts:

 I cannot get enough of these. Particularly, the standard and classic white button up oxford. Must be long-sleeves, I am strictly opposed to short-sleeved button ups. When shopping for these I have a few things in mind that I want to find in the shirt: how well they will wash, if they are dry-clean only, not too short to be tucked in, and button placement. Ah, yes, button placement. It needs to have the perfectly placed second button that, when undone, will show enough but not too much. When the second button is placed too low, you must keep it buttoned for daily wear and then only the first button is undone and this could look awkward. And if you are busty (like me), you can look like you are downright suffocating the girls when you have that second button fastened. My personal faves:

-Seven For All Mankind
-Hugo Boss
-Olive & Oak

Nude Pumps:
Must. Have. Nude. Pumps. They look amazing with practically everything. In particular, casual bottoms like boyfriend jeans, skinny jeans, casual cargo-style skinny pants. I prefer to pair nude pumps over any other shade if I am going with a casual pant. If I need a neutral, I choose nude. Pairing casual bottoms with black seems counter-productive. Black has its place and time and that time is not it. However, nude pumps look amazing with black,or predominately black, dresses and skirts. They say that nude pumps make your legs look longer. I guess because they give the illusion of adding extra inches to your leg given that they are the same shade family. This will not work if you have super tanned, olive, or african-american skin though. Duh. 
My faves:
 Jessica Simpson Jessica Pump: Gotta love JS shoes. The singing thing may not have worked out. Her marriage may not have worked out. But girl has a $350 million dollar business for her accessories alone. She makes shoes that keep in line with trends but that women aren't scared to wear. I'm a woman and I want to wear her shoes. Go Jess.

Chanel: My Chanel beige pumps are my Holy Grail shoes. Nothing is better than Chanel. Nothing. Accept less expensive Chanel.

Christian Louboutin: I don't own any Loubou's..... yet. But I absolutely love the way they do pumps. I'd have to say that this is the first brand I noticed when I noticed nude. Ahh, their patent leather nude pumps are my favorite. I love for that infamous red sole.

I love jackets. Specifically, cropped and/or boyfriend style jackets that you wear to dress up an outfit or present a more polished appearance than a blouse or t-shirt alone. I have been wanting a good nude, beige, or blush jacket but wasn't able to snag one that I really liked or that fit me really well. I'm a hard fit for jackets if I ever want to button them. I am a size 0 with a size nothing close to 0 in the chest. If I bought for my body shape, I'd buy the 0-2 but if I bought for my chest size, I'd by a 6-8. Unless the buttons fall lower on the jacket than right beneath the chest. If this is the case, I'm in business. I prefer a lightweight, no shoulder pads, easy to take care of jacket. Some faves:

J Crew Canvas Schoolboy Blazer
J Crew Herringbone Schoolboy Blazer
J Crew Anything

I love tights and leggings. There was a point in time when I was waiting for these to come back around again. Well, leggings busted back onto the scene quite a few years ago but tights took their sweet time. At least in the way that I like them to be worn. It was Nicole Ritchie that wore some opaque black tights with denim shorts one year (last yr?), and I fell in love with that look. Why don't more people pair shorts and tights together, I asked myself. I adore the footless tight/shorts look or footless tights/dresses/skirts look. I just don't think you can go wrong with tights. And the way that J Crew is incorporating tights with their Crewcuts kid's line is absolutely adorable. They sell super duper cute footless sweater material, loosely knit, tights at the Gap for kids and my older daughter has been wearing them like crazy with little boyfriend shorts and dresses. Ahh, to be 4 again. Anyway, my fave way that I've seen tights worn in magazines is with denim cut-off or rolled shorts, heels, and lots of layers on top. You can really do no wrong. I even saw a cute Asian girl in a Louis Vuitton ad with gold shorts, black fishnets, gold pumps, and a graphic T. It was absolutely tasteful and beyond adorable on her tiny body. In fact, I don't even remember which bag was advertised in that ad. That's how much the outfit overshadowed it. Faves:

Express: tried and true, great quality, opaque tights and lots of styles!
Urban Outfitters: usually for more "out there" styles and shade selection
J Crew: wool, ribbed, opaque

Socks With Heels Look:

Love this look. Once again, JCrew has nailed the proper way to wear this combination. Now, this may be a trend right now but its definitely for the fashion risk taker. I think when we think of socks and sandals, we think of those dreaded times where socks and Birkenstocks or socks with Tevas were a common practice. Erase that nightmarish image and replace it with an ultra-hip JCrew model like the picture below.

Joe's Jeans Best Friend Rolled Shorts:

This is the only Joe's Jeans item I own and I love them. I live in them. They are the perfect length, not too hoochie and not too "mommish". Well made and durable as well. I didn't know how I was going to take to this whole "rolled up denim short" look. Quite frankly, the memories of this past fashion mishap haunt me to this day. But I had to get back on the horse. The horse known as the rolled up denim short. Next stop: Seven For All Mankind in the same style. 

Gold Jewelry:

I love gold. Gold gold and more gold. I think gold looks amazing with everything. There was a time that gold took a huge backseat to silver but I am very glad that the precious metal has made its way back into the fashion world and I know this time it is here to stay. Gold just looks more high-fashion and classic than silver, in my humble opinion. There is a certain way to wear silver otherwise it can look a bit cheap. No offense. I'm sure the way you wear your silver is the exact "certain way" that I'm talking about. Back to gold. I prefer the brushed gold look but I'm not opposed to shiny, rose, yellow, or any other way it comes. In fact, I adore rose gold. The rose gold/crystal ball stud earrings from Target are my favorite jewelry item of the year. And I'm craving a rose gold Michael Kors watch. The only color that doesn't look better paired with gold is grey and obviously silver. I don't even know how one can wear black clothing with anything but gold jewelry or turquoise without gold or emerald green without gold. Navy without gold? Nude without gold?! Bronze, beige, taupe, or brown without gold? How does this happen? I would have to go sans jewelry if I didn't have any gold handy and I had any one of these colors on. Now, gold is not perfect. There are hideous ways to wear anything. Think of some of the ways that men wear gold around their neck. Enough said.

Some of my favorite gold or gold accented items:

Michael Kors white ceramic watches with yellow or rose gold
My turquoise leather bracelet with gold studs and gold buckle
Anything with emeralds

Leather/Faux Leather/Vegan Leather/Any kind of LEATHER Jacket:
Girl on left has nailed the way to wear a floral dress
I love pairing feminine pieces with leather. I love mixing genres in this way. Take a floral dress. On its own, it wouldn't be something I would choose. But paired with a black leather cropped jacket, and you have a deal. Especially into super fun shades like blush or ivory in the leather jacket category. I picked up a great vegan leather jacket at TJ Maxx that is just as soft as any real piece of leather (with the exception of Italian) that you have ever felt. It makes any outfit look good. 

My Style Icons:

Sienna Miller
Gwen Stefani
Victoria Beckham
Audrey Hepburn
Kate Moss
Kim Kardashian: with the exception of high-waisted pants. Just can't get into that look.
Nicole Ritchie: minus the overly boho looks, more into her more polished appearance.
Taylor Jacobsen: Rachel Zoe's former assistant, loved the way she did leather!

Favorite Fashion Trends/Advice

Mix those prints, girl, mix those prints!
Mixing Genres:
Like I have mentioned above, I love doing this. I like taking something simple and classic and mixing in something rocker chic and edgy. I mentioned the floral dress. On its own, a total bore. Pair it with the leather cropped motorcycle jacket or fishnets and you have a much more fashionable look. In fact, any type of feminine dress or blouse paired with leather is a good idea.

Mixing Prints: 
I love this too. I love when the rules are just thrown out the window and the focus is more on colors that work well together rather than the arrangement and design in which the colors take place. Remember Kenley from Project Runway? The kind of spoiled bratty Betty Paige looking girl? Bitchy or not, the girl knew how to mix prints and she made fabulous dresses. Now, this print mixing isn't an easy task. A little bit of legwork (second opinions, magazines, internet) may be necessary to get it right.

Sexy shoes with unsexy pants: 
I love boyfriend jeans but the truth is, they aren't that sexy. They aren't tight, that's why. But they look so adorable with the right shoes. Paired with flats they are just OK. But paired with pumps or strappy heels, you have a winner. I heard a great fashion story from a lovely JCrew sales girl. She said they had these hideous cargo pants one season. Not the skinny ones but the regular old drawstring having loungey shapeless cargo pants. They sat and sat and sat with no takers. So she bought them when they went on clearance, rolled them up at the bottoms and even at the waist a couple times because they were just so big, and she paired them with some nude pumps and wore them to work. Everyone raved over the pants and wanted to have them. Sometimes, all you need is a little imagination.

Balance! Balance! Balance!
Its all about balance. If you do fitted on top, don't do fitted on the bottom. And vice versa. If you wear something loose and blousey on top, pair it with leggings or skinny jeans and not something baggy or shapeless. If you are wearing leggings, don't pair them with a tighter fitting top. If you are wearing a super short pair of shorts or skirt, wear something loose on top. The same line of thinking applies to other styles as well. If you are wearing something more masculine like a blazer and a collared shirt, wear some sexy shoes. The key here is to mix it up and try to not stick with one theme. My fashion outlook is about borrowing and mixing and putting together something from a multitude of sources.
Pair loose fitting tops with short bottoms
Invest In Timeless Pieces:

Invest the majority of your clothing money in items that you can mix with a variety of other things. Furthermore, pieces that will stand the test of time and transition well from season to season. My recommendations:

A good pair of dark rinsed skinny jeans
Neutral blazers, cropped and/or boyfriend, casual and/or career
Neutral pumps, preferably nude and black
Comfortable ballet flats
LBD or Little Black Dress
Leather/Faux Leather jacket