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Saturday, April 30, 2011

MAC Summer Shower Lipstick, Fashionflower Collection: Aqua Lipstick? What? How?!


Call me conservative but I just don't see how one can pull off a lipstick shade that belongs anywhere in the blue family. Typically, I am someone who is very loyal to her nudes, so something like fushia or red would be what I would consider a bold look, making Mac Summer Shower lipstick a complete and total deviation from my norm. I had no earthly clue what to do with this lipstick but the curiosity was getting the better of me and if nothing else, it is simply a gorgeous color to look at. In your garden. Or a baby nursery. But on the lips? Hmm..

While in MAC today, I asked my favorite MAC girl how one would go about wearing this crazy blue hue. She told me that it looks absolutely stunning over hot pink or plum toned lipsticks. Wearing Summer Shower over shades such as these is supposed to just give a gorgeous and unique sheen to the overall lip look. Ok, I'm with ya so far. Unfortunately, I have neither a hot pink nor a plum toned lipstick in my collection therefor this single lip look just became a lip combo which will tack on extra cash to an otherwise $14.50 purchase. Fortunately for me, Summer Shower is a glaze formula and glaze = painfully sheer and totally wearable. What could have been a pretty scary shade for most just got knocked down a few pegs on the freak-o-meter with MAC's rather safe choice in pigmentation for this particular lipstick. Doesn't seem like such a stretch now that I've seen it swatched. You be the judge!

Mac Summer Shower Lipstick (glaze)

Summer Shower on the right (courtesy of weheartthis.com)




Thursday, April 28, 2011

Top Polish Picks For Spring! Which Hues Did I Choose?

I am a bit of a nail polish junkie with very specific taste. I either go for really dark or really light shades. Being that this Spring fashion season is full of gorgeous colors in the blush, beige, and pastel families, I am a big fan of these tones carrying over in the world of nail lacquer. Lately, I've had some great luck in choosing polishes that I end up loving. These shades are the ones that make it into the esteemed category of those that I wear more than once. And when I become really obsessed with a shade, its the only one I wear until something else at the store pops out at me. You will soon see which shade made it into that coveted spot. Now, on to the list and some accompanying pics!

*in no particular order

Essie Topless and Barefoot:


This is my top pick for polish this season. I adore this nude/beige shade with a very very slight pink undertone. It goes with everything and it looks great with tanned skin and all skin tones. You absolutely cannot go wrong with a really good opaque beige nude shade on your nails. One coat goes on streaky, two is getting you almost there, but three is perfection. This is the shade that I had on my nails week after week until I needed a replacement bottle.

OPI Sweetheart:
Did I really need another pale pink? Well, yes, because I still hadn't felt like I found the right one for the job. Until Sweetheart, that is. Sweetheart is what OPI Bubble Bath or Essie Ballet Slippers should have been. What I mean is for how popular those two shades are, they really pale in comparison to Sweetheart. What I love about Sweetheart is that it is much more opaque shade in comparison to the other aforementioned colors. I feel like you need like four coats of Essie Ballet Slippers to do what Sweetheart can do in three and on top of it, look much prettier. Not only is this shade beautiful on its own, it would be perfect for French Manicures as well. Generally speaking, Sweetheart is your true pale pink that you may see in a bouquet of roses on Valentine's Day. If you are going to have only one shade of its kind, let it be this one.

Essie Turquoise and Cacos:
If you loved China Glaze "For Audrey" or Essie "Mint Candy Apple", you will love this one. Turquoise and Cacos does vary from these shades in that it is more of a blue-green as opposed to the Tiffany Blue or Seafoam green that the other two shades can be described as. This is one of those shades that looks great on both the toes as well as nails because it packs enough of a punch to really stand out on the toenails. Some women tend to go more bold on the toes than they would on the nails but I feel that this shade is worthy enough for both. With all of the beautiful neutrals we are seeing on the runways and in the department stores, its nice to have a bold bright color to spice up the wardrobe a little! Paired with a coral top or dress, perfection!

Revlon Blue Lagoon:

I am not crazy about the nail polish formula from Revlon but if you have a really amazing top coat, hopefully you can get a few days or more of wear out of one of these. But this review isn't about the formula, its about the shade! And in that case, this shade gets five stars without a doubt. This is a very pretty periwinkle blue with a very subtle shimmer. The formula is creamy and this makes it very easy to get really great coverage in two coats. Blue Lagoon is something I picked up recently in the newly released Revlon polishes and cream eyeshadows. Along with this gorgeous blue was an adorable pale yellow that is next on my list!
Sally Hansen Cafe Au' Lait:

Before I fell in love with Topless and Barefoot by Essie, my heart belonged to Cafe Au' Lait. This is also a beautiful beige-nude but is slightly darker than T&B in that it almost reminds me of a lighter shade of mocha. To go one step further, it resembles what coffee looks like after you dump a ton of creamer in it. Aside from the bad metaphors, its a very wearable and perfect for this season nail color. Much like most of the shades in this genre of nudes, it can be worn with anything. And if you want to kick it up a notch, pick one of your nails and throw a glitter polish on top to offset the neutral that is on the other nails. My choice for accomplishing this? OPI Teenage Dream.

OPI Teenage Dream:

Speaking of which! This is my favorite glitter polish, hands down. This spot used to belong to OPI Mad as a Hatter until Katy Perry's OPI collection came along and stole the show with Teenage Dream, the stand-out polish in that collection. Teenage Dream is a beautiful pink polish with lots of silver and multi-toned glitter. It looks positively awesome if you are going for a super special look on your toes. To top it all off, it wears forever and ever if you have a top coat over it. This can be a double-edged sword when you want to remove it but if you need a tip for quick glitter polish removal, please see my list of home remedy beauty treatments that I posted a while ago. One coat of this will not be enough to really blingEbay of course. If you a girl who likes the bling, you will love Teenage Dream by OPI.

Revlon Peach Petal:
This list would not be complete without a peach shade of nail polish. Being that peach is my everything as far as colors go, I had to include this dreamy peaches and cream shade on my list. Once again, staying power of Revlon polish is a total disappointment. But what they lack in formulation, they make up for in color selection. This is a very creamy peach and will be full coverage at two to three coats depending on how thick you layer it on. This is a strictly peach tone and void of any shimmer or conflicting undertones. An absolutely gorgeous shade that fits right in with the color trends of Spring.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Drugstore Gem: Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse Foundation


I have been out of the makeup loop for a couple of weeks now and I blame it on one thing: Retin A. I recently did a post about it if you are curious as to what it is and what it does. But for now, I will just tell you that what it does is completely dismantle the enthusiasm you once had for makeup. This little prescription strength depression in a tube has erased any sense of motivation I have had to buy makeup, let alone use makeup. But I am going to suffer through it and stick with it because the results are finally starting to show.. Its too late to turn back now.

One good thing Retin A has brought me? Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse foundation. I would have never bought this product but I was desperate to find something, anything, that would help conceal the drying, flaking, peeling, red mess of a face that I have acquired since changing up my skin care routine. I had read somewhere that this foundation had helped someone else by not clinging to the dry and peeling patches and in turn, providing an ounce of relief to the horror she felt when she looked in the mirror. Well, I said to myself, I've tried Chanel, Laura Mercier, Hourglass, Neutrogena, and BB Cream, so why not set my sights on something new? Something I wouldn't have given a second glance  prior to dealing with the monstrosity that is now known as my reflection.  

What it is:
Described as an ultra-hydrating creamy whipped foundation for normal/dry skin types. I would call this a cream foundation that is medium coverage but I've heard it referred to as full-coverage as well.
Who Is It For?
Those with dry skin or normal/dry. If you are oily, they make a version called Dream Smooth Matte Mousse.


First Impressions:
There is something very appealing to a foundation that is described as being a mousse, and its exactly what the texture is. Its very light and smooth with a silky feel. I am not a huge fan of the packaging and find it a bit redundant. It comes in a circular compact container with one side being a compartment for the sponge and the other end being your foundation. Overall, love the silky texture and the mousse foundation concept.

Application and Finish:
Rarely do I ever use the actual applicator that is provided with powders or foundations but this sponge works pretty well. Due to the silky and fine texture, I think the sponge is the best route to go. I have tried to apply it with my fingers as well but I don't think it distributes the product in a thick enough layer nor is it as easy to blend. The fact that the foundation doesn't dry super quickly makes it a pretty buildable product. In my experience, it is buildable without being cakey at the same time but in order to make this happen, I would use a sponge. Given that I am dealing with redness and sensitivity, I use a patting motion with the sponge applicator in order to apply the foundation to certain areas. The size and thickness of the sponge allows you to get into certain areas of the face like the nostrils and under eye area which can typically be too small for a large applicator. Overall, this product just glides right on in a very smooth and effortless manner.



Staying Power:
Very good. Stays on throughout the day but better with a powder over it to set the foundation.
Shade selection:
Available in 10 creamy shades (shown on the chart below). I noticed that each shade seems to differ only slightly from the one previous one before it which makes it easy to get your exact match rather than having to go straight to a medium tone if you need something a little darker than the lightest shade but not as dark as a medium. My shade is 200 Creamy Natural which is on the lighter end of the shade spectrum. 

Overall Grade: A-

For further raves and reviews, please check out the YT video below for further information!


Friday, April 15, 2011

What's In My Mailbox? My Recent Makeup Purchases


Its been about a week since my last post. I haven't thought too much about makeup lately because I haven't been wearing any makeup lately. Oh the horror! I told you I've been using the Retin A. Well, the Dermatologist failed to mention the part about how it would make my face break out, peel, and look like I've suffered a major sunburn. Nope, she simply told me how to use it and how often and that was it. But I'm sticking with it. That is a very hard thing to do for a vain person such as myself and someone who gets excited to apply makeup in the morning. But all is not lost. I can still wear lipstick and I have a couple of new ones to show you!

MAC Playing Koi:
This is from the new Quite Cute collection. Playing Koi is a satin formula lipstick, a milky-peach toned shade. If you aren't careful with this color, you could look like you just applied chalk to your lips. I highly recommend pairing it with the Bubble Tea Plushglass, also new in the collection. Together, they are beautiful and make a gorgeous combination for the summer. If you are a fan of Myth, you will like Playing Koi. If Myth makes you look like a corpse even after paired with a gloss, then please pass this one by.

Playing Koi is the first one pictured


Tarte Dollface, Mac Playing Koi, LQ Saint Pink, Mac Bubble-Tea

MAC Bubble Tea Plushglass:
This shade is a peachy-beige tone and is relatively sheer. Those of you familiar with other shades in the permanent line may think its similar to Big Baby. Personally, I think it has more beige than Big Baby and gives off enough color to be noticed without a lipstick underneath of it. A gorgeous neutral gloss infused with Vitamin E, this one is a must-have and one of my very favorites of the collection. This is one of those shades that any skin tone can pull off. If your lips are ultra-sensitive, you may want to try it first at the Mac counter before buying due to its tingling properties.


Lipstick Queen Saint Pink:
My first experience with LQ lipstick was a good one, although I was aiming for more of a neutral shade the first time and ended up with a much more bold color. I wanted to get it right this time and so I ordered Saint Pink. For a supposedly sheer lipstick, there is very good color payoff. Much more than the Lipstick Queen would have you think. The texture of this lipstick is divine. You don't need a lip balm under it or a gloss over it because the lipstick takes care of these concerns all on its own. Saint Pink is a mid-tone pink and shows up as a berry-pink tone on my semi-pigmented lips. If you want a really comfortable and hydrating lipstick, this line is definitely worth a try.


Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush Dollface:
Exclusive to Sephora, this new Tarte blush line comes in a variety of beautiful shades and is said to last 12 hours without oxidizing or wearing off. Personally, I haven't put it to this test yet because my face is red enough on its own from the Retin A. No need to add fuel to the fire at this point. Tarte is one of those brands that uses only pure and natural ingredients in their products and this one is no exception. Infused with natural clay from the Amazonian River and naturally baked by the sun, this blush is perfect for both dry and oily skin. Reason being that the clay has hydrating properties as well as the ability to minimize oil to keep the blush in place. Wow. That's a hell of a lot of effort to put forth to create a blush. We've come a long way since the days when women would pinch their own cheeks to create redness and give the appearance of color. Available in a variety of shades from coral to plums to pinks, you will have a hard time deciding which one to choose!


L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes:
Not a fan of drug-store mascaras, I bought this one out of desperation when I forgot my mascara at home on a day that I needed to take my makeup on the go. Not one to get too upset when I am forced to buy makeup, I enthusiastically perused the different choices at the drugstore before settling on this one. I have always preferred L'Oreal over the other drugstore brands when it came to mascara but I didn't have high hopes for this one. The brush is of the plastic and flexible variety and these are not my favorite. Despite all of this, I really like this mascara. Oddly enough, I even like the smell. The brush is designed to coat every single one of your lashes and make them appear very volumized. I know that mascaras are a pretty subjective thing when it comes to the way they work for some very well and others not so well. I can say that for my lashes, this mascara went on very black, lengthened and volumized, and didn't smell disgusting. What more can you expect from a mascara? Compared to the regular L'Oreal Voluminous, the Voluminous Million formula isn't as runny or messy and you can apply coat after coat before it hardens up and makes this difficult to get away with. I will admit that after the first coat, I wasn't impressed. However, after the second and third I really started to see my lashes come to life. A+++

Friday, April 8, 2011

Retin A: What Does It Do and Is It For You?

What Is Retin A?

Originally created to treat acne, its a form of Vitamin A. It is formulated as a  topical gel/cream that is used in many anti-aging skin care products. Retin A penetrates beneath the skin's surface to increase cell turnover and build collagen and is also used to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. As with anything else, results may vary from person to person and may not be the answer for everyone. It acts similar to a Glycolic Peel in the way that it exfoliates and sheds your dead skin.

What Are The Different Types of Retin A?

Retin A is available in different strengths and are formulated to do different things. You may be prescribed something like the .025% strength if you have sensitive skin. The .1% is the strongest and would most likely cause too much irritation if one has sensitive skin that is not equipped to handle that. The strength of the Retin A will determine the effectiveness.

Where Do You Get It?

There are many over-the-counter products that include Retin A but if you want a stronger and more concentrated product, this is available by prescription from your Dermatologist.

What Will It Do For You?

Retin A can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, control oil production and acne issues, smooth rough skin, exfoliate, and improve discoloration or hyperpigmentation. Essentially, Retin A speeds up the exfoliation process and produces newer and plumper skin cells. The result will be a more hydrated and fresh appearance.

The Side Effects:

The use of Retin A will make your skin more sensitive to the sun's harmful rays (this includes tanning beds). It will most likely dry your skin out and cause redness and peeling. This is the exfoliation and skin purging process. Your skin may experience a period of time where it looks worse before it looks better. It is important to keep using it and keep giving it a chance to work. If your skin does experience severe irritation and discomfort, stop using it until you've spoken with your doctor. If Retin A just doesn't agree with you, there are alternative measures that can be taken.

When Do You See Results?

It may take weeks or even months to see the results that you are hoping for. This is why it is recommended that you stick with the routine and wait it out until you see an improvement. This whole skin renewing process is not permanent. You need to keep it up to maintain results. Unfortunately, the drying and peeling does not take months to appear. This is pretty much immediate and visible within 24 hours.

How Do You Use Retin A?

My Dermatologist told me to use it 5x per week at night but again, only do what you can handle and strive for at least 2x per week. And be consistent. I have read a lot of mixed opinions on whether to moisturize along with the Retin A application. My feeling is that its important to moisturize because of how dry your skin will become when using Retin A. However, I would moisturize first and let it soak in and then use Retin A as your final step. You may risk rubbing the Retin A off of your face if you apply moisturizer after it. It is especially important to use a good moisturizer during the day because your skin will be dry. And please wear at least an SPF 30.  Remember, your skin will be more sensitive to the outdoor elements because of the Retin A.
You may also use Retin A on your neck area.

Who Should Use Retin A?

I would recommend that if you are considering using this product, to make an appointment with your Dermatologist and find out as much as you can before making the decision. Also, ask for a lot of samples of a low-strength Retin A so that you can build up your tolerance to a stronger version. My doctor gave me tons of samples and a prescription for a much higher strength to be filled later. She advised me to use my samples of .04% first at the lower strength so that I have some tolerance built up for the good stuff (the .1%)

Who Shouldn't Use Retin A?

Anyone pregnant, nursing, or planning to be pregnant. It is a Category C which means that it is basically a mystery as to whether or not its use will hurt an unborn baby. Please consult your doctor to see when would be a good time to start using something like this.
Also, those with chapped, windburn, or broken skin should not start a Retin A regime until skin has healed. Those with Eczema should also avoid using this product. Consult your doctor if these are your issues and you are interested in Retin A.

Cost:

Without insurance and depending on what kind of Retin A you get, it can be anywhere from $50-$200. On the other hand, some doctor's will submit the prescription as a medical need if you are having acne issues. My doctor told me that most insurance companies will not cover it that way because if you are over 30 they do not believe you can have acne issues. Its worth a try, she said. And for the record, I don't have any more than a few breakouts but I guess this was good enough for her to submit it as a medical necessity. The necessity part isn't a lie though.

Other Non-Surgical Procedures to Fight Wrinkles:

Skin Care Routines
Frequent and deep exfoliation
Retenoids or Vitamin C serum
IPL-Photo facial
Botox
Soft tissue fillers-Hyaluronic

Personally, I think Retin A is the cheapest of the potent options. It can take some time and ugliness to get to the finish line but the price isn't too bad for what you get. If you are looking for a speedier option where cost is not a concern, Botox may be for you. Be careful and don't go overboard. Just because you have Botox doesn't mean you need to LOOK like you have had Botox.

Retin A: What Does It Do and Is It For You?

What Is Retin A?

Originally created to treat acne, its a form of Vitamin A. It is formulated as a  topical gel/cream that is used in many anti-aging skin care products. Retin A penetrates beneath the skin's surface to increase cell turnover and build collagen and is also used to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. As with anything else, results may vary from person to person and may not be the answer for everyone. It acts similar to a Glycolic Peel in the way that it exfoliates and sheds your dead skin.
What Are The Different Types of Retin A?

Retin A is available in different strengths and are formulated to do different things. You may be prescribed something like the .025% strength if you have sensitive skin. The .1% is the strongest and would most likely cause too much irritation if one has sensitive skin that is not equipped to handle that. The strength of the Retin A will determine the effectiveness.


Where Do You Get It?

There are many over-the-counter products that include Retin A but if you want a stronger and more concentrated product, this is available by prescription from your Dermatologist.

What Will It Do For You?

Retin A can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, control oil production and acne issues, smooth rough skin, exfoliate, and improve discoloration or hyperpigmentation. Essentially, Retin A speeds up the exfoliation process and produces newer and plumper skin cells. The result will be a more hydrated and fresh appearance.

The Side Effects:

The use of Retin A will make your skin more sensitive to the sun's harmful rays (this includes tanning beds). It will most likely dry your skin out and cause redness and peeling. This is the exfoliation and skin purging process. Your skin may experience a period of time where it looks worse before it looks better. It is important to keep using it and keep giving it a chance to work. If your skin does experience severe irritation and discomfort, stop using it until you've spoken with your doctor. If Retin A just doesn't agree with you, there are alternative measures that can be taken.

When Do You See Results?

It may take weeks or even months to see the results that you are hoping for. This is why it is recommended that you stick with the routine and wait it out until you see an improvement. This whole skin renewing process is not permanent. You need to keep it up to maintain results. Unfortunately, the drying and peeling does not take months to appear. This is pretty much immediate and visible within 24 hours.

How Do You Use Retin A?
My Dermatologist told me to use it 5x per week at night but again, only do what you can handle and strive for at least 2x per week. And be consistent. I have read a lot of mixed opinions on whether to moisturize along with the Retin A application. My feeling is that its important to moisturize because of how dry your skin will become when using Retin A. However, I would moisturize first and let it soak in and then use Retin A as your final step. You may risk rubbing the Retin A off of your face if you apply moisturizer after it. It is especially important to use a good moisturizer during the day because your skin will be dry. And please wear at least an SPF 30.  Remember, your skin will be more sensitive to the outdoor elements because of the Retin A.
You may also use Retin A on your neck area.

Who Should Use Retin A?
I would recommend that if you are considering using this product, to make an appointment with your Dermatologist and find out as much as you can before making the decision. Also, ask for a lot of samples of a low-strength Retin A so that you can build up your tolerance to a stronger version. My doctor gave me tons of samples and a prescription for a much higher strength to be filled later. She advised me to use my samples of .04% first at the lower strength so that I have some tolerance built up for the good stuff (the .1%)
Who Shouldn't Use Retin A?
Anyone pregnant, nursing, or planning to be pregnant. It is a Category C which means that it is basically a mystery as to whether or not its use will hurt an unborn baby. Please consult your doctor to see when would be a good time to start using something like this.
Also, those with chapped, windburn, or broken skin should not start a Retin A regime until skin has healed. Those with Eczema should also avoid using this product. Consult your doctor if these are your issues and you are interested in Retin A.

Cost:

Without insurance and depending on what kind of Retin A you get, it can be anywhere from $50-$200. On the other hand, some doctor's will submit the prescription as a medical need if you are having acne issues. My doctor told me that most insurance companies will not cover it that way because if you are over 30 they do not believe you can have acne issues. Its worth a try, she said. And for the record, I don't have any more than a few breakouts but I guess this was good enough for her to submit it as a medical necessity. The necessity part isn't a lie though.

Other Non-Surgical Procedures to Fight Wrinkles:

Skin Care Routines
Frequent and deep exfoliation
Retenoids or Vitamin C serum
IPL-Photo facial
Botox
Soft tissue fillers-Hyaluronic


Personally, I think Retin A is the cheapest of the potent options. It can take some time and ugliness to get to the finish line but the price isn't too bad for what you get. If you are looking for a speedier option where cost is not a concern, Botox may be for you. Be careful and don't go overboard. Just because you have Botox doesn't mean you need to LOOK like you have had Botox.

 

MAC Pink Friday VS. MAC Candy Yum-Yum: Which One's Hotter?

Nikki Minaj wearing her go-to lipstick: Pink Friday
(L toR) Viva Glam 5, On Hold, Speed Dial, Pink Friday, Myth, Saint Germaine, Snob
So a few of you have asked me for a swatch of Pink Friday. If you can recall, Pink Friday was the exclusive lipstick co-designed by Nikki Minaj for Mac Cosmetics. It was sold on a weekly basis, on Friday's, until supplies ran out. Supplies didn't last very long. It was not sold in stores and is typically hard to get a hold of now. In the beginning of the PF craze, you could find it on Ebay for anywhere from $50-$80. Now that the dust has settled, you can probably find one for under $40. If you are a fan of cool-toned bright pinks, you will want to try to get this one.

From L to R, Pink Friday, Myth, Saint Germaine
Personally, it doesn't differ a whole lot from Saint Germaine (which is available again in the Quite Cute collection). Pink Friday has a bit more magenta in it than SG. I have swatched most of my Mac pink lipsticks so that you can compare.

Pink Friday (above)

Candy Yum-Yum on Left
As a bright-pink lover, I can't wait to get my Candy Yum-Yum lipstick! Its currently sold out on the Mac website which makes me appreciate that I have one even more. I have a feeling CYY will blow Pink Friday out of the pink water and will become my new go-to bright pink. I have a gazillion pinks and each one differs from the next, sometimes only slightly. I was curious to see how PF measures up to CYY and it looks like Pink Friday is a rather understated pink compared to the neon knockout, Candy Yum-Yum.  Have a look..

Candy Yum-Yum (above) Pink Friday (below)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

MAC Quite Cute: In stores April 7th, Online NOW!

I am quite disappointed in myself for not getting to MAC today like a good little junkie to see the new collection and pick up a few pieces from it. I thought I would be way too late at this point to buy it online, but it turns out I was just in time. Now, MAC isn't making it easy for you to find this stuff online in the fashion that you are accustomed to. A fellow makeup junkie told me that the items are on there but you have to search for each one because they aren't yet clustered together as a collection in the "What's New" portion of the website. Low and behold, she was right. I ordered Candy Yum-Yum, that neon-pink lipstick  for starters. Why not add a 25th cool-tone pink lipstick to my collection? In keeping with my shade preferences, I chose Playing Koi, which is the milky-pink lipstick. I'm hoping it will be a more unique shade than it sounds.  Also joining my cart, the nail polish in Ice Cream Cake and Mischieveous and finally, Giggles mineralize blush. Giggles is the pink one. I opted against the lavender shades of lipstick and Plushglass although they were tempting me. I think I would like looking at them but they make me look like a corpse  whose lips are turning that blue-purple "I'm freezing cold" shade. 



Monday, April 4, 2011

Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Perversion: You Can't Get Any Blacker Than This!


I will admit, I had no idea what Urban Decay's 24/7 liner in Perversion was all about until a few days ago. I had ordered one strictly on the basis that it was becoming a sought after eyeliner because of the fact that UD doesn't sell it on its own. Of course not. Perversion was part of the 15th Anniversary 24/7 liner set and isn't sold separately at the moment. So, I did what any makeup junkie would do and ordered mine on Ebay just to see what all the fuss was about.

Urban Decay 24/7 Liners L to R: Corrupt, Zero, Perversion
Yeah, so what, its a black eyeliner. No, Urban Decay's Zero is a black eyeliner and Perversion is SUPER DUPER DEEP BLACK on steroids. No shimmer, no undertones, no frills. A true, no nonsense, matte black liner. I was curious to see how this new little gem compared to my previous most often used black, Zero. There was a time when I thought Zero was a pretty damn good black. Now that I've tried Perversion, I'm afraid Zero will now be demoted to my "if I run out of Perversion" liner.

Not Only Is It Blacker...
But its also very matte. It dries much, for lack of a better word, dryer. It looks and feels like I drew the swatch on my wrist with a black Sharpie marker. Very smooth, not tacky or sticky. And no transfer when I swiped my finger across the swatch. This was not the case with the other shades.

Where To Buy:
I purchased mine for $25 on Ebay which isn't terrible considering its only $7 more than any of the 24/7's from the permanent line. And it is also full size. 

DUPE ALERT! 
The drugstore brand, Prestige (I've seen it mostly at Rite Aid) makes a supposed exact dupe: Prestige Total Intensity Deepest Black. What I've heard is this particular dupe isn't very good on the waterline but is much better suited for upper eyelid territory.

As far as high-end comparable liners go, I've heard that MAC Feline Eye Kohl is a pretty similar liner to Perversion. With the exception of one major difference: Feline is easier to smudge. That is no surprise because since when doesn't Feline smudge? Feline smudges even when you don't want it to smudge. I prefer the consistency of a 24/7 liner because it goes on soft but it doesn't behave like a really soft liner in the way of smudging and transferring.

Conclusion:
Worth spending the extra $7 for? Most def.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

TARTE Coupon Code: 30% off EVERYTHING




I received my new Lucky Magazine today, and in it, a promo code to get 30% off everything from Tarte.com Just enter "LuckyBreaks1" at checkout and you have yourselves a discount. Not often we get cosmetics discounts in the form of 30% so I am quite pleased. The ad doesn't come right out and say it but from what I gather, this will last until May 30, 2011. 

Update: Well, I am sad to report that your beauty leader has found out that the Amazonian Clay blush is not available through Tarte.com but is sold exclusively by Sephora. What this means, is that you can't get 30% off of this item. Furthermore, I'm no longer interested in the promo code. 

www.Tarte.com
Promo code: LuckyBreaks1
30% off EVERYTHING
Until 5/30/11
You May Love This Product from Tarte:
Amazonian Clay Blush: Supposed to last 12 hours and stay put in the same condition as it was first applied. And a GORGEOUS shade selection. I tried these at Sephora and I was smitten. And now must act on it. 

A Look At Other Top Selling Products by Tarte:

Friday, April 1, 2011

What's In My Mailbox? A Couple Of New Sephora Goodies!

 

I want to make this quick (who am I kidding) because I don't want to overshadow the importance of the "Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Shampoo post" beneath this one. Read it, skim it, gloss over it, just as long as you walk away with the important message. So, I got a box today from Sephora. No surprise there. I think between the delivery carriers and my mailman, the secret is out that I have a huge shopping problem. But I be buying this stuff with my own money so what's it to ya? I bought two things plus received free samples all in the name of taking care of my 32 year old skin.

Juice Beauty Apple Peel:

I have heard rave rave reviews on this and after trying the Brazilian Peels from Sephora (reviews to follow when I compare the two but until then read down below for more info), I was dying to try this one after hearing that a lot of people preferred it over the BP. This is an enzyme peel to be used once per week to exfoliate that dead skin and reveal a brighter and fresher you. I could use that. The reviews on Sephora.com will tempt you big time so don't go read them unless you are seriously in the market for a good at-home peel or if you've always wanted to go to a spa to have this done but just haven't got around to it and are looking for something more convenient. I would say if you are over 28, continue reading my post. If you are under 25, go on and get out of here and enjoy being young while still having an ample supply of collagen in your skin. If you are between these ages, then just use your judgement accroding to your skin care goals.

UPDATE: I am in love with this product. I keep staring at myself in the mirror because my skin is much tighter, smoother, younger in appearance, and brighter than it was 2 hours ago. I can't wait another week to do this peel again. I am in total agreeance with the reviews that say this stuff is a must-have. If you took this peel away from me, I would feel a serious sense of loss. I wish everyone could try it right now so they could be as impressed as I am because I can't express this properly with words. I need to go stare at myself some more. And if I look like this when I wake up, this deal is sealed and I will be stocking up.

Cheri, add this one to your list at the top. Its cheaper than the spa peels and no downtime. Seriously, amazing.

Shiseido SPF 38 Sunscreen (Face):

Shiseido is known for their facial sunscreens. Any time I have ever asked for a recommendation, I get "try Shiseido". I  just never would. I tried Clinique SPF 50 (way too greasy for an every day under makeup sunscreen but maybe better for the beach or pool) and Neutrogena Dry Touch SPF 45 (which I really like and have no complaints about). The Shiseido product is supposed to nourish the skin more so than the regular Shiseido SPF face products and I do need nourishment. A bonus is that it is supposed to wear well under makeup and absorb nicely into the skin thus eliminating the need to wait an hour or so before applying makeup. I hope this is true because I hate wearing SPF for the grease factor alone. But most of all, anything with SPF makes me break out! Every single one of them sons a b*tches! I haven't met an SPF face product that hasn't. But its either breakouts or age spots. Which do you want because you will most likely get one of the two. I prefer breakouts because it still symbolizes youth. Yeah, just go with it.


Sephora Offering Brazilian Peel Single Application As Free Sample Right Now!

I have talked about the Brazilian Peels that are sold at Sephora that are do-it-yourself chemical peels. I have a big review post for this product that I am waiting to expose when I get a good idea of how the Juice Beauty Apple peel measures up. The BP details: you use them 1x per week for 10 minutes at a time on the face, neck, and chest area. It is the strongest Glycolic peel that is sold over the counter.  The results are pretty good but you do need to keep up the peels if you want to keep up the results. This is where the $78 for four applications part comes into play. I have heard that some ladies only use half the tube at one time to increase longevity. You can also buy them individually for somewhere in the $20's. I think this is a good idea for special events, dances, dates, whatever.
This is the 4-week treatment for $78 available at Sephora. You will receive one tube if they are still offering samples.
If you are interested, Sephora is offering one application of the BP with the free samples you always get to choose from when you place an order. I don't think they extend this same courtesy if you are purchasing a gift card, only merchandise. So, I received one of these single use BP's last week and used it and ended up seeing great results because it has been over a month since I went through the 4-week application process and I have heard to put a couple of weeks in between uses to let your skin take a break. I gave my skin a break because I didn't want to repurchase them over and over again. So this time, since I put more time in between uses, I noticed better results and more obvious results than when I did one per week. Brighter, clearer, tighter skin that will inevitably go away unless consistently mantained. Enter the Juice Beauty Apple Peel. More bang for your buck.

Who Benefits From These Peel Things?

Once again, my over 30 crowd, this is a good thing for those of us teetering in between the college girls and the grandmothers. It is now that we want to combat age and take measures to do this. Or, those of you that just want to "pre-anti-age". I wish I would have pre-anti-aged back in my late teens and early 20's. My idea of doing this was an SPF 8 in the tanning bed. A couple bouts with sun poisoning and 1000 new freckles later, I wised up. In my defense, the Gen X era did not properly expose us to such luxuries as Dr. Oz and the internet. I am certainly making up for lost time. And make no mistake, peels are not just for old broads, chemical peels are good for anyone under 30 that needs a good exfoliation, has dry skin, or have acne issues! Fry that sh*t off!

DISCLAIMERS!

Please do your own research on anything that I talk about or suggest doing. I am no expert outside of being one in my own mind. I don't want to hear later about how you made a homemade Glycolic Acid peel and fried your face off. Use your own good judgment and if you only learn one thing from me, let it be this: RESEARCH. You will save time, money, and frustration.

Shampoo Alert: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is Not Your Friend! Do Me a Favor..

Not my photo, I stole it from Cosmetic-Candy.com Now go look to see if your label may look something like this.
Attention my bevy of blog-following beauties: Some of you may know this already if you have watched Oprah religiously or caught some episodes of Dr. Oz. I don't know if either one of those people has actually included this type of content in their program but I'm going to assume they have since its something useful. This is not a fancy, colorful, swatch filled post. No. This is serious business.


What to Do If SLS Is Happening to You:


Do you have dry hair? Do you have color-treated hair? Whether it be brown, black, blonde, red, green, etc? Do you know if your shampoo contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate? Go grab your bottle, turn it around, and look. Water should be your first ingredient. If its not then maybe you should just toss it before you even get to the SLS. Now, look at the second, third, fourth, fifth, and you may or may not see the evil sulfate. If you don't see it, you are doing at least one good and healthy thing for your hair. If you do see this ingredient looming among other hard to pronounce, unfamiliar words then go throw your shampoo out. Now.

Sidenote: what is worse than even washing your hair once per hair washing episode with a SLS shampoo is when the directions instruct you to "lather, rinse, repeat".  Repeat?! They want you to do this twice? Maybe even more than twice? After all, "repeat" doesn't necessarily imply stopping at one or two.


It Can't Be That Bad if Expensive Brands Use It!



Yes. It. Can. Why? Because Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is like a detergent. How does your shampoo get foamy and lather up your hair in a sea of white fluffy suds? This stuff. Why do people who use shampoos free of sulfates complain that they can't get the same lather? Because it doesn't have this stuff in it. And remember, "no lather" does not equal "no clean." We must retrain our minds and get into new and healthier hair habits.


Scientists say that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is used in experiments as an irritant. Most often, as a skin irritant. Do you want a skin irritant of any kind to touch your scalp, let alone your hair? Isn't your scalp a part of your skin too? If your shampoo bottle was labeled "SCALP IRRITANT" would you buy it?


What Does SLS Do to Hair Anyway?


It strips it. It dries it out. All this stripping and drying can also fade hair color much faster. Not protect hair color. Fade hair color. And if you wash your hair every day or even every other day, you are doing this more often than others may be doing it. 

Color-Treated Hair VS. SLS:

Some of you think that because your hair is highlighted or bleached blond that this doesn't mean it is color-treated, reason being, because your hair color won't fade. It can't fade. It is stripped of any bit of color pigment whatsoever. Therefor, what isn't there in the first place, cannot fade. That doesn't mean you can't use color-treated shampoos because you DO need the extra hydration if bleach is coming near your head. However, color-treated reds and browns are most prone to color fading and you just do not want a shampoo that speeds up this process! Trust me, all of you Chestnut browns and Amber reds, you do not want to make extra trips to the salon to freshen up your color. Protect your color with a Sulfate-free shampoo.

Don't Let The Shampoo Companies Fool You!

Color-Treated Shampoos:
Color-treated shampoos that include Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a total oxymoron. Something that is formulated to protect your color and at the same time dries it out and fades it isn't really protecting your color. The "color protecting" ingredients up against the sulfates may actual cancel each other out another out. You are still left with dry and fading hair either way.


Hydrating Shampoos:
Moisturizing shampoos that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is yet another oxymoron. Its like thinking a clarifying shampoo is providing moisture. It isn't. But it isn't bad for us either, in moderation. We only need a clarifying shampoo about once a week to get rid of any build-up we accumulate by using the same products over and over. A hydrating shampoo should not contain sulfates.Let me ask you this, would you use your laundry detergent on your hair? My niece has run into some hair coloring nightmares and she was trying to fade a certain vibrant and bold red color from her hair. What did she use? Laundry detergent. I have used this as well back in the day because it aids in fading the hair color. Why? Because of the sulfates. Enough said.


What Should You Use Instead?
Cheap Alternatives:


L'Oreal:


L'oreal makes a fantastic line of shampoos, conditioners, treatments, over-night conditioning products, the works. It is sulfate-free and available in a few different lines according to what your hair concern is. I have used the green bottles because I have dry hair and want as much moisture as I can get. I have also used the over-night conditioning treatment. This is the best product for lazy people who can't even wait 10 minutes with a conditioner on their head before rinsing it out. Stick it on your hair and rub into scalp and all of that and go to bed. It absorbs quickly so no pillow mess. Wake up, wash hair, go. Or leave it in and throw it back and wash later. I mentioned this line in my best of the drugstore post. Go look at it and see if I said anything more useful than this.


Burt's Bees:


Another cheaper alternative. This stuff is like $8. All BB shampoos are sulfate-free. That is kind of the point of Burt's Bees products, to be natural and good for you. The one drawback to BB is that you may or may not get the lather you are looking for and may need to pre-wash your hair to get rid of styling products and build up and then use it again for lather. Personally, I like the one that is made to infuse shine and I think that one lathers very well. Nevertheless, its cheap, accessible, and this $8 shampoo is going to be better for your hair than any $30 bottle of sulfate-containing product.

 Suggestions for Miss Money Bags:


Pureology:


If you are looking for more of a fancy-pants high end shampoo, Pureology is wonderful. This was my go-to until I met Rare Elements. And it is RARE because I can only find it on the company website and Luckyscent.com (Holy Grail material). Back to Pureology, I used the purple bottles which was their hydrating line. They have a volumizing line as well. Try not to use volumizing shampoos daily because it strips moisture. In order to volumize, it has to open up the hair shaft to expand it. Thus creating the illusion of fuller hair. I like to use these with a very good conditioner and only if I need to look extra hot for something. Otherwise, its the hydrating shampoos for me. They make a variety of lines just like the L'Oreal does.


Rare Elements:


I have mentioned this now two times since I've started my blog. I heard about this line from Rachel Zoe. I mean, she actually called me up and told me I had to try it. Ok, that didn't happen but I read it on the Zoe Report which is Rachel's special way of communicating with me. This is what she uses and her hair is gorgeous so I trust that she doesn't trust those locks to just anything. Unless she's getting paid to say this or something. I like to think, no. And even if she is, I still love this stuff. RE rivals Pureology in price but is actually more expensive. I think it is around $34 a bottle. I think it is well worth it. I don't know if this stuff has anything to do with this but my hair just would not grow ever since I cut it when I was around 20 years old. Devastating. Ever since, it grows to around my shoulders and then stops. Dead in its tracks. Enter RE products, and it is now around 3 inches past my shoulders. For me, this is a HUGE milestone. It has all kinds of oils and stuff in it from around the world including something called "Africa's miracle oil". Whatever that is, this stuff has been a miracle to my hair life.


In Closing:



And the answer to that question is, NO. I don't either. I am not an expert on everything and most of the time as long as a product is making me looking good, I don't care to know what is in it. Much like food, if it tastes good then leave me alone. But we have to start caring at some point before we look back and see a bunch of "shoulda woulda coulda wish we woulda" times in our lives. Probably more-so with our health and wellness and not so much our hair care decisions. After all, its all gonna fall out and turn white or grey anyways no matter if we looked like Gisele Bunchen or Betty White. I digress.
In real closing, consider yourself informed. Now, you will have the heads up when you are sitting in the salon and Joe Shmoe "just got out of beauty school" tells you how badly your hair needs moisture and that he recommends you buy their super expensive ultra-moisturizing shampoo. You ask to see it. 75% of the time you will see SLS listed in the top 5 ingredients. You put the breaks on that crap and tell him you don't use that ingredient and why. He has no retort. They didn't teach him that in beauty school. On the flip side, if it doesn't contain SLS, you may have a bottle of shampoo to buy.

Finally, now that the ugly side of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is rearing its dry and damaging head, the drugstore brands are taking notice and you no longer have to spend upwards of $30 a bottle just to get a healthier for your hair shampoo. If less-expensive hair care lines are paying attention to the dangers of this chemical, then you know the word is out and you have no excuse to continue to allow this to happen to your hair. Now go on, throw that sh*t out!