Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dior Addict Lipstick: 2011 Relaunch Info & Review


This review is for the new 2011 reformulated lipsticks, which will replace Dior Addict High Shine Lipsticks, as well as the current Dior Addict Lipsticks with the blue packaging. They come in entirely new shades.

Below is a little info about this new collection...

The New Dior Addict Lipstick collection is inspired by John Galliano’s bold, daring fashion collections. Featuring the largest shade wardrobe of any Dior lipstick collection—56 striking shades direct from the runway—this trend-setting collection offers a variety of options for the woman who is not afraid to experiment. The ultra-hydrating formula creates a veil of luminous shine and vibrant color in a single sweep.

These retail for $28, and the packaging is similar to that of the previous High Shine variety. It's very heavy and bulky packaging that will take up space in your makeup bag, though. If you are the type to carry multiple shades, you might find these a bit inconvenient. I was indifferent to the case at first, but now I have grown to love it. It's the opposite of a normal lipstick, since you take the lipstick tube out of an outer shell that it clicks into. It feels very luxe, and it has a satisfying click that lets you know it's not going to pop open in your makeup bag.

Here's what Dior has to say about the technology behind these new lipsticks...

The key ingredient, Mirror Jelly, brings shine, volume and hydration to the lips. This unique ingredient is made up of two components: polymers that provide a long-lasting, second-skin effect with exceptional hydrating and softening properties and silicone oil, which creates a light, smooth texture. In addition, a significantly lower level of wax (25% less than a standard lipstick) creates a light-reflecting, voluminous effect.

The formula is amazing, seriously. I LOVE these lipsticks, and I would go as far as to say that if I was only allowed one lipstick for the rest of my life, I would make it one of these. They glide on like butter, I can't put it in a better way. The formula is very glossy, yet very pigmented. I get medium-full coverage out of these but it looks extremely natural. They're so moisturizing that they don't accentuate anything, they COVER lip imperfections...I'm amazed. I have very chapped lips naturally, so I always avoid more matte lipsticks, but I also have days where I have to use gloss instead of any lipstick just so I don't accentuate the problem. Not with these, I have been using it every single day since I got it. I am in love.

The shade I picked up is 222 - Casual Beige, and it's like my natural lip color in a tube. When I put it on, between what I stated above, and the natural color...it looks like I have naturally perfect lips.

I don't detect any type of scent...if anything, it's a faint vanilla-ish scent, but you really have to place the tube at the end of your nose to pick up the slightest hint of it. No flavor either, obviously.

Do you need these? YES, YES, & YES! No doubt about it. I feel that these are worth every bit of the $28 they cost, and I can confidently say that I will keep buying more of them and/or replacing the shade I have. Definitely my favorite lipstick to date, Dior has finally done what other makeup companies have been trying to do for years...put lip perfection in a tube.

Here is a shade list, for reference, since there are so many of them...
  • Shades: Tulle #214, Beige Casual #222, Basic #253, Rose Déshabillé #260, Beige Perfection #322, Nude #333, Miss Dior #343, Blush #353, Créateur #445, Parisian Chic #454, Singulière #465, Vintage #525, Bobo #530, Tailleur Bar #535, Baby Rose #561, Diorkiss #578, Must-Have #579, L.A. #586, Spotlight #612, Granville #621, Androgyne #626, Miami #635, Millie #680, Icône #681, Gibraltar #682, Beige Dandy #712, New York #714, New Look #745, Rock’n Roll #750, Fashion #753, Paris #762, Reflet #763, Rouge Podium #773, Londres #783, Stiletto #797, Smoky #811, Couture #864, Collection #865, Arty #872, Fashion Week #881, Red Carpet #963, Fourreau #971, Rose Shocking #972, Perfecto #991
  • Sephora Exclusives: Urban #178, Diorissime #249, Garçonne #330, Pink Chérie #368, Tokyo #422, It Pink #554, Model #564, Taffetas #566, Backstage #583, Show #778
  • Saks Exclusive: Beige Mondaine #623
  • Nordstrom Exclusive: Insoumise #983

Swatch of the shade I purchased...



Friday, April 29, 2011

N.Y.C. New York Color Lip Gloss Lineup


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N.Y.C (New & Improved) Liquid Lipshine


For as long as I can remember, NYC Liquid Lipshines have come in thin, square packaging that just screamed cheap. I tried a couple a few years ago and I really disliked them. They had a strong soap/perfume scent, the formula was really thick and sticky, they were insanely frosty, and the doefoot applicator was uncomfortably hard and scratchy.

Recently I heard that NYC had repackaged and reformulated these, and I was given the chance to try the new formula. Right off the bat, I have to say the packaging is much nicer. The new tube is oval, and with the updated print, no longer has a cheap feel. The applicator is great...it's a flat spatula-like wand. It reminds me a lot of Revlon's Colorburst gloss applicator.

The new glosses are noticeably thinner and feel much nicer on the lips than the old ones did. They're not sticky at all, but they wear very well and have good lasting power. Much more than I would expect for a gloss with a $2.49 price point.

The shades I have are pretty sheer, which I love. There's a slight micro-shimmer that adds shine and dimension, but none of the excessive frostiness that the old ones had when you applied them. There's also no gritty feel in any of the shimmery shades.

As for scent, huge difference. The new formula has a pleasant and slightly sweet, caramel-like scent that fades a little while after application. The soapy, perfume-y, something-that-shouldn't-be-on-my-lips scent of the old ones is a thing of the past.

Overall, these are 100% better than they used to be. Would I recommend these? Definitely. For $2.49 drugstore glosses, these are really nice. I would even venture to say that they're nicer than some of the higher-end $7-8 drugstore glosses I have tried. Good job, NYC!

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N.Y.C. Extreme Lip Glider Lip Gloss


I had seen these in the drugstore a few times before I started to hear things about them. They immediately reminded me of Urban Decay's Ultraglide Glosses just from the tube similarities, but I never really paid much attention to them because the colors all looked a bit dark for my liking. However, when reviews started to come out, I heard they were very sheer which is a huge plus in my book.

I was recently given the chance to try these, so I jumped on it. I must say, though I have never tried UD's Ultraglide glosses, these feel like they could have the same $17 price tag. I am very impressed with the quality of these for drugstore glosses that cost a mere $4. They have a similar feel to a few of my much more expensive glosses, specifically Chanel Aqualumiere Glosses and Hourglass Prodigy Glosses.

The applicator is very effective, too. I usually hate slant-tip tube glosses because I feel like it's hard to control the application and get the gloss where you want it. The difference with these is that the tip is rubbery and very small, so it's not like you're moving a huge piece of plastic over your lips while not being able to see the gloss coming out. I actually didn't mind the slant-tip on these at all. The gloss comes out perfectly...you don't have to apply a lot of pressure, and they don't ooze out from the slightest touch.

There's a definite strong scent similar to that of a watermelon Jolly Rancher mixed with generic "melon" scent, which you will notice immediately upon opening the tube. It does fade fairly quickly after applying the gloss though, so if scented glosses aren't your thing, don't fret. There's no flavor as far as I could tell.

The lip feel is where these really shine. The formula is lightweight and super smooth...in fact, it feels like butter on your lips. There is no stickiness whatsoever, but it still has decent lasting power and doesn't slide around on your lips. In my opinion, it's perfectly between thick and thin. The ones that have shimmer don't have a gritty feel on the lips, and it's subtle micro-shimmer that adds dimension without screaming teen glitter.

These are definitely my favorite out of all the N.Y.C. glosses, and I highly recommend that you give these a try. Considering the fact that they're only $3.99 to begin with and you can usually find N.Y.C. on sale, these are really worth it.

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NYC Kiss Gloss


N.Y.C. Kiss Gloss is your basic grab-and-go gloss that you can toss in your purse and be set for the day.

The packaging of these is a drawback for me, as I really do dislike slant-tip applicators like these, but that's just me. I know there are lots of people who actually prefer squeeze tube glosses, so I won't take that into consideration. The slant-tip works fine, it's just not my favorite. It's designed this way for practicality anyway, so that you can easily apply these without a mirror.

There's a scent, and to me, a flavor. I have the shade "City Sorbet," and I don't know what it's supposed to smell/taste like, but to me it's like a wet-nap. I assume it's some sort of lemony-citrus scent. Both the smell and taste fade fairly quickly though, so it's not a big deal to me.

The Kiss Gloss formula is the stickiest of the bunch, but that also means it's the most long-wearing of the bunch. It's not extremely sticky, but sticky enough that you are aware it's on your lips at all times. It doesn't feel quite as moisturizing as the other two, but I never feel like long-wearing glosses are.

"City Sorbet" is packed with micro-shimmer, as you can see by the swatch below. However, just like the other two, it still just adds dimension and shine. It doesn't come across as over the top glittery teen gloss, which seems like a possibility when you look at the gloss in the tube. There's also no gritty feel, you can't tell there's any kind of glitter/shimmer.

Would I recommend these? It depends on what you're looking for, really. If you don't mind stickier glosses with a scent/flavor and/or squeeze tubes, yes. If you're looking for non-sticky glosses that you tend to not feel on your lips, no. For $2.99, they're not bad, but personally i'd rather spend the extra $1 as I much prefer the Extreme Lip Glider glosses.

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Swatches:


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stila Kajal Eye Liner: Topaz

Most of us have heard that if we use white eyeliner on the waterline, it will make our eyes appear bigger and give us a more wide awake, refreshed look. The reality is that white looks odd and sort of harsh even when applied lightly. It sounds good in theory, but it just doesn't look natural at all.

Stila Kajal Eye Liner in Topaz is the *perfect* alternative to white liners. Topaz is a peachy-nude/salmon shade that does all of the above but actually looks natural and not obvious to the naked eye. Topaz doesn't scream eyeliner...you would have to look closely at someone, closer than you would get in normal day-to-day conversation, to be able to tell that they were wearing it. However, it CAN be obvious on very fair skin tones if applied heavily. Since it is a "one-shade-fits-all" product, you'll need to use a light touch if you're as fair as I am.

I mainly use Topaz for the above reasons, as well as covering redness. If you're an insomniac like me, you know what I mean. There's only so much Visine can do after a few hours of sleep...although it helps redness on the waterline, it doesn't completely eliminate it. That's where Topaz comes in, it's almost like concealer for your waterline!

The downside to this, is that it is super soft. This means two things: One, it will catch in your lashes if you're not careful when you apply it. And two, the lasting power is next to nothing. Now, having said that, I do like that it's soft because it means that you don't need to tear your waterline apart trying to apply it, but it really needs to be a little firmer.

The lasting power doesn't bother me so much because the residue that's left on your waterline is enough. It's actually a plus if you're fair like I am, because it means that it you apply it a little too heavy-handedly, it will even out on it's own.

Do you need this? It depends. It is expensive at $18, so I can't say yes for everyone. If you have never used white eyeliner or felt the need to, then no, you probably don't need this. But, if you have tried white eyeliner and really didn't like the unnatural effect, you may want to give this try.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

MAC Fix+ Skin Refresher & Finishing Mist


Ok, I have to admit, I really thought this was totally unnecessary when I first heard about it. A friend of mine kept telling me how amazing this was and how much I needed it. I was dubious...with my oily skin, it only takes a few minutes for the matte look to fade and everything to settle into place anyway. I certainly didn't need something I could spray on to make this happen even faster! Or so I thought...

MAC Fix+ comes in a 3.4 oz. frosted bottle of the normal MAC shape. It has a sturdy black pump that twists to lock, so it won't come open during travel. Fix+ retails for $19.00 which I initially thought was a bit steep...that was until I tried it. The bottle does last me quite a while, somewhere between 2-3 months, so the price really isn't all that high when you break it down.

MAC says that Fix+ is "an aqua-spritz of vitamins and minerals, infused with a calm-the-skin blend of green tea, chamomile, cucumber, and topped off with the fresh, natural, energizing scent of Sugi." They also say it "Adds radiance. Spray it on. Skin drinks it up!"

The main way I use Fix+ is after I have finished applying my makeup each morning. I generally use anywhere from 3-5 sprays depending on how dry my face is. If I have a dry area that I can tell is being accentuated by my foundation, i'll spray it closer together over that area to diffuse that dry look. In the summer, for example, when I am just headed outside anyway, 3 is more than enough. One on each side of my face and one in the middle...just to set everything in place.

Now, I had assumed that the outcome of using Fix+ was going to be no different than just waiting a few minutes for everything to blend with my natural face oils and meld together. That's where I was wrong...so, so wrong. What I love is that it doesn't take away the matte look I like, but just the inevitable powdery look.

In a nutshell, Fix+ can turn your quickly-applied, half-asleep, rushing-to-work makeup into professionally airbrushed perfection. A few sprays makes everything you have applied all meld together with your foundation. Harsh lines are gone...everything just comes together so smoothly that it looks like you spent hours with a blending brush trying to get it that way.

What made me fall even deeper in love with Fix+, is the first time I used it after I did my mid-day blot and touch-up. I get very oily in the T-zone, so after I blot the first time, I literally have no foundation left on my nose. To fix this, I touch up with my powder foundation, but everything looks uneven again until natural oils do their thing. Instead of waiting around, I spray Fix+ again, and everything looks like it did when I left the house in the morning.

Though I haven't tried it for this, I know it can be used as a mixing medium for MAC pigments and to foil eyeshadow. It also doubles as a toner when used on clean skin. There are even more uses, as you'll find out once you have a bottle.

Do you need it? Yes, without a doubt. It's one of those things that I thought was totally frivolous and unnecessary, but now I wonder how I ever lived without. Whether you have dry skin, oily skin, use liquid foundation, use powder foundation, or just want this for after you blot...everyone has a use for it. Yes, it initially seems a bit pricey, but just try one bottle and you'll see what I mean.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss


Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss comes in a basic, round clear tube with a silver band/cap. The wand applicator uses a really nice soft brush, probably one of the best I have used. These retail for $28, about the same as other glosses within their range, such as Chanel ($28.50) and Dior ($27.00).

The lip feel of these is amazing! They have a gel/jelly texture (which Chantecaille refers to as "jellified") that makes them completely non-sticky, yet they wear like a sticky gloss. I don't find myself having to reapply these as much as I would with other glosses that have the same hydrating, non-sticky feel.

I first bought one of these, Charm, and I loved it so much that I went back for another two...Mirth and Modern. Charm is a very sheer baby peach, there is a little bit of shimmer, but nothing you see unless you really look hard. Mirth is a bubble gum pink shade in the tube, but it goes on as very sheer pink. Modern is one I thought might be too dark for me, but it also applies sheerly, and happens to be the one I use most! Modern is best described as a beigey-brown pink. It's the perfect MLBB shade.



Thanks to botanical microspheres and vegetal-based cross-linked sugars, Chantecaille Brilliant Glosses supposedly naturally and safely plump lips with no uncomfortable pain or tingle like other plumping glosses. I can't say I have noticed any kind of dramatic plumping, but I do feel like these fill out any lip lines and hydrate my lips, so I can't complain. I personally don't like plumping glosses, anyway.

Are they worth the cost? Without a doubt. The only drawback I can think of is that the silver accent band on the tube does rub off fairly quickly and easily with normal wear, and I don't love Chantecaille's cheapy-feeling purple boxes. That doesn't have anything to do with the gloss though, obviously, so it's only something the packaging nuts like me will notice.

If you're looking for a sheer gloss with good staying power that isn't sticky, give these a try. However, if you're looking for a highly-pigmented gloss, you'll want to pass on these.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!


Wishing you a very Happy Easter filled with all the joys of Spring, and of course, pretty pastel makeup!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dior Addict Ultra Gloss Reflect


This is a very untimely review, as I found out these have been discontinued and replaced by a new line of Dior Addict glosses, now just called "Ultra Gloss." However, I still wanted to review these because I really love these and feel like they're worth searching out and/or picking up if one comes your way.

Dior Addict Ultra Gloss Reflect comes in a cute tube (shown above), with a very high-quality brush applicator. The tube is a nice size for on-the-go, and it feels very sturdy...definitely not something you have to worry about tossing around in your purse.

I only own one of these, unfortunately, so I will go ahead and review that shade. I have noticed that my shade, along with others, is still available on certain sites. If you're considering buying any of these, do it now before they become super hard to find and the prices start to rise.

The shade I have is 127-Beige Velvet. It's very close to my natural lip shade, so it's a definite MLBB (my lips but better) shade for me. It's the perfect mix between pink and brown...not so pink that it appears rosy, and not so brown that it appears brown on the lips. It appears to be very pigmented in the tube and especially on the brush, but it's actually not. Once you start applying it, it sheers out nicely without pulling a disappearing act and looking like clear gloss.

The texture is what makes this one of my top picks for glosses, it's not sticky in the least. I would say it's more on the moisturizing side, which does mean that the lasting power is significantly less than that of a stickier gloss, but that's not something I mind. Personally, I would rather reapply a moisturizing gloss more often than I would wear a really sticky gloss all day.

This particular shade has no sparkle or glitter to it, it's totally "matte." The level of shine is perfection, in my opinion. It's more of a sheen than the unnatural and vinyl-like high-shine that some glosses provide. It's something I can wear during the day without feeling like the sun is reflecting off my lips and blinding the people around me.

So, are these worth searching for? Yes. I find myself reaching for this gloss more than I do for most of my others. Between the moisturizing formula, brush applicator, pigmentation, and perfect sheen, it can't be beat. I wish I had known about them being discontinued sooner, so that I could have bought a few more in other colors.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Maybelline Mineral Power Natural Perfecting Concealer


Concealer is one of those essentials in my daily routine...not only for undereye, but also for spot concealing blemishes, hyperpigmentation, redness, etc. I literally have a bin of concealers that I tried before I stumbled upon this concealer. Once I tried this one, I stuck with it.

Maybelline Mineral Power Natural Perfecting Concealer is a liquid concealer that comes in a basic tube with a doefoot wand. It retails for about $7, which is extremely reasonable considering I rarely have to replace this even though I use a good amount on a daily basis. The texture is about that of any foundation, just in a tube.

For a basic, drugstore concealer, this is amazing stuff. It's oil-free, talc-free, and fragrance-free, won't clog pores, and improves/hydrates under eye skin. It's also proven to reduce redness, dark spots, and soothe signs of fatigue. If that wasn't enough, it also blends easily for complete coverage, and it stays put all day.

I mainly use this for blemishes, redness, and anything else I want to cover on my face. I have used it under eye, but I just don't love it for that. I can't put my finger on it, but something about it is "off." However, it does provide great benefits when used under eye, so you may want to try it for yourself. I can't complain though, since I already have under eye concealers I love and didn't initially purchase this product intending to use it there.

The coverage of Maybelline Mineral Power concealer is about medium and extremely buildable. You really can layer as many times as you feel the need to, and it still looks very natural. I never find this getting cakey or accentuating dry/flaky areas, so that's a huge plus.

What I really want to mention here, is that I have no good match in any of Maybelline's foundations or concealers. But, for some reason, Fair 0-1 in this, is perfect. I am slightly under NC15, and this matches me perfectly. It looks as if it will be a little dark in the tube, but it goes on a bit lighter.

I rarely stray since I love this a lot, but I have given into a few other concealers with big promises, and I keep coming back to this. I want to say I am probably on my 6th tube with full intent to keep repurchasing.

Definitely give this a try if you are looking for a medium coverage concealer with a natural finish. You really can't beat the quality for the price!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector is now Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector!

I went to Macy's last week to pick up a couple tubes of my holy grail pore minimizer, since I was days from running out and Clinique was having a gift with purchase event. I told the sales associate what product I wanted, Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector, and she told me that had been discontinued. WHAT?! DISCONTINUED?!

After I freaked out for a few seconds and thought about how I could get my hands on the last remaining tubes, I came back to reality and heard her say that it was just reformulated and repackaged to be a part of their new "Pore Refining Solutions" line. *phew*

So, Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector:

Is now Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector:

Which is good news, since there is no need to order and buy every last tube you can find. It is still available, and now comes in one additional shade: Invisible Bright. It now retails for $18.00, vs. the old $17.50.

I have since tried the new formula, and I am happy to report that it is just as good as the old formula. In fact, it might even be a little better!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Soothing Care (Monistat) Chafing Relief Powder Gel

If you keep up with the beauty blog world and MakeupAlley, you have probably heard about this powder-gel. And if you were like most people, you probably immediately thought of the Monistat for yeast infections and wondered if you were hearing right. Contrary to popular belief, this product isn't actually made by Monistat, but by Soothing Care, another product line from the makers of Monistat products. The package says "from the makers of MONISTAT intimate care," with the word Monistat the largest, so everyone just assumes it's a Monistat product.

Regardless of the name confusion, it's just a silky, silicone-based gel. It feels identical to a lot of other silicone makeup primers, such as Smashbox Photo Finish. The main difference? The price...a tube of this costs about $5.89 vs. $36 for the Smashbox.

Years ago, before I decided to give this stuff a try, I really disliked foundations. I always felt like they looked really weird, dry, and cakey on my skin, even with moisturizer. I settled on tinted moisturizer instead, but my oily skin really didn't need the extra moisture and the coverage was always less than ideal. Eventually, a friend of mine tried it out before me, and sent me a sample jar. The rest is history.

Before I start, I'll tell you that I am currently working my way through my 10th, yes, 10th, tube of this gel. So you can rest assured that this review is not based on a few days worth of use and that my opinion will most likely change next week. No, this review is based on a few years of use and consistent love for the product.

As soon as I finish moisturizing and giving it a few minutes to set in, I apply this primer, as I'll call it from here on out. You only need a little, it's very silky and spreads out super easily. I use about a pea size for each side of my face and a little less than that for my forehead. That's still more than most use, but I feel like that's about right for my skin. It sort of depends on your skin texture how much you personally will need.

Immediately, it mattifies the skin and smooths the look of fine lines and pores. All rough areas are diminished, and foundation glides on like silk. I can't say for sure if it helps my foundation to wear longer, but it certainly helps it wear better. It provides a barrier between the foundation and my extremely oily skin, so that it doesn't disappear and settle into pores.

Should you try this? If you are using an expensive silicone-based primer, yes. It's worth $5.89 to give it a try, since it could end up saving you lots of money in the long run. And if you're not using a silicone primer, still yes, because you need to try one! I was skeptical until I tried this, and now I could never live without it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Exuviance CoverBlend Multi-Function Concealer w| SPF 15


Being prone to breakouts and having dark circles means that concealer is a product that I can't go without. Normally I stick to wand concealers for spot concealing, but the problem with wand concealers is that if you have widespread redness and or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) it can be time-consuming to conceal these areas. This is where "corrective concealer" comes in hand, with it's highly-pigmented creamy formula that can be applied like foundation.

I was introduced to Exuviance CoverBlend by a friend of mine who told me a few times how much she loved this concealer. I was definitely intrigued because she is about the same shade as me, and being so pale, it's hard to find shades that are light enough to match. For reference, I am between NC10 and NC15, and "Light" matches me very well.

Exuviance CoverBlend Multi-Function Concealer comes in a convenient, hygienic squeeze tube. It's an oil-free, ophthalmologist and dermatologist tested formula that is recommended by both dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons for use undereye and anywhere else on the face. It's very creamy and easily blendable, yet water-based and lightweight.

In terms of coverage, it is assumed that this provides full coverage. In my opinion, it provides medium coverage that easily builds to full. CoverBlend covers age spots, blemishes, scars, tattoos, and dark circles with ease. The unique part about this concealer that set it apart from the rest is the addition of Polyhydroxy Acid. The package tells us that PHA hydrates and strengthens the skin while it diminishes the appearance of fine lines and uneven tone. In addition, the antioxidants and sunscreen protection are ideal for all skin types, including the delicate under eye area.

I have been through 2 tubes of this, currently on my third, and I love it more and more each day. I use this both on blemishes and PIH, and also under my eyes on top of my beloved Bobbi Brown Corrector. The coverage it provides in both areas is flawless, and it never accentuates any dry or flaky areas when used on my face.

I usually purchase this from Dermstore.com, since you can always get a 10% off discount and free shipping. However, if you are looking for a place to buy it locally, I know that ULTA Beauty also carries it. It retails for $22.00 and it is well worth it for the amount of time that one tube lasts.

Do you need it? If you are currently using a wand concealer to cover large areas, yes. This will not only simplify your routine, but it also adds anti-aging benefits which certainly never hurts!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bobbi Brown Corrector


Unfortunately, I was blessed with permanent dark circles. No matter how much sleep I get, they're still there and just as dark. Seasonal allergies only make them worse...and although allergy medicine will control my allergies, it does nothing for my dark circles. Concealer is a must, and concealer alone won't cut it...Bobbi Brown's Corrector is a necessity!

Bobbi Brown Corrector comes in multiple shades of peach and bisque, ranging from light to dark. It's intended for use before concealer to correct the tone of the undereye area, before applying concealer to cover up the darkness. It has a unique texture which I didn't initially like, but now I have come to love for multiple reasons. The formula contains petrolatum, so it's sticky and sort of waxy. The only drawback to this is that if you're applying with your finger, you will need to pick up product a few times in order to get enough where you want it. Initially I thought it would be hard to blend, but it's quite the opposite. Blending is where the texture shines, because it stays put and adheres to where you put it, rather than disappearing into your makeup sponge or brush.

I knew about this long before I gave it a try. I was hesitant because at the time I had tried so many concealers ranging from drugstore to high-end, and they all failed to deliver. Eventually, I had heard so many raves for it that I just decided to give it a try. I figured I could always return it if it didn't work for me, so I had nothing to lose.

Today, I am SO grateful to those that recommended it to me, because it's now my "desert island" product. If I could have no other undereye concealer, I would take my corrector. I can't live without it, nothing even comes to close to the difference it makes. I can apply multiple layers of concealer, but if I haven't used the corrector, I can still see my undereye circles showing through.

The first time I bought this, the $22 price tag made me cringe when I saw how big the compact was. But the first time I tried it, $22 seemed like a bargain when I realized that it did more in one layer than any concealer has ever done in multiple layers. It's actually saved me money in the long run because I no longer keep buying and trying multiple products to find something that works. Plus, one lasts quite a while since you only need a little.

Do you need this? If you have noticeable dark circles, definitely YES! Even if you feel like you're getting adequate results from your concealer alone, give this a try and you'll be surprised at just how much better it looks when you're finished.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lancome Teint Idole Fresh Wear


Summer is just around the corner, so I figured it was the perfect time to review this foundation. I first tried it last summer, and it forever gained a place in my summer rotation of foundations. I was leaving for a two-week vacation on the beach, so I wanted something that was light, had more coverage than a tinted moisturizer, and could withstand heat, humidity, and perspiration without transferring and/or fading. At the time, I was in love with Teint Idole Ultra, so when I saw that Lancome was releasing a new formula, Teint Idole Fresh Wear, it was like the answer to my prayers.

Lancome Teint Idole Fresh Wear is described as "Enduring, Shine-Free Makeup." It's 18-hour retouch free, oil-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, dermatologist-tested, and contains SPF 15 sunscreen. It's recommended for normal-to-oily skin, and comes in a convenient squeeze tube. It retails for $32, which is decent considering it's only 0.2oz less than the rest of their foundations.

When I first received it, I wanted to test drive it at home for a while before trusting it and taking it on vacation with me. I had worn it every day since I received it (about a week), but the weekend was the ultimate test. I had just finished applying my makeup and I was on my way to the car to run a few errands when my neighbor stopped me and asked me to help her move some stuff around in her garage.

Now, keep in mind that not only am I in South Florida where it was up in the mid-90's, but I also have very, very oily skin and it typically only takes about 30 minutes for the shine to break through my foundation in the T-zone, and continue from there.

Since it was a Saturday and I had no set schedule, I ended up spending about an hour outside. By the time I left her house and went back in to check my makeup, my face felt completely un-matte. I could feel perspiration around my temples and I was 99% sure that I would be totally shiny and most of my foundation would have faded or melted off by this point.

To my surprise, it honestly looked PERFECT when I got back inside. I was just as matte as when I stepped out of the house and it hadn’t faded at all. I literally just looked in the mirror and headed back out… I didn’t even have to stop to powder my T-zone, which is unheard of for me! That's when I knew I had found my summer HG!

The foundation itself is *very* thin (think watery) so you only need a tiny bit to cover a large area. Because of this, it makes application almost foolproof. I can apply it carelessly like moisturizer, over large areas at a time, without worrying about lines or streaking. It seriously takes me only about 30 seconds for application. That's saying something, too, because normally I take my time applying foundation section by section to make sure it looks perfect.

I agree with every single bit word they say about it! It holds up through the day (they say 18 hours, and I agree!), controls oil, hides pores, and obviously stays put in heat and humidity. The coverage is great, too. It somehow provides medium, buildable coverage while feeling incredibly weightless. I typically only use medium-full coverage foundations, and I love this. It looks totally natural and doesn’t get cakey at all.

Needless to say...this is the perfect summer foundation, as well as for those days when you just want to get your makeup done and get on your way. I find myself grabbing it throughout the year just because of how quick application is.

If you have oily skin and you're looking for a new summer foundation, do yourself a favor and give this one a try!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipshine


Ok, I admit it...I'm a sucker for anything Chanel. When I heard about these I couldn't wait for them to hit the department store counters so I could go try them out. I love sheer lipsticks and lipglosses. I know I'm in the minority, but I actually dislike heavily pigmented lip products. These sounded perfect...Chanel, high-shine, water-light, hydrating, and sheer...what's not to love?

I didn't get around to going to a counter before these were released online (two days early for Facebook fans!), so I googled some swatches and picked one. I was trying to decide between Canotier, Biarritz, and Evasion. I ended up settling on Canotier, which I love.

Eventually I did get to see them in person, though, and I did a little swatching. Evasion was a bit too peachy for me, and Biarritz was a bit too dark. Something between Canotier and Biarritz would have been my pick, since Biarritz showed up a bit more...but, regardless, I love Canotier anyway.




Canotier is a very sheer, pearlized nude beige shade in the tube. It shows up on my lips as a VERY sheer, glossy, nude beige with a hint of shimmer. From afar, it's almost like a highlighter. You see more of the glosssy sheen and micro-shimmer than you do the beige. I really like it though, it's just a nice, everyday, subtle lip-enhancing shade.

The formula, however, is amazing! When you apply it, it's almost as if it liquifies on your lips. Chanel describes the formula as a "water-light texture that glides on like liquid silk," and they couldn't be more spot-on. Out of all the lipsticks and lipshines I have tried over the years, including the now discontinued Aqualumiere's which were my favorite, these are totally unique.

Since they are so sheer and light, the drawback is that they have very little staying power. You need to reapply every hour or so, but they feel so nice and hydrating when you apply them, that I don't mind at all. There is no goopy, heavy feeling on your lips...they apply like balm and feel even lighter, on.

Rouge Coco Shine retails for $32, like most Chanel lipsticks, but unfortunately you get less product with these. Although that does make them more pricey than the rest, I can't say they're not worth it. These are definitely worth checking out if you are a gloss gal and/or like sheer lipshines vs. full coverage lipsticks. I can't wait to see the new shades released in upcoming collections, I have a feeling these will be very popular summer lippies!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Alpha Hydrox 12% Glycolic AHA Souffle


Exfoliation. It's very necessary, but there are multiple ways to do it. Do you choose physically (scrub, washcloth, buff puff, etc), or chemically (alpha hydroxy acids)? For me, the answer is easy...chemical exfoliation.

I have very oily and acne-prone skin, so I use drying acne treatments on a daily basis. The unfortunate part is that, although they control breakouts, they also leave my face so dry that it becomes flaky. Not only is this unsightly, but it makes applying makeup a huge hassle and often times the finished product just doesn't look good. In addition, without exfoliating, after a while my skin begins to look dull from the layer of dead skin sitting on top.

The last thing I want to do to my treatment dried, acne-prone skin is irritate it more, so I steer clear of any physical exfoliation. Alpha hydroxy acids work by dissolving the bond between dead skin cells and new skin underneath them, so that they are naturally sloughed off. I would much rather exfoliate that way, rather than scrubbing my skin with an abrasive product to physically remove them. Plus, you get the added anti-wrinkle benefits with alpha hydroxy acids!

Over the years I have tried lactic acid, mandelic & malic acid, and glycolic acid. I feel that glycolic is far superior to the rest for removing flakies and keeping skin looking radiant. My glycolic product of choice, is the Alpha Hydrox 12% Glycolic AHA Souffle.

The souffle is a white, gel-cream that comes in a small frosted plastic jar. It is oil-free, fragrance-free, has an effective pH of 4, and contains 12% glycolic acid. It costs about $15.99 at ULTA, and even though that is a bit pricey for drugstore, I feel that it's well worth it. It feels very oily and rich going on, like it's going to leave a residue, but it soaks in to a matte finish. It's a very odd texture, but somehow it works.

The directions state that you can apply it morning and night, but I only use it at night. I feel like that's enough for my skin, and I don't think the texture would work well with makeup. It also tends to sting a bit when first applied, which sometimes results in brief redness, so I prefer for this to take place at night.

The souffle is recommended for all skin types, and I agree with that. It's rich enough for dry skin, but it's light enough for oily skin. Even if you do have oily skin, it is still recommended that you apply moisturizer over this, as it is quite drying on it's own.

I have said it before, and I will say it again...this stuff is seriously magic in a jar! It's a bunch of skincare products wrapped up into one. It eliminates flakiness, smoothes and softens skin, evens skin tone, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, controls breakouts, prolongs the effects of Botox and microdermabrasion, contains peptides that preserve firmness and plump up skins texture, and it's proven to show results within 6 weeks. Sounds great, right? It really is!

Depending on the condition of my skin, I either use this nightly or a few times per week. Whenever I see my skin getting flaky, I apply this at night before my moisturizer. When I wake up in the morning, there isn't a flake to be seen! I have also found that is possibly the best spot treatment I have ever used. Whenever I see a blemish popping up, I put a little on before bed, and it's usually half the size in the morning. Long term, it also does an excellent job fading post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).

If you're looking for an effective glycolic acid exfoliator, definitely give this a try. I have tried many other glycolic products and even though it's the most affordable, it still continues to be my favorite and work the best for me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion


I naturally have very oily skin, and therefore I have oily eyelids, as well. If I try to wear eyeshadow alone with no base or primer, I get about an hour (two if I'm lucky!) of wear before it starts to crease horribly. Eventually, it just disappears altogether and I'm left with a line of eyeshadow in my crease. Not a good look.

Before I joined the cult of UDPP fans, I tried many bases and concealers all to no avail. Each one would slightly extend the wear of my eyeshadow but it would add pigment that I didn't want, and it would still crease within hours.

I had heard about UDPP but never thought it was something I needed since I don't wear any color eyeshadow, just neutrals. But, when all else failed, I broke down and bought a tube. I had no expectations given my oily eyelids with the tendency to crease, but I was hopeful because of the many raves I had heard about this miracle primer.

UDPP is a light beige, soft cream that blends seamlessly into the eyelid and browbone area, leaving behind a silky smooth canvas for eyeshadow. It dries within a matter of seconds and you can apply eyeshadow right away. You also only need a *tiny* bit for each eye, so one tube will last a really long time.

After applying UDPP, I apply my eyeshadow like I normally would, and go on about my day. This is when the magic happens...after a few hours, there is no oil breakthrough, fading, or creasing. After 8 hours it still looks the same as when I first applied it, again at 16, and even after 24 hours. You would expect me to stop there, right? But no, I'm not done! Being the insomniac I am, I have pulled numerous all-nighters with eyeshadow still on from the morning, and while my foundation is disappearing, my eyeshadow still looks PERFECT! And we're talking 24-40 hours after application! No oil breakthrough, no creasing, no fading...just perfection. I have joked that with UDPP I could apply my eyeshadow once a week instead of every morning...it's THAT good.

The only possible downside I can think of (other than the original packaging, see below), is that it *can* be a little bit more work to blend over, since it tends to grab your eyeshadow, but that's certainly not a dealbreaker for me. You just have to use a light touch initially, no biggie.

The major gripe with UDPP has been the packaging. In the beginning, UDPP was only available in the genie bottle pictured above. Yes, it's cute, but the problem with this bottle was that eventually you would no longer be able to get any out, and you would have to pull the stopper out to give the wand more reach. This too, would stop working after a while, even though there was plenty left inside. At that point, you would have to cut the ends off the tube and scoop the remainder out and into a jar.

After many complaints, UD attempted to fix this by switching to an angled wand. This did little to fix the problem, and you would still have to do the same thing after a while. After more complaints, UD finally changed the packaging to a squeeze tube which solved everything. Needless to say, there were many happy customers.

Overall, I can't say enough good things about this product! If you have oily eyelids and you have problems with fading and creasing, do yourself a favor and RUN, don't walk, to get a tube. I can almost assure you that you will love what you see. However, if you have dry eyelids, this may not be for you. You may want to give Too Faced Shadow Insurance (TFSI) a try, instead...that seems to be a favorite of those with drier eyelids.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chanel Soin Tendres Levres SPF15 Hydrating Lip Treatment


Between having naturally chapped lips and living in Florida where it's hot year-round and cold when it's not, lip balm is an absolute must. I've probably tried just about every lip balm out there, and I haven't loved any of them. I tend to use them religiously when I first get them, and then toss them in a drawer hoping to find something better.

Fast forward to last year, when I received a Christmas package from a good friend of mine. I could see a Chanel lipstick through the clear, printed wrap, and I excitedly unwrapped it to see what it was. I was even more excited and surprised when I saw that it was not a lippie, but Soin Tendres Levres! Chanel lip balm? What could be better?!

Chanel Soin Tendres Levres is a milky peach in the tube, and applies clear. Chanel says it has a hint of color, but I don't notice it. It's such a sheer peachy natural shade that it just makes your lips look healthy and hydrated, there's no pigmentation. The patent pending formula has an "exclusive nutrition system," to repair, hydrate, and perfect lips. The formula also contains amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to smooth and condition, as well as SPF15.

It comes as no surprise since it is Chanel, but I have to say that it is the best lip treatment/balm that I have ever used. Not only do I love the luxurious feel of the tube, but the balm itself has an amazing lightweight texture. It's not waxy/heavy, and it doesn't apply too thickly like some balms...you barely even notice it's on your lips! There is a scent, but it's extremely light and pleasant...you're not forced to smell/taste it all day.

Yes, it is a little pricey ($28.50) compared to most balms, but I feel that it's definitely worth it. Between the luxurious tube and the pleasant texture, I find myself applying it more than any other balm I have used, and my lips thank me for that. I will definitely purchase another tube when mine runs out.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector

I've never been a huge fan of Clinique, but this one product I absolutely cannot live without. I was introduced to it by a friend of mine who kept insisting that I should try it. Every time she brought it up, I would tell her that eventually I would. I had tried so many pore products that left a lot to be desired, that I figured this would be the same story. Right around Christmas, I found a package in my mailbox from said friend, and guess what was inside? Yep, Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector.

Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector is a mousse-like, creme-gel that comes in two shades, Invisible Light and Invisible Deep. It is said to refine the look of pores with an natural looking, long-lasting matte finish. It also de-shines and resists sweat and humidity. It can be used under or over makeup, depending on which you prefer.

It's very quick and easy to use. To apply, I first start with my makeup primer...you can skip this if you don't use one. Then, I take a small dab on my index finger and pat it over the target area until it's evenly spread out. After that I just use my fingers to blend it down and out...almost like you're applying foundation. That's it!

I started out using this over foundation, feeling that it would be like applying concealer first...if I did, it would just get blended out of place when I applied my foundation. I used it for about a month, but I didn't feel like it made my pores look any smaller, so I tossed it into one of makeup drawers and moved on. A while later I realized that I never tried it over foundation, so I brought it back out and gave it another try. I was wrong, not only did it stay in place, but the texture meshed perfectly with my makeup primer and created the perfect smooth surface for foundation to be applied.

For the first time in years my large pores weren't visible through my makeup unless I was right up in the mirror, and even then they were still minimized. Needless to say, I was hooked. I continued to use it this way and I have since been through numerous tubes. I'm very oily and acne-prone, and this hasn't caused any problems for me. It doesn't add to my oiliness, and even though it fills in pores, it doesn't make me breakout in the least.

I would definitely say this is my holy grail, and I refuse to apply my makeup without it. It makes such a huge difference, and it's VERY reasonably priced at $17.50/tube. I have also used the infamous Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch, which is the same size (0.5oz) and retails for $32. Not only does it come in an unhygienic and inconvenient jar, but I feel it's not near as good as the Clinique!

If you have large pores, do yourself a favor and give this a try. You won't be sorry!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Solvere Four Step Acne Clearing Kit


I generally hate kits because the products run out unevenly and I feel like you have to use less than you need to clear your skin, just to make the kit last for the amount of time it's supposed to. Not the case with this kit, and out of all the Proactiv-esque kits I have tried, this is my favorite.

I bought mine from Dermstore (with a 15% off code) and ended up paying $34.72 for the kit, which is a one months supply. It's about $41 full price, depending on where you pick this up. Yes, it's a little on the pricey side when you compare it to Acne.org and other similar systems, but it does include a toner which Acne.org does not and a moisturizer which Proactiv does not.

It's only been about a week, but I have to say, I am really loving this kit. It's everything I wanted Acne.org to be, and more. It incorporates glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and BP in soothing formulations that don't dry or irritate the skin.

Step 1: Solvere Acne Clearing Cleanser, is a thick, amber-colored gel which to me, smells like baby shampoo. It creates a nice lather that removes all traces of dirt, oil, and makeup without leaving my skin feeling tight and dry. It doesn't leave any kind of residue behind, just clean and fresh skin. It combines glycolic acid along with 2% salicylic acid, formulated with green tea extract and zinc PCA to soothe skin and help with inflammation.

Step 2: Solvere Acne Clearing Toner: The toner pads are wonderful, I am very glad they chose to make toner pads rather than include a bottle of toner like Proactiv does. There's virtually no waste, and the toner is guaranteed to last through the kit. Like the cleanser, the toner combines glycolic acid along with 2% salicylic acid, formulated with the astringent benefits of witch hazel and the soothing, anti-inflammatory effects of green tea extract and zinc PCA.

Step 3: Solvere Acne Clearing Gel: The gel is similar to Acne.org's, 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, but the base is slightly more moisturizing. You only need a thin layer, so it dries quickly and you don't spend half the day walking around waiting for a thick layer of BP gel to dry, like you do with the Acne.org regimen.

Step 4: Solvere Fortified Moisturizer: This is an amazing moisturizer, and I would have to say my favorite so far. It feels very rich and emollient, but it feels very lightweight on the skin and leaves no oily or greasy residue. It works perfectly under makeup, but it's also rich enough for a night cream. It's described as fortified because it has many "good for skin" ingredients in it, such as: vitamins A, C, E, green tea extract, Co-Q10, and superoxide dismutase. Sounds expensive, right? But suprisingly it's less than $10 a jar purchased separately. It hasn't caused any breakouts, so I would definitely continue to purchase this alone regardless of whether or not I continue to use this kit in the future.

Though this kit is a lot like the Acne.org regimen, it's more similar to Proactiv, so let me do a quick comparison. In my opinion, I would say this is FAR superior. The Solvere cleanser combines both AHA & BHA and is not abrasive and irritating like the Proactiv cleanser. The Solvere toner also combines both AHA & BHA and is in pad form, vs. Proactiv's AHA toner in a bottle. The Solvere BP is in gel form, you receive half an ounce more, and it's not greasy and highly fragranced like Proactiv's Refining Lotion. Solvere also goes above and beyond by including a full sized AM & PM moisturizer, and NOT making you sign-up for autoship. In a nutshell, it works much better/faster, has more actives for better results, and it's not overly fragranced. The choice is obvious.

Prior to using this, I had been using the Acne.org regimen for 5 months. It was a long, inconvenient process each morning and night, and I was still breaking out right and left. In addition, my skin was always flaky and dry, which was very frustrating. Since starting the Solvere, I have had no new breakouts and my skin is starting to glow. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is starting to fade, and my skin is extremely smooth and flake-free. I would never go back, and I regret having spent that long trying to make it work for me.

Bottom line, I definitely recommend the Solvere Four Step Acne Clearing Kit.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lancome Teint Miracle Lit-From-Within Makeup Natural Skin Perfection

After searching for my HG foundation for years, I feel like I have finally found it with this product. I bought my first bottle as soon as it was released, and I am currently finishing up my third one with a fourth coming in the mail.

Normally I steer clear of anything luminous since I have extremely oily skin, but since Lancome marketed this for all skin types, I gave it a try and I am very happy I did. When I received my first bottle I was sure it was going to be way too luminous for me, since I could see a pearly swirl in the bottle, but to my surprise it wasn't at all! Plus, I don't notice that I get oily with Teint Miracle any quicker than I do with other foundations. It holds up through the day and still looks great after the second touch-up.

I would describe the coverage as medium leaning toward full, and definitely buildable. It's one of the few foundations that I feel provides adequate coverage with the first layer. I only have to touch up certain areas where I have excessive redness or blemishes. Teint Miracle has a semi-matte, natural glowing finish that looks like skin, but better. It's hard to describe, but it's perfect...just a healthy glow with no shimmer or sheen.

The texture is as nice as the finish...it's thin enough to blend easily, but thick enough to give great coverage in one layer. It's not too creamy, so it doesn't sit on top of the skin and slide around, but you have plenty of time to blend it in before it dries. It doesn't emphasize pores or any dry patches I may have, and it looks just as good regardless of what state my skin is in underneath.

I really can't find anything I don't like about this foundation, and I will continue to repurchase it again and again. I love it more and more with each application, and anything else I try after using it feels like a big disappointment...even foundations I previously loved. The price ($37) is very reasonable for something so amazing, especially considering I have tried more expensive foundations that don't hold a candle to Teint Miracle. Definitely give this one a try! I can't say enough good things about it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

L'Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Makeup

Even though I love trying new foundations, I always have a select few "go-to" foundations that I keep around at all times. This is one of them, and for many good reasons.

L'Oreal True Match comes in a wide variety of shades, which are incredibly easy to choose from, thanks to L'Oreal's wonderful system. Each shade is marked either W (warm), C (cool), or N (neutral), ranging from 1 (very light) to 10 (very dark). As I am very fair, and mostly neutral, I was able to find a perfect match with N1.

What I love about True Match is that it's a very thin formula. This makes it super-blendable, as they say, and also gives the foundation a weightless feel. However, it's very pigmented and provides medium-full, buildable coverage. It doesn't settle into pores, highlight old acne scars, or emphasize dry patches, which are my three biggest gripes when it comes to liquid foundation. The above, combined with the fact that it lasts all day on my oily skin, make it a winner for me. I did have to blot and powder my T-zone, but that's nothing new for me.

Some reviewers have mentioned micro shimmer, which I do see. It's almost like a purple/pink/mauve-y shimmer, but it seems that I only see it in the bottle. I don't see it AT ALL when it's on, even in direct sunlight from any angle. The only time I see it on my skin is when I finish applying and wipe the excess off the back of my hand. Don't let the shimmer scare you away, if I hadn't looked closely at the bottle, I wouldn't have ever known.

I'd say the finish is matte with just enough glow. As I said before, I have very oily skin and I love it. It's not at all like Revlon Photoready, which was very Edward Cullen-esque, for me. My only complaint is that I wish the bottle had a pump, but it's as good as some of my HE HG's and much cheaper, so it doesn't bother me all that much.

All in all, I would definitely recommend True Match if you're looking for something as good as HE, but without the high price that often comes with the quality.