Friday, February 26, 2010

Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara, $5-$8

(Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara in Very Black)

I have found Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara to be the least irritating mascara I've ever used. It's great for my extremely sensitive eyes because it has a very smooth, inky kind of texture that never makes your lashes feel stiff or tight. Maybelline says it has an ingredient that allows for easy removal, thus reducing the loss of lashes that can happen when mascara just won't come off. Its thick, bristly brush deposits a lot of color onto the lash line, creating the illusion of thickness. It looks really good if you comb through your lashes first, add a coat or two (while still wet), and wear a lot of dramatic black eyeliner (my fave!).

It is also available in a waterproof formula--however, because I have such problems with mascara, I've stuck with the regular kind. And let me warn you, it is extremely not waterproof. Any rubbing or crying will make it come right off--but hey, I think it's worth it. I just won't wear it to the beach. :)

Final verdict
Cost: Very affordable, and available nearly everywhere.
Good for sensitive eyes?: Definitely. This mascara keeps your lashes soft, doesn't flake at all, and comes off easily.
Looks?: Hot. Adds a lot of sultry thickness to your eyelashes.
Repeat offender?: Oh yeah. I've bought this stuff for years.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Benefit To Go Beauty Bestsellers, $10

For Christmas I got this little 4 pack of samples from Benefit in my stocking. It includes 4 of their all-star skin and cheek products in small sizes. Benefit often includes these small sizes of skin products in their gift sets so I thought I would provide a small review of each product even though this particular 4 pack is out of stock at the moment through Sephora.

Some Kind-a Gorgeous is a self-proclaimed “foundation faker.” It is a light, silky, nude to sheer colored cream that dries on as a powder. It is a very airy cream that is used to take the place of a foundation or concealer by adding a smooth finish to your face. The full size product is $28 and comes with an application sponge and mirror in a fun compact that looks like a record. I’d suggest this for people who don’t like foundation or concealers (like myself) but sometimes want a nice even creamy finish on your face.

“That Gal” is a light pink toned brightening face primer. This cream can be used all over your face, just around the eyes for some added brightness, or on the cheeks for a little added glow. This is a pretty versatile product because of its many uses. The full size product is $28 and comes in a tube that looks almost like a glue stick. It has little holes on the top where it disperses a little, or a lot of the face primer. I think this is a great skin product because it has a very subtle and fresh smell that leaves your face feeling literally “refreshed.”

High Beam is described as a “luminescent complexion enhancer,” otherwise known as a product that can make you look awake when you are exhausted and just want to crawl under your desk and nap. High Beam is so wonderful because it really gives that oh-so-desired glow that we always want to have. I like to wear it right under my eyes and up to the top of my cheekbones because it makes you look instantly awake. The full size bottle is $24 and will last you a long time! This product can be used lightly in the day time or a little heavier for a dramatic evening look.

Posietint is a “poppy pink tinted lip and check stain.” I have used the Benefit Benetint rose-tinted stain (review for that coming up soon!) for years and really wanted to try the Posietint. For me it is a little light because I have slightly olive-toned skin. The Posietint does add a little color and for $28 you get a big bottle that lasts for a long time. The pink looks bubblegum colored in the bottle but on the skin it goes on pretty subtly. I’d suggest this for girls who have a lighter skin tone because the stain will act as a nice everyday blush.

Final verdict:
Cost: Benefit’s full size products seem to average about $20-$30. I would suggest buying a gift set that includes different products because for the same price you are getting multiple products. Since Benefits products seem to go by the whole “a little bit goes a long way” the smaller size bottles are plenty.
Quality: I think that their skin products are definitely high quality but very low fuss. These are all great products for women who aren’t into heavy products but want something light for everyday.
Repeat offender: I would definitely try different Benefit products in the future because everything I’ve come across has been very positive.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland Book of Shadows, $52

I can't tell you how I excited I am about Urban Decay's Book of Shadows, inspired by Tim Burton's new rendition of the classic Alice in Wonderland story. The limited edition palette includes 16 eyeshadows, 2 eyeliners, and a small (0.13 fl oz.) bottle of primer, hidden underneath a dreamy pop-up scene from the story. The result is a playful, exciting, and whimsical addition to any Urban Decay or Alice in Wonderland fan's collection.

Urban decided to take 16 of their best-sellers, change their names around, and put them in a brand new palette. It includes shades for everyone and every mood: dark, sweet, crazy, trippy, warm, exciting, and playful. What's not to love?

(left to right: Alice, Midnight Tea Party, and Muchness)

As we've written before, Urban's eyeshadows are highly pigmented, blendable, full of texture and depth, and stay put all day. (PS - 7 of these are included in the Ammo palette.) The eyeliners (black and electric blue) are soft, also highly pigmented, and last a long time, especially over the primer. Having them altogether here is not only convenient and fun, but is also a really great value.

Did I mention the amazing pop-up scene?

I'm in love.

Final verdict:
Cost: For around $50, you get a lot of eyeshadow, 2 eyeliners, a primer, and an awesome case to hold it all. The only problem: I haven't been able to find it anywhere! Well, you can find it on ebay, though you might pay a little more!
Variety: The palette includes a great variety of shades for any occasion.
Quality: We already knew the quality of Urban Decay eyeshadows--this just cements it. This is the first time I've tried their eyeliner, though, and I'm just as happy with it as I've been with all of their products. Urban for life!
Repeat offender?: Unfortunately this particular one is a limited-edition special for the movie. However, I will definitely buy their eyeshadows, eyeliners, and primers again!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pangea Organics Eye Cream - Turkish Rose & White Tea, $55

I got this free sample of Pangea Organics Eye Cream - Turkish Rose & White Tea from my last purchase. I'm a big fan of all-natural and organic products, and though I'm probably not old enough to see a significant difference from eye cream, I think it's important for everyone, especially young adults, to moisturize moisturize moisturize. Pangea claims it has tons of antioxidants and other age-defying ingredients to really protect the delicate eye area. So I thought, "Why not? I'll give it a try."

The first thing I noticed was the pungent smell--it's really, really bad, almost sour. I wanted to get it off immediately, run to the sink and wash it all away. I felt like it would soak into my pajamas and bedsheets and invade my dreams. But I kept it on for you, oh trusty blog readers.

It felt creamy enough, and I guess left my eye skin moisturized, but I didn't see a dramatic effect. It didn't make me appear more awake or glowing. Luckily the smell didn't linger on into the morning.

Final verdict:
Cost: $55 is a bit too much for eye cream, if you ask me.
Smell: Pungent and awful.
Repeat offender?: No, I would not buy this. Maybe I don't have visible wrinkles to fill in and I admit I only used it once, but even if it worked miracles I would have a hard time getting over the smell. I might try other products from this brand because I think the problems stemmed from this particular fragrance; still, it is on the pricier side.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Trader Joe’s Oatmeal & Honey Soap, $1.99

For the longest time I would only use body washes and completely snub barred soap. I thought that soap bars were more prone to dry out my skin and not actually produce a good lather, but I was definitely wrong. I also suffer from really super sensitive skin, and not just on my face. In the winter months my legs get so dry that I feel like ripping my own skin off. I did a little research and found out that oatmeal is a really good “cure” to dry skin so I started my hunt for a soap that contained oatmeal to help with the itching. I went straight for body washes that claimed to be infused with oatmeal to help with itchy skin but none of the ones I tried really helped.

I picked up Trader Joe’s Next to Godliness Oatmeal & Honey Soap on a trip to my former place of employment (I remember stocking the soap on the shelf but I had never tried it!). For $1.99 you get 2 full bars of soap (4 oz each) that are made with just a handful of really recognizable (and natural) ingredients. I didn’t think this soap would do the trick but this mild soap is perfect for those of us with dry skin. Not only is it infused with flecks of oatmeal that are so fine you can hardly tell they are there, but it has a really nice mild smell that leaves you feeling fresh and feminine (don’t worry boys you can use this soap too its not just for girls). The soap builds a nice lather that goes on the skin smooth and once rinsed off you can feel that your skin is moisturized. Without any added perfumes this soap is purely for the purpose of cleaning and soothing dry skin. This won’t replace the need to moisturize with a lotion like this one, but it will definitely help with the itchiness and soothe your dry and unhappy winter-abused skin.

Final verdict:
Cost: $1.99 for 2 full bars of soap (a good deal in my opinion)
Scent: Mild, clean, and soft
Repeat offender: I’ve been using this soap for months, I will definitely continue to (just hope Trader Joe’s doesn’t stop carrying it—they do that sometimes!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer, $15

Attention, those with sensitive skin: This may be the moisturizer for you! A couple months ago, my skin got irritated from an acne medication. My old moisturizer didn't help--it would sting and burn when I put it on, especially right after washing my face. I decided to try Aveeno's Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer, hoping that it would calm my pissed off sensitive skin. It did. I threw away the medication, but the moisturizer stayed.

This stuff is "fragrance-free, oil-free, noncomedogenic, [and] hypoallergenic"--probably one of the gentlest moisturizers around. Plus, it has sunscreen in it (available in SPF 15 or SPF 30) which, as you know, is important for keeping your skin looking young. The moisturizer soaks into your skin quickly and smells just faintly of sunscreen. Now, I also have combination skin (oily and dry, wee!), so I use moisturizer primarily on my cheeks and try to avoid the corners of my nose and my chin. That being said, I haven't had a problem with oil while using this, but judging by its lotiony feel it might not be best for oily skin. But, I don't know for sure. (Perhaps SPF 15 would feel a little lighter.)

What really sold me on it is that, pretty quickly, it had a noticeable effect on my skin's appearance. The tone looks more even and my face just looks healthier. It's as simple as that.

Final verdict:
Cost: $15 is actually pretty cheap for moisturizer--the top picks at Sephora average about $50 or so! And since you really don't need a lot, it lasts a long time.
Is it true?: Aveeno claims that it "visibly reduces the appearance of redness and soothes sensitive skin," and I have found this to be true.
Skin types: It's probably best for those with sensitive skin, dry skin, or combination skin. I'm not sure if it would be best for oily skin.
Repeat offender: Yes! I'm really happy with it.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Clinique Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula, $14

(Clinique Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula in Black Onyx)

It's really hard for me to find a mascara that won't irritate my super-sensitive eyes, let alone one that's supposed to be long-lasting. This one is almost perfect (read: almost). It lengthens, curls, and defines my lashes immensely. I've never really thought that a change in mascara could make a big difference in how I look, but this one makes me look really wide-eyed and awake, and I like the effect.

If you notice, Clinique calls it "long-wearing," not "waterproof," because it actually only comes off with warm water. It's lasted through sweat and tears, literally. It leaves absolutely no smudge or raccoon-eye whatsoever--yay! It's really easy to pull off gently when you're in the shower or washing your face.

There's only one problem: It still irritates my eyes a little. I should mention here that in addition to having sensitive eyes, I'm also kinda a compulsive picker. Any mascaras that make my eyelashes feel really tight will provoke the picking compulsion. These are generally the same ones that will flake on their own; I just help them get going. And this one, unfortunately, is one of those. The tiny, tiny little bits get in my eyes and irritate them. True, not as bad as other mascaras, but irritating all the same. I've also forgotten to take it off at night, and woken up with a bunch of little flakes on my face and in my eyes. Ouch.

Final verdict:
Cost: $14 may seem high when compared to drug-store brands, but for high-end mascara it's a pretty normal price.
Long-wearing?: Actually, yes. It does stay on through heat and crying, and comes off very easily in warm water with no smudging.
For sensitive eyes?: This may be good for some sensitive eyes (Clinique says it's ophthalmologist-tested and allergy-free!), but I had a problem with flaking. When the flakes fall in my eyes, they bother me.
Repeat offender: I wouldn't buy it again--I'm still on the search for the perfect mascara for sensitive eyes (hopefully one that won't smudge everywhere, too). But, it looks so good that I didn't return it--I've been just kinda dealing with it. If you don't have sensitive eyes or a problem with some flakes, it might work well for you.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Essie’s Mint Candy Apple Nail Polish, $4-8

There isn’t much that I like about winter anymore. After being stuck indoors repeatedly due to multiple blizzards, I--like most other Maryland and DCers--am ready for spring! But since we still have a few more weeks of this unpredictable season I figured I could give you a review of Essie’s special winter shade “Mint Candy Apple.”

This polish is definitely a different shade. Unlike most polish colors out right now this isn’t dark and it isn’t sparkly. This shade reminds me of a toned-down version of Crayola’s “Robin’s Egg Blue” crayon. It is also very reminiscent of that wonderful car color that was often found in the 50s (why don’t they make cool colored cars anymore?!). I love the color but I do have a few gripes about this polish. The main problem I have is that it chips very quickly. Since it is a lighter and brighter color, any chipping or smudging is going to be more noticeable. I had this on for 2 days before it already started chipping. I haven’t tried many Essie polishes so I can’t say if it is a brand thing, but as I try different ones (their shades are always really pretty), I will let you all know! Nevertheless, it is a very lovely polish that stands out on your fingernails.

Final verdict:
Cost: I got mine on Amazon and with shipping it was about $5, but it is marked in stores for around $8.
Main attribute: This polish has such a distinct color that it can really take the place of any accessories you may want to adorn yourself with.
Repeat offender: I’d try different Essie polishes but I would not buy this same color again.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Olay Body Wash plus Tone Enriching Ribbons, $7

As I've mentioned before, I have some trouble with dry skin, especially in the winter--and man, we're really having a winter here! A lot of people who share in my woes will agree that a crucial step in handling dryness begins in the shower. My favorite step 1 is this moisturizing body wash, Olay's Body Wash plus Tone Enriching Ribbons. The soap is layered intermittently with "ribbons" of moisturizer, and when they mix together they form a thick, creamy, and super-lathery product.

There are 5 different Olay body washes with the moisture ribbons: body butter, crème, lotion, exfoliating, and this one, which has mica minerals. I've used the other ones and liked them well enough (though I still don't know the difference between butter, lotion, and crème), but IMO this one smells the best and feels the creamiest, as you're washing as well as afterward. This stuff is so rich I've started using it as an alternative to shaving gel. Since it cleanses as it moisturizes, it can save some time in the shower.

The purpose of the mica minerals, Olay says, is to even-out uneven skin. I honestly can't really tell if they have any effect in that department, but I must admit it's fun to randomly find the tiny little sparkles that get left behind. They're not that noticeable, but you might want to warn your roommates if they're not the kind of people who like to shimmer. (My boyfriend bought this by mistake and I laughed every time I found a little glitter on his arm.)

Final verdict:
Cost: An 18-ounce bottle is around $7, and is available at drugstores, grocery stores, Wal-Mart, Target, etc. It's well worth it.
Moisturizing: This is one of the creamiest, richest, and most moisturizing body washes I've used. I've used it year-round as a body wash and for shaving.
Does it really even-out skin tone?: Meh, not really. Although, you might find some tiny sparkles on your skin (don't worry, nothing too serious).
Repeat offender: Yessss. It's a great body wash for my dry skin.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Desert Essence Blemish Touch Stick, $6-7

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get any blemishes, and if someone is telling you they never get blemishes, they are lying. I have really sensitive skin and most products that are made to help decrease blemishes can dry out my skin or even worse--irritate it more than it originally was. The Desert Essence Blemish Touch Stick is a product I have used on my skin for years now, and I always keep a bottle handy. This stuff is really amazing because it helps reduce blemishes without drying skin or irritating it, it actually soothes skin and gives a cooling effect. The Blemish Stick comes is a compact bottle with a screw on top and a rolling-ball applicator. The smell of this product can often come off a bit strong initially but after the first couple seconds you don’t notice it much anymore. The liquid mostly smells of tea tree oil but it is infused with other natural herbs like rosemary, lavender, and even thyme. My favorite part of this product is that it is very natural, all of the ingredients are recognizable herbs, oils, and extracts. The Blemish Stick does not leave any residue, it cools the spot you roll it on and dries quickly. Another great use for this stick is that it really helps stop mosquito bite itches! I find myself carrying a bottle of it in my purse in the summer time to stop itchy bug bites. The Blemish Stick can be found at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or directly from Desert Essence. This is great for minor blemishes and skin irritations.

Final verdict:
Cost: $6-7 at stores and online
How long does a bottle last: Depending on how much you use and how often, the bottle can last for a few months. I probably use my stick once or twice a week and have had it for a few months now. If you are using it to help with bug bite itches then you might run out more quickly.
Repeat offender: Tori and I have been using this product for years now and I don’t think we will stop.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Just wondering . . .

Hi friends in the land of the intertubez! We decided to post a little something other than a make up review today. Since we have been updating regularly for the last couple of weeks we wanted to ask you guys if you had any feedback. We are curious about our readers! I know a lot of you out there are supportive friends, but I have a feeling there are some people we don’t know who have stumbled upon our little blog. So please leave a comment and let us know anything, like who you are, how you found Sweet Glow Beauty, what you like or dislike about it, what you want to see more of, what you want to see less of, etc. We really want to maintain this blog to the best of our abilities. We eventually will be posting daily but for now we have been limiting ourselves to 3 posts a week so we don’t get overwhelmed. We are having a lot of fun with this blog and we hope that it is as much fun for the readers! Thanks guys, and expect a make up review on Friday!


Monday, February 1, 2010

Wet n Wild Mega Last Quick Dry/Ultra Gloss Top Coat, $1.99 vs OPI RapiDry TopCoat, $8

I used to skip putting on top coat whenever I painted my nails because I didn’t think it was all that important. Since I started painting my nails on a more regular basis I realized that top coat is definitely as important as the second coat of nail color.

(The bottle pictured here is the mini version of the OPI RapiDry, the full-sized bottle is being reviewed)

Some of my OPI mini sets have included the OPI RapiDry TopCoat which I began using regularly. I love this top coat because it really does seal in the color and dry fast. It also tends to keep the polish on longer. The only downside to this top coat is the $8 price tag. For something you will use every time you do your nails (I tend to do them once a week) a bottle could go pretty quickly.

I was really excited to find that Wet n Wild makes a top coat that is comparable to the OPI brand and is less than half the price! Wet n Wild’s Mega Last Quick Dry/Ultra Gloss Top Coat (damn, that’s a long name!) does the same job of adding shine, sealing in color, and drying quickly. The top coat seems to be a bit thicker than the OPI but it still dried very quickly. By the time I finished putting top coat on all my nails, my first hand was already dried.

Final Verdict:
Cost: (Wet n Wild) $1.99 vs (OPI) $8.00
Size of bottle: (Wet n Wild) .47 fl oz vs (OPI) .5 oz
Any significant differences between the two?: Nope, pretty much on the same page.
Repeat offender: Both would be repeat offenders for me, but I’d probably buy the Wet n Wild just because it’s cheaper.