Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Miss Fix-It Palette by Tarte, $22 (on sale from $44)

The Miss Fix-It palette by Tarte is a perfect little bundle of makeup for the warmer seasons. The colors included in this palette were what drew me to buy it in the first place. The bright blue, sparkly mint green, light lavender, and sandy golden shadows were the reason I bought this palette—mostly because I have nothing like the blue or green. I already own two Tarte eyeshadow palettes so I knew I would adore the quality of the shadow and it definitely did not fail to impress me. I wore the green shadow over some primer and it stayed on brightly all day.

The palette also includes two lipglosses and a highlighter cream. The highlighter is a sparkly mix of gold and an almost pearl-like tone. I put some on my upper brow bone for a “highlighting” effect. It can also be used subtly on the cheekbones for the always lovely glow. The lipglosses are both pinkish tones, the one on the left goes on more clear and the one on the right has a more subtle color. The lipgloss goes on smooth and does not feel too sticky on the lips.

The most brilliant part of the palette is that the eyeshadows are separated from the lipglosses and highlighter by a thick cube of plastic that is attached to the palette so it won’t mysteriously disappear and you won’t have a mess of sticky eyeshadow and powdery lipgloss (grossssss). The palette also includes two double sided application brushes for the shadow, lipgloss, and even the highlighter. A little mirror is also embedded underneath the top lid that folds down. This is a super sturdy palette to carry in your purse if you like to have your makeup handy for touchups. It folds up into a neat little cube and stays shut with a magnet in the lid.

Final verdict:
Cost: This palette is originally $44 but this week Sephora has select Tarte products on sale as Tori mentioned in Friday’s Sweet Deals, so it is marked down 50% for $22!
Do the colors go on the eyelids the way they look in the palette?: Yes! You know sometimes we all buy eyeshadows where the color in the case looks way more vibrant than it does when it is applied on your eyelids. This palette’s colors are definitely true to their color on eyelids too.
Repeat offender?: I will always buy Tarte cosmetics so definitely! Obviously I don’t need two of the same palette but I’d buy a different one with different colors.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Maybelline Define-A-Line eyeliner, $6

(Maybelline Define-A-Line eyeliner in Ebony Black)

While I tend to stick with liquid or cream eyeliner for the serious endeavors, I like to use a pencil on my inner rims--I just feel like my eyes look awkward without it. It's been hard to find one that I really enjoy, so I keep trying new kinds. I must admit, I'm also secretly hoping to find a pencil that (1) I don't need to sharpen, and (2) will stay in place for a long time. Sometimes liquid or cream just takes too long and I would love to have something simple. I decided to try Maybelline's Define-A-Line eyeliner and, um, I'm still looking. Let me try to recreate my experience here.

Exhibit A: Here I prepped my hand with Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original (because, obvs, I wear this under any eye makeup) and drew a quick line with the liner. The liner is smooth and soft and highly pigmented.

Exhibit B: I ran my finger gently over the line I just drew.

Final verdict
Cost: $6, but don't waste your money.
Texture and color: The liner is really soft, really really soft. It comes with a built-in sharpener but it is too squishy to hold the point for very long--not really "defining." The color is very dark, but . . .
Does it last?: Not at all. It smudges everywhere, even with the primer underneath. I wore it for only a few hours but got sick of seeing it below my eyes, on my eyelids, on my fingers, etc.
Repeat offender?: No, I would not buy this again. I don't even know if I can finish it. I was pretty disappointed. But, I am willing to try Maybelline again, because I have liked some things from them in the past. Oh well, looks like I'm still on the lookout for my perfect pencil eyeliner.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Make Up For Ever Professional, Diamond Black 307 Eyeshadow, $20

Last Friday Tori mentioned that she really wanted to try some makeup from the brand Make Up For Ever and I realized that I actually had one I could review for her and you all! The shadow is a dark charcoal black with speckles of silver sparkles. Like most black eyeshadows you can control the shade by dusting on a heavy or lighter stroke with your brush. To apply this I used a regular flat tip eyeshadow brush but you can also use your finger if you want more control. This shadow is really great to use as an eyeliner as well. You can use an angled brush to apply the shadow on the top and bottom lid as eyeliner. If you are into the smokey look this shadow is great for achieving it.

In these photos I have on Tarte's Brow-Know-How on the eyebrows, on the lids Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, Make Up For Ever Diamond Shadow in Diamond Black 307 (their shadows are named by color and a numerical code), MAC’s Penultimate eyeliner, Urban Decay Skyscraper mascara, and on the cheeks Nars blush in Deep Throat.

It is really important for me that a black shadow does not crease after a few hours of wear, so far so good, no creasing. I also want to note that it is a lot messier to put on this black shadow as shadow and eyeliner if you aren’t wearing any primer. Overall I am really happy with this shadow, I’ve had it for a while but hadn’t used it since I discovered the magic primer, I like it a lot better with a base that helps it stay put.

Final verdict:
Cost: $20 for one eyeshadow it is a bit much in my opinion but they do last a long time if you find one you can’t resist.
Staying power: This shadow is pretty durable, if you touch your eyelids with the shadow on it does not smear off on your finger at all.
Repeat offender?: I think that I would wait to buy another shadow by Make Up For Ever if it were cheaper but they do have very interesting shades and colors. If you go to Sephora (it is the only place you can get it, in stores and online) they have them all out to sample and it is like a giant rainbow you can’t really resist.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sweet Deals, Vol. 2

To make your Friday even sweeter, here are some awesome deals and some pretty sparkly things to long for . . .

Urban Decay has reintroduced their nailpolish line and is celebrating with Apocalyptic Nail Kit, a set of 6 mini polishes in their trademark dark and exciting colors (with a little zippered case), on sale for $18.

Sephora has added some great Tarte products to their sale section, like this set of 4 bright spring eyeshadows plus 2 lipglosses in a portable kit ($22), 2 smaller versions of the lip sheers Mirna reviewed in an earlier post ($15), and this cute mini palette of 4 dark eyeshadows that comes with a full-size brush ($12).

Walmart sells Hard Candy now! (Am I a little late on this? Oh well, still exciting!) Hard Candy has all kinds of makeup in pretty packaging (I'm such a sucker for a well-designed box), but their nailpolish repertoire is really what they're known for. I'm falling in love with this pretty teal, this sparkly wine, and this dark glittery masterpiece that reminds me of a hot summer street, all just $5 each. Plus, who can resist those awesome heart-shaped rings?

MAC knows I've got spring fever and is tempting me with these yummy, shiny lipglosses, or as they call them, lipglasses. Isn't the Partial to Pink color so sweet? ($18)

Oh em gee, the Harajuku Lovers perfumes are in little summer bikinis! I'm this one, Mirna is this one.

I think the next brand I'm going to try is MAKE UP FOR EVER, specifically this breathtaking black cream eyeshadow (this picture here is a total inspiration, even though it sounds like most reviewers on Sephora used it as a cream eyeliner). PS, they totally did the makeup for The Runaways. I can't wait to see their awesome rock star makeup and outfits.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nature’s Gate Jojoba Revitalizing Shampoo, $6.29

For the past couple of years up until about the end of last summer I had long hair and was trying to grow it longer. For me having long hair was fun but the texture of my hair seemed to change, it got super thin, weighed down, and even started falling out at a rapid pace. I didn’t go to the doctor or anything but I decided to change my shampoo. I thought that maybe the shampoo I was using (I think it was Fructis) was too heavy for my hair so I went to Whole Foods looking for a more natural option. I wash my hair daily, otherwise it just doesn’t look right—I am one of those people. But you know everyone has to figure out what works for their hair. The shampoo I picked at the time was Nature’s Gate Biotin Strengthening Shampoo. I read that biotin is good to take as a supplement if you are trying to grow your hair so I thought it was worth a shot to try it in a shampoo. It is not proven that biotin in shampoo can actually do much but I was willing to try it. This shampoo was light, smelled mildly minty, and was perfect for an everyday shampoo. I used this product for months and I did notice a difference in my hair falling out, it was doing it much less but I cant 100% guarantee you that it was from the shampoo. Since then I have cut my hair short so it is much healthier and it hardly sheds!

A few weeks ago I ran out of my favorite Biotin Strengthening shampoo so I went to my local Whole Foods and to my pleasure the whole line was on sale, but my Biotin shampoo was sold out! I love when this stuff goes on sale at Whole Foods because it sells for about half the price and I just stock up on a few bottles, they last me a long time! I decided to try a different shampoo so I went with this Jojoba Revitalizing Shampoo for Damaged Hair and the conditioner. The shampoo has a very pleasant mild scent that reminds me a little bit of baby shampoo. I have been using the Jojoba shampoo for the last few weeks and I think my hair is really happy! It is a great daily use shampoo because of the short list of ingredients. A really awesome thing about Nature’s Gate is that they have a glossary of their ingredients on their website so you know exactly what is in your product, and what the use is.

Final verdict:
Cost: $6.29, but like I said before it goes on sale pretty regularly, it lasts a long time, and you can even buy it in bulk on their site.
As a brand?: Nature’s Gate is a really great brand that carries a lot of different beauty products that I would love to try. They recycle, don’t test on animals, and are even vegan—so basically they are guilt free. You can order from their site (it is run through, Amazon (4 bottles at a time!), or just go to your local Whole Foods, I have even seen their products at Giant and Safeway.
Repeat offender?: I will definitely keep using this line of shampoos, my hair feels healthier and even though it is probably from many different factors I think that using a more natural option helped it get healthier. I even bought two bottles of their Herbal Daily shampoo and conditioner to try after my Jojoba Revitalizing shampoo runs out (I’ll let you know how it goes!)


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Urban Decay Liquid Liner, $18

(Urban Decay Liquid Liner in Ecstasy and Roach)

Oh Urban Decay, how I adore your eye makeup. Urban Decay Liquid Liner is a fantastic liquid eyeliner with intense color and metallic shimmer, bringing an unexpected "pop" to your eyes. The long handle and thin paint brush applicator make application easy. I grab the handle and give it a good shake before using, just to make sure the brush has a ton of product on it. The liner (and all the shimmery lovely goodness) stays in place, too. It comes in 13 colors that complement their eyeshadows.


Ecstasy is a beautifully bright and vibrant purple, perfect for attention-grabbing, party-lovin' makeup fun.

Wearing: Urban Decay Liquid Liner in Ecstasy, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original, Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Grifter (available in the Urban Ammo Eye Palette), CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus eye pencil in black onyx, and Maybelline Full 'N Soft mascara in very black


Roach is a deep copper with just a hint of metallic, perfect for subtly dressing up neutrals and adding a bit of interest to a traditionally plainer color.

Wearing: Urban Decay Liquid Liner in Roach, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original, Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Chopper (available in the Urban Ammo Eye Palette), CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus eye pencil in black onyx, and Maybelline Full 'N Soft mascara in very black

Final verdict
Cost: $18 is a good price for the quality product you get. Believe me, it lasts a long time!
Color: The colors are bright, intense, metallic, and shimmery--those are some awesome adjectives there. And, if you're not into shimmer, they also have a normal black.
Application: I'm a big fan of the paint brush-like feel of the handle. The liner is thick so you don't need a precise hand to get it right.
Repeat offender: Urban Decay is pretty much always a repeat offender. I really want to get Oil Slick, shimmery black, or Shattered, metallic teal. If I run out of these I'd probably get more, but I've had them for a while and they're still pretty full!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sephora by OPI, Handpicked for Me, $9

Sephora’s Modern Flowers spring nailpolish collection includes many different shades that are all inspired by the flowers of the season. This particular one called Handpicked for Me is a really pretty and feminine nail color that’s perfect for spring. The color is a light pink/lilac with super tiny silver sparkles that adds a really cute and girly touch. In the picture I have two coats of Handpicked for Me, but you can also use one for a subtle (and super quick polish job) or 3 for an extra metallic look. This color is great because it incorporates a pastel with a metallic (from the sparkles) adding a really cool dimension to an otherwise plain pink polish. I am really loving pastel nailpolishes for warmer seasons, especially spring.

Final verdict:
Cost: $9, standard cost for Sephora by OPI polishes. There is also a mini set for $18 with 3 other colors from the collection and Handpicked by Me included.
Does it chip?: This polish doesn’t really chip quickly, I’ve had it on for almost a week now and the chipping is only limited to the top of my nails which is caused by my typing on the keyboard all day.
Repeat offender?: I am definitely into this color and want to get the mini set, there is an awesome green shade called Leaf Him at the Altar that looks amazing!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Aveda Brilliant Damage Control, $15

Enough of winter! My mind has already moved on to summer and I think we all need a trip to the beach. My friends know that anytime I'm on vacay, I always have Aveda Brilliant Damage Control with me. Once I get out of the shower, I make sure to spray it all over my wet hair before exposing it to the sun, salt water, or chlorine. Actually, I use it after every shower--it protects your hair (especially color-treated hair that's susceptible to split-ends, like mine) not only from environmental damage but also from blowdryers, flat irons, and curling irons. And it makes a great detangling spray that deeply conditions your hair, making it all silky smooth without getting greasy. If your hair is really rough, try spraying it on your brush or comb before putting it through your hair. It works great on all hair types (I know, since all my friends have used my bottle and loved it).

Final verdict
Cost: $15, available online or at salons.
Loving care: Protects your hair, detangles it, and conditions it.
Hair types: Good for all types but especially for hair that's dry, already damaged, or has a hard life of blowdrying and ironing.
Repeat offender: You might remember my undying love for Aveda expressed in my hair whip post. I've bought so many bottles of Damage Control that I've lost count. Lovelovelove.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Urban Decay Hall of Fame, $20

This is by far the coolest, most awesome, best deal gift set ever. Ok maybe not ever, but one of them . . . When the time came that my dear and most trusted beauty product Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion was close to running out I found this awesome deal that includes an XL version of my #1 product/bff for life. One bottle of the XL Eyeshadow Primer Potion costs $23 (this is 60% bigger than the original size) but this set which includes the primer and a bunch of other useful goodies is a mere $20. I don’t even need to re-review the Primer Potion because we bring it up so often anyways and you can read our review here.

This set also comes with a mini 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil. This pencil comes in different colors but in the Hall of Fame you get good old black or as they call it Zero. This pencil is waterproof and goes on super smoothly. I personally am not a fan of pencils that you have to sharpen because I hate sharpening makeup pencils. But this pencil is pretty cool and I would consider getting it in different colors.

The Midnight Cowboy Lipstick in the Hall of Fame not only has a super cool name but it is actually a pretty nice lipstick. It is a beige color with a hint of shimmer, on your lips it looks pretty natural but like I’ve said before about lipstick, it just adds a polishing effect.

One of the beauty products that cracks me up every time I see it is the Pocket Rocket lipgloss. When you purchase a full bottle of the Pocket Rocket it comes adorned with a holographic picture of a clothed dude and when you move the bottle ever so slightly the dude is suddenly in his underwear. Hot. So if dudes can have bikini-clad women on their lighters we can have perfectly muscled men in their underwear on our lipgloss! But seriously it is more funny than it is sexy. The lipgloss however was a really big surprise to me! I am not big on lipgloss but I tried this and it stayed on for a long time! That is pretty amazing because I ate, drank, talked, and still had some gloss on my lips. I might actually consider getting a tube of the full-size Pocket Rocket. Oh and this one is called Timothy, yes, they are named by the guy on them.

I love, love, love to try different mascaras every time I run out. I actually feel like I haven’t bought a full tube of mascara for about a year because I get so many samples. So being that I am somewhat of a mascara connoisseur I am going to give this mascara a 3 out of 5. The mascara goes on fine but it starts to get flakey (if you touch it) by the end of the day and I’m not really cool with that feeling, especially because I wear contacts. I have been using the Skyscraper mascara for a couple weeks now and will continue to until I run out but I probably wouldn’t buy a full bottle of it. I can’t love everything, even though I really want to sometimes!

Final verdict:
Cost: You really can’t beat $20 for this set, its like paying less for a bottle of primer and getting 4 extra treats.
Quality: Urban Decay is one of my top quality brands, I hardly ever find myself disappointed with their products. Also, how cool is the packaging on all of this stuff?
Where to buy it?: You can get it here from Urban Decay's website!
Repeat offender?: If I manage to run out of the XL primer and this set is still available I’d probably buy it again because the deal is pretty sweet.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme, $9

Burt's Bees is an awesome brand. They have hundreds of products that range from shampoo to makeup to baby soap. They use recycled materials and natural ingredients that have been proven safe.

Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme is one of their popular hand moisturizers. This immensely thick cream is loaded with almond oil (1st ingredient on the label) which is amazing for dry skin, but does leave a slightly oily (but not slimy) feel. In the winter the oil is a nice protective layer, but might be too much for some people. It has that familiar cherry-almond scent, though I must warn you: if you don't love that smell you will not want to buy this. The smell is very strong, but I happen to enjoy it--it fades a little after you apply it, but leaves a good amount of fragrance.

In the end, it's a good moisturizer for seriously dry hands and feet if you enjoy the smell and don't mind the (all-natural!) oil.

Final verdict:
Cost: Burt's Bees products get a rep for being really expensive, but they're not too bad--especially because they make great stuff. $9 is a reasonable price.
Skin type: Definitely for use on severely dry skin. Because of their natural ingredients, it won't irritate sensitive skin.
Scent: I enjoy the strong cherry-almond scent but if you don't, it will be overwhelming.
Repeat offender: I can't see myself using this entire tub because you only need a very small amount. I will, however, continue to buy Burt's Bees products--I've loved nearly every one I've tried!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask, $52 (3.4 oz bottle)

I received a sample bottle of this from one of my many online Sephora purchases and I kind of threw it to the side until now. I finally decided to try the Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask by Bliss because my skin felt like it needed some serious TLC. First off let me begin by saying this is the first Bliss product I’ve ever tried on my skin and I definitely didn’t hate it. The smell of this stuff is fantastic, it is a combination of citrus (a strong grapefruit) and super freshness—the mask smells so clean.

The product comes out of a pump top as a gel and the idea is to massage the gel onto your damp skin and the gel foams and continues to froth as you let it stand on your skin for about 5 minutes. I like the idea of a gel/foam mask because those sticky pealing masks always freak me out. The foam washes off leaving your skin soft, glowing, and refreshed. Like any facial does, if you have any dirt or potential blackheads, whiteheads, or zits the mask might bring them up.

Final verdict:
Cost: $52 for a full size bottle (3.4 oz). The bottle in the pictures is only .34 oz so the full bottle is way larger and will lost a lot longer. A little bit of the mask still foams up significantly.
Does it work?: The product claims to deliver oxygen to the skin and brighten the actual tone. I only used it a handful of time and my skin definitely felt and looked like it had been treated to some fancy stuff.
Skin types: I have normal to dry skin so for me this worked well and did not try out my skin.
Repeat offender?: To be honest I don’t usually spend this much on a facial cleanser but if I felt like splurging I’d probably jump the gun and get this mask again.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Update: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri

On second thought, maybe I won't buy it again. Yes the color is great and the application is easy. But after not even 24 hours, the color started chipping. Then I looked down and it was peeling off. With the tiniest tug, the polish on the entire nail came off in one piece. Hm. So, maybe okay for a party but literally that's about how long it's gonna last.


Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color, $5

(Sally Hansen Insta-Dry in Uptempo Plum)

When it comes to nail polish, I'm real impatient. (Ok, ok, when it comes to other things, too!) I'll take the time to do it nice once in a while, but most of the time I end up putting on a thin 1st coat and then a thick 2nd coat, get paint all over my cuticle, and then inevitably smudge it on something (grrr!). So, when I saw Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri nail polish, I decided to give it a try.

I gotta say, I'm impressed! The nail polish is thick so it gives you a lot of color in 1 coat. In the photo above, I just used a clear base, 1 coat of the color, and then a clear top coat. And it really does dry quickly, less than a minute or so! In fact, Uptempo Plum (super deep purple with tiny purple/red sparkles) is the 4th polish I've tried from the line.

(Brisk Blue, Lemon Dash, and Clearly Quick)

Brisk Blue is goooorgeous, super blue and shiny, like a classic blue car. I was not so impressed with the Lemon Dash--it's thinner than the others, so it takes a lot more to get the same effect. It doesn't have as much shine, either. Clearly Quick is just a nice clear coat that can be used on its own or with other polishes.

The main downfall with these is that they're easy to put on, and easy to come off. They chip off pretty quickly, small at first but then in big chunks. Also, as I discovered with the blue, if you don't use a base the color will stain your nails!

Final verdict:
Cost: $5 is a great price. Worth it! It's sold everywhere, so it's really easy to find.
Color: The colors are vibrant, and they have so many! I'm excited to get a hot pink next, or maybe an awesome lime green.
Truly "insta-dri"?: Yes, they are true to their claim. It dries super fast!
Lasting color?: Eh, it doesn't do too well in this department. Chips pretty easily.
Repeat offender: I love this stuff and will keep buying it because it dries fast and has a lot of color. So easy! Perfect for last-minute, pre-party fabulousness.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Toolbox: Brow Know-How by Tarte, $18

I bought this kit on a whim, it was marked down to $9.00 and I thought it would be fun to try something different in my beauty routine. The Brow Know-How kit comes with brow powder, brow wax, brow gel, brow pencil, three brow stencils, mini tweezers, and an application brush. Everything folds up into a little box that also has a mirror on the lid. The kit comes in three different shades to match your hair color, the one I have is “dark.”

I can’t say I’ve ever tried to fill in my eyebrows or do anything other than tweeze or shape them so this was something very new to me. When I used it what I did was apply some of the brow wax to my eyebrow and then used the application brush to pick up a little of the brow powder. I was a little nervous but what I did was apply a little bit of the powder to any places where my eyebrow looked a little sparse. I dusted the powder on evenly and lightly but you can do heavier for a more dramatic effect. After applying the powder I just used the brow gel (it looks like mini clear mascara) to “seal” the powder in place. What I got out of doing this was a little extra polish to my look. It made my eyebrows look very neat and a little more shaped.

I don’t use this everyday because frankly I don’t have enough time. But every once in a while it is really fun to use this toolbox. The kit also comes with three different brow stencils that are good if you really want to change up the shape of your brows or go for a thick and dramatic look. If you have thin eyebrows and do this on a daily basis this would be a good kit to take with you on the go.

Final verdict:
Cost: $18
Is it worth it?:For $9 I thought it was worth trying, but I’m not sure I’d pay full price for it. Though if you think about it, something like this can last you a long time and the mini tweezers would definitely come in handy!
Repeat offender: I don’t think I will ever use this product up! But I love Tarte brand products so I know I’ll be trying different/new things by them.

Lorac Cheek Stamp, $5 (clearance from $22)

(Lorac Cheek Stamp in Pink Paradise)

Keeping in theme with Mirna's post on some sweet deals, I thought I'd share a sweet sale item before it goes out of stock! Lorac has come up with this nifty blush called the Cheek Stamp. It's a little container that holds a sponge and a layer of powder blush. When twisted shut, the sponge gets a fresh coat of the powder.

The color I chose, Pink Paradise, is more accurately depicted on the product website--it was hard to get a good shot of the brightness of the color. The soft powder is a sweet and bright baby pink that looks nice on my fair skin.

To use, untwist the cap and dab the squishy sponge on the apples of your cheeks. Then, use your fingers to easily blend. Twist the cap back on and you're done!

Final verdict
Cost: I wouldn't have paid $22 for it, but now that it's on sale for $5 I say why not?
Portability: The cute little container would easily fit in a purse or small bag, great for on-the-go beauty. I wouldn't worry about it spilling or the powder coming loose or anything like that.
Repeat offender: Well, since it's on sale they're probably not going to sell it much longer. But, it's a nice, portable little product, and gives you a good sample of Lorac's blush if you've never tried it. I've used other products by Lorac, so I know they're a great brand. I'd buy from them again, especially if they continue to have sweet sale prices!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

MAC Penultimate Eye Liner, $16.50

I’m always on the hunt for a perfect (or even near perfect) liquid liner and this eyeliner from MAC was the first higher quality liquid liner pen I’ve tried. MAC’s Penultimate Eye Liner in Rapidblack is literally a marker for your eyes. It has a super fine marker-like tip that is great for getting the liner very close to the eyelash line. The tip of the pen does not require any pressure or shaking for the liquid liner to come out so you can comfortably just draw the line. Unlike other liquid liners the black “ink” does not go on messy lowering your chances to smear. It not only does a great job on the top lid but it goes on very easily on the bottom lid line too which is something that I have always had a problem with using liquid liner. I feel like I am repeating myself over and over again but seriously it is just like a marker!

The liner claims “extremely long wear” promising 12 hours of wear so I decided to test this. The first day I wore this I put it on around 6:30 AM with a layer of Urban Decay’s primer beneath the liner. I checked my liner throughout the day and it was still holding strong. I went to the gym around 8:00 PM and did some heavy cardio so I was sweating for sure (I am too lazy to take my makeup off before I go to the gym). I came home and the liner was literally still on. This stuff is pretty heavy duty, the primer probably helps but there was no flaking or crusting throughout the day. I also found that this eyeliner goes on very easily over eyeshadow. For some reason I thought that it might damage the tip of the pen or not go on as dark if I put it on after eyeshadow but I had no problems. Covergirl makes a pen liquid similar to this which is cheaper but waaaay crappier quality. The Covergirl pen required pressure for the liner to come out, it wouldn’t really stay on, and it ran out or dried up really quickly. I was apprehensive to try MAC’s version but the two are hardly comparable.

(Couldn't get a great picture of the line on my eye but I did a little sketch on my hand to show you how the lines can vary as you please.)

Final verdict:
Cost: $16.50 for a fairly large sized pen.
Quality: The product lives up to the promises, it lasts all day and is definitely an ultimate pen eyeliner.
Versatility: The Penultimate Eye Liner is great for trying different eye makeup styles. If you like to experiment with liner this stuff is worth trying, especially if you are trying to achieve that really classic retro look with a thick liner on the top lid.
Repeat offender: I would definitely get this eyeliner again. This is not something I use on a daily basis so I believe it will last a long time.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Aveda Light Elements Defining Whip, $22

When I get a haircut, I get crazy layers all over the place. My fine hair (fine to medium, I guess) will simply fall flat otherwise. And let me tell you, I pay good money to get those layers, so I want them to really show! To have life! To separate themselves from the rest! To stand apart and be seen! Allow me to introduce to you one of my favorite hair products of all time and a staple in my everyday life: Aveda Light Elements Defining Whip.

A little background: Aveda is a highly trusted name in the beauty business, known not only for their great products but also for using natural, gentle ingredients and doing their part to lessen their environmental impact. If you've ever used Aveda hair products you know they have this amazing smell--earthy and slightly flowery, but not perfumey.

It adds texture and definition to your hair--meaning it controls flyaways and creates that awesome piecey look. Your bangs going out of control? Use a little of this to calm them down without getting greasy! It works great for long hair and short hair--dudes too! It's made for finer hair, so it's really light and won't weigh your hair down. When you put your hands in your hair later, it doesn't feel sticky or gross.

I use this as the very last step in my hair routine. To use, put a small amount on your index finger, like in the picture. Use your thumb and middle finger (and maybe the fingers on your other hand) to rub it together--this will help to put the product in your hair more evenly. Using your fingers and thumb, quickly grab at the ends of your hair, concentrating on the different layers. Then, tousle it through at the roots, even turning your head upside-down if you want a crazier look. Remember, start with a little bit, because you can always add more.

Here's a pic of me about a year ago, when I had shorter hair:
You can really see, especially in the bangs and on the ends, how the whip really adds the finishing touch to a haircut like this.

Final verdict
Cost: $22 may seem a bit high, but I'm willing to pay it! I use it literally everyday, and have had the same jar for maybe a year and a half. You really don't need that much, so it lasts a long time.
Style: I've used it when my hair is short or long, wavy or straight, dried naturally or blow-dried. You can even use it to smooth a ponytail. Aveda says that it can be used on all hair types, but it's especially best for hair that gets weighed down by other, heavier products.
Repeat offender: I looooove this stuff. It makes my hair look and feel awesome. I tell everyone about it! You can buy it at a lot of salons or from their website.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Be Good To Your Mother (Earth) 3 Full Size 24.7 Lip Sheers, $35

Tarte has truly become one of my favorite makeup brands in the last year. It started with me buying an eyeshadow palette by them without knowing much about the quality of the product. What I’ve gained from trying several of their products is that they are genuinely a high quality and environmentally friendly brand. I have been dying to get this awesome set of 24.7 Lip Sheers (found here and here) by Tarte forever, but I always thought the price was a little high. About two weeks ago one of my favorite online sample sale sites (hit me up if you want an invite) had a sale on this exact set I’ve had my eye on all along and I went ahead and splurged.

I was so excited to try this set because like I said earlier, I’ve been trying to experiment with lip colors. In this set you get 3 full-sized tubes of Tarte’s 24.7 lip sheers and a really lovely deep purple reusable tote bag that zips up so you can always have it on hand (DC people I know you have that new bag tax so this is perfect because it fits in your purse or car without taking up a lot of space). In authentic Tarte style, the packaging the lip sheers come in are made with recycled aluminum and are adorned with the names Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. The lip sheers come in 3 colors, the first being Reduce which is a muted wine color; Reuse, a hot pink that can go on subtly or give you a sexy bright lip color; and finally Recycle, a nude to dry rose color. These sheers are seriously the perfect lip product for the spring and summer because they all have SPF 15 and they go on so lightly, it is almost like a colored chapstick. Unlike lipstick, the lip sheers don’t really get on your teeth, they act almost like a creamy lip stain.

Final verdict:
Cost: The price seems a little high for some lip sheers but these tubes are pretty big and you get three of them. Individually, 24.7 lip sheers cost $16 dollars each so you are getting a pretty good deal. And don’t forget you also get a tote bag and it seems like we can’t have enough of these.
Quality: Tarte’s products live up to their promises. They are high quality and guilt-free because the company is dedicated to making environmentally friendly products.
Versatility: These lip sheers can be worn everyday as a casual addition to your beauty routine or you could use them when getting decked out for a special event.
Repeat offender: If I manage to use all 3 of the lip sheers or find another shade that appeals to me I would definitely invest in another tube of this awesome stuff.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sweet Deals

Hey lovelies! Just wanted to share some sweet deals we found and a few things I'm lusting for right now . . .

The Benefit To Go Beauty Bestsellers I reviewed last week is back in stock and still only $10!

Get free shipping and a free sample of MAC's Zoom Lash mascara (I've used it, it is great!) when you order from MAC's site by using the code: lash310.

I'm lusting for this awesome shade of nail polish called Dick Weed from the creators of one of my favorite fashion blogs.

I've been watching too much reality tv on Netflix and my latest obsession was L.A. Ink which leads me to my obsessive lusting for this Kat Von D eyeshadow palette, Metal Orchestra, it was sold out but it is now back in stock! If you like lighter shades Memento Mori is equally beautiful.

This goooorgeous blue shadow from Nars is called Tropic and it really just makes me wish I was in Hawaii or something, a girl can dream . . .

Are any of you lusting for any products you've seen recently or have you come across any good deals you could share? Leave a comment and share the beauty product wealth!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

EcoTools Bamboo 6 Piece Brush Set, $13

I've bought a few makeup brush kits in my life, and have had my share of disappointment--the bristles fall out, the metal part comes off, or they're just not that soft. I started to think, "Are there brushes out there that are high quality, soft, not too expensive, and maybe even earth-friendly? Is this too much to ask for?" Then, Mirna showed me this brush set from EcoTools.

For $13, the EcoTools Bamboo 6 Piece Brush Set comes with a blush brush (pictured here), eyeshadow brush, angled brush, eyelash brush, and concealer brush--the 6th piece is the holder that keeps everything organized and protected. It even comes in a resealable plastic pouch (I put the brushes in it when I'm traveling).

These brushes are soft. I mean, really soft. And they're made really well--I haven't had any problems with bristles falling out or anything like that. They're cut evenly, which then distributes color evenly, and the handle is light and durable. Quite possibly the most exciting part is that they're earth-friendly: the handle is made from bamboo (low-impact resource), the aluminum on the handle is recycled, the roll is made from cotton and hemp, the pouch it comes in is totally reusable, and the bristles are synthetic and completely cruelty free. Awesome.

My cat approves.

Final verdict
Cost: Probably the best brushes you can find for such a low price. The cost of one Sephora brush gets you the whole kit! Totally worth it. Plus, it's available at a ton of places like Target and Walmart.
Quality: No one would believe you paid less than $20 for these. They are soft, work well, and are easy to use.
Guilt-free: Cruelty-free, natural and recycled materials, how can you go wrong?
Repeat offender?: If I somehow break one I'll definitely buy more in the future, but they've lasted me a long time! The holder really keeps them neat and clean, and after a year or so I haven't run into any problems. Makes a great gift!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer, $1.50-$7

Sometimes, the simplest things are also the best. Jergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer (shown here in the 3 oz. size, around $1.50 at Target) is one of those things. This is your most basic, no-playin'-around kind of lotions: non-greasy, non-smelly, and fully moisturizing. I keep the small container in my purse, mostly for moisturizing my hands after using the office bathroom soap--can't stand that too-dry feeling! Since you only need to use a tiny little bit, this stuff lasts forever. I'd recommend it for people of all ages and skin types as a nice lotion to use all year.

Final verdict
Cost: Very affordable. Plus, you can get a big size to keep at home or a convenient small size, like the one pictured above, to carry in your bag or to keep at work.
Feel: Moisturizes without leaving any greasy feeling or overwhelming scent.
Repeat offender: Yes. After having my first one for about 6 months (with daily use), finally got another one. I'm really happy with it.


Monday, March 1, 2010

MAC Viva Glam Gaga Lustre Lipstick, $14.00

Wearing lipstick has not really been a step in my beauty routine ever, but recently I have been experimenting with it more often. When I saw this pink tube of perfection I knew it was something that would work for me and definitely had to have it. This limited edition lipstick is part of MAC’s VIVA GLAM campaign where every cent of a VIVA GLAM purchase goes to those living with HIV and AIDS.

Not only does this lipstick's profits go to a great cause, but the color was chosen and is being endorsed by Lady Gaga (I’m definitely a fan). You know this has to be fabulous and crazy if Gaga’s name is on it. I love this pink shade because you can wear it lightly and it can come off very natural or you can add a few coats for a nice thick pink lip. This pink compliments my skin tone and hair color by adding just a pop of sweet color. I must admit I feel a little Barbie-like but there is no shimmer, glitter, or an unfortunate “icy/frosty” look circa 1994—this lipstick is just a pretty pink. If you aren’t sure about it go to your nearest MAC counter and ask them to disinfect a sample tube and try it on for yourself! If you don’t like this particular color, MAC has tons of different colors and I am definitely a big fan of their lipsticks.

(Pink is probably not for everyone but I think it works with my skin tone)

Final verdict: I love love love this color so much.
Cost: $14.00, the price might be high but the quality is so great and by purchasing a VIVA GLAM product you are giving each and every cent to a really great cause.
Repeat offender: My experience with MAC lipstick has always been positive. I’ll probably be reviewing more shades in the future!