Monday, May 31, 2010

L'Oreal's HiP Color Truth Cream Eyeliner, $10-12

I've heard a lot of good reviews about L'Oreal's High Intensity Pigment (HiP) line, so I decided to try their cream eyeliner. I chose this beautiful dark teal color with a metallic sheen. I figured teal would be a good way for me to wear a blueish color (the green in my eyes generally clashes with blue or navy).

The cream eyeliner comes with a tiny angled brush that does more harm than good. It's okay that it's a small size, but the brushes are really bushy. This does not lend itself to good control. Don't worry--I keep my Sephora angled brush handy just in case. The review must go on.

The eyeliner itself is kinda of dry and clumpy. It didn't go on easily. It took me a long time to get a nice clean and even line.

But look at that color! It's so pretty. It's really bright and has a slight metallic shininess. The color reminds me of teal corduroys. Goes great with my eyes, too! And (worn over primer obvs) it's lasted all day with no smearing or running. Just sucks that it took so long to get to that.

Final verdict
$10. Not exactly cheap. I'd gladly spend $5 more a high-end one.
Texture: Dry, clumpy. Not as rich and creamy as Clinique's.
Color: But oh, the color is amazing. It's really pretty.
Repeat offender?: No, I wouldn't buy this again. I'll use it on occasion because the color is so pretty, but I'll make sure I have some time to sit and do it. It sucks because it doesn't smear or run, and the color is great, but it was a pain to put on! But, I did buy one of their loose eyeshadows . . . we'll see if I have more luck with that later.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Sweet Deals and Summer Essentials

Hey sweet ladies and a special hello to all of our new readers/followers! It has been a while since we did our Sweet Deals post so I’m gonna hook you all up with some cool finds. I also want to share a few things in particular that I am dying to get soon! We also thought it would be nice to do a quick Summer Essentials post, provide some links to old reviews for a few things you might want to take with you on your beach trips this weekend and for the next 3 months!

Of course the number 1 essential for all of us (and it isn’t eyeliner!) is definitely sunscreen. I don’t need to tell you how important it is to protect your skin from damaging UV rays so I’m not going to. But I will tell you that I think you are crazy if you don’t at least use a daily moisturizer with a minimum of SPF 15. A favorite moisturizer is the Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer that comes in SPF 15 and SPF 30. If you are like me and get freckles when you are out in the sun for 5 minutes go for the 30! One of the best sunscreens hands down is the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock which comes in many different levels of SPF protection. I’ve been using this for years and you can definitely use it in place of a daily moisturizer if you plan to spend the day out in the sun.

Here is where one of the products I’m lusting for comes in. Sephora’s Sun Safety Kit is a bundle of products that are all designed to protect your skin from the sun. This kit is packed with lotions, sunscreens, powders, and primers in small sample sizes that will be great to travel with. It is all packaged nicely in a hot pink carrying case. The best part about this is that all proceeds of this $25 kit go to The Skin Cancer Foundation. Thank you Sephora for making us pretty and making donations.

So we have the protecting our skin part covered, but what about having a little bit of a glow? I’ve worn a dress to work two days in a row and I’m pretty sure I’ve blinded all of my coworkers with my pale-as-milk legs so I need a little color! I’ve tried some self tanners or those lotions that are supposed to gradually build a glow with a hint of color but I literally am either too lazy or feel like you need a base tan for these things to work. After doing a little research I found that the Olay Body Touch of Sun Daily Body Lotion has some pretty decent reviews. I think I’m going to pick some up either at a store or through Amazon. Have you guys had any luck with any of these kinds of lotions? I’d love some suggestions!

Speaking of glowing let’s talk about bronzer. This beautiful bronzer from MAC’s To the Beach collection is really lovely including the compact it comes in.

From the same collection I would not mind having any of these lipsticks especially Beachbound and Thrills.

An essential for me when I go to the pool or beach is this detangler. I use Johnson’s No More Tangles detangler spray, which is for kids but works find on adults too! You can also pick up any generic kid’s detangler spray because I know they work the same. This kind of thing only costs about $4-5 at the most so it is definitely worth having around.

Now here is a sweet deal! 30% your entire purchase by Tarte cosmetics on their site, just enter the promo code GGAD at the end of your purchase. This is a great deal, I have reviewed a bunch of Tarte products before so you know I’m loyal! I am dying to try their natural lipstain LipSurgence.

Don't forget your sunglasses!!

Have a great holiday weekend! And stay tuned because we have an exciting giveaway coming soon to celebrate a blog landmark for Tori and I! Follow us and have a chance to find out what this giveaway is, I promise it’ll be worth it!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Almay Smart Shade Concealer, $8-$10

Almay Smart Shade Concealer is interesting--it's one of their products in the Smart Shade line, which claims to have the ability to "sense" the color of your skin and adjust itself to blend in flawlessly. Therefore, it comes in only 3 colors: light, light/medium, and medium. I chose light.

The product starts out nearly white. It comes in a small container with a needle-point nozzle, all signs that point to "use a small amount." It's very thin and liquidy, making it easy to spread out and blend. It feels smooth and dries quickly, almost like a tinted moisturizer.

The color isn't quite as yellowy as in the photo (I also put on a ton here), but it does have a slightly yellow tone that works well with my skin and I think helps to mellow out redness.

It's sheer coverage--no stage makeup here. For someone like me who never wears heavy face makeup, I think it works really well. I've used it under my eyes (dark circles), my nose (red), and my chin (blemish scars). I feel like it gave an overall cleansing effect, like my face looks more alive but you can't really figure out why.

Final verdict
$8-$10, depending on where you get it. Available at CVS, Walmart, etc.
Color changing: It actually does change and blend into my skin--pretty cool! It has a slightly yellow tone, though, which might not work for all skin types.
Coverage: Fairly sheer, like a tinted moisturizer. Good for those who just want a little, natural-looking fix. It also has SPF 15 (always a plus for me).
Texture: Soft, nonoily, blends easily, and dries quickly. It feels like my skin can breathe through it (not cakey at all).
Repeat offender: Yes, I would buy this again. It gives me just the amount of coverage I'm looking for and has a great texture. Plus, I put it right on top of some zits and it didn't make them worse, so I know it's not clogging my pores. I'm interested to try their Smart Shade blush--it's, like, the future, man!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sephora by OPI, Caribbean Cocktail, $9

This gorgeous sparkle and shine filled metallic blue nailpolish is another awesome addition to my always growing nailpolish collection. This particular bottle comes from the Havana Nights collection that I've been reviewing each week. Caribbean Cocktail is a bright blue that is sprinkled with tiny silver sparkles that give it a metallic effect. This most definitely a eye catching nail color (always a plus) and a very unique shade of blue for me.

I used two coats of polish for this and a top coat. The polish goes on very evenly and stays on strong. This polish (and most of the Sephora by OPI polishes) dry very quickly as well. I love a fast drying polish because I am always that person who messes up her nails at the salon 5 minutes after they finish.

This polish is particularly perfect for toes. The metallic blue just looks really good as a pedicure. This is one of two metallic polishes in the Havana Nights collection, the other one is a gold color. I like the metallic because it is really different for the summertime. And how many chances do you get to show off your pedicure in the colder months? You might as well experiment with different nailpolish textures!

Final verdict:
Cost:$9 from Sephora
What does it look good with?: A tan! this would look so good if your skin had a nice golden flush from the sun (but don't forget your sunscreen people!).
Repeat offender?: I wouldn't buy this particular polish again but I'll always get the Sephora by OPI polishes! I think this definitely opened up a whole new world of different metallic polishes for me though!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cibu Shang High Volumizing Mousse, $20

A couple of years ago I worked as a receptionist for Bubbles Hair Salon. (I actually still go there to get my hair done!) The stylists loved to use my hair to experiment with new products or techniques. When Bubbles's brand Cibu made a volumizing line, I got really excited; though I am told I have a good amount of hair, it is pretty fine. If I don't put anything in it, it tends to just lay there. The stylists tried the Cibu Shang High Volumizing Mousse on me and I've been hooked ever since.

The mousse is made with white and green tea extracts and ginseng, which are supposed to protect your hair from sun and environmental damage while giving it volume. Plus, they give the mousse a clean and fresh scent.

The mousse itself is soft and luxurious. And really thick! You can see from this picture that the bubbles are really tiny, meaning it's super concentrated (not just full of air).

We used to love doing this--if you put it in your hand and hold it upside down, it doesn't move! As a demonstration we would put some on the table and leave it for 20 minutes or so. Some air would deflate out of it but it pretty much remained intact. It's pretty cool!

What I love most about the mousse is that it gives my hair volume whether I'm blowdrying it or letting it get some curl naturally (like in my sexyface pic above). And my hair's always soft--never sticky or crunchy.

Final verdict
I'm willing to pay $20 for this even though that's kind of a lot. It just works! Plus the bottle lasts a long time. Even when you think it's empty there's still more left!
Soooft: My hair feels really soft, whether I'm scrunching it and letting it dry naturally or blowdrying it.
Tips: As with any hair product, start off with a little and add more. Use when your hair is wet but not soaking wet. It doesn't say to shake the bottle first but I always do (I feel like it makes it thicker).
Hair types: I can only really relate to my own hair, which is fine, soft to the point of flat, and nearly stick-straight. Probably best for girls who need extra help getting "big hair."
Availability: Bubbles Salons are mostly on the east coast but the Cibu line is available for purchase online.
Repeat offender: This is the only mousse I ever use! It's also the only thing that gets that tiny bit of curl in my flat hair. I love it! Too bad I don't get my discount anymore! ;)

BTW, Ratner (who owns Bubbles, Hair Cuttery, and Cibu) is donating hair to help clean the oil spill in the Gulf. Check it out here.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner, Black, $5-8

This is by far my number 1 go-to eyeliner. I have been using this eyeliner for years and have tried others that are similar but none of them ever compare. Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner is a twist-up eyeliner that does not even require sharpening (but comes with a small sharpener anyway!). I hate hate hate to sharpen eyeliner pencils. I feel like I always end up wasting a bunch of pencil and/or always screwing it up and breaking the pencil somehow. When I look for an eyeliner it definitely has to be the retractable kind.

I use this eyeliner almost daily. I like to try different eyeliner (obviously) but I always come back to this one as my main product. The Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner often comes in a two pack (as pictured) so I always try to buy a few since I know I will be using it often. The two pack is also usually priced about the same as the single pencil.

The eyeliner claims to last up to 16 hours, but I can testify that it lasts LONGER than 16 hours, especially when used with a primer. Although it does not say it on the front of the packaging this eyeliner is actually always waterproof. I've said this before but I usually have makeup on when I go to the gym in the evening (I don't apply it for the gym I swear--I'll admit I do touch up sometimes--yikes!) but it does not move at all even with all the sweating! I also want to note that while I was writing this review I drew a little line of eyeliner on my hand and a few minutes later tried to rub it and it did not budge at all.

The tip of this eyeliner in not very thick and if you practice it enough you can definitely get a handle on how to achieve a thicker or thinner line. I find that it has a very versatile tip that is controlled by the pressure you apply and how close you hold the pencil to your eyelid. Overtime the technique you develop will help you control the pencil even better. I can pretty much apply this stuff in the dark. The eyeliner pencil is soft so you can either layer it on or use just one stroke and blend it with a brush to "smear it." Even though the pencil is soft, it is not weak. What I mean by this is that it doesn't break if you apply a lot of pressure to it like some other retractable pencils do.

Final verdict:
Cost: The Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner is priced between $5 and $8 depending on where you look. Like I mentioned above, I recommend the two pack because it is a great value and you will have some eyeliner when you run out of the first pencil!
Tips: Do not roll up the pencil too much but don't keep it too low either. You should have the pencil rolled up around 4-5 millimeters (you don't need to measure I'm just estimating). The pictures of the pencil in this post are a good example.
Does the pencil actually go on black?: The pencil is a true black. It does not go on light black--I've had this happen with other brands it is so NOT COOL. I feel very strongly about my black eyeliner dammit.
Repeat offender: If Revlon ever stopped making this I'd wear black for 40 days straight. No really, I swear by this stuff.

Friday, May 21, 2010

What I'm Wearing - 5/21/10

Happy Friday! Last weekend I tried a new look on my eyes. I was going for a more interesting way to get the "no eyeliner" look, different from my usual "as much eyeliner as possible" look. I used:

-Urban Decay's primer (Sin on top lid; Original on outside and bottom)
-Urban Decay eyeshadow in Scratch (a beautiful shimmery baby pink for across the lids included in this palette)
-Maybelline eyeshadow in Urban Brown (for the outside wing, crease, and a little underneath)
-Urban Decay Liquid Eyeliner in Roach (just a little on the outside half of the top lid)
-Clinique Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula in Black Onyx (top and bottom, for a clean, "awake" look)
-Nars Orgasm blush

After priming, I swept Scratch across my entire lid with an eyeshadow brush (from EcoTools). Then, using the top of the brush, I worked Urban Brown into the crease, extending the line past my eyelid for a little wing. I took the angled brush and smudged some Urban Brown into and right underneath my bottom lashes (outer half of my eye only) and connected it to the wing. I cleaned the eyeshadow brush and used it to blur and soften the lines, making it look more natural but still dramatic. I lined the outer part of my top lid with Roach--I couldn't go completely without eyeliner! I think it looked really cool but I'll still need to work on perfecting the angles. The colors are amazing though--brown and pink are so flattering on hazel eyes.

I also put up a new discussion on our Facebook page: How much makeup do you carry in your purse? Click on the icon in the sidebar and become a fan!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sephora by OPI, Caliente Coral, $9

I'm pretty sure you guys are tired of seeing blue and green polishes I've been reviewing lately (I have so many and they are all slightly different I swear!!!) so I'm throwing in this awesome bright coral color from the Havana Nights collection. Caliente Coral is a super bright orange/coral polish that just stands out in this collection. It is funny that they threw this color in with a bunch of blues and greens because it is so different, yet somehow it is still cohesive with the entire collection.

I've got three coats of polish (2 would do but I was feeling generous) and as always a topcoat. The polish is not a thin color, it goes on nice and thick and dries quick.

Final verdict:
Cost: $9 for a full bottle
Goes well with: This will look great if you are wearing some solid colors, especially light colored neutrals. I say this because today I wore it with a black dress and I felt slightly Halloween-like (I'm not hatin Halloween is my favorite holiday!).
Tip: Make sure to use at least 2 coats, 1 is just not enough. With lighter colors it will tend to look streaky.
Repeat offender?: Sephora by OPI 4 LIFE OBVZ.

PS--This post is picture heavy! I got so many good ones I couldn't help but share!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lorac TANtalizer Baked Bronzer, $32

Lorac's TANtalizer Baked Bronzer is probably one of the first deluxe-sized samples I ever got from Sephora (this little container has been through a lot). I had never tried bronzer before. I mean, at that point I was just figuring out what blush was! As a pale girl who is nervous about melanoma (not to mention that I tan all weird and uneven), I've pretty much given up the idea that I'll ever be effortlessly golden. But, I love wearing this bronzer in the summer to give the illusion that I've had a little shimmering sun kiss my skin.

The color is a mix of warm browns and light, soft golds, and is super shimmery (just make sure you don't accidentally get the matte one). It is highly pigmented, blendable, and buildable, which makes it really easy to get anything from a tiny hint of shimmer to a deeper golden tone.

To me, the effect is a lot like Orgasm's shimmer, but without the peachy-pink tone.

(top/left: Lorac's TANtalizer Baked Bronzer; bottom/right: Nar's Orgasm blush)

In fact, my favorite summer look is to blend the bronzer on top of the blush, creating a peachy-pink-golden-shimmer duo of awesomeness (which I attempted to re-create between the two, above). Then I just dust the bronzer everywhere else--shoulders, collarbone, chest, etc. I love it! It would even make a really pretty eyeshadow if you're a fan of shimmery neutrals.

Final verdict
$32 is pricey but I think it's worth it. The sample size shown above is much smaller than the regular size. Plus, it comes with a mirror and little brush (shown in the second photo here).
Color: Beautiful and warm, even on pale skin. I think it would work well on many skin tones.
Buildable: It's really easy to put on a little bit or a ton. It's soft and blends really easily.
Repeat offender: Once this is up, I'll definitely buy it again. It lasts a long time and is just a really good product. It does exactly what it's supposed to do, even if it does cost a little extra.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Laura Mercier Smooth Focus Pressed Setting Powder (Shine Control), $32

A little while ago I received this sample size compact from Sephora of Laura Mercier Smooth Focus Pressed Setting Powder but I didn’t really have the need for any shine control powder until it got warm outside! I tend to have dry skin during the winter and then normal-oily skin in the warmer months. I have been using the powder after I moisturize my skin but before I put on any blush or other powders. By moisturizing first and then putting on the shine control powder I am able to control the oiliness without feeling like I’m completely drying out my skin.

The powder is supposed to be colorless but it is a light green shade. I have often seen a lot of face powder in this tone, I think it is so that it looks less like powder white and is able to blend in better with natural skin colors. The compact comes with a sponge applicator that I have been using. Sometimes it is easy to put too much powder on a certain spot on your face if you use the sponge but honestly this powder is so fine that the sponge seems like the best tool possible. The compact pictured is 2-3 times smaller than the actual size product.

Final verdict:
Cost: A bit pricey at $32. This is very similar to the review that Tori did a bit ago on Urban Decay’s De-Slick Mattifying Powder. Similar cost, the Laura Mercier one is $2 more.
Does it work?: It definitely works but you have to be careful to not use it on dry skin because it will just look like a white powder spot (I’m having flashbacks to middle school when I thought I should use a Covergirl powder all over my face at all times without moisturizer—gross).
Is it worth it?: I think that it does the job it says it will but it is pretty pricey and you could probably find something similar for less. At the same time, this is such a fine powder that you might not get the same silky feeling with other similar products.
Repeat offender?: This is the kind of product that you won’t use everyday but when you do need it, you will be glad that you have it. I would like it more if it had some SPF protection in the powder because that is always a plus for the warmer months. If I ran out (probably won’t happen very fast!) then I would consider buying the full size powder.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Burt's Bees Radiance Eye Creme, $18

So maybe I'm going through a quarter-life crisis or something, but I feel like I am getting some lines around my eyes. Ok, yeah, they're faint, but those 8x magnifying mirrors will get you overanalyzing everything. Anyway, since all the magazines do their best to indoctrinate us with "Prevention is Key!" messages, I decided to try to do something about it. I bought Burt's Bees Radiance Eye Creme partly because I want my eyes to look fab now and later, but mostly because I'm curious about royal jelly's role in beauty. Yes, royal jelly as in what they feed to bee larvae and queen bees.

Burt's Bees says that royal jelly is used because it is one of the most nutrient-rich substances in the world, containing tons of amino acids and vitamins. It is supposed to help smooth skin and reduce the effects of aging.

The first thing I noticed is its amazing scent. Oh man, it smells like a dream--honey, cream, and flowers. Mmm.

Also, it's super creamy. Its water-based formula is more thin than most eye creams, but this makes it feel like it's soaking right into your skin. It's cooling and soothing. It says to use it in the morning or evening, but I'd wear it at night only. It leaves your skin kind of slippery and I'd be afraid of my makeup sliding right off.

Final verdict
At first $18 seems kind of a lot for a tiny jar of cream (0.5 oz), but you really only need the tiniest amount. I can't see myself finishing it! Plus, it has royal jelly in it. How many products can claim that?
Texture/smell: Super creamy/heaven.
Anti-aging?: So, has it helped diminish my 24-year-old eye lines? I don't really know. These kinds of things are so subjective. Plus, I have to admit I haven't been using it as consistently as I should. But, I feel like the skin around my eyes has more life when I wake up, like it's brighter.
Repeat offender: I'd buy this again, sure. I really like the way it feels and I feel like it brightens up my skin. Honestly, I can't tell if it's significantly helping in the anti-aging crusade, but I know it can't hurt!