Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Badger Sleep Balm, $10

Badger Sleep Balm is something different, something you might be skeptical about, but it is definitely worth trying. The balm comes in a nice tin that seems to be the standard packaging for balms. The tin is adorned with a resting little badger and a soothing promise as a sleeping aid.

The Badger Sleep Balm is lavender and bergamot scented, offering a nice soothing herbal smell. The smell is so soothing that even if you think that a balm won't help you sleep it will definitely relax you. I've been using this balm for the past few nights, rubbing some on my temples, neck, lips, eyelids, and even on my hands and cuticles. I can't get enough of the fresh herbal smell so I end up slathering it on all over. It is not too oily and thick.

Though I can't tell you this will knock you out like you took too much cold medicine, I can say that it is a nice addition to winding down before bed. It can be compared to aromatherapy, the smell just takes you to another place and prepares you to clear your mind.

Final verdict:
Cost: You can find this for around $10 in stores like Whole Foods or on Amazon. There are different balms you can try as well!
Do you think it actually helps you sleep?: For me it helps me relax, clear my mind, and prepare for sleep. I don't think that the balm actually aids in my physical sleeping though.
Repeat offender?: I would definitely buy this again. I think that I will keep this balm by my bedside for a long time because of its serious soothing quality.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nature's Gate Pomegranate Sunflower Conditioner, $6

A few months ago I reviewed Nature's Gate Pomegranate Sunflower Shampoo, which I liked and have been using ever since. Recently I ran out of my old conditioner so I decided to try the matching one to the shampoo. It has the same wonderful smell I raved about in the previous review.

The consistency is weird and surprised me. It's very thin and pearlescent--reminds me more of a shampoo or body wash. I'm not really used to a conditioner being as thin (or thinner) than a shampoo. It makes it so that you actually have to use a bit more than normal. I don't use too much conditioner, just on my ends really, but I still have to use a bit more than I'm used to. When you put it in your hair, it seems like it just disappears.

That being said, it's not that bad of a conditioner. After a couple uses, I could feel my hair regain its moisture it had lost in my no-conditioner-because-I'm-too-lazy-to-buy-some week. It's not a big difference, but my hair feels like its normal, healthy self. Even if I do have to use a bit more to get there.

Final verdict
$6 is a good price for all-natural conditioner.
Smell: It has that yummy fruit punch smell the shampoo has. Mmmm . . .
Consistency: The consistency is more like a thin body wash. It's very liquidy and kind of disappears into your hair. You might end up adding more and more, wondering where it's all going.
Moisturizing?: It's alright. It works okay on my fine, oily-prone hair, but it wouldn't work well on anything thicker or dryer.
Repeat offender?: I wouldn't buy this again. It's just so thin! Like I said, it's not terrible, and it's working right now, but it's not as rich and moisturizing as I would have hoped. I think most people who have color-treated hair (which this is meant for) would need extra moisturizer from the drying effects of color, and the conditioner just doesn't deliver.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne, $85

I've been toying with the idea of reviewing perfume for a while now. This is something I haven't done yet because I believe that perfume is a lot harder to describe and review than say lipstick or blush. Perfume has always been such a key component in femininity in my life. Some of my earlier memories are of my mother powdering her face with some blush, rouging her lips, and then the last step--spraying herself with her newest perfume.

As you can tell by the amount left in my bottle I've had this bottle of Yves Saint Laurent's Parisienne for almost a year now. This perfume is my current signature scent, meaning I use it almost daily. Though I have a few bottles of other perfumes, Parisienne is always the one I go for on a daily basis. I would describe the scent as dreamy, sophisticated, and luscious. It is sweet without being juvenile and definitely fresh. The scent is a combination of woody and floral.

I love this smell because it is just so pretty. I get many compliments when I wear it and for some reason I think that someone telling you that you smell good is one of the best compliments you can get! I believe the perfume is like leather in that something of lesser quality just isn't going to be as good. Sure, this YSL perfume is expensive but it is well worth it for me. I use it daily, it makes me happy, and it is the perfect finishing touch.

Final verdict
Cost: Depending on the bottle size you can get this perfume for $39 (1 oz) or $85 (3 oz). The one I have is 3 oz.
Is it a good scent year round?: I have been using this perfume since I got it as a gift last year for Christmas. I think it is the perfect year round scent because it is a medium scent--not too light and not too heavy.
Repeat offender?: I am definitely getting another bottle of this when I finish up. I love this scent so much! Here is my suggestion if you are in the market for a new perfume, go to the store and smell them all! Don't buy one the first time you go, think about it and then go to the store and smell them again. If you find some that sticks out as special to you go back and get it!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Natural Soap, $5

A little while ago I reviewed Pacifica's Tuscan Blood Orange Perfume Solid. I loved the smell, but was disappointed at its lack of staying power. I decided to try their soap this time, because I still can't help but want to smell like a blood orange all the time (and this was much cheaper than the perfume spray!).

Thankfully, the soap is just $5 (for a pretty big bar) and smells exactly like the perfume solid--maybe even more so! The soap is just your basic all-natural soap, made with natural and vegan ingredients, including actual bits of blood orange.

The soap works well (like most bar soaps it can be a little drying), and smells fantastic. The smell lasts a little longer than the perfume solid. It especially fills your shower and bathroom with the wonderful scent. Mmm . . .

Final verdict
$5--very reasonable!
Scent: Smells exactly like the perfume solid I raved about earlier. OMG, can't stop smelling it!
Guilt-free: No chemicals, no animal products, and good for the environment. Portions of the sale even go to supporting clean water projects.
Repeat offender: I'd buy this again. I can't get over the beautiful smell! I would probably use it as a hand soap more than for my body, though. That way I could use it often and have the scent fill up my bathroom.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Aveeno Pomegranate + Rice body wash, $6.99

I first smelled this body wash at my friend's house after she had come back from a trip to CVS. I couldn't get the fresh smell out of my nose so I knew I had to pick up my own bottle of Aveeno's Positively Nourishing Smoothing Body Wash in pomegranate + rice. I tend to just use bars of soap but realized that having an exfoliating body wash would probably come in handy when taking care of my dry skin in the colder months.

This body wash smells really good, I don't know if I smell pomegranate exactly but it isn't an overpowering perfume smell or anything. It is nice and mild but lingers on your skin for hours after the shower. It seems like it is saying this smells like pomegranate and rice but honestly there is no rice smell and it is worded a little awkwardly. The bottle notes that rice beads and walnut shells are included in the body wash as exfoliants, not that it is a rice scented.

I don't use this body wash daily but I do use it pretty regularly. I enjoy the light exfoliation that leaves my skin feeling very soft afterwards. If you're allergic to walnuts be careful because there are actual walnut shells in the body wash.

Final verdict:
Cost: The price varies but it is around $5-7 at drugstores depending on where you go/live.
Does it actually smooth skin?: This is a mild body wash that definitely does the job of smoothing your skin but it does it very gently. The exfoliants aren't harsh and neither is the scent.
Repeat offender?: I really like this body wash and I would definitely buy it again.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Aveda Confixor Liquid Gel, $17

As you might already know, I love Aveda's hair products. I've been using this Confixor gel for years, but haven't reviewed because it's kind of hard to explain how awesome it is. I'll try anyway!

Confixor is a very thin gel with a consistency more like water. Every day after I use my leave-in conditioner, I put a dime-sized (or less) amount onto my palm, rub my hands together, and work this through my hair, concentrating on the ends.

Basically, it makes my hair manageable and, well, better. Without it, my hair is too soft, fluffy, and quirky, going in whatever direction it wants (including up). Confixor lets my hair do what it will naturally, but without being so crazy. It gives it texture (so that it's not too soft and flat) and control (so I can change my part and it will do what I say). It makes my natural waves look intentional, and does so without being sticky or noticeable, really.

Final verdict
$17. I use such a small amount that I buy it every year or year and a half (even though I use it every day).
Texture: It's called a liquid gel because it's a gel that very thin. That makes it easy to work through your hair, and it won't stiffen up.
Control: This product makes my hair manageable. I can control the fly-aways and craziness my hair wants to do, while still looking natural.
Hair types: My hair is fine, super soft (which is why it kind of floats around everywhere), and oil-prone. This keeps my hair under control without looking greasy. I think it would work great with curly hair, too.
Repeat offender: I absolutely love this product. Even though it's hard to convince someone without trying it, I'd recommend it to everyone. I can't do my hair without it!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Nivea Creme, $4.99

As summer comes to an end and winter approaches (so quickly!) we have to start thinking about taking care of our dry, dry skin : ( This is where this classic comes into play. Nivea's Creme has been around forever (1911 to be exact, nice little wikipedia page) and is available globally. This is definitely my go-to thick and absolutely guaranteed moisturizing product.

You would think that such a thick cream would go on heavy and greasy but it dries very quickly after your skin soaks up the moisturizing powers of Nivea Creme. I like to use it on my hands and arms daily because it helps keep the skin soft and makes sure that my elbows don't get dry. I use this product a lot on my legs in the winter time because that is my biggest dry skin problem area. It is an excellent all-over body moisturizer and has the mildest fresh scent.

Final verdict:
Cost: $4.99 for a giant glass jar--really can't beat the price.
Is it only good to use in the winter?: I think that this cream is good for all seasons, the only reason I mention that it's good to use in the winter is because it is indeed a thicker product and tends to be better than thinner creams.
Repeat offender?: Absolutely, I mean this stuff has been around since 1911, obviously it is legit.


Friday, September 10, 2010

OPI Have You Seen My Limo?, $6-$8

Just a classic OPI to round out your week and get you ready for fall! This is probably one of the first OPIs I ever bought. The richness of the color drew me in initially. Plum, brown, and maroon mix together to give this polish a lot of depth. But, what I really love is the metallic glitter mixed in. In the sunlight, it really comes alive.

I can see this as a color I'd wear through fall and winter. It can look fancy when worn with a nice dress, artsy with a warm sweater, and kinda dangerous when paired with leather and studs. It's a versatile color, and even though it's pretty dramatic, I think it would work really nice with a lot of skin tones.

Final verdict
$6-$8 (it's an old color so it's slightly reduced in price).
Depth: This is definitely not a flat color. The different shades of purple and brown shine in different lighting, and the metallic shimmer is awesome.
Texture: Like all OPIs, this is really easy to put on. Even after having it for a few years, it still works like new.
Repeat offender: I can see this lasting a long time. I try new things all the time so I probably won't buy it again, but that doesn't mean I don't love it!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sephora Collection Atomic Volume Mascara, $15

I've got a bag full of sample products that I've received from my many cosmetic purchases over the last few months and one of the products I reached for this week was the Sephora Collection Atomic Volume Mascara. This mascara promises "the most volume out of your lashes with just one stroke" and "extreme volume." I can attest that this mascara does indeed add volume to eyelashes in as little as one stroke. I don't really spend time curling my lashes or anything but this mascara definitely provides a good lift and even adds a bit of a curl.

The mascara goes on pure black and dries fast. I hate when your mascara takes a while to dry and you accidently end up with smudges on your brow bone. The mascara dries tightly so you aren't going to get soft lashes. It is a mascara that delivers a dramatic look as opposed to a natural one. I am noticing that most of the Sephora mascaras are getting pretty good reviews!

Final verdict:
Cost: $15 for a full size tube (the one in the pictures is sample size).
Does it actually deliver extreme volume?: This mascara plumps and elongates your lashes for sure. I have long lashes anyways so it might work better for me because it is just giving a boost but I'm not sure if it will be as effective for shorter lashes.
Is it waterproof?: Nope. I learned this at the gym yesterday!
Repeat offender?: I really like this mascara but like I've said before, I like to try different ones each time. I'd suggest it to anyone looking for something that elongates lashes.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bare Escentuals RareMinerals Blemish Therapy, $28

I originally bought the Blemish Therapy powder as a cheaper alternative to the $60 Skin Revival Treatment. The Skin Revival definitely worked for me somewhat, but not enough to spend $60. Plus, this is powder you can see, instead of guessing how much is left in the container!

It is basically a mix of mineral powders that is supposed to treat blemishes, shrink pores, reduce blackheads, and even-out skin tone. It comes with the little brush seen here. The main ingredient is sulfur (used to treat acne), which is backed up with other natural ingredients like their "soil mineral concentrate" (to exfoliate and reduce pores), white willow bark (pores), tea tree oil (cleanse), clay, farnesol, algae, and aloe vera. It's absolutely chocked-full of pure and natural ingredients, which is great because I feel better putting less chemicals on my skin.

That being said, it doesn't, um, smell that good. Like, at all. It smells pretty bad, actually, kind of like moldy, muddy tea tree oil. But since it's a powder the smell doesn't last too long (if it were a lotion it'd be awful), and I've actually gotten used to it in a pretty short time.

I've used the powder for about a month now. When I apply it after I wash my face at night, it doesn't feel like anything--it's very gentle. I think the powder form helps with its gentleness. It's easy to put on with the brush they provide (even over larger areas), and you don't need to use too much. The color slightly hides the blemish and definitely conceals redness, but my skin happens to match the powder so I'm not sure if it would blend in the same for every skin tone (though they claim it will).

I have seen a big improvement in the areas of redness and inflammation--it calms my skin down significantly. After I pluck my eyebrows, for example, I've swept the powder across them to reduce inflammation and prevent the little zits that pop up afterward. When I do get zits, they're much smaller and heal faster (especially if I don't touch them, such a bad habit!). These two things, to me, make this product totally worth it. My pores can get huge and irritated, my skin can be an oily mess, and this totally takes care of it. I do feel like I'm getting less blemishes as well. It didn't do too much for my blackheads--I don't see an improvement in that area at all. But, the other benefits outweigh this slight downfall.

Final verdict
$28 is a little pricey, but not as bad as their $60 treatment. The powder seems to last a long time. It's worth it, in my experience.
Natural, gentle: I love this because it's all natural. It does smell all natural, though! It's very gentle--great for sensitive skin like mine.
Effectiveness: I've seen a great improvement in skin tone, pore size, blemishes, and overall oil control. I didn't see much change in my blackheads.
Repeat offender: I will definitely buy this again. I'm happy with the results, even if my blackheads are still here! I would recommend this to anyone with problematic skin, especially if other chemical-rich products irritate you.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Sweet Stuff: What I Want!

With the summer coming to an end all I can think about are boots, jackets, cool weather, sweaters, and obviously new makeup and nailpolish!

Let's start with a sweet deal, the Kat Von D eyeshadow palettes available through Sephora are on sale from $34 to $24 (all but the newest palette). If you remember I reviewed Metal Orchestra a few months ago, which I think would be great for the fall and winter but I also think True Love and Ludwig would be good palettes that are mixed with neutral colors.

OPI's Swiss Collection is already in stores and I cannot wait to check it out! You can take a peak here on Amazon but I'd really suggest checking the colors out in person. The collection is full of metallics, beautiful shades of red, and even some greens and plums thrown in. I think there is definitely something for everyone in this OPI collection.

Now you know we are huge Nars blush fans, but have you guys ever tried their eyeshadows? They are gorgeous and they come out with different shades pretty often. The Fall 2010 collection can be found here. The purple eyeshadow Daphne is to die for. It is such a beautiful and vibrant shade that would go great with brown eyes. I am also very into the Palladium Soft Touch Shadow Pencil from Nars. The metallic blue would be a great pop of color lining the lids.

Ladies who love mascara, this is a deal you can't miss. Ten deluxe sample-size bottles of mascara for $27 from Sephora. The LashStash Mascara Deluxe Sampler has Urban Decay, Korres, and Tarte mascaras to name a few.

Hope you all have a great holiday weekend!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

ChapStick Moisturizer, $1-$2

So, not a very flashy product, but a necessary one for me: my staple lip balm. I'm not a lip gloss girl but I love lip balm. I feel like if I don't have any with me, I'm going to be distracted by my dry lips literally all day. And lip gloss just doesn't cut it. I've tried a lot, but ChapStick's Moisturizer lip balm is my absolute favorite.

This particular one moisturizes my lips the best. It's not sticky or waxy, and it actually sinks into my lips so they feel conditioned later. It's available everywhere (shown here in an awesome 3-pack) so it's easy to find. Believe me, this stuff works in all seasons, even in the driest of winter weather. Plus, it has SPF 15 (which is great, because I don't think a lot of people realize how easily sun damage can happen to your lips). Guys can use it, too--it doesn't leave your lips shiny and doesn't have a crazy smell.

Final verdict
$1-$2 for a single one, about $3-$4 for a value pack. Cheap enough to buy as many as you need--one for the nightstand, one for your purse, that one you left in your pocket, the one at your desk . . .
Moisturizes: This is the only one I've found that actually leaves my lips very moisturized, without any waxy feeling.
Repeat offender: I can't tell you how many of these I have. Like I said, I get really weird if I don't have any ChapStick, so I've bought a million of them to keep everywhere. It's my most basic staple beauty product, and I can't live without it!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

MAC Fluidline Eye-Liner Gel, Blacktrack, $15

MAC's Fluidline Eye-Liner Gel is one of my new favorite products that I know I will continue to buy over the years. I have only had this product for about a couple weeks and I already can't live without it. This pot of black eyeliner gold is a purely perfect product. It goes on easily, stays on, and look so freakin' fierce.

I know I'm gushing hardcore but this product really deserves this much attention! The Fluidline Eye-Liner Gel in Blacktrack is perfect everyday eyeliner that can be adjusted and used however the makeup wearer pleases. It is pure black and the gel is super easy to put on.

At first I was using a brush I had that wasn't exactly clean, I had used it with other eyeliners and let the products dry up on it making the brush too hard, even after I rinsed it. When I put on the Fluidline liner the first time it didn't go on as dark or as smooth as I had hoped. Distressed but determined to make this work I turned to my one of my best friends who I shall call the MAC Queen. She has a ton of MAC products and suggested that I purchase this liner. She told me to make sure I use a clean brush and once I did it made the biggest difference! You can use an angled brush or just a thin brush, whatever you feel comfortable with, but just remember to rinse your brush right after you use it so that the leftover liner doesn't dry up and ruin it! I just rinse my brush with water and use my fingers to get the liner off, nothing too complicated.

I love this liner because I can get it super close to my lash-line, get a thin line, or a thick line and it always comes out really beautifully. The other great thing is that it stays on! I use a primer of course, but this stuff doesn't really budge. It also comes in multiple colors you can find here.

Final verdict:

Cost: $15, a little bit goes a long way and it is about as much as buying a pencil liner.
Do I have to get a special brush?: You might have a brush on hand that will work just fine, just make sure it is thin enough. An angled brush is also a favorite when it comes to using eyeliner in a pot.
Is this good to achieve a cat-eye?: This is perfect for a cat-eye look! You might have to practice a bit but it will definitely be the best product to use to get the look.
Can I use it under my eyes?: Under eyes is a little trickier, I suggest using a lot of primer and a thin brush, go slowly, and remember you can always darken or thicken the line as you please.
Any tips?: I usually start lining the top of my lid starting in the middle and then work my way to the sides. That way if I have too much liner on my brush or something it is already going in the thickest part of the line.
Repeat offender?: YES YES YES!