Thursday, April 5, 2012

Neutrogena SkinClearing Liquid Makeup, $12

I've never been much of a foundation kind of girl, but lately I noticed that it really can create a nice, clean palette--as a start--and can also help my blush go on more evenly and stay longer. And it's all about that sweet glow, amirite? Of course, being new to the game, I wanted one that wasn't too expensive and also wouldn't clog my pores. What's the point of foundation if it makes your skin worse? I decided to try Neutrogena's SkinClearing Liquid Makeup, which contains salicylic acid to help treat breakouts. At $12, I knew I wouldn't be too upset if it didn't work out; plus, if I did love it, it would be affordable enough to buy regularly.

I chose Natural Ivory for my pale-ish skin. The first thing I noticed was how easy it was to blend. It's smooth and creamy--not sticky or pasty--and matches my tone perfectly. Once it's on, it doesn't feel like I'm wearing heavy makeup, which is super important for me. I need my skin to breathe!

So, does it really clear your skin? Well, I'm not sure if it will actively get rid of a pimple, but it definitely will not make things worse. It does a nice job of covering blemishes while still looking natural (as long as you don't pile on too much) and keeps my oily skin in check (which is a task in itself!). That being said, if you have skin that's on the drier side, this may not be the best product for you. I've found that any dryness is highlighted with this makeup--a light moisturizer underneath certainly helps it go on more evenly. So, it's really made for normal to oily skin.

Final verdict
$12, and readily available in many stores. Not bad!
Coverage: Medium. Still looks natural, but just more even-toned. I wouldn't suggest putting on too much, though--it can start to look fake.
Texture/feel: It's creamy and easy to blend. Once on, it feels light and smooth. I like to use a light moisturizer underneath just to get a nice, even base.
Skin-clearing?: Well, it controls my oily skin and lets it breathe, but I'm not counting on it to get rid of my blemishes. It certainly is better than heavy, cakey makeup that suffocates your skin. I think it's best for people with normal to oily skin.
Repeat offender: So far, this has been my favorite foundation. It's affordable, super easy to put on when I'm half-asleep in the morning, and helps me feel more confident about my on-the-problematic-side skin. I'm on my second bottle now, so I'd say yes!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Essie A Cut Above, $7

It’s all about pairing polishes for me lately. Whether it’s glitter tips, all-over sparkles, or the coveted flakes--I can’t get enough of it!

Essie’s Luxeffect polishes have really caught my eye, in particular A Cut Above.

Here I’m wearing A Cut Above over 3 coats of It’s In The Bag. It’s In The Bag is a super light, almost white pink that works great as a basecoat. You could definitely wear it on it’s own too, but I like having it as kind of a “canvas” for the glitter.

A Cut Above is great because it’s made with big and small round bits of glitter so it looks a lot more interesting than a standard glitter polish. I find that these mixed size glitter polishes are great for doing just your tips or if you want to achieve the ombre look.

(I was told this pairing looks like frosting and sprinkles!)

Final verdict
Cost: Standard polish cost, about $6-8.
Color: Dark rose-gold pink flakes of glitter mixed in clear polish. Looks great over light and dark colors.
Repeat offender?: I would definitely like to own this kind of glitter polish in other colors. Dark purple or black would be pretty great!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Favorites

(Mirna's free-hand sparkle tips from a few weeks ago, review coming soon!)

Just a few of our favorite things this week:

A chance to win 3 lovely (and sold-out!) Essie nail polishes.

Hate shaving, but this makes it way less of a chore.

We're such suckers for cute packaging.

For the makeup/cat lover in your life.

On my to-do list this weekend, a simple DIY lip scrub.

Winter is harsh, we could all use a hair mask.

This is what I call unique (and gorgeous) nail art!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bumble and Bumble BB Straight Blow Dry, $28

Since my hair has grown quite a bit since we were blogging more regularly I’ve really committed to taking care of my longer locks. I feel like I need to use something to protect my hair from the daily heat damage (blow-drying and flat-ironing). I picked up Bumble and Bumble’s BB Straight Blow Dry because it is made to use with heat.

I use a small quarter-size amount of the cream and apply it from the middle of my hair to the ends while it is still semi-wet. I then use a blowdryer and just my fingers to blow my hair dry. I feel like I get a nice soft blow dry and it doesn’t feel like I have any product in my hair. This cream doesn’t leave any stickiness or heaviness like others do.

The end product is a nice sleek and straight hairstyle and the peace of mind that you aren’t frying your hair too much. I usually follow up with a quick flat-ironing to smooth my own hair but if you know how to use a brush while you blow-dry you will not need to flat-iron (also I have mad respect for you because I’m almost 26 years old and have no idea how to use a brush to blow dry my hair!)

Final verdict
Cost: $28
It is a high-quality product so it does not weigh down hair. It protects my hair from heat!
Cons: The cost is pretty much the only con about this product.
Best for: People with medium to long hair, people who blow dry their hair straight, people who blow dry daily.
Repeat offender?: I’ve been using the same bottle since November and there is still a lot in it which tells me the price is worth it because it works and you won’t run out of it quickly. I would definitely buy this again.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Couture Colour Pequi Oil Treatment, $32

One day, I noticed my friend Ashley's hair looked awesome. I asked her if she had gotten a haircut or done something different--she said she had started using Couture Colour Pequi Oil Treatment. I knew Sephora was including it in their free samples, so I decided to try it out.

The directions say that you can use the oil as a pre-shampoo treatment, a pre-blow dry treatment, or as a final smoother (after you've styled your hair). I was anxious to try it so I first used it as a smoother. But, my hair is fine and tends to get oily or weighed down, so instead I started using it as an after-shower detangler. The first thing I noticed is the amazing smell. It has a yummy, tropical, coconut-tanning oil smell that I can't get enough of.

I saw results immediately after one use--when my hair dried, it felt super soft and smooth. After a couple months of continued use (about two pumps, exclusively on the ends, directly after a shower), I noticed that my hair color had not faded as much as it used to. In the winter, when I have to blow dry my hair (so it doesn't freeze), I have way fewer split ends. Now I use it every day, even if I don't blow dry or use any other products.

Pro-tip: Store the bottle upright, otherwise you may have trouble getting any product out using the pump. When I first received it in the mail, I thought the pump was broken! After a couple tries and keeping the bottle upright, though, I was able to use it just fine.

Final verdict
Cost: Originally, the $32 price tag threw me off. But, I had seen the results on Ashley, so I was willing to give it a try. It took me 6-7 months of everyday use go through one 2 oz bottle, which is worth it for me. Now they have a smaller 0.5 oz bottle for $12--perfect if you're still hesitant.
Texture and smell: The texture is thin and oily, which makes it very easy to work through your hair. The smell is summery and amazing, I never get tired of it!
Does it work?: I was able to see smoother and shinier hair immediately. If you have finer hair like I do, use it while your hair is still wet so it doesn't get flat. If your hair is thicker, you could get away with using it before and after styling. Remember, start with a small amount. (You can always add more!)
Repeat offender: Yes! I love this oil and wouldn't go a day without it. It even replaced my old standby detangler. I recommend it to anyone who wants more moisturized, protected, and smoother hair.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat, $9-$10

Seche Vite claims their top coat is the world's finest--and you know what? It just might be. I originally got it from my sister-in-law, who said it's the only top coat that works for Konad nail stamps (i.e., doesn't make them smear everywhere). I liked it so much I started using it all the time.

The brush is a good size, it doesn't smear my polish, dries super fast, and leaves a super glossy shine. It also has helped my nail polish stay on longer, even those cheaper polishes that don't normally last that long. With most top coats, the ends start to chip within a day or so for me. With this top coat, it's extended to 3 or 4 days. I'm serious! And I'm definitely not super careful with my nails.

One downside is the smell; it's super strong. If you're sensitive to that kind of thing, I recommend doing your nails near a fan or open window. Another slight problem is that when it does start to chip, it more peels away than chips. This means that if you start peeling one side, half or the whole layer of polish might come away with it. However, I've found that if you put on a thinner coat, that seems to help with this problem.

Final verdict
Cost: $9-$10 at most drugstores--about the same as an OPI polish. For me, it's worth it because I use it for every manicure.
Fast-drying: It really only takes a few seconds to dry, which is perfect for someone who always messes up her polish right after it's done! While you still should be careful afterward, I can attest that the oh-it's-dry-wait-no-it's-not smudges have decreased.
Long-lasting: My polish looks nicer for longer, even when the polish isn't that durable by itself.
Shiny: The resulting finish is super glossy and shiny.
Repeat offender: Love this! So far, it's the best top coat I've tried. It smells a little strong, but the result is totally worth it.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sally Hansen Salon Effects, $9.99

This is the kind of product that you would expect not to actually work but I promise that once you try it, you will be pleasantly surprised and satisfied with the outcome! I never thought that I needed an alternative to nailpolish, or that one could exist really (these are deep thoughts I'm having don't you think?) but Sally Hansen Salon Effects polish strips really deliver.

The kit comes with a small double-sided nail file/buffer, a wooden cuticle stick, and 16 nailpolish strips. Why 16? Incase you have mistakes, according to the product but if you are careful you can actually use one pack of Salon Effects and get a manicure and pedicure (that is if you don't have super fabulous long nails which clearly I don't).

The first time I tried this product I bought the leopard print strips (you can see all available colors and patterns here). Wanting to do an awesome job I decided I should probably do a quick search on YouTube for a tutorial which turned out to be really helpful. But the package also comes with really detailed (and simple) directions of how to apply the strips to your nails.

Here is a quick rundown:
  • File and buff your nails, make sure to push back your cuticles and that your nails are perfectly buffed out and clean.
  • Select a strip that fits your nail (if it's a little big don't worry because once you smooth it out it usually just takes the shape).
  • Peel the plastic and the backing off the strip and break the silver tab at the end.
  • PROTIP: if you want to get more bang for your buck you can also just trim the polish strips so you don't lose too much.
  • Press the strip down to your nail, using your fingertips just smooth it out over your nails.
  • Smooth over the top of your nail using the nail file to remove the excess strip at the top.

Your outcome will be really awesome nails for up to ten days! This is not an exaggeration, if you are a really careful I bet it can last longer. Your nails will probably outgrow the time the nailstrips stay on. When you are ready to take them off, regular nailpolish remover does the trick.

Final verdict:
Cost: $9.99 for a package of nail strips. Keep in mind you can usually get a manicure and pedicure out of one package and it lasts for days. I would recommend doing this before a vacation so you don't have to worry about reapplying polish midweek.
Any tips?: Be patient when applying the nailstrips. I'll be honest, my first time I was very patient and my nails looked better. This time I was a little rushed and some of them didn't turn out looking as even as they could have. Your patience will be worth it.
Is it worth it?: For me it is worth it for the cool patterns. Since this is something I cannot achieve with my regular old nailpolish it is a nice treat to have a product that can offer a unique nail look.
Repeat offender?: Definitely. There is a fishnet pattern I'm dying to try. Though I'm really hoping the popularity of this product will inspire more patterns! Who knows, maybe Sally Hansen will take the route of many other popular polish brands and come out with seasonal collections (fingers crossed).