Monday, November 30, 2009

Review- KohGenDo Aqua Foundation

We have combined the best of skincare and color to create Aqua Foundation. A skincare-based foundation to fully moisturize skin as it smoothes and covers imperfections.
The Secret? Water Strobe Technology, taken from nature, keeps skin looking translucent as if it had a special moisturizing spa treatment. $55 for 1.01 fl. oz.

KohGenDo has lover-ly products from what I can tell. The liquid foundation, for example, is really moisturizing without being the least bit greasy. The color I was given to test was a shade darker than my skin tone so I couldn't get an amazing idea of how great it was because it needed to be blended with something lighter just to wear out of the house but the consistency and the quality of the color are both better than most and that I could tell right off the bat. I don't use a ton of liquid foundation in my life in any capacity, but I will use this in my kit. The price is worth it, too, btw, because a high-quality liquid foundation isn't that easy to find.

Trish Says: Josephine's review of the KohGen Do Aqua Foundation is pretty much right on target for me. I don't usually like wearing thick liquid foundations either, but once in a while my skin needs a little more help and coverage than I'd like to fess up comes in KohGen's foundation. I've tested it a few times, but on this day my skin was not looking its best and the foundation quickly transformed that. I went from blah and splotchy to high gloss and smooth in an instant! I really liked the consistency and how well it blended with my skin. I tried the shade in OC-2, which happened to be the exact match and I'm impressed with how well it performed. Labeled as a High Definition foundation, I noticed that my skin looked even better under super bright fluorescent lights as well as during normal sunlight hours. Being that it's not too heavy nor thick, the foundation provides great coverage without feeling like you're wearing much at all. I think I'm upgrading my perspective on liquid foundations to a much needed necessity - especially if it's the Aqua Foundation by KohGen Do!

Review - KohGenDo Fresh Face

Natural cheek colors made from natural color ingredients rather than composite pigments. To maintain a beautiful face for a long period of time, Fresh Face uses the concept of skincare.With the three emollient oils unique to Koh Gen Do, experience a long-lasting softness and moisturized skin.This exquisite powder is a combination of a smooth and moist disc shaped powder and soft round powder.The disc shaped powder adheres itself to the skin while the round powder smoothes the skin creating a natural shade that is long-lasting.

As a robust German maiden, I don't find myself really needing blush on a regular basis, as I tend to be a bit on the ruddy side. But it's winter now (supposedly...61° on Sunday doesn't really seem that wintry, though) and we all need to punch up our color. This KohGenDo Fresh Face, which is a cheek color, is exceptionally easy to use. At first I was like "what huh what how do I use this?" but once I figured it out (it's not hard, you just have to get it started), I was all in for KohGenDo. The thing I really like about it is that it sits somewhere between a cream blush (which I generally find too greasy) and a powder blush (which I find usually make my skin look overdone). I got this in the Caramel Bronze color, which, were I shopping for myself, would not be my first choice, but actually looked really awesome! I looked beachy-tan instead of crazily-blushed. The one complaint I would have about this product is the high price point ($38), but if you're already spending that kind of money on a blush-type product, this is definitely worth checking out!
Deedlejuse Says: I also have Fresh Face by Koh Gen Do in "Caramel Bronze" and seriously, Hillary should just choose all my colors. ( just so you know she has never actually seen me, so that is REALLY impressive!) I have to say as soon as you finally get the little pod to work it is a very useable little bronzer. It is much nicer looking on than a lot of other bronzers I have tried. I can't wear bronzer well a lot of time, I'm super pale so a lot of bronzers look very heavy on me, not this one. I absolutley reccomend it, even though it is expensive. It will last a good long time, you don't need to invest in a blusher brush, and the application is super easy. Well worth the expense imo!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Review- Noah's Naturals Brazilian Body Polish

Age defying Brazilian Body Polish with acai berry. A 5.5 oz bottle is $12.99.

I was so excited to use this body polish because I was in need of some serious exfoliating. The line prides itself on using high quality ingredients and having no parabens, sulfates and not being tested on animals. The smell is great…think someplace warm in the tropics. The kernels are really small so when it mixes with water, it gets tough to exfoliate. If skin isn’t fully wet, then you can get a good amount on and really slough away. I did use the polish a few times a week for about two weeks and I did notice a difference and it did make my skin softer. This product is a keeper!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Review- Nurturing Force Clean Sweep Spray Makeup Remover

Removes eye, face and body makeup without oils, residue or smearing. $12 for 1 oz./$15 for 2 oz.

The Good: Makeup remover in a spray bottle--hmm, it's so crazy it could work! Smells clean. Feels refreshing when applied with a cotton ball/sponge. Does not contain any ingredient under fire in the product community at the moment (i.e. parabens, synthetic oils). Aloe vera is the #1 ingredient which has short and long-term benefits for the skin.

The Bad: It didn't take off my eye makeup without some elbow grease which meant some pulling and tugging on that delicate skin. You need a fair amount of the product to work on bigger jobs (i.e. temp. tattoos, heavy creme makeup, powders blended with liquid set). And the spray bottle idea starts to crumble when you see on the directions that you need to rinse this off. Huh.

The Ugly: My spray bottle didn't work. Mreh.

Malikah says: I have to agree with Josephine here. The spray bottle doesn't really give you much product so you have to spritz several times to get enough out. It did a pretty good job of getting off my foundation and face makeup, but wasn't too effective on my eye makeup, especially my mascara. And I was reeeeeaaaally annoyed at having to rinse this off - I mean isn't the whole point of makeup remover spray/wipes to keep you from having to wash your face? I did however love to use it as a quick way to clean up makeup mistakes. If you usually smudge your liner or spill shadow underneath your eyes, a little spray of this on a cotton swab makes fixing those problems simple.

Hillary says: I agree with what the other two are saying on this product, but I totally soaked my cotton round w/ this stuff & it did get my eye make-up off. However, I had used half the bottle. I am a big fan of Nurturing Force's Blot Out Offensive shine & oil control cream (review coming next week), but I would find this cleanser more convenient if it was one thing or another, i.e. a rinse off cleanser or a waterless spray make-up remover. It's sort of a combo & I'm missing the point. The first time I used this, I didn't rinse as I didn't read the directions & nothing bad happened, so at least it's mild. I really wanted to like this and I don't hate it. I just don't get it.

Trish says: I agree with Hillary - I just don't get this. I will say it does work somewhat to remove a little make-up, such as eyeshadow, blush, some powder here and there, but to me, it feels like a whole lot of prep work just for a normal facial cleansing. I can see how if one is wearing tons of makeup and need the first swipe to remove layer one, this might come in handy, otherwise it reminds me of a pre-cleaning before the actual cleaning. I'm sure there are multiple uses for this makeup removing spray, but for an ordinary wash, this spray seems a lot like an extra step. However, if I happen to cake on some heavy make-up one day for a special event or occasion, I'll likely use this to help me clear some of those layers away!

Review - Body by Brigitte Wax Strips Kit

Body by Brigitte™ wax strips gently and effectively remove unwanted hair from face, brows and bikini area leaving skin satiny smooth and sexy for up to eight weeks. These wax strips leave virtually no residue for a silky finish and are luxuriously formulated with aloe vera and vitamin E that nourish the skin.

Let's be real here, ladies: some of us be rockin' a 'stache. No shame! We are mammals, and mammals have hair. It's just a fact of nature. Sadly, none of us is Frida Kahlo (who looked fierce), and the modern fashion just doesn't allow for the LadyStache™. So we are inundated with option upon option to rid our faces and bodies of fuzz. I'm not going to get all political on this topic (although I could), because that's not why you're here - you're here to find out if this one option -Body by Brigitte wax strips - will work to remove your LadyStache™.

You know what? They work PRETTY WELL. The thing I really like about these wax strips is that they truly do not need any heat to work. I have tried the "heat the wax up in a tub and then spread it on your body and then put this cloth thing over it and rip it off" system, and not only does that hurt like a mofo, but is also extremely messy. My kitchen was covered in wax for days. I have also tried another wax strip from a different brand (I don't remember which, so I won't disparage any brand unnecessarily here) that required you to use the HEAT from your HANDS to, like, melt the wax or something. What? That's silly, guys. But these? You literally just stick them on, press briefly, and rip off. It's like using duct tape to wax, except far, far less painful. I didn't get all the little fuzzies the first time, but eventually I was good to go. It's probably not as thorough as your salon could do, but it's a nice in-betweener product when you don't want to drop the cash.

The other nice thing about these strips is they come with an "anesthetic" pre-wipe and a "soothing" post-wipe. (Note: do not mix these up. Nothing bad will happen, but you just won't get the full benefits of either if you do. Learn from my mistakes, y'all.)

The weird thing is that I can't seem to find anywhere to purchase these strips! They are apparently exclusively retailed at Ulta (according to their Facebook page*), but they do not appear to be anywhere on the Ulta site. Boo!

*really? Does everyone need a Facebook page?

Hillary says: I got the leg version of these wax strips and I can tell you they do work. There's only one problem- the box only had enough strips to do the fronts of my legs! I would probably need at least 2 probably 3 boxes to do my entire calves & my feet (yes, I'm a hobbit. I have to wax my feet. Giggle away, I can't hear you.). They are surprisingly effective, I just wish they came more to a box. That's not to say that I have especially big calves either. I'm only 5'2". So give these strips a shot, but keep in mind you'll need more than 1 box. Oh, and they are sold exclusively at Ulta Stores.

Trish says: I may have to give this waxing system another go, because on my first try my results were tricky at best and completely disastrous at worst. Really, it should be very simple to use - all you have to do is peel the waxing strip from the sticker, press it on the skin and pull, and you're done! No heating or plucking or other steps required. So I'm not sure where I went wrong, I pressed and pulled as directed, and what I got was a sticky, waxy mess! Afraid of rocking the 'stache as Movie Maven called it, I was excited to give this convenient system a try. Yikes, I made a sticky mess of said 'stache instead. And to remove the extra residual wax, one will need a cotton ball and baby oil on hand (which I didn't have but used olive oil instead, which worked!) So perhaps my skill level is at a super low (which is highly possible) or I didn't press firmly enough (which could very well be). Because, if I can find a way to make these strips work - then hair removing maintenance just got that much easier and simplier! For now, it may take a few more practice tries to get it right!

Sultana says: OK, so here is the thing, I am a big baby. I can't even get my eyebrows waxed. I don't like pain, but pain likes me. What the heck was I thinking with waxing at home?? The strips itself do work, but OUCH. All the little hair follicles on my skin immediately started to swell up. Keep in mind, that I have extremely sensitive skin.
I do like that this comes with before and after wipes. Sadly, they were not enough to soothe my skin.
If you don't have super sensitive skin and you are used to waxing, this is a good system. The area that I used it on, pulled all the hair off as the box said it would.

Malikah says: I followed the package directions exactly as described but sadly these were not a success. I used one of the medium strips on my bikini line, pressed it down firmly and pulled off - and nothing. Every hair was still intact. I went over that spot 2 more times with the same strip, and again with a new strip, but it barely got off any of the hair (and there really was not that much hair to begin with, so I know it wasn't a matter of there just being too much). I might try them again because I so desperately want to find the perfect waxing system, but my first attempt was a big flop.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Review- Reversital 3-in-1 Microderma Stick Body, Elbows, Feet

Cleanse, resurface, moisturize. A revolutionary patented formulation stimulates collagen production, combines a cream, a brush and after-care product in one amazing dial-up applicator. An affordable alternative to expensive chemical and laser peels. A concentrated repair system providing uniform surface tension for safe and more effective results. An immediate reduction of fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, age spots and damage from UVA/UVB rays, skin discoloration and dry skin will be observed after only one treatment. $80 for 3 oz.

Reversital has definitely made the task of microdermabrasion at home an easy no-excuse-for-flaky-skin process. The entire experience can be held in your hand in this substantial stick capable of erasing dry skin like the opposite end of a pencil. The first time I used this it was in the bathtub. My 2 year-old was in there with me and within a few minutes, it felt like we were sitting in a sandbox because this stick's exfoliating capabilities are so hardcore! There was a huge difference in the feel of my skin immediately and I was not only freshly scrubbed but also wonderfully silky. You see, that's because this product delivers a moisturizer activated by water so powerful that you can skip yours. Being completely blown away by the very tangible effects, I have been using the stick every few days on my heels and elbows as well as light application all over. My skin, which tends to dry out in the winter pretty fiercely, has been a joy to be in and here we are in late November. Bring on the dark depths of winter, I say, I am armed with a wickedly great product!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Review- TaUT Perfect Brow Control

A clear liquid designed to keep brows in place all day. A makeup artist must-have. 10.95 for .5 oz.

TaUt Perfect Brow Control (pictured above, in front, on the right with TaUT's other products) is a bare-bones minimalist eyebrow shellac that holds unruly brow hairs in place. It does not disturb any makeup on the brows and acts as a setting liquid for brow powder/pencil, too. A lot of brow sealers come with what looks like a nailpolish brush as its applicator but the brush attached to the lid picked up too much product to disperse it evenly over your brow so have a clean mascara wand near by to use this most effectively! Otherwise, it works great and lasts a long time without being stiff or sticky.

Hillary says: Effective?! Try bullet proof! I am so happy that I have this stuff to take on my first photo shoot this weekend (I'm doing the make-up, not the modeling of course). I only wish they made a hairspray in this strength! Like Josephine said, you are going to want to use a clean mascara wand to apply this perfectly because then you can coax your eyebrows into shape with it on the spoolie. Then wait a minute for it to dry & Voila! Your brows aren't moving if there's a monsoon. I'll admit it takes a little getting used to, the stiff eyebrow feeling, but in an hour you won't even remember it's on. This is a must-have for every make-up artist and also for your wedding day photos. We all know one false swipe of the face can make eyebrows go everywhere (especially with pencil), but use some of this clear liquid and your brows will be perfect through the last dance.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Review- Eyecurl II Professional Heated Eyelash Curler

Slim, lightweight and unique design. More effective than an ordinary eyelash curler. Absolutely safe with no pain, pulling, crimping or damage to eyelashes. As used by Kate Moss and many other celebrities, it is the safest and most effective way to make eyelashes curled, long and lush all day long. Eyecurl may be used anytime, before and after using mascara. Simple to use instructions are included. $16.95

If you figure people are willing to take a lighter to their metal eyelash curler to make it hot before using it then there is a demographic group for whom this product can cater. But I can't see this as anything more than a tiny curling iron for your lashes. It's true, this is fool-proof, safe, there's no chance of burning your eyeball or anything macabre like that but after a half of dozen uses I am not convinced it trumps a regular curler. But as the consumer market gets more saturated with lash growth serums, rotating mascara wands and the like, I don't think this tool is a necessity in one's arsenal.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Review- Casa di Francesca Home Diffuser

Tiny fragrant Strawberries grow wild in the woodlands and hedgerows, lining the paths and stone walkways like a beautiful crimson carpet. A delightful treat for all of the senses, their deliciously inviting fragrance brings a ray of sunshine to any room of the home. $39.50 for 200ml

The description above references woodlands and strawberries growing wild and free in nature. That's all well and good but on the really real? This fragrance oil smells straight-up like Bubblicious Strawberry Splash gum and that's that. Please don't misunderstand though. There is absolutely NO shame in anything smelling like bubble gum, in fact, I'd take a faint whiff of Hubba Bubba Blueberry over any super-flowery scent, so I am a big fan of this diffuser set. It's a beautifully packaged bottle subtle enough to fade into the fabric of the decor of any room but pretty enough to sit prominently on a table. And as an aside, my toddler is obsessed with the bell on the ribbon around the bottle's neck. He has asked, "Why is there a bell there? Why? Why?" about a gazillion times. I figured it out though--it's to alert an adult when your child or cat has impulsively tipped over the bottle. Heh.

Hillary says: I received this diffuser set in Deep Lilac & it is gorgeous. It's almost gone now thanks to a mishap initiated by a curious cat, but for weeks I would smell fresh lilacs each time I walked into my apartment. I highly recommend the diffuser, so long as you keep it away from any pets or children. Mine is currently on top of my bookcase. It works just fine from there, but when it spilled earlier this month, it took the varnish off of my hardwood floor! That aside, so long as you keep flipping the reeds, this diffuser will continue to let off scent. The fragrance oil is highly concentrated and although it's powerful enough to scent my large living room, it's not so strong it makes you sick of it. All in all, I would buy another one of these diffusers and simply put it where it is now- out of reach. On they are having a sale on certain scents and they carry some beautiful Murano Glass diffusers which would make perfect Holiday gifts.

Deedlejuse Says: I received this diffuser in Orange Blossom, and let me say it is scrumptious. I love the idea of the reed diffuser, and this one does not disappoint. I love that they are marginally less expensive than many you can find around. (this one runs for $40~, while others of the same size will cost you $60 plus!) The amount of oil you receive will definitely last you a couple of months at least (I've had mine for about two months and you can't even tell its been there for that long!) Its still as strong as the day we unpacked it. The trick is you have to flip the reeds ever week or so, whenever you need to enhance the smell. The bottle is also really pretty, but you could conceivably switch it out for something you prefer.
The fragrance is wonderful. Have you ever seen an orange tree (or other citrus tree) in full bloom? It is a wonderful rich round floral with buttery notes. It is not a citrus smell, if you are looking for a citrus look elsewhere! But if you have ever spent time near an orange tree you might need to go out and get this diffuser! I'm really enjoying this and I'm sure you will too!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Review- Avon Ultimate Night Gold Emulsion

What have you got to lose, except years of visible aging? Transcend time with a rare skin-strengthening fusion of patented Pro-Sirtuin TX and Gold Polypeptide technologies. $29 for 1.7 fl.oz.

My first thought when I looked at this jar was, "Am I going to sparkle in the sunlight ala Twilight?" Anything with a gold sheen is appealing. But, as I have now learned, gold is meant to sink into the deeper layers of the skin 'instantly.' This treatment, however, never really did sink in. Yes, I felt like I was more moisturized than perhaps ever before and yes, I saw visible changes in only three days but I determined that this emulsion is best suited for someone older with extremely dry skin. Also, after four days, paradoxically, the skin around my nose started to feel irritated and dry and it was uncomfortable enough for me to consult the back of the box which reads: This product may not be for everybody. So, alas, I did end up discontinuing use before the promised "results in 14 days" but since gold never changes its properties, I am going to cross my fingers and hope this jar keeps for 10 years from now and see what's what closer to my 50s!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Review- Nick Chavez Plump 'N Thick Leave In Thickening Creme Conditoner

Leave in conditioner that leaves hair plump, thick and full of body. $22 for an 8 oz bottle. Current special- get free S & H @ on lots of Nick Chavez.

This product does exactly what it is supposed to do. When I say thicken, I really mean it too. You can really feel the difference after shampooing. Unfortunately, the last thing that I want is my hair to be thick! I have African American natural hair and I made my stylist put it in my hair. She could feel the difference right away when she started blow drying it. I flat ironed my hair and got it straight, but the conditioner made it so thick that it lost the bounce and silky smooth feeling that I like. I just felt that it weighed down my hair too much. I could see that if you have flat or limp hair and want to add body to it, this conditioner would be perfect. I just don’t think it was right for my type of hair and the look that I like. Even though it doesn't work for me, I do recommend the conditioner that wants thick hair and body.

Deedlejuse says:
This is the perfect leave-in formula for my hair type. I have blond hair, by no means limp, but as most people who have straight hair always looking for something yummy to slurp up. This conditioner really stands alone, it thickens without leaving weird feeling build-up on my hair. Which is hard for lots of leave-in conditioners in my opinion. I really like the smell too, which is always a plus, but it doesn't really stick around for long. I really like it, and I would definitely repurchase!

Hillary says: This is one of those products that I really wish they had sent us full size bottles of! This cream is perfect for conditioning and adding thickness when I've used a 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner & my hair isn't quite comb-able. It works great as a leave-in conditioner and really turns out a great looking head of hair with 1 simple step. I think the coolest feature is that you can use this as an afterthought. Stay with me here. It's a day when you need to look your best. You go through your normal shower routine, you wash and condition your hair. Then you get out & look at your products. Well it doesn't matter what you plan on doing to your hair, you can use Nick Chavez Plump 'n Thick with any styling product and you didn't necessarily have to plan ahead to thicken your hair because you use it after you shower. For me, convenience is Queen & this product does it's job both well & conveniently.

Trish says: A hair-care product that thickens and conditions at the same time? What more could I ask for, right? That's like hair heaven! True to its claims, it really did plumpen my hair enough to give it the beautiful amount of body and waves and movement. I love it. Something like this is exactly what my fine and delicate, ok wimpy, hair needed! The leave-in conditioner part worked nicely enough as well- at least to tame my wild frizzies and give my hair an overall manageability and shape - but I found that I also needed to use hair gloss and/or a silkening serum to add that extra bit of smoothness and shine. The best part though is that none of these products (when used in appropriate amounts I have learned) weighed my hair down, so in the end, I had the best of all worlds - manageability, body, and shine! I will say that I'm glad the Nich Chavez Plump 'N Thick works well with other products and that it delivers such wonderful body and curve we all so crave!

Review- Sheer Cover Mineral Foundation

The Sheer Cover® Mineral Foundation is a unique 4-in-1 formulation that acts as sun protection, anti-aging protection, foundation, and finishing powder. Natural SPF 15 protection and anti-oxidants properties from Green Rooibos Tea help protect against the visible signs of premature aging.

When it comes to mineral foundation, I feel things can go either really beautiful and flawless, or the other way of cakey, flakey, and powdery blahness. Thank goodness this Sheer Cover Mineral Foundation fits the gorgeous and flawless side! I LOVE this stuff! This is how mineral foundation should look - gorgeous and smooth and barely there! I tried it in the Nude shade, which really impressed me because it actually matched my beige skin-tone beautifully! Plus, the extra SPF 15 protection and antioxidant formula made me appreciate the fact that I'm wearing something healthy and protective for my skin. Right now this incredible foundation can be purchased as part of the whole Sheer Cover kit for only $29.95 w/ free shipping and to me if you're shopping around for a new foundation and want to go mineral - this is the one to get with the whole kit and kaboodle too! You can't go wrong with this wonderful product!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Review - Burt's Bess Lip Shimmer

A kiss of color and pearlized shine perk up our world famous 100% natural lip balm, while natural ingredients like vitamin E and coconut and sunflower oils moisturize and soothe your lips. Choose from 11 yummy, all natural shades: Champagne, Raisin, Merlot, Rhubarb, Watermelon, Nutmeg, Fig, Cocoa, Toffee, Guava and Papaya. About $5

So we all know that I am a little of a lip gloss/balm fanatic. I have so many lip glosses and balms that I don't have enough room to keep them! With that said, I am always looking for a lip balm or gloss that has multi-purposes. I absolutely love this balm! I have the shade "Peony" which is a pretty pinkish mauve color. Let me tell you, this is my new must-have. Not only does it go on smooth and leave your lips soft, but it also is peppermint flavored. My lips feel very conditioned and soft when I wear this. I love that this line is all about being natural, but still pretty.

Review- Borghese Nail Lacquer

Today's most desirable nail colors, a blend of classic with the latest fashion trends in a lavishly rich nail strengthening polish. Long-wearing hydrating stay-true color with exclusive Acqua di Vita® complex to help restore healthy moisture and Micronized Gemstones for brilliance. The innovative Duale Curve Tip brush hugs nail curves for a precision line, delivering a perfect application effortlessly. Free of Tolulene, DBP, Added Formaldehyde. Not tested on animals.

I tried this nail polish in a shimmery silver shade. It went on pretty clear with one coat, and just left a beautiful dust of silver shimmer across my nails. The polish is buildable, so you can layer it on for a full on silver effect. I also tried using it as a topcoat over another shade of polish, which was equally fabulous. The formula is amazing, it dries completely in just a few minutes and stayed chip-free for nearly a week!
And the bottle is super cute and tiny, which makes it really travel friendly. This silvery shade will be go to hue for the holidays, and if you're not into glittery nails don't worry; Borghese polishes come in dozens of shades.

Sultana says: I have this in a beautiful black shade with silver glitter. I agree with Malikah, it does dry super quick. I used this on Halloween and it would work for a regular day, its just that pretty. The sparkle is high, but I am a sparkly kind of gal! It actually lasted longer than I expected. Even though it was black with glitter, it was no harder to take off than any other polishes I have. I am beginning to like Borghese!

Review- Alcone Mother Plucker Tweezer

Because the precision tips of the Mother Plucker are engineered to grab even the shortest and finest hairs, you can achieve the most precise hair removal. The resin tip is easy on your skin and never needs to be sharpened! They will last a long as you don't lose them! $17

Tweezer? More like miracle worker! I honestly did not think that there was a tweezer out there that could beat my Sweezer (which, don't get me wrong, is fabulous), but after using the Mother Plucker just one time I was hooked. This tweezer gets everything! Those hairs that grow in a lighter color than the rest of your eyebrow hairs- gone in a snap. Lets put it this way, I'm buying a few of these for Christmas presents. Not because I have to buy for people who have especially unruly eyebrows, but because I want to share the love that I have for these tweezers. I know what you are thinking, "How can a tweezer be that special?". Let's just say that I didn't know a tweezer this good existed before I used it. No exaggeration. And as an added bonus, they never need sharpening! They have a slanted, resin tip which stays sharp for life. The slant is just steep enough so that you can use the tip to grab individual hairs or use the whole thing to grab a clump. Seriously, if you have to buy a present for someone you know who plucks (or you want to treat yourself), you cannot go wrong with these tweezers. Just don't buy them to drop a hint to a non-plucker, as badly as you want to, you know it would mean a Christmas faux pas! Oh and one last thing, I like them better than my many Tweezerman tweezers hands-down.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Review- Alba Coconut Milk Body Cream

Signature ingredient: Coconut oil is rich in essential fatty acids. The oil of this tropical fruit nourishes and moisturizes for smooth, soft skin.
Product description: Topical plant emollients with nourishing coconut blended in a rich, luxurious body cream to soften, soothe and smooth rough, dry, flaky skin. 6.5 oz (180 g) $12.95

It's not even winter yet and my body's ready for hydration! Plus, the scent of coconut oil in a lavish and rich body cream instantly takes me away to a tropical island. Major bonus points for giving me the impression that I'm sitting on the beach on a warm and sunny vacation! This Alba Coconut Milk Body Cream is the perfect remedy for those winter blues. Not only is the scent amazingly tropical in a delightfully fresh way, but it leaves your skin feeling so soft and moisturized, you wouldn't even know that the change of seasons has already taken place. I especially like applying this on my elbows, knees and heel areas, as directed, because before things get scaly, I feel whisked away on an island retreat! It is also made with aloe, vanilla, guava, papaya and mango extracts, as well as Kukui and macadamia nut oils, and protective shea butter - the ideal ingredients for your skin's tropical getaway - even in the midst of cooling temperatures!

Movie Maven says:
I know I frequently say this about various body butters and creams that we review on this site, but seriously: I COULD EAT THIS LOTION. I shouldn't even really call it a lotion, because it is so much more than that. It's so creamy I don't know what to do with myself. If you put it in a pie crust, I would probably eat it (and then be like "why are you wasting this body cream in my mouth when it should be hydrating my dry skin? Give me some strawberry rhubarb pie instead.") It smells ridiculously amazing (if you like coconut, but then again, why would you even consider buying this if you don't like coconut), and is perfect for after the shower. My one caveat is that if you, like me, take your showers before bedtime, give yourself some time to just sit and hydrate before getting into bed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Review - Shu Umera "Rouge Unlimited" Creme Matte Lipstick

shu uemura continues to break boundaries in color creation with the launch of Rouge Unlimited Creme Matte, a unique formula that combines a matte effect with a creamy finish. The two contradicting textures come together in one lipstick, gliding smoothly onto lips for a comfortable fit without drying or creasing. Pure color pay-off and high color fidelity are made possible through a revolutionary 'hybrid pigment.'

Ok, so I recently switched jobs, which some of you might have read recently. Before I worked at a little boutique way up on the North Shore of MA. Meaning I didn't need to wear make up, so very rarely did. Now I work at a major department store where I basically HAVE to look completely manicured at all times. (Not that I mind though, I really am enjoying all the cool new cosmetics I can try at a discounted price!!!!) My biggest problem with lipstick before trying Shu is that most of them don't really stay on very long at all. Then I sampled a few colors of the Shu Creme Matte lipstick. I might never go back. Currently I only have one, in vampy rd 165, but I need to have at least ten more shades!! The color lasts at least four to five hours, and is super pigmented. All of the shades I have tried so far are fabulous, and the feeling is just wonderful. Its creamy and moisturizing, and feels like your barley wearing anything, even though the color is wonderfully rich! I really like this lipstick, and basiclly everything I have tried from Shu. The best part of all is that I found a discountinued shade at a discount store (Nordstrom Rack) for half the original price! I don't care if its discontinued, its still pretty fabulous!

Review- Pond's Original Clean Towelettes

No other leading towelette is better at removing makeup and impurities. The most gentle of Pond's® towelettes, these combine gentle deep cleaning with effective makeup removal to whisk away dirt and makeup in one easy, portable step.

Boy did these come in handy on Saturday night! After a typical night-out on the town with the girls, I poured myself into bed, and almost committed the number 1 beauty sin: going to sleep with your makeup on. Luckily I had stashed these Pond’s Wet-Cleansing Towelettes on my nightstand. One little towelette removed most of my makeup in one swipe. I did have a bit of raccoon eyes in the morning, so if you are wearing a lot of makeup, you may want to be a bit more thorough, especially around the eye area. Overall it did a pretty good job cleansing, and my skin felt soft in the morning, even though I skipped my moisturizer.

Josephine says: Yep, yep, my skin also felt really hydrated afterwards and I, too, skipped moisturizer with little or no harsh impact on my life! They are little too flowery smelling for my taste but they do the trick and seem to be compatible with my sometimes-sensitive visage.

Hillary says: I like these cleansing cloths with one important caveat- don't rub your eyes with them. If you can't get everything off, just leave it & get it the next day. I only had that problem one time when I was wearing about 2 lbs. of eye make-up, but I paid for the rubbing the next day. But other than that, I used the whole package without a hitch. These work just as well as my regular brand although as Josephine said, they are a little too fragranced. For the price, they're good, but they aren't my #1 choice. They do their job though, so I find no fault with them there. In my opinion, they are ok. Nothing more, nothing less.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Review - Jo Malone Vitamin E Body Treatment Scrub

Jo Malone introduces a luxuriously revitalizing new treatment that sloughs away surface cells to reveal radiant-looking new skin. A signature ingredient and beneficial antioxidant, vitamin E is combined with salt to encourage a youthful glow.

I must begin this post by telling everyone that I actually work for Jo Malone, I just started so I was given 5 pieces from the line to try. (i.e. get a job for Jo Malone, it is sooooooooo worth it!!!) While this body scrub is expensive ($75) you get 21oz of it! Seriously, 21oz of this body scrub will last you at least six months to a year. It is a huge tub of amazing smelling wonderfulness. Seriously, it smells like sugar cookies. I love it.
The body scrub really is a lovely consistency, it uses sugar instead of salt, which I like because the granules sort of melt while you scrub yourself. Which means that it isn't too abrasive or harsh. The vitamin E really gets into your skin and you are left with plump, beautiful, smooth feeling skin that is slightly fragrant and super moisturized. This is my favorite body treatment (and not just because I work for Jo!) and while it is a bit more expensive than I would normally want to spend on a body scrub I could totally envision myself requesting it as a Christmas present next year!

If anyone would like to purchase this product you can order it with me, Deedee.
You can either send an email to:
or give me a call at (978)-278-7400 and ask for Deedee McColl or the Jo Malone counter. I can give loads of samples and sometimes we have free gifts so don't be afraid to ask for anything your interested in!

You can also find Jo Malone at any fine retailer (Nemin's, Nordstrom's, Saks, or Jo

Review- Schick Intuition Plus Razor

New! Enhanced moisturizing solid 4 blades
lathers, shaves & moisturizes in one easy step leaving your skin noticeably softer. $9.99

I have a strong commitment to using "some kind of" shaving cream item after some missteps in that department along the way of my twenty-five year shaving career. I was admittedly doubtful that this slightly clunky item could provide enough slip while removing the hair off of my legs. But it works great and the weight and size of the razor is surprisingly adept at maneuvering around knees and ankles. Four blades or no, I haven't had much of a notable difference with more or less blades but with four, the shave is, of course, really close and there have been no errant swipes that have caused any nicks or cuts thus far. I haven't needed to replace the extra cartridge that comes with your purchase (meaning I have gotten a solid two weeks out of each one) yet but I plan to. This razor is better than good for its sheer innovation of combining the cream with the razor and making my shower a place where "less is more" reigns free.

Trish Says: In the past I've always used men's razors (two blades were all I could handle) because for the most part they seemed to work slightly better than our female counterparts. I have to say though, the ladies have won out on this Schick Intuition Plus razor! It was so gentle to use and soft on the skin, I wasn't even sure I was shaving at all. It really worked that well and with four blades too. Needless to say, I am surprised and happy that finally a razor built for women works for women. No nicks and accidental slips and the curves seem to fit just right. Most importantly I got a clean and close shave that left my skin feeling softer and smoother because of the moisturizer - something the men's blades were lacking - and it's nice to finally have a product that works for the ladies just as well, if not more gentler and nicer.
Yay for the ladies all around!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Review- Burt's Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser

This light lotion cleanser removes dirt, oil and make-up, revealing a smooth and radiant complexion. A gentle plant-based cleansing complex plus jojoba beads and a fruit acid complex help encourage normal skin cell turnover. While royal jelly, one of nature’s most nutritious substances, helps enhance skin’s natural radiance. Your skin appears brighter and younger-looking, naturally. 99% Natural. $10

I feel that anything from the Burt's Bees line will be a quality-based product and this beautiful facial cleanser is nothing short of 100% goodness. It cleanses so thoroughly with tiny jojoba beads and the fully nourishing royal jelly that my skin feels so soft and smooth and radiant afterwards! This is a wonderfully hydrating cleanser, working especially well for dry skin as well as combination types such as myself. I really appreciate the fact that I can skip wearing moisturizer afterwards and still have healthy looking, clean skin. I'm amazed that such a quality product is so easily affordable and accessible, especially for the eco-conscious consumer as well as the budget minded beauty fan. There's no skimping on quality here and what you get as a result is fresh, young looking skin and a beautiful dewey complexion! I love this cleanser - it works so well and is as environmentally friendly as it is gentle on the pocketbook. A definite try if you want a quality based cleanser without having to shop around too far to find one. It doesn't get any better than finding quality and affordability all in one!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Review- Nicole by OPI Nail Lacquer

Match any ensemble with these bright vibrant nail lacquers from Nicole, by OPI. Nicole lacquers are quick-drying and apply evenly in just one coat. DBP-Free. Toulene-Free. Formaldehyde-Free. .5 oz each.

When you think Nicole by OPI, think bold, unique colors that will wear beautifully. I tried this polish in Violet Vibe, an 80’s fabulous purple opalescent purple hue. It stayed chip-free for nearly a week, but I think the color is much more appropriate for hot summer nights than chilly autumn days. The formula is great and it comes in dozens of different shades, so have plenty of fun choosing your perfect hue!

Review- KohGenDo Makeup Color Base N Yellow

Tones down diffuse redness. Brightens skin tone. Controls uneven colorings. Hides Blemishes. Minimizes pores. Smooths the appearance of the skin. Reduces shine with oil-absorbing powder. UV Protection. Nourish your skin as you use this rich oriental botanical extract based primer.
Moisturizes and protects skin with SPF16 while concealing trouble spots like dark circles, diffuse redness and minimizes the appearance of pores for that smooth healthy look. Long-lasting skin care formula brightens the skin for a natural look and is the perfect start for high-definition makeup. $44 for .17 oz.

Right around the time I read great things about this Japanese line, this product popped up in my bag to review--what good fortune! It's professional, practical and incredibly good at what it does. The yellow warms up skin complexions while softening red and blue discolorations. I tried it as the site suggests, before foundation as a layer to make the face a more even canvas but had even more luck adding a few drops to a creme and liquid foundation, respectively. (I work with both in my job). I wouldn't hesitate to stipple some into the skin if i had gone too pink with a foundation skin tone match on someone, as well. Basically, this product is awesome, multi-purpose and the quality of it is up there with any other professional line I have used.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Review- Miss Oops Goblet Goop

Sunshine doesn't stop when it reaches your neck- neither should your sunscreen. A moisturizing and firming neck cream, Goblet Goop protects and firms the delicate skin of the neck with SPF 30, algae, yeast, rosemary and Echinacea extracts, helping skin retain moisture while enhancing firmness and promoting collagen. Protect your goblet and keep the dreaded turkey neck at bay with Goblet Goop. $24 for 2 oz.

Aside from the name which, IMO, doesn't, per se, inspire glee or even a small glint of excitment really to use daily, this cream is thick and creamy as h*ll which is exactly what skin specialists say we need to be slathering our necks with, other than SPF, but of course. And, hey, this cream has that, too! Good for Miss Oops who started out with the "Rescue Sponge" (a brilliantly designed item that removed deoderant stains from one's dark clothing) and expanded into a rather comprehensive line of hilariously named items that have all seemed to be curiously missing from the beauty product world thus far.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Review - Cynos Nano Pack

Cleanse, Repair & Protect
Softer, smoother & shiner hair
Suitable for any hair type. Nano Pack $69.99

The concept is simple, yet I haven't seen a product like this before. The shampoo cleanses, the conditioner repairs & the deep conditioner protects. You may not have heard of Cynos and that is because they are huge in Canada but they are becoming more & more popular in the United States.
I used this consecutively for three weeks exactly as they suggest on the label. Wash your hair, condition daily and follow up with the deep conditioner once a week. I had noticeably shinier & softer hair. I didn't have to use a detangler like I usually do. Keep in mind that although you can use these products separately, the results are definitely better when used together as a system.
The amazing part about this entire line is that its made for everyone. CYNOS is salon grade yet affordable and that's something we all can appreciate!

Trish Says: I didn't know much about CYNOS before trying their shampoo and conditioner set, but now that I have all I can say is wow, this stuff really rocks! After every wash, my hair felt so much silkier and smoother and looked shinier than I could ever remember. I am surprised at how well the shampoo and conditioner set locks in moisture, making my hair look healthier and feel ten times silkier than normal. I too noticed that over time and with regular use, the state and condition of my hair has greatly improved and the effects last even if I skip a day of washing or substitute another brand! Truly amazing technology this hair care provides, I am simply in awe at how well it works! If your hair is in any need of damage control from over-processing, look no further, this combination will absolutely restore its natural beauty and shine to pristine conditions!

Josephine says: This was my first interaction with CYNOS, too. It's a wonderfully subtle shampoo/conditioner combo that has repeatedly left my hair in excellent condition after each subsequent use. The deep conditioner is remarkable, too. I used it on my son who practically drools when he sees me bring in a new bag of products because he wants to immediately "smeeall them" all then promptly use them in his bath time experience. He loved CYNOS, too, and frankly his hair has never been more manageable (it's baby fine still but gets maddeningly knotted at the back when he sleeps). Good on you to our brothers and sisters from the North!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Review - Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color

One-stroke application. One-coat coverage. Dries in 60 seconds! Perfectionist Brush™ delivers a fast, flawless application that dries to a shiny finish in 60 seconds. Available in 24 irresistible shades!

Sally Hansen, you saucy minx. You have so many items I love to put on my nails. So when I got this Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color in Jumpin' Jade, a deliciously deep bluey-emerald green, I was really excited. I saw the weirdly huge, flat brush, intended to allow you to paint your nails EVEN FASTER. I got even MORE excited. I saw the gorgeous one-coat color. I got EVEN MORE EXCITED. Then I remembered: I never use quick-dry polish. Why? Because it chips, chips, chips. And sadly, this was no exception. I used a topcoat, but apparently it wasn't enough, because my beautiful nails are chipped all to get-out after only a couple of days. Weep. I'll try again, with super-industrial topcoat, because the color and ease of application are wonderful, but the chipping makes me cry.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Review - Cynos Nano Molding Paste (Apple)

CYNOS Nano Molding Paste thickens and delivers more density to the hair, allowing for more manageable styles with increased volume, body. Heals seals and protects to improve styling control. Contains color preservers.

I'm not sure if there's a difference between the Cynos Nano Molding Paste in the yellow tube and the one in the green tube other than the scent - the yellow version smells like Random Hair Product Smell, while the green tub version smells like green apple Now and Laters. However, since I reviewed the yellow (original?) version, I've chopped off my hair and actually had the opportunity to try this product out myself. The main thing to be aware of with this styling product is that you seriously - seriously - do not need a lot. The first time I used it, I used maybe a dime-sized amount in my hands, which I rubbed together and applied from the back like the boys on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy taught me so many years ago. Dude, you guys - it was waaaaaaay too much. The back of my hair was greasier than my friend Marta after her Canola Oil Wrestling matches. It was not pretty. I put on a hat.

However! I was not deterred, and tried again. When I used the teeny-tiniest amount I could squeeze out of the tube, this stuff worked great! A little bit of texture, a little bit of volume, and very little stickiness. Plus, it smells like green apple Now and Laters! Delish! The green version, like its yellow brother, is only available for purchase in salons. Sad.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Review - Philip B Peppermint & Avocado Volumizing & Clarifying Shampoo

One of our most acclaimed products, this is a clarifying cleanser and powerfully active aroma-therapeutic scalp treatment in one. Formulated with sixteen pure plant extracts; eleven essential and carrier oils; and a potent, active dose of 2.3% pure Peppermint oil, the shampoo works as a local anesthetic to soothe scalp tension, stimulate circulation, and leave your scalp feeling tingly fresh and clean. PHILIP B® Peppermint & Avocado Volumizing & Clarifying Shampoo also lifts away product residue -- restoring your hair's natural shine and vitality without without compromising its precious moisture and elasticity.

My brother, as a teen, used to use Head & Shoulders shampoo (what up dry Wisconsin winters), which he for some reason was really into. Like, he was a fan of Head & Shoulders. When they came out with new scents or formulas, he was ON IT. There was one version called "Refresh" that had, I don't know, extra ZING or something, and he used to say that it felt like "toothpaste for [his] head."

That is the best description for this Philip B Peppermint & Avocado Volumizing & Clarifying Shampoo I can think of: it is like toothpaste for my head. You know when you brush your teeth, and it's SO MINTY that you're like "oh my god, this mint flavor is going to make my head explode," but in a good way? That's this shampoo, but on your scalp. It's super-invigorating, almost painfully so ( a good way). The avocado is barely a player in this peppermint assault. Peppermint is George Michael here; avocado is Other Guy from Wham! Sorry, Other Guy from Wham!, and sorry, avocado.

The two main complaints I have about this shampoo are a) the price (are you surprised? I am cheap, y'all) and b) the amount I feel like I need to use to get my head clean. I feel like I need to use twice as much of this stuff as I do of my normal drugstore brand to get a good lather worked up. And at $28 for a 7.4 oz. bottle? This is not going to be my regular shampoo. However, it did get my always-greasy head lovely and clean. I would say if you're going to use this, save it for the day you put way too much product in your hair and then went to the gym - the clarifying properties will refresh your head and get rid of the gunk. But for every day? Even a peppermint explosion isn't worth the money.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Review - California Baby Calendula Everyday Lotion

  • Contains organic and sustainably grown ingredients
  • Active botanical: Calendula officinalis is well known for its safe skin healing properties
  • Calendula’s anti-inflammatory properties help to relieve irritation and itching due to eczema, poison ivy/oak/sumac, chickenpox, sunburn and insect bites
  • Soothes and helps to heal skin conditions
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-greasy and absorbs quickly
  • Helps to loosen and heal cradle cap 6.5 oz $11.49
I have three children and for some reason, they were all unfortunate enough to have eczema. I have tried every possible cream and spent lots of money. I found that Calendula is a strong eczema healer. If used on a consistent basis, you can keep eczema at bay. The great thing about this cream is that its organic and its anti-inflammatory ingredients help with other things too.
It also contains lavender which gives it a great light scent. It goes on smoothly and leaves baby's skin feeling soft. The way it should feel. When it comes to our kids, we will go all the way to keep them from feeling uncomfortable. This lotion is a winner for me.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Review- Embryolisse Anti-Ageing Cream

The Anti-Ageing Cream is a smoothing, restructuring vitamin concentrate, for effective firming action. Its nourishing, non-greasy formula counters cutaneous dryness, which speeds up skin aging. Skin is visibly firmer and more toned. $55 for 1.4 oz.

This might be a pun in poor taste but I swear the reason this lotion has "embryo" in it's name is because your face is as soft as a newborn baby's pretty much immediately after the first and subsequent uses. Honestly, I used this before bedtime and the next morning, my skin felt like satin. Also, it smells so pleasant-faintly like roses and something vaguely European. I am in the nascent stage of using this lotion so I don't yet know it's potential transformative qualities but my skin did not disagree with it in any way and the softness my face has taken on has had a big impact on my makeup routine in that I do not need any primer underneath my foundation/tinted moisturizer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Review- La Roche Posay Mela-D Serum

Visibly corrects dark spots and helps even skin tone with a breakthrough formula that delivers professional-grade results. Contains 1% Kojic Acid (helps reduce the appearance of dark spots), 0.2% LHA and 5.7% Glycolic Acid (provides intense exfoliation to help reduce the size and color intensity of dark spots and help even skin tone. $55 for 1 fl. oz.

I have been using this for two weeks now and even though the product details refer to results after eight weeks, I can already see some fading and evening out of my skintone, particularly the inadvertent damage done over this past summer. Now, I presume my more stubborn freckles are going to take some more time but I am going to continue to add this to my nighttime routine until further notice because what I have seen so far is pretty damn profund. To add to this company's greatness, one can buy it with ease online or at the local drugstore, in the best case scenario. The price point is more than reasonable and while this is only the third product in the line that I have tried, they are definitely batting a thousand.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Review- Aveeno Ultra Calming Shave Gel

This uniquely formulated shave-gel helps to calm and soothe red, dry, irritated or sensitive skin. The nourishing formula contains naturally calming Feverfew, an ingredient known for its soothing properties, and leaves skin feeling moisturized and calm long after shaving.

One of my worst beauty sins is shaving with completely random things I find in my bathroom cabinet. Seriously, I've shaved with everything from shampoo to conditioner, shower gel to lotion. I guess I've just been too lazy to use a separate product, so I end up shaving with whatever happens to be lathered on my hands or loofah. But when I came across Aveeno's Ultra Calming Shower Gel, I decided to give it a try. The rich unscented gel foams up to a rich shaving cream that coats every little hair, and left my legs incredibly smooth. This def does the trick much better than any of my random double-duty "shaving creams!"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Review- Living Proof No Frizz Wave Shaping Curl Defining Styling Spray

A lightweight spray that dries fast and leaves hair with incredible shine without an ounce of frizz. Also contains a lightweight, touchable holding polymer to give your waves and curls a touch of added definition. No Frizz works great on color-treated hair, too. $24 for 3.4oz.

Allure magazine had a write-up on Living Proof when they first came on the scene. The products were brilliantly marketed with the fact that chemists had come up with these revolutionary formulas. Now having a father-in-law who made a living from inventing paint, I have mad respect for those that make life better through chemistry--ha! Anyway, I have wanted to try this based on the idea that this technology does NOT use silicone to make the hair smooth. It's awesome. Even the wavy formula made my hair smooth, like the chance for frizz was 0.00. I did use it before blowing it out so my goal was technically straight hair but that's indeed what I got. About a week later, I let my hair air dry out of sheer laziness but I sprayed this on it and it dried so beautifully. Love it.