Saturday, January 30, 2010

Review- Vapour Atmosphere Luminous Foundation

Effortlessly achieve radiant healthy skin and a more even complexion with Atmosphere. These gorgeous Vapour foundation sticks glide on easily and blend seamlessly. The texture of the skin becomes instantly smoother, softer, and more beautiful as imperfections, fine lines, and wrinkles are hidden. Atmosphere foundation is the next generation of mineral cosmetics as it moves & breathes with the skin reflecting light to create a youthful glow.

As a true liquid foundation loyalist, I was not enthused about trying a stick foundation. However it was much easier and faster to apply than my liquid formula, blended beautifully and had a great natural finish. The coverage is buildable, but even after layering it on a bit I still couldn't really tell I was wearing makeup. It didn't really have the coverage or finish you get from a liquid foundation, but if you like a super natural look then you'll love it. Even though it is 70% organic, it still made my face feel dry and itchy, especially on cold, windier days. Overall its a pretty good foundation depending on the look that you prefer, and I think I would like this much better in the summer months, when I tend to go for lighter, breezier makeup.

Josephine says: I actually like stick foundation. It reminds me of that old school Max Factor product that made cream foundations doable (not to mention portable) for pretty much everyone. I commend Vapour for the effort but I am not thrilled with this stuff. I agree with Malikah--the coverage isn't that major thus defeating its purpose, imo. I guess I feel if you like the proverbial natural look than you would do better with a tinted moisturizer, you know? Cream formulations are used for their ability to cover anything and everything flawlessly. I also had trouble matching the shade to my skin tone as in it looked like it was going to work at first glance but blending it at the edges of my face got a little orange and weird. But I want to reiterate that I give the company props for trying to make a "natural" and mostly-organic version of this kind of makeup because Vapour may have paved the way for some killer version of this in the future.

Movie Maven says: Oh man, do I love anything that comes in a push-up stick format. I think this obsession probably sprouted at an early age, when I used to eat Flintstones Push-Up Pops like it was my job. Then, of course, there was the Bonne Bell Lip Smackers Phase of 1988-1992, marked heavily with the bubblegum flavor, interspersed with the occasional Dr. Pepper tube. Once, I even found a facewash in a stick (from Jane Cosmetics; I don’t think they make it anymore, but it was AMAZING and GREEN and smelled like Fresca. I took it on a road trip to Yellowstone National Park. It was awesome.

This obsession with all things in a stick (and on a stick, for that matter – I have never been known to turn down a corn dog) was fully realized when I got to try the Vapour Organic Beauty Foundation Stick. Oh. Man. I love it! It’s so so so easy to apply (even for someone who finds mornings as repellent as a razor sandwich, and is thus always very very TIRED upon applying makeup), and the coverage is great! I feel like it’s probably a more robust coverage than I would normally go for during the day – I like to keep it light – but for nighttime, I would definitely use this sucker. And since it’s a stick, it’s easy to toss in your purse if you’re the kind of girl who likes to touch up. The only thing that stung a little bit with this product was the price – I’m solidly a drugstore-brand girl, and at $38, this guy’s a little pricey. That’s $30 extra I could be spending on shoes, you know! I think if I were regularly spending that much on foundation, I’d definitely give this one a try, but as the cheap chick I am, I won’t go out of my way for this one (no matter how much I love it).

Trish says: Movie Maven has a good point, this is so easy to apply and so handy to take wherever you go, such as the gym, work, school etc ...the price is a little high though, and the coverage I got from the foundation was pretty good, but not as full and complete as my skin would usually need. It did make my skin look nice overall though and smoother, and I was surprised that for a stick mineral foundation, it went on so smoothly without any caking or flakiness...the best parts about the foundation include its versatility and super ease of use...not so great points for me is that while it's pretty even coverage, I still needed some additional powder to create a flawless look. I will say though stick foundations are pretty fun and super convenient to have handy.

Deedlejuse Says: Ok, true story: I have been looking EVERYWHERE for a foundation that I like and works on me. I am able to get copious samples of all the designer brands: Lancome, Bobbi Brown, Estee Lauder, Nars, you name it, I have tried it. And not like one of their types either a couple from each of the ones I have mentioned at least. Nothing was perfect, either the color was weird or it didn't have enough coverage or (my favorite) I thought I loved it then I saw a pic of myself and realized the incredibly shiny faced person smiling in the corner was me. Not a look I cherish, I'll tell you what!

Then I got this stick of Vapour Luminous Foundation, and I'll be the first to admit I like luminous (just there is a line, people!) so I was intrigued. Then I tried it, and now my favorite foundation has been found! Basically the stick thing as much as it sounds like a bad idea, is genius! Its easy to apply, you just smooth over your face and massage it on sort of with your hands. You don't have any waste, because you can't dump a bunch on the back of your hand and then have to throw it out after. The finish is wonderful, you get light to medium coverage (it really tones down redness) with a dewy look, but your not super shiny, or super matte. I think I have to disagree with Movie Maven, I would totally spend $38 on this stick of loveliness, but I think I might have to wait a bit longer and see exactly how long it lasts before I make that qualification! All in all though, I love it!

Sultana says: I have this in #140 which is a little on the dark side for me. I have a really strange complexion & I can never find the right foundation/powder. To achieve a natural look, I have to do a LOT of blending with various shades. Even though the color didn't match my face, I managed to make it work by blending it with my concealer which is a lighter color. It mixes very well with other brands and it builds easy. I like this because it is also light. You don't feel it weighing down your face. I just find it hard to put on foundation on a stick, because at some point you will need a brush or applicator to get in the corners.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Review- Embryolisse Rosamélis Toner

Rosamélis is a refreshing alcohol free toner that removes all traces of cleanser and leaves skin feeling refreshed and revived. $30

This is a very gentle toner which contains rose, orange-tree and witch hazel waters. It's without a doubt the best smelling toner I've ever used. It never stings or burns as it's incredibly gentle, but it packs a whallop when it comes to getting rid of what's left behind when you wash your face. But with it's gentleness and beautiful smell, it feels more like a luxury than a chore. I'm not sure how it would stand up to very oily skin (although the bottle says it's for all types of skin), but for my dry, acne prone skin, it's just wonderful. Like I said in the review for the Micellar Lotion, this stuff may be hard to find, but I feel it's worth the effort and will be buying it again. You can order it from Ricky's in NYC among other places (but they're having a sale at the moment!).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Review- Embryolisse Lotion Micellar (No Rinse Make-Up Remover)

"No rinse Micellar Lotion cleanses and removes make-up extremely gently. It is specially formulated using gentle cleansing agents and specific active ingredients to soften, soothe and tone. High cutaneous and ocular tolerance" (i.e. gentle on skin and eyes). $30

When you read the description of this product (or for that matter, most of the Embryolisse products) you have to be a bit skeptical. "One product does all that" you say to yourself. But the truth is, it does! Case in point, I do not have especially sensitive skin, except lately. Recently I've been host to a myriad of skin maladies. The latest is a rash under my nose which I'm on my third prescription for, but I digress. Needless to say, the underneath of my nose is raw. I had make-up on the other night and I was dreading taking off the make-up around my nose, so I gave the Lotion Micellaire a try. I was amazed! All of the make-up came off and it felt as gentle as water on my sensitive nose. I also used it on my eyes with no problem. This is the perfect no rinse make-up remover for people who are generally allergic or too sensitive for the make-up remover wipes they sell at drugstores and Sephora. And when I tell you I've used it a number if times and I'm only down about 3/4 of an inch in the bottle, you know this stuff will last. It may be a bit hard to come by, but look at the above page for the store locator. You'll be glad you did! P.S. This is on sale right now at Ricky's in NYC online.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Review- Living Proof Full Thickening Cream

This styling innovation allows fine, thin hair to act like thick hair with naturally soft, touchable body. By depositing thickening points on the hair strands, Full creates a thicker surface that enables fine hair to have natural movement and bounce, beautiful shape, and volume throughout the day. While traditional thickening products create a hard, brittle hold that collapses upon touch, Full allows your style to remain flexible, soft, and resilient. Go ahead, run your fingers through your hair, no need to fear a style fall. 1.8 oz.=$14 3.7=$24

This product is like my dream come true. If you've ever been plagued by limp locks, those days are over! I combed a dime-sized blob through my damp hair and blow dried as usual and voila! I had totally full, bouncy, sex kitten hair that lasted for days and smelled divine. It didn't flatten out when I put on my winter hat, or tied it up in a ponytail for my workout. All I had to do was brush it gently back into place, and it bounced back beautifully, with no flaking, or weird dents like some other thickening products can leave. And the best part is its totally affordable, and since you only need a tiny bit each time, it will last and last.

Hillary says: This product should be called "No More Bed Head" because that's my favorite thing about it! True I like the additional fullness it imparts to my hair, but since I have straight hair that I wear down, this stuff does add volume, but it's not my favorite part. My favorite part is the new found hair freedom this stuff gives me. I can put my long hair back in a ponytail and not have to straight iron it the next day. I don't have to wet and blow dry my bangs in the morning when I wake up. It's as if this cream holds the memory of the last way you blow dried your hair and puts it right back into place. And it lasts for days. I only wash my hair 2-3 times a week because it's so dry & colored, but this stuff stands up even on the third day. You simply apply a nickel sized amount for longer hair avoiding the roots. comb it through and blow dry as usual. Then you've got voluminous hair that will keep it's shape no matter how you tie it up or scrunch it down w/ a hat. Seriously, everyone needs to try this stuff. It's my new favorite product. Considering the price and the small amount one has to use, it's a real bargain. I loved Living Proof's No Frizz and now I love their Full. The secret is they hired a bunch of scientists to come up with totally unique formulations to use in their hair products. All I know is I hope they keep them happy so they keep churning out awesome products like this!

Review - Lisa Hoffman Spa Bath Packet

A complete bath care regimen offered in a portable and resealable packette. Each airtight ampoule contains the following products: Bath Soak, Body Wash, Body Polisher, Body Cream, and Hand & Foot Butter. Each product aims to cleanse, protect, nourish and moisturize for a softer and more radiant finish.

I hate to review any product badly, and I would have to say that I am not completely reviewing it badly. I just cannot in good faith review this Spa Bath Packette really well. The small sampling of the best reviewed products on her site were just too small to be able to really experience the goodness of these products! They really were wonderful. Except I needed more to get the bubbles from the bath soak. The shower gel was lovely except I could only really get a bit of lather and I was just yearning for more.... I loved the body polish. It is lightly granulated, but with plenty of emulsion to keep your skin happy and lovely. All in all you can totally appreciate the goodness of the products and the lovely scent they leave in the bathroom during and after your tub, but I really needed more. The after tub cream and foot butter kicked butt, though, and I was able to use them a couple of times.
If you are going for a long weekend, and the aim is to relax this would be a great investment.... or stocking stuffers of course, and your giftee will surely appreciate the quality of product you have bestowed to them. Just don't expect to be completely indulged unless you invest in the larger sizes!

Free Printable Coupon to bring to Aveda for Color Conserve Trio Samples

Simply click on the link above and a page will open with a printable coupon good at Aveda Stores (and participating Aveda Salons) for a generous sample-sized Color Conserve Shampoo, Conditioner & Strengthening Treatment. The coupon is good until 6/30/10, but I'd go sooner than later as they do run out sometimes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review - Advance Techniques Moisture Sleek Smoothing Serum

Simply apply a quarter-sized dollop into palms and distribute evenly throughout hair. 2.03 fl. oz.

I have long blond hair. It is pretty temperamental. It doesn't like humidity, blow drying, not blow drying, most conditioner. Like I said, temperamental. This Advance Techniques Smoothing Serum is the best thing for the price I have tried in a really long time. I have yet to make my hair look greasy and dirty, which is quite a plus for me, and it leaves things literally sleek and smooth. I prefer a spritz on serum in principle, but I have definitely noticed that this serum really works better. If you are looking for an inexpensive way to keep your straight hair a bit straighter when blow drying and using a straightener I would say go no further. You have found your product!

Review - All About Hands Avocado Hand Lotion

Packed with nourishing ingredients and emollients, this lightweight lotion has been specially formulated to be absorbed quickly into the skin and is perfect for hard-working hands

So, if we are all living in the same world here I have to assume that everyone else is just as sick and tired of their hand cream feeling sticky and greasy and leaving finger prints all over EVERYTHING. I know I only gave it ten minutes to soak in but SERIOUSLY I have a life here people! Finally, an answer that will not leave your mind worrying about ingredients, your hands unhappy and not moisturized, and you wallet all but empty. All About Hands comes from the Upper Canada Soap Co. which seams like a small, but very contentious company that I would be more than happy to support. I mean the first ingredient is aqua for goodness sake! It is paraben free, synthetic dye free, & phthalate free (Im not sure I know what that means, but I like it!) aaannnddd it leaves my hands moist, but not greasy in literally seconds. All of a sudden I have beautifully soft hands with very little effort on my part! It smells very lightly of avacado, kind of. More like if you made an avacado mousse. I love it, and it is $12 for 10oz. In my opinion that might be the best part!

Review- BrushLab Volumize Square Cushion Paddle Brush

Get big hair with the Volumize Hairbrush by BrushLab. Paddle brush's cushioned design and ball tipped tines provide a comforting massage. The Volumize Hairbrush by BrushLab features a non-slip handle.

When it comes to hair brushes, I sure can fall in love quickly and develop the oddest and strangest attachments to them. And so it is with this lovely and highly effective Volumize Hairbrush from BrushLab. It comes in a generous 3.25 in. brush head (which I adore) and the bristles are light enough to not tug too tightly on the hair, yet incredibly strong to get through each and every strand or tangle and distribute the hair's natural shine and smoothness everywhere. The handle is nicely padded with a good grip, so no matter what state your hair is in, this brush can take it. I love how wild and full and big my hair looks after a thorough brush need to worry though, the poofiness and frizz does calm down naturally on its own and if you're pressed for time like me, I either use anti-frizz serum right away and/or tie it up in a loose ponytail while getting ready. The final result: the fullest and thickest and waviest my hair has ever looked and shinier too! I love this brush so much, I really am attached to it. I think it's my favorite!

Deedlejuse says: I have to totally agree with Trish on this wonderful Volumizing Paddle Brush, and I have no idea what hair type she has (which means it must be super versatile!) Personally, I have super thick, but super straight hair. It isn't easily teased into anything close to "big" hair, but this brush does a pretty good job of getting it to look a lot closer to it. The best thing for me is definitely the fact that my hair looks soooo much shinier after using it for a while, it doesn't snag a lot so the amount of breakage and flyaways is minimal. This is something that my relatively thin hair desprately loves about it! All in all this is the one hair brush I haven't (and won't) be able to loose too easily. (two reasons: its my favorite. It's bright green....)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Review- Alcone Face-Matte Oil Absorbing Sheets

These powder-free blue oil-blotting sheets eliminate unwanted shine from your face without adding any powder and without disturbing makeup. Just blot shine with sheet and see the oil transfer from your skin to the sheet. The film becomes transparent as it absorbs the shine. Can be used over, under, or instead of makeup. We recommend you keep them with you at all times!

I've never actually used blotting sheets, even though technically I should because I do have combination-oily skin that sometimes gets out of control, especially in the summer months. Alcone's Oil Absorbing sheets come in a handy little package about the size of a business card case, so you can always have them with you in case of a sudden oil flare up. Just a quick dab of one across your face, and your skin is left looking smooth and matte, without messing up your makeup. I love that these don't have any powder in them, so you don't have to worry about looking washed out or ashy. Although I don't need to use them much these days, I can tell they will be my best friend come July.

Review- Rusk Sensories Wellness Bedew Conditioner with Exotic Organic Tahitian Oil

Conditions while intensely hydrating and moisturizing coarse, dry hair. Features a silicone combination for easy wet combing. Sodium PCA (a natural hydrator found in the skin) binds moisture to the hair for extra humectant power.Free of sulfates, parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates and MEA/TEA/DEA, Sensories Wellness provides a color-safe, organic and luxurious haircare experience. $15 for 13.5 oz.

Basically, this line of Rusk's smells ridiculously amazing. I am not one to seek out the whole "essential oils for sensory wellness" but I now think that's because I had not yet come across a product that lays claim to a cocktail of freaking Tahitian tiare flower, the Moroccan argan tree and Ethiopian abyssinica. If that weren't enough, "the bedew" as it's called around here is a supremely effective conditioner that loves every strand of your hair to a silken shiny divine work of art.

Malikah says: I'm always looking for a hydrating conditioner for my chemically processed locks, and Rusk's Bedew Conditioner does the job beautifully. After leaving the creamy formula on for just 5 minutes, my hair was soft and glossy, and I was able to comb it out with no stubborn tangles. I was a bit wary of the silicone combination in the formula, because some of those products can dull your hair, but this stuff left my hair super soft and shiny for days.

Review- Rusk Sensories Wellness Bedew Shampoo Hydrating Shampoo with Exotic Organic Tahitian Oil

Rusk Sensories Wellness Bedew Hydrating Shampoo contains superior moisturizing ingredients that intensely hydrate and moisturize while cleansing. This gentle shampoo is infused with Tahitian tiare flower extract, a natural oil that is knows for its powerful hydrating and soothing properties. This luxurious organic oil is partnered with panthenol to not only hydrate but also leave your hair with a lustrous, healthy sheen. $15 for 13.5 oz.

Just plain fabulous on every level. This shampoo softens like a dream, cleanses so gently that I never worry about my color and it begs to be inhaled every time you're in the shower for no other reason than you will sigh peacefully and feel like the world is alright. I wish I had an unlimited supply of it

Malikah says: I agree with Josephine completely! This shampoo smells incredible, making you feel like you've been instantly transported to an exotic island. It was especially refreshing to use it on a chilly winter day, as it keeps your mind on sunshine and beaches, rather than wind and snow. The organic formula cleanses gently, but thoroughly, leaving hair manageable and virtually tangle free.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Review - Lisa Hoffman Night & Day Vitamin A& C Serum

Reduces the appearance of wrinkles, fades brown spots, and smoothes surface roughness

Improves the production of collagen and reduces skin damage caused by free radicals 1oz $95

Serums tend to be very heavy and leave a greasy look & feel on your face. That is why I don't use them. This serum is unique because it does the opposite. It goes on soft & smooth and leaves your skin feeling like a baby's bottom. After a few days of using this, my skin really felt smoother. My infant son had been sick on and off for about a month, and he was starting to develop red patches on his nose & face. I knew this serum would be gentle enough to use on him because it didn't make me break out. After a couple of days, the rough patches were completely gone. Vitamins A & C have great healing powers. To top it off, it prevents wrinkles. This has become part of my nightly routine. And ladies, don't be scared of the price, I have a .5 oz tube so I am sure it would be half the price of the 1oz bottle.

Review- Pixi by Petra Nail Polish

Developed to provide a fantastic full spectrum of shades, that will withstand wear and tear. Formulated for high definition and high gloss nail colour whether it’s a natural French manicure or a sultry bright red or even a fashion forward purple!

Pixi Nail Polish in Number 17 is a tropical red, slightly opalescent hue, totally my type of nail polish. It was really inappropriate for this season, but will be super fun next summer. Not only was the shade gorgeous, but it dried super fast. Unfortunately it wasn't really durable - it started chipping the next day, and my mani was totally rugged by day 3. If you can live with having to touch up your polish every couple of days then great, but for me that was kind of a deal breaker.

Sultana says: I got this in # 10 which is Dusty Rose. I am a nail polish nut. I also like shimmery & glittery colors. This one is nice, its just not me. They call me Glitter Girl in my office for a reason! I did see that the website sells some shimmery colors. I wouldn't mind trying one of those, because aside from the color; the brand is OK. It lasted a few days and didn't chip too much.

Trish says: I'm wearing the clear and translucent pink shade - No. 2... I like that it goes on like a sheer polish but also has a light touch of color that is both soft and feminine. It's so light that even if the polish started to chip, I didn't really notice. I also used this translucent shade as a top coat - it turned my current pale pink polish into a prettier high shine and glossier finish. As the others have mentioned, the polish by itself is "okay", but with the right color and its versatility, I'm growing fond of this little bottle of pink polish.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Review- Embryolisse Hydrating Cream With Orange Extract

Crème Hydratante à l'extrait d'orange (Moisturizing Cream with Extract of Oranges)
is specially formulated to improve moisture content in the upper layers of the skin. Vitamins A, B, C, and H stimulate and instantly rehydrates the skin. The light, non-greasy formulation makes it perfect for year-round use.

In the summer, I try my best to tame my manic and uncontrollable oily skin, however, in the winter, it's the very opposite and I really want and welcome any kind of nourishment available. Thank goodness for the Embryolisse line! They really know how to moisturize and hydrate with the lightest of touch. I tried the Hydrating Cream with Orange Extract and can literally feel the soft nourishment absorbing into my skin. It leaves the skin super smooth and as others have mentioned earlier "baby" soft. If you have combination skin that is seasonally temperamental like mine, rest assured that this Embryolisse Hydrating Cream works just as beautifully for oily types in the winter! Otherwise, I think this is an excellent moisturizer for those who lean on the drier side year round, because it does fully hydrate and absorbs wonderfully onto the skin.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Review - Yaby Shimmer Eyeshadow

» Highly pigmented eyeshadow that are extremely easy to work with.
» The smooth texture allows blending with ease.
» Used dry or wet to achieve anything from a veil of color to a dramatic statement.

These itty-bitty, shimmery shadows are intended to go in the larger Yaby palette; I just got one to test (I believe the color is called “Green Delicious”). About the size of a dime, each little pot gives great color for your eyes. The one I got is a "frost" finish, but the colors come in a variety of finishes from matte to high shine. I think they probably work best in tandem with each other, but I liked this a lot by itself. I think the nicest thing about this product line overall is that the little refills are pretty inexpensive – around $3 – and they come in an INSANE array of colors. It’s ideal for the girl who likes to play around a lot with eyeshadow (and, of course, makeup artists, who I think are the real target audience for this line). I didn’t find that this shadow lasted very long, though, so you may get to play around more often than you thought!

Malikah says: I tried this in a shimmery pink shade, which was so wonderfully feminine I fell in love with it right away! It was a perfect frosty pink that can work beautifully year round, and its subtle enough that you won't look like a little girl playing dress up. It didn't last that long though, and kind of creased after awhile, so you may want to keep it handy for touch ups (which is easy to manage since its so tiny). You could collect your fave shades and customize your own palette, or just keep a few of the dime-sized pots in your makeup bag to transition your look or pack on a trip.

Josephine says: I have the color called "dragon fruit." It's a really bright pink and looks better on my cheeks than my eyes but that's just reflective of my own coloring, this color could look awesome on eyes belonging to someone with more yellow tones in their skin. Anyway, I agree with Malikah and Hillary in that the color did fade after a sort of short amount of time for how pigmented the website claims the shadow to be but it did go on 100% true to the color in the pan which is a testament to its quality. I agree with Hillary that this palette would be a useful addition to a makeup artist's arsenal. Has anyone put a fine point on the size of this puppy by likening it to the size of a lithium battery? For real.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Review- Caress Evenly Gorgeous Exfoliating Body Wash

Ready to reveal your daring side tonight? Flaunt your gorgeous even skin tone with confidence. Caress Evenly Gorgeous with Burnt Brown Sugar and Karite Butter gently exfoliates and lusciously moisturizes to reveal beautifully, even-toned skin. $4.79 for 12 oz.

Caress Evenly Gorgeous Body Wash is a divine smelling, super moisturizing body wash that will leave your skin feeling like silk. The deep, musky fragrance leaves just a hint on your skin, and reminds me of a hot August night. It really didn't do much in terms of exfoliating, since I could barely feel the beads and didn't notice much of a difference in my skin afterward, but the moisturizing quality and smell were still amazing. If you want the feeling of a steamy summer evening during the end of December, you'll definitely love this product. However if you need a more serious scrub for dry, flaky, skin you might be disappointed.

Josephine says: Malikah nailed something about this shower gel that I haven't been able to do yet. It does somehow encapsulate summertime in like, Cuba. The smell is awesome yet subtle and it cleans and softens wonderfully. I did think the exfoliating was meaningful, though. The winter is so harsh on my skin and it's dry on such a deep level that it doesn't even look flaky or scaly to the naked eye but I itch as if I have poison ivy. Basically I am trying to say that I need exfoliating/moisturizer like I need air. I will most definitely (and joyfully!) finish the bottle and seek Caress out again, especially when I am on a budget because that quality to this product is not to be overlooked either.

Trish says: I agree with both reviews above! The scent is absolutely decadent, reminding me of a rich caramel flan that adds that beautiful touch of warmth in the middle of one the coldest winters in NY (from what I can remember). There is some exfoliating here - even if ever so modest- it's not a full scrub, but my skin still felt soft and nourished after using it. I love how the Caress body wash suds up so beautifully and washes off just as easily. Your skin truly feels much softer and smoother and clean afterwards, leaving a gorgeous and sweet scent to remember. I'd definitely purchase the body wash for the silkiness factor and the enjoyable fragrance together!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Review - Save Your Skin Exfoliation Bar in Regal Blossom

If a bar of soap could grow on a tree, this one certainly would. Handcrafted with all natural and organic ingredients, this product is sure to stimulate your mind, body and soul.

Infused with tiny bits of organic Yerba Maté, our soaps are perfect for those looking for a little exfoliation action. Organically-grown Aloe Vera will keep skin moisturized. Together, these ingredients will leave your body feeling smooth and toned.

Okay, so when I was a kid I had this set of decorative soaps from the Body Shop that were, like, my PRIDE and JOY. They were glycerin soaps, so they almost looked like jewels, except that they were in the shape of a variety of endangered species – I definitely remember a rhinoceros. There were maybe six of them, and they came in a keepsake box, and I never, ever used them. I just loved smelling them (and saving the animals, of course, because I was really into that as a kid).

This Save Your Skin Exfoliating Bar in Regal Blossom smells JUST LIKE that box of Animals in Danger soaps. The website describes the scent thusly: “a colorful accord of the natural aroma of lavender, geranium and rose. As nuances of palmarosa, chamomile and carrot seed reinforce this soothing combination, accents of citronella, pimento berry and clary sage add depth. A background of sandalwood and vanilla support this extraordinary creation.” Well. That’s complicated. I don’t know what convergence of scents happened to re-create the wonderful scent of my childhood soap set, but whatever it is, I’m into it. Add to that the fact that this soap is scrubby in a pleasant way, AND that this company is highly earth-conscious? Sign me up. As bar soaps go, this one is great.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Review - Illamasqua Powder Eye Shadow in Anja

Bring a room to its knees without saying a word. Each of these glorious colours makes a statement that’s as individual as you are. Highly pigmented, these lasting colours ensure all-night intensity.

For some reason, blue eyeshadow will always, always, always make me think of the movie My Girl – maybe I saw it during a particularly formative moment, or maybe I just love Jamie Lee Curtis a lot – whatever the reason, I will never forget the scene when JLC tells Vada Sultenfuss that a girl can “never have enough blue eyeshadow.” I think that in the somber, grunge-oriented ‘90s, this was intended as sort of a “ha ha, people in the ‘70s thought blue eyeshadow was fashionable and it’s SO NOT” joke, but now? I think it’s kind of true. Blue eyeshadow, used correctly, can be flattering to just about everyone.

This particular blue eyeshadow, from Illamasqua, is called “Anja,” and is a bright, matte robin’s egg blue, that, when applied lightly, gives just a whisper of tint, and when applied more heavily, is dramatic in a kicky, summer way. I wore it (along with a shimmery green) to the New Year’s party I attended in Florida, where I decided to look like an old Florida lady. I think it worked pretty well:

I am seriously digging the finish on this powder, and it definitely lasted a while (I put that on at around 7pm, and I didn’t put those glasses on until almost midnight, and the eyeshadow is still in FULL EFFECT. That said, I don’t know that I would rock this look on a normal day – the blue is SO bright and SO pale that I think (on me, at least) it would always look a little bonkers. I’m saving this one for special occasions – especially the kind that last all night! Update: I wrote all of this and then read on the Sephora site that this line is exclusively “nighttime makeup.” So I guess I was right on target there! I’m now basically obsessed with the whole line.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Review- Avalon Organics Rosemary Shampoo and Conditioner

This shampoo volumizes and gently cleanses hair and scalp, as strengthening wheat protein builds body for fuller, healthier-looking hair.

I sigh as I write this review. I strongly and fully endorse most products from Avalon Organics, except this one. If you can use an inexpensive organic and all natural product, please buy it, thus please buy Avalon Organics..... Only my hair has never felt as dull and limp as it has after using this shampoo/conditioner duo. The review has to be the combination of the two because I honestly tried one without the other and I had no better results that way. Perhaps my scalp just doesn't like rosemary or something, but my hair doesn't like it at all! I like the smell a lot. I like how the conditioner works very much, but the "whey proteins" just weren't doing it for me. If you are looking for a volumizing shampoo and conditioner, unfortunately, you are going to have to look somewhere else.....

Trish says: Crazy, I had the same reaction as Deedlejuse with the Avalon Organics Rosemary shampoo and conditioner. My hair became so completely flat and lifeless, I thought I was doing something wrong. I even propped it up with additional volumizing products afterwards, hoping to make the shampoo and conditioner work on the side...One positive though is that my hair did smell super natural and organic and fresh and earthy, which is pleasing. Also, my hair seemed cleaner overall after the rinse, with little to no product build-up, but the volumizing part seemed to be amiss for me as well. I would try another Avalon product in the future, because I really do appreciate natural and organic products in general, but the Rosemary shampoo and conditioner didn't quite add the right body and texture that my hair so desperately needs and crave. Still on the lookout.

Review- Lait-Crème Concentrè Moisturizer

Lait-Crème Concentrè (24-Hour Miracle Cream) is a rich moisturizing lotion. This specially formulated lotion is quite versatile; throw it in your travel bag when you don't have enough space for numerous products. Our creamy lotion is really three products in one: the make-up artists use it as a primer, moisturizer, and make-up remover. It also reduces irritation after shaving! $25

I am so in love with this moisturizer! I'd heard about it from many magazines and my make-up artist friends and I never believed it could live up to all the hype. But it does! It is completely hypo-allergenic as in no one is allergic to it (hard to believe but true). You apply a thin layer to your face, then wait a minute for it to sink in. It makes an excellent base for make-up, I didn't even use a primer with it and my foundation went on flawlessly. Also, my dry skin was completely moisturized, even after I washed my face. It has no scent whatsoever and has a great light consistency. The tube says it is suitable for all types of skin and I can see why. It's also referred to as the "24 hour Miracle Cream" and I think that's because it not only hydrates but repairs and nourishes your skin. Go ahead and ask any make-up artist what they think of it and you'll probably hear a ton of praise for the product. One caveat- it's sort of hard to find, but fear not, because I know where to get it- visit Ok, so they are temporarily out of stock, but you can still order it and you'll get it when it comes in. I recommend you do so, you'll thank me later.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Review- KohGenDo Maifanshi Lipstick

This light and sheer lipstick adds polish to lips and brightens up the face. Wears smooth and soft, like a lip cream. Protects lips from dryness and damaging agents like wind and the environment. Lips become healthier the more often you use it.

I have this lipstick in the Nude Beige, which is by far my favorite nude I have ever tried. There is this wonderful vibrancy it brings to your lips, I think it is without a doubt a combination of the wonderful moisturizers and the high pigmentation of this lip color that makes my lips look fuller and healthier than they do without it. My only concern is that $35 is an awfully high number for a lipstick. The highest priced lipstick I have tried, other than this one, was around $28 and I was shocked by the price tag even though the lipstick was organic and had good staying power. This one does not last that long, I'd say two hours max, and it is super moisturizing so you must use a bit more than I would with most lipsticks. Regardless, I love it. My lips have improved exponentially since I started wearing it, and for that the extra expense is well worth it in my book. If you have been looking for an extraordinary lipstick please give this one a try!

Hillary says: I would be sooo lazy if I just wrote "ditto", but that is pretty much the way I feel. This is one of those nudes I can see using on most skins except the darkest. It's somewhere between opaque and sheer, so your natural skin tone will dictate the shade, but it is a beautiful shade of beige with enough warmth to not wash out one's face. As Deedlejuse says, it's very pricey, but much like I said in my review for the Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Foundation, this is an awesome choice for a special occasion. I got a little more wear out of it than D did, but this lipstick is more about the moisture than the long wear. It makes your lips feel like silk and I have to say this is the only lipstick I own that I can wear without lip balm. Thus the price tag. If this sounds ideal to you- or your lips- bust out the cash from your Christmas stocking & buy one.

Review- Marini Lash

Now you can enjoy dazzling dense and lush eyelashes and eyebrows—with a stunning new product from the research labs of Jan Marini. Marini Lash—the first and still the best, although others have tried to imitate it—this revolutionary eyelash and eyebrow enhancement formulation has surpassed even our expectations. You will see remarkable results in weeks. $160 for .23 oz.

Even though it hasn't quite been the "suggested" amount of time one should use this eyelash growth conditioner to see big results, I looked in the mirror today and all of the sudden I have daddy longlegs at the end of my eyelids. They don't even need a hint of mascara because they are so thick and long. Looking back over the last week, the urge to skip mascara has come upon me at least three times and while I do occasionally go without when I have a stronger makeup look on my eyes, I rarely make that decision without some deliberation. But this past week I haven't even consciously reached for my trusty tube because it didn't occur to me that I needed it. So! Given those circumstances I am pleased to announce that this stuff totally works and worked in approximately one month of nightly use. The tube is totally easy, you apply it like you would a liquid liner, there was no irritation in any way and even though I might have been experiencing the placebo effect when I swore my lashes looked different after two weeks, who cares! The end result is the same--I feel like my lashes look cra-mazing. And to think there was a moment in time when I was contemplating pricey eyelash extensions... Ha!

Sultana says: I was very skeptical when I got this. But even so, I kept an open mind because I really wanted this to work. I have lashes that get super thick and long when I wear mascara. What I intended to get out of this, is to be able to use less mascara. WOW, I got it!!!!!!!!! After solidly using this for one month, my lashes sprouted! They got longer and a little bit fuller. I noticed that I only needed one coat of mascara instead of two!
Now this is kind of pricey, but it lasts for six months. I know women that would buy this in a minute. I would recommend this to anyone that is looking for something that truly works. I am so excited to see what my lashes will be like in another couple of months!

Trish says: I agree with Sultana, I too was skeptical at first, convinced that nothing short of a miracle would make my sparse lashes thicker, fuller, and stronger. And despite my own mental stubbornness, this stuff really worked! There are new lashes growing along the lash line where I've never seen before, my thin and wimpy lashes are so much stronger and resilient now - and I can use my favorite eye lash curler without fear of new lashes falling off. While the lashes aren't quite super long yet, (still the miracle case) they are definitely fuller and thicker and are steadily growing with each use. I'm amazed that this wonderful tube (which applies as easy as a liquid eyeliner) can last for 6 months! Definitely worth the long-term investment in my opinion. Plus, you need to apply only a small amount - which I've been very diligent about- and can still see some true and visible results that are amazing. Highly recommended as an eyelash booster - this Marini Lash conditioner works like magic!