Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Review - Shu Uemura Egerie Satin Radiant Stick Blush

Soft creamy texture for the cheeks in a stick style to create a delicate satin veil on the face. Blush and highlight colors with tiny particles of pearls for a shimmery finish. $44

I love makeup, but one thing I can't seem to get into is blush. For the sake of being a makeup lover, I try new things all the time to give it a fair shot. Shu Uemura is a brand I knew about, but honestly I've never tried it. The price tag was a bit high for me.

I have this in the Pink color. Its really very pretty. It does feel kind of like satin. The stick goes on smooth for an easy application. It is very shimmery, & I like shimmery! It lasted a long time but at the end of the day I just had shimmer all over the place. I would wear this if I were going out as opposed to just a day at the office.

I also find that its multi-functional. I tried it as an eyeshadow and as a lipstick and it works just as well. If you are fair enough, then you could try the monotone look and use the color all over. So the price tag may be a little on the high side, but the stick is very generous in size. There is a lot of product there so you get your moneys worth.

Malikah says: I tried this in the highlight shade, a soft, shimmery pearl white. The formula is soft and creamy, and blends easily, leaving just a subtle hint of shimmer. I'm a medium-skinned African-American woman, and I didn't think the color would be flattering with my skin-tone, but it blended beautifully. The shimmer is not overpowering, and still looked appropriate for day, and you can layer more on for a night time look. Considering how little you need to use each application, and the size of the product, this thing will last awhile, making it well worth the cost.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Review - Shu Uemura Égérie Eye Shimmer Duo

Duo color eyeshadow that includes a shimmering creamy liquid and hyper sparkling glitter powder. After applying the liquid base, layer on the soft crushed glimmering powder which stays on perfectly for sparkling and enchanting eyes.

The 130th shu uemura Spring Mode Makeup Collection invites you to be an "Égérie:" a rebellious and daring spirit who never loses her sense of elegance and sophistication. The collection is inspired by the glamour of rock and roll. Flashy, glimmering shine is complemented with delicate satin sheen finishes to transport you under the spotlight of the captivating rock stage.

Mmmmm, Shu Uemura, the makeup brand that even people who know nothing about makeup recognize. I got this Égérie Eye Shimmer Duo in two color combos, the blue and the purple. The idea is that you first prime the eye with the liquid base (which is a deep gunmetal grey with the purple shadow and a medium brown with the blue), then wait for it to dry, then put the powder over it. I'm not sure which color is supposed to be more prominent, or if the effect is supposed to be a more iridescent one, but I will tell you this: with the purple powder/grey base, the color looked like a glittery grey (lovely). With the blue powder/brown based, the color definitely looked blue. Without the base, the powder worked fine, but they are definitely intended to be a pair. I was impressed with the staying power - these are more evening colors than day, and when I put it on before going out for the night, it performed admirably. You all know I'm a cheapo, and would never buy anything this expensive with my own money, but I was very happy with it otherwise.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Review- OPI Suede Nail Polish

OPI's Suede Collection brings you classic OPI shades with a trendy suede finish.

Everyone has been raving about the latest trends in nail polish, and OPI's Suede Collection lets you get two hot trends in one - the chicness of a matte finish with a slight edge from the subtle pattern. OPI's Suede collection nail polishes are definitely a high fashion look. I tried it in You Don't Know Jacques!, a silver that looks insanely shimmery in the bottle, but dries to a matte finish on your nails. It really isn't an easy look to maintain however. OPI does warn you that the polish is not long-wearing, and using top coats or hand lotion will shorten its lifespan. I have to say that this look isn't quite for me - I just can't get on the whole matte nails bandwagon, but for someone more trend focused this can be your go to Fall/Winter shade.

Hillary says: This is a great polish for those who don't mind painting their nails often (which I don't mind), however, in fairness, this nail polish comes with a little tag around it's neck telling you in advance that it will not last as long as a regular nail polish and you can't use a top coat with it (which I thought was very nice of OPI to do). That said, I am totally smitten with the matte nail polish thing. This one not only has the matte finish, it also has a "sandy" texture that makes it feel a little rough (but not rough enough to snag on things). I am not totally trendy, but I do love trying the next big thing in nail polish. The only thing that will hold this product back from becoming the new "it" polish is it's staying power. I see it popping up in fashion shoots and runways everywhere, but I don't see your average Jane being willing to fully re-paint her nails every 3 days. BTW, I tried to fill in the chips with a single coat and it chipped the same day, so that's not a viable option. I will totally be wearing this to go out on a weekend night or to a party or the like, but I can't see making it a staple color in my arsenal (as much as I love it) simply for practicality's sake. My color is a grey with silver shimmer particles called "Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees Suede". I adore it, but I only bust it out for special occasions. To sum up, if you don't mind putting in the extra effort, this stuff looks really cool, but for you low maintenance beauties, look elsewhere.

Deedlejuse says: I am as Hillary mentions above of the low maintenance variety, and I have to say I adore the look of this polish, but after having to re-apply three times in as many days I have to say I was not the biggest fan. I also love the texture and the look of the polish, as everyone above mentioned it is this cool looking suede finish which I soooo love, but the staying power is the killer for me. Oh, I forgot the other MAJOR plus for me is that it takes about 2.5 seconds to dry, for me I would definitely put up with having to reapply everyday if it took me a total of five minutes to finish the manicure!

Sultana says: I have this in Lincoln Park After Dark. Its a pretty purple with lots of shimmer. I wasn't too excited about the whole matte thing. It just didn't appeal to me. But when I put this polish on, I was blown away. I wanted it in every single color! Its so unique and shimmery (just like me). So the staying power isn't great, but hey they are honest and tell you right off the bat! You have got to love OPI! I would definitely try the other colors in the suede collection. If you like different, and out of the ordinary then give this a try.

Trish says: It's true, sadly this lovely suede-style polish doesn't last too long before it begins to chip. I'm on day three now and the tips are all pretty gone, but it's still a fun polish in a nice muted finish. I tried the rich purple shade (top left corner) and at first I didn't like the soft glitter in the polish, nor the matted finish (it looked like spray paint on my fingernails to me) but then the look really started to grow on me and now I'm pretty fond of this OPI nail polish after all! For a special night out, this is surely a nice polish for a unique and different look on the nails. However, for the short life-span be aware that the look doesn't last long, but is still a fun style to try, that is if you don't mind reapplying a couple times.
Movie Maven says: Echo, echo, echo! Yes, this nail polish doesn't last as long as other polishes. Yes, they tell you that up front. But it looks really cool, and as Deedlejuse pointed out, it dries in a FLASH. I started with a base coat, which I think maybe extended the wear by a little bit, since I haven't really had any chips, but the tips are definitely beginning to wear off. I have this in Russian Navy, which is actually an OPI color I'm familiar with, and I will mention this: the Suede version of this color is not really like the regular version of this color. The regular Russian Navy is navy with deep purple undertones; this is more of a navy/black/silver thing happening. Not to say that the color's not wonderful, it is, but if you're expecting Russian Navy with a matte finish, you might be disappointed.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Review- Aveda Light The Way Candle

100% naturally derived soy wax candle infused with organic lavender and other pure flower and plant extracts in candleholders that were once wine cooler bottles. $12

Aveda's limited-edition Light the Way Candle is a beautiful soy wax candle where 100% cost of the candle goes towards protecting clean water. What a great cause - in my opinion! It's also pretty cool that the handsome glass holder is made from recycled wine cooler bottles (someone had fun!), which can also be reused again later! The soy candle is also filled with a delightful organic lavender essence and pure flower/plant extracts. Besides being such an eco-friendly product, I also really love that this candle burns so cleanly, with little to no soot or smoke and smells so elegantly - not too overpowering but not too faint either. There's a lovely and pleasant fragrance that fills the room with just the right subtlety and softness. Some candles with a strong or floral scent can give me a headache at times, but that didn't happen at all with this candle. Lavender is one of my all-time favorite scents and Aveda brings it out amazingly well in the Light the Way candle. This is definitely a wonderful gift to either give and/or receive, especially for the eco-consicous consumer, as well making a perfect gift to give yourself and Mother Earth!

Review - Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash

Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash is a gentle cleansing solution that leaves your skin feeling silky and smooth. This unique face wash contains natural Organic Tea Tree Oil, a natural antiseptic that cleanses without making skin feel tight or dry.
Being in school full time has made me have to streamline my budget and my routines in the morning to save time. I found this handy face wash at a health food store in the neighborhood recently, after realizing I'd outgrown the many-stepped processes I didn't have the time or patience (or money) for. This was about $9, and a teensy tiny amount foams away and takes all traces of make up and dirt off my skin. I have super sensitive skin that freaks out, breaks out, and peels at any signs of abuse, and using this was like a piece of heaven: no drying, no itchy tight feeling, and my skin was clean and breakouts have been fewer for the past week of use. Desert Essence products are also all natural, earth friendly, and not tested on animals, all things I am trying to incorporate into the things I use every day. I will definitely buy another when this runs out, but it seems like it'll last a long time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Review- Gel Katharistiko Wild Herb Sponge Cleanser

Sponge brings you this rejuvenating cleanser for all skin types, a delicious and fragrant blend of hand-picked ingredients, designed to make your skin radiant. Formulated with extracts of sage and thyme, it contains clarifying properties that thoroughly purify, while olive leaf nourishes and hydrates. The blend is antioxidant-rich and has the ability to cleanse deeply without stripping skin of its natural moisture barrier, while restoring skin’s normal pH. $30

This beautiful Gel Katharistiko Wild Herb Sponge Cleanser truly does go the distance in purifying the skin and making enlarged pores look much smaller, yet still leaving the skin feeling healthier, brighter and nourished. On a daily basis, my skin can get semi-oily and clogged pretty easily, and after using this gel wash, it feels so much purer and clearer and looks noticeably more radiant and glowing. The Greek botanicals do carry a subtle scent, yet you can really see how the herbal extracts really purify your skin. It's a great cleaner to use in the morning, as you want this kind of clear and smooth surface to work with. The only small minor complaint for me was that at night, it didn't remove all my makeup, such as mascara, but that's something I'm willing to forgive, because my easily-clogged skin looks so much clearer and purified after using this facial wash. I'm definitely a fan and this gel cleanser ranks as one of my all-time favorites!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Review - Vapour Organic Beauty Siren Lipstick

Siren is a naturally long-wearing, moisturizing lipstick that uses an ingenious blend of safe food grade ingredients. Siren contains NO petroleum-based adhesives. Using a heat and vacuum based non-chemical process, 2 plant oils are combined to produce a glistening moisturizing shine. Siren is the most striking new advance in lipstick formulation. Siren’s palette is a rich sophisticated array of colors flattering to all skin tones. $16

I am beginning to really love Vapour cosmetics! The color I have is Siren Knockout 405 which is a deep Berry color. This product amazes me. It has the color of a lipstick with the consistency of a lip balm. Its very nourishing and moisturizing but at the same time, the color pops. They are organic and designed so you can layer them. To top it off, they have a really nice smell & are super shiny. The $16 price tag is a little steep for the size of product, however it promises staying power & it will deliver. Not sure which color to use? Each color is made to compliment any skin tone.

Movie Maven says: after having used their foundation stick for a while, I am really starting to enjoy Vapour Organic products, so when I got two colors of their Siren Lipstick, I was stoked! I got it in two colors, Tempt and Hint. The first thing I'll mention is that if you're investigating the colors on the website, don't use the little thumbnail pics as your only reference point - the colors are much more accurate if you actually click on the thumbnails and view them larger. When I saw Tempt in the tube, I thought it looked a little on the drab side, but when I put it on, I thought it was the perfect, small bit of mauve that punches up your lips without screaming "I'M WEARING LIPSTICK EVERYONE." This color is fairly neutral - I tend to need cooler undertones, but I can see it working on warmer ones as well. The Hint is also nice; it's a bit pinker than the Tempt, but about the same level of color (which is to say, not much). I think I liked these so much because I'm more of a lip-gloss/balm girl than a lipstick girl, so if you're looking for long-wearing, super-tinted, actual lipstick? This isn't for you. But if lipstick scares you a little bit? Try this one for starters!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Review- Yuko system straightening treatment at Bumble and Bumble NYC

(*Above is the before and after pic)

Oh Richard Corio, how ever do I thank you? I mean how does one properly and sufficiently show gratitude to someone who, since our interaction, has made everyday a day that I love my hair? I know. No, really, I know. That's a bold statement. I have been a client of Bb since 2005 but this is my first foray into permanent straightening of any kind. I love love love the salon, my sublime stylist Amy Farid and my beloved colorist, Tippy. As soon as I tossed out the idea to the team that I might want to go straight for a good long while, they both nodded enthusiastically before telling me I had "to seek out Richard," Bb's resident expert on the matter. (He is also a well-loved stylist and all-around super-cool guy!) After meeting for a quick consult after a haircut, I sensed why Richard is so special. His whole vibe is so cool, relaxed and best of all, experienced.
I had about two weeks before my appointment which only served to increase my excitement and anticipation ten-fold. I poured through magazines looking for the most killer haircut I could rock with stick straight hair (I settled on a long-heavily-layered-thick-bangs-look), I told everyone I knew I was taking the proverbial plunge, I wore my hair curly for like 8 days in a row to have a proper goodbye. Finally the day arrived and I did my best to steel myself for what I had been told would be a minimum of 5 hours in the chair. I should add at this point in the post that my scalp is like a little baby bird. To say I have a "tender scalp" is a huge understatement. For instance, at age 7, my mom, well-versed in raising girls mind you (she has 3) dragged me to the hair salon to get a Dorothy Hamill because she was so tired of my complaining, crying and whining every time she had to brush and style my hair.
Anyway, I arrived at Bb and we went right to it. The process began with the first of several piles of chemicals (and I do not mean that in a derogatory way at all I promise!). Apparently my hair soaked up the treatment so fast that as soon as it was fully applied, it was ready to be rinsed off. Richard figured out later that it was likely because I had gotten highlights the day before (which is NOT recommended, btw, but fortunately I escaped with every strand on my head intact). After rinsing, I got the first of 2 blow-drys, although this one was more of a rough-dry (which is the lingo for a haphazard blow-dry to simply dry the hair and ready it for the next step). Once dry again, my hair was saturated with the next pile of chemical compounds. This one stayed on a good thirty minutes. The cocktail then got blown into my hair with a blowdryer hotter than the fury of 10,000 fiery suns. And if I use the word meticulous to describe Richard's technique that's not even the half of it. The man literally knows how much heat and for how long to hold the dryer over any given section based on its current reaction to the sauce. Plus, no strand gets left behind. After my hair was completely and utterly dry as a bone, the hotter-than-Hades straightening iron came out. And dammit if every solitary lock of hair didn't interface with that iron. Between this and the former step, you can see why this undertaking is so time-consuming albeit relative to your own hair's length and thickness. Once this was finished I had hair like a sheet of glass. The texture on a molecular level was forever altered and that specific quality of this whole thing was unmistakable even to my untrained eye. As for the feel of my new hair? The smoothest and softest most loving consistency I've ever known.
Now as for the above-posted pictures: the first is a before pic and the second picture was taken immediately after in the dressing room.
I would absolutely recommend this for someone who has the cash to invest. (Yes, it's pricey. The cost is also based on your natural texture plus the aforementioned length and volume in addition to how much time it ends up taking.) You are also a good candidate, imo, if you wash and dry (and iron) your hair more than 3x a week, you feel better/sexier/more radiant with straight hair AND you are willing to deal with the aftermath aka the growth process (which I have yet to experience so I can't really speak with authority on what it's going to entail other than being told this lasts a year and many people do a touch-up at 6 months to address new growth). Previous to the treatment, I washed and styled my hair 2 or 3x a week. Because the essence of this product is deeply conditioning, my hair does get oily a lot faster than before leading to me wash it approx. 4 times a week now. I add this because I know some are drawn to this option so they don't have to wash and style so frequently. Having said that, with my new regime, it's fair to say it takes half the time it used to and I rarely if ever break out my iron anymore. I don't know if I'll do the 6 month touch-up or redo the whole shabang come December but I will absolutely do this again at some point. I do occasionally miss my waves or even having the option to whip out my curling iron for some roller rink hair. Alas, my view of hair is that at the end of the day, "it's only hair" and it'll grow out if some style/color risk goes horribly wrong. If you are considering this, I say go for it and commit to do it with a pro. Richard has been doing this for a decade and he trained with its creators in Japan. Do find someone who has interacted with lots of different types of hair with this process. Bonus points if you find someone who you pleasantly mesh with for pretty much a full day of poking, prodding and pulling like I did!

Review - Nick Chavez Flocker

A state-of-the-art, fast-drying, texturizing and volumizing universal hair styling spray.

This product proves that you should always READ THE DIRECTIONS before trying a new product. Now, I am big on directions in certain milieus - building shelving, driving in the country, changing a tire - but in other arenas, I tend to ignore them. Cooking falls into this category, as well as hair products. "What could the package POSSIBLY say to do that I won't just DO?" Well, in the case of this Nick Chavez Flocker, it says to spray the stuff into your hands, then work through your hair. I sprayed it directly on to my head.

Do not do this unless you enjoy looking dirty all day (which, I don't know, you might).

Once I started using it as directed, I really liked it - when used in conjunction with a blowdryer, I got LOTS of volume. This is probably best for medium-length hair: if your hair is shorter than a Louise Brooks bob, you could probably find something to give the same effect with more hold, and if your hair is longer than your shoulders, I imagine that this flocker might weigh it down a bit. But for ladies in between, this stuff is great!

Trish says: Ever have those days when no matter what you do, your hair looks rather bad up and a whole lot worse down? My hair has a mind of its own sometimes and surely likes to rebel just for kicks some days. Here comes in the beauty of Nick Chavez's Flocker. (I love the name for some reason.) When my hair wants to be neither calm nor full, but rather unruly and limp, I go to this wonderful hair care product. It feels as light as a mousse, but strong enough as a volumizer and works gently through my hair. As a result, my hair whips back into shape with more texture and volume and malleability and I can safely leave home without needing to wear a hat as a cover up. Also, I really like that it is light enough to not weigh my hair down too heavily, but also it gives my hair some texture, body, strength and shape. Thanks Flocker for rescuing me from those limp and bad hair days!

Josephine says: Flocker? I just met her. Ha. Ahh, you have to self-amuse in life, right? I am don't have much to add by way of original content thanks to the eloquence of the girls above but I will reiterate that this stuff is so awesome not to mention intelligent. It somehow intuits what your hair needs and then without drama does it. I also struggled initially with how/when/why to use it but as soon as I glanced at the directions I felt empowered to eventually use it off-label, if you will. Also, about 2 months ago I underwent a Japanese straightening treatment and my waves went from unruly and frizzy (at times) to swanky and slinky yet Flocker works as well now as it did when I tried it pre-treatment.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Review- Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Lipstick

Breaking all boundaries in color creation. High-tech, high-pigment lipstick for unlimited color variation and colors. Achieve the truest color payoff with rich texture and ultra-smooth application. Enjoy up to 8 hours of moisture and color.

Words just can not describe how much I love this rich and creamy lipstick by Shu Uemura! I tried the shade in a very neutral nude tone - which is something I normally wouldn't try on my own - but this Rouge Unlimited lipstick is so full of texture and moisturizing capabilities that my lips looked very much softer and fuller with just one application. The nude tone is highly sophisticated and I found that it really complimented my eye-makeup, particularly being the perfect shade for that contrasting smoky-eye look even during the daytime! For some the $23 price tag may be a little high just for lipstick, but the formula is so creamy, thick, and luxurious, plus it looks so beautifully on, I think it's definitely worth the investment for such a gorgeous lipstick with a very creamy finish!

Josephine says: Trish, sing it, sister. The tube is practically sweating there's so much moisture. I tried nude beige which is from Shu's Egerie collection for Spring 2010. The color isn't dark enough for my coloring to wear alone without washing me out but layered over a more pink nude it looks ridiculously gorgeous. Within an 8 hour period though lipstick in general has never been able to last through (typically) 2 Starbucks, a liter of water, egregious use of Ice Breakers ice cube gum etc. so I did not even put this tube to the test. But a long-wearing lipstick has never been a high priority to me, anyway. Per usual, Shu has contributed another kick-arse addition to the lipstick arena.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Review - Kairos Clarifying Complexion-Clearing Shampoo

Kairos CLARIFYING COMPLEXION-CLEARING SHAMPOO is a unique dual-purpose complex that clears blemishes and helps to prevent future breakouts while cleansing and detoxifying hair — leaving it shiny, silky, and residue-free.

I had my doubts about this shampoo, which claims to assist in keeping your skin clear via a small amount of salicylic acid in the formula. "Really, Kairos?" I thought. "You're going to keep my face blemish-free with stuff I put on my head? SURE."

These doubts turned out to be very founded - I have not noticed a significant difference in the level of breakouts on my face, which is typically high due to my inherited grease factory face. However! I think the salicylic acid is doing something, because before I started using it, I could go approximately 1 day without washing my hair before I started to look like a hobo (once again, the grease factory). Now, it's more like 1.5 days, so I can skip a wash now and again! Yahoo! I was also pleasantly surprised that it worked as well as it did, just as a shampoo - I was suspicious that it would be less effective somehow, but it is perfectly serviceable.

The one warning I will give to you is that this shampoo is surprisingly liquid - most shampoos range in the honey-level of viscousness. This one isn't a liquid as, say, milk, but it's definitely edging that way. Maybe heavy cream? In any event, beware! It comes out of the bottle faster than you think!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Review - L'Oreal Paris Wear Infinite Star Secrets Aishwarya Rai

Star Secrets Wear Infinité Eye Shadow Quads offer professionally coordinated shade palettes, for an infinite number of eye looks. What’s your signature shade?

Each eye shadow package is customized by eye color and comes with four shade categories: All-over lid, Highlight, Contour and Line & Define. A simple application guide is included so you’ll always know how to create your desired eye look. The soft, silky formula delivers crease-proof, fade-resistant, super-blendable color, for infinitely beautiful eyes.

L'Oreal never ceases to amaze me. They have been around for so long yet they still manage to come up with new & innovative products and spokes people. For example, Beyonce & Eva Longoria are two very familiar faces. Another one of their faces is Aishwarya Rai. You might not be that familiar with that name. She is a very famous Indian actress and she has starred in many Bollywood roles. L'Oreal decided to do a line of products called Star Secrets. Each chosen star had an eyeshadow palate and a matching lipstick. I have the #302 Aishwarya's Greens. This is a quad eyeshadow compact. The rich greens & browns in this quad would compliment a darker skin tone.
Some women are a little thrown off by the 4-step application, but fear not. The back of the palate has step-by-step detailed information. You can have that dimensional look without looking too overdone. I am proud to be wearing a shadow that represents my culture & only L'Oreal has allowed me to do that!