Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NYC Maximum Boost Volumizing Mascara

Build each lash from root to tip for maximum volume ... silicone resin "wraps" lashes for visible thickness on contact. Pro-Vitamin B moisturizes and nourishes lashes for silky smooth texture. Shorter applicator rod delivers precision control.

As with all New York Color products, the main draw here is the price: this stuff is like $3! What! And as with all New York Color products, it is fine for the money. I would not say it is the most volumizing mascara I have ever used in my life, but neither is it completely ineffectual. Some of my friends and I had an analogy comparing a dude one of them was dating to Au Bon Pain: he was nice enough, but she was really only dating him because he was around. Au Bon Pain is fine, but does anyone ever seek it out? It's not really a destination restaurant; it's just the place you go because it's around the corner and if you don't get some coffee and a freaking pastry in your body right now you might stab someone. But it's pretty good coffee, and pretty good pastries, and you'd much rather have that than a bodega coffee and a croissant in a wrapper.

This mascara is like Au Bon Pain: not a destination mascara, but definitely better than nothing (or Wet 'n' Wild).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Review - Sally Hansen Insta-Smooth PODS Creme Hair Remover For Face

  • Hair Removal has never been faster, easier, more convenient!
  • First ever individual-use pods with built in applicator, give you precise results every time.
  • Snap, smooth, go!
  • No touch application, no drips and no mess! Perfect for upper lip, chin and hairline.
  • Compact & convenient portable pods go wherever you do - for instant use, easy disposal.
  • Great for on-the-go or last minute touch-ups.
"Whoever reviews this is going to have to admit to having hair on their face," Hillary told us when she was distributing products. This implies that having hair on one's face is something one would not want to admit. Guess what, everyone: I AM A MAMMAL. So I have hair on me. That's how we mammals work. I also have live young and feed them milk (I mean, I could if I wanted to). I'm not this lady or anything (who, by the way, looks like she would be totally fun to hang with), but yes, there are follicles on my face.

But we live in a society where ladies with mustaches are shunned to live on some remote island (Sicily, I guess), so Sally Hansen has tried to make it really easy for us ladies to get that pesky mammalian trait off our pretty faces with these PODS. I'm not sure why PODS is capitalized in the name of the product; it's not an acronym for anything. Pretty Odd Depilatory...System? That's what I'm going with. Because ladies, these PODS are odd.

Essentially, they are sort of like a ketchup packet, but for hair remover. You snap the packet in half down the middle, where there is a little strip of felt that is intended to be an "applicator" for the depilatory cream creme. The main problem I encountered first was that the depilatory cream creme did not want to ooze through the felt strip; rather, it wanted to ooze out of the sides of the packet around the felt strip. I've attempted to draw some diagrams to clarify:

Figure 1 shows the POD, unbent, from what we'll call the "top." In Figures 2 and 3, the POD has been rotated 90 degrees so that we are seeing it from the "side," and the "top" is now at the top of the diagram, rather than facing us. The cream creme SHOULD ooze THROUGH the felt strip, but instead went everywhere else. It is not pink, I just like that color.
The good news is that once you wrangle this cream creme on to your face, it totally works great! It does just what it says it will do - removes hair - and it doesn't smell that bad, which is nice because it's under your nose, and it doesn't make your face red or anything like that.

But the key here is that the whole purpose of the PODS is to be more convenient if you are "on-the-go" or something like that. Okay, first of all, I have literally never been in a situation where I have been like "Oh NO!! I suddenly need to remove hair from my face IMMEDIATELY but I just DON'T HAVE TIME OH NOOOOO." That's just not really a thing that happens. So if this cream creme is essentially the same product Sally Hansen sells in a little bottle, there is no reason to buy these PODS, even if they are capitalized.

Hillary says: I did say someone was going to have to admit that they have hair on their face, but I also lumped myself in there.  You'll never actually see it, but I too have hair on my face (atop my lip specifically).  I mow it down with whatever weapon is handy at the time, which is currently these pods.  I have to agree with Maven, they aren't as handy as they seem.  They do, however, keep the cream from invading my fingerprints so that I don't have to wash like 10 times to get the weird feeling off them (I feel that way about all depilatory creams).  On the down side, sometimes they squirt out the side & I end up using enough cream to remove a waxed, handlebar mustache.  Given the option, I would go with the new Odorless Sally Hansen Depilatory for faces as it comes with it's own spatula & doesn't smell 1/10th as much as a regular hair removal cream.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Review - Talika Instant Manicure

When added to water, this effervescent powder enables you to whiten and clean your nails in just a few minutes, giving you the benefit of oxygenation power and the rich cleansing and nutritional values of plant extracts.
Your fingers are delicately scented, you [sic] nails are protected with and [sic] imperceptible film and their tips become whiter use after use. Cuticles are made more supple and the skin around the nail is thoroughly cleansed.

In this review, I hope to channel the good people over at The Impulsive Buy. Their product reviews are a sight to behold.

It took me a while to try this product, because I so rarely have naked nails. My nails, like me, like to be clad in bright colors at all times. But I decided to give them a little rest and a little spa treatment with this Instant Manicure.

Before you go getting all excited, this is not really a manicure. It is part of a manicure, yes, but the name is misleading. Basically, you take this little packet of powder, throw it in a bowl, fill the bowl with warm water, and get to "wiggling" your fingers. (They used the quotation marks first; I am just being consistent with their conventions.) The first thing that happens is EFFERVESCENCE. As anyone who's ever drank (drunk? drink...en? and I was an English major, people) Schweppes knows, effervescence is just a fancy name for bubbles, the kind you get when you plop, plop, fizz, fizz or when you make one of those volcanoes with vinegar and baking soda.

So basically I figured I was going to be soaking my fingers in a bowl of Alka-Seltzer. But to my great delight and surprise, it smelled a fair bit better than Alka-Seltzer, AND it fizzed for a longer time. I didn't really notice a huge difference in the whiteness of my nails, but that's a really weird thing to be vain about. Almost as weird as eye whitening (the weirdest of all whitenings). But it felt nice on my fingers and even once the fizzing had stopped, the warm water was a lovely green color, like this:

So I sat there for a while, watching a syndicated episode of The Office that was on our DVR, with my fingers in a bowl of warm water that reminded me of Yellowstone National Park, until I realized that was a really weird thing to be doing.

The end result was that while my cuticles did feel nice and soft, it wasn't any more soft than if I'd taken a shower or done the dishes, and for $33 for 8 of these treatments, I can just stick my hands in some warm ginger ale.

Pros: Effervescence. Single-serving packets. Baking soda volcanoes. Soft cuticles. The Office on TBS and on my DVR. "Wiggling."
Cons: Costs $4 per single-serving packet. Needing Alka-Seltzer because you ate too much. Eye whitening. Being a weirdo with their fingers in a bowl of turquoise water.

Sultana says: I've been growing my nails lately so I was excited to try this. The bubbles were fun and it wasn't a long process but I honestly didn't see any results. My nails weren't any whiter and my cuticles looked exactly the same. At $4 a pop, I would skip this.
Perhaps you would need to use this continuously to see long term results. I think the price is a bit too high to maintain.

Hillary says: I have to totally disagree with the ladies on this one.  Although I'll admit, I sort of cheated.  I liked the fizzy feeling and after the "suggested" amount of time I noticed my nails were a little whiter (just a tad).  So I sat and I wiggled and I sat and I wiggled for at least 3 to 4 times the recommended 3 minutes.  Lemme tell ya, I had some gleaming white nails when I was done.  I don't know why the say to leave your fingers in for such a short time, because if you are willing to sit there & wiggle, eventually these little packets do wonders.  I'm currently a little compulsive about nail polish- the second it chips I either fix it or take it off (my teacher told me that chips scream unprofessional in the world of Make-up Artists').  So that's stuck in my head and I rarely paint them anymore.  But as long as they are super-white, I no longer care.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review - Mehron Celebré Precious Gem Powders

Shine on with Celebré Precious Gem Powders developed by Mehron, Innovators of  Extreme Beauty Makeup. Celebré Precious Gem Powders are luminescent, radiant, sexy, glowing powders that will add a jewel like luster to your skin.These sparkling powders are made with a soft, silky powder that can be applied from head to toe for any occasion. Add a beautiful shimmer to skin for parties, dinners, professional performances or romantic evenings at home.

I have mentioned before that I think I was a drag queen in a past life. These Mehron Precious Gem Powders belong to that past-life drag queen. I need to think of a name for her to go with my burlesque name, Busty Springfield, and my roller derby name, Deathel Merman.

Now, Mehron, as you may know, is a professional stage makeup company. This means their products are SERIOUS, y'all. Like - you wear this stuff when you are doing a Broadway show or an America's Next Top Model Photo shoot. In almost any other context, Mehron is TOO INTENSE. I think this is true of these Precious Gem Powders, which are available in all 12 birthstone tones. I got Diamond (April), Garnet (January), and Topaz (November). They are sparkly, yes. And you get sparkles just about everywhere when you try to use them. So just be aware of that. I'm going to try mixing them with a little baby oil or something next time I use them, so I don't end up covered in sparkles. But they are VERY intense and would be good for Halloween (for normal people) or for Saturday night (for drag queens or straight girls who wish they were drag queens).

I do want to point out that Mehron, in their copy on the website (see above), suggests that this shimmer is good for "romantic evenings at home." I want to know whose idea of romance involves being covered in spark--

...oh, right. Those people.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

50% Off a Beauty.com Gift Card- $15 for a $30 Gift Card- Hurry!

I just came across a site called TaDa.com & today until 4 AM PST they are offering $30 Gift Certificates for $15.  But wait, you also get Free Shipping!  The only downside is it is either one per household or one per person (the site says 2 different things).  But still, 50% off!  Woo-hoo!

Review - Softlips Pure Hydrating Lip Butter

Softlips Pure 100 Percent Natural Lip Butter contains no preservatives, phthalates, parabens, sulfates, mineral oil or gluten. Hydrating shea butter and beeswax provide soothing relief for very dry lips. Also contains SPF 15 protection.

First of all, Softlips, does your website REALLY need to be some sort of Flash bonanza? People just want to learn about lip balm, not be hypnotized by rotating lip balms. It's too much.

Second, I did not actually try this product. Sometimes, a girl has a lot of Softlips products, and one day, her boss is like, "oh man, my lips are DRY," and she gives her boss one of the Softlips products with the stipulation that said boss will try the product and report back to her. Which is what my boss did.

"It smells really good, and it tastes good too, but not too good," she said. "You know how sometimes, you really like how your lip stuff tastes, and then you lick it all off, and then your lips are just as bad off as before? This one doesn't do that. So that was good."

I told her I knew a girl in high school who liked to eat chapstick. Like, straight-up EAT it, out of the little pots it came in. Gross! Then I asked her if there was anything she didn't like.

"It has sunscreen in it, which is good, but I feel like it's just sort of sitting on top of my lips and not getting absorbed in, you know? Like it's coating them but it's not treating them, if that makes sense."

I think it makes perfect sense.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Review - Prive Intensive Mask

What's not to love about Prive? As Hillary states in her previous post, they recycle and they have great products. I recently had my highlights redone and my hair was fried. I needed a good deep conditioner. Thank God I got this just in time. As soon as you open the container, you can tell that this stuff is all natural. It has a blend of carrot, lemon and eucalyptus oils to leave your hair super moisturized.
Use it after shampooing or try it as a deep conditioner with some heat from a blow dryer. Either way, you will be as thrilled as I was with the end result.
Soft, smooth and silky hair.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Review- Privé Salon NYC

First of all I want to say that Privé Salon is gorgeous! The picture doesn't do it justice; it looks very classy and clean. Also, from the second you walk in, the staff is super-attentive. Third, and this is a big one, they are eco-friendly! How much do I love that?

The salon is attached to the Soho Grand Hotel (which also looks very swank). I was greeted very promptly by the receptionist who took my Privé Rejuvenating Shampoo and Conditioner bottles to be recycled. They are still undefeated as my absolute favorite shampoo and conditioner. The receptionist walked me back to meet my hairdresser, Brittany, and I knew by her haicut I was in for a good haircut myself. Brittany & I discussed what to do with my hair; I was clueless, but she knew exactly what I needed. She cheerfully chatted with me during the shampoo and haircut- a must for me- all the while giving my long layers the care they so desperately needed. Even when I did my hair at home days later, I didn't see any split ends sticking out (which is hard to achieve with layers). Brittany cut my bangs with the skill of a surgeon, taking off a little at a time until they were just the right length. Overall I am more than happy with the haircut and the whole salon experience.

Note: Brittany works two weeks in NYC, then two in Miami Beach at Privé, then back again.

Melissa says: I saw a picture of Hillary and was like, "who did her hair?" It looks amazing! The first thing I thought is that I must find out where she went because I'm sold. With Hillary's new look and this review, I must make my way to

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Review- Dinair Advanced Airbrush Seminar in NYC

This two day course was one of the best learning experiences I've had since starting my journey to become a make-up artist. I now officially consider myself a make-up artist who specializes in airbrush thanks to what I've learned from Dina (the company's owner and THE pioneer of airbrush make-up) and Julie (my instructor). The thing is, once I tell you everything I learned you'll think it was all done at a break-neck pace and that I wouldn't retain any of it; but it was taught gradually and thoroughly at a pace which was easy to follow.

For this advanced course, you need to have taken an intro course or have a good working knowledge of airbrushing foundation and operating an airbrush. There are two prices for the course, one includes a Dinair mini-compressor, the other does not. I highly recommend the Dinair mini-compressor even without a course as it weighs almost nothing and is capable of performing any task you ask of it (for a reasonable amount of time). I actually carried mine back and forth to school every day because I found I could fine tune it much better than the school's industrial strength machines. I also want to note that with this compressor and a and a brief introduction, anyone could use this machine.

We learned how to airbrush just about everything that could be airbrushed! I was spray tanned and I spray tanned someone else, we learned how to make patterns using stencils AND we learned how to make our own stencils. The stencils were also used when we learned body painting and a make-up application of an entire face using airbrush- I mean everything down to the eyeliner and mascara (bet you didn't know you could do that with an airbrush? I know I didn't). And of course we perfected our foundation techniques.

Go to YouTube and type in "dinairairbrushmakeup" and watch some of the tutorials. You'll see that it isn't as scary to airbrush as it seems! Also click here to see a list of upcoming classes & cities. If all of their classes are as good as mine was, it's well worth the price of admission.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Review- Intraceuticals Clarity Treatment Gel

A lightweight, non greasy gel to calm, clarify and hydrate. An anti-inflammatory blend to reduce irritation and reduce excess cell build-up. Apply to all areas of face twice daily, prior to hydration gel and moisture binding cream or as directed by your skin care professional.

I'm highly impressed with how nicely this Clarity Treatment Gel works. I'm the type that usually likes gels anyways, especially lightweight ones that glide easily onto the skin and absorb gently as well. The Intraceautical Clarity Treatment Gel soothes and calms my skin, while also providing a nice and clear surface to apply moisturizer, makeup, foundation, etc on. I also noticed that my skin looked younger too, as the gel really covers and smooths any fine lines. By providing a super clear surface and more youthful looking skin, this gel seems to work wonderfully in so many ways! It is on the pricey side though, so if you're someone who is obsessed with having super clear skin and don't mind investing a bit, then this is a really good one to try!