Thursday, May 31, 2012

April/May Roundup and Flower Couture

Time got away from me and I never did a roundup of posts from April, so I've combined a handy list of all the posts from April and May together.  Interspersed you'll see some floral arrangement dresses from the annual spring flower show here in Mobile - enjoy!

Skin and Body Products:
Hair Products:

NOTD and Nail Products:

Subscription Boxes:
Disclaimer:  I purchased all of the products.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Eyeshadow Collection Brights Review and Comparison

The middle column of the 15th Anniversary Eyeshadow Collection is composed of 5 shades that I refer to as "the brights".

From top to bottom:  Tainted is a pinky lilac with gold duochrome.  It swatched nicely, but I had difficulty getting it to show up on my eyes.  Junkshow is a vivid blue based fuschia and a little goes a long way.  Just tapping your brush on it will pick up plenty.  Omen is a light violet with a pink cast and applies nicely.  Evidence is a shimmery navy, and the one color from this column that applied a bit patchy.  I swiped this several times but can still see skin beneath.  Deep End is a vivid teal and a color that I rarely, if ever, wear.  It's beautiful but I don't know what to do with it.

The photo below, taken in direct sunlight, shows the duochrome effect a bit more in Tainted, Junkshow, and Omen. 
The only comparison I have for this column is Junkshow vs. Woodstock, which is from the UD Rollergirl palette.  They look similar in the pan, but once applied you can see the difference.  Junkshow is more blue based, whereas Woodstock leans more coral.
Junkshow vs. Woodstock
I tend to look better in coral pinks than blue based, which make me look tired.  Or maybe I am tired, I don't know.   I can say, after having taken umpteen pictures, that cool based pinks do not work with my complexion.  At all.  I tried though.
I used Tainted on the inner corners and on lower lash line, Junkshow in the middle and blended, and Omen in the crease and along the upper lash line.  I layered Evidence on top of Omen on the upper lash line and then used UD's 24/7 eye pencil in Ransom to line my lash line.  I used Every Day Minerals in Taj Mahal, a shimmery pink highlight shade, on brow bone and inner eye corner.

Disclaimer:  I purchased all products mentioned in this review.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Eminence Rosehip Tonique

I swore by Sea Breeze when I was in high school.  I loved the tingly feeling it gave my skin and considering I needed to wash my skin several times a day because it was so oily, Sea Breeze may have been just what I needed.  I graduated at some point to using a Clinique toner, and then drifted away from toners in general, I can't remember why.

Eminence's Rosehip tonique, which is supposed to calm sensitive skin and balance oily skin, brought me back into the toner fold.  It contains Rosehip Juice to hydrate and improve the appearance of skin while providing antioxidant protection with vitamin C, and Salicylic Acid to help rid dead cells and smooth skin.  Lemon juice tones while removing surface impurities.  I give my face about 3 sprays after cleansing, wait for it to dry and then proceed with the rest of my routine.  I find the light scent and cooling sensation refreshing, and it does not dry out my skin.  My skin still produces plenty of oil, however, so I'm not sure how to evaluate the "balancing oily skin" claim. 

But what exactly is the purpose of a skin toner?  Is it even necessary?  Some say yes, others not really.  In their brochure, Eminence claims that toners are important to balance the natural pH of your skin (as well as infuse the skin with natural vitamins and minerals), but I've also read that your skin should be able to balance itself out.  If anything, I think the addition of antioxidants to combat environmental stress is probably the greatest benefit.  While these may also be included in your sunscreen or moisturizer, a layering approach may help. 

Eminence's Rosehip Tonique is on the pricier end of the range at $38 for 4 oz.  It comes in a spray bottle, which I like, but I've read some reviews where people indicated they used a cotton ball to apply in order to avoid waste. A bottle lasts me a good 8 months or so, and I use it twice a day.

The main appeal of Eminence to me is that they use fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs in their products.  They've also been around since 1958 and are certified organic.  All in all, I find their products to be of high quality and therefore worth the price.

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Collection Neutrals Review and Comparisons

Starting at the top, here are swatches of Midnight Rodeo,  Midnight 15, Vanilla, Flow and Chase. All of the colors in the 15th Anniversary Collection are new, but I was interested to see how similar they might be to some of the UD colors I already own, so I did some side by side swatch comparisons.  First up is Chase vs. Suspect.  Suspect is from the Rollergirl palette, which I previously reviewed here.  
Chase is a shimmery medium bronze.  Suspect looks slightly more brown to my eye. 
Chase vs. Suspect

Here is Midnight 15 vs. Verve, also from the Rollergirl palette.  Verve is just a smidgen lighter, but they are very close.  Midnight 15 has a small amount of micro glitter, but it is very fine and quite subtle.  You can make out some of the glitter along the edges of the swatch. 
Midnight 15 vs. Verve

The formula on the 15th Anniversary colors shown here are indeed smooth and buttery, with the exception of Vanilla, which was more coarse and grainy.  Strangely, however, I've been using Vanilla a lot, as it makes for a lovely highlight shade when using more gold or yellow toned colors.  

The column of beige, fawn, and cream shadows in the 15th Anniversary Collection, which I refer to as "the neutrals", is almost like having a mini Naked palette. 

The first five swatches are the first column from the 15th Anniversary collection and the last five are from Naked 1.  No dupes to speak of, and a nice addition to my collection of neutral shadows. 
Next up, I'll look at the second column of colors, which I refer to as "the brights".

Disclaimer:  I purchased all of the products mentioned.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

NOTD: Flash by L'Oreal with Fingerpaints Asylum

One of the nail blogs I enjoy, Polished Claws Up, frequently features vintage polishes.  As much as I enjoy new polish collections, it's also fun to discover older, hard to find gems like the ones Dana shows in her blog. 

In looking through my small (in comparison) collection of polishes, I discovered that I have more than a few beautiful L'Oreal Wear Extraordinaire polishes that I guess would be considered vintage.  One such is Flash, a pale peach with a pink cast.  I searched the web to see if I could find something on this polish with no luck.  I did find a reviewer on Makeup Alley who described it as a "tacky gold-orange-pink color".  I personally love it - look at the pink flash in this macro!  This is two coats with base and quick drying topcoat.  Formula was problem free.
Flash, Asylum

I topped it with Asylum by Fingerpaints, one of the multi-colored mylar fleck topcoats released in the Special Effects collection at the beginning of the year.  You typically see these over darker polishes as the contrast is much more vivid, but they also make for an ephemeral look over lighter polishes that I quite like.  The last time I saw these at Sally's they were in the discount bin, so not sure if any are still available.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Eyeshadow Collection Preview

15th Anniversary palette
I have to admit that all the hoopla around Urban Decay's recent eyeshadow reformulation created a bit of a lemming in me.  Should I invest in the build your own palette option?  Do I want to invest $108 in six shadows?  I've decided so far that no, I don't.

However, it did motivate me to look more closely at the existing palettes that do have the new shadow formula.  Since that is currently restricted to the 15th Anniversary palette and Naked 2, I opted for the first.  I've got Naked 1 and honestly, it doesn't get a ton of use from me.  It helped that Sephora recently restocked 15th Anniversary. 
I've got to say, I'm  happy with my choice!  For the bargain price of $55 you've got 15 shadows, including neutrals, brights, and darks, all in one palette.  That's $3.66 per shadow!  The metallic casing feels sturdy and looks lovely.  Yes, fingerprints show all over the place, but I like the look and design. I'll be reviewing the 15th Anniversary palette in multiple posts, starting with the first column of neutrals and comparing them to some of the shades in the Naked 1 palette.  So stay tuned!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters in Cherry Tart & Candy Apple

Cherry Tart, Candy Apple
Did you know that lipsticks were thought to be the "incarnation of the devil" and banned by the church in medieval Europe?  Apparently prostitutes were the only women to wear cosmetics during that time.  Which, if you consider that lipsticks mimic the flush that comes from sexual arousal, makes sense.  A few hundred years later, cosmetics had also been adopted by actresses, but their use was frowned upon by "respectable" women.  There was even a proposed law that a woman's marriage could be annulled if she wore cosmetics before her wedding day (source link).

Candy Apple
The strong desire by certain segments of society to control women's sexuality never fails to amaze me, and sadly it continues in pockets all over the world even today.  I remember a story of women in Taliban controlled Afghanistan who would meet in secret to have makeup parties, after it was forbidden for them to wear cosmetics or paint their nails.  The risks were real - there were instances of women having their fingers cut off for having colored nails. 

Candy Apple, Cherry Tart (sun)
Who knew that lipstick could be so threatening?  Make it red lipstick and you've got a double whammy.  There is some research indicating that our reaction to the color red goes beyond cultural conditioning and may be hardwired into our primate brains.  Rhesus monkeys would not accept food from researchers attired in red, although they would from those wearing blue or green (source link).  Red is power, baby.  Another reason why so many military uniforms historically featured red.

Cherry Tart
So, with that bit of historical musing, today I have  two of the red Colorburst lip butters from Revlon to show you.  Cherry Tart is a pinkish red with a subtle shimmer, and Candy Apple is a creme coral red.  I find these lip butters to be a way for me to achieve a red lip that is quite wearable without being overpowering - since we've already established that red can be intimidating. 

Candy Apple, Cherry Tart (shade)
Candy Apple is the more pigmented of the two, but also wore a bit more patchy.  Both are comfortable on and wear for about 2 hours before needing a touch up.  Revlon Lip Butters can be purchased at most drugstores for around $5-$7.  I got most of mine at either Ulta or RiteAid when they were offering BOGO sales. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Too Faced Galaxy Glam Baked Eye Shadows in Magenta Moon, Amber Asteroid, Mocha Meteor, Super Nova

Super Nova, Mocha Meteor, Amber Asteroid, Magenta Moon
These Too Faced eye shadows are described as "opalescent pigments baked into silver domes and swirled for a multi-dimensional smokey-eye that’s light speed ahead of other shadows".  I got two of mine in a set from Sephora, and the other two I bought during the Too Faced 80% off sale, which made them a steal.  Like most baked shadows, these can be used either wet or dry.  If used dry, they produce a softer wash of color, whereas wet produces a much more pigmented and intense color build up.

These are marketed as being perfect for achieving a smoky eye, but what I like about them is that except for Mocha Meteor, they have a slight duochrome effect.  Super Nova, a black with purple cast, is the only non-brown out of the four. Swatches are shown as dry first, then wet.

Mocha Meteor is the least interesting of the four to me, as it's basically just a coppery brown.  Pretty, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Amber Asteroid is a brown with a golden green shimmer.  This is my favorite of the group, probably because it works well with my coloring.

Last is Magenta Moon, a brown with a pink cast.  It can be hard to distinguish between the browns based on these photos, but they do look different in person.  Mocha Meteor is more shimmery and the color of the swirls in the brown do give each a different tint.  It's a bit more evident when you see them side by side.  All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.
Magenta Moon, Amber Asteroid, Mocha Meteor, Super Nova
Too Faced currently has five of the Galaxy Glam shadows on sale for $17.55.  I don't think I paid more than $4 for each of mine, so I'd wait for a bigger discount if these interest you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Image Skincare Ageless Total Resurfacing Masque Review

Founded in 2003, Image Skincare is a relatively new skincare company with products that I was introduced to at my spa.  Only certified dermatologists, plastic surgeons, licensed estheticians and other licensed medical professionals are supposed to act as resellers of Image Skincare products, which could explain why I found zero reviews when I first started using their products several years ago.  According to their web site, Image Skincare is now the fastest growing skincare company in the US, and they have expanded to 27 countries.  I've now used quite a few of the products and have discovered a few favorites, as well as some that did not work for me.

First up is the Ageless Total Resurfacing Masque.  This is an exfoliating and brightening masque for aging, oily/acne prone, and sun damaged skin.  Um, I qualify for all three.  The total Resurfacing Masque uses three different exfoliating agents - lactic, glycolic, and salycylic acids - as well as rounded micro beads to gently exfoliate skin.  It is also supposed to lighten brown spots. 

Other key ingredients are vitamin C for antioxidant benefits, hyaluronic acid for moisture binding properties, papaya as an enzymatic exfoliator, and arnica montana as an anti-inflammatory.  Recommended usage is 1-3 times per week, although I've never used it more than once a week due to the other exfoliators I use.  Instructions say you can also mix this with your cleanser for additional exfoliation or as an overnight blemish treatment, although I've tried neither.

After cleansing skin, you apply about a quarter's worth to skin and massage skin for about a minute.  You can leave on anywhere from 5-30 minutes, and I usually shoot for the 30 minutes.  This masque smells faintly medicinal.  It's not unpleasant and is almost, but not quite, a minty smell.   My skin does tingle/slightly burn after first applying, but that calms down in about 5 minutes.  To remove, use cool water, massage around a bit more, and then rinse.  My skin is soft, smooth and does not feel taut or dry afterwards.  The only con (and it's not really even that) about the masque is that I frequently find the little micro beads in my hairline after rinsing, 

When I purchased this, it was $27 for a 2 oz. tube, which I think is very reasonable.  Exfoliate by Kate Somerville is $85 for the same amount.  I like Exfolikate and use it, but the Total Resurfacing Masque is quite good for a fraction of the price.  I was even able to locate it on Amazon for $27.50 (it looks like the regular retail has gone up to $28), so apparently you can find it outside of a spa or doctor's office. 

All of the Image Skincare lines are paraben, petrochemical, and chemical preservative free.  They do not test on animals, respect the environment, and fragrances are composed with 100% essential oils.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Clinique Colour in Bloom Set Preview

I used Clinique products when I was a teen, but for some reason in later years I got away from them as well as most department store brands.  I did always enjoy their gift with purchase events, however, so during the most recent one I decided to stick my toe back in and hauled quite a few products, including the Colour in Bloom spring set. 

This six piece set has a limited edition Color Surge eyeshadow palette, High Impact Mascara in black, Long Lasting Glosswear SPF 15 in stellar plum, Take the Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes & Lips, Blushwear Cream Stick in shy blush, and a colorful and roomy floral makeup bag that I will actually use. 
Colour in Bloom set
Just as an aside, my bedroom growing up was the pinks and greens you see on the box and makeup bag.  My dad, who was a talented artist, painted my bed chartreuse green with pink morning glories climbing over the head and base boards.  My mother made a patchwork quilt to match.  It was bright, bold, and I've still got a soft spot for that color combination.

But back to Clinique.  I've used the makeup remover before and am glad to get some more, as I find it does work well.  That's also the kind of item that I typically like to get in sets as I'm loathe to purchase them on their own, for some reason.  All the other products are new to me, so expect some upcoming reviews once I get a feel for how they perform!

Monday, May 21, 2012

NYX Cream Eyeshadow in Olive Branch

NYX's Cream Eyeshadows are hit or miss, and sadly I found Olive Branch to be a miss.  I was really excited about this golden green, but I found it hard (impossible?) to get an even application.  Patchy city, is all I can say.  I actually thought I'd gotten good coverage until I looked at the eye shot and saw bald spots.  Sadness.  Even my arm swatches were patchy unless heavily layered, and trying to sheer it out was a no go.

Previously, I've reviewed Suede, Chocolate, Aqua, and Pinky Beige and these performed much better in comparison to Olive Branch.   These are billed as being water resistant but they are not - they wash away easily, no makeup remover required. 

They are relatively inexpensive at about $5 each, but given Olive Branches application issues, that was $5 down the drain for me.  Too bad, as it's a gorgeous color.