Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Eco Emi: Destress and Unwind

July's Eco Emi features a variety of products to help you relax, destress, unwind, and then perhaps ramp back up for a new day.  The relaxing and destressing part sound just fine by me.  As usual, Eco Emi's presentation is delightful, as I really enjoy unwrapping my "presents". 
I will say that if you don't like the scent of lavender, this is not the box for you.  Fortunately, I do like lavender, and since 3 of the beauty items have that fragrance, that's a good thing.

First up of the personal care samples is Hugo Naturals Essential Mist in calming French Lavendar.  This multi-purpose spray is safe for use on both skin and fabric.  The scent is actually quite light so I may try this on my bed linens. 
Next is Polar Bar, a eucalyptus & lavendar soap from Biggs & Featherbelle.  I love bar soap and this one has a bracing and refreshing scent.  I also like the size of the soap samples I've received in my subscription boxes, as they are ideal for washing my hands after I've applied makeup.
It wouldn't be a subscription box if you didn't get a lip balm:-)  This month's entry is from De Vine in the shade Merlot, a deep red shimmer.  De Vine lip balms contain polyphenols and reserveratrol and are 100% natural. 
I also got a packet of lavender body cream from The Seaweed Bath Co., which features bladderwrack seaweed for it's nourishing and detoxifying properties.  I've gotten a few of their samples in previous boxes, and I've liked everything I've tried by them thus far.
Last of the beauty/personal care items are two mineral deodorant towelettes in Pomegranate from Crystal essence.  I've started using only natural deodorants in the last year so am quite excited to try these out! 
Eco Emi also sent me some tea, some sweeteners, an exercise recovery supplement, a sleep aid supplement, and a yummy looking nut bar.  I've enjoyed the supplements and food items they've sent in the past and can honestly say it's been a great way to be introduced to a variety of brands I knew nothing about prior to my subscription.

This was not a particularly high value box, as I'm calculating everything to be worth just shy of $16.  I spent $15 so did get my money's worth and I will use all of the items, so it's worth it to me. 

Do you subscribe to Eco Emi?  What's your favorite subscription box?

Disclosure:  I subscribe to Eco Eco for $15/month. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

L'Oreal Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner in Bronze

I liked the first Infallible Gel Lacquer liner in dark slate that I got so much that I went back and got two more.  Here is bronze, a slightly metallic brown with a faint shimmer.

The brush included with these liners works quite well and is what I use for application.  I did not find it difficult to get either a thin or thick line with this formula - it really does glide.  Do make sure to wipe off any excess once you are done to avoid a stiff brush next time.  That may be self evident, but apparently I forgot once.

Once these dry, it's set.  I experienced neither smearing, fading, or transfer with all day wear.  With my eye shape, that's really important as it's not unusual for what's on my lash line to transfer to my upper lid. 

The Infallible Gel Lacquer liners come in 5 different colors and retail for $9.99, although it's usually not difficult to find various BOGO sales for them.

Disclosure:  I bought this.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

J.R. Watkins Natural Beeswax Lip Balm

J.R. Watkins Natural Beeswax Lip Balm has become my go to lip balm for when my lips feels like they need some deep conditioning or soothing.  I use it before I go to bed and in the mornings when I'm putting on my makeup, prior to whatever lipstick or gloss I'm wearing for the day.

When I first got this, I wasn't that impressed.  The balm seemed hard to me, but now I know it's because the outer layer will harden if not used for a while.  If you rub off that dried outer layer, the balm is actually soft and emollient.  The formula is 100% natural and certified as such by the Natural Products Association.

I got this balm as part of a sampler pack with various J.R. Watkins products, which was a great way to get a feel for the brand.  Overall, I really like their products and appreciate the brand commitment to be:
• 95% Natural and above
• Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Free
• Sodium Laureth Sulfate Free
• Paraben Free
• Phthalate Free
• Mineral Oil, Petrolatum free
• Dye Free
Furthermore, J.R. Watkins is a very reasonably priced brand.  The beeswax lip balm is $2.99, and I believe I paid about $15 for the sampler pack above.

Ingredients:  Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, Brassica campestris/aleurites fordi oil copolymer, Euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax, beeswax, Oryza sativa (rice) bran wax, Mentha piperita (peppermint) oil, Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), tocopheryl acetate, Aloe barbadensis leaf extract, Carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil

Disclosure:  I purchased this.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Korres Lip Butter Glaze in Wild Rose, Quince & Raspberry

Wild Rose, Quince, Raspberry
I've been on a quest to find natural lip balms that are effective.  I'm picky about my lip products and it has not been easy to find a non-petrolatum lip product that moisturized, felt good on, and had some staying power.  Throw in being available in pretty colors, and it's been a bit of a challenge.

I'm happy to say I think Korres Lip Butter Glazes perform pretty well in all the categories I mentioned.  They feel good on, have moisturizing ingredients, are all natural, and come in seven different colors that are pretty darn vibrant.  I picked up three lip glazes from HSN for a song recently.  Wild Rose is a sheer pinkish red, Quince is a sheer coral pink, and Raspberry a sheer berry pink. 
Raspberry, Quince, Wild Rose
I had no problem applying with the tube applicator and the size (.34 oz) is good for sticking in a pocket.  These are a bit pricey at $14 each, which makes package deals like the one I got at HSN a good option.  I paid $15.60 with 20% off and free shipping from one of their daily deals, so essentially got three for the price of one.  The daily deals are obviously catch as catch can, but the trio I got are now listed for $19.50. 

Wild Rose
The lip glazes have a faint but pleasant scent that I can't really place, are non-sticky, and have a nice gloss to them.  Pigmentation is good and wear time is average at 2-3 hours.  Nothing wears very long on me as I'm always sipping on something.  Overall, I think these are a good option for those seeking a colored lip balm featuring natural ingredients. I do wish the packaging still listed the percentage of natural ingredients, but alas, they no longer do.  For those avoiding carmine, I'm not seeing it in any of the ingredient lists.   I also wish they were not so expensive, but when purchased as a set, they are quite reasonable.

Ingredients (Wild Rose):  Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2 , Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Beeswax, Stearalkonium Bentonite, Silica Silylate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax, Propylene Carbonate, Ethyl Vanillin, Dicalcium Phosphate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Punica Granatum Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Flower Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract May Contain: Mica, Red 7 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 1 Lake.

Disclosure:  I purchased these and have no affiliation with HSN.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Devil's in the Details: Jack Black Lip Balm Ingredient Snafu

Did anybody see Temptalia's post about Jack Black's lip balm ingredient list - or lack thereof?  It makes for an interesting read and raises some questions regarding the integrity and ethics of companies.  You can also read a response from the co-founder of Jack Black Lip Balm, Emily Dalton.

I bought some Jack Black lip balm about a month ago after reading so many rave reviews.  My balm did have a complete list of ingredients on the tube, and I was surprised to see several ingredients that had not been listed on the Sephora site.  In fact, here is what is listed on Sephora for the Lemon & Chamomile lip balm:

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Sulfates
- Synthetic Fragrances
- Synthetic Dyes
- Petrochemicals (emphasis mine)
- Phthalates
- GMOs
- Triclosan

Ingredients are listed as:
-Shea Butter and Avocado Oil: Provide superior conditioning and moisture.
-PARSOL®: Provides protection from long-wavelength UVA rays.
-Octinoxate: Absorbs UVB rays.
-Vitamin E Green Tea and Balm Mint: Act as antioxidants.

Octinoxate 7.5%, Avobenzone 3.0%. Natural Mint, Shea Butter (butyrospermum Parkii Fruit), Avocado (Persea Gratissima) Oil, Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis) Leaf Extract, Tocopeheryl Acetate (vitamin E).

Makes you think you are buying a lip balm based on natural ingredients, doesn't it?   Suffice it to say, I haven't used the Jack Black much since I got it, even though I think it's pretty good for what it is - a petrolatum (aka petroleum jelly) based balm.  I've been trying to find effective natural lip balms that don't contain petrolatum or parabens, however, and had I known Jack Black contained those, I wouldn't have purchased to begin with.  The devil's in the details, as usual.

Here is the complete ingredient list:
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Octinoxate 7.5%, Avobenzone 3.0%, Petrolatum 40.2%, Lanolin 13.5%. OTHER INGREDIENTS: Avocado (Persea Gratissima) Oil, Beeswax, Butylparaben, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Cocoa Butter (Theodroma Cacao), Cyclohexasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Flavor: Fresh Sugar #2 Modified, Isobutylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Kester Wax K-82P (Hydroxy Polyester), Lanolin, Microcrystalline Wax, Ozokerite, Petrolatum, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Shea (Butyrospermum Parkii) Butter, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E).

I have found some good alternatives to petrolatum based lip balms, and I'll be reviewing them this weekend.  One is Korres lip butters, which come in some lovely colors.  The other is a clear stick lip balm from J.R. Watkins, my new favorite overnight conditioning choice. 

Disclosure:  I purchased this.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

NOTD: Poppy by Rescue Beauty Lounge

On principle, I've tried to limit myself to no more than $10 for a bottle of nail polish, and even then it had to be really special.  So that means I've never bought a lot of the high end brands such as Deborah Lippman, Butter London, Nars, Chanel, on and on and on.  Honestly, I've rarely been moved enough by what I've seen to spend that much money, so it hasn't caused any gnashing of teeth on my part.

So why did I recently purchased not one, or even two, but three different polishes at $20 a bottle?  I'd definitely admired these polishes when I first saw swatches of them online, but I admired from afar because of their price.  Then, I found out the collection had received a cease and desist letter from the museum of the namesake of the collection, and by golly, that pushed me over the edge.  You can read the details here

Sante Fe, Ghost, Poppy
It's a shame, really, as it's a gorgeous collection and meant as a respectful tribute.  Now it will be available for 6 months only and then forever gone.  Names had to be changed and penalties paid in order to avoid costly litigation.  Because I dislike bullying behavior, love the collection and it's inspiration, and wanted to not regret missing out on them, I bought Poppy, Ghost, and Sante Fe from the GOMM collection by Rescue Beauty Lounge.  If I could have bought all of them, I would have.  I may still.

First up is Poppy, a vibrant and glossy glass flecked red.  In the bottle you can see a shimmer, but on the nail it's much less obvious.  This applied easily and was completely opaque with two coats and for those with better skills than mine, possibly at one coat.  However, I used an OPI top coat that caused some bubbling and then proceeded to take forever to dry, which meant some sheet imprints from when I went to bed.

So I applied a third coat of Poppy and then Seche Vite, and that fixed things.   Damn you Seche Vite, I wish I knew how to quit you. 

The GOMM collection is available from Rescue Beauty Lounge until they sell out, but for no longer than 6 months (I believe that started in July).

Disclosure:  I bought these.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dr. Loretta Moisturizing Tint SPF15

I was fortunate enough to win a Dr. Loretta Moisturizing Tint from a Beauty Undercover giveaway.  It's always nice to come home to an unexpected package on your doorstep!

Not being familiar with Dr. Loretta Skin Care, I did a bit of searching and discovered that it was was founded in 1993 by board-certified dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD.  She's got the credentials and is still a practicing dermatologist, which is refreshing to see.  

The product I received is a new introduction to her line and is described as:
Sun protection that incorporates hydrating ingredients and a light tint.  If you want a light tinted moisturizer with SPF, this is just the product for you!!!
Moisturizing Tint SPF 15 is formulated with Titanium Dioxide, Sodium Hyaluronate and antioxidant Vitamin E to protect and hydrate skin. Daily use is proven to delay environmental aging and help prevent skin cancer.
Available in: 1.7 oz
  • Easily absorbed, sheer tint blends into all skin tones
  • Gives skin healthy glow
  • Replenishes skin moisture
  • Includes sun protection
The container is an airless pump, which I like as they do a good job of protecting product from contamination or light. 

My complaint regarding sunscreens is that they leave behind a sheen, which my oily skin already has and does not need more of.  That's the main reason I've been so reluctant to wear sunscreen on my face, even though I know I need to.  Dr. Loretta's Moisturizing Tint does indeed leave a bit of a sheen, as you can see in the photo below.  The texture itself is light and almost gel like and the coverage is sheer.   There is a slight scent, but nothing that I found objectionable or that lingered long after application.

The SPF level in the Moisturizing Tint is only 15, which is rather low.  The line does have a SPF30 Moisturizing Tint as well, so I'm assuming there was a rhyme and reason for creating a lower SPF version.   I was a bit unsure if this was something I'd use on a daily basis, as I don't really need a moisturizer with a SPF now that I'm using a BB cream.  

However, this worked really well under one particularly BB cream that I've been testing, Dr. Jart+ Water Fusion.  The Water Fusion BB cream has been not playing nicely with any product I've tried (moisturizer, primer, etc.), until this one.  Their formulas must be compatible.  Again, not sure I need a moisturizer with SPF under a moisturizing BB cream that has a higher SPF, but there ya go.

Don't get me wrong, this is a nice product!  It's just not something I'll put to much use, at least during the summer.  Rather than let it languish, I'm going to gift it to my mother, who's been as lax as I have been about wearing a SPF.  Her drier skin is a better match, I think.  

Dr. Loretta's Moisturizing Tint SPF15 retails for $30 and is available from her web store
Disclosure:  I won this in a giveaway from Undercover Beauty.  Thank you!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Color of the Year Eyeliner Set from Sephora + Pantone Universe

I did not need this eyeliner set, but that orange pencil did some kind of siren song thing on me.  I've got plenty of black and brown eyeliners, but an orange one?  Will I even use an orange one?  These are the questions I asked after I pulled the trigger, obviously.

On the plus side, these are nicely pigmented, smooth, glossy, and wore well.  Top notch pencils, actually.  They are also only $15 for the set, so that's $5 a pencil, not bad at all.  The packaging is very nice, as it seems all of the Color of the Year products have been.  The only other one I got was the nail polish set, and while the quality of the polishes was just so so, the packaging was primo. 

Meteorite, Tangerine Tango, Chestnut
So, since the orange pencil is what intrigued me about this set, here are my thoughts now that I have it.  It's pretty.  But I doubt I'll find much use for it.  It's not a good color for me for an eye look.  It does work as a lip  liner or potentially as an all over lip color, so perhaps it will get some use that way.  Below I used it as a lip liner with Revlon's Kissable lip balm stain "Rendevous". 

Disclosure:  I bought these.  Obvious impulse buy.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Clinique Stay Matte Oil Free Makeup in Neutral

I'm always interested in any product that promises a less shiny face, so I was excited to try  Clinique's new Stay Matte Oil-Free Makeup.  I got a sample of the shade Neutral in one of my recent Sephora purchases, and fortunately that color selection worked well.  There was enough product in the sample packet to get several days worth of use, so I think I got a pretty good feel for how it performed.

Here's the description for Stay Matte on Clinique's site:
Tested for streaking and fading at 88°F with a constant 80% humidity, all to prove Stay-Matte stays fresh. At the same time, this patent-pending formula absorbs shine, controls oil, resists sweat. And you stay matte all day.
Well, I live in a climate where temps above 88°F with a constant 80% humidity are the norm, plus I've got oily skin, so I'm a good test market. 

Stay Matte has a creamy texture that blended well and provided light to medium coverage.  On the downside, it does not contain an SPF.  For me, at least, lotion SPF's leave my face quite shiny, which wars against my foundation.  I've been using a powder SPF product from Peter Thomas Roth that helps with this issue.  I'm wondering if Clinique did not include a SPF because they do not lend themselves to mattifying?  
Stay Matte in Neutral
Sadly, the claims of oil control and resisting shine all day were not true for me.  To be fair, I've yet to find any product that could live up to that claim for my oily skin.  I did like the coverage and feel of Stay Matte, and at $23 for 1 oz., it's not super expensive.  It also comes in 29 different shades, which is pretty impressive.

I can't say that my sample motivated me to purchase the full size, however.  I'm pretty pleased with the Skinfood BB cream I've been using this summer, and it has a SPF and costs less.  I'm glad I got a chance to try this out though - I certainly don't want to miss out on something that could possible tame my oily skin!
Outdoor light
Indoor light
 Disclosure:  I received a sample in a Sephora purchase.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

NOTD: Graphite Gravity, Don't Blink & Androgynie

I recently received a Sally Hansen magnetic polish in the charcoal gray Graphite Gravity as part of the Summer Beauty Box from Influenster.  I was excited to see how it worked, having not tried one before.

Instructions are pretty simple.  STEP 1: Apply 1 coat of base coat. Shake Magnetic Nail Color to activate. Remove overcap with magnet and set aside. Apply 1 coat of Magnetic Nail Color to all 10 nails and let dry. STEP 2: Apply a thick second coat of color to 1 nail and immediately hold the built-in magnet over the nail. Rest the guide just below the cuticle without touching the wet nail polish. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat for all 10 nails and let dry. Finish with top coat.

My results were a bit mixed.  Some nails showed the effect, some did not.  The key seems to be in placing a thick second coat, so perhaps the nails that did not work for me were not covered with enough polish.   Below you can see the effect on my index finger, but not so much on my middle finger.  I also managed to touch the magnet to the polish, even though there is a guard (raised ridge on the magnet cap) to prevent that from happening.  My fault - I was trying to get the magnet as close to the nail as I possibly could. 

I like the color of Graphite Gravity enough that I can see using it even without the magnet, especially since it dries quite fast.  The price for the Sally Hansen magnetics is ranging from $9-10, although I've seen then on sale for $5.99 at Walgreens online this past week.

Seche Vite did some major shrink damage to my tips, however, which left me less than satisfied with my manicure.  So, I decided to do an accent nail with NerdLacquer's Don't Blink, a light gray creme with micro silver and black giltter and larger silver hexagons.  I've seen some lovely swatches of Don't Blink, but the two times I've tried it, I wasn't in love.  Putting it over Graphite Gravity also left some black edges, so still not happy with the look.

I'm a stubborn one, though.  I went looking through my stash to see what could salvage this manicure.  Orly's Androgynie looked interesting and I hadn't tried it yet, so that was the winner.  Androgynie was part of Orly's 2011 Holiday Soiree collection and is a black jelly packed with multi-sized and colored glitter.  I've seen reviews that said this polish didn't translate as well on the nail as it looks in the bottle.  I used only one coat and I think it looks pretty good!  I'm guessing using it as a layering polish as opposed to trying to build it up with multiple coats is the way to go.  I also decided to add a layer of OPI's Pirouette My Whistle from the NY Ballet collection to Don't Blink, as it just wasn't singing to me.  If you're counting, or even still with me, I'm up to four different polishes now.

A few final thoughts.  Seche Vite, I'm about to quit you and your shrinking ways.  Amanda of NerdLacquer, if you are still out there, you need to come back and make more polishes.  I can't afford the ones on ebay and I'm reduced to doing accent nails because I only ever got mini bottles to begin with.

Disclosure:  I received Graphite Gravity for testing and review as part of Influenster's Summer Beauty Box.  The rest I bought.