Friday, November 30, 2012

NOTD: The Spy Who Loved Me by OPI

If you are looking for holiday festivity in a bottle, then The Spy Who Loved Me is all that, just without the bubbly.  Although I could definitely see myself wearing this while holding a glass of champagne.
Part of the Bondettes mini set from OPI's Skyfall collection, this glass fleck red has that lovely glow from within quality that gives visual interest without going over the top.  I used two coats with Seche Vite's base and top coats and application was a breeze.   
The Bondettes mini set is well worth picking up if you'd like to try some of the Skyfall collection - there seriously is not a dud in the bunch!

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Shipley & Halmos™ Narita Travel Case Gift with Purchase from Beauty.com

I've given up trying to resist the extravaganza gift with purchases that beauty.com offers, and here is the latest:  the Shipley & Halmos Narita Travel Case filled with over $200 with of full and sample sized products.  I can definitely say I've got no buyer's remorse with this one!

In order to get the bag, I had to spend $100, but Christmas shopping helped with that.  Plus, now I've got extra stocking stuffers as well as some treats for me.   

  • Peter Thomas Roth® Mega-Rich™ Shampoo  
  • Peter Thomas Roth® Mega- Rich™ Conditioner    
  • GOSMiLE® On the Go ®Pen  (Full Size)
  • Nick Chavez® Starlet Shine Spray (Full Size)
  • Jack Black® Hand Cream   
  • Perricone MD® Vitamin C Ester 15                

  • DDF® Ultra-Lite Oil-free Moisturizing  Dew™ 
  • Oscar Blandi®  Pronto Texture & Volume Spray  
  • bliss® Triple Oxygen + C energizing Cream  
  • Borghese Fango Delicato
  • stila™ Lip Glaze Gloss, Pink Lemonade (Full Size)  
  • bareMinerals® Stroke of Light™ Eye Brightener 
  • Juice Beauty®  Green Apple Peel™ Full Strength          
  • W3ll People® Universalist® Multi-Use Color Pot   
  • It Cosmetics™  Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer     
  • essie® polish in power clutch (Full Size) 
  • $10 off $50 purchase code for beauty.com
The Shipley & Halmos™ Narita Travel Case is really nice, with multiple compartments to stow your products.  I had no problem fitting everything from the GWP into it, with some room to spare.  The deal seems to still be active if anyone is interested, link is here.
A lot of these products are ones I haven't tried yet, including some new to me brands such as W3ll People.  I'm looking forward to trying them out!
Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

stila All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer in Rose Gold

I'm not a huge user of shimmers or highlighters, probably because I've got oily skin and anything that I perceive as adding to shine is a no no for me.  But I'm growing to like them, especially stila's All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer in Rose Gold.  I love the color of this, and that the shimmer is very fine.  The soft focus pigments are supposed to minimize skin imperfections and decrease the appearance of fine lines, of which I have more than a few.

This swatch is quite concentrated, but when blended out this provides a much more subtle shimmer that is not disco ball in effect at all.  I've used it to highlight my eyes, cheekbones, and lips, all to good effect.

Here is Rose Gold blended over Tarte's LipSurgence in Perky.   If you click on the photo to enlarge, you can better see the shimmer it provides.
On Thanksgiving, I used Rose Gold to highlight the tops of my cheeks and my brow bone area.  You can also mix this in with your foundation, although I've yet to try it that way.
These are available in four different shades - Pink, Rose Gold, Bronze, and Kitten.  I received mine in my November Birchbox, but regular retail is $20 for a .5 fl oz bottle.  Sephora did a have a set with 3 of the colors, but it appears to be out of stock at the moment.

Disclaimer:  I received this as part of my November Birchbox, which I subscribe to for $10/mo.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Clinique GWP Plums Palette

Gift with purchase offers make me twitchy - as in I start buying stuff whenever I see them.  So, when Clinique had their recent GWP offer, I picked up some foundation and got all these freebies.  Today I'm going to review the Plums eyeshadow and blush palette.
Past experience has shown me that Clinique eyeshadows are not very pigmented and are rather stiff and dry.  They apply on the sheer side and have to be applied pretty heavily in order to get them to show up.  Personally, I don't think I'd purchase them on their own, as the quality for the price just doesn't seem to be there.  I did discover on this go around, however, that when applied over some sort of sticky base, they show up much better.  The matte navy was still a bit sheer, but the other two shades really popped.
The darker swatches were applied over Wet 'n Wild's Techno creme shadow pencil, which is a sheer blue purple.  Techno had it's own issues (mainly being a creasy mess), but it did show me that a sticky base makes the Clinique shadows show up much better.  I didn't get a good lid shot of the shadows without a sticky base, but you can see from this face shot that they are very subtle on their own.  The blush is a nice, soft peachy pink and I had no problems with it.
Here is a picture when I applied the shadows over Techno - quite the difference.  At least now I know that I need to wear some sort of sticky base when using Clinique shadows!

Disclaimer:  I received this as a GWP.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener

Photo Op Under Eye Brightener is essentially a subtle highlighter for the under eye area.  Instructions say to use it under concealer, but I often use it on top of concealer or just on its own.  The shimmer particles catch the light, helping to diffuse the look of dark circles.

The consistency is on the thin side and I have no problems with it settling into the fine lines under my eyes.  Do not expect for this to actually cover dark circles, as once blended it is quite sheer.  The shimmer provided is very fine without an obvious sparkle, hence the light diffusing claim.  It also contains ingredients to treat the under eye area, such as moisturizers and peptides, making it more than just an under eye brightener.
I picked this up at half price during one of Ulta's specials, and while I've enjoyed using it,  I'm not sure that it actually provides enough of a difference to make it worth it's regular price of $19.  I do appreciate the eye treating ingredients, however, which makes me more apt to use it up regardless of whether it is truly masking under eye darkness or not.  The picture below was taken in direct sunlight, and I think you can see some of the shimmer on my under eye area. 
Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Aubrey Organics Silken Earth Powder Blush in Honey Bronze: Sample Series v. 3

Aubrey Organics Silken Earth Powder Blush is a silk-based blush and contour powder that "adds color and contrast where you want it to highlight your best features and brighten your complexion for a soft, natural look."  

The first ingredient in these is indeed silk powder, which intrigued me enough to want to know what it's possible benefits to skin might be.  According to what I found, silk powder:
  • Is rich in anti-oxidants
  • Has a high protein content
  • Contains 18 amino acids
  • Has moisture balancing properties
  • Absorbs excess oil
  • Reduces reflective light, creating a glow on skin
  • Has natural sun protection and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Balances skin pH levels
Okay seriously, what doesn't it do?  Ancient Chinese healers, recognizing silk's healing skin properties, used to dress wounds in silk cocoons, from which silk powder is derived. 
The powder used in Aubrey's Silken Earth blushes is finely milled and applies smoothly for a wash of color and subtle shimmer.  If you click on the pictures above you can better see how pretty the shimmer is.  I received Honey Bronze as a sample in my October Eco Emi box, and I like it enough to want to try some of the other colors available, especially since they are reasonably priced at $11.95 for 3 grams.  If you sign up for their e-newsletter, you can get 20% off of your first order. 
Disclosure:  I received this in my Eco Emi subscription box, which I purchased. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

NOTD: Live and Let Die by OPI

Live and Let Die is from OPI's Skyfall collection and I got it as part of the Bondettes mini set.  A deep blackened green with subtle gold glass flecks, Live and Let Die was completely opaque in 2 coats.  I wore it for close to a week with no chipping and minimal tip wear.
I wish the flecks showed up more , as they are really hard to see unless in bright light.  They definitely show up more in the bottle than on the nail.
Still, Live and Let Die is a good option for fall/winter dark nails that are not quite black.
Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant by Eminence Organic Skin Care

Anybody ever had strawberry rhubarb pie?  I haven't, but I do have a strawberry rhubarb facial scrub to show you on this Thanksgiving day!  It's a rice-based exfoliant that is gentle enough for daily use, and includes:
  • Strawberry: cleanser and astringent; contains Salicylic acid that gently exfoliates and removes impurities to brighten skin and shrink pores
  • Rhubarb: a good source of ascorbic acid and vitamins to fight the look of wrinkles
  • Lactic Acid: sloughs off dead skin cells to improve texture of skin
  • Rice: gentle exfoliant; buffs and smooths skin texture
  • Chickpea Flour: tightens pores; absorbs excess oil and helps to buff and smooth skin
  • Thermal Mud: contains high amounts of mineral trace elements and sulfur to improve and support the skin
  • Oats: deeply cleanse and smoothe
  • Biocomplex™: a booster of antioxidants, vitamins, Coenzyme Q10, and Alpha Lipoic Acid to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve the appearance of skin
I've got to hand it to Eminence Organics, as they make some really interesting products.  I've been fortunate to try a large number of them, and by and large they are top quality.  I keep this scrub in the shower, and while I don't use it every day, I do have it in rotation and always enjoy it's lovely scent.  The only problem I've had is that sometimes the fine granules get caught in my eyelashes, so I make sure to rinse really well so they don't end up in my eye.

Eminence products are more on the pricey side, and the Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant retails for $48.  I can say that it lasts for a long time, as I've had mine for close to 2 years now.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those that are celebrating!

Disclosure:  I purchased this.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lancome Blush Subtil Palette in Peche Savvy

Peche Savvy
Lancome's Blush Subtil Palettes contain everything you would need for contouring your face, and are available in 6 different color coordinated combos.  I chose Peche Savvy, which features a matte tan contour color, a shimmer coral blush, and an iridescent beige highlighter.
There are several things I like about this palette:  (1) the contour color is matte and does not turn muddy on me (2) the highlighting color is on the more subtle side (3) the blush itself is nicely pigmented, and (4) they blend well.  I'm not a master of contouring by any means, but this made it relatively easy to do without having to pull out separate products. 
These blush palettes are on the more expensive end of the spectrum at $42, but I find Lancome products to be a bit overpriced in general.  Hence why I tend to only buy when there is a gift with purchase offer on the table, as that leaves me feeling like I got my money's worth.  With that said, I do like Peche Savvy a lot!
Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfecting Makeup in Neutral

Clinique's Pore Refining Instant Perfecting Makeup is billed as an oil free  "lightweight makeup that creates a virtually poreless look instantly".  Over time, the pore-resurfacing technology is supposed to help downsize pore appearance.  Of course that is going to appeal to me, someone with oily skin and visible pores. 
So, during a recent Clinique gift with purchase offer, I ordered the shade "neutral" online.  It was a bit of a gamble as choosing the right color sight unseen online can be hit or miss, but I'd tried a sample of another Clinique foundation in neutral that was a good match.  
Neutral is working well for me, although for the first week or so I was concerned it might be a tad too dark for my cool weather complexion.  After using for several weeks now, I'm more comfortable with the color, as it seems to blend out quite well and I don't think there is a visible difference between my face and neck.

The texture of the foundation is gel like and I find it very easy to blend with my fingers.  It does indeed seem to minimize the look of my pores, particularly on my nose.  The texture is light and I'd say it gives light to medium coverage, so if you are looking for a foundation that covers major flaws, this is not it.  I set it with my Lancome Dual Finish powder makeup, which I dab on lightly.  The two give enough coverage without looking mask like, and I think the combo extends wear, which is a challenge with my oily skin.

My biggest complaint with this Clinique foundation is the applicator.  It can be difficult to squeeze out if the makeup is not already at the tip, and one morning the bottle "burped" and spit a glob on my dark brown slacks. I was rushed and had no time to put together a new outfit, so I was a bit irritated, to put it mildly.  I'll be interested to see if it washes out, as those are some of my favorite pants.

The price is a reasonable $23, and I can see this foundation becoming a staple in my rotation.  Only time will tell if it truly does improve my skin, but there are a few ingredients that do have potential treatment properties, such as witch hazel, clary extract, caffeine, and salicylic acid.  If nothing else, it's a good foundation option for oily skin types!
Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

Monday, November 19, 2012

November Birchbox: Give

The theme of this month's Birchbox was giving:  giving thanks and giving back.  Included as an extra was a reusable gift envelope to fill with treats for someone else.  I'm going to fill mine with various beauty samples and pass it on to my mother - I think she'll get a kick out of that.
My box included a perfume sample by Annick Goutal in Petite Cherie.  It's a very light fruity floral fragrance and does not linger on me for long, but I like it enough to wear, which isn't always the case.  The value of the sample is $3.22.

Next is Pronto Texture & Volume Spray by Oscar Blandi, a non sticky hair spray that gives hair that tousled look.  I'm interested in seeing how this works compared to dry shampoo, which I tend to rely on to give my hair volume.  At $25 a bottle, I doubt I'll get too attached to it though.  The sample value is $6.25.

I also received stila's all over shimmer liquid lumizer in rose gold shimmer.  Pretty color and can be used alone or mixed with foundation.  The sample is worth $2.13.

There were three Masqueology products in my box, the Advanced 7D Solution, the Masque Cleanse, and the Serum Actif.  The 2 packets were designated as beauty extras, as Birchbox tends to get lots of flack when they include foil packets as one of the samples.  This South Korean brand has some really interesting sounding products, so having several to try is nice and will give me more info to go on, regardless of their size.  The deluxed size Advanced 7D Solution valued at $17, and I should get multiple uses out of this vitamin D based moisturizer. 
The overall value, not counting the foil packets, is about $29.  I like the variety of the products I received and look forward to trying them out! 

Disclaimer:  I subscribe to Birchbox for $10 a month.  If you'd like to subscribe, you can use my affiliate link (I receive points for anyone who signs up) or go directly to Birchbox to sign up. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

NOTD: Julep Amber

Today I've got a suede finish polish to show you, Amber by Julep.  Suedes are somewhat similar to a matte finish, except that suedes have a shimmer in them, whereas mattes tend to be a flat color.
Amber is a nice neutral medium toned taupe gold.  I've seen reports from others online that these are prone to chipping, so I was interested to see how Amber would wear.  I'm pleased to report that I experienced no chipping in 5 days of wear, although I did have the normal amount of tip wear you'd expect to see.
I used Seche Vite's base coat and 2 coats of Amber, but no top coat.  Julep's polishes regularly retail for $14, which I think is overpriced.  Hence why I joined the Maven program, so that I could sample their polishes at a significant discount.  So far, I like what I've tried!

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Disclaimer:  I purchased this.