Thursday, December 31, 2015

Worst Of: Products That Left Me Cold in 2015

Disclaimer:  I purchased these and I regret that.
We all experience duds from time to time, and these were mine for 2015. Mascaras are over represented, and there are some surprises on the list, including some high end items everyone else seems to love.  Just goes to show how variable people's experiences can be!
After 1 hour of wear
Tom Ford Limited Edition Spring 2015 Creme Color for Eyes ($42): I gotta tell you, this disappointed me to no end. The color is gorgeous, but the formula did not work for me AT ALL. It creases almost immediately and just looks like a hot mess. I'm going to give it to my mother to see if it works for her, as most people do not seem to have the creasing/poor wear problems I did. So disappointing.
Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter Gel Mascara ($26): Gloopy and stringy and with more affinity for my skin than my lashes.  Big fail.
Wink Colour Mascara in Brown Sugar by butter London ($20): I like brown macara, especially for my lower lashes, but this one was a dud. I found it very hard to get on my lashes and even harder to remove what did make it on my lashes. As difficult as it was to remove, it still managed to smudge on my lower
lash line. I couldn't win, and it got tossed after one use.
L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Intenza Mascara ($8): Clumpy underperformer that flaked. 'nuff said.

This final item is not a bad product as far as performance goes and I gave it a very positive review initially, but the passing of time revealed some not so positive aspects and changed my opinion. I appreciate reviews that include impressions beyond superficial use, so the CoverFX Custom Color Drops are getting included as an "almost" worst of 2015 and I've updated my original review to reflect my entire experience.
CoverFX Custom Color Drops ($44):  I really liked these and used them quite a bit when I first got them. However, here are the problems I experienced that lead me to throwing them away after 7 months. First, I found the top of the bottle became increasingly messy as product seemed to build up when I replaced the bottle dropper. This may have lead to the second problem, which was a thickening of the drops to the point that they no longer "dropped" and I would have to smear some on my hand in order to mix with another product. I ended up throwing the bottle away, even though there was a fair amount left. It was rather unusable, however, and I consider this a no go for repurchase as a result.

Now, on to 2016 and wishing you a Happy New Year's Eve!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best Of: Nail Polishes I Enjoyed the Most in 2015

Disclaimer:  I purchased these.
Here are my favorite polishes worn in 2015.  Sadly, one of the brands (Rescue Beauty Lounge) decided to close up shop.  The others should still be available and links are to full reviews.
Galaxy Glue by Rescue Beauty Lounge (no longer available):  Love the glowing quality of this aquatic green.
Cake Pop by Orly ($8.50):  I was surprised by this one, as I was not expecting to like a white pink creme on me. But I really, really do.
Nude Parisienne by Alessandro International (9.50):  This milky mink may have been my favorite of the year.  No surprise it's a brown polish, as they can make me weak in the knees.
OPI Designer Series Classic ($12.50):  An easy breezy formula for a no muss clean look with oomph.  Love it.
Morning Light by Rescue Beauty Lounge (no longer available):  I love both pale blue and pale grey polishes, and this one combines the best of both.  Just lovely.

What were your favorite polishes in 2015?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best Of: Skincare and Body Products I Really Enjoyed in 2015

Disclaimer:  I purchased these or won a few in giveaways (noted in descriptions).
Here are the skin and body care products that I really enjoyed in 2015.  One item was featured in my "best of" for 2014, but since I'm focusing on the products I found myself both enjoying and reaching for on a regular basis, it bears a repeat in my mind.  Links are to the full reviews.
Clarin's Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster ($30) has stood the test of time for me and I'm about to finish with my second bottle, with a third waiting in the wings. It gives me just enough color without looking obvious and I love that I can easily mix a few drops with whatever skincare item I'm using.  I even use this in what passes for winter here in Mobile when I reach that "pasty" phase that leaves me looking washed out.  Love.
Acure Organics Day Cream ($18):  I've enjoyed the two Acure Organics products I've tried thus far and this affordable moisturizer which features Gotu Kola Stem Cells and 1% Chlorella Growth Factor worked really well with my oily skin. I also love that you can find this natural/organic/fair trade brand at Target. I'm just about to finish up an Acure cleanser that is low pH and will have a review up on it soon - good stuff.
TriDerma Pore Reducing Anti-Age Serum ($25):  I'm not sure this brand would have made it onto my radar if I hadn't won a few of the products in a giveaway, but I'm glad it did! This serum did a nice job of providing my skin with a smoother appearance without the heavy silicone feel I dislike. Featuring organic aloe vera as it's 1st ingredient, it also played well with a variety of foundations, so I would classify it as a serum/primer. Multi-tasker!
Zum Bar Goat's Milk Soap ($5.85):  I love using bar soap on my body in the shower, even preferring them over shower gels.  Zum just came on my radar this year and I find the selection and quality of the bar soaps to be top notch.  I also love their laundry detergent!
Savannah Bee Royal Body Butters ($12.90 for mini jars): Here's another brand I doubt I would have discovered if it wasn't for winning them in a giveaway, and I'm really enjoying them as my night time hand cream. Anything bee related in skincare usually works well for me, and these richly formulated and nicely scented body butters are no exception. I'd also like to purchase some of Savannah Bee's honeys, as this is not just a skin care company and they make their own honey :-)
Juara Candlenut Body Creme ($35) and Invigorating Coffee Scrub ($37):  I got these are as set from Birchbox for $49, which is the way to go if you want both. And both are great, making for a truly luxurious experience that leaves your skin soft, soft, soft. I just received another Candlenut Creme in my winter FabFitFun box (review here), which thrills me.
Renewing AHA Cream by DHC ($42.50):  This is my go to AHA product and I've been using it for years now, although I just got around to reviewing it in 2015.  It has a 10% lactic acid concentration and indeed makes my skin tingle immediately after application (but not uncomfortably so).  A bottle will last me close to 2 years, which makes the price a bit more palatable.
Orange & Vanilla Boddy Butter ($16.95)and Pit Putty Cream ($10.85) by Bubble & Bee:  I just repurchased both of these, and even got the larger body butter this time ($24.95), so you know I like 'em.  The scent works for me year round, and while not overpowering, it has some staying power.  The Pit Putty Cream works well for me as a deodorant and I like this natural/organic formula the best of any of I've tried.  Bubble & Bee now has periodic sales, so I'd sign up for their emails if you want to check out any of their products.
CosRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner ($13): I've started dabbling with a few Korean skincare products (to mostly good effect), and the AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner is my favorite find to date. It's gentle but effective and I like that it comes in a spray bottle, as I enjoyed spraying it on my face during the summer. I've already bought another one, which is a sure sign I like something considering the product overflow I've got going on.
Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel ($8):  If you want a good but inexpensive witch hazel based skin toner, I say go for Thayers. They have a variety of formulas and I find myself reaching for my Rose Petal Witch Hazel almost every morning. It's tied with the CosRX AHA/BHA Treatment Toner in my affection.
Rethink Your Shower Hydrating Body Cleansing Oil ($38):  I reach for this body cleansing oil in the shower a good 4 times a week and find it does a great job of cleansing without stripping my skin.  The sudsing action is on the low side but using a net poof amplifies bubbles, so that's the way I go.  I like the light citrus scent and will repurchase when I run out, which should be in a few months. About 2 pumps is good for my whole body, so it's lasting longer than I expected!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Best Of: Cosmetics I Really Enjoyed in 2015

Disclaimer:  I purchased these.
In no particular order, here are the makeup items I particularly enjoyed in 2015.

5-in-1 BB Cream Eyeshadows ($18) by Bare Minerals: I use one of the 4 colors I own on an almost daily basis. They make a great base for powder shadows or paired with eyeliner can be a one and done natural look. I also love that they have SPF, something you don't usually see in eye shadows.  
Barely Nude

Elegant Taupe

Sweet Spice
Coconut Water Cheek Gelee's by Josie Maran ($22): I'm a cream blush lover, and these gel based ones are unlike anything else I have. Better yet, they give a natural yet long lasting flush of color with skin enhancing ingredients.  
Complexion Rescue Hydrating Gel Creme by bareMinerals ($29):  I've grown to like this even more than when I first reviewed it back in March. It's a lovely formula, but I thought it was too hydrating for my oily skin to wear year round (and in summer when my skin goes into oil producing hyper drive, that's true). I also thought it was a bit too sheer for less than perfect skin. In cooler weather, however, I'm using it on an almost daily basis with just a smidgen of a fuller coverage matte foundation mixed in. It's good stuff and I will be repurchasing soon.
Natural 05
Sexy Eye Palette by Le Métier de Beauté: This item is not one you'll easily be able to get your hands on as it was a limited edition palette made for the VIP subscription program, but it is hands down the palette I reach for this most since I received it in May. Le Métier de Beauté does occasionally offer similar palettes as a gift with purchase and I wouldn't be surprised to see a few if these on ebay, so there is that.
YSL Cherry My Cherie #5 Volupté Tint-In-Oil by YSL ($32): I originally reviewed this from a sample but have since gotten a deluxe travel sized version and I love it. The Cherry my Cherie color shows up nicely on my lips and even stains them a bit after the gloss has worn down. I find this to be very comfortable and it lasts for 3-4 hours, which is about tops for me.
Cherry My Cherie #5
MAKE Beauty Eyeshadows:  I feel like MAKE Beauty flies under the radar in beauty blog land, but they have some seriously good eyeshadows.  I have one palette and one single, and there has not been a dud in the bunch.  They are pricey at $25 per single but this is a case where they do deliver in quality.  I hope to acquire more in the future.
Sante Fe (great as a highlighter as well)
Calypso Eyeshadow  Palette
Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Fig ($21):  I have several of the Too Faced liquid lipsticks now, and Fig is the one that has wowed me the most.  The formula on these is really nice but for some reason not many of the colors have grabbed me.  Fig, however, hits my sweet spot.  Just so pretty.
Supergoop CC Cream ($32): I received a trial size of Supergoop's CC Cream in my February Birchbox and liked it so much I purchased a full size of the Light to Medium. It was my go to foundation for the summer and I really, really like it. For a CC cream it has surprisingly good coverage (I'd say medium) and looks very natural on. Between Supergoop for warm weather months and bareMineral's Complexion Rescue Hydrating Gel Creme for cooler weather, I think I've found my holy grail foundations. I'm super excited that both also have skin enhancing ingredients and good SPF levels.
What were your favorite makeup items in 2015?  

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve
It's been wet, warm, muggy and the end is not in sight yet.  But still, the dogs (and adults) had a wonderful Christmas Eve.  My heart goes out to those having to deal with tornadoes and flooding the past few days.
Christmas Eve, post present unwrapping
Christmas Day (sans dogs, who were napping after all the excitement the night before) focused on lunch and more present unwrapping with extended family.  I hope you and yours are safe, warm (or cool, as in my case it was upper '70's today), and having a lovely day!
Christmas Day

Thursday, December 24, 2015

December Le Métier de Beauté VIP Box: Lipcentric

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
Le Métier de Beauté's December VIP box featured 2 lipsticks and a clear lip pencil.  The online rumblings have been less than positive regarding this lipcentric offering, which I'll articulate more on below.  However, I'm not unhappy with this month's box.
Why, you may ask?  Well, there's also a nice makeup bag that feels and looks like thick leather (although it's not).  While I don't need more makeup bags, I do appreciate getting ones that have a quality feel/look if I'm going to get them in a subscription box.  I throw out ones that feel cheap or flimsy, but I'll hang on to this one.
The lip pencil in Translucide is a clear color meant to line lips to prevent feathering of lipstick. Exciting?  Not really. I've bought similar products from Too Faced and Urban Decay before, so another one is not unwelcome.
Celestica (shade)
Celestica (sun)
The two lipsticks do not appear to be a part of Le Métier de Beauté's current line, which means they could be coming out in spring or they were made just for the VIP boxes.  However, I doubt these were made just for the VIP boxes, as those products usually just say "VIP" on the label.  Some of the discontent I saw online from other VIP subscribers had to do with feeling like the subscription boxes were getting items of less quality than regular LMdB products.  However, these feel good on and the cases have a nice heft/look to them, so I'm leaning more on the side that these are potential new releases.  We shall see, I guess.

Fembot (shade)
Fembot (sun)
These two Lambent lip colors both have a shimmer to them.  The shimmer bits do not feel gritty on  and the lipstick is surprisingly lightweight yet plush feeling. The name "Fembot" really is perfect for the pink color, yet it's not an unwearable frosty pink.  I may end up wearing Fembot for my Christmas Eve look.  If it's going to be an unseasonably 76 degrees today (which it is, along with a monsoon), I'll wear spring colors.  So there.
Call me Pollyanna, but I like my December VIP box. Merry Christmas Eve everyone!