Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Well, the holidays have come in like a storm and we have been running around visiting family and such for the last week. Not much time to trial run products and blog about them has been available. I did get an amazing new photo printer from my husband, so my computing time has been devoted to getting that dialed in and running.

I have a few products that I'm playing with now, along with a drugstore mascara review all lined up for the new year.

So I hope your holidays were merry and you can ring in the New Year (and new decade) with style - whatever style you choose. We will be at the 9pm fireworks display in downtown Denver, as it's my favorite way to bring in the New Year - low key yet festive.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Last Minute Gifts

I had this crazy idea I would have time to do everything this holiday season. Hah! Blogging got cut out as things started to pile up - wrapping, shopping, shipping, cards and 4 different holiday gatherings between the hubby's work and mine.

So in an effort to continue to blog about something - I will blog about some other blogs who have great last minute gift ideas:

Musings of a Muse - this is a great list of last minute stuff, much of which I would recommend myself.
Product Girl - recommends some amazing handcreams from L'Occitane, I keep these in my purse as well. Perfect stocking stuffers for almost any female on your list.
Jet Set Girls - another amazing Sephora sampler kit is recommended for the lip product fan on your list.

And a few more ideas of my own:
Bath & Body Works - teenage girls on your list? Picky ones? I haven't met a teenager that doesn't love this store. Gift cards and gift sets from here are a no brainer for both the teenager and the adult female. I highly recommend the Temptations collection Licorice or Peppermint flavors.
Sephora - this is a gender neutral gift card, though most men would disagree until they see the selection of mens fragrance available. But for a great male gift, I think this fragrance sampler is pretty nifty (7 scents for the price of 1) and makes travel easy. Sephora also has sampler kits for almost everything and everyone. Check out their gift lists for ideas.
Bare Escentuals - Gift list for any Bare Escentuals fan on your list, I love the new silver tote. Be warned, their shipping isn't the best, so if you need it before Christmas be prepared to pay for it.

I hope that helps with any last minute emergency gifts on your list. Both online shoppers and you brave last minute mall shoppers, I wish you luck and Happy Holidays.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Benefit Fragrances

Benefit, known for its fun and functional products, has a fairly new line of fragrances this fall / winter. I sampled them all in the store a few weeks ago just for fun. I also think fragrance is a really personal thing, a scent that is great for one person just doesn't do the same things for another. That being said, I thought I would talk about these because they come in great fragrance / lotion gift sets.

I am no fragrance expert. I can't tell a "note" of a perfume other than to say if I liked it or not. So I lump fragrance into a couple of buckets:
- Fresh / clean - for things like CK One
- Fruity
- Floral
- Overpowering

Laugh with me LeeLee is fresh and fun, I thought it would be a great everyday scent for me. I like things that fall into the fresh and fruity buckets, and only rarely like floral scents (I love Lancôme’s Miracle so Magic which is a floral, but of a lighter variety than most floral scents). This was in the fresh and light floral buckets, so it works for me. Benefit describes it as "woody floral - a light blend of citrus, jasmine and lily blossoms". And while I can't tell jasmine or lily unless I'm sniffing the actual flower - it's definitely woody and floral.

Something about Sofia was more fruity and flowery for me. Love it though, since it's still in the light category. Benefit describes it as "oriental floral - a dream of oriental blossoms, mango & vanilla". I definitely got the fruity feel from this, but it's soft not like the fruity scent of the original Liz Claiborne (which by the way, was my "go to" fragrance in high school. I think I went through 2 bottles of it during that time). I thought this was a wonderful party scent and would make a great gift for any girl on your shopping list.

My place or yours Gina just didn't do anything for me. It's very strong and smells so much like Poison that I had high school flashbacks. No idea why I ever bought Poison and had to force myself to wear it, must have been the "cool" scent that year. Yuck, and this one was another stinky scent that is just overpowering. Benefit describes it as "woody oriental - an alluring affair of pink pepper, wild raspberry and patchouli." and I think it's the patchouli that I don't like. If you like these types of scents, it would be great for you.

Available at various retailers:

Disclosure: I belong to Benefit’s affiliate program.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bare Escentuals on QVC

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I am a complete Bare Escentuals fan. Yes, I don't love all their products and yes, I like goodies from several other companies. But I am always a sucker for their kits and Buxoms and anything new they come up with.

So as a tip to those who are unashamed of ordering from QVC, Bare Escentuals will be on this week Thursday 12/10 and Friday 12/11 with some of their new kits and a new travel bag (which I think I love).

I'm going to link you to Mineral Madness, who always has the scoop on the BE products. The link has the TV schedule and the products up for grabs. At least one of these kits will have a great QVC price, so it always makes it worthwhile to check it out.

My take on these, some cute kits that have been part of the new fall / winter collection. If you're looking for gifts for someone like me - Candy Cocktails and Face Fashion: Classic Glam are a good price, and really nice kits. If you are looking to supplement your brush collection (these are great for travel) I'd look at the Holiday Mini Brush Collection.

I realize this is a bit of a plug for QVC, and I don't work for them or get paid by them in any way. I just thought I would share a little insider info with my readers so you can plan ahead. You can also check out Bare for current info on these kits and many other fall / winter products. 

Friday, December 4, 2009

The World Cup

I realize this is completely off topic of a beauty blog. However, it's very relevant for today. I am a huge soccer fan. I have played since I was 10 years old, coached for 10 years, and have been to more games than I can count. The US National team is a particular favorite of mine, both men and women's. I've been to the Olympics, countless qualifying games, the Women's World Cup twice and to Germany in 2006 for the Men's World Cup (or as the German's say "der Weltmeister" - I think it's der anyway...). I am passionate about the game and our teams.

Today was the World Cup 2010 draw in South Africa, and after a very tense and hotly contested qualifying race I was hoping the US would have a less frightening group than 2006. In some respects we got lucky and in some, we are going to have a very hard fight.

(my friend Brian and I at the pregame "warmup")
England set all kinds of records in qualifying and the US will play them our very first game. Can you say frightening? At least for the casual fan, many of our players play in the English Premier League, including our incredible goalie. (I have serious goalie love for Tim Howard). We shouldn't be intimidated by them, but Wayne Rooney is a shifty guy and if they decide Beckham is going to be on the team - expect many a perfect pass to him right over our defense.

The other 2 teams in our group, Algeria and Slovenia, are complete unknowns to me. I know that Algeria had a very tough qualifying game in hostile territory to get into the tournament. Slovenia is rumored to have a very stingy defense, as I read they allowed the fewest goals in qualifying. So both could be tough opponents.

The US has problems of it's own. One of our very best and most experience defenders jacked up his knee in qualifying and it's unknown whether he will be ready. This rings of the injury to Chris Armas before the 2002 Cup. So one of 3 things will happen, our defense will be like a sieve, Gooch (Oguchi Onyewu) comes back or we will find a miraculous young talent to fill his place. Bob hasn't found him yet - so keep looking (the most promising guy I can think of is unfortunately I think a foreigner).  The other weakness I see is that Charlie Davies, who really is a young talent, was in a terrible car crash right before the final qualifying match. He is not likely to be recovered in time either. We do have some talent in the forward line, but they need some lessons from Brian McBride on how to dominate the space they are running.  I will for now, leave our hapless midfield alone - there is so much room to improve there, I don't know where to begin. All I can say is that I hope the players are shaken out of their comas and are inspired by the task ahead.

So I apologize for the off topic narrative today, but I am very excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for the US team and for the World Cup in general. I would LOVE to see the USA vs. England game live as I think it will be an incredible atmosphere. Both teams have passionate fans (some of whom I know from Fire games and Germany - here's to you Koz(pictured with drum)) and I think have a love / hate relationship with each other. After my experience in Germany in 2006, I think I know just how exhilarating that game will be.

Good luck men, and here's to the intense training required in the months ahead.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bobbi Brown long wear Gel Eyeliner

If you read my review of the Bobbi Brown Goldstone eye palette, you will remember that it contained the long wear gel eyeliner and mentioned that I love this stuff. I thought I should let you know how much I love the eyeliners by giving them their own separate review.

This eyeliner is absolutely waterproof and smudge proof. Once you get the hang of application, it just glides on the eyelid. It comes in 16 colors both with and without shimmer (though, the shimmer is very subtle). I am not one for super dark liner with the whole fair skinned / blue eyed thing I have going on, and Bobbi has several shades that work for me. I originally purchased the Graphite Shimmer Ink with the eyeliner brush, as it's more of a gray and I love gray eyeliner (always have). You can make the line thick or thin, but either way this stuff is fabulous. I also think I mentioned before the trick with lining the lower lashes. Fill the brush for the whole eye (you work it in the brush in the lid and scrape the excess) and line the top lashes first. Then WITHOUT refilling, lightly dot the lash line on the lower lid. Much less dramatic, but still enough definition to make the lashes stand out.

There are several other amazing colors - but my favorite is the Black Mauve Shimmer Ink, just looks great with my blue eyes. She has so many different colors, some more intense than others, but all of them are completely smudge free and waterproof. I swim with this stuff on occasionally, and it doesn't budge. Her newest color the Forest Shimmer looks amazing on both Hazel and Brown eyes, so if you want something a little different than black or brown - take a look. Head to a department store like Nordstrom for a demo of the product if you need application advice (I sure did!).

Bobbi Brown can be found at her website, and in department stores:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Shopping Deals

So many of my fellow beauty bloggers have linked all the latest bargains for Monday on their blogs. In lieu of my own post, I thought I would link you to several of their blogs.

  • Gouldylox has Black Friday through Cyber Monday deals here 
  • The Fashionable Housewife has more Cyber Monday deals here 
  • Blogdorf Goodman has info on Lancome here 
  • Musings of a Muse has another great discount code list here
A few other discount codes:

  • Smashbox has their Friends and Family sale through Monday Nov 30th - code SBFF9 at checkout
  • Bare Escentuals through Today 20% off - code MERRY at checkout 
  • Sephora has free shipping all weekend through Monday - SHIP4FREE at checkout
I hope you had a good holiday weekend, and can still take advantage of some of these great deals. I am way ahead on shopping right now, and am feeling pretty good about everyone else on my list. My PC upgrade even went pretty well.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving and Holiday Shopping

Well folks, it's Thanksgiving and I hope you are spending it with friends or family or a little of both. My husband has the kids for the first time on Thanksgiving so we are going all out with help from Honeybaked Ham. I am also upgrading my PC this weekend to Windows 7, so expect a full post when I am out of upgrade hell.

Since tomorrow is Black Friday - here are a few beauty related gifts for people on your list:
  1. Philosophy gift sets - Recipe Box, Red Velvet Cake, and Winter Escape
    I love all the products in these sets, the 3 in 1's smell amazing and are not drying and the lip glosses are sturdy and tasty. These sets are perfect for everyone (though, my husband doesn't like the "food" scents too much).
  2. Too Faced Glamour Revolution
    This is perfect for that teen / 20 something girl in your life, amazing colors and Shadow Insurance for staying power
  3. Burberry mini scent pack
    Okay, this one is a suggestion for anyone shopping for me. I LOVE Burberry scents, all of them. The only bottles of fragrance I ever use up before they go south.
  4. Bare Escentuals Happiness or Surprise collection
    Pretty colors on any skin tone, so for the Bare Escentuals fan on your list either of these is just right. See my blog entry on the Surprise collection.
  5. Urban Decay 24/7 Sets
    Like I mentioned in my blog entry, these eyeliners are just great. So for the fun girl on your list, set her up with a collection of these gems.
  6. Bare Escentuals Winter Escapade lip gloss collection
    For the lip gloss lover, or tween girl on your list. These lip glosses are just the bomb.
  7. Bare Escentuals Candy Cocktails eye shadow collection
    You can't go wrong with an eye shadow collection named after cocktails can you?
  8. Benefit Holiday Kits - Celebutante, Sexy Starlet, and Laugh with Me Leelee Crescent Row set
    Two of these are cool makeup product sets with some of Benefit's best products. The other is a fragrance / hand lotion set that I sampled in the store and loved the scent. Fresh and friendly, not overpowering.
One more note, my friend over at ellaface has some nice holiday kits as well (I like their scrubs). I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and this gives you some fun shopping ideas.

I have either purchased these products, lusted after them or played with them at the counter. I have not received any of them as samples.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lancôme Définicils Mascara

In my never ending search for amazing mascara, I stopped by the Lancôme counter at Nordstrom over the summer to ask the sales associate about their mascaras. Lancôme had an awesome gift with purchase going on, and I was due for a new tube of mascara. I chatted with her for about 10 minutes regarding their different products, and we decided to try the most popular mascara in the Lancôme line - Définicils.

I would love to sit here and write about how amazing this product is. But I was disappointed by this very pricey ($24.50) mascara. I will say that it did lengthen my lashes incredibly, which I liked. The color is a bluish black rather than a super black shade. You would also think that I'd like the skinny brush, but the bristles are so far apart that it did nothing but clump. I had to get out my eyelash comb and separate between coats. It also didn't generate much volume at the base of my lashes so it didn't meet the "enhance thickness" requirement. It didn't flake, but it did feel very stiff after it dried. Overall, it didn’t impress me and I have found better at my local drugstore. I am currently using up my tube as a top coat when I want some serious length to my lashes.

If you like the length this product offers, a comparable drugstore choice would be Maybelline Lash Stiletto. This one did not clump for me, and was what my makeup artist used on my wedding day. It made it perfectly through a very warm Las Vegas day, and quite a bit of tearing up.

So if you like super long lashes, don’t mind using a comb to separate and a not quite black formula - Définicils is widely available at your local department stores.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bare Escentuals Beautiful in Pearls

In case you missed it last week, Bare Escentuals was on QVC with their new kit Beautiful in Pearls. This is a QVC exclusive, which will have 3 more similar kits produced through the next year. I am a complete sucker for these kits, I love the color co-ordination and they always have a special touch. This one is Pearls. Everything in the kit has a pearly look and is very luminescent. So, being a sucker I bought it and the auto-delivery of the other kits. I have sent ones back that I didn't like before, so I fully expect that to happen again - but it's such a good price that I can't refuse.

The kit consists of:
  • Flawless Definition Mascara (seriously been in the last 3 kits, I've got 3.5 tubes now which includes a mini-tube)
  • New Big & Bright Mineral Eyeliner Pencil
  • Blush - Precious Pearl
  • 2 eye shadows - Blissful Pearl, Magnificent Pearl
  • 100% Natural Lip gloss - Sugared Strawberry
  • Brightening Pearl Mineral Veil
  • 3 brushes - Precision Eye Defining, Tapered Blush, Flawless Application
Since my last 3 kits included Flawless Mascara, I decided I better crack open one of the tubes and try it. This is pretty good stuff. I have yet to like any of BE's mascara's until now. The brush is one of those rubber pronged ones, and I like it. The formula is pretty similar to Cover Girl Lash Blast. I was able to get both volume and length out of it while there was no smudging. I think I will actually use these mascara's so that was a huge plus for me (no mascara buying for a while).

The pencil liner didn't thrill me. First it is black, really black and I don't love black liner. Second, it's a little smudgy on oily skin. It would do better with a primer underneath. Third, the only way I like black liner is on my waterline (yes, I know - not the best idea - but I am a child of the 70's which puts me in high school in the 80's, need I say more?). This did not stay on the waterline, and made my eyes water quite a bit. So for me, the liner is pretty ho-hum.

The blush is a pretty dusty pink shade, but again I don't love BE blushes so it will go up on eBay eventually (my eBay stack is growing; I should probably do something about that). I didn't open it - but it looks like a very pretty color and will have some sheen with the pearls in it.

Now the eye shadows are really pretty. There are 2 in the kit and the base shadow Blissful Pearl is just a wonderful pinky peach color that could be an easy daytime swipe on the lids and go. The other shade, Magnificent Pearl - I haven't quite pinpointed yet but it's darn lovely. The kit describes it as charcoal taupe. These are not sparkly, but definitely shimmery. The picture does not do them justice (wobbly shooting). They also blend quite nicely and look sharp together.

The lip gloss is a nice pink color that I like, but it's pretty sheer and it's not a Buxom so it doesn't stay quite as well. But it is moisturizing and looks pretty, especially on top of a pink lipstick. It also has a Brightening Pearl Mineral Veil finishing powder, which I do really like especially for parties. It's not glittery, but enough shimmer to feel like you're going to a special event without feeling like a disco ball.

The brushes are decent, and if you don't have a contour brush yet - be happy. This brush is awesome if you stink at doing contour colors. It's angled so that you put the tip into the crease and have the angled part facing upward against the upper part of your lid. Then swipe like a windshield wiper back and forth from the middle of your eye to the outer part. See Makeup Geek for awesome videos on how to apply eye shadows, and this brush will make you look like an expert!

Overall it's a good kit at a good price. I don't love it like I did the Surprise kit - but it's nice overall kit if you want a complete look-in-a-box for those who are pink inclined. QVC and Bare Escentuals do a great job with these, and the pricing is affordable. Definitely worth a look.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Urban Decay 24/7 Liner Pencils

Who doesn't like a good pencil eye liner? Pencil is simple, quick and can be colorful. Urban Decay 24/7 liners are all of those things and more.

As I mentioned, oil is a serious problem for me and everything smudges or runs. I had read about the staying power of this liner in an Allure magazine blog and thought I would give it a try. I picked up this amazing bronze color (Lucky) and gave it several trial runs. What can I say, it didn't move and the color is vibrant. These liners are also incredibly smooth to apply, and glide right on your lid. They live up to their name and really do last (I actually have to work to remove them).

I have a few of these, and they are all long lasting and darn near smudge proof. 1999 is an awesome plum, Deviant is a very bright blue, and Lucky is a bronze penny color. I should also mention that you do have a little work time to smudge them before they set.

They have some cool sets of liners, so if you like variety you should check these out:

You can pick up individual pencils here:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Urban Decay Primer Potion

Urban Decay's Primer Potion is just magic for anyone who has trouble with creasing / smearing eye shadows.

I got a tiny vial of the stuff as a freebie at Sephora over 2 years ago. I had no idea what it was, but thought - okay, I will try this and see what it does. So I took it on a Las Vegas trip in the middle of August (can you say HOT?) because I knew I would be using lots of eye shadows that week. Well, not a crease, not a smear, nothing but perfect eyes all evening / night long. My eyes are so oily that I usually crease within 2 hours of doing up my makeup. Well, this stuff was like a miracle.

My final trial of it was the wedding of 2 very good friends, where I knew I needed my makeup to look spectacular for well over 8 hours. It was shortly after the Vegas trip, and I hadn't really used it since then. I figured it would be worth a shot to get at least 6 hours out of it and I brought my eye colors with me to touch up prior to the reception. Well, no eye touch up needed - and I couldn't believe it! All I touched up that day was my powder and blush. Off to Sephora I went to purchase the full sized tubes.

It comes in 2 different colors now, original and Sin. I like the both, but they serve different purposes for me. If I have a whole eye in mind, I use the original nude shade. This stuff is like glue for shadows and can be sticky so you have to place your shadow on before you can blend it. I use the trick of applying a little Bare Escentuals Well Rested (any matte nude shadow will do) after applying the Primer Potion so that when I go to blend whatever colors I want that day, they apply and blend a little easier because the Well Rested took away the "stickiness". It's not really sticky to the touch, just to eye shadow - after all, it's meant to anchor the stuff to your eye lid. With a nude base over the Potion, I can blend to my heart’s content and don't have to worry so much about "placing" the shadow on my lids. The Sin shade is a shimmery nude shade and works great as a base for any shimmery look you want to do, you'll get the added bonus of the shimmer from the Potion if you choose an all over color. I like to use Sin when I'm doing a nude or pink look and want that as my base / all over eye color and the just put a crease or lid color over it.

I will say the packaging leave a bit to be desired, as those curvy tubes are impossible to get the entire product out with the wands. There are videos all over the internet explaining how to cut the tube open and scrape out and store the product that is still in the tube just when you think it's empty. It's worth consideration when purchasing, but this product is completely worth the hassle. I cannot believe how well it works and can vouch that not even the oiliest of eye lids can make this product budge. As a caution, it can be drying to those with dry or sensitive eyes. Too Faced makes a nice primer that I will review at some point, it's not nearly as drying.

Urban Decay can be found here amongst other retailers:
Urban - Friends and Family sale through November 20th, code FNFW1

Thursday, November 5, 2009

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

I have talked a bit about awesome makeup products so far. But now you might be wondering, how do I get this stuff off my face at night? Well, I happen to have a couple of suggestions about just that. You might be surprised about this, but one of the best facial makeup removers I have tried comes in an oil form. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil.

What they say about themselves, " is your exclusive online source in the U.S. for authentic DHC products - skincare and cosmetics from one of Japan's top beauty companies. We are also a provider of fine foods and nutritional supplements - products that help you be as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. Look for new sales and liquidation specials every month for a savings of up to 50% off! Get 4 free samples every time you order."

Now, on to the awesome Deep Cleansing Oil. It is largely made with Olive Oil and dissolves almost everything on my face. I have used this product to remove waterproof mascara and eyeliner, and I use it daily to just remove all the makeup before truly cleansing my skin. It's a pretty simply application, do NOT wet your hands or face first - just take a pump of the product and rub your face as usual. Include your eyes and eyelashes in the process, it does not sting or irritate. Then rinse, you will be free of your makeup and cleanse as usual. I know it's an extra step in the cleansing process, but it both moisturizes and removes stubborn makeup before cleansing. These are good things for your skin! DHC makes several other cleansing products to follow up after the Deep Cleansing Oil, of which I prefer their glycerin soaps (Mild Soap, Olive Soap and Pure Soap). Used with a washcloth, these 2 steps clean my face from the day and help keep me breakout free.

Even if you already have a cleanser you love, you might have trouble removing mascara without an eye makeup specific product. Eye makeup removers tend to make my eyes red and swollen, which is why I switched to Deep Cleansing Oil before my usual cleanser. DHC also sends samples in their catalog (which is how I found out about this product) so you can try different things before you buy. If you want to try it - get the 2.3 oz. bottle and see how you like it (this size is under the travel restrictions as well so it might come in handy). The bottle lasts a while since you need only 1 or 1.5 pumps of product each time.

Check them out at DHC Care

Monday, November 2, 2009

Too Faced Caribbean in Compact in Snow Bunny

Now that fall is here and our faux tans are fading, it's time to add a little bronzing powder to our routines. Bronzer can be very scary, they come in so many shades and some of them look like little pumpkins in a compact. I for one, have a hard time finding a bronzer that make me look sun kissed rather than dirty or like Willy Wonka's Oompa Loompas.

Too Faced makes a bronzer called Caribbean in a Compact, which comes in two shades Snow Bunny and Sun Bunny. I found Sun Bunny to be a nice tan color (rather than orange) that works for me in the summer, but is still too dark for my fair skin in the winter. If you have a medium or tan skin tone, this one would be just right for you. The Snow Bunny compact is perfect for me. It's a blend of pink / white / tans rather than orange shades. This particular bronzer is very shimmery, so I use it as a highlighter / bronzer rather than just strictly a bronzer. I use it on my forehead, cheekbones and tip of my nose and chin. Right where the sun hits you are the best application spots, and a light hand is best. If you are shimmer averse, I would stay away from this one and perhaps look at Laura Geller Bronze -n- Brighten which I will review at some point because it's also great.

Too Faced also has kit that includes the Snow Bunny and Sun Bunny as well as their Pink Leopard bronzer (this is also an awesome color; I was torn between this color and Snow Bunny when I was shopping). If you're a bronzer junkie or someone who goes between 2 or 3 shades during the year, The Bronzed and the Beautiful would be the product to pick up.

Too Faced products are available at many locations, here's a few:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector

I recently had a request for a review of a makeup primer. For those that don't know, a makeup primer's purpose is to smooth the skin and prepare it for makeup. It effectively creates a barrier between moisturizers that soak into the skin and your makeup (which you do not want soaking into your skin - this is the disappearing effect many people experience). The first primer I ever heard of was Smashbox Photo Finish, which is a silicone based primer. This stuff is very good for dry to normal skin, and didn't really do much for my oily skin. (Yes, to those in the know, they have since come out with a "light" version for oily skin types). Many different companies make a primer and many of them are very good, whereas some really didn't do anything for me. This one is my favorite, but I do use others depending on the day and length of time I expect to be "looking my best". So I promise to talk about a few other pretty good primers in future posts.

My search landed me at a rather inexpensive and completely amazing product. Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector is a two-fer of primers. It temporarily reduces the appearance of pores and absolutely fights oil all day. Since I really like to apply a tinted moisturizer, I like a primer that applies over the moisturizer and doesn't mix with it (like the BE oil-free Prime Time did). You need so little of this product to cover your oily zone, that the somewhat small tube lasts almost 5-6 months. I use less than a pea-sized amount for my forehead, nose, chin and apples of my cheeks. It glides on smoothly and makes an even surface out of my porous cheeks so that the Bare Escentuals makeup I use just glides on top without sinking into lines or pores. It also does such a terrific job of fighting oil that I don't need to touch up until 2 or 3pm, which is about 7-8 hours after I've applied my makeup. If your skin is less oily than mine, you probably won't need a touch up at all.
Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector comes in 2 shades, Invisible Light and Invisible Deep and both are incredibly sheer on the skin. I've listed a few online and in store shopping places. If you are a bargain shopper, and have a Prime Outlet mall near you (Castle Rock, CO or Kenosha, WI for starters) with a Cosmetics Company Store - you can pick this item for a few dollars less than retail. (Though, call ahead if you are making a special trip - the one in Castle Rock tends to only have the Deep tint for some reason)

Clinique is widely available, here's a few links:
Sephora - FF2009 to save 20% during the Friends and Family sale through Nov 2nd

Monday, October 26, 2009

Smashbox Sheer Focus

With fall in full swing, and I do mean swing, it's time to talk moisturizer. I’m talking tinted moisturizer to be precise. The weather in Colorado has been lovely followed by freezing, followed by lovely again for the last few weeks and my skin is taking a beating. Even with my oily t-zone, I wear moisturizer. Colorado has what is considered an arid climate, which has been a huge adjustment from the humidity of the Chicago area. One of the great things about a tinted moisturizer is that it balances all that dryness out while evening out my skin tone. I can use less foundation and concealer while doing my skin a favor at the same time.

My fall and winter tinted moisturizer favorite is Smashbox Sheer Focus. I received a free sample with purchase last year, and went back 3 days later to purchase a full size tube. I need more moisture in the winter and I get it with Sheer Focus without clogging my pores. It comes in several skin tone appropriate shades (Fair, Light, Medium, Dark) and one more universal shade (Luminous). It's an oil free formula and has an SPF 15 rating, which I love for every day sun protection. The Luminous shade is the color I have been using and it's very forgiving, pale skinned or still sporting a faux tan. A small amount goes a long way with this product, and it blends evenly and easily with your fingers.

Overall, I just love how moisturizing it is while not causing me any additional oil problems during the day. I also love that in a pinch; I can use a swipe of Sheer Focus / Powder / Mascara and be out the door in 5 to run errands.

Smashbox is widely available, and can be purchased here among other retailers:

  • Smashbox ("Let's do Lunch" Tuesdays / Thursdays 9AM - 2PM pst will get you a free full size item with purchase)
  • Sephora (Still having the Friends and Family Sale FF2009 code at checkout, through Nov. 2nd)
  • Ulta

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bare Escentuals Buxom Babes Winter Escapade

Given my love of the Buxom Lip Gloss, I also just HAD to have this collection of the Buxom Babes, so I ordered it through the online store 2 weeks ago. Winter Escapade is very much a holiday themed collection of the awesome Buxom Babes. You can see my review of this lip gloss here.

The colors included and described by Bare Escentuals as:
• Holly (sparkling butter cream)
• Merry (honey caramel)
• Hope (glistening ice)
• Joy (juicy apple)
I think I love Holly and Joy the most. I really like a red lip during the holidays, and Joy is just right. Hope is the most versatile and can be used over any lipstick for a bit of sparkle and fun during the holiday party season.

I have only seen this kit at Bare Escentuals boutiques / online store and Sephora so far. It could show up other places, we will see. Sephora is having their Friends and Family sale right now, through Nov 2nd. Code is FF2009 for 20% off your order.

I'd also like to mention that both Sephora and the Boutiques have some other new seasonal kits with eye shadows and the fabulous Face Fashion kit. I already have many of the colors in these kits, so I will not be purchasing them. I thought they were worthy of mention if you like a complete face kit or are looking to just supplement your eye shadow collections.
- Pure Luxuries (Love the bag in this kit, it's my "makeup bag")

Please let me know what you think if you've picked any of these kits up. I'm susceptible to such influences!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Too Faced Natural Eye Kit

Eye shadow is a product I mostly play with on weekends. I generally don't wear it to work because it takes me application time that I don't have when heading to work (I am a perfectionist after all). It's also something I always take when I travel, so I really like kits with lots of pretty colors. I picked this one up on a whim, because on my last trip I didn't have any nice neutral colors for daytime in my travel pack.

The Too Faced Natural Eye kit is part of their fall collection. It has 9 colors, a dual ended brush and 3 application cards with different looks. I really like this collection of colors; they are very pretty on any skin tone and are nicely pigmented so they actually look true to color on your lids. One nice detail about this kit is the color names and groupings. Each row represents the colors of a certain look, and match up with the supplied idea cards. I think these idea cards are great, they give you a basic plan for each color group which you can use exactly as shown or improvise. The colors in the first row for "Day" are matte and give a nice clean finish. The middle row "Classic" has a nice shimmer to each shade, and they blend easily. The bottom row "Fashion" is sparkly and I found a bit difficult to work with. The sparkle from "Nude Beach" ended up all over my face. The standard 'fluffy brush removal' trick didn't work very well with this one. Their website has a trick to do the eye shadow first, then apply your face makeup. I may try the 'cover your under eye area with a tissue' trick with it next.

Overall, it's a nice kit and I think it will become a regular in my travel kit. With 9 colors, I can create almost any look I want and supplement with other colors if needed.

If you buy from Too Faced directly, they have free samples at checkout so be sure to select Shadow Insurance. It's an eye shadow primer that will make these colors last all day and into the evening. Reviews of this product and other primers are coming soon!

A few places Too Faced is available:
Too Faced - online
Ulta - online and in stores
Sephora - online and in stores

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bobbi Brown Goldstone Long-wear Eye Palette

Now I know we haven't talked about it yet, but I am a HUGE Bobbi Brown fan (the makeup artist, not the musician). I have read several of her books and started my Bobbi Brown collection with 2 long-wear cream eye shadows and 1 long-wear gel eyeliner. Coincidentally, that is exactly what is included in one of her new palette's, the Goldstone Palette. Though, these eye shadows are the new Metallic cream shadows rather than the standard version.

Colors included in this kit are:
  1. Goldstone Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadow
  2. Mineral Dust Long-Wear Cream Shadow
  3. Caviar Ink Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner
  4. Mini dual ended brush.

I love the long-wear cream shadows, they do not crease even on my incredibly oily lids. They are also such a nice smooth application, they just slide right on the lid. The metallic shadows are just beautiful if you like your shadows good and sparkly. They seem to have the same staying power as the originals, and these 2 colors are very neutral.

The gel eyeliners are equally fabulous and water / oil / smudge-proof. They do take a bit of practice to apply, as you don't want to load up the brush too much and you do not want to reload the brush to apply to your lower lashes (the line comes out too harsh otherwise). They are also an item you want to immediately clean your brush after use or it will dry in the brush and become very difficult to remove. But this stuff doesn't smudge or run or do anything other than look fabulous once it's applied. The Caviar Ink color is a nice brown / black color and just wonderful with these 2 shadows.

I think this kit is appropriate for nights out or a little glam in your day (with one shadow applied just to the lid). I really like the metallic shadows, but then I like some sparkle in my life.

I purchased this kit through Bobbi Brown's online store, but it's also available at Nordstrom in store and online.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bare Escentuals Buxom Babes about Town

Being that its fall, may lines have new products debuting and Bare Escentuals is one of them. They have several new kits, many exclusive to their boutiques or Sephora or Ulta. The new Buxom Babes about Town kit is exclusive to Sephora and I ordered it last week.

Given that I've already spouted my love of Buxom lip glosses, I won't go into that kind of detail here. I'll just tell you to go check out this link and read about it. This is a new kit includes a Buxom Babe lip gloss and lip stick. The gloss tubes included are Destiny, Dani, Isabella, and Zena. The Buxom lip sticks included are Berlin, Milan, Shanghai and Amsterdam. Destiny looks like it might be my favorite of the bunch, goes great with my fall colors. The lip sticks are a new product, so I thought I would talk a little about those in this review.

Buxom Lip Sticks in this kit are small and shaped like a lip liner. They go on smoothly, like you would expect with a lip stick. They are matte in color, but felt dry on my lips. I was compelled to put some gloss on over top to moisturize. It's fortunate that each stick is paired up with a gloss in the About Town kit. They do look great with the gloss over top for an opaque finish. The combo of stick and gloss lasted throughout the morning with no fading or sliding. Overall, I would not wear one of these sticks alone but I do like them paired with the gloss for a full color, rather than sheer, look.

This is an only at Sephora kit, so you can pick it up in store or online.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bare Escentuals The Surprise collection

I will admit I am a sucker for kits. I love the idea of someone picking out colors that go together for me and selling them in a kit. Which brings us to Bare Escentuals The Surprise collection. It is brand new this October, and is exclusive to the boutiques and online store. Bare Escentuals has for the last few years, put together kits that are exclusive to their primary retailers. The Surprise is exclusive to the boutiques, The Happiness collection is exclusive to Sephora and Ulta will have an exclusive kit that doesn't appear on their website yet.

I purchased The Surprise this year for 2 reasons, I really liked the eye colors in this kit and the brushes are not duplicates for me. Happiness has a pretty lip color that tempted me, but I did not need another Flawless Definition mascara (I have 2 tubes already that I haven't even tried!). Now, on to the fabulous colors in this kit...
• Secret Radiance All-Over Face Color
• Spellbound Eyecolor (a pale pink)
• Surreal Eyecolor (a shimmery taupe)
• Suspense Liner Shadow (they describe as "inky teal", I would call it charcoal or graphite)
• Intrigue Blush (rose)
• Double-Ended Natural Lipgloss in Brilliance & Angel Food Cake (both are peachy / nude)
• Soft Sweep Cheek Brush
• Tapered Crease Defining Brush
• Line Diffuser Brush
I have some swatches here. I didn't swatch the blush since I likely will not use it and will try to sell it on eBay or give it away. I am not in love with the blushes, they are pretty - but I find them difficult to apply evenly and way too time consuming. I really like compact blushes, so I usually sell or give away the blushes in these kits. In fairness, if you like the blushes - this one is a really pretty soft rose shade.

The shadows appear to be very finely milled and are almost silky smooth when applying them. I really like how soft they are, both in shade and texture. Spellbound is a very pale pink with just a touch of shimmer. I like it, though I think it could be used wet to get more punch from the color. The Surreal color is an awesome neutral color and blends easily in the crease with the sweet fluffy dome brush in this kit. The Surprise Radiance is a fabulous neutral shimmer that I just love along the neckline and décolletage. Yes, you can use the Radiances on your face as well; they make great highlighters along the cheekbones. I had heard good things about the Line Diffuser brush that pushed me towards this kit. I like to apply BE liners dry (many do this wet - I find it too intense for my pale coloring) so I like a brush that can push the color onto my lower lash line either in a smooth line, or a little smudgy depending on my mood. This brush is just perfect for either, and is about to replace my Heavenly Liner brush. The Suspense liner is a nice charcoal shade (almost teal) with just a hint of shimmer as well. The lip glosses are interesting, it's the Natural lip gloss (not the Buxom) and it's a nice gloss without being too sticky. One is a rich nude and the other is a very sheer glittery peach. I like the nude shade, but the glittery one is almost gritty and it's not my favorite.

One last little thing about this kit are the jar lids and brush handles, they are a lovely dark pink color and add some fun to the kit and my makeup bag. Overall, I'd give it a B+ since the lip glosses are so close in color, I would have liked a pink toned and a peach toned one rather than both being peachy / nude. I think its great every day kit that can be sassed up for night by using Surreal on the lids and the Suspense liner shade as a crease / outer corner shade.

Available online and in the Bare Escentuals Boutiques

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Disclosures and Policies

Consider this the disclosures and policies post.

I am not paid by any of these companies to review their products. If I receive a free sample to review, I will disclose that information in the review. I am not a reviewer for hire, but someone just like yourself who enjoys beauty products and wants to talk about them.

This blog is a member of Google Affiliate Network, LinkShare, Amazon Affiliates and Google AdSense. If you click on any of the advertising links and purchase a product through that link, I do receive a commission.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Benefit Erase Paste

Concealer is a tricky product for many people. They are usually too pink, too yellow or even too green (which scares me a bit). I've experimented with a few different products and was never totally satisfied with the results. A few of them didn't last all day, and one of them just looked like yellow paint on my skin. I stopped searching when I found Benefit's Erase Paste.

This concealer mixes the best of concealers with the best of brighteners. My primary use for concealer is under eye darkness and a little broken capillaries patch on my cheek. I have pretty fair skin, and have found that pink brightener products work the best for me, but sometimes look a little plastic or ghostly and slide off by midday. I have trouble with yellow concealers as well, they make me look uneven. While I have a touch of yellow undertone, it's not enough to try concealing my "problem areas" with strictly a yellow color. This is where Erase Paste excels. It's a combination concealer / brightener with staying power like you wouldn't believe.

Erase Paste comes in three flattering shades: Fair, Medium and Deep.

All three have a great balance of pink brightener and yellow concealer to do both jobs just right. It doesn't slide on my oily cheeks and blends easily. I have found that when I apply the Erase Paste over my foundation and then set with my loose powder, my under eye darkness is magically gone. If I apply before foundation, the minerals stick to the product and it creases. It definitely earns the Paste part of it's name from the long wearing formula, once applied it sticks all day. One thing to note - it's sticking power is serious, and I find it difficult to wash off my brush without a facial cleanser. My regular brush cleanser didn't work, but facial cleanser did.

This product is worthy of an in store stop next time you are at the mall. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Benefit products are widely available and can be found at:
Benefit Cosmetics - online store where we have a free shipping code for you:

Sephora - in store and online
Ulta - in store and online. Benefit is a new product line at Ulta as of this summer, so go check them out!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Bourjois Paris Volume Glamour Ultra Black Mascara

Mascara is my go-to product, if I am leaving the house on a quick trip I reach for the mascara before leaving. It is my staple in every look, and I have tried so many different ones in the last few years. I probably have a top 5 list just in my makeup drawer alone. This doesn't count the tubes I get as samples from ordering online. So I thought I would start what will become a massive list of sweet mascara's.

You should know my requirements for good mascara up front. Your list may be different than mine which could change your view on any mascara that I review.
  1. I like BLACK. My eyes are one of my best features, so I like them to stand out.
  2. My lashes are long and thick but pale. I want my mascara to enhance both length and volume.
  3. DOES NOT FLAKE OR SMUDGE. Seriously, I have very oily lids and many types of mascara either smudge on my lids or flake off.

Bourjois Paris mascara in Volume Glamour Ultra Black is fabulous every day mascara for those who don't want to spend department store prices on their eyelashes. As the name says, it enhances the volume of your lashes and is a deep black. I also find that my second coat does a nice job of lengthening so my lashes look both thick and long. No spider lashes here, the brush is thin and the bristles thickly packed so they do a great job of separating the lashes. I am not a fan of big poofy mascara brushes because they apply mascara to my lids as well as my lashes (a trusty Q-Tip resolves this, but it is an annoying extra step). This one is skinny which makes it easy to be accurate in your application. It also lets you get those tiny little lashes that can be hard to reach with big brushes. This mascara lasts all day and there is no smudging or flaking. It's not waterproof, so don't wear it in the pool or to the sappy chick flick at the multiplex.

I'm now on my second tube of this great mascara, and will continue to use it due to its affordable price ($13.50) for what feels like a luxury mascara. Please let me know if you love this product, or if you have suggestions. I'm always looking for a new mascara to try!

This mascara is available at Ulta, where they always have coupons making this product even more affordable.

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