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 d├ęcolletage. 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.

As for comments, I reserve the right to delete any comments I deem outside of a cosmetics conversation. This includes spam and advertising outside the content of this blog.

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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.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What next?

I have two reviews written and ready for posting. One about a sweet affordable mascara and another about an awesome concealer. I'd like to know what you want to hear about next.

Please vote by posting a comment below.

Thanks for your input, and either way - I will post a new review tomorrow evening.
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