Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Styling Gel

Wavy hair is a challenge. It's not straight and it's not curly, and mine has what my stylist calls "a seriously stubborn wave". I've been styling my hair wavy for the last few years as it's just easier on my hair and my morning routine. That being said, I'm always on the lookout for a good curl / wave product. This particular one was a purchase I made based on a conversation I had several years ago with a former co-worker who has the most beautiful curly hair. She styles it both straight and curly and came in one day looking fabulous, so I had to ask what she used that day. The answer was Ouidad. Being that this conversation was several years ago, I couldn't remember what product specifically it was that she loved. But when I saw the product available on Sephora's website a few months ago, I knew I would give it a try at some point. So I grabbed a bottle on their 20% off sale in the fall and have been experimenting with it ever since.

I tried the Curl Quencher Moisturizing Styling Gel since I like and need the hold a gel provides. Well, this was unlike any gel I have used in the past. Most gels dry crunchy, this does not. It also enhanced my curl to some extent. My hair is soft and wavy when I am finished styling. I like the look, but it really needs a bit of shine to it, so I whip out my Redken Shine Spray to finish the look without crunchy hair.

Now I will say this product did not hold all day for me which was a bit of a disappointment. My waves started to "fall" a bit after 3pm, which is a pretty long 8 hours to begin with. I use some hairspray for hold - but they still flatten a bit. If your hair is more naturally curly I wouldn't worry about the hold time, since your hair is always curly anyway. My waves have the tendency to look great after blow drying and then fall out and look frizzy by mid-day since they are rather loose to start.

I coupled this with some mousse after about a week and the hold time dramatically improved as did the look of the curls. You could try their mousse called PlayCurl or my favorite curly girl mousse - Nexxus Gorgeous Curls Curl Enhancing Foam Styler which has great hold time without massive crunch. 

Ouidad is available online through their website, Amazon or Sephora.
I am an affiliate of Ouidad, however these products were purchased by me with the intent of making my hair look great.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bare Escentuals I Love BE Grand Collection

I wanted to take this week to give you a heads up on a new Bare Escentuals collection that will be airing this week on QVC. I'm giving you a heads up rather than a review because I don't plan on purchasing this kit. Mostly because I'm not using the regular foundation any more (well, I'm using up my last 2 jars); I love the Matte so much. The colors are very pretty and I am thinking about picking a few of them up on eBay.

QVC Showings of Bare Escentuals:
Friday 1/29/09 - 11pm-12am ET
Saturday 1/30/09 -  12am-1am ET, 11am-1pm ET, 3pm-5pm ET, 9pm-11pm ET

The kit will include - Link to Mineral Madness description and pictures:
  • bareMinerals Foundation - Full Size
  • RareMinerals Night treatment - Full Size (LOVE THIS!!)
  • bareMinerals Charcoal eyeliner pencil - new shade
  • bareMinerals Soul eye shadow
  • bareMinerals Heartcake 100% Natural Lipgloss
  • bareMinerals Heart Glimmer
  • bareMinerals Love all over face color
  • Handy Buki brush
  • Contour Eyeshadow brush

The Heartcake lipgloss is a peachy pink shade that I really like and tend to go for when making purchases. This is nice lipgloss, no tingle like the Buxoms and decent staying power. It is fairly moisturizing, so it won't dry you out.

The Love radiance looks like another great peachy pink color. I like their all over colors, you can use them any where. I tend to go for my neckline with these, as I'm a v-neck and scoop-neck shirt fan.

The eye shadows Heart and Soul (cute names!) are a sheer off-white pearl shade and deep rose shade. Also a nice combo here.

I talked about the liner in a previous review here. This is a new shade, and I love charcoal shades.

The night treatment is fabulous and deserves its own review (which is in the works, I just haven't finished it yet). If you have adult acne or oily skin, I really recommend this product. It's also helped fade my rosacea.

That's the scoop I have - history says the Grand kits are usually fairly pricey due to the full size products, so expect it to be around $90 dollars.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Laura Geller Delectable Chocolate Baked Kit

QVC did it again a few weeks ago, and put together another great kit from another great beauty product maven. Laura Geller is a make up artist from New York who has really found a niche with her "baked" products. I saw her on QVC a few years ago and picked up a small kit from Sephora with her foundation, blush, and bronzer. Love the foundation for touch ups and carry this in my purse. It's mineral makeup without a lot of the mess. I can't say enough about the bronzer here, it will eventually get it's own write-up it is so good.

The Delectable Chocolate kit was a Today's Special Value on QVC a few weeks ago and it looked appealing for the auto-delivery program (which means I get 2-3 more kits at the same price with different colors) and for the interesting colors. I'm not in love with browns as I am so fair. But I know many of you use them as your day to day go-to colors.

The kit comes with a foundation, blush, eye shadow, gloss, and eyeliner. It also included a booklet with color descriptions and application suggestions.

  • Balance-n-Brighten - Fair
  • Blush-n-Brighten - Tartufo
  • Bake Marble Eyeshadow - Tiramisu
  • I-Care Waterproof Eyeliner - Caffe' Mocha
  • Shine and Shield SPF 15 Lip Gloss - Fresco Gelato

Balance-n-Brighten is a nice mineral makeup, it can go on a big heavy if you are not careful. But I like it in my purse as a touch-up product, also as a quickie brush on before a weekend shopping trip. I tried the fair this time, and it is a good match for my winter skin. Overall, this is a good but not great foundation for me.

Now the blush in Tartufo is interesting. It has lots of pink, so I was hoping it would tone down the brown. This color was not good on my winter pale skin, but it's close - so I think it will make a nice summer blush for me. I was hoping it would warm my skin up a little, but instead it looked a little dirty. So I will stick with my pinks and peaches for the winter and try this again with a little summer color. But over all, it's not a shimmery blush and seems to last for several hours.

The eyeshadow in Tiramisu is excellent. When applied dry it is a nice shimmery neutral. When applied with a damp brush it becomes a bronze-y brown. I love this shade, very versatile and I think will become a regular for me on quick neutral days. (most days in my book). In the swatch photo here, the wet application is far left, then foundation, dry eyeshadow, blush, eyeliner and gloss.

The eyeliner is nice brown shade (not my fave, but goes great with the eye shadow) and seemed to stay for several hours, only smudging at the end of the day. Fairly good, but not the best eyeliner ever. Nice small tip though, good for precise application. It also had a smudger end which I thought worked well.

The gloss is a perfect "lip color" shade, not sticky (miracle!) and fairly moisturizing. I also like that it has SPF which makes it great here in Colorado where you need SPF every where you go. I like this even though it's a little thick and takes a light hand in application.

Over all, it's a nice kit - which is no longer available on QVC. You might be able to find it on eBay - just make sure it's "new" and not "used". If you are a Laura fan, or new to her stuff I hope it gives you an idea of what her products are like. Feel free to let me know if you tried this or any of her products before.

Monday, January 18, 2010

OPI Suede Nail Polishes

I went into the store looking for a good top coat. I am loving CND Air Dry, but Beauty Brands didn't carry that one, so I will be trying Speedy by CND this time around. However, this is about the OPI Suede polishes. It was after she gave me some line about them "changing" to the Speedy top coat (total lame excuse for not carrying the object of my desire) that I was distracted by the Suede display by O.P.I.

I almost exclusively use OPI polishes, as I find them to be the most chip-proof for my soft nails. I'm always whacking them on things and bending them. Most polishes chip like mad, including OPI's top coat (for whatever reason). So the Suede is something new. It's a matte finish, and you don't put a top coat on it. I grabbed the Russian Navy  as I love dark polishes in the winter. 

The finish is unique. While the polish itself is sparkly, the finish is matte and looks almost textured. I really like the color along with the finish. The nice thing is that it also looks great with a top coat which when the sparkle really comes through. I think this shade will become a staple in both my summer and winter collections since it's so universal and not quite as dark as many of their "winter" shades. It did take 2 coats for the polish to look really good and opaque.

Overall, if you're looking for something different take a look at the Suede line, there are some great shades available. (Please excuse my ugly soccer toes - I just thought you would want to see the finish)

I purchased this product.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

WEN Cleansing Conditioners

QVC had a WEN Today's Special Value a few weeks ago, and to those who are not QVC "lingo" hip - it means they had a super low price on a particular set or product. I have never tried WEN and had a few questions about it. I thought with this price, I could give it a try without breaking the bank.

WEN is a "cleansing conditioner" created by Chaz Dean. Essentially, it's supposed to eliminate shampoo from your hair cleansing routine by both cleaning and conditioning your hair without stripping it. It's an interesting concept, and for many people with very curly hair it's a very appealing idea. Many of the "curly girl" websites talk about not using shampoos and only using a conditioner to clean your hair. I've been on a wash every other day routine for a while now, and it really helps keep my hair color in place and my hair less brittle. But I still wash around my hairline every day due to oily skin and scalp. This is a little drying and defeats the purpose of washing every other day and trying to be "shampoo free" those days.

On to the WEN experiment. According to the booklet I received, I am supposed to use this product daily in place of both shampoo and conditioner. I started with the Fig as it's supposed to be for thick / coarse hair. I followed the instructions exactly, wetting the hair thoroughly first, followed by a sectioned application of the product, followed by a comb through and "let sit". After I completed my shower routine (about 5 minutes), I rinsed and rinsed well. The rinsing was about double my usual rinse time, but otherwise relatively easy.
  • Day 1 - hair looked great, was soft and conditioned as expected.
  • Day 2 - roots looked greasy and flat, but the rest of the hair was well conditioned.
  • Day 3 - had to wash - did not like the flat and greasy looking roots (I essentially chickened out from the 5 day trial I had planned).
So there it is, I realize it's not a real trial of the WEN system. I quit mid-trial because I didn't like the look of my roots which were dull, greasy and flat. Now the booklet says I need more product and more massaging to fight that. However, I massaged judiciously and had plenty of product going just to make sure I didn't get greasy.

The other "flavors" I received were Sweet Almond Mint and Lavender. I attempted to repeat the same 5 day trial with each "flavor". I really like the Sweet Almond Mint, though it's a little "tingly" on the scalp which could be irritating to some. It also didn't leave my roots as flat and greasy looking as the Fig, so I was able to go about 4 days without shampoo. I thought that was pretty impressive. This is my favorite of the bunch as it didn't weigh my hair down and looked good after several days. I won't be giving up shampoo any time soon, but this is a nice change from my routine.

The Lavender didn't weigh my hair down, but after 2 days straight my hair was frizzy. We have no humidity in Colorado, so this was a suprise. It looked I was living in Atlanta. This one will go the way of the Fig flavor and be an every other day use until I use up the bottle.

Overall, I do like the product as my hair was very soft and fluffy after use. I can get away with a few more days straight with the Sweet Almond Mint. But I think for me, it's a better fit into my usual routine of shampoo every other day and use WEN on the non-shampoo days.

Please let me know if you've tried WEN, are trying it, or general thoughts on it.

WEN is available from their website, QVC and Amazon

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lancôme BI-FACIL - Eye Makeup Remover

Lancôme BI-FACIL - Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover is a product I stumbled upon by accident and found that it is just not worth trying anything more. I received a sample of it when I purchased some products last summer, and used the sample while traveling last year. I just recently purchased the full size bottle because it was worth every penny (and it's a bit pricey - $26 for 4.2 oz.).

Lancome Bi Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover ( Made in USA ) - 125ml/4.2oz
So what is it? Ah, it's eye makeup remover. I would go so far as to say, the best of it's kind. It's a dual formula, so it requires shaking to mix up the emulsion. Just put a bit on a cotton ball and swipe across your eyes - makeup gone! Now waterproof formulas make take a few seconds of holding then wipe to dissolve, but no aggressive scrubbing is necessary. Every remover I have tried makes my eyes red / swollen / itchy and just miserable. This does not. No swelling or irritation of any kind with this remover. According to the description it is safe for you contact lens wearers as well.

I know this is short and sweet - but this product is simple and works well above anything else I have ever tried for serious eye makeup removal.

Product is available at various retailers and department stores, including:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Redken Vinyl Glam 02

I have been on the hunt for a good shine product for years. Tried several serums, and sprays and not yet found anything that really lasts and makes my wavy hair look great without either fading or weighing it down.

I went to Beauty Brands and just asked one of the Sales Associates if she recommended any shine sprays. She said she really liked the Redken Vinyl Glam 02 and it was one of their best sellers. So I played with the sample in the store. My hair looked like I had just glossed it without it being stiff or crunchy. It was like a shiny nail polish top coat. The finish also lasted longer than an hour (which is my problem with the Rusk shine spray), and has gone almost 8 hours most days. This is with my hair styled curly and straight (makes it look so soft after a flat iron run). I haven't tried it in humidity due to the complete lack of such evil stuff here in Colorado. But my experience has been that shine sprays do help the frizzies, but won't last as long in humidity.

If you are looking to add some shine and finish to your look, this product has really stepped up the look of my hair. 

It's available at both Ulta and Beauty Brands, along with other salons and hair product retailers.

I purchased this product.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Awesome Drugstore Mascara

As my last tube of mascara dried out (you would be surprised how fast this happens in Colorado), I grabbed a couple of well reviewed mascaras from the drugstore. I thought you might be interested in knowing which ones you can get on the cheap that still rock the lashes.
My mascara requirements:
1. Enhance length and volume
2. No smudges / flakes
3. Super black

L'Oreal Voluminous in the original formula (there are several new options now) comes highly recommended. So many different beauty bloggers and beauty board posters love this product; including my favorite Makeup Geek ( I gave this one a try for a week and found that yes, my lashes looked fabulous. Thick, black and the second coat really enhanced both length and volume. However, I got the smudgies after about 5 hours. I had the tell-tale black streaks on my eyelids just after lunch time. I was pretty disappointed by this since it came so highly recommended. But there it is, it smudged 3 out of 5 days on my super oily lids. If you are drier, this would not be a problem for you. It satisfied 2 out of 3 requirements for me and would probably be great for someone with less oily lids.

I have used LashBlast before and really liked it. This was before my quest for good mascara took me into the previously uncharted territory of Dior, Lancôme and other department store brands. So I thought now was a good time for a second look at this product. I purchased the "Ultra Black" shade previously and remembered that I liked how it looks, so that was my choice again. It has lived up to my expectations. It's not the most lengthening formula, but it does great things for volume. The brush is absolutely great for separating lashes and putting the mascara where I want it (and not where I don't!). The "Ultra Black" shade is a very intense black and it doesn't smudge or flake. It satisfies most of my requirements and is a great general purpose mascara.

Maybelline Define-a-Lash Volume was a semi-random pickup. I loved the Colossal Volum' Express (in the yellow tube) but so-so on the big brush. The brush on the Define-a-Lash looked small and accurate (rubber bristles). The brush is great, but the formula is not. No volume to speak of as far as I could tell, though it did define my lashes nicely. So if you really just want a nice lash defining and slightly lengthening formula, give this a try as it didn't smudge during the day. But if you want Maybelline and you want volume, give Colossal Volume Express a try, it's fantastic for both volume and length. It doesn't smudge either, so all of my requirements were met and enjoyed!

All three brands are available almost anywhere, including your local grocery stores / drug stores and Ulta.
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