Monday, July 26, 2010

Benefit POREfessional

I believe I mentioned that I needed to sample Benefit POREfessional before buying. Well, sample it I did. Stopped in Ulta last week for a few supplies and decided to check this out. The sample in the store turned out to be a little runnier than the bottle I purchased, but was still a good indicator of how it would work for me.

This is meant as a makeup primer / pore hider. It's oil free (huge plus for the oily skinned girl like me) and can be used under or over makeup. Yep, I said over makeup. It's silky and smooth with just a hint of tint. It blended right over my tinted moisturizer and didn't disturb it. My pores look smaller and smoother after application and appear that way for several hours. The nice thing is that you can touch up with it if you have a dinner date and no time to run home. I thought it fought my usual shine problem very well and compares favorably with my favorite primer - Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector. It also has the added benefit of not affecting the finish of my mineral makeup. It applies smoothly over the POREfessional and has no added shine or texture. 

This is now appearing in several retail chains including Ulta and Sephora for $28. It's fairly pricey and almost double what I pay for the Clinique - but it's a larger bottle, so I'd say it will just stop you from purchasing as often. It's a pretty impressive product and I've been testing it in 90+ degree weather for the last 2 weeks. So its a great consideration for those that have a desire to hide the appearance of their pores and control shine.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Urban Decay Naked Palette

This has been my one big beauty purchase this summer. Urban Decay always has some of the best shadows, richly pigmented and sometimes a little sparkly. So the Naked kit, with it's neutrals and non-sparkle set of 12 shadows, 2 liners and primer was a steal for $44.

What a terrific set of color. I see several neutral eye looks, and at least 3 smokey eye looks that can be accomplished here. Most neutral eye sets don't include such terrific black / grays along with beautiful dark mauve / pink shades.

Included in this set:
  • Primer Potion - Original
  • Zero 24/7 Eyeliner - black
  • Whiskey 24/7 Eyeliner - brown






Eyeshadow shades:
  • Virgin
  • Sin
  • Naked
  • Sidecar


  • Buck
  • Halfbaked
  • Smog
  • Darkhorse


  • Toasted
  • Hustle
  • Creep
  • Gunmetal



If you are looking for a collection of great matte and shimmer shadows in just about every color you would "need" for any trip - I think this is it. At $44, I don't know that you can get this quality and quantity anywhere else. I'd highly recommend picking this up at Sephora or Urban Decay. Keep in mind, this already sold out at Sephora once and they just announced receiving their second shipment.

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Summer Products

Okay - limited budget time. I haven't purchased any new products to review or test out recently - so I don't have much to write about. But I am really interested in a few new products, especially from Benefit and Bobbi Brown. I do have Urban Decay's new Naked palette on the way here, but that's about all I've managed to justify.


So here are some links to reviews and pictures of some of the cool new summer products:


Benefit Scene Queen - New Benefit kit with eyeshadow, blush and a few other goodies. Looks great, but do I really need all that? Checkout Temptalia's review.


Bobbi Brown Denim and Rose - Okay, these colors are really appealing. Pink and navy are just somehow so simple but pretty. Again, I can't seem to justify the purchase after having just received a peach and navy kit from somewhere else. But check out this review at Temptalia if you're interested.


Benefit POREfessional - This looks like an interesting primer product, but at almost $30 - I need a sample size test before springing that much cash for something that appears to be hit or miss. Two reviewers have talked about this one at Gouldylox and the Muse. I'm so picky about primer, that this one could go either way for me.


Urban Decay Vegan Palette - Another great looking shadow palette from Urban Decay. But at this point, I think I have enough Teal / Aqua shadows to last a lifetime. Check out this review at Temptalia.


That about covers the latest releases that I had any interest in. I'll let you know about the Naked palette as soon as it gets here and I can play with it. From all the reviews I've seen - it's smashing!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Skincare Basics

So, being that I review a lot of "beauty" related products, I thought we should at least bring up the topic of skincare. Largely to state that I am NOT an expert in this area. I'm a woman who had pimples until she was about 35 because she was using the wrong products and never could figure out the right products.


Let's just say this is a topic I'm learning about, and I'm trying to go to the right sources. One of the books I picked up at the library a few years ago has quite a cult following. "Don't go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me" by Paula Begoun is a real encyclopedia of products, ingredients and information. Her associated website, to which I now subscribe, Beautypedia.com has the most current and updated reviews and information available.


Now, they don't review things as a like or dislike. They review things based on the ingredients and whether they are good for your skin or do what the companies claim. So some of the products I swear by, don't get such great reviews from Paula and her team. But for the most part - I take her information seriously. While my skin may not react to something visibly, an ingredient could be causing damage and that is something I am trying to avoid.


But here is a summary of what I've learned, and it's all rather basic.


1. Anti-oxidants are good - they help fight invisible damage to your skin. This just plain makes your skin look and feel fresher. Anti-oxidants are ingredients like vitamins A, C and E. Paula has an article here about these excellent ingredients. Interestingly enough, one of the best anti-aging ingredients is Retinol which just so happens to be Vitamin A. 


2. Exfoliation is also good - You need to keep your skin fresh and help cell turnover. Scrubs however can be bad. Many are overly abrasive and can actually irritate your skin. There are many ways to exfoliate, and one of the best ways is to use a clean washcloth when washing. Clean is key, I use mine twice, and toss it in the wash. Another great ingredient for exfoliation is an AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) or BHA (Salicylic Acid). I'm currently using a 2% salicylic acid gel daily, and it keeps my pores clear and my face generally blemish free. The difference is AHA is water-soluble and BHA is oil-soluble. So AHA's a great for those with drier skin, and BHA's are great for the oily skin folks.


3. Moisture rocks - No matter how oily your skin is, and mine is super oily, you need to keep the moisture in your skin. This is a huge challenge for the western U.S. where the air is so pleasantly dry. (I love living in Colorado, I'm from Chicago and know humidity very well) Finding a good moisturizer is probably the biggest struggle for most people. But I know that if I don't use one, I have very flaky skin. Find a balance is my best advice, and read beautypedia.com for recommendations to try. I'm currently using a lightweight serum with Retinol at night, and a tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 during the day. It's just enough moisture to keep the flakes at bay, but not stimulate more oil.


4. Sunscreen is mandatory - Seriously, do I need to say more about this? Find a great moisturizer with sunscreen and a great foundation with sunscreen. Period. If you want a great tinted moisturizer with Retinol and SPF - look at Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer. It's great, inexpensive and available at your local drugstore.


One thing I should mention, Paula also creates her own products in a line called Paula's Choice. I use a few of these, and so far - what I have tried is excellent. The BHA 2% gel has been a skin saver this summer.


I'm not an affiliate of Paula's Choice or beautypedia.com, I just find the information there very useful.
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