Tuesday, September 30, 2008

MAC - Zoomlash

I am clearly on some sort of kick! I just keep trying mascara after mascara. I guess it means that I haven't found what I am looking for.

I am here to tell you that Zoomlash may have changed all that for me.

As you can imagine my local Sephora and MAC folks know me well. I walk into the store and I get a greeting on par with going to a friends house. It includes lots of hello's and hugs. I admit I bask in the attention and love talking makeup with people who love it as much as me. Most friends just don't quite get my makeup problem and so I love meeting kindred makeup obsessed spirits and feeling that I am amongst my people.

Anyway, back to Zoomlash. My favorite MAC MA gave me a sample of this mascara after I told her about my Plush Lash experiment. I like Plush Lash a lot but the wand is a bit difficult to maneuver and I am always getting mascara on my eyelid. After trying out Zoomlash I went back immediately and purchased a tube! Seriously, this mascara found all the lashes I have including the little baby ones near the lash line that are growing in! I got instant length and with a few more swipes I got satisfactory volume. I also did not have any issues with clumping and all this can be had for $12 bucks which is a serious bargain.

I also wore this on a very hot day and it didn't run or smudge and the brush is thin enough to get into the inner corner lashes with ease. My best results so far have been a coat of Zoomlash and then a comb through with Max Factor Volume Couture...my lashes have never looked so good!

Seriously though has anyone noticed the price of the drugstore brands creeping up lately? The mascaras are nearing $10 a tube at the drugstore and are making the $30 mascaras actually seem reasonably priced.

Zoomlash is by far my favorite MAC mascara with Pro Lash being second and Plush Lash being third due to its unwieldy wand. I have heard many a complaint that MAC is practically perfect in every way except for mascara and I have to say I do not agree. There are some great ones you just have to choose wisely.

Monday, September 29, 2008

MAC - Overrich

Happy Monday! I forgot to post this and realize that most of these pigments are sold out but you can find them if you look and online is always a good option at MAC.

Calling all pigment fans....get along to the local MAC store and get yourself some of the 8 limited edition pigments before they are gone...or get all of them.

Here's the thing, pigments aren't cheap at $20 a jar, but they do last a LONG time and are so versatile. They can be used for eyeshadow, lipcolor, nail polish, blush, highlighter, etc. depending on the shade. Truly I love them.

Now I will say this, a good base is needed for pigments to be at their best and adhere to the eyelid with good color payoff. But that my friends is not a reason to avoid pigments, just get a good base! My suggestions for oily lids are Urban Decay Primer Potion or MAC Paint Pots. For normal to dry lids Too Faced Shadow Insurance or MAC Cream Color Base. I am in the oily category and so Paint Pots are my weapon of choice to get good color payoff and prevent fading and creasing.

I also find that pigments are easier to work with depending on the brush you choose. I love MAC's #239 which is a small shader for applying pigment to the lids and #217 if I am blending. Also the smaller #242 is an excellent all around option for using pigment wet or dry. Tapping off excess pigment is key or you may end up with Rocky Balboa type fallout under your eyes.

But really who cares about all this tech talk, on to the colors!

Blonde's Gold - Light tan with gold/white pearl
Heritage Rose - Burgundy with red/brown pearl
Copperbeam - Rusted brown with red pearl
Vintage Gold - Tarnished green with gold pearl
Antique Green - Turquiose green with green pearl
Museum Bronze - Rich taupe with gold pearl
Mega-Rich - Burnt orange with gold pearl
Mauvement - Mauve taupe with gold pearl

I won't lie, I bought 7 of the 8. Only Mega-Rich didn't make the cut. Mega-Rich is very orange for my fair skin and Copperbeam was prettier in my opinion.

While pigment may take a bit of practice and patience to work with you will be rewarded with color payoff that is out of this world!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hunting for MAC Treasure

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have access to a lot of MAC stores including a Pro store in San Francisco as well as numerous department store locations. Getting my MAC fix is pretty easy and when new collections hit I can get my paws on all the stuff I want. I realize that many folks don't have it so good so I don't mean to gloat.

Every once in a while a collection comes out and it just doesn't knock my socks off or there is a sleeper hit that I originally pass on and by the time I go looking they are long gone. After some hunting I have found 2 sources in my neck of the woods that seem to have a whole treasure trove of MAC goodies.

MAC on Burlingame Avenue and the MAC counter inside Bloomingdales at the Stanford Shopping Center.

For instance, the Bloomies MAC counter still has Heatherette, Fafi, Cool Heat, Sonic Chic, and Mineralize shadow duos. Plus they have all kinds of random pigments from collections past. MAC Burlingame is much the same but not quite as much stuff lasts there. The key is that both locations are not super busy and therefore don't sell out of stuff as quickly or at all.

So my friends if you are looking for something and just can't sleuth it out try one of these places and you just might find your treasure!

MAC Burlingame 650-340-0525

Bloomingdales Stanford 650-463-2000

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Balm Shady Lady Palette

Hello Shady Lady! I am in love with a shade from this palette and recommend that you stay far far away from it or else you are likely to get hooked yourself.

The shade is Jet Setting Jennifer (bottom left corner) and is described as a pale gold shimmer. This is mostly true but here's what they don't tell you. This gold is as far as my hunting has shown, unique. It is pale but doesn't veer into cream or white frosty territory. Instead it is a rich pale gold that looks gold and never yellow or white or cream.

I marched all over San Francisco with this color and went to every cosmetic counter and store I could including all of downtown Union Square and Union Street with the MAC Pro Store. I am here to tell you that I came close but there is not an exact dupe to be had. I am strongly considering sending this shade off to 3 Custom Color to see if they can duplicate it because it is a holy grail shade for me. I use it as a highlight and it blends just about any other shade out perfectly.

There are in fact 8 other colors in this palette but JSJ won my heart early and renders all the others nice but not JSJ! I know we all have certain shades that become obsessions and if they are discontinued you just want to cry your eyes out.

Well this palette is limited edition and $38 which is a great deal for 9 shadows that can be used wet or dry but its a bit much to keep buying for one color!

You can find my HG JSJ at Sephora but I warn you to proceed with caution.....that gold will get you, in a good way.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lorac Multi-Platinum Palette

My favorite thing is a good bargain when is comes to makeup and palettes when they contain really good colors, are a fabulous bargain! I know I blog about palettes often but in truth I love them and buy a lot of them too. I have a Tupperware box that I have all my palettes arranged in and there are many more then I need but I really love the variety they offer.

Lorac's Multi-Platinum palette is a good one with many of the go to shades for fall incorporated like gunmetal grey, sapphire blue and a peachy blush to make you look healthy in the winter months.

Lorac shadows are soft and silky and blend beautifully and for $37 it is tough to turn down.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Nars "Best" Palette

This is by far one of the most usable palettes I have come across in quite some time. There just isn't a bad shade in the bunch.

Nars Best Palette is a Nordstrom exclusive and you get 6 eyeshadows for $50. I like Nars shadows in general and I have eyed many of the artist palettes in the past. I suppose I have never purchased one because there were always shades I couldn't imagine really getting any use out of with some I loved.

All About Eve, Bali, Kalahari and Bellisima are all in this palette and while this is definitely a neutral palette that borders on nudes it is wearable and not boring.

Monday, September 22, 2008

LaVanila The Healthy Body Wash

LaVanila does it again and finds a new way to use their vanilla based scents to create a product I love.

I was cruising Sephora, as I do pretty much weekly, when I spotted this body wash and practically yelped with joy. It's true....I looked around quickly to see if I had actually made audible noise.

Needless to say if you like any of the LaVanila fragrances, body butter or lip balms these new body washes will be a shoo in.

I am a closet Vanilla Grapefruit fan. Something about it's crisp and super fruity smell just gets me! Naturally that was the scent I homed in on for my body wash purchase and even though $20 may seem steep for body wash I am here to say you get a huge 12 ounce bottle and you need a very small amount to get satisfying suds.

Like all the products in this range they are chemical free and rely on coconut cleansers, fruit enzymes, and essential oils to cleanse and moisturize. They are packed with antioxidants too but since you wash them off that is just a nice perk to me.

I would like to report that Vanilla Grapefruit body wash is just as delicious smelling as its perfume and body butter counterparts and this is indeed a gentle on the skin wash. All in all I say this is good stuff and I am hoping that some mini size kit will appear for the holiday season. I will of course get one for my friends and one for me too!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Urban Decay - Urban Essentials

Holy cow! Just look at the size of the UDPP! Ladies if you are a fan of the Primer Potion this is the kit for you.

This kit can be found at Sephora for $39 and includes the mondo UDPP as well as Midnight Cowboy and Goddess eyeshadow. Midnight Cowboy is the neutral champagne and I really like the shadow a lot and keep it in my collection.

I am already starting to think about gift buying with the holidays right around the corner and this would make a good one.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Laura Mercier - Custom Compacts

Ah, it appears another great brand is jumping on the band wagon and offering their eyedshadows in a custom palette format. I love it!

Laura Mercier currently only has a 3 pan palette for $10 available but I imagine that will change if they get a good response.

There are also 3 new shadow formulas to choose from. Lustre is a frost finish, Matte shadows are just that with lots of pigment, and Sateen is a soft satin finish and by far my favorite of the bunch.

There are many new colors to choose from with Gold Dust, Topaz, and Sandstone being a few of my picks.

I happen to love palettes that allow you to choose the shades that work best together for you, your lifestyle, or wardrobe and find that those are the palettes I actually use and refill. I also love to give a blank palette as a gift with a gift card for the amount needed to fill it. Any time I have given this gift to a friend I have never heard the end of it (in a good way) and how they loved picking their shades and not getting stuck with a palette they only used for one or two colors.

I think cosmetics companies are finally figuring this logic out and making it a bit easier on us consumers. I have been a long time fan and user of MAC's Pro Palettes and refill pans and have recently started replacing my Bobbi Brown shadows and blush colors in palette form as needed. The shadow pans are $22 which isn't chump change but if there are some basics or just some colors that you can't live without Laura Mercier shadows are fantastic quality and worth the splurge.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I've got a Secret

Now I have to tell you that I debated about blogging my new favorite deodorant. In the end I decided I was just so impressed with the stuff that in the interests of everyone smelling pretty I should not withhold my new pal.

Here it is ladies, Secret Flawless with Olay inspired by Aquacurrent technology in Silky Botanical. I have tried lots of deodorants in my time and most have failed in one or more areas.

I love the way Degree Shower Fresh smells but it leaves my armpits with red bumps. I also love the way Dove Go Fresh in Aloe & Cucumber smells and I don't get those red bumps. What does happen is that I detect a little body odor towards the end of an especially long and sticky day which is not good. The other odd thing I have noticed is supposedly clear deodorant leaving white stains on the arm pit area of black tops.

A lot of my friends have resorted to using the Secret Platinum series to deal with the BO issue but I am hesitant about all that aluminum. So after seeing a commercial for Flawless I decided to give it a try.

Flawless says it will deliver #1 skin conditioning benefits, #2 strong odor and wetness control, #3 go on clear, #4 be smooth and lightweight, and #5 have a self renewing fragrance.

I am here to tell you ladies that this one delivers on it's promises! The Bay Area has been quite hot these past few days and Flawless has performed, well, flawlessly. My pits are bump free and my shirts are not getting stained. Flawless has also dealt nicely with that end of day slight BO and instead I just smell the scent of the Silky Botanicals.

A word on the fragrances. Silky Botanical was my choice as it was the least smelly of the bunch. It is a mild scent that I don't think is particularly botanical but it is unobtrusive....baby powder scents I'm looking at you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chanel Exceptionnel Mascara

I am sorry if you are sick of my mascara adventure. I have already admitted to being a mascara tramp and honestly I don't think I can help myself. As you may remember I am a huge Chanel Inimitable fan. That brush just separates the heck out my lashes and while I do have to work a bit for volume I don't mind.

So when Chanel decided to add to it's mascara offering it was only a matter of time before I gave this new edition a whirl. I broke down and ponied up the $30 bucks for this new fangled 6 sided brush and hoped for the best. Nordstrom does after all have a very good return policy so I figured if the stuff just sucked, then back it would go.

The long and short of it, I am glad I kept my receipt. The brush was frustrating and I got neither the volume or separation I was hoping for. The SA who helped me said that this was an improvement on Inimitable because I would get more volume and I completely disagree.

I found it very hard to get volume or length and the brush was just a pain in the rear. For $30 clams I expect a damn fine mascara and this just didn't deliver.

I do love Inimitable and highly recommend it but Exceptionnel does not get that endorsement. Save your money on this one and pick up Inimitable or Max Factor Volume Couture...you will be much happier.

Monday, September 15, 2008

MAC Slimshine

I wish I was creative enough to write a poem or perhaps an ode to Slimshine, maybe a haiku! Alas I am not that poetic and my ode would end up being cringe worthy and would not properly convey my love of Slimshine.

MAC made a winner when it conceived of Slimshine and at $14.50 you can buy an array of colors to suit your fancy. Slimshine should be in every makeup junkies arsenal of cosmetic goodies and I can tell you it is a staple in mine.

Slimshine earns its beloved status because it is a lipstick/gloss hybrid that makes me giddy. You get the best of both worlds...sheer and shiny glossiness coupled with lipstick color payoff and no goopy feel. I am obsessive about this type of lip product because few things look as fresh as translucent shiny color....it just defines pretty.

My favorite Slimshines are:

Grenadine - creamy deep blue red
Long Stem Rose - baby pink with gold pearl
Most Wanted - berry red with gold shimmer
By Degrees - pinky brown
Tropic Glow - blue pink with silver shimmer
Rock Out - bright blue pink with gold shimmer

Rock Out and Most Wanted are the shades I use most and I mix Grenadine with just about any color to brighten it up.

Friday, September 12, 2008

David Yurman Eau de Parfum

David Yurman's new fragrance is the first to capture my heart for fall scents and it wasn't just the bottle that did it either!

A while back I was at the Neimans in SF and they have the Gurelain scents that were created for the reopening of the Guerlain flagship store in Paris. Rose Barbare was an instant favorite with it's not sweet but somehow wild smelling rose. Barbare is deep and dark and worth smelling but there was just something about it that stopped me from purchasing a bottle. Some element of it just didn't sit well and at over $200 I was not willing to compromise.

Imagine my surprise when on a whim I sniffed this new David Yurman scent and fully expected to be underwhelmed but was not!

David Yurman's scent has that same rose and patchouli thing going on with the woods showing up in the dry down. What it lacks is the mossy quality of Barbare and for me this is pay dirt.

I am not saying these two are dead ringers for each other but like sisters they are related and share some common characteristics. Both of these lovely fragrances would be hard to pull off in the warmer months and would morph from lovely to smelling like the guy who bathes in the disgusting AXE body spray. No these are scents that are meant to smelled through layers of fabric and crisp air.

Both can be found at Neiman Marcus and it is worth it to take a look before 09/15 since Neiman's has their super beauty event going on. The bag is very cute and the goodies inside are icing on the cake.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Target Goes Higher End

Just a few days ago I received my magazine subscriptions and in both Allure and Instyle there were advertisements and beauty editor chatter about the high end makeup lines that are doing a version of their goods for Target. I was just at my local Target back to school shopping and didn't spy the new stuff but I decided to head back to scope it out.

Well lo and behold there these lines were. The first that caught my eye was Jemma Kidd's offering of liners, shadows and the palette pictured. Right next to JK was Napoleon Perdis which was recently on clearance at Sephora and Pixi by Petra Strand.

Target was trying to create a Sephora-like atmosphere with some open testers and cotton swabs for swatching. What I noticed right away was that the testers were seriously thrashed, maybe people are just on their best behaviour at Sephora and don't mangle the testers, but these were in need of some tlc.

I also noticed the prices on these lines and they aren't cheap! The palette pictured is $38 and individual shadows are $18 for JK with NP and Pixi being comparable. Again maybe it's just me but I can't imagine the average Target shopper being willing to shell out these department store prices for artist lines they have probably never heard of. I mean Jemma Kidd has a great line but it is normally available at Neiman Marcus and it's pricey. But then again I am in Neiman's and expect those prices while at Target they are a bit of shock.

When you consider that my beloved MAC's single shadows are $13 and their four pan palettes are $36 I think you can see why I am skeptical. I am all for bringing good makeup to the masses but I think Sonia Kashuk's line at Target does it well and at a much nicer price point.

I encourage you to check this stuff out and tell me what you think and if you are willing to pay these prices at Target.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

MAC Plush Lash

Since you already know I am a mascara tramp it should come as no surprise that on my recent trip to MAC for Cult of Cherry and Overrich goodies I picked up a tube of Plush Lash. The stuff is only $12 which is not much more than drugstore these days and so I figured what the heck!

I told my favorite MAC SA that I was looking for some serious pumping up of my puny lashes but did not want to spend an hour combing my lashes to fight off clumps. She nodded sagely and said Plush Lash would do me just fine.

She instructed me to use the flatter side of the wand for length and separation then the rounded side for volume.

Here is the bottom line. The formula is good but the brush is a bit tough to maneuver. I found myself constantly getting my eyelid smudged but have persevered because Plush Lash really does pump up my wimpy lashes.

With some practice the results are quite nice but if you are brush challenged this is not the best choice for you. I intend to try Zoom Lash by MAC as well as my SA swears by it. I will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencils

There are lots of long wearing pencils out there and I have even written about Makeup Forever's Aqua Eyes. I still love MUFE's pencils but if I am telling the truth Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils have raised the bar.

These pencils are $16 and there are 15 shades to choose from but that isn't really what grabbed me. I had swatched a few on my hand because I am looking for a good white pencil for the inner rim that won't move. Yeyo is a metallic white that I was impressed with but the real test came when I went to one of the handy tester bars at Sephora and tried to remove the pencil.

Here's the deal....the dang stuff was glued to my hand. Tissue rubbed across the pencil was a miserable failure at removal so I stepped up my attack and used makeup remover. No dice on the first go around but after some concerted effort I was able to scrub it off.

Now I know that some of you may be saying, well gee I don't want to have to employ a sand blaster to remove my eye liner but for those with oilier lids where everything smudges or disappears, this is a gift from heaven!

I picked up Yeyo and Zero which is a flat black and Rockstar a deep shimmery purple. I just don't know how to convey my excitement over these pencils. I have lusted after MAC's Kohl Power but I have to perform some serious circus tricks to keep those dang things on. It starts with a good base, a paint pot, and a matching shadow or pigment layered over the Kohl Power pencil to keep it on my eye and not look like a raccoon.

Urban Decay has a serious winner in 24/7 and as if all the aforementioned reasons weren't enough, the dang thing glides on like a dream!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Harajuku Lovers G Eau de Toilette

Okay I totally got suckered into purchasing G from the new Harajuku Lovers perfume set. I swore I would avoid these and not give into the over the top cuteness of these little doll perfumes but then I saw them in person and my resolve turned to jelly!

I mean come on, you would have to have a heart of stone to not fall in love with them and for $25 or $45 depending on the size of your bottle who could resist.

Now I was initially not really interested in these aside from the obvious cute factor. The scents were all described as fairly floral and sweet which is not what I generally look for in a fragrance. But as I said I got reeled in at the Nordstrom counter and decided to just give them a smell.....famous last words.

I sniffed all five and most of the group are indeed very sweet and girly but Love with it's pear and woody combo was definitely under consideration. Then I sniffed G and the choice was made...it is basically Hawaii in a bottle. For those who have been to Hawaii you know what I mean...you get off the plane and the air has a smell to it that just exudes tropics and trade winds with lush flowers and tangy pineapple. In short it smells the way you imagine an island should.

Since I have been to Hawaii a few times and was in fact married there I could not resist G as so many of the supposed tropical smelling perfumes out there do not come close to the actual smell of getting off the plane and knowing you are on an island.

The Nordstrom SA said this is their second shipment of these adorable little ladies and that they have been selling so fast because most people are buying a complete set. At first I doubted her but during the time I was at the counter two customers approached and walked off with complete sets.

A full set is not in my future but a full size of G just might be.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bobbi Brown - Long Wear Eye Palettes

I must have been very good in a previous life. Nothing else can explain the appearance of the two marvelous beauties you see above. Truly these are a gift from the gods and should be scooped up immediately if not sooner!

Now these two palettes contain my two favorite BB products. The long wear cream eyeshadow and gel liner. BB may not have been the first to put these formulas out in the marketplace but she does them as well if not better than anyone.

BB's cream shadows are fabulous. They are available in both shimmer and matte finishes and indeed are long wearing and do not crease. Gel Liner is much the same. It lasts through an entire work day and even survives the gym looking better than it has any right to.

I can honestly say that they only other brand that rivals these two wonders is MAC with Fluidline and Paint Pots, but then again they are both Estee Lauder owned.

Anyway enough chit chat, lets talk about why you should be spending your hard earned cash on these two babies.

First of all these have limited edition shades of cream shadow and gel liner and they are good shades that belong in your makeup wardrobe.
  • Moon Rock Palette on the right includes Gold Drop Long-Wear Cream Shadow, Mineral Dust Long-Wear Cream Shadow, Espresso Ink Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, Black Topaz Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner.
  • Night Sky Palette on the left includes Rockstar Long-Wear Cream Shadow, Ocean Storm Long-Wear Cream Shadow, Black Ink Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, Thunder Storm Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner.
The palettes have handy lids that close over the pots so they won't dry out and a brush for application of the liner and shadow is included.

These are Nordstrom exclusive and limited. Happy shopping!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Smashbox Shutterspeed Trio

This trio is among my desert island picks. The 3 shadows are perfect day to night shades and are pretty much flattering on anyone.

Shutterspeed consists of a shimmering vanilla taupe, soft charcoal, and matte bisque for $28. The trio is fool proof and can be worn so many different ways.

I use the two lighter shades for day and line with the charcoal and maybe a bit of charcoal in the crease if I'm feeling sassy. For night I use the charcoal to create a soft smoky eye that looks incredible but is so easy! The soft grey rather than black is the key.

The shadows are blendable and long wearing making them my best friend when I don't want to fool around with eye colors in the morning. You know those mornings....you just want to get out the door looking polished, fast!

You have 10 different trios to pick from and they are widely available but I of course go to Sephora.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More Dolce Vita to love.....

Nars and the Dolce Vita color family has expanded to a few new products. For those who are not ardent fans of the Dolce Vita lipstick the blush might just be the exception.

For those who know nothing of the Dolce Vita craze let me explain. Dolce Vita started out as a sheer lipstick that is described as dusty rose but to my eye it is one of those great lipsticks that looks good on everyone and is just a shade better than your own lipcolor. It is on the sheer side and is a bit glossier than lipstick. My first encounter was reading an interview with Nicole Kidman and she talked about the shade changing her life....clearly her holy grail shade.

Well Nars is no dummy and recently came out with a gloss version which was a huge dissapointment to me. The color just wasn't the same and I do not enjoy Nars lipgloss. It is like flypaper for hair and it has an odd plasticy no smell, smell.

Anyway the latest products to join the ranks are a blush and Velvet Matte Lip Pencil. Finally some products that live up to the Dolce Vita rep!

The blush color is superb! No joke....it is a gorgeous dusty peach rose that is on the warmer side and is matte without being chalky in the slightest. The blush is the perfect compliment to fall's smokier eyes done in grey or brown.

Don't even get me started on the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil. I will say that it really delivers on Dolce Vita's promise where the lipgloss fell on it's face!

Blush is $25 and the Lip Pencil is $24 and both can be found at Sephora.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bobbi Brown - Artist Palette for Lips

Look at that thing! I stumbled upon this gem of lipstick loveliness in Neiman Marcus this weekend and nearly squealed with joy.

This is no bargain palette at $200 big ones but if you are a major lipstick fan or a makeup artist building your kit this would be a great investment.

The palette contains 42 shades in three formulas including lip color that is semi-matte, creamy, and sheer as well as a retractable lip brush.

The lip colors included are very diverse and would suit everything from bridal looks to everyday pretty as well as deeper shades to create edgier lip colors. BB made sure to include most of her best selling shades and textures.

This can be found at Neiman Marcus exclusively for now.