Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Skincare

The most frequent question I am asked is why I love makeup so much and the second is invariably what are my favorite products. When it comes to makeup I can rattle off a product I love in a split second but I tend to hold back when it comes to skincare.

I think it is time to come clean, so to speak. By and large I use Paula's Choice skincare with the exception of Olay Foaming Face Wash and prescriptions like Tri-Luma & Tazorac. None of the products I use are expensive or what I would call fancy and I guess that's where my reluctance to divulge comes in. I guess I feel a little frumpy next to girls who swear by some serum that is $100 an ounce and involves some exotic sounding cocktail of ingredients.

When it comes to skincare I am not willing to take as many chances and I want solid science to back up prices. I want packaging that makes sense (opaque and airtight) and can actually keep all those peptides and antioxidants stable and sanitary, which jar packaging is hopeless at.

Don't get me wrong, there are some great brands available out there sold in the drug and department stores, but there isn't a line that gets it right across the board.

I have been a big fan of Paula Begoun's books and her admirable research for years and have come to rely on her line for solid skincare that really works and lives up to it's claims.

The packaging is nothing that gets my heart fluttering but her Super Antioxidant Concentrate is amazing and feels weightless with a whole cadre of antioxidants packed in the tube. Her moisturizers are effective and tell the truth about what they can and can not do with some gel based choices for oily skin that I would cross a desert for. This line also has great acne control products, along with AHA and BHA gels that are unbeatable for the price and are the correct ph to exfoliate.

Nothing in this line is over $30 and samples are available for about a $1.

What about you my dear you find yourself wanting to love the pricey pretty stuff with the hope that it might work? There's no shame in admitting it because I would be right there with you. The lure of those well marketed gems in their luxurious packages is strong.

With technology constantly bringing newer and better wonder ingredients to market, each promising to better than the last, it can be hard to figure out what is worth trying. It would be great if a cream or serum could produce Botox-like results but I think in our hearts we know this is not possible. This is what sends me back to Paula every time and her marvelous Beautypedia.

I highly recommend her line of skincare and her guarantee and prices make it easy to try this stuff with confidence. As I said, you won't find crazy promises of a fountain of youth in a bottle but you will find well formulated products that are well priced and have kept my skin looking great through acne and aging.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Diorshow Ionic Mascara

Here is Dior's latest mascara offering that is supposed to curl, lift and separate your lashes. I will preface this review by saying I have never been a Diorshow fan and just don't get the hoopla. I have actually tried Diorshow Blackout and was less than impressed with the results.

First off it didn't look any blacker than average to me. Second the stuff smudged and gave me raccoon eyes which is not a look I strive for. Third I think there is some great brush technology out there and this on is relying on the thick nylon bottle brush variety.

But Ionic claims to be smudge proof and the oblique brush looked promising. Frankly for $27 I expect them to make good on ALL their claims.

I was immediately apprehensive when I pulled the wand out of the tube as it was loaded with mascara...a lot of mascara. I had to wipe the wand down or there would have been a problem. Right away I must tell you that I intrinsically do not like wiping down wands as it is always messy and dang it that is my overpriced mascara I am throwing away!

So in terms of length, volume, and separation Ionic did well. I wasn't blown away but it wasn't a disappointment either. I suppose I expect great things from a $30 mascara and I feel like I get the same or better results from drugstore brands like Covergirl Lash Blast.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Vincent Longo - Flower Set

I stumbled across this Vincent Longo eyeshadow set the other day and fell in love instantly! Seriously just look at those cute little flower shadows and all those colors.

The set of four is $38 and was inspired by Mediterranean wildflowers. This is a great gift or 4 excellent stocking stuffers!

Friday, October 24, 2008

MAC - Red She Said

Well it's official. MAC is single handedly trying to bolster our sagging economy by having us poor addicted makeup junkies spend ourselves into oblivion! MAC just keeps putting out one gorgeous collection after another and my bank account has been left to limp along and try to recover.

Red She Said is on counters now and my strategy for not filing makeup bankruptcy is to really edit myself and what I buy from each collection. I look over my current makeup carefully and make sure that I am not buying blatant duplicates and I never buy multiples of anything unless it is a holy grail type product that I would be willing to buy on EBay later.

So far this strategy is working fairly well and I have found myself leaving my local MAC store with a lot less than the full collection.

Red She Said has lots to love but I tried very hard to be reasonable which is not my strong suit with MAC. Here are my picks:

Eye Trios in Word of Mouth, Threesome, and Inter-view. I loved all the trios with the bronze stripe but the silver stripes just didn't grab me. I do like Danger Zone with the ruby red and black but am trying to edit.

I also picked Stark Naked out of the Beauty Powders. It is a girly pink mauve and will see lots of use in my blush palette.

I love Soft Pause lipstick a sheer brown-berry shade but passed on the Dazzleglass because most were re-released colors. I do hope Dazzleglass joins the permanent line and we see some new colors come our way.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Smashbox Beauty Blockbuster

Blockbuster is right and at $105 you better believe this black bag is sporting a lot of stuff! Here are the goods:

Lip Service Lip Palette
Photo Op Under Eye Brightener
Mini Soft Lights in Highlight
Photo Finish Primer
Mini Lip Gloss in Desire and Beauty
Sheer Lip Pencil in Miami Beach
Bionic Mascara in Black
Eyelights Palettes in Strobe and Beam (3 pan palette)

In other words this is a whole lot of stuff! The lip palette is a must have and the Eyelights palettes are wonderfully creamy shadows that make blending easy.

Smashbox has put together a serious set of goodies and you can find it at Sephora, of course!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bare Escentuals - Extreme Glimmer Set

BE is making it hard to not just shop for myself these days and I have vowed to get my holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving. This is an ambitious goal for me as I am a chronic last minute shopper sifting through the picked over piles on Christmas Eve.

I wanted to love BE's Extreme Glimmers set for $32. I love BE shadows and like to use them wet and dry for versatile eye looks. Using any of their shadows wet will give you a foiled look and the nice thing is it won't ruin your shadow the way some pressed shadows suffer from wetting.

The shades included are a silver, plum and bronze shadow along with a wet/dry brush and eye primer.

However the texture of these shadows is chunky! The box says they are creamy and that just isn't so. The brush and primer are just dandy but the 3 shadows remind me of a glitter shadow with little color payoff and lots of glitter fallout that won't stick. As I said this kit would have been right up my alley if not for the texture.

If you would like to check this set out it can be found at Sephora exclusively.

Monday, October 20, 2008

MAC - Cremesheen

I feel like I can't keep up with MAC these days. I mean I can't blog fast enough and my bank account is lagging behind as well.

Cremesheen lipsticks are supposed to be added to the permanent collection and I say amen sister to that. I was therefore pretty picky about what I bought and the clear winner for me is a shade called On Hold.

Seriously it is a perfect warmish pink shade that makes green shadows come alive. I have really gone on a bender with green and gold shadows and On Hold is magical with green. It transforms the khakis and highlights the more lime shades. It is a winner and I would buy multiples if it weren't sticking around.

Cremesheen is a great fall choice and I encourage you to check these lipsticks out. They have the color and opacity of MAC's Amplified formula but the gloss and shine of a glaze. In a word....Lovely!

Friday, October 17, 2008

MAC - Suite Array

The star of this collection are the Pearlglide liners. I know others may disagree but this is my blog and Pearlglides rule here! Seriously, I am not enchanted with the slide out format of the Suite Array shadows and the texture and color payoff are just not what I look for in a shadow.

Pearlglide liners are slightly metallic with visible glitter but it isn't chunky just shiny and glorious. These are limited edition and I know they will blow out of stores faster than a race car.

The eyeshadow duos are not my favorite and here's why. The slide out container and square pan format make it impossible to put in palette form and the texture was not as creamy as I had hoped. I realize these are matte shadows but MAC's Matte2 set the bar for smooth matte shadows and these just don't live up to that expectation.

Ah well I suppose it's for the best. If I had loved all the shadows I would be on makeup restriction by now!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nars Super Orgasm

As if the name weren't reason enough! Nars has found a way to add on to the ever expanding lineup of Orgasm products. I have been a long time fan of the blush but the gloss and nail polish, etc have just never excited me.

That was until I got my paws on this new and improved blush! It is the same classic pink-peach shade but with more gold shimmer and you know I love me some shimmer.

While it doesn't replace the original Orgasm blush it is a fun addition to have and for $25 will make a great stocking stuffer for my Orgasm blush loving pals.

This blush is part of the new winter collection coming from Nars. Between this and the eyeshadow duo and singles it is a collection to check out!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bare Escentuals - Ruby Collection

Ohhhh, pretty. It was just that kind of juvenile I want, I want thought process that went through my head when I spotted BE's new Ruby Collection.

I love patent red bags and a croc print only ups my love it factor. Plus with all these set exclusive BE products this was an immediate purchase for me.

The Ruby Collection is $54 and includes the ruby clutch, Ruby Radiance, 3 eyecolors, a double-ended mascara with black and ruby, Ruby Buxom lipgloss, and 2 brushes with ruby handles!

I just can't get enough of the ruby red stuff that hits during the holidays and this set is no exception.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bobbi Brown - Sunset Gold Collection

This new Bobbi Brown set has me salivating, seriously I need a napkin to mop up my chin! For many years I was silver crazy and shunned gold in all its forms. I have always chosen silver jewelry, accessories, and makeup. But lately I have fallen hard for some of the new gold eyeshadows that have flooded the counters this summer.

The gold I have a little obsession with is cooler and less brassy than golds of the past. They are elegant and remind me of fine champagne bubbling beautifully rather than the flashy 70's hot pants or 80's Dynasty dragon ladies.

No these new golds are crush worthy and I admit that I have bought more than I need but I just can't pass them up. This Bobbi Brown set is killing me though just as I am trying to budget for the holidays.

Sunset Gold includes a metallic organizer bag, Mahogany Ink Gel Liner (one of the best), Bronze Pink Glitter Lip Gloss, Sunset and Antique Gold Metallic eyeshadow for $80.

The shadows are beautiful and fit into BB's new palette system. The gloss is a gorgeous warm pink that complements cool gold eye looks flawlessly. Gel Liner in any shade is worth having and BB's bags are always handy and well made.

Check out this gold treasure at Nordstrom and don't blame me if you leave $80 poorer.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nars Sephora Flame Lipstick

As I have mentioned Sephora is celebrating their 10th anniversary and many of the brands they carry are doing special sets or products in their honor.

There are more than a few that have caught my eye and the Nars Sephora Flame lipstick is no exception. Sephora Flame is a rich semi-matte deep brown red and is perfect for fall. This reminds me of the early days of Sephora when the SA's were required to wear red lipstick of one kind or another.

If you have ever hunted for a true brick red this is one worth considering. It is deep and dusky brown red and the formula will help it wear for hours.

Sephora Flame is $24 and can be found at Sephora soon or online now.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Stila Loves Sephora Can

Stila's offering to celebrate Sephora's 10th anniversary is the pictured "can" filled with goodies for $40. I personally love combos from cosmetics companies because it gives you a chance to try some of their best selling products at a great price.

Stila has included Kajal eyeliner in Onyx, Lip Glaze in Brown Sugar, Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer, Convertible Color in Peony and Mulit-Effect Mascara.

I can tell you from experience that Brown Sugar Lip Glaze is a great color that is not exactly brown but borders on a raisin and is very flattering. Plus I love the delivery on the click pen with brush applicator. Kajal eyeliner is very creamy and the black of Onyx is just as deep as you would hope.

Convertible Color is great for lips and cheeks and Peony is a lovely shade of raspberry pink. All in all this is a great buy or perhaps another gift idea!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bare Escentuals - Mineral Veil Brush

Bare Escentuals is doing this exclusive brush for Sephora's 10th Anniversary for $28 and I don't imagine these will last long.

The brush is filled with Mineral Veil for on the go touch-ups and while not technically refillable it can be easily done as the bottom comes off. The actual brush also retracts which is a nice feature.

The real benefit is the portability of Mineral Veil because up until now the options have been limited and less than satisfactory. BE's compacts are bulky and often spill in your purse leaving a fine layer of Mineral Veil all over.

All the fellow beauty junkies I know plan on purchasing a few and are contemplating trying their favorite mineral foundation in it. I don't know how well this will work but I will keep you posted as to their MacGyver-makeup results.

Update: The bottom of this brush comes off easily but I think is best filled with Mineral Veil. BE foundation just doesn't apply lightly with this brush but if you like fuller coverage then you can give it a whirl.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Too Faced Quickies

Here is Too Faced The Quickie Chronicles Mini Collection for $60 and may just be one of the best sets produced for the 10th anniversary. It is an unbelievable deal with 8 mini palettes that have products for eyes lips and cheeks.

Each palette has a Hollywood pinup girl on the cover and I think this is a great one to give as a extra special gift or to breakup and give as small gifts or stocking stuffers. The eight palettes included are:

The Temptress, The Plaything of Passion, The Cupcake, The Starlette, 10 Year Anniversay, The Sure Thing, The Beach Bunny and The Summer Lover.

The Cupcake is a pink treasure and The Temptress is all about plums. 10Year Anniversary is my favorite but really I love them all! It is very hard to give any of the them away.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sephora Red Lipstick

This week I will be featuring 5 new and limited products that were created to celebrate Sephora's 10th anniversary going on in the month of October. I think it is fitting to start off with Sephora's special lipstick that is a real beauty.

Sephora Red is a beautiful berry red that is encased in a black tube adorned with over 100 crystal rhinestones. This is a real showpiece and is definitely worthy of being pulled out at a restaurant table for a quick lipstick freshen up.

Sephora is one of my absolute favorite makeup shopping destinations and I love nothing more than fun limited products where brands pull out all the stops. I think that Sephora's 10th anniversary will have one or ten things that you will not want to pass up.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bare Escentuals - New GSK

In Bare Escentuals speak, GSK is the Get Started Kit and they have reworked this kit recently. In my opinion these changes are very good and well thought out especially when it comes to foundation shades. For those new to BE there are always 2 shades of foundation in each GSK and the combos for the new kit make sense.

Also the Full Flawless brush has replaced the Kabuki in the kits and that is a godsend. The Full Flawless is a fabulous brush for mineral foundation application and gives you coverage flexibility that was tough with the Kabuki. The Kabuki just tended towards full coverage and I didn't like all the buffing/blending you had to do plus the BE Kabuki just isn't that soft and often felt like the rough side of the sponge to me.

Some other great changes are regular Mineral Veil for the lighter kits and Tinted Mineral Veil for the deeper shades. Plus the Lightstroke brush is included for deeper shades which BE recommends for concealing on darker skin tones.

All in all these are smart changes and the $60 price is a great value. BE is also including a gift with the purchase of the new GSK. At Sephora that gift will be a sample of the Prime Time face primer and at BE boutiques you will receive a full size Bread Pudding lipstick.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

MAC Set Powder - Invisible

Here is my loose powder of choice. MAC Set Powder in Invisible is aptly named and described.

This powder is ultra fine, sets makeup and is indeed invisible. You also get a whopping huge jar for $24.

I have heard a few complaints about this powder and they mainly revolve around it looking powdery on the skin. First of all a very small amount is required to set makeup and overuse will look a bit white and powdery. It is a common thing with setting powders to assume if a little is good, more would be better. I am guilty of this one too.

Second this would not be my first choice for those will very dry skin but those will oily skin will love its mattifying properties.

This is a Pro Product and can be purchased at Pro Stores or over the phone from MAC. Checking out the MAC Pro website can introduce you to all sorts of products and some colors that you never knew existed that might not suit your everyday tastes but offer some amazing color choices.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Urban Decay 24/7 Sets

Okay these are must haves if not for yourself than as gifts. I know you don't want to hear that the holidays are fast approaching but they are! I am already scoping out good gift items and Urban Decay 24/7 eye pencils are a gift worth giving.

I have blogged about these waterproof pencils before and just want to remind everyone that these pencils changed the way I felt about pencil in general. I avoid most pencils because they either drag and tug at my eye or are so soft that they just smear and smudge everywhere.

Urban Decay has managed to make a pencil with fantastic color payoff, super silky texture that really glides on and the darn stuff stays put. My only caveat to this would be I can't get them to stay put in my waterline but then nothing stays there for me anyway.

These sets are $30 and can be found at Ulta or Sephora. Velvet Rope features deeper colors and VIP is brights with both sets including Zero a super black.