Monday, July 28, 2008

LORAC Visual Effects: not so stunning

Take a look at that brush on the left. Different, right? It's actually pretty cool, and I'm a total sucker for cool mascara brushes, so of course I couldn't help but buy a tube of LORAC Visual Effects Mascara.

Dramatic? Definitely. This little baby pumped tons of volume into my lashes; however, it also added a bunch of clumps in the process (this was easily fixed with a lash comb). Careful application and fewer coats reduced the amount of clumps, but if you're going for drama, the more coats the better, right?

After a long day, this mascara was smudged under my eyes a bit, which was unfortunate, because I really wanted to love this mascara. But it just doesn't cut it - clumps and smudging are automatic mascara-killers nowadays. Save your money, folks, and pick up something like CARGO Better-Than-Waterproof or Lancome Fatale.

You can check out LORAC Visual Effects for yourself at ($19.50).

Clinique High Impact Mascara: a bit of a misnomer

When I see the words 'high impact' on a mascara tube, I expect drama. I expect incredible length and volume. So when I picked up a tube of Clinique's High Impact Mascara, my hopes were high.

Too bad they were shattered immediately after application. To be fair, this is a perfectly good mascara, but it delivers none of the promised 'high impact'. Instead, I got just enough volume and length to put label this as an excellent daytime mascara. There were absolutely no clumps, which I appreciated because I hate combing them out.

Staying power was nothing amazing, BUT there were no flakes which is definitely a good thing! Slight smudges appeared by the end of the day, unfortunately, but it was nothing drastic; I didn't look like a raccoon.

So overall, this is a wonderful daytime mascara, but terrible if you're looking for drama. Don't be misled by the name; if you're looking for big, fat lashes, go look somewhere else.

Clinique High Impact Mascara is available at Sephora for $14.

Revlon lippie love

Mascaraders, I've developed a sort of guilty pleasure: Revlon's lipsticks.

There's such a fantastic selection of shades that I just can't help but be drawn to the displays whenever I venture into my local CVS, Duane Reade, etc.!

The quality is pretty good for a drugstore lippie, too. I've tried both the Moon Drops and Super Lustrous lines and like them both, although Moon Drops has a slightly off-putting scent. They're not super-moisturizing, so prep your lips with a balm beforehand. Staying power is decent.

If you're like me and love having tons of choices, check out the Revlon display next time you visit your local drugstore.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Beauty Tip: too-dark foundation

I'm sure this has happened to many of you: you buy a bottle of foundation, only to find that the shade is actually too dark. Most of the time, it's easy to return, but what happens when you can't?

Instead of giving the bottle to a friend or throwing it out, try this instead. Mix the too-dark foundation with your favorite moisturizer (the foundation:moisturizer ratio depends on how dark the foundation is, so use your intuition), and voila! You've got a moisturizer that'll give you a sheer glow, perfect for the summer!

I guess this is comparable to a tinted moisturizer, but the plus is that you can mix in as little or as much foundation as you'd like, so using your too-dark foundation isn't a problem.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Secret Clinical Strength: beat the summer heat

You know how I said my face likes to sweat? Well, so does the rest of my body. I've tried a million anti-perspirants, from BAN and Soft&Dri to Secret and Dove, and honestly, none of them have ever worked that effectively.

Enter Secret Clinical Strength. As the site says, this stuff is prescription strength, without a prescription. And it really does get the job done - my underarms rarely sweat anymore, and after three hours of tennis in 90 degree humidity, I was only slighly damp at most (which for me, is AMAZING).

It's got three layers of defense - wetness protection, conditioners, and odor fighting capsules. It also comes in three varieties: hypoallergenic (nonscented), light and fresh scent, and powder protection scent. I purchased the light and fresh variety, and have to say that the scent is a bit much. I probably would have been better off with the powder or hypoallergenic varieties, so keep that in mind if you decide to try this out for yourself.

As a side note, I've heard some stories about bad reactions to the scented varieties, so if you have sensitive skin I'd stick to the hypoallergenic. It also seems that some people's bodies get used to it, making it less effective as time goes I'll keep you guys updated.

Secret Clinical Strength is available at for $6.99 (it's on sale!).

New additions to the Benefit Love Your Look line!

Benefit has introduced some new items to its Love Your Look collection: Full-Finish Lipstick ($18) and three new shades of Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow/Liner ($19).

Full-Finish Lipstick is a full coverage lipstick that comes in nine shades, three each of Lana's light neutrals, Gabbi's wearable WOWs, and Betty's dramatic deeps. I personally want to check out Lady's Choice (naturally nude) and La La Land (nude rose), which look great for everyday wear. Wild Card (pomegranate) looks like it would be great for those days when I want to stand out. You can try out all the shades on Gabbi here!

The three new shades of Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow/Liner are recess (peachy beige pearl), honey bunny (terracota nude), and gossip (silvery plum). Recess looks like it would be a good eyeshadow base, honey bunny is a great neutral and gossip would make a fantastic medium-purple smokey eye.

While these new releases look very nice, I have to say that Benefit hasn't really impressed me in awhile. There's nothing new or truly original here; I would like to see them come up with something fantastic again! As always, though, the packaging is adorable.

Are you interested in buying any of these new items? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Revlon Colorstay Foundation: the end of foundation's disappearing act

Here's the scenario: it's a humid, hot summer day. You go through your beauty routine as usual, meticulously applying foundation and concealer. After spending 30 minutes outside, you go to check up on your makeup only to find that most of it is...gone?!

No? Well, try scenario 2: no matter what you do, you just can't get your foundation to stay on for more than a few hours. By the second half of the day, you always look like you barely put on any makeup (if at all).

(If neither of these apply, this post isn't directed toward you.)

Well, the first thing I have to say is that primer can actually make a difference in the above situations. I'd always thought that it was just a gimmick for more of my money, but I've definitely seen improved wear with certain primers (Smashbox and Laura Mercier, for example).

But that's not the point of this post. You see, in the summer, I usually skip the foundation and stick with tinted moisturizer and concealer. Sometimes, though, that just doesn't cut it. So what do I grab when I need heavier coverage on a humid summer day?

Revlon Colorstay Makeup with Softplex, SPF 6, for Combination/Oily Skin (whew, what a mouthful). This liquid foundation has beyond amazing staying power. I can apply it in the morning (at around 9AM), and by 9PM a little bit of it is gone, but for the most part my skin makeup still looks intact. It's even held up through the humidity of New York summers. The coverage is on the medium-heavy side, which is great for those occasions where you have to look flawless. This is geared toward Combination/Oily skin, and does a pretty good job of mattifying and controlling oil.

Gripes? I don't like how it touts SPF 6, especially since everyone knows you've gotta have at least SPF 15 nowadays (even worse, there's no SPF in the darker shades). Also, it's a little too heavy for everyday use.

But if you just need your makeup to stay on and you can't afford to spend too much $$, this is perfect. There are 20 different shades, which is a lot for a drugstore foundation, so you're bound to find a match.

You can find Revlon Colorstay Makeup at your local drugstore for $12.99 (or less, if there's a sale!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Shiseido Dick Page Summer Collection Kit

Summer's already half over, but if you're still looking for that perfect summer makeup, be sure to check out Shiseido's Dick Page Summer Collection Kit ($126). A $132 value, the items in the collection were handpicked by Dick Page, Shiseido's artistic director.

The kit contains two Hydra-Powder eyeshadows, a mascara base, lipstick, a multi-shade face enhancing compact and 10 sheets of oil-control blotting paper, all in a makeup bag with a brush. Honestly, add some mascara and this is pretty much all you need for a great summer look.

Go check it out for yourself at Sephora.

Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Powder: shine banishment

You readers probably don't need to know this, but my face loves to sweat, especially when it's humid. Usually I can get away with just carrying a pack of blotting papers, but sometimes it's not enough.

This is where MUFE's HD High Definition Powder comes in. It looks white in the jar, but goes on practically translucent. Here's what Sephora has to say: "Sets the foundation and slightly mattifies skin without changing its natural contours.This 100% Mineral Silica Powder softens the appearance of imperfections. Completely evens out the complexion for a glowing, radiant look. One universal shade for all skin tones.
..Has a soft focus effect for HD High Definition Cameras and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and imperfections. Dermatologically tested, Talc free."

My skin looks absolutely flawless after I apply this powder over foundation, that's for sure. And without strenuous exercise, my face stays shine-free all day. The one thing I don't like about this is that it's not 100% translucent; my skin gets very dark in the summer and this powder lightens it just a touch. I usually remedy this by applying blush/bronzer after applying powder, instead of before.

Even better? Several times a week, I play tennis for three hours under the sun in ninety degree, humid weather. Usually, within twenty minutes, my face becomes nothing short of an oil field. However, if I wear MUFE's powder over tinted moisturizer, after three hours my face is merely dewy - maybe slightly oily at most! This alone makes it a winner in my book.

Oh, and did I mention that this powder can also be used as a dry shampoo in a cinch? Amazing.

Run over to Sephora to pick up your own jar for $35.

(Note: This powder is formulated with 100% silica. You're probably thinking, "So I can just buy a cheaper 100% silica powder and get the same effect, right?" Probably not, because most of the cheaper ones aren't as finely milled and tend to be chalkier. But if you do find a cheaper alternate, please let me know!)

The Lust Files: Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives!

I always love Nordstrom's Beauty Exclusives. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if I can fit them into my budget this year...but a girl can dream, right? Here's what I'm lusting after:

MAC Colour Forms
To be honest, I know MAC has great quality makeup, but their nonstop releasing of new collections tires me out sometimes; I haven't been that interested in their new releases for awhile. However, there are quite a few items from this collection that I would love to own! The Warm Eyes eyeshadow palette ($38) is fantastic - I can see myself using every one of the shades. I'm also want to check the Lipstick ($14) out, because it looks like a dead ringer for this Smashbox lipstick/tint that I'm obsessed with. Finally, I just started my brush collection recently, so I think the brush sets ($49.50 each) are to die for!

Trish McEvoy Little Black Card - Sable Collection ($52)
I've gotta say, Nordstrom is getting their palettes right. It's been a long time since I've given any face palette more than a glance, but I'm absolutely lusting after this one right now! The bronzer and blush both look very pretty and wearable, and the eyeshadows/eye definer are perfect for bringing a look from day-appropriate to nighttime-sexy. The two concealer shades can be mixed to suit a wide variety of skintones, and the four lipglosses look gorgeous as well.

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Anniversary Collection ($125)
I still remember the first time I smelled this fragrance. It was love at first sniff, seriously. I was at the flagship Bloomingdales in NYC, and this guy promoting Flowerbomb was passing out those paper strips. Now, I usually hate it when people force fragrance strips on me, but I was tired and decided to give it a sniff...and WOW! I was totally blown away and kept going back to the Flowerbomb station to get more paper strips (the guy was laughing at me). Unfortunately, I don't like spending a lot of money on fragrance, so I have yet to purchase a bottle. However, this collection looks absolutely Eau de Parfum and a body lotion? Count me in!

Which Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives are you readers lusting after? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, July 14, 2008

CARGO Better-Than-Waterproof Mascara: does it live up to the hype?

I don't remember what the first waterproof mascara I ever purchased was, but I do remember its lackluster performance. I rubbed my eyes, and it flaked. I teared slightly, and it smudged all over. I wasn't able to fix it immediately at the time and was forced to walk around with raccoon eyes for about an hour - not a very glamorous look.

Things have changed since then, and Bourjois Maxi Frange Waterproof Mascara has been my go-to for quite some time now. However, I kept hearing about CARGO's new, ambitiously titled Better-Than-Waterproof Mascara and eventually gave in to my curiosity. I applied a fresh coat prior to playing three hours of tennis in 90-degree weather today, not expecting it to put up a good fight with my sweaty, oily lids.

Imagine my surprise when I returned from tennis with nary a flake, smudge, or smear. CARGO has outdone themselves; I'm officially a convert. Don't get me wrong, Maxi Frange was an excellent mascara, but I found that with intensive exercise it would flake and smudge a little, irritating my eyes. No such thing with CARGO.

"So it must be difficult to remove," you're probably thinking.

Not at all! Better-Than-Waterproof comes off easily in tubes with warm water, kind of like Blinc Kiss Me Mascara. It was great in the volumizing and lengthening department, too - not as good with lengthening as my (current) favorite, Lancome Fatale, but still very good - and once again, the staying power was fantastic.

CARGO Better-Than-Waterproof Mascara is available at Sephora for $20.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lip gem!

I've got these big lips. Now, before any jealous glares are thrown my way, let me mention that they're big in the worst way possible. Not Angelina Jolie sexy, just...big.

And they're always chapped - bad habits from elementary school sometimes just won't go away. I've tried countless lip products to try to counter the inevitable flaking and dryness, and I have to admit that most are rather disappointing - they get the job done, but there's usually something that keeps the balm/lipstick/gloss from being a true gem.

This past weekend I purchased a new balm that might just make it into the "true gem" category! on10's Schweppes Sparkling Pink Grapefruit Lip Balm SPF 15 is wonderfully moisturizing, doesn't leave me with that waxy get-this-off-my-lips-now! feeling, offers sun protection, and smells delicious.

The balm gives your lips the slightest bit of sheen, so if you're looking for lots of shine this isn't for you. I actually dislike shine in general, so this balm is perfect. It's also ultra-moisturizing and the pink grapefruit scent is a delightful touch.

The lasting power isn't great, but the pan contains a lot of product - you won't run out quickly, even with constant reapplying.

And if you needed yet another reason to go out and buy this balm, on10 products are made using high-quality organic and natural ingredients!

Schweppes Sparkling Pink Grapefruit Lip Balm SPF 15 is available at Sephora for $10.

New Collection: Smashbox Wicked Lovely

Smashbox has introduced its Fall 2008 Collection (in the middle of summer, figures), titled Wicked Lovely. Although the promotional photo on the left looks way intense and largely unwearable for most, most of the items in the collection are far less sultry.

The collection features the following items:

Cream Liner & Loose Shimmer: a mirrored pot with three cream liners and sparkling loose shimmer.

Lip Gloss: three new lipglosses in Coy (sheer nude), Sweet (sheer apricot), and Sultry (black cherry).

Lip Pencil in Tempt: a dark lip pencil, meant to be worn in conjuction with the Sultry lip gloss.

Blush Rush: a soft warm pink blush with some shimmer.

Bionic Mascara: Smashbox is re-releasing this mascara for this collection (looks like the tube has a motif on it now, too). I've tried this already and will review it soon. Available in Black and Indigo.

Doubletake Lip Color: a double-ended lip pencil with lipliner in Peachy Pink on one side and lip color in Soft Pink on the other.

Eye Shadow Duo: available in Sexy/Demure (shimmery peach, shimmery deep brown) and Sinful/Demure (shimmering ivory, shimmering inky charcoal).

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of most Fall collections; they always feel too heavy for my taste. However, I'm still lusting after the blush, doubletake lip color, and eyeshadow duo in Sexy/Demure. What about you? Share your thoughts in the comments!