I've been paying for MAC all these years - while all the while, there was the far more accessible, less expensive Maybelline sitting there at several nearby drugstores!
Without a tester, however, it's not quick and easy to find your match. I wear MAC Spiked, and thought that Dark Brown in the Maybelline would be too dark, so I bought Medium. While I liked Medium enough, my hair is quite dark right now, and I've switched to Dark Brown, which really isn't frighteningly dark at all. In fact, I think Dark Brown is closer to Spiked than Medium.
If I were given the two products - Maybelline's and MAC's - side by side, unmarked, in similar tubes, I doubt I'd be able to tell the difference. What I like more about Maybelline's though is the accompanying brow comb. I never thought I'd use it, but I quite like it, as my brows, while sparse, can be sometimes unruly.
About $7 CAD at Walmart, $9 at drugstores.
I've not ever been a red kind of girl, but that's been changing slowly. Vodka & Caviar intrigued me based on one review I read that said that it's not its color necessarily that makes it a stand out product, but rather, its application. Smooth, self leveling and easy. I hadn't even seen the color in real life, and I was sold.
I did hope, however, that this would be a true, blue-based red. The first coat looked almost fuschia to me, which was a concern - I didn't want a pinky red. After two coats, I had achieved full opacity, and it indeed was NOT blue based. It leans orange. It wasn't a dealbreaker, though, and I was so happy about the fact that I had achieved such clean, easy application that I didn't care it wasn't what I'd imagined, colorwise.
While not the perfect red, it's great to have in any collection. It's flattering on many skintones. While bold, it's still classy.
Makeup Brushes -Shiseido - Perfect Foundation Brush
maliastyle 10/18/2011 1:46:00 PM
Sold out on Sephora.com, I was elated when I discovered I could get this to my door in two days via sears.ca (with free shipping to boot). I had high hopes it would be the foundation brush to end all foundation brushes.
Alas, it wasn't meant to be.
First, the pros. It IS wonderfully soft, and feels luxurious gliding along my skin.
But that's it, for me. It's far too small, but my displeasure with the size has nothing to do with its efficiency. It just takes me too long to do my base, which is something I try to perfect while maintaining a bit of a time limit. When I dot the foundation on my face and buff it out using this, I get better application; however, when I put the foundation on the back of my hand and pick it up with this brush, more ends up INSIDE the brush than actually on my face. But that's not a Shiseido thing either - I find that to have been true of all flat top brushes I've tried. So maybe it's me. Maybe I'm using it wrong.
But the thing is that I have found a quick, efficient method, and that's one I can apply using this particular product. If you have more patience than I do, and have time to have that beautifully airbrushed, finished look, this little guy is for you.
This has replaced my Frederic Fekkai Glossing Cream and John Frieda serum as my go-to protectant for my long, thick hair, for a couple of reasons. One, it's cheap (approximately $5 CAD for a bottle that lasts me many, many months, in comparison to $15 for the John Frieda, which lasts me only a couple of months). Two, it works incredibly well.
When I use this on wet hair and leave my hair to air dry, it's as if I've used nothing at all. But my hair is like that - frizz city. It definitely requires heat to tame it. But when I use this before blow drying, it smoothes out my strands like no other. It really seals it, but never weighs it down, although I'm careful to use only a couple of dime sized drops, rub it between my palms, and work it through the bottom section of my hair. Doing this ensures silky, frizz free hair, all day long, regardless of weather and humidity levels.
Polishes -Rimmel - Lasting Finish Pro - Rags to Riches
maliastyle 9/5/2011 5:45:00 PM
So pretty, and is an easy go-to for fall pedicures, for me. Rags to Riches seems to be a newer addition to the Rimmel line (or perhaps I've just never noticed it before). It's a sparkling mossy green with fine golden shimmer.
What I've found, however, is that the first coat is super sheer; the second, a little better, but sheer still. The third coat offers some opacity, but not as much as expected, or perhaps I was simply hoping for a deeper green, as shown in the bottle. Although not quite the emerald green I'd love it to be, it's still very pretty, and at $3.50 CAD (and effortless application), worth it to add to your arsenal of polishes.
If you love MAC's Tenderling - that sweet nude pink flush that looks beautifully, perfectly natural against almost any skin tone - but detest the fact it can take three or four swipes over the cheek to obtain any real evidence of color, Tonga is your girl.
Other than the bulky tin, which requires you store it upside down with the name in your face so you'll know what you're picking up (admittedly a problem you'll have only if you have two or more Cargo blushes), there's not much to NOT love about Tonga. Rumored to have been a Jennifer Aniston staple once upon a time, Tonga's nude/brown/pink is the most natural looking blush I've ever come across. It's also incredibly pigmented, so a little goes a long, long way. It's $26, and harder to find now that Sephora's dropped the Cargo brand, but believe me, well worth the search. I purchased mine directly from the Cargo site.
I'm so transparent. Inspired by period movies/shows as of late - Pearl Harbor, Mad Men, even the 2011 summer offering Captain America - I've been on a red kick. Essie's Fifth Avenue is hands down my current favorite.
This is so gorgeous against my NC25 skin, and is such a stark contrast to my usually neutral clothing. I tend to talk with my hands, and this color is indeed an attention grabber (thank goodness I work in an office more creative than conservative). It leans oh so slightly orange, which I never thought I'd enjoy, but it adds such oomph and fun playfulness to the shade that I can't stop looking at my hands.
Added pluses are that it's self-leveling, non-streaky, and pretty easy to apply. Cons include the requirement of three coats for total opacity, and it can be a little bit thick. All in all, a great shade to add to anyone's collection, especially those who've been stuck in neutral territory for a long time, like me.
Hair Styling Tools -Remington - Shine Therapy 1" Conditioning Flat Iron
maliastyle 9/5/2011 5:25:00 PM
After discovering this for under $50 on Amazon, I consider myself absolutely insane for having spent over $200 on other straighteners. This is absolutely incredible, and straightens my hair just as well - if not better - than my previous favorite, the Chi.
This straightener goes up to salon standard heat - I use it regularly at 410 degrees (my Chi only went up to 365). At that heat, no humidity is a match for my straightened strands, and it takes only one swipe for each section, so it cuts down my styling time.
What's nice too is the lock feature. The temperature placement is such that without the lock feature, it would be easy to either change the temp or turn the iron right off. By pressing the (-) button for a few seconds, your temperature of choice is locked in place or unlocked so you can turn off the iron.
This is supposed to be coated in avocado, and some have complained of a scent coming from the hair or the iron, but I haven't noticed it at all, and I'm quite sensitive to scent.
All in all, I am absolutely in love with this little thing, and will never be without it. For someone with frizz-prone hair like me, it's a total godsend. Run to your Target or log into your Amazon account - get it now, no matter how much you love your current iron! It's that good.
Cleansers -Patricia Wexler MD Dermatology - Acnostat Cleanser
maliastyle 8/16/2011 3:00:00 PM
This was recommended to me by a friend. Even though I don't have acne, I was struggling with some skin issues including redness, sensitivity and irritation. I felt like everything I was putting on my skin was just making it worse. I had nothing to lose by trying this.
$16 at Bath and Body Works is quite possibly the smartest $16 I've spent on my face in a long time. This calms my skin, cleans it wonderfully, and never, ever irritates, despite its exfoliating properties. I know this line has been disappearing off the shelves of certain Bath and Body Works, but I do hope it doesn't entirely disappear. I doubt I'd know what to do if this cleanser wasn't around anymore.
Lip Gloss -Christian Dior - Lip Polish Smoothing Lacquer 003
maliastyle 8/16/2011 2:54:00 PM
When Fresh Expert 002 didn't quite work for me, shade-wise, I went back to my Dior counter to find a shade that did - the formula and texture was just too beautiful to pass up, and I was determined to make one of the three shades available work for me.
Happily, this one, Glow Expert 003, does. It's a sheer coral that delivers just a little bit of color to the lips, but does it ever impart shine. My lips look healthy and lush, and regardless of what shades of makeup I'm wearing on my eyes and cheeks, this always works. For some reason, the scent and smell of the 003 isn't nearly as strong as that of 002's. Maybe I'm imagining things, but that delights me - I'm very sensitive to lipstick scents and flavors.
A staggering $37 in Canada, available at Dior counters and at Shoppers Drug Marts.
Shampoo -Suave - Professionals Rosemary Mint Shampoo
maliastyle 8/16/2011 2:47:00 PM
I'm really quite pleased with this shampoo. I've been searching for a good clarifying shampoo for ages, and while this isn't marked as such (at least I don't believe it is) it has done a better job than many of the other clarifying products I've brought into my bathroom. The smell is fresh, herbal, divine, and it lathers quite nicely. I don't need a lot of product, either, even for my long, thick hair.
I can see, however, that with continued use, it could get quite drying, so I don't use this daily, but in rotation with Suave's almond shampoo. For about $3 at Target for the largest size, this is a great little buy.
Amazing. I can't explain just how amazing this product is.
I ordered this directly from Skin79's website - I didn't want to risk buying a fake product from eBay. I've been using this for about a month and I don't think I'll be able to go without this now. It has considerably changed the way my skin looks and how my makeup wears throughout the day.
It looks like it's got a bit of a gray cast, but it blends perfectly into my NC25 skin. It was recommended that I wear nothing else but this, but at the very least I have to wear a powder over it because it's quite sheer, and I need just a teensy bit more coverage than what Pink Label offers. Most days, however, I wear Lancome Teint Miracle with this, followed by a light dusting of pressed powder (often Cargo Blu Ray). The result is spectacular - natural looking, even, luminous skin.
My one gripe? The packaging. I do love that it's a pump bottle, but I hate that it's opaque. I have no idea how much, if any, is left! That's my only complaint. So at this point, I've already ordered another bottle, so I don't risk not having anything on hand when I go to squeeze and zero product comes out.
Lip Gloss -Christian Dior - Lip Polish Smoothing Lacquer 002
maliastyle 8/16/2011 2:30:00 PM
Everything about this is lovely, including the color, which is a soft, milky pink - which unfortunately doesn't work on me. It is otherwise a fantastic lip gloss - smooth, soft, and without a trace of glitter or shimmer. It's an amped up balm which loads of shine, and while it's sheer for the most part, there is a tiny hint of color that could enhance the look of your own lips, depending on their natural color. It does feel like it smooths out the lips, and leaves them feeling soft and plush.
What I don't love, however, is the atrocious price. This comes with a $37 price tag here in Canada. If you love this, by all means, get it. But make sure you love it. It's far too expensive an item to be shelved and forgotten.
Tinted Moisturizer -MAC - Prep + Prime Beauty Balm SPF 35
maliastyle 6/17/2011 9:58:00 AM
I felt fortunate to get my hands on this before it was available in Canada. There's been so much hype about BBs recently, so when MAC announced their own version, a 30ml tube that's to be a permanent addition to their Prep + Prep family, I was thrilled and excited to give it a shot.
I'm yellow toned, NC25, and when I first saw this, it struck me how pinkish gray it seemed. I kept in mind that it wouldn't be my foundation, however, and that it would be covered with some sort of powder or perhaps even liquid foundation, should I need more coverage, so it was with good faith in previous reviewers that I eagerly slapped this on.
It took me a few tries before I figured out how best to use this for me. This isn't the creamiest product out there, and certainly not the easiest to blend, at least in my experience. I know it's categorized here as a tinted moisturizer, but it really isn't, even on my combination to oily skin. I'd be more inclined to describe this as a primer. When applied immediately after moisturizer, it's a lot easier to blend out, and is an incredible base to any liquid or powder foundation; it keeps the oilies at bay far better than most primers I've tried, and an added plus is that it really does add a stunning glow to the skin, without any kind of shimmer or shine. It just brightens the face, perfectly.
When applying with my fingers, I'm unhappy - it seems like I'm not able to apply it evenly, no matter how much or how little I use (and while we're on that, less is more when it comes to this, I find - too much and it's just cakey). I put this on using my 187, and then dust powder (like Cargo Blu Ray or Mineralize Skinfinish Natural) to give me a good, summer-ready base. For the days I need even more coverage, I put this on, followed by a mixture of the following: a dot of Stila's Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer in 01, and another two dots of Lancome Teint Miracle, finishing it off with a little bit of Laura Mercier's Mineral Powder in Real Sand. It seems like a lot of product, but wow. My skin looks like my 4 year old's - clear, soft, smooth. Best of all, it looks like my own, not slathered in product. I attribute the lasting power of this combination to MAC's BB.
Treatments -Patricia Wexler MD Dermatology - Anti Aging Acne Serum With Acnostat
maliastyle 6/16/2011 11:26:00 AM
There are numerous bad reviews on this product, and I'm glad that for once, I didn't read the reviews before stumbling onto this - it would have turned me off from trying it, and I would have missed out on something really great.
Keep in mind I don't have acne, but I do suffer from the occasional breakout, due to stress. I'm also quite sensitive, so certain products will cause a pimple or two. I wanted a product that would not only help clear what was there, but one that would also provide me good preventative measure. This serum is just that.
It's not something I use during the day; only in the evenings (I find it balls up under moisturizer, making makeup application disastrous). My night time regimen has become very simplified, and my skin is so much better for it. I simply wash using Wexler's acne cleanser, and then follow up with this serum. If I'm particularly red (my doctor doesn't know if I suffer from sort of very mild adult onset acne, rosacea, or facial sebborheic dermatitis - the redness kind of comes and goes) I apply a little bit of Metrocream or a hydrocortisone. That's it. The following day, my skin is very soft and delightfully clear.
It can be quite pricey, I agree, but I've seen it on sale both online and in-store, so I try to stock up then. The packaging, which is opaque, absolutely sucks - you don't know when you're nearly out, and who knows if you've actually hit the end of the product or if the pump has just stopped working on you? So that end of it needs some work, but the content is wonderful.