Lip Gloss -Physicians Formula - PH Matchmaker Lip Gloss
stephani99 5/6/2013 7:54:00 PM
This reminds me of a grown-up high-tech version of those old-school "mood" lipsticks that are whatever color in the tube (blue, green, yellow etc.) that supposedly turn into your perfect pink/red/whatever lipcolor as if by magic! This gloss does that too and looks a lot better in the process, all magic aside :) I waited until this week's $6 off everything PF sale at CVS so I picked this up for less than $4. NO way was I shelling out $9.99 on this just to satisfy my curiosity.
I knew the pink ones would both no doubt turn neon fuschia on me, so I opted for the Natural shade. It looks like a sheer peachy/coppery/pinky shade with light micro-shimmer in the tube but morphs into a warm, light to medium toned red gloss that leaves behind a red tint (lighter or darker, depending on how much you glop on, PH balanced or not. I think this is the key: how much you put on, the color of your lips normally, and the temperature of your skin). The Natural is actually quite flattering, surprisingly enough. It's not too bright nor is it fuschia like most of these (and their "mood changing" cousins) tended to be. As a gloss it's thick and long lasting, but not overly tacky-feeling on the lips. I can't discern a noticable smell or taste. The brush surprised me. I thought at first I got a bum or used one as the bristles are really short, like half the size of a normal lipbrush. They do the job, though.
The click-button switch to turn on the light is in the end of the wand, and it's a lot brighter than I expected, I figure if I ever lose my keys at night or in my Black Hole of a handbag, I'm set as long as this is with me. The mirror on the side of the tube is a nice touch and large enough to be useful, actually. I can't say I'd repurchase this because I think the "ooooh ahhhh" newness factor lasts all of five minutes. After that it's just a sheer warm peachy- red gloss (bear with me here, it's hard to describe and may be different on you) which leaves behind a nice clean warm red stain and doesn't dry out my lips. IMHO it's not worth the normal retail price but for less than five bucks it is a lot better than other gloss-to-lipstains (and just plain lipstains, for that matter) that I've tried. It's a fun and interesting little gizmo which works as well as one would expect but it's certainly not necessary. I'd go for the Natural color over either the two pinks anyday, especially if like me you are at all warm, tan or yellow-undertoned, as the Natural stays on the warm side of spectrum rather than veering off into the dreaded bright fuschialand cool side of the red spectrum. It's not the kind of color-change where your lips enter the room before you do :)
Eyeliner -L'Oreal - Voluminous Smoldering Eyeliner
stephani99 3/21/2013 2:01:00 PM
I think some are missing the point of this liner, no pun intended lol :) and/or may go in expecting this to be more than it is. My understanding is that it's supposed to be smudgy; a kajal-kohl liner for dark exotic smoky eyes like you see in Bollywood. It is not a long-last type by any means but it does an amazing job of being a deep matte smoky-smudgy black, very exotic looking without turning grey or blue or fading into nothingness. After I smudge it in and blend, it lasts quite awhile unless my eyes start watering profusely or it gets wet, then it will run. Then again, I don't think it ever claimed to be waterproof or water-resistant or 24 hours or 'Infallible' or anything and it's not, but that is fine since I have others for that purpose. This is like an improved version of BeneFit's BadGal, which was a lot more greasy in texture than this and literally smudged right off when trying to blend, and this is on the dry side. It doesn't tug or pull when applying though, which is great. The included sharpener is great too, but I really wish it had a smudger on the other end for when I don't want to carry around a brush to smudge it out, blend it in or apply e/s over to change up the look. I don't think it really needs e/s to set , but it's fun to play with the different looks doing that can create by using different e/s over the top.
I was already loving it as a smoky liner but what really surprised and impressed me about this is it actually lasts on my waterline longer than any other, even those that claim to be waterproof, and gels. (speaking of which I also picked up the L'Oreal Infallible gel-cream liner in Blackest Black as the other part of this BOGO hoping to replace BlackTrack as my go-to black gel liner- will report on how it worked for after I test it a bit more). For this one, first I dry off my waterline with a q-tip to get it to stick better, apply straight from the pencil tip and done. I wore it all night the day I got it run and didn't have any migrating "goop" in the inner corners of my eyes like some tend to to on the w/l and it also didn't flake off or wear off in patches like most do on me, and it wore evenly all night and looked amazing. I like that it has no sparkle or shimmer to irriate my eyes or get in my contacts too. Even my husband noticed and complimented how "amazingly hot" this looked which so this tells me this is a keeper :) Granted, my lids are generally on the dry, not oily side, so YMMV as to the wear time and application but for me, this is my go-to black smudgy smoky eye liner, waterline and regular. I would love to see a couple more colors like a navy, a dark green or deep olive, a purple, in addition to the grey and brown shades they already have.
I am quite surprised the review below me said this is sheer... don't know what they were looking at but mine are in NO way sheer. In fact they are very very pigmented! Almost like paint, but not thick, sticky or hard to blend. I have Headliner and Superstar, both pinks, one is more peachy and one is more of a light mauve pink. The rest are all too dark or the wrong shades for my skintone but these two are lovely, and will probably last me a hundred years as a little dab will do ya. One pump is almost too much, so I pump on the back of my hand, dot on my cheekbones with the tips of my fingers then blend with a stipple brush. Works well over bare skin, moisturizer, primer, foundation, any combo of these and even over my finishing powder without caking, which is a huge bonus for me as I like to layer and sometimes reapply later in the day. This however, has not faded much if at all and thus far, I haven't had to touch up much. The colors meld right into the skin after blending and while they don't have any glow or shimmer, it is a lovely soft blush that looks natural, if you don't overdo it which I can easily see happening with how pigmented these babies are. Dirt cheap, and killed my lemming for the MUFE HD blush in the same style, as I see no need to shell out more for that if this works as well as it does. Eventually it might be nice to see some shimmer shades, but even if not, I'm a happy camper with this so call it a win for ELF. They are often hit or miss for me; these are clearly in the "hit" category. I bet you could even blend these with a liquid or cream illuminator to make a shimmery shade, or to sheer it out if they're too much as-is. I have not tried these on lips yet, thinking they'd be drying, but I might one of these days just out of curiosity. (and again, I bet you could blend with a clear balm or even Vaseline to make a tinted balm.)
This was a huge disappointment. The style and shades in the Metropolitan set I got are simply stunning. Too bad the actual shadows suck so much. No matter what brush I used to apply, all I got was a sheer wash of color with a lot of microglitter. The sparkles were the only parts in this that seemed to stick around (pun intended). Not much pigment in the other shades whatsoever, even the darker ones-once you start to blend they just fade into nothingness. I felt like I was wiping it off the more I tried, and applying more just looked muddy and then blending that just made it worse. Strange and frusterating. I'm fairly light in skintone right now and it STILL didn't show up no matter what I did. I guess I could have tried to apply wet, but I never know if it will wreck the shadow pan and frankly, I was too frustrated to bother.
The "primer" is indeed a powder which works ok; not be my first choice by far but in a pinch it isn't too bad unless your lids are super oily as I doubt this would keep in check. Mine are on the dry side so it was ok, but once on seemed to be an iridescent cool pinkish-white shade that was not flattering on my skintone, nor did it seem to go with the rest of the warm-toned palette. This is such an attractive palette with nice descriptions of shade placement to match the eye design on the front. That is what caught my eye, along with the lovely color combos, but the one I tried was a complete failure in execution. I never have good luck with Revlon eye makeup, and this leap of faith proved nothing has changed. I'll be returning this to CVS ASAP; for the ten bucks this cost I can buy ten dollar store e/s that are ten times better.
Love at first use! I have only been able to find this online at Ulta so far, but it's so wonderful its worth the effort to find. I fell in love with cleansing balms and creams awhile ago, ones like Ahava, Clinique, Philosophy, etc. as my normal to dry combo skin always needs more moisture this time of year, and the less scrubbing and stripping of oils I can manage in the process the better. This stuff is amazing; I just squeeze out a dollop in my hands, smooth around my face like a moisturizer including eyes then wipe off with cotton pads, tissue or what I like best for some extra moisture, a makeup remover wipe (currently Ponds Evening Soothe) and voila'. This removes everything- waterproof mascara and liner included, without rubbing, tugging, scrubbing or anything. It's like magic. My skin is soft and smooth afterwards, and not dry. No residue or oily feeling leftover, nothing shows up on my morning face cloth where my previous cleansers sometimes didn't get it all. I don't even need a separate eye makeup remover with this, it works that well. Huge rave for this, HG status and highly recommended for one-stop cleansing. Simply wonderful.
I already use and love Maybelline mascaras, especially the Volum' Express line so anytime they come out with a new version, I HAVE to try it. This one is up there with Colossal as a favorite. It truly does only take one quick coat which I guess explains teh name. Use two if you want to really amp it up. I use the wp version but there is no listing for that specifically yet. (I have to say that IMHO, that third pic makes this look really clumpy but in reality, it's not. It is a wetter formula, but that doesnt' deter me because I think these are at their prime abotu a week or so after you open them, as I find happens with most if not all Maybelline mascaras.)
This seems to be their version of the CG LashBlast tube and wand style, the huge fat type. Takes some getting used to if you haven't used one like it already, otherwise it's just as good if not better than CGLB and definitely on par with the other Volum Express mascaras if not better, because I use a lot less of this to get the same effect it would take with another masraca using two or three coats so I'm sold and will repurchase. No clumps, no smudges or smearing, no flaking, nice definition and separation and great volume. I use wp becasue it holds amazing curl all day so I can't speak to the non-wp version that way, but even with the wp version I can touch my lashes and they still move, despite that they look like they won't. Love the blue tube because I can always find it in my black hole of a train case, too :) Good stuff & worth a try whether you're on the fence or already a long-time Maybelline mascara fan like me. A welcome addition to the family!
I for one, love this stuff but it's definitely made for normal to dry skin types, especially dry skin types. Oily gals should stay far away, as it will probably slide right off and I can't imagine it would ever set or last on anything but dry skin. My skin gets especially dry this time of year, sometimes tight and flaky as well, so I need a very moisturizing foundation because my face just eats moisturizer like it's not even there. I've tried many that claim to be moisturizing, including BBs, but none fit my needs this well. Coverage is excellent; definitely full so blending well is a must. I apply with fingers (the squeeze tube packaging is great as well - easy to use, sanitary, travels well and you get a good amount for the price). I dot it down the center of my face and I blend out with a sponge to avoid streaks. It takes a few minutes to sink in so you have time to blend. I imagine you could sheer it out more by mixing with a moisturizer before applying or even with a liquid lluminizer for some added glow if you like, but I haven't tried that yet.
It does have minimal SPF (15, although I would prefer 30 it will do) but the shade selection leaves much to be desired so I have to knock it down a notch for that, and is nearly impossible to tell online. I first tried Creamy Glow thinking it would be warm-toned, but it was VERY pink (I can't imagine anyone's skin actually being that pink but whatever), so I exchanged it for Ivory Glow which is warmer and works well on my NC20/light skin tone with warm undertones. I do need to apply a light dusting of finishing powder over this, or it doesn't feel like it 'sets' or dries properly and I worry about it transferring if I don't use at least a little powder. Once I do, pores are minimized and I get a natural matte finish without the heavy look or feel most full-coverage foundations have. No oxidation, no breakouts, irritation or any other problems as far as that goes. A little goes a long way and could be easy to overdo if you squeeze out too much. I use about a dime sized dollop (if that much) which is just about right. Works well over a primer or by itself, but does seem to last longer and apply more smoothly over a primer; currently Revlon's PR primer seems the best for me with this- it's not as silicone-y as others, so there isn't too much 'slip' which allows this stuff to go on nicely without sliding around and stays put. No flakies in sight, and doesn't settle into fine lines or pores. Also works well as an under eye concealer for the same reasons, although I really prefer it as a foundation. My blush goes on smoothly and lasts quite well over this, and it just plain looks good when all is said and done. I would definitely repurchase as my fall/winter foundation, especially because I haven't found anything else close to this particular formula, especially in the drugstore, so if you're dry and struggle with finding the right foundation perhaps give this a try despite some of the negative reviews. It's definitely not a one-size-fits-all kind of foundation but with so many out there meant for oil control, it's hard to find one that isn't nowadays so I'm quite happy with this.
The only shade of these that show up at all on me is Plush Plum. The rest are pretty much clear, at least on my mauvey pigmented lips. The Mauve one is a joke, it's a very pale pink that made me wonder how on earth they got any mauve out of it. Anyway, the Plum is great; pretty color, nice shine, very moisturizing, doesn't turn fuschia, no wonky scent or taste that I can tell (or it fades really fast if there is) but like most of these tinted balms, lasting power is minimal. Packaging is gorgeous though, really eye-catching. I don't mind reapplying because I really love the color and the moisturizing properties are crucial for me this time of year when I get really dry. I would repurchase this shade for sure, but none of the others unless they come out with more pigmented ones like the Plum.
Eye Shadow -Revlon - Colorstay 12-Hour Eyeshadow Quad "In the Buff"
stephani99 10/19/2012 12:24:00 PM
I like this set well enough despite Revlon not being my fav line for e/s. The quad I have does not seem as sparkly as the swatches here for some reason; there is some but seems more subtle, more satin-like. They are a bit dusty to use dry and you get more pigment and longer wear used wet; dry not so much but then again, the name IS "In the Buff" and it certainly is. I got this for 2.50 on clearance and I am pale, NC15-20, so these shades work well for me as an everyday easy eye to throw on for work, or for travel when I want a nude eye and don't want to bring my "good" palettes in case of breakage. For the price I paid it's not a huge loss if they aren't perfect and don't last as long as they claim they do (12 hrs not really, but if I can get 6 I'm happy). Needs a primer underneath for sure and I definitely would not buy these full price, so not a repurchase at this time but I did go back and purchase Sandstorm, which is full of great taupe and light bronzey shades that are more pigmented than this one.
Styling Products -John Frieda - Frizz-Ease Moisture Barrier Firm-Hold Hair Spray
stephani99 10/10/2012 5:54:00 PM
This stuff rocks my socks, no lie. I had about given up entirely in looking like a tumbleweed with my newly highlighted hair which, because it's drier than before, decides to frizz and I hate hairspray as a rule, but nothing else was working. Not pomades, not silicone sprays, not gels, not mousses, nothing. All they did was weigh down my hair and make it look and feel greasy. Worse, the second I walked out the door, POOF! Fly-away City. So, something new had to happen and soon.
Enter this stuff, which I only got because I had some Rite Aid coupon so it was practically free. I tried it the first time today and even on my five block walk to work in the wind, I got compliments on how great my hair looked the second I got to my desk. What did you do? Did you get more highlights? It looks great! (I had to make sure they were talking to me, actually.)
Suffice it to say, it is smooth, stays that way and I am sold. Color me surprised and amazed. I may never buy another hairspray ever. This stuff does everything is says it will and does it well with only a small amount. I don't feel like helmet-head newswoman hair either despite the "firm hold" claim, and it lasts all day. My hair still moves, looks natural and is down to my mid-back so there's a lot of it to deal with at once. If like me you aren't sure what else to try, and/or have fine hair that weighs down easily, loves to try to escape your head on a regular basis, even if you have been afraid of the dreaded hairspray of the past, take a chance and give this one a try.
I understand the "bad" reviews about the pigmentation of this set being a bit lacking for some but for me, that's exactly why I like it. I needed more matte options for daytime and could never find a set with just those, until this came out. The other nice thing is that there are no lipglosses or lipsticks in this, which I never use anyway, and they just get murky from e/s fallout anyway. THey have a couple blushes in there instead, also mattes. The e/s don't give a ton of pigment payoff , but for me mattes are harder to blend, esp over primer, so not having to worry about overdoing it was a blessing in disguise as it turned out. Once on, they stay just fine for me over a primer and also work well when wet, if you want to really darken them up. Pretty good shade variety for a neutral palette, although a few look so simliar to my eye which is my only reason this doesn't get a five. For the price I paid, the size, options and portability it offers, I like it and would repurchase.
Got two of these, Black and Smoke, during the 21 Days of Beauty BOGO sale on these one day at Ulta, total impulse purchase. Can I just say love at first sight, er, use? Smoke is gorgeous. Shimmery taupe, could go cool or warm, depending on what shadows I pair with it. Black is a basic black, nothing fancy except for the lasting power. I get a an easy 6-8 hrs on my eyes with primer, and the swatch I initially tried on my hand to see what the colors were like stayed there until I had to physically scrub it off. I assume they are comparable to MAC Shadesticks, minus the fact that these are buttery soft to apply unlike those from MAC that I tried. I may even like these better than UD's 24/7 Shadow Crayons (I know, shhh). Frankly, Stila's are easier to maneuver, you can opt for thin or thick lines, they seem to blend better than UD's before they set (but like UD do not budge after that, eye rubbing included), and so far haven't caused me to waste a ton of product by breaking with constant resharpening like a couple UD ones I have (Clinic and Mercury, mostly). You probably don't get as much actual 'crayon' for the same price as UD, but at the rate I go through those, I may just start buying Stila instead. Wish they had as many shades as UD, especially because these do not have the amount of glitter UD does. Stila has shimmer, but no actual sparkles and so far you can color me happy with these, pun intended, because I certainly will be and will buy a couple more colors next time I see a sale I'm sure.
Makeup Brushes -Urban Decay - Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush
stephani99 9/14/2012 7:51:00 PM
This wonderfully soft yet dense brush made even the streakiest, cakiest, hardest-to-apply foundation I've ever tried look good when nothing else did. I had just purchased the new L'Oreal Visible Lift Repair Absolute cream which initially went on very thin and streaky, was hard to blend and looked heavy and cakey no matter what I tried (regular foundation brush, skunk brush, fingers, round latex sponge, Beautyblender...) but then I got this in the mail. This brush is all everyone claims it to be and more, and I almost never ever say that :) The previously awful cream foundation became a whole new beautiful thing and ended up as I expected: like being airbrushed but with an actual brush, lol. Now, if this brush is so great it makes what was initially a terrible foundation for me look so good (*cough40yearold* with combo dry skin, who uses moisturizers, primers and light setting powders to boot), how well will it work on my other foundations, the ones I know I like? Zomg I can only imagine. This brush just may open up a whole new world to me I never knew existed - the one where foundation brushes actually work and make you look like people claim they do. Totally worth the price, which isn't really that high considering some other brushes out there and the quality and packaging of this one. I suspect they'll have another bestseller on their hands; even I want another just to use for blush and bronzers now! So, when I get my next next 'prestige' Ulta % off coupon or more points there or Sephora or UD have their F&F sales, whichever comes first, I know what I'm getting :)
Brows can make or break your look; nicely groomed ones allow you to get away with wearing less makeup while still looking polished. On the flip side, ragged unkempt ones make everything look worse. If you wear glasses like I do from time to time, groomed brows are a must! especially with the thicker frames so popular now that call more attention to the eyes. Either way, I feel nekkid without my brows done.
Problem is, I'm growing them back in after years of abuse and overplucking (I hope they actually do grow back, but that's another story...) so making them look as good as possible is a priority for me. After trying many other brands, mostly cheaper ones (which may not be saying much since this some of the spendiest stuff for brows that I know of), I wish I would have started here all along because this line really works well and I've probably purchased it three times over in cheaper brands by now *sigh*
Anyway, I got my Brow Wiz as part of the Ulta-mate Brow Set (from Ulta get it? haha yeah, not my doing) which came with a Brow Wiz in Medium Ash or Blond (I chose Ash, a medium neutral brown), a clear brow gel, mini slant tweezers and duo highligh pencil. (I will try to review the set separately but for now let's just say it's great and I use everything on a daily basis). I swatched Brunette before I chose the set because Ash is better for my current coloring than the darker brown Brunette, although neither have any red tones like many browns which is great. (I mean, my brows aren't red and I don't know whose are unless they are a true redhead because if anything, mine are dark brown to black but I prefer to lighten them to brighten up my face).
This is a very slim automatic pencil; small enough to get into those tiny sparse areas that need filling in but don't require what amounts to a crayon and probably the hardest area of all to fill in which makes or breaks any pencil for me: the 'tails' of my brows. This is where most other pencils fail by being too thick to get a nice line, thereby looking heavy and fake, or they smudge and wear off too much. This does neither. It applies easily and lasts all day without smudging. It has good pigment and looks natural, blends easily with or without the attached spoolie on the end (which is also nice, it's got short bristles, not long mascara-spoolie bristles). It doesn't smear, run, flake or fade especially when set with the brow gel. Prior to this I was using Maybelline Define-a-Brow in Medium Brown which is probably the best out of all the "cheaper" brands I tried and is the one I carry with me. However, if/when I have to choose and repurchase, I prefer Anastasia's. Her pencil is smaller in diameter, the brush on the end is better and I think the shade selection is more accurate with more variety as well. This is a case where sometimes you do get what you pay for and in this case, it's a good thing. A little goes a long way with this too, unlike a lot of others I've tried so when I do run out, I will repurchase although I'm not seeing it anytime soon (and yes I am looking at YOU, awful Maybelline Studio Brow Pencil!)
Milani seems like they are really starting to rival UD lately. I just saw a ton of new items at my local CVS that made me go hmmm....
I digress. This review is for the newer, smaller tubes of Crystal Gloss which I have two of: Baby Love (sheer light but bright pink with tons of multicolored microglitter -and I'm talking like Disco Ball shimmer here but in a good way because it's really eyecatching) and Sheer Dark Honey (sheer dark blackberry with silver microglitter but not as 'blingy' as Baby Love). Both go on sheer with major shimmer which is why I got them; mostly to wear over various lipsticks to add some moisture, shimmer and mix it up a bit, but I can also wear alone to give my natural lipcolor some oomph since I have quite pigmented lips to begin with. Baby Love is a bit too much for dayttime though, so I save it for evenings when I don't mind the major sparkle; it's definitely a "going out" shade!
Sheer Dark Honey on the other hand, can be worn day or night. It reminds me of Clinique Black Honey and MAC Tuxe De Luxe for those who remember those. It looks like a scary dark, almost black in the tube and I almost passed it up, then I saw "Sheer" in the name and had a feeling it might be like the aforementoined shades and sure enough, it is. On the lips it translates to a lovely sheer berry shade, more or less depending on how pigmented your lips are to begin with. It is a really pretty shiny berry that enhances my mauve pigmented lips nicely, and I don't see the glitter on so don't be afraid of this one in either way. However, it might pull purple on some gals who have no natural lipcolor, and then again it could be used to darken up too-pale lipsticks if it doesn't work on it's own. On me however, it's a apply nd go shade that I absolutely love and would buy a backup in a heartbeat if I ever felt they were discontinuing it; it's just that unique. Especially for the drugstore.
Texture-wise these are thick like Lipglass but not as sticky with no grit factor despite the glitter. The only thing I do not care for is that while they smell like cake batter, they taste like crayons. This dissipates pretty fast thankfully, and overall these are cute, inexpensive little tubes of unique shades and I'll probably pick up at couple more while they're BOGO: Summer Sunset (similar to MAC Oh Baby) and Pure Blush (not sure what it's a dupe of, if anything, but it's a medium brownish-mauve shimmer that may or may not go on sheer. We will have to wait and see).