Fragrances -Victoria's Secret - Gorgeous Perfume Eau De Parfum
NYC22 6/25/2012 8:44:00 PM
I own this in the body spray. I only bought it because it was 75% off and I liked the bottle. Other than that, I find it unremarkable. To my (unsophisticated) nose, it smells like the usual generic VS floral scent with a dash of fruity mixed in. It's a mediocre scent, but the bottle looks pretty on my dresser and is much preferred to the watered down Bath & Body Works sprays, so I guess it's a keeper - for the price.
I bought this because I liked the price (75% off) and I liked the bottle (pretty jeweled top). Other than those features, I can't see much special about this scent. I don't have a sophisticated nose by far, but this just smelled like VS combined their floral scents with their musky scents and called it a day. It looks pretty on my dresser, but I don't see myself reaching for it regularly.
Self Tanners -St.Tropez - Self Tan Dark Bronzing Lotion
NYC22 6/7/2012 8:03:00 PM
This is the BEST self-tanner I have ever used. Where can I begin? First, the color pay-off is phenomenal. After just one application I got a deep, rich tan - and after two applications I looked like I'd spent a long weekend at the beach. I never experienced color like this, even when I applied other self-tanners everyday. And the color isn't the stereotypical orange, but is rather a natural tan with a little brown/bronze/olive. I also might add that this color is what I get after only leaving the lotion on for four hours - imagine what I could get after eight or more. Even after four hours, the color lasts for several days. The other thing that impressed me about this self-tanner was the low odor. I could barely smell this. This is such an improvement over other tanners that literally made me sick with their scents. I also like how comfortable this is to wear. I usually hate having lotion on my skin, and loathe the sticky feeling of self-tanners - but with this I only minimally noticed that I had it on. This is easy to apply - I can get most of my body done in about 10 minutes. The best thing to do is apply two pumps to each section of my body, and smooth it along. Rubbing didn't give me streaks, but the smoothing action allowed me to apply the lotion more liberally in each area and therefore wind up with a richer tan. There is one caveat to this self-tanner, though. The color guard in it is an olive green with a dash of bronze. At first I was quite turned off by this shocking color, but I've come to appreciate it. The reason is that I can see what I am doing much better. Of course I can see spots that I missed, but the more important thing is that I can see the color saturation better. It can be difficult to determine how much product has been applied with brown color guards, but the green lets me see exactly how much I put on. I put enough on with two pumps on each section so that I am visibly green and the color looks more opaque. However, if you want less color then simply apply one pump to a section until your skin is glimmering with an olive/bronze glow, with the green showing up not at first glance but definitely once you focus in. This will give you plenty of color. I think this is the self-tanner that I have always dreamed of. I have tried expensive brands like Dior and Clarins, and inexpensive brands like Hawaiian Tropic, Banana Boat, L'Oreal, etc. (see my other reviews). However, I really think this is the standard. This even blows the original St. Tropez bronzing lotion out of the water. I understand that this is expensive, but for the quality of the tan I think it is well worth it. Plus, if I want to be frugal then I just apply it to the areas of my body that are shown day to day, like arms, legs, chest, neck and face - yes, this is safe for use on the face! I highly recommend this.
I own this in the body spray, and it is nothing special. It smells like a general floral scent, and I cannot pick out any particular notes (some reviewers mentioned roses, but I guess my nose isn't that sophisticated - or the elements aren't that strong). The alcohol in this is a little strong, so I only use one spray at a time - and cautiously at that. This is a fine spray for me to use at daytime when I just want a little scent as a pick-me-up or to combat any possible body odor. However, I don't find myself reaching for this any more often than other body sprays I own. What I do like about this product is the packaging. I own four body sprays from Victoria's Secret and they all look more like jewelry than plastic bottles. I much prefer that look on my shelf than the cheap-o Bath and Body Works containers. Plus, I think VS body sprays are more feminine and have a (pleasantly) stronger smell. I was lucky to get this for $6 (on clearance for 75% off), but otherwise I don't ever think I'd pay full price for a body spray. VS has several that look lovely, and some that even smell enticing, but the day will never come when I will pay $25 for a few ounces of body spray.
I own this in the traditional fragrance mist (not the shimmering mist). It is a generic, nonspecific floral fragrance that I use without thinking - simply to have a little scent and combat any possible B.O., but that's it. I don't feel particularly drawn to it, nor do I think other people are. But for the $6 I spent on this during a clearance sale (75% off) and because of the pretty bottle, I think this is worth it. It is certainly more feminine (and stronger) than many of the body sprays from Bath and Body Works. It also seems to mimic the scent of one of the VS angel EDTs (I forget which one), which is pretty good for a body spray.
I bought this for about $6 on clearance at Victoria's Secret simply because I liked the ritzy bottle. It's pretty to look at, but the smell is not my style. The best way to describe it is musky, and it reminds me of the cheap colognes my mom would purchase from the drugstore. I keep pushing myself to wear it with the hope that it will grow on me, but that simply hasn't happened. The only positive I can think of is that this is a unique smell for a body spray, as most have more emphasis or floral or fruity notes.
I own several Sephora brand makeup brushes and have found them all to be acceptable if not outstanding - except for this brush. The bristles were simply too stiff and coarse. Thus, they did not pick up pressed powder well. The powder just sat on the top of the brush in a dry mess, and application of the brush on my face was uncomfortable. It's a shame because I think this brush is a nice size for facial contouring, and I liked that it came with a cap. I have not been impressed with other I.T. brushes that I have seen at Sephora, so I doubt I will try any from this sub-line again. I prefer the Professionnel Platinum line from Sephora.
Makeup Brushes -Sephora - Professionnel Platinum Blush Brush #49
NYC22 5/30/2012 8:15:00 PM
When I wanted to upgrade my blush brush, I had no idea where to start. I felt like Goldilocks - one brush was too big, one was too small, and on and on. I started watching how-to videos on Sephora.com back when they were first introducing tutorials, and I noticed that the make-up artists always used this brush to apply blush. I gave it a try and was very impressed. I wondered how I ever lived without it. This is an angled brush, so I use it to my advantage to create contours on my cheeks in order to bring out my cheekbones. However, the brush can easily be used for a natural look by blending away the edges, or just on the apples of one's cheeks. The bristles are perfect in my opinion as they are not too hard or too soft. And it seems to pick up the right amount of color - I dip it once into my blush and it picks up enough color to show up from the first sweep. I use Tarte's Natural Beauty blush. First, I dip the brush into the pressed powder. Then, I move the brush in a diagonal line from behind my laugh lines toward my hairline. I do this on the lower half of my cheekbones. Then I do the same thing on the upper half of my cheekbone area. Next, I apply more color to the apples of my cheeks. Finally, I sweep the brush over all areas in order to disperse color and even out any hard edges. I dip the brush in the blush in between each application, for a total of four layers. The only negative comment I have about this brush (aside from the $30+ price tag) is that I wish it came with a cap of some sort. I know that this is not typical for brushes, but I have seen several brushes at Sephora with this feature and I think it comes in handy. I highly recommend this is brush. It took a lot of the guesswork out of blush application for me. The result is naturally appearing cheekbones and a flush of natural color that really highlights my better features.
I bought this to spot treat pimples, and was very impressed with how well it worked. The first time I used it was on a blemish that I got from a bad reaction to a Clinique toner. The royal wedding was on and I admit that I was a little depressed by Princess Kate's beauty and my bulging blemish. I put this on before I went to bed, and when I woke up in the middle of the night I was amazed (really) that all the swelling went down. By the next morning I could barely tell that anything had been there. Now, with that success story told, I must point out that this product isn't a miracle worker on every blemish. In short, it is my understanding that a pimple is caused by bacteria and this gel "rids" the bacteria. So in my experience, the larger the pimple the more the bacteria - so the product works better. The smaller the pimple the less the bacteria - so the product can't do much. This "theory" might not make sense to most people, but in my experience the persa-gel doesn't do much for the tiny pimples I get on my forehead. Oh - and this won't work on blackheads since they are not caused by bacteria (as is my understanding). However, I do apply this to pores where I have extracted blackheads because I figure it can't hurt. And a little bit of this goes a long way, so be frugal with each application. Too much and you may suffer from excessive dryness due to the high amount of benzyl peroxide. (I like to apply a little bit twice a day.) A final note of caution: this will stain fabric so be careful.
After reading Paula's Begoun's Beauty Bible, I was determined to give up bar soap forever. She recommended this liquid cleanser due to its gentle nature (for general cleansing and for acne-prone skin) as well as for its skill at removing makeup. I couldn't be happier that I found this cleanser. I believe that bar soap was irritating my skin and causing breakouts. After using this on my face for two days, all the little breakouts I had on my forehead disappeared. I was so impressed that I used this on my chest, shoulders and back and was astonished to see that within a week all of the acne bumps were gone. I can finally wear low-cut clothing without fear. I am so delighted with this product that I buy several bottles at a time, and use one for my face and one as body wash. As for the make-up removal, I was pleased with it as well. I wear Revlon ColorStay eyeliner in black as well as layers of black mascara - both of which can be difficult to remove. However, if I cleanse twice with the Fresh Foaming Cleanser, 99.9% of the make-up is removed. This is so good that I don't even have to use the Neutrogena eye make-up remover lotion anymore. And a tip for anyone that is frustrated with black eye make-up lingering under the eye (no matter how many times you wash): moisturize. The more hydrated the eye area, the less likely the skin is to hold onto that ashy residue. I like CeraVe PM. Finally, I have to give a nod to Neutrogena for making this liquid cleanser foaming. I've tried other liquid cleansers that didn't foam or lather and it just didn't feel right. This one bubbles up like a charm, making it very easy to apply. The product is silky in its liquid form, so I wet my hands, then pump out a dime-sized amount, then rub my hands together to make a foam. If you do it this way, it will cleanse well and be easy to wash off.
Blush -Tarte - Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush - Blushing Bride
NYC22 5/29/2012 9:06:00 PM
After a very good experience with a Tarte blush (Natural Beauty) I was hungry for more. Blushing Bride had caught my eye due to its cool shade. I would describe it as a rose color with plum tones - at least, that's the way it looked in the package. The first time I applied the color I was caught off guard by the plum tones and couldn't decide if I liked it or not. By the end of the day I decided it was worth keeping because the purple of the blush made my green eyes pop. I was eager to use it again. Unfortunately, each time I applied it afterward I just couldn't capture the plum shade. No matter how much or how little I used, the color ended up very flat and ruddy. Imagine the color you get from a pressure mark from a pillow or sheets on your cheek after a long night of sleep. Long story short, I threw in the towel with this and exchanged it for another Tarte blush, Glisten. Another disappointment. I figure I will try one more Tarte blush, and then move on. I do recommend Tarte's eyeliners, though. The inner rim liner and aqua gel liner are both winners.
Blush -Tarte - Amazonian Clay Long-Wear Blush in Natural Beauty
NYC22 5/29/2012 8:55:00 PM
I searched high and low at Sephora for a nice everyday blush with a bit of drama and couldn't find anything striking from Nars, Dior or Clinique...until I stumbled onto Tarte. Each shade looked more decadent (and wearable) than the last, but I settled on Natural Beauty. The name is very appropriate as the color does look natural, but it can also be layered so that it gives a pop of color. I would describe the blush as matte, and the color as in between the natural shade one might blush (perhaps a shade of vermilion) and watermelon. Sephora lists the color as a shade of strawberry. The blush pictured on this MUA site looks a little orange/coral to me and reminds me more of Tipsy. When I wear this blush, it makes my cheekbones appear magically and I think it adds much needed color and expression to my face. I apply this blush using Sephora's blush brush #49. The color is rather pigmented, so I simply dip the brush into pressed powder once and then start applying. I sweep the brush from behind my laugh lines in a diagonal line up toward my hairline; I do this once on the lower portion of the cheekbone and then once on the upper portion. Then, I apply blush to the apples of my cheeks. Finally, I apply the blush all over to even out the color distribution and any harsh lines from the angled brush. I dip the brush into the blush in between applications, for a total of four layers. The color really lasts with this blush. If it doesn't last twelve hours, then it is really close. I was so enamored with this blush that I have tried two more from Tarte (Blushing Bride and Glisten) but I was disappointed with both. (See my other reviews.) Still, I am impressed with Tarte. I have two of their eyeliners and am happy with them. And I love that they are on QVC as I enjoy watching the in-depth product descriptions.
Blush -Tarte - Amazonian 12-Hour Clay Blush In Glisten
NYC22 5/29/2012 8:38:00 PM
I fell in love with Tarte blushes after buying Natural Beauty and wanted to try some of their other shades as each one looked divine. However, I was disappointed with this shade. It is a sheer, peachy-pink color with shimmer that just wasn't for me. It reminded me of Nars Orgasm, etc. (colors that I haven't tried per se but have swatched numerous times at Sephora). I found that this blush wasn't pigmented much, and had it not been for the leftover color of Natural Beauty on my blush brush, I don't think I would have seen much color at all. And the more I applied it, the worse it got as I ended up with a pale, cake-y powder on my cheeks. I have also tried Tarte's Blushing Bride and wasn't too impressed with that either. Therefore, I'm wondering if I just got lucky with Natural Beauty and it is their only gem in terms of blushes.
I used up all of my ultra-expensive Murad toner, so I thought that I'd give this a try. I needed a toner to take off trace amounts of foundation, and to use after my Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash (which exfoliates better than it washes). I liked that Clinique's Clarifying Lotion 3 was not only a toner, but also an exfoliator thanks to the salicylic acid in it. Before I started using this toner, my skin was better than it had been in months. I marveled at the reduction in blackheads, as well as the brighter, more even skin tone that I got from the Philosophy product. But after using this toner a week or two, I was suffering from small pimples similar to "redheads" as one reviewer wrote. I bought a copy of Paula Begoun's "Don't go to the cosmetics counter without me" and was shocked to read that she gave this a negative review. Apparently she strongly advises against "irritants" such as alcohol and witch hazel, which are at the top of this ingredient list. Her reasoning is that drying ingredients not only irritate the skin, but can dry it out so that the skin actually produces more oil in between layers (I'm paraphrasing). I had no idea! However, seeing is believing and the condition my skin is in right now has made me a convert. Begoun did give Clinique's Mild Clarifying Lotion a positive rating, so I may certainly look into purchasing it the next time I go near a Sephora. In the meantime, I have purchased Neutrogena's Alcohol-Free Toner which Begoun gave an average rating (not a bad product, just not extraordinary). I guess one final option would be to return to using the $22 Murad toner. It did not receive a positive review by Begoun due to its inclusion of witch hazel and menthol, but at least I know that this particular "loser" hasn't wreaked havoc on my own skin. I mention this confusion of products simply to highlight how difficult it can be to find an effective product, and how maddening it can be to repair one's skin after a minor disaster. Shame on you, Clinique!
Eye Primer -Urban Decay - Eyeshadow Primer Potion - Original (UDPP)
NYC22 4/19/2011 8:06:00 PM
I held off on trying eye shadow primers for the longest time. I didn't understand why all-of-a-sudden we just had to use a primer. I'd been getting along just fine without one. What was I missing out on? A lot, apparently. This one lets my eye shadow glide on. It keeps my eye shadow from getting greasy and smearing. It keep my eye shadow from creasing. It allows the eye shadow color to look more natural and pigmented. Why else can I say? Nothing except to maybe point out to those skeptics (like I used to be) that while you may get the same results from using a foundation, this is a creamier consistency which leads to a better, more comfortable, end product (IMHO).