Eyeliner -L'Oreal - Hip Color Chrome Eyeliner Violet Volt 965
phan22 3/6/2011 4:49:00 AM
I THINK I've found my "recessionista" replacement for my Clinique Cream Shaper eyeliner in Starry Plum! Of course, Violet Volt is not an exact dupe, but it's close enough for me considering it's around $5 cheaper than the Clinique, and I can get it easily at drugstores. First, the formula of Violet Volt is a lot softer and smoother than the Starry Plum, which is good and bad. Good, because it glides on like butter with zero tugging, but bad because it needs more sharpening and the pencil will probably not last as long. The staying power is great and comparable to the Cream Shapers or, I've heard, the Urban Decay 24/7 pencils. Maybe if you rubbed your eyes hard at the end of the night, it MIGHT flake a bit but what eyeliner wouldn't? Second, the color: it's a much more blue-purple than the Starry Plum, which is more of a blackened plum with aubergine-ish shimmer. It's brighter, more purple, and more metallic compared to the Starry Plum. Based on pictures/swatches, it seems like Violet Volt is somewhere between UD 24/7 Ransom and Rockstar- it's not AS bright/electric as Ransom, but not as subdued/plum-y as the Rockstar. I still love Starry Plum- it's a great subtle purple/plum, but for now (and for the price), I'm happy with Violet Volt! (The silver and gold HIP chrome liners looked beautiful as well- I'll probably cave and try one of them in the future)
This is great! I used to use the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil for a long time, and had no complaints, but because of budget issues, I switched to the Mild Touch since it's cheaper than the Deep Cleansing Oil. It's much lighter and more serum-y than the Deep Cleansing Oil. I'm on my second bottle of it now and since I get it on sale sometimes and I don't wear makeup everyday so I don't need to use it everyday, it lasts me a long time so the price is worth it. Has a light lavender smell, doesn't sting my eyes or dry my skin out. I didn't think it would remove makeup as well as the Deep Cleansing Oil, but the Mild Touch does remove my waterproof mascara (maybe a LITTLE more rubbing than with the DCO, I don't remember. non-waterproof mascara is no problem). It says you can use with a wet face/wet hands, but I find it removes makeup much better with dry hands and dry face like you would with DCO. I also wash my face again afterwards with very gentle, non-stripping cleansers in case of left behind residue. The packaging is pink and sweet/feminine. All in all, a good remover for sensitive, normal to dry skinned ladies who don't wear LOTS of thick heavy makeup. I heard the Fancl cleansing oil was really good and maybe even better, but it's more expensive and it has a shorter shelf-life, and since I don't use makeup remover everyday, I knew I wouldn't be able to finish Fancl in time before it expires, so I'm fine with my cheaper Mild Touch!
Shampoo -Aveda - Black Malva Shampoo and Conditioner
phan22 3/4/2011 9:20:00 PM
I got the tube size of just the conditioner for $18 at an Aveda salon, so it's pricier than the John Frieda brunette glossing one I used to use, but it's that much better!! I will never go back to the John Frieda one again. My hair background: I dyed my hair awhile ago with a stupid compound henna dye (bad!) that left my hair kinda fried. I was scared to dye it again with a regular chemical dye, so I got a glossing coating treatment at the salon. I specifically asked for dark neutral brown with no red tones, but of course, when the coating faded, it left my hair more red/orange, especially in the sun. So my hair was natural almost-black on top, and the bottom half of my hair was a red/orange mess. I'm tryin to grow out my dyed ends instead of re-dye it, so a color depositing conditioner was the way to go! I didn't bother getting the shampoo cuz the color depositing stuff is in the conditioner. Black Malva is perfect because after 3 times of use, it has definitely reduced my brassiness and had darkened the dyed part to blend more naturally with my natural dark hair color. I no longer look "half black, half red", but more uniform and natural now, thank God. How I use it: I shampoo with my normal moisturizing shampoo, condition with my normal moisturizing conditioner, rinse, then put the black malva on just the bottom half of my hair that needs it, leave it on for approx. 3 min, and rinse. I don't wash my hair every day, but so far I've used it every time I wash, but after I reach the desired level of saturation, I will probably cut down to every other wash or once a week to maintain (that's what the salon girl told me to do). Yes, it's messy and can leave blue-black stains on the tub or turn your palms blue-black, but I just wipe the tub right after I apply it, and wash my hands with soap. By the time I get out of the shower, my palms/nails are normal and not stained. Not a big deal, and the results on my hair are worth the minor annoyance. Why this is better compared to the John Frieda color depositing gloss thing: John Frieda left my hair feeling more coated and waxy rather than soft and silky, while the Black Malva rinses out leaving my hair silky soft! It also smells herby fresh, for people who care about smell. Most importantly for me, the Black Malva is truly cool-toned to fix brassiness. The blue tone of it cancels out the orangey red in my hair. The John Frieda was just warm brown so it didn't do much for fixing brassiness (sort of how Aveda Clove would be probably- more brown but NOT for fixing brassiness). This is perfect for toning down brassiness in medium to dark hair! I wish I found it sooner! Try it if you're a dye-phobe like me or wanna grow out your dyed hair and go back to natural!
Cleansers -Skin effects by Dr. Jeffrey Dover - Glycolic Cream Cleanser
phan22 3/4/2011 8:59:00 PM
This is my HG cleanser for exfoliating! I have sensitive skin so things like st. ives apricot scrub makes me feel like my face is being scraped, and even the microbead washes end up drying my skin out and over stripping. I came to the conclusion I prefer chemical exfoliants over mechanical ones which are just too abrasive. This glycolic cleanser has a low level of glycolic acid (for seasoned acid peel users, probably a negligent amount) that is perfect for gently sweeping surface cells away from my sensitive skin without leaving it irritated, dry, or red. It can be drying if I use it too much, so I only use it at night, and sometimes not even everyday (you can see, my skin is just super sensitive- so annoying!). A small amount is enough so it will last a long time. It's creamy, low-lathering, and it contains hyaluronic acid microspheres to hydrate, and licorice and calendula to soothe. Oil-free and gentle. Sold at CVS only for $12-13 but sometimes they have sales or buy one, get one half off deals.
Moisturizers -Clean & Clear - Oil-Free Dual Action Moisturizer
phan22 3/4/2011 8:49:00 PM
This is dirt cheap and at first, I thought it was my HG moisturizer because it made my skin clear, healed my breakouts, and made my pores look smaller....BUT after using it everyday for a few days, it started drying me out and making me greasy at the same time. I reduced use to every other day, and so on, til I just had to stop using it alltogether because it was irritating my sensitive skin. Probably would work better for oily skin or teenage skin. I like to use it on my legs after shaving because it feels cooling and I figured it might help prevent shaving bumps- seems to work better for that. Sensitive or normal to dry skinned ladies should try this with caution and some experimentation on how often you apply!
LOVE IT! Doesn't dry out my sensitive, normal to dry skin, feels cushiony and creamy, and a little bit lathers a lot, so it'll last you a long time! Doesn't leave my skin tight or red like other face washes I've tried. Don't know about it's makeup removing qualities because I use it after my makeup remover or in the morning. I would guess it wouldn't thoroughly remove waterproof eye makeup, mineral makeup, or sunblock because it's so gentle and non-stripping. It's also not oil-based. Doesn't make me break out or irritate me. A good, basic, antioxidant-boosted, mild, soap-free cleanser for morning washing or post-makeup-remover washing. It isn't going to dramatically change your skin or provide any exfoliation. Leaves your skin beautifully balanced and healthy!
Treatments (Eye) -First Aid Beauty - Detox Eye Roller
phan22 3/4/2011 8:37:00 PM
I like this eye roller better than the green packaging (not peach) Garnier one I've tried. It has beneficial ingredients and is a watery formula with some mica shimmer for diffusing dark circles. Can't say if it's "cured" my dark circles or puffiness, but it's cooling going on, and the rollerball application is fast, easy, and honestly, kind of fun! I know people say this product is gimmicky, but I never place too much hope or have unrealistic expectations in products, so this does what I want it to- gives me some light diffusing particles to help with dark circles in the morning, depuffs with caffeine (albeit, temporarily), feels cooling and fast to apply, doesn't irritate my skin or eyes (sometimes in the beginning it felt warm at first, but not uncomfortably), doesn't cause milia (hooray! so essential for me), and doesn't pill, flake or streak under my undereye concealer and isn't too oily either. It's basically more of a no-frills, non-irritating, light moisturizer for daytime (since at night, you'd probably want to use something more heavy-hitting) that has some better qualities than drugstore eye rollers and is fun and fast to use! If you don't care bout the slightly superior (IMHO) formula, garnier or olay eye rollers are a cheaper substitute and more readily available (since First Aid Beauty is only at Sephora, as far as I know, or online). This retails for $24 I think, but I got mine in a kit with the face wash and ultra repair cream for a good deal. I would repurchase if I could afford it, but it IS pricey to get on it's own without that great kit deal I got...
Moisturizers -First Aid Beauty - 5 in 1 Face Cream SPF 30
phan22 3/4/2011 8:25:00 PM
Love this! Goes on easily, light. A little sticky at first, but it seems to sink in for me. Perfect for my normal to dry skin. Hasn't caused breakouts yet (been a couple months) I don't think. It does have a funny smell (people have said pickles or hot dogs, haha), but it fades on my skin and isn't a big issue. I'd rather have a funny smell that fades than perfumey fragrance that doesn't fade and sits on my face all day. I like that it's an all in one product which makes my routine so fast and easy in the morning. I normally like physical sunblocks, but the mixture of zinc oxide with chemical sunblocks (octinoxate and octocrylene) in this doesn't seem to irritate me, and since it's a mix of both kinds, it's less thick and white than full physical sunblocks, and I figured, it's good to have zinc oxide sit on top of my skin with the "back up" of chemical sunblock absorbed into my skin (since physical sunblocks can wipe off and that's it, you're unprotected). I think this is doing what it claims to do with the antioxidants and the fading of spots or whatever, but I can't confidently say it's all due to this because I use other products obviously, like glycolic acid stuff which helps with fading spots too. Nice opaque, plastic, pump bottle is hygienic, easy to use and keeps the light out from damaging the ingredients, but I guess the downside would be you can't see how much is left, but hey, you can't have everything! I love First Aid Beauty products!!
Moisturizers -First Aid Beauty - Ultra Repair Cream
phan22 3/4/2011 8:15:00 PM
I have this in the 6oz tub, which was a better deal I think than the smaller tube. I don't like tubs because of hygiene and because the exposure to air could potentially reduce the effectiveness of all the wonderful antioxidant ingredients, but I wanted the larger amount since I use this on hands, body, and my face! A rep for First Aid Beauty assured me that they did shelf-life testing and the antioxidants should stay potent for a good year or maybe more. At the beginning I used a little cosmetic spatula so I wouldn't be dipping my fingers in the tub, but I got lazy and got over it, haha. I don't think the "germs" are as big an issue like people think- it's not like I touch a bunch of dirty stuff before I use the cream anyways. This sinks into my skin and soothes my normal to dry skin without greasiness or shine. I also have eczema flare-ups occasionally on my face, body, and hands, and this cream is wonderful at treating it without any steroids or greasiness. It should be a staple for the whole family especially for eczema sufferers or for winter climates. I use this at night on my face (even on eyelids when they get dry), and sometimes I use it under makeup with SPF in the daytime if I know I'm not going to be outside much. But since it doesn't contain any sunscreen, it's better for nighttime. First Aid Beauty products in general seem perfect for sensitive, reactive skin- they don't put any unnecessary ingredients (like color or fragrance) in their products and all the ingredients seem to be very gentle things that the majority of people would not have any problems with or allergies to. Nothing pore-clogging, no harsh herbs or essential oils, no acids, fragrances, oil, color...none of the ingredients that usually irritate my sensitive skin! Yay!
Treatments (Eye) -MD Forte - skin rejuvenation eye cream
phan22 3/4/2011 8:04:00 PM
LOVE LOVE LOVE, my HG eye cream! I've been using this for years, and even though it's on the more medium expensive side (i get it online for around $40-something, but at least it's not $90+ like some brands!), I have to have it because it's the only eye cream that helps with my milia! Since it has glycolic acid and vitamin A, it's very exfoliating which prevents and helps get rid of milia. Obviously, people have different issues that are their priority when it comes to eye skin, but for me, milia is a big issue (I also have syringoma, which are flesh-colored little bumps, while the milia are white bumps, lucky me!) so rather than wrinkle-fighting or whatever else, I really care about if an eye cream does not cause milia. This eye cream helps prevent milia and it has made my undereye a lot smoother overall. I'm still young so I don't have crows feet or anything, but it seems to be preventing wrinkles and "rejuvenating" my undereye area like it says! I have recommended it to my sister already, and I plan on continuing to purchase/use it as long as it's available (please please don't discontinue!). FYI, I only use a SMALL amount since using too much of anything could clog pores. Also, I have sensitive skin, but using this once nightly as directed has not caused any skin irritation or eye watering. My sister has just started using it, and not being used to acids and vitamin a, it caused some flakiness so she reduced use to once every other night. I think there's a short adjustment period at the beginning while your skin adapts, but after that, I've had no issues!
I have this along with the brunette eyebrow powder from Anastasia. When I have medium/dark brown hair, the Anastasia looks good and is a good quality brow powder, but when my hair is darker brown/black, the bare escentuals brunette brow powder looks so natural on me because it perfectly matches my dark eyebrow hairs! It definitely looks soft and natural and lasts well. Powders are perfect for filling in sparse brows and defining overall. For some reason, the other brunette powders out there (including the anastasia) are really BROWN, actually brown, but the bare escentuals brunette is more of a black/gray/brown if that makes any sense. I don't know how good it would look for a lighter brunette person, since darker haired ladies are supposed to choose a shade lighter for filling in brows (whereas blonde ladies should choose a shade darker). But for my dark brown/black hair, this brow powder is perfect and natural-looking! My only gripe: the small container has no sifter thing so it's just loose powder. I kinda shake it, then open it and dip my brush in the bits stuck to the lid, cuz it would be too messy to dip my brush in the whole thing. I'm pretty clumsy so I've wasted some product from knocking it over or whatever. Wish it had less messy packaging for accident-prone people like myself, but maybe it wouldn't apply as natural looking if it were a pressed powder...and maybe it's too small a container for a sifter close-open top to make sense. I don't know. Small complaint though...
I've been using this for months and months and I've already repurchased once and I love it! I've recommended it already to my sister and my friends. I used to use Bare Minerals Original but it started to break me out because I have sensitive skin and can't tolerate too much bismuth oxychloride. Also, I do like dewiness, but the original seemed to make me a little too shiny looking and had a more caked on obvious look when I tried to cover blemishes. I use the Matte in golden fair which is perfect for my skin tone. I use it mainly as a concealer for the lilttle red/brown pimple marks left behind after a pimple, redness, blemishes, and undereye. It's not perfect for undereye concealing (I have dark undereye circles), but I'm also prone to milia, so I find that using bare minerals helps by not causing milia since it's so light and non-oily. It's also great for covering blemishes because as long as I moisturize well, it never looks caked on or accentuates flakiness, unlike other cream-to-powder stick foundations I've tried. I lightly dust a small amount all over to minimize the look of pores and tone down any shininess. I don't even need a separate finishing powder usually (although I have Make Up Forever HD Powder which is good so I'll use that sometimes on my t-zone after bare minerals matte). Sometimes Matte is a little TOO matte for my taste (not that it's chalky or drying) because I like to have a more 3D/contoured face if that makes sense, but that's easily solved with a dusting of highlighting powder or shimmery blush or something. I have normal to dry skin, so I can see how this powder foundation would be great for oily-skinned ladies or for the summer/hot-humid weather.
Tinted Moisturizer -Pixi - illuminating tint & conceal
phan22 3/4/2011 7:32:00 PM
I like this tinted moisturizer! It gives me a dewy natural look. I got it in the lightest color and it fits my skin tone perfectly. It's a more yellow-based color, I think. Hasn't made me break out in the few months I've used it. I don't use the concealer part unless I'm in a hurry because it doesn't cover my dry pimples well since it accentuates flakiness, but it's good for the redness around my nose/mouth/chin. Too dry for under my eyes. I only use a small amount of the tinted moisturizer to even out my skin and impart a subtle dewy glow. Sometimes i'll use just on areas I want to "highlight" like the top of my cheekbones, down my nose, around my inner corners of eyes, sides of nose, sides of mouth...but it's obviously not AS shimmery as a real liquid highlighter. I like the ingredients and it's easy to spread, not thick or goopy. Really gives a natural-looking soft focus effect because of the subtle shimmer. It's also easy to purchase at your local Target instead of having to pay for shipping or drive to Sephora or something. Kind of expensive for the amount you get, and although I said I would repurchase, I'm kind of unsure because I prefer the tinted moisturizer part over the concealer, so I think i'll always end up with leftover concealer which is a waste...BUT, I still like this product overall, so I would recommend to other normal to dry skinned ladies who need a tinted moisturizer with minimal coverage, light feel, and dewiness. This product also has antioxidants and spf 20- since I'm more dry, I still moisturize before applying this. Would probably be good for travel due to it's compact size and "two-in-one" packaging.
Eyeliner -L'Oreal - Extra-Intense Liquid Pencil Eyeliner
phan22 3/4/2011 7:20:00 PM
This is a great eyeliner! Just as creamy and smooth as Clinique Cream Shapers or UD 24/7 eyeliners. Lasting power is great, doesn't tug going on. They don't have a lot of color choices, so I got it in brown which is good for my "natural makeup" days but it doesn't make my dark brown eyes pop like they do when I use purple, green, or cobalt eyeliner. I think it was around $7-8, so I recently discovered the Prestige Total Intensity Liners which I prefer because they are basically the same as the L'oreal eyeliner, but it's $4-something and they have more color choices. Nevertheless, if you want basic colors, the extra intense liquid pencil is great and indeed does look like liquid with the ease of a pencil liner!
Eyeliner -Prestige - Total Intensity Eyeliner-Daring Green 03
phan22 3/4/2011 7:14:00 PM
I was looking for alternatives to my Clinique Cream Shaper in Egyptian due to budget reasons, and I think I found it! I got this daring green eyeliner along with the intense olive color at Bed Bath and Beyond (so random, I know). This eyeliner glides on creamy, smooth, and just as intense/dramatic as the Clinique Egyptian. The only difference is that daring green has a brighter true green shimmer to it, whereas the egyptian was a subtle blackened green with gold shimmer. Daring green is more cool-toned and brighter which I prefer anyways, and if I want the gold shimmer look I used to get from Egyptian, I have my prestige intense olive now which gives me my "gold shimmer" fix. Daring green is my alternative for black eyeliner which I find too harsh. This eyeliner gives me drama, subtle shimmer, and a rich, emerald pop of color (not too crazy) perfect for my dark brown eyes! Lasting power is comparable to the clinique cream shapers. For less than $5, this eyeliner is a steal, so even though it's not EXACTLY like Egyptian, I'm very happy with it and would recommend!