I got a deluxe sample of this from Sephora yesterday and tried it out today. Like other reviewers, I found that it was very dark black and didn't give much, if any volume. *But* that's not a bad thing for me. I like my lashes to look long but natural, without a lot of extra volume to them and that's exactly what I got from this mascara.
I already have long lashes to begin with, so I can't comment on how well it would work on short, stubby lashes, but my lashes looked longer than usual and had a delicate, natural look to them that I really like.
I didn't have any trouble with smearing or smudging (but I only applied one coat), even after rubbing my eyes about 10 seconds after applying to see how it would hold up. It also came off easily with some Fresh Soy Face Cleanser and a little rubbing and didn't leave me with raccoon eyes.
If you're looking for drama, this probably isn't the mascara for you. If you want something that looks natural but better, you might want to give it a try.
While I did say I'd buy it again, I do agree that the price tag is high for a mascara that doesn't have a serious drama-factor. But since it gives me the look I want, I might very well buy a full size container once my sample runs out, even at this price.
I normally despise foody scents and wouldn't be caught dead wearing something that smelled like cotton candy, but for some reason I wanted to try Pink Sugar. Some kind soul gave me a small sample vial of it and I liked it immediately, even if I'll only wear it on rare occasions.
It's definitely sweet, and sugary, but not childish and it doesn't have that cloying, gag-inducing sweetness that scents like this usually have for me. I find that a little goes a long way for me (otherwise it's overpowering) and I'm sure that the 1.7 oz EDP I bought after my sample ran out will last me ages.
The packaging is adorable, if very girly (again, not me, but I can see the appeal) and twee, right down to the box that holds the perfume.
Not my favorite perfume, but I do like it.
I bought a Ped Egg on a whim after reading a review or two here on MUA and then seeing a display of them at Linens 'N' Things when I was buying a shoe rack (I'm a hopeless impulse buyer). I'd actually never seen a commercial for the Ped Egg (and still haven't to this day), so it was an even bigger impulse buy than if I'd heard of it and then decided to try it on the spur of the moment. I've had horrible problems with severely dry, deeply cracked and painful heels almost my entire life and I've tried just about every sort of file on the market (I only stopped short of the callous shavers because the idea of using a razor blade on my feet freaks me out), so I thought this was worth a shot.
On the plus side, the Ped Egg is easy to hold and maneuver and it's nice that it catches all the dead skin flakes (as long as you're holding it the right way around which isn't always comfortable or even possible and as soon as you turn it over, it starts sprinkling onto the floor). I did get reasonably good results with the Ped Egg, better than many flat files that I've tried, but they weren't spectacular. I also liked that it includes a built in buffer, which is helpful when using this kind of file because it tends to leave ragged skin edges.
On the negative side, it's nearly impossible to always hold the Egg the right way around to trap the shavings without contorting your body into weird positions and/or holding the Egg awkwardly.
The Ped Egg isn't bad by any means, and I even think it's probably worth the $10 I paid for it, but I vastly prefer my Diamancel Foot Rasp #20 that I got a few days after the Ped Egg. It makes my feet smoother, softer and doesn't leave ragged edges or uneven areas. It was more expensive and doesn't have the nice ergonomic shape, but I use it every day instead of my Ped Egg, which is sitting in its package gathering dust now.
I'm torn over Gorgeous. While it has a wonderful texture, sinks in beautifully, makes my skin look beautiful and never, ever causes any irritation or breakouts for me, it's very expensive and I absolutely *hate* the scent (which smells like a combination of orange popsicles and Frito's to me; to be fair, neroli always smells like that to me, but Gorgeous is worse than usual in that regard).
I've owned 2 pots of this and never finished either one before the expiration date (and it really does go rancid unlike my Celestial pots that have been out of date and fine - Gorgeous separates and gets a disgusting smell to it that I can't quite describe). The first I received as an exchange for 2 pots of Skin's Shangri-La (which was a disaster and *had* to go back to LUSH) and tried on a whim because one of the pots of Skin's Shangri-La was a freebie and so I ended up getting the Gorgeous for the equivalent of half the price on my end and the other I bought after my first expired because I really did like it.
Part of the problem is that I use so little of Gorgeous (both because a little goes a long way and because it's expensive and I'm afraid of wasting it) that I never get through it in time. So it's an impractical purchase for me. I've been using Celestial exclusively for quite a while as a result.
Gorgeous isn't as moisturizing as Celestial, but it's not designed to be. It's a very light, thin, easily absorbed moisturizer that would probably be best for combination or oily skin rather than dry skin.
I love Celestial, although several times I've switched to LUSH's Gorgeous (in spite of the price) because Celestial was just too heavy for me at that particular time.
Celestial smells wonderful to me, like homemade vanilla ice cream mixed with a touch of flowers and has a wonderful texture. It's smooth, spreads easily and while it takes a while to sink in, it does eventually without breaking me out or leaving me oily.
I don't have problems with extreme dryness or oiliness, but my skin is combination (and very sensitive) and does have a touch of both. Celestial seems to be a good all-around moisturizer for me and does away with the dryness without going too far (like Skin's Shangri-La did) and making me oily and clogging my pores. Best of all, I've never had any trouble at all with irritation of any kind with Celestial.
This was one of the most disastrous LUSH products I've ever tried. I bought it after reading how good it was supposed to be (and imagining that it would be good for my dry patches).
Long story short, it made me horribly greasy, sat on my skin like a thick layer of lard and broke me out *horribly*. I never get breakouts like the one that happened over my entire face the very first time I used Skin's Shangri-La.
I imagine it could be good if you have extremely dry skin and you apply it in moderation (and don't have issues with anything breaking you out even remotely), but for me it was an unmitigated disaster.
Cleansers -LUSH - Sweet Japanese Girl [DISCONTINUED]
Mojie 9/12/2008 11:25:00 PM
Sweet Japanese Girl is one of those products that flies in the face of logic when you think about what it's intended for and what it's made of. You're essentially smearing a layer of oily balm with little bits of scrubbiness over your face in order to deal with skin that's already oily. A bit of a skincare paradox.
But for some reason it works. And never breaks me out. I have combination sensitive skin, with some oiliness in my t-zone and the occasional pimple.
When I use SJG I always use it a little differently than intended. I don't like the feel of the scrubby bits on my skin (and they hurt), so I try to use the parts with the least amount of scrubbiness first (I pick out my SJG's in store so I can get the ones with the least in them) and rub it over either my entire face or just the parts that are breaking out or greasy, let it set for maybe 15 seconds and then massage it gently into my skin. After that, I let it set for another 1-2 minutes then rinse it off with warm/hot water in the shower (because otherwise I end up getting water everywhere trying to rinse it off my face at the sink -- SJG is pretty hard to remove completely without using toner and a lot of cotton pads or using my approach). Then I apply LUSH's Angels On Bare Skin over my entire face, concentrating on the areas where the SAJ was applied and gently rub it in circles for maybe 30 seconds, then rinse again. That's usually enough to get all the SJG residue off my skin.
My biggest gripe about SJG, aside from LUSH's increasing prices, is the packaging, or lack thereof. Because SJG is essentially a block of solidified oils, it tends to melt and/or dry out if it's not kept tightly closed up in something. LUSH, in their infinite wisdom, offers no packaging for SJG other than a thin plastic baggie stuck on with a sticker (if you order online - in store, you just get the plastic baggie), although it does fit with just a little bit of force into the shampoo puck tins. I usually keep mine double bagged in 2 LUSH plastic baggies with each one twisted and then inverted around the SJG, making sure it stays closed.
This and LUSH's Rehab are my two HG shampoos. I don't tend to use I Love Juicy unless my hair is extra dirty or weighed down, though, because it tends to dry my hair out and leave it a bit frizzy if I use it too often. If you have hair that tends to get really oily or weighed down with styling products, I think it would be fine for everyday use, but not for me. My hair is too fine and finicky (and not oily enough) for me to use this every day.
The consistency of I Love Juicy is a lot thicker (although still less viscous than most other shampoos) than Rehab, which makes it easier to get on your head without spilling it and it doesn't need to be shaken before use like Rehab does, which are both pluses for me.
I don't like the smell of Juicy, though. It has an astringent, citrusy sort of scent that doesn't appeal to my nose (but doesn't make me gag like some other shampoos do -- I have some scent sensitivities to thinks like almond and other nuts, bubblegum-type scents and a few other things), but it's not unbearable.
I have to give this a 4 instead of a 5 because of LUSH's ridiculous hair care price increases. The price on this has gone up several times since I started buying it and if it wasn't for the fact that it works better on my hair than anything else does (other than Rehab), I'd move on to something cheaper. Both my husband and I use I Love Juicy pretty regularly (my husband uses it nearly every day) and we go through a large (16.9 oz) bottle about every month and a half, so it's not an unbearable burden on our budget, but it does get expensive.
This is one of my 2 every-day HG shampoos (the other is LUSH's I Love Juicy). I find that the thin texture works well with my ultra-fine hair and that it leaves my hair soft without making it greasy or weighing it down. It has a semi-medicinal minty smell to it that takes some getting used to and can be a bit hard to get on your head without sloshing some onto the shower floor, but it makes heaps of lather and rinses out easily. It also needs to be shaken vigorously before application since it tends to separate into layers in between usages, but that takes only a few seconds. I do have to say that the pricing on LUSH's shampoos are getting ridiculous, and Rehab was one of the more expensive ones to begin with. If it weren't for the fact that I try to use natural, silicone-free hair care products whenever possible and love Rehab, I'd have moved on to something cheaper by now. Both my husband and I use both Rehab and I Love Juicy regularly and we go through maybe a large (16.9 oz) bottle of Rehab every month to month and a half, so it does last longer than you might think, especially when you factor in his super thick, dense hair (and his habit of using a *lot* of shampoo on it), so it's not budget breaking, but it does bother me that the price was already steep years ago and has been going up steadily since I've been buying and using it.
Polishes -L'Oreal - Pro Manicure Nail Polish - Stroke of Midnight 580
Mojie 9/12/2008 11:04:00 PM
This is one of my favorite nail polishes in spite of being cheap and having a tendency towards peeling within a few days of application (I'm sure it doesn't help that I apply a good 3 coats to some my toenails - I don't have issues with the smaller nails, but my big toes need more coats - to get the coverage and color I want).
The color is really appealing to me, but could be boring to some people. It's a very deep, nearly black red that has a great shine when applied in several coats, especially if you put a top coat on it. No glitter, no shimmer, no fancy effects, just a simple dark, dark red. Which is just what I want.
I have several bottles of this laying around because it's my favorite color to paint my toenails and I won't hesitate to buy more as I run out, but it's not incredible nail polish. I love it for the color and the price is decent, so for those things it gets a 4. I'd rather have an OPI polish in the same shade for quality and packaging reasons (OPI's brushes are easier to use and leave less streaks), but so far I haven't found a good replacement (Black Cherry Chutney has come closest, but it has shimmer).
I rarely get pimples, but when I do they're usually doozies. I picked up Ka-Pow! because I wanted something other than my old standby (tea tree oil straight from the bottle) that would hopefully work better.
The "pen" container doesn't hold much product, but as rarely as I break out, it should last me plenty of time. I like how easy it is to apply the cream with the applicator although I wonder how sanitary it is, even if I use it on a freshly washed face.
Ka-Pow! *does* work without a doubt. It's not a miracle worker (that pimple won't disappear overnight unless it's small and gets caught at the right moment), but it does shorten the life of my pimples without burning my sensitive skin or causing dryness. I found that applying it to a pimple that had just come to the surface was more effective than applying it before it had surfaced (when it was at the point where there wasn't any outward sign, just that giveaway achy soreness and hardness under the skin) and seemed to get rid of the pimple the fastest.
I'm only giving this a rating of 3 because it's good but not great. I'd give it a 4 because it really does work well for me, but I just can't quite give it that high of a rating because I'd like to see it be more effective at treating my pimples even before they reach the surface.
If you have frequent breakouts, you might find that Ka-Pow! is too expensive for the amount of product you get and that it can be a pain to keep twisting the "pen" to bring more cream to the surface for every pimple, but if you're like me and get isolated pimples every now and then it seems to be worth the money.
I've struggled almost my entire life with *severe* heel dryness and cracking (to the point where I have deep fissures on the sides of my heels that sometimes bleed and intense scaling and flaking over the entire heel area) and I do *not* have Athlete's Foot (as has been confirmed by several dermatologists over the years). The problem of cracked heels seems to be hereditary in my case as my mom and older brother both suffer from the same problem.
I gave in and bought Feet Accompli along with a Diamancel #20 Foot Rasp after reading reviews on MUA (before this, I had tried almost every intensive moisture lotion I could find as well as several prescription lotions and balms) and seeing how other people were getting really good results. It was a hard decision to make because the price is steep and I've had limited success with everything else I've tried (I either had to use a *ton* of lotion and apply it fanatically every night before bed or got reasonable results at first and then had the lotion/balm stop working), but I was desperate.
At this point, I think I can say that it's one of the best decisions I've made when it comes to my feet. Every night before bed, I file my heels with the Diamancel rasp (which works wonders) and apply a thin layer (something I could never do before, even with prescription treatments) to my heels and slip on a pair of socks. In less than a week my feet look almost normal and they feel wonderful. They're soft and smooth and (most of all), they don't hurt anymore.
I have to say that I think that the results I've gotten are due to a combination of using the Diamancel #20 rasp and Feet Accompli in combination. Either on their own would have done well, I think, but my feet need them together to get maximum benefits.
Without a doubt it's been worth the investment and the tube looks like it's going to go a surprisingly long way, especially compared to my previous treatments that I plowed through in no time.
Misc Beauty Tools -Diamancel - Foot Callus Rasp #20
Mojie 9/12/2008 10:44:00 PM
My HG foot file! I've had extremely dry, cracked (and *painful*) heels almost my entire life and I've used many, many foot files trying to get them into bearable condition and none of them (not even using my husband's Dremel tool with a sanding attachment) came close to the effectiveness of this file.
It doesn't look like it would do a good job of tackling severely dry heels since there's only a very thin layer of grit on the file, but it got more dry skin off my heels and did it faster than anything else I've tried. It was also gentle enough that when I slipped and ran it across the un-calloused part of my foot, it didn't hurt the way traditional files would have. I also liked that I didn't need to use a buffer on my feet afterwards to get rid of any ragged edges or ridges since the little circles of diamond grit seem to act as a buffer and file all in one.
Thanks to a combination of this and DERMADoctor's Feet Accompli (I got them together through the DERMADoctor website, otherwise I never would have heard of or tried this file), my feet are in (comparatively) amazing condition within just a few days and with very little effort.
I bought a tube of this (after very nearly buying it from the rack at the counter in Sephora) because my usual cleanser (LUSH's Angels on Bare Skin) won't work for the rare days when I wear makeup (it *does* remove makeup, but it doesn't do it as effectively or efficiently as I'd want it to).
I needed something gentle that wouldn't break me out (I almost never get pimples aside from the rare, single hormonally-based one here and there, but some skin care products do cause break outs for me) or irritate my sensitive skin and that was quick and easy to use, and after reading reviews on MUA and repeatedly looking at this cleanser on the Sephora website, I decided to take the plunge and buy the big tube.
I used it for the first time a couple of days ago (while not wearing makeup, just to see how my skin would react) and I do have to agree that the texture and appearance are very sperm-like, which I find kind of funny instead of disgusting like some people might. I also used way too much the first time and ended up with a thick smear of cleanser that I was rubbing around my face.
While I can't say whether it will remove makeup effectively, I did use it to clean around and over my eyes without any discomfort or irritation whatsoever (which is wonderful because my eyes are *very* sensitive to irritation) and it left the rest of my face feeling clean but not scrubbed (a good thing) and rinsed off relatively easily (even though there was a ton to rinse off).
It's expensive but for someone like me with extra sensitive skin, finding a cleanser that can double as makeup remover and be used around my eyes makes it an investment that's worth the price. I'll continue buying this unless I find a replacement that's less expensive.
AOBS is without a doubt my HG cleanser. I've been using it for years and never stray from it even though there are fancier cleansers on the market that tempt me when I walk into Sephora *except* when it comes to removing my makeup (on the rare occasions when I wear makeup), in which case I use Fresh's Soy Face Cleanser.
While AOBS is a bit strange to work with at first, you get used to it pretty quickly. I take a blob about the size of 2 peas in a cupped hand and gradually add water to it a tiny bit at a time, smashing it and stirring it as I go until it's a paste with some milky water surrounding it, then I apply it to my (wet) face, putting a glob on each cheek, my nose, my forehead and my chin. Then I gently rub it in circles for 30 seconds or so (more if my face is really dirty) and then rinse it off in the shower.
It makes my face incredibly soft and smooth, never breaks me out or irritates my sensitive skin, smells wonderful (to me, but I understand the herbal smells isn't everyone's cup of tea) and doesn't taste terrible if you accidentally get it in your mouth.
I've also found that it stores very well for extended periods of time. It doesn't seem to dry out as long as the container is kept closed and works just as well months after purchase as immediately after.
While I've given up on a lot of LUSH products as being overpriced (especially in light of their ever increasing prices) and not worth the cost (they make nice stuff, no doubt about that, but it's not all worth it to me), AOBS is worth every penny to me and I don't see myself ever moving on to another cleanser.