DHC sells its blush tablets separate from the case. You can fit two tablets in the case -- you can have a blush and highlighter, or two blushes, or two highlighters. The case is worth discussing. It is off-white industrial plastic. It is not a gorgeous golden French creation, or an edgy matte black American creation. It is not pretty, but is it ever functional. Much like a Toyota Camry! It would be hard to break this case. There is a mirror, and the brush slides into the top of the case. Its base is enameled metal, and the brush itself is wide, but narrow on the side view. The brush retracts via a lever on the side, much like an old fashioned push-up lipstick.The bristles are very soft. The color tablets are on the small side, and are 2/3 matte and 1/3 shimmer, so when you apply them, the shimmer is rather muted. I got a beige blush (which is a peachy-bronze) and yellow highlighter (which is very pale, almost a cream or champagne white). Here is a neat trick for application. Place the brush mid-way so that it straddles both tablets. Sweep across the tablets in an upward manner, from bottom to top, twice, so that half the brush has blush and the other half highlighter. Apply to the upper 2/3 of your cheek, so that the highlighter skims the top of your cheekbone. Repeat, and this time sweep the brush across the bottom 2/3 of your cheekbone. (the highlighter will now overlay the blush you applied in the first application.) Blend out any edges. Result: A perfectly contoured cheek. The powders are not dry and dusty at all, but pigmentation is just so-so. Not terrible, not great.
Makeup Brushes -Bare Escentuals - Maximum Coverage Concealer Brush
darkharbour 12/30/2007 8:58:00 AM
Part of the starter kit. Rather large for a concealer brush, more like a fndtn brush. But this is a very useful brush as a blender. If you had to use concealer on a large area it would be great. But it cannot be beat for laying down the perfect arc of highlighter on top of the cheekbone.
I feel I need to weigh in here, given the fact that these have altered my life so dramatically. I am 50 years old, chugging through the last stages of perimenopause, and most significantly, I have severe arthritis in both knees. So severe in fact, I was considering getting a handicap placard for my car. Rewind the tape to November 2006, when I was in a health food store, and asked the woman on duty what I could do for my severe perimenopause mood swings. She turned me onto Nordic Naturals Omegas 3,6,9. They worked! Long story short: within a month, my arthritis pain was greatly diminished to the point I rarely needed pain killers -- and I had been popping handfuls a day, followed by a Maalox chaser. As I resumed exercise, I found that I had breakthrough pain, and learned that it was the EPA in fish oil that was the anti-inflmmatory. So, I bought the high EPA fish oil from then on. In addition to the reduction in pain, my hair is thicker and shinier, my nails are stronger and shinier, and no one -- NO ONE believes I am 50. I actually had to tell someone to touch my face, because she was sure I was wearing foundation when I wasn't. The fine lines under my eyes are GONE. That leaves me to believe that someone with oily, acne-prone skin might break out. There is evidence that fish oil can help with heart health, skin health, eye health, colo-rectal health, and mental health -- especially depression. There is clinical proof it can mitigate some of the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. (See the Maroon and Bost book on Fish Oil) Buy the kind with lemon oil added and store in the fridge for less fish-belching. Give it at least three months before you reject it. Side effects can be rugged. Fish oil can make GERD worse, and can make you bruise easily. In my case, my blood has thinned, which is good for my heart, but bad for clotting. Cuts bleed longer than usual. I prefer Nordic Naturals and GNC Ultra -- hence my "3"'s, in the rating. Those scores depend on the brand you buy. Don't buy cheap.
Lotions/ Creams -L'Occitane - Honey Royal Jelly Propolis Body Balm
darkharbour 12/16/2007 12:11:00 PM
I am 50 years old, have quite dry body skin, and I am using this during the dead of a New England winter. My woodstove beats the cold, but makes my skin is so dry, it could crack. Ordered this balm with my Beautyhabit code, and my first shock was the size of the jar: 8.8 ounces, or 250 ml. Not very much given the price. Plus, given the formula, this would have worked much better in a tube, that could stand on its cap. In the jar, this looks like unfiltered honey, opaque, creamy, and pale caramel in color. While it smells somewhat of honey, it smells just as much of clover blossoms. The texture is somewhat gooey, and you have to work a bit to spread it. As it melts into your skin, it gets a bit oily. Finally, after about 90 seconds it soaks in, softens and smoothes dry, parched skin in an amazing way. DH spread it on my dry, itchy back after this morning's shower, and it feels great hours later. The scent, on your skin, is quite subtle. I would not use this daily, and I would not use it of I had to get dressed in a hurry. But, at nighttime, or as a special weekend treat, it is luscious.
Lotions/ Creams -St. Ives - Mineral Therapy Lotion
darkharbour 12/2/2007 10:38:00 AM
I was on the look out for my beloved Whipped Silk from this line and it was not to be found anywhere. I hapened to see this and thought I would give it a whirl. It has the same soft, powdery, sweet scent as Whipped Silk, but the texture is far more rich -- sort of like Neutrogena Norwegian handcream. It takes some effort to get this to pump from the bottle. That being said, it socks in pronto, with no greasy or tacky residue whatsoever. And rich - is it ever rich. I live and work near the ocean in Northern New England, and our winters are merciless on the skin. My winter-dry skin sops this up like crazy, and if it could moan in delight, it would. There seem to be tiny speckles of something in this - if minerals, they do not scratch or feel grainy. This entire St. Ives line is utterly terrific and underrated. The products are dirt cheap and quite effective. I will be rebuying again and again.
This fragrance was born in 1921 and was retooled in the 1980's. It is an amazing melange of chypre notes, woods, classic florals, soft fruits. and animalic notes; the result being much, much more than the sum of its parts. You will notice none of these outweighing the others, as it quickly settles into a soft, smoky, powdery, and somewhat sweet composition that stays surprisingly close to your skin. If black velvet had a scent, this might be it. Yet, all this sooty depth does not result in a gloomy or gothic mood; in fact, if I were to assign Habanita a theme song, it would be Cole Porter's Night and Day. It is dry but sweet, deep but not dark, rich but smooth, sexy but circumspect. It will, undoubtedly, not be favored by anyone looking for floral-fruity, fresh scrubbed, or dessert-like fragrances, and will fall into that category some consider "old fashioned." Old fashioned like Garbo, perhaps. Iconic, stylish, classic. A word about the bottle: It is a Lalique design, a classic bas relief sculpted onto onyx colored glass. Utterly divine. In a world that now packages fine fragrances to fit a chemistry lab, this is refreshingly elegant and aesthetically pleasing.
Gels/Soaps -Bath and Body Works - Temptations Simply Divine Cherry Pie
darkharbour 11/19/2007 5:29:00 PM
I love the smell of this. It really is cherry pie-like or at least like a jar of maraschinos. It is not sicky-sweet lollipop cherry. I find it lathers well and does not dry my skin. Now for the not-so-good part. This is very highly colored, so much so that it has tinted the grout in my shower. When I shower with this, it looks like I have been attacked by Norman Bates. I would not use this as hair shampoo if my hair were silver or light blonde. I would be afraid that it would be tinted pink. I would not rebuy for that reason.
This is a wonderful mid-tone neutral blush, just this side of warm. It is a soft, bronzer like color with a bit of pinkish shimmer. Does not look "bronze" when applied. Similar to Dallas in many ways, but more earthy. Great throw-in-your-purse, goes with anything blush. And, if it breaks, it is cheap enough to replace easily. UPDATE: I swapped away my NARS Luster. Too orangey for me. This is Luster for a cool-toned skintone. More of a mauvey-beige-earth tone. I am NW20. This does what I wanted Luster to do. I have hit pan. HG.
This comes in a large, flimsy black plastic jar that can be cumbersome to use in the shower. The conditioner is thick, white, and has a strong scent -- and in my mind, a not too pleasant one. It reminds me of a tub of joint compund, or shower grout; sort of a chalky, medicinal fragrance. Between the packaging and the scent, it is more Home Depot-ish than beauty product. That being said, it does work if your hair is thick, damaged, and/or coarse. Your hair will feel very soft and smooth. I would be very cautious if your hair was fine, straight, or oily. For me, this is an effective product that is unpleasant to use and overpriced. I will not repurchase.
There is a lovely mythology associated with this fragrance. Supposedly, Estee Lauder created it for her own use, and it was not marketed to the public. However, the Duchess of Windsor and Princess Grace of Monaco purportedly inquired about it in an admiring way, and Estee gifted some to both women. Later on, Estee marketed it to the public, with the name "Private Collection." If this story is true, it bestows a certain mystique on this fragrance that is hard to ignore. The scent itself reminds me of No. 19 in many ways. They are both woodsy-green-chypres with considerable sillage and tenacity. There is a serious amount of galbanum in this,along with a powdery softness from the chypre notes. Private Collection is quite green; but in a deep, velvety, mossy way. It is not a sharp, vibrant, spring green such as Vent Vert or Safari. This green is more "alto" and less "soprano", less Persephone and more Demeter, less linen and more velvet, less floral and more sap-like, less vibrant but more rich. This is not a meadow awash in field flowers. This is a forest after a summer thunderstorm; warm mist rising in the sun, redolent of leaves, moss, and bark. It is not particularly youthful, being more dry than sweet, and thus it may suffer from being labeled "old fashioned" by some. It is the fragrance of a confident woman, who appreciates understated elegance and the classics. One of the quiet stalwarts in the Lauder lineup, I hope it never goes away.
LUSH products are not cheap, and when you factor in the shipping, they can get downright expensive. This is an unevenly cut, medium sized, opaque bar, the color of butterscotch. There is a scrub strip of beeswax on one end. The scent is strong, and is a very sweet vanilla honey, which people will love or hate. It was OK, but very overpowering. I am disappointed. The bar dissolves quickly and it was gone in no time. My skin felt dry -- even in sultry, humid July weather. The beeswax scrubber piece fell off and clogged my drain. I will not repurchase.
I was excited to try this unusual fragrance with the dizzying, hyperkinetic-sounding name. The copy says it was "inspired by the circus" and is supposed to evoke "saddle leather, sawdust, and candy." (What a mix . . . !) It is a unisex fragrance, both "soft and fierce." Notes: tonka beans, balsam, saffran, and ginger. Well, dzing! it is. The top note is evocative of a tire store, where one might be buying new Pirelli tires for a Porsche. Synthetic rubber. I stuck my wrist under DH's nose and asked, "Do you smell tires?" He shrugged, and said, "I dunno. But I don't like it." I thought for sure this was a scrubber, but I waited patiently for mid-notes and dry down. Now I smell the candy from the vending machine of a tire shop. The dry down is somewhat sweet and powdery, and is finally bearable for me. Like most L'Artisan scents, this is whisper soft -- not much sillage -- thankfully, in this case! I am not digging it. On the plus side: it was completely gone in 6 hours.
I have these in emerald, plum, and grey. These only work if you are looking for a creamy, smudgy, kajal look. They apply creamy, and do not tug or scratch. If you like this finish, you will love them. For the price, they cannot be beat. I love that they have swivel tips and are self sharpening. If you get these on sale, they are quite inexpensive. The colors are deep, and true. Emerald applied in the summer, against a tan, is amazing.
Lipstick -Revlon - Colorstay Overtime Lipcolor - Constantly Coral
darkharbour 8/6/2007 3:47:00 PM
This product must be judged against other products of its ilk -- that is to say other ultra-long-lasting lipcolor products. It cannot fairly be judged against lipglosses or regular lipsticks. This is Revlon's answer to the products put out by MF and CG that started this trend, with the Permacolor technology. There is a color base that dries on and supposedly does not budge, and there is a gloss topcoat that makes the product feel and look more moist. Plusses: The coral shade is a lovely mid-range pink orange, with subtle shimmer. It is very wearable. It goes on sheerer than some products of this type. The product is in one unit -- color on one end, gloss on the other, so you do not have to cart around two wands. The color lasts a long time, through meals and beverages. It looks great when the gloss is freshly applied. Minuses: The color base wears unevenly, and can peel, chip, and flake. The gloss is gone in no time, and unless you constantly reapply it, your lips feel as though they have been coated with a thin layer of latex. It tastes somewhat latexy, as well. The gloss brushes on with a nail polish type brush, and it is thin and gel-like. It takes time to cover your lips and the texture is not thick enough to last. It costs slightly more than some similar products. Maybelline makes a better product and it costs less. Update: I have showered twice in the past 24 hours, and have used a lathering cleanser. There is still product on my lips. I do not know if that is good or bad. The color is nice, but the texture is sticky.
Shampoo -Yves Rocher - phyto reflet camomile for blondes
darkharbour 8/6/2007 11:35:00 AM
Very, very mild shampoo that looks, feels, and lathers like baby shampoo. I have colored, foiled, curly, thick, hair prone to frizziness, and this made it soft. Someone with very fine or oily hair may not like this at all. While I cannot say that it enhances or adds blonde highlights, it certainly does not strip the golden color from my highlights. This is highly, highly perfumed with a rich floral scent that smells likes like vintage perfume. I happen to love the smell, but it will not be universally popular. The pull tab on the top, to open the bottle, can stick, and this can break a nail or two. Be forewarned, and leave the tab flipped open in the shower once you get it open. Contains Sodium laureth sulfate.