Yet again, MUA has led me to a wonderful product. For years I have been using the combination of Be Curly curl enhancing lotion plus Phomollient on my long, fine textured, very curly hair. Though it works OK, the Phomollient wasn't quite cutting it in the hot, humid climate I live in. I needed something that would give me more hold and more definition. Ahhhhh... enter Confixor. Like many of the other reviewers, I've found the combination of Be Curly lotion and Confixor to be PERFECT for delivering soft, well defined, bouncy curls that are absolutely robust to whatever the weather brings on. A little bit of Confixor is also excellent for reviving my curls the second day and has allowed me to skip a wash several times now. What's more, the pleasant Aveda smell is a nice treat every morning, and although this stuff isn't cheap, it also doesn't reach the price point of some of Aveda's newer, hype-ier offerings. I'll stick with the oldies, Aveda. Just don't pull another Sap Moss and take this wonderful product off the shelves, 'k?
I really like most of L'Oreal's mascaras but this was a bit disappointing, especially after seeing so many raves for it here on MUA. I picked up a tube of this on a whim, not having read the reviews here in detail. So it's my fault, but here goes... Having tried other L'Oreal mascaras such as Voluminous, Lash Out, Featherlash, and Telescopic, I was surprised at how wet this formula is, comparatively. Wet + large brush = messy. Even once I got a feel for the brush, and after wiping it, I found it hard not to smudge mascara on my eyelids. So I found this aspect to be NOT very user friendly. On the other hand, this mascara did plump up my lashes RAPIDLY. I mean, one half-*ssed coat of this is equivalent to two full coats of Voluminous. But despite the very wet formula I found it to be kind of clumpy. It was weirdly unnatural looking once it dried. I still can't put my finger on what looks so off about it - it's just very obvious, I guess, and it's easy to get that spider-lash look. Perhaps this isn't the case for those with longer lashes, but I found that what I got in volume I traded for subtlety. I think - I KNOW - that it's possible to get tremendous volume but also not look over-the-top. I just couldn't get that with this particular product.
I ordered this recently, having almost forgotten how much I love the Plushglass formula after parting with my nearly empty tube of Wildly Lush a few months ago. Like that other excellent product, there is much to love with Ample Pink. Although Ample Pink looks like a cool-neutral dusty pink in the tube, it comes out just about the color of my own lips - a light neutral pink. This is very much a "my lips but better" shade and a pleasing alternative to some of the ultra-light pinks out there that make me look like a cadaver. Something about this formula really makes it feel like your lips are being fully covered and sealed. It creates a nice, even, cushiony layer over the surface of your lips and stays put. Indeed, this is one of the longest lasting lip glosses I've owned. It is slightly sticky but I think this is part of the tradeoff for longer lasting wear. The "lip plumping" properties may be debatable, but I appreciate the mild tingling sensation, which also lasts for quite some time. Finally I appreciate the packaging - conveniently sized tube, doe-foot applicator, slightly rubberized handle, minimal design.
Blush -Bobbi Brown - Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks in Cabo Coral
annie_b 2/1/2010 12:29:00 PM
Cabo Coral was released in late January 2010 as part of Bobbi Brown's Cabana Corals spring 2010 collection. It is a beautiful addition to the line and stands out from many of the other brownish and pink shades that seem to dominate the blushes and lip colors. There is a range of shades that people define as "coral," and Cabo Coral is on the peachy side of that range. The texture is similar to that of the other Pot Rouges - slick, slightly tacky, slightly creamy without leaving a sticky finish. Blending is relatively easy, and the product is buildable so that you can apply lightly and add color as needed. It is hard to make a big mistake when applying this. Staying power is excellent. Those of you who already are familiar with the Pot Rouge collection are probably curious about how Cabo Coral compares to Calypso Coral. I swatched both on my arm and also had the sales associate apply them to opposite cheeks. The most obvious difference is that Calypso Coral is much pinker. In fact, when comparing side-by-side applications, Cabo Coral is obviously a peachy coral, whereas Calypso Coral really pulls pink on me. Calypso Coral is perhaps also slightly brighter, but both colors are clean looking and vibrant. On my lips Cabo Coral shows up a light-medium pinky peach, a little less dark than it appears in the pan. Overall, I'm very pleased with Cabo Coral and I expect to reach for it regularly this spring and summer. Kudos, too, to Bobbi Brown for adding a non-lookalike shade to the lineup.
Lipstick -Revlon - Matte lipstick in Mauve It Over
annie_b 12/19/2009 10:30:00 PM
I love this lipstick. It is a perfect neutral shade, very appropriate for work, but also very beautiful. When I first applied it I was reminded of Benefit Full Finish lipstick in the shade Lady's Choice. I swatched the two (see below) and, though they are not exactly the same shade (Mauve It Over is warmer), they definitely belong in the same family. This is a true matte formula but it does not look dull or flat. I didn't find it drying either. In fact, my only gripe is that the texture isn't perfect - I found it ever so slightly gritty, and it collected in the corners of my mouth over time the way that some matte formulas tend to do on me. But the texture is not a huge issue and definitely not enough to steer me away from this gorgeous neutral lipstick. Overall I consider this quite the drugstore find. http://img.makeupalley.com/2/6/6/2/1487617.JPG
Crème -Maybelline - Instant Age Rewind Cream Foundation [DISCONTINUED]
annie_b 11/19/2009 12:14:00 AM
After seeing the amazing reviews for this foundation I decided it was worth a shot - it was on clearance at Walgreens for a few bucks and so I thought, what do I have to lose? At the time I had mixed feelings about the medium-to-full coverage and the slightly luminous finish, so the bottle went on the shelf for a while. But I recently revisited this foundation and I am thrilled with it. Unlike some other Maybelline foundations I've tried, I have a solid color match in Classic Ivory (Shade 2), a light, neutral, not-too-pink shade. I love the pump dispenser, which is lockable and also has a small cap, making this easy to travel with. As for coverage, I use 2 pumps for my entire face, which gives medium coverage and a satiny finish. I use a little mattifying powder on top and the coverage lasts throughout the day with little need for touch-ups. The overall look is surprisingly natural. I have not had any adverse skin reactions to this product so far - no weird breakouts, dry patches, etc. The creamy, thick consistency is a little tricky to work with for someone like me who is used to primarily liquid foundations. I use my fingers to apply this foundation and it is quite easy to blend as long as I don't waste time about it. To clarify, it isn't like Revlon Colorstay, which you really have to be diligent about applying quickly and evenly, but it does seem to "set" soon after applying so it helps to pat it on in sections and blend from the inside out. BAAAAAD news though, ladies! Maybelline customer service emailed me today to confirm that this foundation HAS been discontinued. For the benefit of others I've pasted the exact correspondence below: "Thank you for asking us about Instant Age Rewind Cream Foundation SPF 18. We are sorry to tell you that it was discontinued and that we do not have any available for you to purchase. It was not easy for us to make the decision to discontinue Instant Age Rewind Cream Foundation SPF 18. This was a wonderful product that we know some of our consumers will miss. Unfortunately, demand for Instant Age Rewind Cream Foundation SPF 18 was not high enough for us to continue manufacturing it. As consumers ourselves, we understand how disappointing it can be when a favorite product or shade is no longer offered. We do not currently have a replacement product to suggest to you, but our creative teams are hard at work coming up with new and exciting products. Please continue to visit www.maybelline.com to learn about our latest offerings. We hope that you will find a product to take the place of Instant Age Rewind Cream Foundation SPF 18 soon." So..... get this while you still can. :(
I received a small jar of this mineral eye shadow as part of the "Go Naturally Neutral" eye shadow kit on Everyday Minerals' web site. However, this is also sold as a single eye shadow. Funnel Cake is a medium neutral brown that, like many EDM shades, is hard to describe precisely. The red and yellow undertones are not pronounced, so I find it very easy to wear (brown eye shadows with too much red look TERRIBLE on me). In some lights it has a slightly taupe-ish tinge (yes, taupe-ish is a word - I just invented it). The web site describes it as a "dusty cappucino brown" - that seems fitting also. Funnel Cake is classified as a "shimmer" eye shadow and looks VERY shimmery in the jar. Thankfully, once applied the shimmer is much more subtle and wearable. I like wearing it in the crease with Rare Silk all over as a wash, Hot Chocolate on the lid, and Boardwalk to line. It is perfectly suitable for daytime wear. I strongly recommend applying dry with a good crease brush. I attempted to apply this wet and it was a runny, muddy mess, with the end result looking flatter, browner, and less interesting than the dry application. If you're in the market for a shimmery neutral brown that isn't over the top, this is a smart buy! http://img.makeupalley.com/2/6/6/2/1440673.JPG
Lipstick -Bobbi Brown - Creamy Lip Color - Uber Pink
annie_b 10/3/2009 9:05:00 PM
Is it me, or do the swatches on Bobbi Brown's web site continue to reflect poorly on the actual product? I love the texture and wear of the Creamy Lip Colors, but I had never thought to look specifically for Uber Pink because the web site (or at least my web browser) makes it look like a very light and sort of washed-out pink. But when I was at the counter recently, a clean, neutral pink caught my eye and, lo and behold, it was Uber Pink. Uber Pink enhances the natural color of my lips while slightly brightening my face - a wonderful everyday color. In my opinion it's on the warm side of neutral, but I think it would suit many complexions. There really are not noticeable rosy, mauve, or blueish undertones and there is less of a brownish tinge than many of Bobbi Brown's lip colors. There is a subdued shimmer that really just shows up as a soft shine. Like the other lip colors in this formula, the wear is wonderful. It feels rich, cushiony, and moisturizing and has good staying power. It pays to exfoliate your lips before applying this. There is a slight waxy odor that I don't find unpleasant and dissipates over time. When I purchased this I also tried a couple of the newer Creamy Lip Colors (Rose Garden and Soft Blush), which were more subtle and sort of bland looking on me. If you only have the Bobbi Brown web site swatches as a reference, it's worth checking out in person. You might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.
I have long curly hair (think corkscrew-type curls) and I love this product. I've been using it for about a year, both by itself and in combination with other styling products, and it does wonderful things for my hair. Although this is sold as a leave-in conditioner, it is really a styling product for my purposes. When I get out of the shower, I squeeze the water out of my hair, gently towel dry, and then scrunch a good palmful of this into my wet hair. The consistency is unique and unlike any other leave-in conditioner - like a loose, slick gel-cream or pudding. It does a great job of detangling and helps me get nice, moist curls with relatively little frizz. When I use it alone my curls tend to be a little looser and "floppier," so when I really want definition I will use it in combination with a styling gel. The only real downside is that this product is so rich and moisturizing it increases my hair drying time, whether I air-dry or blow dry. Overall I am really happy with this and I definitely plan to repurchase.
I bought a tube of Doll Eye mascara (volume formula) at Ulta after hearing a lot about it here on MUA. I've used it in rotation with a few other mascaras for a little over a month now. Doll Eye noticeably enhances volume with one coat and a more dramatic look can be achieved with two. As other reviewers have noted, clumping can be a problem. As I have been looking for a cheaper substitute for my all-time favorite volumizing mascara (Lancome Hypnose), the tendency to clump at times was the one real downside of this product. However, with careful application and attention to the amount of mascara that is on the brush I think this limitation can be overcome. I think the brush is actually my favorite thing about Doll Eye. It seems to almost grab onto my lashes as I sweep it over them. I like that the brush is big enough to cover a lot of area but not so gigantic (ahem, DiorShow) as to be unwieldy and accident-prone. After I'm done with this tube I'm going to keep the brush and try using it with Hypnose as an experiment. Staying power is fine. I didn't notice any flaking or weird changes over the course of the day. Since I don't have problems with running or smearing during the day with most mascaras, I can't comment on that. Likewise, I can't comment on how it holds a curl because I don't curl my lashes. This mascara does have a slightly drier and stiffer feel than some others I've tried, but since I don't go around touching my lashes all day that's really not an issue. Overall, here's my impression: PROS: Nice packaging, reasonable price, good volumizing ability, great brush CONS: Tends to clump, feels a little dry on, slightly more difficult than average to remove (as non-waterproof mascaras go)
I'm so glad that I checked the product reviews on MUA before investing in another brow product. As usual, MUA has not led me astray. I absolutely love this pencil and I can't imagine going back to any other product for enhancing my eyebrows. Previously I have tried Anastasia brow powder (nice but pricey considering I only use one of the two shades, plus it requires the use of a brush), MAC Brow Finisher (waxy, unnatural looking, yuck), plain old eye shadow (OK but not ideal), and brow gels (not for me). The Lancome brow pencil does EXACTLY what I need a brow enhancer to do: it fills in, looks natural, stays put throughout the day, and is easy to use. Having the pencil on one end and the little spooly brush on the other end is very handy. I use light, short strokes and voila, nice well-defined brows! Taupe is a perfect shade for me; I have dark hair and pale skin so I have to be careful about shades that technically "match" my hair color but look too harsh. Although some reviewers have encountered problems with sharpening the pencil, I haven't had any trouble using my MAC pencil sharpener with this. Although this pencil is pricey it will last a good while, and it is a decent value for something so highly effective and convenient at the same time. Well worth the money, in my experience.
Lip Gloss -Revlon - Beyond Natural Cream Lipgloss, all colors [DISCONTINUED]
annie_b 7/8/2009 12:04:00 AM
I bought this in Peach on clearance at Walgreens after eyeing this product for months, and I'm so glad I did. I love the way this melts onto my lips and makes them feel so cushiony and moist without feeling sticky or looking over-the-top shiny. The gloss has a thick (but again, non-sticky) consistency and is well pigmented, giving even light to moderate coverage. The flavor is pleasant and not too strong (I would describe it as caramel). Staying power is average but not a strong point. I will be buying more of these in different shades and will happily pay full price. UPDATE: I now own this lip gloss in Peach, Pink, Rosy, and Spice! Peach remains my favorite. Rosy, unlike the others, has a little shimmer that is nice from time to time. I am not one to "collect them all," so to speak, but I really love this formula and I got these at a very reasonable price. I carry at least one in my bag at all times.
Yes!! This is a perfect light peachy pink shade that looks natural and goes really well with a pared-down summer face. When I tried it at the MAC store, I thought it would look too pale and wash me out, as similar shades so often do. However, I was wrong. Because it is not too opaque, the color blends beautifully with my natural lip color. The lustre finish (my favorite among MAC lipsticks) wears very comfortably while providing light-moderate coverage. I am now reaching for this quite often and I'll be sad when I run out. Staying power is the only weak point in this really wonderful LE lipstick from the A Rose Romance collection.
I have never purchased makeup from Chanel before recently, when I decided to reward myself for a big achievement with a new blush. The Chanel SA was extremely helpful and tried both Rose Petale and Orchid Rose on me. Both were beautiful but it was mutually decided that Orchid Rose was the better summer shade. I have been very happy with the purchase, despite some ongoing remorse about the extravagant price tag (by my standards). As the reviews suggest, Orchid Rose is not easy to describe. On me it is a warm neutral with tawny, peach, and rose tones. It does not look like a shade that belongs in the "rose" family, though. And where the "orchid" part of "Orchid Rose" comes from, I have no idea. There is a noticeable multicolored shimmer in the pan that, thankfully, does not show up on skin but rather imparts a subtle glow. This is what shimmer is SUPPOSED to do. The texture of this blush is incredible. It is so finely textured and soft it's almost creamy. Whereas I have to work to pick up some blushes with my brush, this blush adheres to my brush with almost no effort and sweeps onto my cheeks without caking or looking splotchy. I am pale-skinned with yellow undertones (MAC NC15/BB Warm Ivory) and this shows up nicely with one swipe. Even with a heavier application this continues to look natural, like the color I would pick up if I spent a lot of time in the sun. The staying power of this blush is incredible and rivals just about any others that I've tried (though I will say that Lancome's Blush Subtil is also a long-lasting product). I was really struck at how well the color wore through a 10-hour workday when I started using it. And, unlike some blushes (ahem, MAC), there is minimal change in color or texture over the course of a day. I would repurchase this and several other Chanel blushes if I had the money - for now I am enjoying Orchid Rose as a well appreciated indulgence.
Skincare - Face -Philosophy - Completely Clear Skin System
annie_b 5/25/2009 2:21:00 PM
I've been using this kit for about a week now, and I'm seeing results. I have breakout-prone skin that tends to get slightly oilier in summer. With the temperatures and humidity in Texas rising I needed to step up my breakout defenses. I've been using the all-over gel during the day, the retinol lotion at night, and the spot treatment morning and night as needed. My skin is starting to look more even toned and I think I am breaking out less frequently. I have continued to get stubborn little blemishes on my chin but they go away more quickly, and leave less of a mark, with the use of the spot treatment. Overall I'm very pleased and will strongly consider purchasing the full size products once I'm done with this starter kit. I think the least useful part of this kit is the cleanser. I don't see the point of putting a treatment into something that you are going to wash off within less than a minute. How much can your skin really absorb in the small amount of time it takes to wash your face? I doubt I will purchase a full size cleanser but the rest of this kit has been great. I will update my review if I change my opinion. UPDATE: I've decided that the best parts of this "system" are the retinol lotion and the blemish spot treatment with sulfur. The rest can be duped for much cheaper. For instance, Neutrogena makes a nice 2% BHA treatment that can easily replace the On A Clear Day all-over treatment, and I maintain that the facial cleanser doesn't need to contain an active ingredient. In general I like philosophy's products but I can save some pennies by being selective about which products I just *have* to have.