I'm 39 with combo skin that tends to breakout here and there. I have used Clinique's Rinse-off foaming cleanser for... my gosh...over 10 years now. I use it as a makeup remover and a cleanser and have never followed up with any additional facial cleaner. (I didn't think I was supposed to, since it is labeled as a cleanser. And honestly, I can't imagine why you would need to.) The cleanser foams up nicely, removes all of my makeup, doesn't sting my eyes, and leaves my skin feeling clean, fresh and makeup-free. I could see how it could be drying to those with really sensitive or dry skin types, but for me it truly is HG and always will be.
I've always been curious about using loose kohl eyeliners in the traditional eastern method, however the $33 price tag attached to Guerlain had always prevented me from experimenting. I have a hard time forking over $33 for something that I "might" like, may not necessarily know how to use, and then feel deflated over the whole thing. So, when L'Oreal came out with their HIP Loose Kohl eyeliners, my makeup antenna perked up. I promptly drove over to my local Wal-Mart to get a few essentials and to go check out the eyeliners. To my surprise, they were fully stocked of all of the colors. I half-expected them to be wiped out with a frenzy of MUA'ers snatching them up before I could get my paws on them, but that was not the case. Wal-Mart's price was $10.99, which is a bit pricey for DS makeup, but I decided my curiosity was too great, and my conservative nature chose black and navy. As soon as I got back to my car, I literally broke open the tube in black and began to apply it. The packaging is very simple - not at all elegant like the Guerlain, but I suppose that's where part of your $33 goes when you buy it. The applicator tip is narrow, and has a very slightly fuzzy end. (Think: the fuzziness of a doe-foot lipgloss applicator) presumably to allow the powder to adhere to the stick a bit better. I had zero makeup on, so I decided to give it a go. I stuck the end in the corner of my right eye directly on the waterline (close to the tear duct), closed my eyes shut, and swiped to the outer edge of my eye. The result??? 1) What a mess! There is a ton of fall-out, so this is the type of eyeliner I would apply before putting on "ANY" other makeup, otherwise you risk ruining your foundation, blush, and eyeshadow. 2) The effect: stunning. Absolutely stunning. The black is very pigmented and has shimmer. Gorgeous. 3) The lining technique is very quick, as it lines both upper and lower waterlines. Once you do clean up fall-out (which was a challenge using the leftover Starbucks napkins in my car), the eyeliner naturally smudges underneath your eye due to small amounts of fallout. You almost don't need anything else but mascara. It creates the perfect smokey eye and looks gorgeous. 4) The black line that is created using the loose kohl looks very different than using a pencil liner or gel liner on your waterline. Pencils and gels tend to produce a flat black color. The loose kohl is deeper and shimmery. It's hard to describe, but you can see there is a difference. 5) For a newbie to this new lining method, it was surprisingly easy to line my right eye (as I am right handed), however lining my left eye was more challenging. 6) I also wear contact lenses, and I did get a tiny amount of pigment in my eye, but I just blinked it away without any irritation. Given that I regularly draw gel liner across my contact lenses (with my eye closed, trying to get close to my upper lash-line), not much scares me when it comes to eyeliner and contact lenses. The liner lasted all day and even through a nap. Actually, I recommend using a cleansing oil or other makeup remover, and using a Q-tip to really remove it. I washed my face last night, and DH mentioned that I didn't take my makeup off. When I looked in the mirror - lo and behold, that eyeliner stayed put. Will I buy this again?? You bet. In fact, I went back and purchased the teal liner. So now I own black, navy and teal!!! Note: Not familiar with the eastern application method? Here is a link to a YouTube tutorial applying Guerlain Kohl by Rina: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub5bfsQ1b5s
Hair Color -Revlon - Frost & Glow Highlighting Kit
babysbreath 10/12/2008 3:42:00 PM
Let's face it - the prospect of bleaching/highlighting one's hair is not something most people take lightly. At the very least, you can end up with orange streaks and at the very worst, you can end up with fried hair that breaks off like the twig on a tree on a cold winter day in New Hampshire. So why would anyone want to risk that to their hair to anything other than a professional highlighting service? The primary reason is that highlighting is expensive. This is not an issue when money is not an issue, however when budgets get tight, it's easy to forego the highlights and settle for just a single process color at the salon. However, in the name of beauty, one cannot always forego the highlights. Therefore, some of us are willing to take the plunge to go with an at-home product. This risk is especially easier to mitigate when you use a product that has already been tried and rated well on MUA. Well, I was one of the MUA'ers who decided to take the plunge and here is my review. I purchased the Revlon Frost & Glow kit for Chestnut Highlights on Medium Brown to Black Hair. I first colored my hair with Clairol Premium Creme Soy Complex. Please see my review on MUA: My Review of Clairol Premium Soy Complex Hair Color Please note that I didn't use any product like mousse or gel, and thoroughly dried my hair before DH and I started the highlighting process. As per previous recommendations, I did purchase the Magicap from Sally's, however both DH and I discovered that one benefit from using the cap that was included with the Revlon kit was that it has a built in template to show you where to pull your hair through for highlights to frame the face, the crown, or all over. The Magicap is just a plain silicone cap with holes, and DH and I decided to use the Revlon cap instead, but only for that reason. The plan in the future is to mark the Magicap in permanent marker to show what sections to pull from. One tip from DH: Poke holes in the Revlon cap before you put it on your head so that you're not fighting to poke a hole through the plastic and then pull your hair through. Believe me - your head will appreciate it! Anyway, DH pulled strands with the metal hook that came with the Magicap, which was a little uncomfortable, but otherwise worked out well. We mixed the solution and DH applied it with a brush, and put the plastic bag (that comes with the kit) over my head and clipped it into place. I processed for a harrowing 60 minutes. I kept checking every few minutes (through the bag) and it was clear that my hair hadn't lifted yet. Finally at 60 minutes, I hopped into the shower, and rinsed the product off. Taking the cap off was more difficult than I expected, and DH helped me by pulling the cap 90 degrees straight off my head. I rinsed the solution off first as instructed, removed the cap, and then washed with the toner that was included and left it on for 5 minutes (even though the instructions said to leave it on for 2). The results - subtle caramel highlights that blend in beautifully with no orange streaks and not a fried hair in sight. I wouldn't go as far to say as they're "salon quality" only because DH is inexperienced (as am I) and I could see how technique goes a long way. If you (or a friend) knows how to foil highlights in, I would recommend that over the cap, however don't let that deter you. The cap method still produced great results, and I couldn't be happier! In the summer, I will probably move up to the Honey Highlights kit, which I would expect would provide more dramatic highlights. Please see the pictures below for my experience with the Chestnut Highlights kit: Items/Products I used: Color I started with before highlighting (dark brown): DH modeling the Magicap: DH modeling the Revlon highlighting cap: Me processing: The results (hair blown dry with no product, so it's a bit frizzy):
I had box colored my hair in my 20's when I was a poor college student, but I had no gray hair, so I used whatever was on sale and was relatively happy with the results, since I was using it only to freshen things up. After I had established myself in my career, I was able to afford (and enjoy) salon coloring and highlighting at a cost of $200 every 6 weeks. There are however, occasions when I find myself thinking that this is something I could do myself. I don't think I could eliminate salon visits altogether, but even if I could reduce them to every other month, I could save some serious money! After doing considerable research on MUA, I was torn being using Garnier Nutrisse, Revlon Colorsilk, and Clairol Premium Creme. I naturally have medium/dark brown hair with what I would estimate as 30% gray that is stubborn to cover. I was in analysis paralysis and posted many questions on the hairboard. Finally, a kind soul directed me toward the Clairol product. I went to Rite Aid and purchased some No Gray, then off I went to Sally Beauty. I decided on 3NN (Medium Rich Neutral Brown), along with the Clairol 20 Volume developer. I also purchased some accessories to make the job easier (mixing bowl, gloves, brush, small whisk). I also had two lovely helpers to make the whole process more pleasant: DH and DD. DH had box colored my hair in the past, and although it's been a while, he actually prefers using a squeeze bottle over the bowl/brush. After mixing everything in the bowl, we transferred it to a squeeze bottle, where he proceeded to apply the color to my roots. I left the color on a total of 45 minutes (30 minutes only on roots, followed by putting on the remaining solution through the rest of my hair for 15 minutes for a total of 45 minutes). Although the mixture is thick, according to DH it was very doable to use the squeeze bottle. The only time it presented a problem was toward the end when we were left with an ounce or so of product left in the bottle to distribute through my hair, and he ended up scooping it out of the bottle, as it was too viscous to squeeze out. The result: Rich chocolate brown hair with my roots thoroughly covered. Truthfully, the color is a bit darker than I would have liked, so I will probably go one shade lighter the next time, but overall I think the product is great and will definitely use again. Please see the pictures below and also see my MUA review on Revlon Frost & Glow, which I used afterwards: My Review of Revlon Frost and Glow The products/items I used: My hair prior to coloring (Yikes! That is NOT the sun's reflection..those are my gray roots!) My helpers: My hair during coloring (roots only): The results (no flash - hair blown dry with no product, so my hair is frizzy):
Lipstick -Yves Saint Laurent - Rouge Pur Opium Red 131
babysbreath 3/17/2008 7:08:00 PM
I finally bought this lipstick after wanting it for so long based on the reviews I've read. I bought it sight unseen from the YSL website since I couldn't find it anywhere else. Oh my was it expensive - $29 plus tax and almost $8 for shipping. But I digress..... I don't regret it - not one bit. It truly is the most perfect red lipstick. I have all of the other reds women rave about (Besame Red Velvet, Besame Cherry Red, Chanel Passion, Chanel Sexy, MAC Dubonnet, MAC Rocker, MAC Viva Glam I, and NARS Red Lizard). I would have to say this is it. This is "my" red. Chanel Passion and NARS Red Lizard come very close - but YSL wins hands down. It is a true red however leans ever so slightly (and I do mean very slightly) toward being warm rather than cool. Without question, I would buy this lipstick again and again. For reference, I am NW15 with dark brown hair and eyes, Eastern European heritage. ♥
Stunning. Absolutely Stunning. I ♥ this lipstick to the end of the earth. It is the perfect coral lipstick for my NW15 face, lightly pigmented lips. (For reference: Dark brown hair and eyes - Eastern European). As with most MAC products, this was limited edition. I actually purchased this on a whim, after I saw the SA at the counter (with similar coloring to mine) wearing this lipstick. I bought it and have never regretted it. It is true love. Sorry to sound so dramatic, but when you find your true love, it is hard to let it go. This is it.
I'm giving this 4 stars because I do think this is a pretty and wearable color. I recall reading a review comparing this to Strawberry Blonde and I don't think they're close at all. IMHO - Strawberry Blonde is just the perfect coral lipstick, as it is much deeper and more pigmented than Utterly Frivolous. Nonetheless, I do think Utterly Frivolous is soft and glossy corally pink lipstick. If that is a color family that works for you, I think you will like Utterly Frivolous. Although it's pretty, I would not repurchase it as my true HG coral lipstick is still Strawberry Blonde.
I purchased High Top on MAC.com after reading the reviews online. I love purple in general, so I thought for sure this would be a color I would love. Not exactly. The color is very complex, and really needs to be experienced in person. Not swatched on your hand but tried on your lips. I would describe the color as a brownish-plum-blue/green with sparkles. I think if I were 18 or so, I could pull it off. (Hah - when I was 16, I shaved half my head off and was into the 80's punk look - so yes, it would definitely have worked for me then!) Ahhh.. but that's another story. Not that I'm an old fogey, but I want to look "HOT" for my age, not silly or clownish. I'm an NW15 with lightly pigmented lips and it just looked wrong. The color looks more appropriate as an e/s (Ohh - or even better - an eyeliner) rather than a lipstick. Perhaps it may work better for someone with pigmented lips, as the color may appear more plum than blue-brown. But for me, unfortunately it looked off kilter.
I purchased this palette based on swatching the eyeshadows on my hand. I've read previous reviews that the color payoff isn't that good. I beg to differ. The peach is more orange than peach, the green is just too "green". This is WAY too bright for my 38 year old eyes, and comes off as cartoonish. The best spring collection MAC came out with (outside of Barbie of course) was Culturebloom Spring 2006. Very wearable colors (Overgrown, Botanical, Love Bud, and Spring Up! - my favorites!!!) I was hoping for something as soft as Culturebloom - but alas, I ended up looking like a mime. I prefer something slightly softer, yet with a slight noticeable punch of color - without making me look like a clown. This palette unfortunately made me look like the leading lady for cirque de soleil. I am returning it.
Moisturizers -Olay - Total Effects Anti-Aging Anti-Blemish Moisturizer [DISCONTINUED]
babysbreath 12/30/2007 10:28:00 PM
I was truly hoping this product would work for me. I am 38 years old with combination skin that breaks out on occassion. A moisturizer that is anti-aging and anti-blemish is exactly what I need! I use Retin-A as a spot treatment rather successfully, but I was looking for a mild daily lotion to use to prevent those hormonal breakouts, and this looked so promising! After a solid week of using it, I noticed I started breaking out. I thought maybe my skin was "purging", so I kept using the Olay moisturizer and I also started using the Retin-A as a spot treatment as I normally do when I get a pimple or two. After 2 weeks, my chin, nose, and forehead all now have cystic acne. I've stopped using the Olay moisturizer, and have exclusively used Retin-A and Clindamycin lotion all over my face daily now for the last week. I still have some acne but my face is slowly clearing. I don't consider my skin to be sensitive to products, but this one really did a number on my face. I'm truly disappointed in this product and will definitely not purchase or use this again.
Well, I gave into the hype just like everyone else! In fact, Walgreens had a sale - buy one, get one at 1/2 price. So I paid $12.00 for two mascaras - not too shabby. Naturally, my lashes don't have a lot of length, but I do have a little volume. If I curl them, they look OK without mascara. So, I was excited - could a drug store mascara give me the lashes that everyone was talking about???? Not exactly. I find it just did an okay job. The Lash Blast handle is thick and a bit hard to handle. In fact, I'm not sure what a thicker diameter brush is supposed to do for your lashes that a smaller diameter brush can't do. I have to think that's a marketing thing. In the end, my lashes weren't that long or that thick in comparison to other mascaras I've used. I've used CG Lash Exact, Maybelline Full & Soft, Chanel Inimitable (awesome!), MAC Mascara X (which I adore), Lancome Courbe VirtuoseI (GWP sample I tried - pretty darn good!) as well as their good ol' standby - Defencils, and of course my favorite for the most dramatic lashes on the face of this earth: Shiseido Mascara Base and their Advanced Volume Mascara (that combo gives me the equivalent of false lashes. Very dramatic!) All in all, I wouldn't repurchase the Lash Blast because if I wanted a DS mascara from Cover Girl, I think the purple tube Lash Exact is a better product.
I went to the Estee Lauder counter and was color matched with 2N1 Desert Beige, which seemed to look good at the counter. The MUA applied the foundation to my entire face and I liked it, so I bought it. This was during my lunch break at work. I noticed by the time I arrived back at the office, my face felt as though I had a layer of "something" on - almost like a microthin facial mask. I usually don't feel my foundation, but I definitely was conscious that something was on my skin. I ignored the feeling, that is, until I left work to go home about 4 hours later. The foundation had oxidized to a nice orangey tint (not quite Oompah Loompah - but enough to see it). I literally grabbed a tissue and started wiping off what I could off of my face right there in my car. I just couldn't take it anymore. I can't imagine ever wearing this foundation, even if it never oxidized on me. The feeling of a mask on my face is something I just can't tolerate. I never even opened the bottle of foundation I bought - I just returned it right back to EL.
Treatments -Makeup Artist's Choice (MUAC) - TCA Peel
babysbreath 6/5/2007 12:21:00 AM
I am rating the 12.5% TCA peel. I was extremely excited to try this peel, and based on reading the reviews here, was anxious about scheduling the down time due to all of the peeling. I finally was able to work out some time off from work, and followed the instructions exactly. I did my patch test and had no reaction, so I proceeded with a 2-layer peel the following day. The 1st layer went on without much stinging. After waiting 5 minutes, I added the 2nd layer. The stinging was greater, but bearable (especially with a hair dryer set on cool pointed at my face). I did experience some frosting on my chin, around my nose, and on certain parts of my cheeks, but no where else. After 5 minutes, I applied the mixture of baking soda/water to neutralize the acid. OH MY - that stung worse than anything else. I finally washed it all off with the green tea soap included with the kit. My face was quite red afterward. In fact, I think I scared one of the neighborhood kids when he came by to play with my kids. The look on his face was priceless. Anyway, I would say the first 3 days are the most uncomfortable. But afterwards, any brown skin and peeling is easily managed with a layer of Aquaphor on your face. I went out in public (to run errands and such) virtually every day of my peel. Did I look pretty? Nope. But, I didn't look like a monster, either. If I went outside, I used a generous layer of suncreen (Lancome's new SPF20 with Mexoryl), placed some Aquaphor on the dryer patches, dabbed concealer under my eyes, and also on some of the brown patches, and I looked "OK". (I know - no makeup - but IMO a touch of concealer after layering all of the other products isn't going to hurt anything). I finally completed all of my peeling in about 7 days - and that includes the little dry peelies. The verdict: Is my skin softer? Yes. Did my sun damage fade? Perhaps a bit. But, I think seeing brown skin (that turned brown from the TCA, not from sun damage) peel off and reveal pink skin underneath, might have given me the impression that it was sun damage peeling off, not TCA brown skin peeling off, if that makes sense. Perhaps I had bigger expectations, especially after scheduling a week of down time, but I had hoped for a bit more improvement. For that reason, I won't be repurchasing the 12.5% TCA peel. However if I were to do this again (hindsight is always 20/20, as you never know how your skin will react) I would have bought either the 15% or 18% peel to start with instead.
I'm giving this shadestick two lippies because the color Penny is so freakin' gorgeous. I fell in love with this color. I know shadesticks can be hard to work with, but I tried and tried and tried to make this work, and I couldn't. First, the whole dragging on the lid thing. Annoying, but I can deal with that - in fact I heated up the shadestick slightly with my hairdryer to soften the stick a bit. The part I cannot deal with was the creasing - within an hour at best my lids were a creased mess. I tried putting on less thinking maybe I overdid it. I also tried blending the color with my finger and with a brush. The only thing I didn't do was add a primer to the lid (like UDPP) because in my mind, I was buying the SS to use as a primer for powdered eyeshadow, and I don't like the idea of adding layer upon layer upon layer. It starts to look like spackle after a while. So, I brought back the shadestick to MAC and got paints instead. Unless MAC changes their formula, I won't be buying shadesticks again.
Eyeliner -MAC - Fluidline Eye-Liner Gel in Blacktrack
babysbreath 2/6/2007 9:29:00 AM
This eyeliner is my HG. It goes on easily, dries quickly, and lasts all day without smudging. Love it!