I've been wanting to try one of the Hourglass eye shadow duos for ages. A 15% off coupon from Sephora was all the encouragement I needed (I am such a sucker!). I wasn't too sure about getting this, since I tend to keep buying the same shadows (only from different companies and with different names) over and over again. So, as I often do, I did a mini-comparison in-store to see if this was anything like UD Loaded and I can tell you it is not. The dark side of this duo is more a very dark grey with brown and slightly green leanings - very different from Loaded . Anyway, the point of all this is that I swatched both Loaded and Dune on my hand along with a few other shadows. Later on, I wiped all the shadows off and I could still see the pigmentation from Dune but not from any of the other shadows I had swatched on my hand (from UD, Bare Minerals and MAC). So, the lasting power and pigmentation in these shadows is simply outstanding. The lighter champagne colour is gorgeous and so versatile - as an all over the lid shade or inner corner/browbone highlight - it works for any and all. The dark shade looks so overpowering but it is such a classic and so blendable that even for daytime, it is very wearable on the outer V. I am so happy about having bought this. Oh, and the packaging - so very cute and clever and I like that you can used the closed compact to swipe on some lipstick if you're in a rush. The brush that is included is better than most brushes included with eye shadows. Unlike all the photos I've seen of this palette, the brush that came with mine is a double-ended one. which is pretty sensible (a clean brush for each shadow when you're in a pinch) but they are really, really tiny and very fiddly so, again, better than nothing in a pinch but not the best. All in all, it's a win-win on all counts. Of course, now I'm just left wanting MORE of these duos. It's a good thing Sephora has a fairly limited range of colours since there are only maybe 2 others that I'm contemplating (and at these prices, it's good that there aren't too many duos to tempt me)
I knew that Rebel had a crazy high rating here at MUA and so I checked it out in store a few months ago. The SA put it on me and, to be honest, I wasn't thrilled about it. My skin is very fair and my hair and eyes dark so in theory this should be a great lipstick colour on me. Well, maybe if I were 15 or 20 years younger. But I felt it looked harsh and made me think of this mom from years back when my kids (now young adults) were in primary school and this mom - also very pale and not exactly in "the first flush of youth" - wore a very deep blue red lipstick that looked really aging on her (as a dyed in the wool makeup addict, I've always love and noticed strong lipstick colours but couldn't help noticing that this shade was not flattering on this woman). So, fast forward to a few months back and there I was, feeling that I looked just like this woman did. BUT....I had to bring a cosmetics purchase up to $75 so went over to MAC to purchase two lippies for this purpose and I decided "What the hell....I'll be a rebel and buy Rebel." I don't wear it often and when I do, I apply with a light hand and rather than going light on the eye (as many would do with a red lip), I do make a point of going a bit intense on the eye and cheek as well, not so much to compete with the lip colour as to balance it out so it doesn't look quite so harsh and aging. With a bit of attention to detail, I can wear this but, at this point, I doubt this would be a "repurchase" for me since I'll be older still by the time I use this one up!
The "olde worlde" looking tube looks nice but it's my least favourite aspect of this very nice hand cream. The metal tube ends up looking lumpy after just a few uses, it's hard to get the very last of the product out of the tube (toothpaste tubes in the 50's were like this and then companies changed to better tubes) and I am always losing track of the tiny screw on cap. BUT OTHERWISE, this is a fabulous hand cream. It is so soothing and moisturizing. I know that lavender is one of those ingredients that can be irritating to sensitive skins but even when my hands are very dry and chapped, this hand cream does not irritate me at all and the smell is heavenly. I love to apply this before bed, partly so it can work well overnight but mostly so the soothing lavender scent can help send me off to sleep. Definitely a repurchase product. I buy this in the 20% Shea Butter formula for my future son in law who has very dry hands and very, very sensitive skin and it works a charm on him (also, the fragrance of the shea butter formula is a lot less "girly").
I guess good ol' Nivea Cream (or Creme) appears in several areas on the board. I reviewed this old standby the other day and figured I'd repost my review in this area as well, so here goes.... In my city, there is a wonderful German grocery/deli/assorted odds and sods small chain of stores that carries wonderful skin and body care products from Germany. It's where I get my Gehwol foot care products, Ombra creams, 4711 eau de cologne and many other terrific items including Nivea Cream made in Germany. My mom and my aunties used Nivea religiously when I was a kid, swearing it was every bit as good as the costly creams from Estee Lauder. Well, in many ways they were absolutely right. I don't know if there is or isn't a difference between this cream made in N. America and the one made in Germany but this rich, thick cream with the familiar scent that is unchanged from my childhood, is a great multipurpose product. I use it on my dry, cracked feet, slip on some socks and wake up in the morning with much softer feet. When my knees get rough (sport, gardening, yoga), on goes the Nivea and away goes the roughness. I use this on my neck and decolletage area with great results. In winter, when my skin is particularly parched-feeling, I'll warm the product in my hands (it is thick and I don't fancy rubbing it in vigorously on my face) and apply. Even my 19 year old son likes using this when his face is dry and chapped. Don't get me wrong - this would never be my "go to" night or day cream but when my face needs it, it does the trick. And it's great for any other parts of you that get really dry, chapped and rough. I'll even smooth some over my hair if I've applied it to my hands - the residue smoothed over rough, winter-dried hair gives a nice bit of smoothness! I guess I am one of those people the previous reviewer takes issue with since I find this really quite a multi-purpose product and in the greater scheme of things, I think this is a good thing.
Moisturizers -Eucerin - Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Sensitive Skin Creme
mariella99 4/10/2013 6:15:00 AM
I am so glad I discovered this product through the reviews here on MUA. Eucerin facial care stuff isn't available in Canada but after reading the reviews here, and since I was searching for an inexpensive but effective night cream for winter, I really wanted to give this a try to got my husband to pick up a jar for me when he was in the States last month. I LOVE this cream, especially for winter-time, when my skin is more dry. I didn't want bells and whistles and mystery ingredients of questionable real value but with a ridiculously high price....I just wanted something simple, not too greasy but effective for putting back some moisture or preventing moisture loss. This cream is the answer for me. I've been using it over Alpha Hydrox Retinol Night Res-Q and the results I'm getting are beyond satisfactory. This cream is inexpensive, effective and, at least for me, not too heavy or greasy. It seems to absorb right into my skin. I imagine I could even use this in the day-time. I don't mind the open jar packaging....I use a spatula in any case and the jar means you can get every last bit of product and also see when you are getting low. I will be purchasing another jar or 2 of this cream when I go to the US in June because I really don't want to be without this. It's every bit as good as my Clarins Super Restorative night cream but without the hefty price tag! Great product, great price!
Years ago, Alpha Hydrox products were readily available in grocery stores here in Canada (just as they were in the US, something which featured in their tv ads - no fancy department stores and easy to purchase). But in recent years, the only way to purchase their products was online and I wasn't crazy for their shipping charges. But I got my husband to pick up a tube of this for me at ULTA when he was in the US and I've started using it again religiously every night. It has only been 2 or 3 weeks but I can see such a marked difference in my skin already - improved smoothness, lines look less pronounced and the clarity of my skin seems so much improved. I am actually quite surprised. The instruction say not to use this on your eye lids but I do apply it to the crows feet/smile lines under my eyes and they are less and less visible. I follow the instructions and use a moisturizer over this (my night time moisturizer and an eye cream) and I am thrilled with the results. I'm going to the US in June and will most certainly purchase 2 or 3 more tubes of this product. For me, it's a total winner! I am delighted with the results.
In my city, there is a wonderful German grocery/deli/assorted odds and sods small chain of stores that carries wonderful skin and body care products from Germany. It's where I get my Gehwol foot care products, Ombra creams, 4711 eau de cologne and many other terrific items including Nivea Cream made in Germany. My mom and my aunties used Nivea religiously when I was a kid, swearing it was every bit as good as the costly creams from Estee Lauder. Well, in many ways they were absolutely right. I don't know if there is or isn't a difference between this cream made in N. America and the one made in Germany but this rich, thick cream with the familiar scent that is unchanged from my childhood, is a great multipurpose product. I use it on my dry, cracked feet, slip on some socks and wake up in the morning with much softer feet. When my knees get rough, on goes the Nivea and away goes the roughness. I use this on my neck and decolletage area with great results. In winter, when my skin is particularly parched-feeling, I'll warm the product in my hands (it is thick and I don't fancy rubbing it in vigorously on my face) and apply. Even my 19 year old son likes using this when his face is dry and chapped. Don't get me wrong - this would never be my "go to" night or day cream but when my face needs it, it does the trick. And it's great for any other parts of you that get really dry, chapped and rough. I'll even smooth some over my hair if I've applied it to my hands - the residue smoothed over rough, winter-dried hair gives a nice bit of smoothness!
Like the previous reviewer, I was also doing a happy dance when I saw these available in Canada at Wal-Mart! And like her, of the 3 brushes, the foundation brush is the one I use the least but that's because I have three other really good Real Techniques foundation brushes - the Expert Face Brush, the flat foundation brush and the Stippling Brush - as well as 2 or 3 other foundation brushes that I love. I do like this brush, though - it is nice for blending out/blending in concealer from under my eyes to alongside my nose (a Kandee Johnson technique for brightening and lifting the face). In actual fact, I bought this set simply to get the eye shadow brush. How I wish this brush were available on its own - I'd buy several of them! I really like the Multi-Task brush for blush an for setting powder (loose or pressed - it's great with my new Nars pressed setting powder). With every purchase, I am once again amazed by how good these brushes are and when you take into account how inexpensive they are, it becomes even more amazing. My only complaint remains the widened shape of the handles. I don't know anyone who sets their brushes singly on a dressing table or in a cabinet. Most of us keep them in a container of some sort and these flared/wide ends just means they take up way too much room. Other than that, these brushes are amazing and while I also don't stand them up in the accompanying case, it is nice to use to keep them clean while travelling. Just so happy that these brushes are now available in Canada (I almost said "readily available" but when I was at Walmart, I got the very last Travel Essentials set and the only other thing left was 2 or 3 packages of the "Starter Set" (all eye brushes and not ones I want or need). Can't wait for them to restock so I can get the Core Collection (I really want the buffing brush!)
Pressed Powders -MAC - Mineralize Skinfinish Natural - Medium
mariella99 4/4/2013 9:50:00 AM
I've had this mineralized pressed powder for several years. I don't use it often but when I do, I'm always pleased with the results. Lately, I've been using it overtop my BB creams when I feel in need of a bit more coverage and the results are always good. It's a good finishing powder too (though I prefer Prep+Prime or other white/colourless finishing powders) and also great for a quick dusting over moisturizer when you're rushing out the door and don't have time to apply "makeup" but want to look a bit more finished and polished than your bare face might be. I think this is a product I will always have on hand and repurchase. It would be nice if the case included a mirror.
Moisturizers -Philosophy - Miracle Worker Miraculous Anti-Aging Moisturizer
mariella99 3/31/2013 10:28:00 AM
I do like the fact that this moisturizer comes in 2 decent sized jars - the smaller one is 2 ounces, which is larger than most face cream (or at least, most of the ones I've used) and there is also a 4 ounce "economy" size that offers considerable savings! But the simple fact for me is that this is just an average moisturizer - no "miracle", no "anti-aging" (well, no more than any other half-decent moisturizer compared with using no moisturizer at all). I got several sample packets of this and was able to try it out for a couple of weeks but, like I say, while it's a nice enough product, I don't think it lives up to its own name and I honestly think you can get products just as "effective" (in moisturizing, not in providing "miracles") for a lot less than $74 Canadian for the 2 oz. jar.
I have to echo Hummingbird's comments in her review - this is a gorgeous lipstick but the packaging sucks! While the idea of a "one-handed" mechanism is clever and somewhat convenient, the fact that the metal outer casing is square means that you will get your lipstick all over the corners unless you are willing to push the product all the way up, thus risking breakage. Having said that, I've got this in 3 shades - Habit Rouge, L'Heure Bleue and Champs Elysees - and I love all 3. The pigmentation and just the actual shades themselves are perfection. The quality is so good and the lipsticks are creamy and non-drying but for all that they are moisturizing, I really appreciate that they don't bleed or feather, even if I wear them without any lip liner. Pricey as lipsticks go but so worth it for a little bit of indulgence.
Lipstick -Guerlain - Rouge Automatique - Champs Elysees
mariella99 3/24/2013 6:48:00 PM
If you need a "pick me up", this gorgeous deep but bright pink (Sephora's site describes it as "fuchsia") is just the ticket. I was a bit leery about buying this shade as it seemed a bit over the top bright for me but it is an absolute stunner. Very flattering on my NW15/20 complexion. It brightens my face and my whole outlook. And, really, as a Franco-phile and someone whose visits to Paris when I was in my 20's stand out as very special occasions, I'd have bought this lipstick just for the name. That it's beautiful and flattering is just a super-bonus! In fact, I was wearing this when one of my best friends came to visit and she asked "What is that lipstick and can we go to the store so I can get one?" The formula of the Rouges Automatiques is very creamy and moisturizing and what I always find surprising with these lipsticks is that in spite of their creaminess, they don't smear or travel even when worn without a lip liner. My only complaint with these lipsticks is the design of the tube. Nice not having a separate lid to bother with but the square design makes it difficult to apply without getting lipstick on the corners of the tube.
Add me to the list of fans of this rich purple (which leans more blue than red, which is good for me). This used to be a "Pro" colour (I guess it still is but it's more readily available now). My collection of purple shadows is on the low side so Indian Ink was a welcome addition. I really like it on the outer lid and in the crease with light taupe, a lighter grey or lavender shade (Too Faced's Cut the Cake is a great one) on the inner part of the lid. For a more dramatic look, I will apply Indian Ink all over the lid and crease and then deepen the crease and outer corner with a darker shade (MAC Typographic or UD Blackout, applied sparingly). It's a really good, reliable shadow and when you consider that a lot of MAC's matte shades can be a pain to blend, I can say that Indian Ink (a matte) doesn't share that characteristic. I would happily repurchase.
Pressed Powders -NARS - Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder
mariella99 3/21/2013 8:42:00 PM
I LOVE the results I get with this setting powder. Because it was sold out at my Sephora store, I got the loose version first and wasn't thrilled with it because while it's nice, it is just way too messy and I didn't find it did a noticeably better job than my other loose setting powders - MAC Prep+Prime, MUFE HD and Tarte. Finally last week, Sephora got another shipment of the Nars Pressed Setting Powder and I was up there in a flash. I am so happy with this product. It is VERY hard-pressed. In fact, it is hard to tell that your brush has picked up any product but when you do buff your brush over your face, you see the results - a "soft-focus", perfected look. Keeps my face looking fresh and poreless from first thing to the end of my work day and then some! I use a Sephora mineral brush or the #55 Professional or my MAC 130 - all give great results. The package includes a large mirror, which is a very nice touch and there is also an applicator which I haven't used yet but which I guess I would use in a pinch. Great product.
BB Cream -MAC - Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm SPF 35
mariella99 3/19/2013 7:16:00 PM
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this BB cream from MAC. Last week, I got the Clarins BB cream and while I really like it, I do find it (the lightest shade they have) to be a bit dark for me. I wish I'd tried the MAC BB cream first. While the Clarins runs dark, MAC runs light and right now, they don't have any dark shades at all. I got a very generous sample in the shade "Light" and it is perfect. Coverage is excellent - light but still effective in covering up what needs a bit of "hiding" - and very natural looking but it makes my skin look so "enlivened". I just love the effect it gives. And this has a really pretty, pleasant scent as well. I think I may well purchase the full size of this to use now, and once summer hits and I'm a bit darker (even though I always wear sun protection), I'll use the Clarins BB to finish it up. But I think this MAC BB cream and the Tarte one (once it gets Canadian approval to make sun protection claims) are the best of all the ones I've tried and they will probably be my mainstay BB creams. If your skin is on the fairer side, do yourself a favour and at least give this a try.