Eyeliner -Milani - Liquif'eye Metallic eye liner pencil -black
renaissancegirl 1/14/2011 3:17:00 PM
After discovering and years of using gel liner, I never ever though I would go back to pencil again. Until now. This eyeliner is simply amazing. It is very creamy and glides on smoothly without tugging on the eyelids. It applies boldly, is very very black and lasts all day without migrating (even with my finicky, watery eyes). This has replaced my regular, black gel liner as my go-to every day eyeliner. I have tried Urban Decay's 24/7 liner in Zero but this is more pigmented and applies more smoothly. If I had to list any cons, I would say that maybe it's too soft to produce a thin line but I find it easy enough to use my angled eyeliner brush to flick out the thinner ends of a cat eye. I got it for less than $5 which is an incredible bargain.
Styling Products -TRESemme - Simply no frizz spray gel
renaissancegirl 1/12/2011 2:44:00 PM
I don't have time to really style my hair in the morning but naturally it's a bit frizzy and and the ends are quite ugly so I need something that would make my hair look manageable but without much work. While this spray is not the perfect solution, I like it quite a lot. I wash my hair in the evening (no time in the morning) add about 4-5 sprays of this stuff, comb to distribute product and go to bed. In the morning, my hair is soft, voluminous and smooth and the ends look healthy enough that I don't have to hide my hair in a bun or ponytail for the day. Ideally it would make my strands shinier but I'm calling this a win.
Lotions/ Creams -Neutrogena - Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
renaissancegirl 1/10/2011 6:20:00 PM
I bought it initially as an overall hand creme (because they were out of my fave, Eucerin PLUS Intensive Repair Hand Creme) and I was desperate. As a hand creme, it doesn't compare to my usual Eucerin - it helped heal cracked, dry skin but it was so thick and uncomfortable and took a while to sink in. On the other hand, it is fantastic as an on-the-go eye cream. During the winter, my eyelids and undereyes get unbearably dry and flaky. I just dab a bit of this stuff and my eyes are instantly relieved. I just use the tiniest amount to get a moisture boost without disturbing my eye makeup too much. It is also great for spot-treating of very dry cracked skin.
Skincare - Body -Dr. Bronner's - Lavender Liquid Soap
renaissancegirl 1/10/2011 5:44:00 PM
I have been using this for a few months now for cleaning my makeup brushes, Sonia Kashuk beauty sponge (the Beauty Blender dupe; also known as the SK peep) and face towels and it is simply fantastic. Compared to other cleansers, it does the best job at cleaning my SK peep. Other than that, it removes every last trace of makeup, even very stubborn cremes, liquids and waterproof stuff but doesn't dry out the bristles. I have used the peppermint version of this soap but I find that this builds up a better lather, cleans more thoroughly and doesn't require as much with each use. Some balk at the price but I think it's quite reasonable considering how much product you are getting. I have tried using it to clean my face but it tends to make my skin feel tight and I have better products for face cleansing. Packaging-wise - I wish it came with a pump as it is a big bottle and pouring it out is a bit of a pain. I do have the trial-size bottle which is what I use full time and refill when it gets low. But I give it a good 5 stars because I really, really love using it to clean my tools.
Crème -Graftobian - High-Definition Glamour Color Creme Foundation
renaissancegirl 1/7/2011 5:08:00 PM
This is not easily found in brick and mortar stores so getting a color match takes a bit of guess work but fortunately, these can be purchased in color family palettes. I got Warm #2 and have had complete luck - Buttermilk, the lightest shade, matches my winter skin perfectly. The other shades will no doubt help during the warmer months when my skin tans but for they work very well for contouring. The coverage is fantastic but still looks quite natural and feels lightweight. It has a very smooth consistency and is easy to blend. It is not as long lasting as other foundations I've tried but I get a good 8-hour wear time if I use a primer (currently I am using Tarte Clean Slate). The packaging is plastic but feels sturdy - the compact size makes it great for travel. UPDATE: After using this for several months, I noticed my skin has been less than stellar. It's not as smooth and youthful and my pores look enormous. I tried to fix this with skincare but I finally decided to give this product a rest and switch to Tarte Smooth Operator tinted moisturizer. And now my skin is back - smoother, healthier and more younger looking than ever. Now I can't be certain it was because of this but it was the only thing I changed. Maybe my skin just doesn't like this stuff afterall. Either way, I'm only going to use this sparingly.
This is the first time I'm trying a Revlon nailpolish (I tend to stick to OPI, Orly, Zoya and RBL) and I'm pretty impressed. The formula is surprisingly amazing: very smooth and easy to apply, not streaky at all, but still very pigmented - it was almost completely opaque at just one coat. It kind of reminded me of Rescue Beauty Lounge polishes. I wish the brush was fuller so I could cover my nail with fewer strokes but this is a very minor complaint. I got it for less than $5 at a local drugstore which is steal for this high-quality formula. The color is very flattering on my skin tone and is great for winter:looks like a dark creme indoors but in the sun the hidden shimmers are quite obvious and looks beautiful.
One of the best polishes I bought this year. I really really love this color - I think it has a unique quality to it. As always, Zoya's formula is fantastic and he brush lays the color evenly and nicely - 2 coats to full opacity for me. Not streaky in the least - it's a perfect creme finish. If you are into non-standard colors, I highly recommend this.
Blush -Unlisted Brand - Pretty and Cute - Contour Palette
renaissancegirl 12/8/2010 1:37:00 PM
I don't know if contouring became unfashionable but it's hard to find good cheek contouring products these days so when I saw this palette, I had to jump on it. I have been using bronzers to contour previously but bronzers tend to have shimmer in it making it awkward for contouring. This palette has no shimmer whatsoever (even the highlight is matte finish) which is exactly what I was looking for. What I like most about it is that there are two shades each for contour and highlight making it very versatile for many skintones. The contour shades are gray-based so it's great for mimicking shadows and chiseling out your cheekbones (I hate contour powders that are orange or pink-based). It is a bit chalky (hence the one less lippie rating) but easy enough to work with. Would definitely repurchase, especially based on the low price (normally this is $12.99 but I got it on a Cyber Monday sale at $8.99).
Treatments (Eye) -Mario Badescu - Glycolic Eye Cream
renaissancegirl 12/1/2010 2:58:00 PM
Let me preface by describing my eye situation: during the fall and winter they get extremely dry and super itchy. Eye makeup products simply don't stand a chance - my eyes get watery and eye lids get itchy that everything gets washed away in a flakey eye-goo mess. And then along came this eye cream. I wanted to wait a month before reviewing this product but I can't resist any longer - total HG for my winter eyes! I got this because the reviews below state this as being too rich or downright "greasy." These words actually attracted me - my eyes are so bad and other eye creams (and I've tried some very thick ones) simply did not work. I had to apply two layers of this on the first night (yes, it is very rich but my eyes are very very dry). My eyes were better the next day. After that I started using it during the day as well as the night (yes under my makeup) and I started to see real results. Eyeshadow glided on my now-smooth eye lid surface. I'm pretty sure I could scale back on usage after a couple of weeks but I really love this eye cream and I will never go without it. I don't think it's for everyone but if there is anyone out there that can relate to my dry eye drama, I highly recommend this stuff. UPDATE: now that dry season is almost completely over, I am finding that when I use this daily, my eyes are drier and flakier between applications. I think my skin has gotten used to it and has quit producing natural oils on its own. So I don't use it anymore - i have replaced it with plain joboba oil (which I apply in the day and night) and I find that works very well now. I still think it's great for the winter season - it's just not a good year-round product.
During fall and winter months, my combination skin goes into a weird panic and dries up like a desert. I usually have to choose between putting up with this dry skin or handling breakouts because rich night creams usually break me out. Regardless, I decided to give this a try and I am so glad I did. When I first put it on, it felt thick and fragrant (I have a sensitive nose and fragrance tends to freak my skin out) and I began to anticipate an upcoming trip to Ulta to return this (with several new, bright, red friends on my face). But that day never came. My skin felt hydrated and balanced the next day. No irritation whatsoever - even during the first night. Now that I have been using this successfully for over a month, I can safely say this is my go-to night cream. I have even gotten used to the scent.
This didn't give me any impressive results during the first couple of weeks but now that I have been using it for several months, I realize that I really do like it. I am sensitive to scents and this one came off a bit strong at first (even though it doesn't seem to have "fragrance" on the ingredient list) but I got used to it quickly enough. It's quite gentle - It never irritated or broke out my sensitive skin. I use it by itself to gently cleanse in the morning and with my Clarisonic Mia to remove my makeup in the night. It gets my face squeaky clean without stripping it of moisture or building up on my skin. Overall my skin is quite healthy these days. A word of caution though - this is not foaming cleanser. If you are used to bubbly surfactants, you may not feel "clean" using this type of cleanser (which is how I felt when I first used cream/gel cleansers) but I urge you to give it a shot.
Polishes -Rescue Beauty Lounge - Square Pants Polish
renaissancegirl 11/24/2010 1:58:00 PM
I was unsure of this polish because yellows don't generally look good on me but I ordered it anyway and hoped for the best. I'm certainly glad I took the risk because I love it! It's quite sheer which makes it flexible for various skin tones. I find that it looks best on me at 2 coats - which still looks pretty sheer but it is streak-free and I like the look. I would describe it as natural (since there is a visible nail line) but with a slight edge (milky, watery yellow). In any case, it gives a rather unique look that I appreciate. Obviously, it doesn't hide imperfections very well so if you have stained nails, this probably would be a bad fit. It is also great for layering and color combining. Finally, the formula is fantastic - I get a glass-like finish at 2 coats. The brush is soft enough to avoid streaks but firm enough to maintain control. I don't think I'll ever run out of this stuff but if it gets lost or broken I would probably buy another one.
Polishes -Rescue Beauty Lounge - Under The Stars nail lacquer
renaissancegirl 11/22/2010 4:37:00 PM
I realize that this shimmery blue is not the most unique combo but RBL executes it in such a matter that sets it apart from other shimmery blues. RBL's shiny, creamy formula adds a wonderful depth - I can't stop staring at my nails whenever I have this on. But the main reason I would choose this over other brands is the formula. It's a true one coater (which is extremely rare) but I always do two coats to make my manicure sturdier. Has anyone mentioned the brush? Oh - the brush is marvelous! Soft enough to fan out smoothly but stiff enough to control. Since this is a color I really love, I feel justified in paying the hefty price to get it in an excellent formula.
I had extremely high expectations for this color. In fact, I was lemming it for a long time. When I finally got it, it just wasn't as unique as I expected. It felt kind of dull and flat (not shiny or at least it just didn't have that remarkable, RBL "twinkle" that I experienced with other polishes from this brand) even when I looked at it in the sun. It also applied a bit patchy on the first 2 layers. It's not terrible and if you love blue-based purples, go for it - I just wouldn't have bought it if I saw it in person beforehand.
I cannot rave enough about Rescue Beauty Lounge nail polishes and as of now this color is my favorite. I am aware that this is a color dupe of Essie Sew Psyche and that the Essie version is much cheaper. But the formula is so smooth and perfect, I personally think the RBL version is well worth the extra buck. It glides on smoothly - two easy coats gets me a perfect, fully opaque, streak-free finish that is super shiny. Wear time is also fantastic. After 4 days, I only had a bit of tip wear - even after doing lots of gardening without any gloves. I used to think RBL was overpriced but now I am glad I tried it. I recommend waiting for a sale to ease the price burden (I only made my first order because they were having a 50% off sale) unless there is a color you absolutely love (I would pay full price Diddy Mow).