Makeup Brushes -Sephora - Large Synthetic Eyeshadow Brush #25
NYC22 11/27/2010 12:14:00 PM
This is a flat brush, also known as a tap brush, from Sephora's Professionnel line. I use it when I want to gather a lot of eyeshadow onto a brush in order to create a more dramatic look. It is easy to use. I literally tap the brush onto the eyeshadow. I keep tapping until I think I have too much product on the brush, which is actually the right amount. Then, I lightly blow on the brush to get rid of any clumps of eyeshadow. Next, I tap the brush onto my eye lids. (I like to hold the brush upside down while doing this.) I do this about three times in order to build up enough coverage for a smoky eye look. Then, I hold the brush with the bristles up and apply the eyeshadow through the crease and above, with a stippling motion. The result? An easy monochromatic smoky eye. This is one of those brushes that make you appreciate the value of pairing the right product with the right applicator.
I stumbled upon this shade after reading on Sephora's FAQ on their Beauty Central section that LORAC's Pewter eye shadow is perfect for an easy smoky eye. Like many MUAers, I covet the smoky eye so I had to try this (because, unlike many MUAers, the smoky eye is elusive to me due to my rudimentary makeup skills). Well, the verdict is in and Carol Shaw is right: this is a wonderful shade for a low-maintenance smoky eye. The color really accentuates my green eyes, so you end up looking at my eyes more than the makeup - which should kinda be the point with makeup, although we tend to forget that! The color of the eye shadow isn't really pewter, in my opinion. It's more of a metallic shade of a purpley-taupe. For a smoky eye, here's how I apply it: I use a "tap brush" (number 25 from Sephora's Professionnel line) and repeatedly tap it onto the shadow (I keep tapping until I think, "that's too much shadow" which is actually the right amount) then I lightly blow away any clumps of powder; next, I tap the brush onto my eye lids. I do this about three times in order to get a dark enough color. Then, I use the tap brush to extend the color past my lids onto the crease area. Finally, I wet an angled eye liner brush with water (squeezing out any excess) and dip it in the powder. Then, I use it to line my bottom lashes. I've been trying to integrate this shade onto my crease area for a more daytime look (I'm trying to pair it with Too Faced's Silk Teddy on the brow bone area and Push Up on the lids - both from the Natural Eye Kit). However, I've been having trouble getting the right color saturation and shading with Pewter. My guess is that the fault lies with me rather than the shadow, so I'm hoping that additional specialty brushes will solve the problem.
Lipstick -Laura Mercier - Lip Colour Shimmer in Belle
NYC22 11/13/2010 8:20:00 PM
I thought this color would be my match made in heaven. It is described as a "soft pale golden pink with shimmer" on Sephora's website. In the tube and on my wrist, it looked like a foiled pinkish/flesh color which reminded me of one of my all time favorite lipsticks by Sally Hansen called "Iced Platinum." I've been looking for a great wearable pearlized/metallic shade so I couldn't wait to try this on. However, this was metallic to the max. It was so frosty that it would put the "Jersey Girl" looks of Snooki and Olivia and Tracy of Jerseylicious to shame. Don't get me wrong: it was a fun look to experiment with and if I still lived in New York I'd probably end up keeping the tube -- but this shade just wasn't practical for my life now. Looks aside, I was surprised that the texture of the lipstick was rather dry. I'm giving Laura Mercier a pass this one time, because I'm hoping the shimmer is what dried it out. Despite my experience with this failed product, I am looking forward to trying more from this brand. I have no idea who Laura Mercier is, but her products seem to give off a certain elegance (in both look and quality) which I am hoping to explore more (with success) in the future.
Lipstick -Too Faced - Lip of Luxury - Celebrity Meltdown
NYC22 11/13/2010 8:08:00 PM
I was super-excited to try this lipstick. It looked so pretty on my wrist: a medium golden berry shade. Unfortunately, it was rather rusty looking on my lips, and kinda dry, too. I guess I'll stick with Too Faced for eye shadows and skip the lip products for now (which is a shame, since the packaging is so pretty with the zircon stone on top of the pink metal tube).
Eye Makeup Remover -Neutrogena - Eye Makeup Remover Lotion
NYC22 10/19/2010 5:12:00 PM
I've used Neutrogena's liquid Oil-Free Make-up Remover for years and thought, "I guess this is as good as it gets." However, this lotion is far superior! I'd say it removes 99% of black mascara and eyeliner. Not only do the products wash off, but I'm not left with the usual faint raccoon eye that can happen after washing and stay until the next morning. Another plus with this lotion is that it doesn't feel oily. I know Neutrogena's liquid version claims that it's "oil-free" but it always felt greasy to me and I would have to wash and wash its residue away with soap. Not so with this one. The first few times I used this product, I was less than impressed. But after using it three or four times, something magical happened: the remover seemed to have a cumulative effect so that each subsequent time I used this lotion, the black makeup became easier and easier to remove. (I suspect it might have something to do with this lotion hydrating the skin...) Thus, my recommendation would be to try this for a week and compare the results to your usual regimen. Here is how I like to use this product: 1. Wash eye area with Dove soap to loosen everything 2. Apply pea-sized amount of lotion to cotton ball 3. Wipe eye region with cotton ball 4. Let sit through other shower tasks (hair washing, etc.) 5. Rinse eye region (there is typically little residue left on the eye region, but I like to re-wash with Dove anyway).
Polishes -New York Color - Long Wearing Nail Enamel
NYC22 8/29/2010 8:50:00 PM
I love these nail polishes! When I paint my toe nails, the polish lasts for at least week if not double that. When I paint my finger nails, the polish lasts for only a day or two but I can't complain since nail polishes at several times the price last for the same amount of time. At 99 cents these are a real bargain! Thank goodness N.Y.C. sells these, because it's getting harder and harder to find inexpensive nail polishes. Wet 'n' Wild nail polish prices have increased in recent years, and it's impossible to find Brucci or Cutex nail polishes. I just wish N.Y.C. would offer a greater variety of colors.
Styling Products -Got 2 Be - Defiant - Define + Shine Pomade
NYC22 8/15/2010 3:27:00 PM
I use this to control the broken hairs along my part and along my hairline. They had been getting increasingly difficult to control. I started to look like I had a bad case of static and some days I would get enough hairs standing up that I resembled Alfalfa from the Little Rascals. Anyhow, this product really did make a noticeable difference. It kept many of the hairs down and, when some did pop up, they just stood a little out of line as opposed to standing all the way up. Here's how I use the pomade. I run my middle finger across the product (all you need is a little bit) and then rub my middle finger and thumb together in order to soften and distribute the product. I then press down the broken hairs/flyaways near the root with my middle finger and drag my finger down the length of the broken hair firmly. I repeat as necessary. For broken hairs that pop up in between where my part is at the hairline, I pinch the broken hairs and some "normal" hairs between my fingers and then drag my fingers downward, thus "glueing" the hairs together. Broken hairs are very frustrating to me, and in this review I'd like to share alternative ways of controlling them that I have heard about. One is to take a dryer sheet and run it over your hair. This is more for static-y hair but it can work for broken hairs sometimes. I also heard that you can spray a toothbrush with hairspray and then brush the hairs down. I haven't tried this but it sounds like a good idea.
I'd been eyeing this lipstick up for quite some time at Sephora and finally had the chance to purchase and try it today. What a disappointment! The color name is accurate: it IS a silvery plum color - and that's just the problem. This is WAY too purple-y and silver-y. It really is more appropriate for Halloween makeup.
Lip Liners -Sephora - Nano Lip Liner in Queen Quartz
NYC22 8/4/2010 6:19:00 PM
This is a great basic lip liner. The color in the pencil looks like a slightly pearlized pink, but on my lips it resembles more of a flesh tone that I am quite happy with. The line blends well with the natural color of my lips and provides that barely noticeable amount of definition that is essential when wearing lipstick. At $5, this is a steal! And for those reviewers that complained this is hard to sharpen, I must say that I use my Revlon sharpener and it works like a charm.
Eye Makeup Remover -Neutrogena - Extra Gentle Eye Makeup Remover Pads
NYC22 8/4/2010 6:01:00 PM
I use Neutrogena's liquid oil-free eye makeup remover everyday, and I thought I'd give this a whirl. After trying the pads, I cannot see why anyone convert. To begin with, the pads were not "extra gentle" - they were abrasive and hurt my eyes! To make matters worse, I felt like I had to wipe the same areas over and over which only exacerbated the problem. Second, the pads left more makeup behind than the liquid. Third, Neutrogena only gives you 30 pads for about $7.99 which would last me a month. The liquid is a comparable price which lasts for months. Thus, I'll be returning the pads and exchanging them for another bottle of the liquid. I even thought about trying the lotion eye makeup removal, but after this experience I think I'll just stick with what works!
Lipstick -Sephora - Lip Attitude - Star in Mauve Scandal
NYC22 8/4/2010 5:49:00 PM
This is the first lipstick that I have used in years. I always found lipsticks to be too heavy on the color, or too drying to my lips. However, I have recently become frustrated with lip glosses for often being too sheer or fading too quickly and I needed to mix it up a bit. Enter Lip Attitude - Star, which is marketed by Sephora as being a hybrid of lipstick and lip gloss. I believe their claim to be true, as this product seems to have captured the best of both worlds. It provides a concentrated amount of color while at the same time glides on like butter. Mauve Scandal is described by sephora.com as a "light lavender shimmer." I would describe it as a mauve color that is slightly more heavy on the lavender than the pink, with a pearlized, silvery shimmer. This would be the perfect color if it had a little less lavender in it. However, I still think it is a wearable shade which is a nice surprise considering the lavender element. The key is to apply two applications - anymore and you risk looking too purple. The color lasts a fair amount of time. When it does fade, it gives me a pinker, slightly more frosted lip which I actually like. UPDATE: Sephora has discontinued the Lip Attitude - Star line. In an e-mail they informed me that this color has not been integrated into their Sephora Collection since the discontinuation. It's a shame since this has become my go-to lipstick, and I was very happy with the line (I purchased four different shades). I recently looked for something else from the Sephora Collection Rouge line but came away empty-handed.
Lipstick -Sephora - Lip Attitude - Star in Delirious Rose
NYC22 8/4/2010 5:40:00 PM
This is the first lipstick that I have used in years. I always found lipsticks to be too heavy on the color, or too drying to my lips. However, I have recently become frustrated with lip glosses for often being too sheer or fading too quickly and I needed to mix it up a bit. Enter Lip Attitude - Star, which is marketed by Sephora as being a hybrid of lipstick and lip gloss. I believe their claim to be true, as this product seems to have captured the best of both worlds. It provides a concentrated amount of color while at the same time glides on like butter. Delirious Rose is described on sephora.com as a "dark pink shimmer." I would describe it as a rich bubble gum pink color with golden shimmer. What I like so much about the shade is that it gives me a pop of color without being too striking. The color is bright, but very wearable for summer. (I think my tan helps me pull off the color.) It reminds me of various lip glosses by MAC that looked great in the tube at the counter, but I discounted after seeing how sheer they were during testing. I also like that this lipstick is buildable. One application gives a hint of color, two gives a daytime look and three gives full color. There is some room for improvement with this lipstick, though. The first is that the color could last longer. The second has to do with the fact that at times this seems a bit gritty on my lips after the color has worn off and the shimmer is left behind. These problems are easily remedied with re-application and besides, I think this lipstick is a steal at $12.
On sale for $10 at Sephora, I couldn't resist! Unfortunately, this palette wasn't for me. When I applied the shadows with a makeup brush, the color was barely there - it was really more of a translucent shimmer. When I applied the colors with my fingertips, the frostiness was pure overkill. Kitten in particular was too pearlized - so much so that it was more white than pink. I have no idea why this is Stila's best selling shadow, just like I have no idea why Black Honey is Clinique's best selling lipstick. Lame was too yellow and Chloe was just a light brown that seemed like the odd man out. And it wasn't just the colors that didn't impress me. I wasn't a fan of the texture of the eye shadows, either. The powder was rather dry and coarse which meant that it didn't blend well. I found that the eye shadow seemed to sit on top of my skin, rather than melding seamlessly with my skin. This is the second packaged set I bought from Stila, in addition to other products here and there. I'm simply not impressed with this line and I wonder what all the buzz is about after so many years.
Eyeliner -Wet 'n' Wild - Color Icon Pencil - Black
NYC22 7/31/2010 3:53:00 PM
I bought this based on a recommendation in a magazine. I thought perhaps this was a best kept beauty secret that I was missing out on, so I bought a pencil from Wal-Mart for 93 cents. Sadly, this was junk. The first problem I noticed was that the pencil didn't line well. It dragged and skipped across my lash line. I had to keep going over and over the same spots to get some color - but by that point the line I was drawing was getting rather thick and messy. The second problem was that the color was really more of a charcoal than a true black. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, because if Cover Girl and Urban Decay can't get black right then I can't expect Wet 'n' Wild to. The last problem was the deal-breaker. This eyeliner traveled! I used it to line my lower lashes and by mid-day it was all over my under-eye area. Not pretty! Bottom line: don't waste a dollar on this!
I have tried three of L'Oreal's products from the Sublime Bronze line: the tinted lotion in medium, the tinted lotion in dark and the luminous bronzer. The color pay-off is adequate: the medium lotion and the luminous bronzer give a mid-level tan that is all right, but the dark gives a deeper tan that is richer and more noticeable albeit artificial looking. If you are looking for color alone, go for the dark to get a tan a few shades darker than your skin. I wish my review could end here and I could recommend the Sublime Bronze line. Sadly, there's more to the story. Forget the fact that the color doesn't last long. Forget the fact that application is a long, painstaking process. Forget the fact that you only get seven full body applications from one bottle. There were two deal-breakers for me. The first was the texture of the product. It is a thick, plasticky gel that I can only assume is filled with silicones. It literally felt like I was applying latex onto my skin. This consistency was very difficult to apply because it was so sticky once I started rubbing it in. It did not spread well and, once it dried on my skin, I felt a distinct coating that would not let my skin breathe. Over time, I dreaded putting this on my skin. It made my skin crawl (no pun intended!). The second equally bad quality of this line is the smell. At first I didn't notice much of a smell one way or another - it just smelled like a run of the mill cosmetics fragrance. Over time, however, it turned my stomach. I can't describe the scent, but rest assured it wasn't the typical coconut self-tanner smell but something more noxious - something more along the line of cheap cologne and melting plastic. This smell permeated my clothing, my sheets - everything. Even when I wasn't using the product, it would make me heave just thinking about it. Between the texture and the smell I loathed putting this tanner on. No amount of bronzing could compensate for how nasty this stuff was to use. I finally stopped using it after going through a couple of bottles because I just couldn't take it anymore. I had almost given up on self-tanners when I tried the Hawaiian Tropic Island Radiance Creme Lotion self-tanner (see my other review). The difference is like night and day. The Hawaiian Tropic has next to no smell, feels just like a real lotion and gives great color that lasts almost a week. Please don't make yourself sick with the L'Oreal like I did - try the Hawaiian Tropic instead!