This is the first (and so far, the only) dedicated brush cleaner I've ever used. I've had it for a few years and use it rarely. The smell is more than a bit overpowering - a strong smelling chemical like alcohol blended with some very cloying fake vanilla scent that does little to camouflage the chemical smell. I suppose it's okay in a pinch but, to be honest, I prefer to give my brushes a good weekly wash in baby shampoo mixed with a bit of tea tree oil and just wipe them off between-times if they're dirty (I honestly don't imagine evil bacteria are lurking in my brushes - used mostly for powder products - and multiplying to the level that they will harm me!). I might try MAC's or Cover FX's brush cleaners if I ever use this stuff up or check to see what other quickie brush cleaners are recommended by MUAers but I wouldn't repurchase this.
Primer/ Corrector -Clarins - Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch
mariella99 12/6/2010 7:09:00 AM
At first, I was amazed at what a small amount of product you receive for the price. I figured it would last me maybe 2 months with daily use. Then I used it and realized what a tiny amount you need to do your whole face (or just those areas where you feel you need it). While some may not like the open jar packaging, this is sold with its own spatula to ensure hygiene and this seems to work perfectly for the texture of the product, which is far too thick to be packaged in a tube or pump. The added "beauty" is that it is easy to get every last bit of the product you have paid for! This is a lovely primer. While it doesn't "fill in" wrinkles and make a 50 year old look like a 15 year old, it does soften the look of any lines, giving a sort of "soft focus" look. It imparts this softened look even if you wear it without any foundation over top. And I love using it under my eyes....it helps concealer go on very smoothly and perfectly and seems to help it stay fresh all day, without settling into under-eye lines or going grey or chalky as the day progresses. While it seems a lot to pay for such a small jar of "stuff", it is actually very good value and a great product that gives excellent results.
I'm another woman who has been disappointed by Cork. There is nothing wrong with the shadow, per se, but it was just too warm and too ORANGE for my colouring. I guess for me, Cork's "equal" is Omega - for me, it's the perfect subtle crease or blending out colour. I had reservations about getting Cork but thought it was worth a try. It's a no go colour for me so back it went!
I also have both the older version of this palette (with indentations for removing the pans) and the newer one (when I purchased my first new ones, thank goodness the MAC SA showed me how to get the pans out - you press on 2 corners and the whole base pops up, allowing you to push the pans out from the bottom...I always do this over a soft surface, "just in case"). I have to say I prefer the older ones but I've dropped and gouged a few shadows even with those. The older ones were easier to open and simply easier to use on all counts. Redesigning them was a dumb move! I much prefer keeping my shadows in the 4-pan palettes to storing them in the larger ones - I just find them easier to use, easier to toss into my purse or gym bag and for travelling, taking 2 of these, "custom assembled" to suit my needs and desires for that particular trip - it's just so much more streamlined than taking one or 2 of the larger palettes. It also works better with the limited space I have in "my" little bathroom (my makeup storage shelves are not deep and I don't like using drawers). These are very handy little palettes but I can't wait to see the "Z Palettes" I've been seeing all over the internet - they look like the easiest to use of any I've ever seen, and kinda snazzy too!
Eye Shadow -Wet 'n' Wild - Color Icon Single in Brulee
mariella99 12/5/2010 10:57:00 AM
While the packaging is a bit flimsy, what's inside cannot be beat! I've been meaning to buy MAC's Brule for years but every time, I get wooed by another shade that suits me better - Vapour, Dazzlelight, Phloof or my all time favourite, Blanc Type. So I never actually get around to buying Brule. And now I'm glad I haven't because I've found this great "identical twin" for about 1/6th the price. This is a great shade for highlighting, for a lid colour or for an all over wash on days when you don't want a very complicated look. Worn on its own, as a wash, with a dark navy, a black or a taupe-brown liner, this just makes me look "finished" and evens out the colour of my lids (hiding the blue tinge I have) just perfectly. It's a great way to have a very "polished" look without fuss. I'm just gobsmacked that you can buy such a high quality, blendable, highly pigmented product for such a low price. I will continue to buy and to try more products from the Colour Icon line and from Wet 'n' Wild generally.
WOW....who would ever think you could get such a great eyeshadow for under 3 bucks? I picked this up yesterday, figuring I had nothing much to lose if it turned out to be a washout but this is a lovely shadow. I'd been thinking of buying Urban Decay's YDK but this is so close in colour and such good quality that I won't bother now! I wore this yesterday evening all on its own. I just swiped it across my lids and up to the crease and then packed on a bit more to intensify the shade on my lids. It's a beautiful cool beigey-taupe shade with a subtle, flattering "light" to it - a sheen that doesn't look harsh or "frosty" - more like a "glow". The packaging seems a bit flimsy and I am worried that it could break easily (but then I've had MAC compacts break and MAC shadows are 5 times the price!) but it's small and the lid is clear so you can see what colour you are reaching for. I am very tempted to try the Colour Icon palettes now, based on how great this shadow and the other one I have (Brule? can't recall now) are working out. You can't miss with these shadows - they offer such great product at an unbelievable price. UPDATE: Some say this is a dupe for MAC Satin Taupe. I have ST and while I love it, I have to say that Nutty is not an exact dupe. Nutty is virtually identical to Nars Ashes to Ashes, though (and at a fraction of the price). I'd been wanting Ashes to Ashes but after reading that Nutty was very close to it, I took my little pan of Nutty to Sephora to check (both with the dreadful in-store Sephora lighting and with the flood of natural daylight in the mall concourse) and they were so close as to be indistinguishable to me (and believe me, I can almost ALWAYS see enough of a difference to justify purchasing another new eye shadow). As I'm so happy with the texture, pigmentation and application of Nutty (and haven't had it shatter on me yet - I know this happens to a lot of people), I figure I can pass on Ashes to Ashes and splurge on a NARS shadow that is truly unique (maybe the Habanera duo). It helps too that Nutty is also amazingly close to the colour of Chanel Safari and, again, it's less than 1/10th the price. What a great little bargain.
I got this from MAC's "Good-byes" online. I don't know why I overlooked this when the collection was in store but I love this shadow and I've only had it for 2 or 3 days. People say it's similar to Satin Taupe and it is, but it's more grey/brown without the trace of plum that is in Satin Taupe (which is one of my all time favourite shadows, by the way). Prepped for Glamour, according to the label, is a Frost but it isn't really frosty at all - it's more like one of the Veluxe Pearl or Starflash finishes - it has a sheen or a glow rather than an outright frost. It's a lovely finish and the shadow blends beautifully. It works as a lid colour or a crease colour or as both, with something like Shroom, Orb or Dazzlelight to highlight. It is such a pretty colour and just different enough from Satin Taupe that I feel it has a place in anyone's collection who has and uses the latter shadow and even for some who find Satin Taupe isn't exactly right for them. A shame it was LE - this is one they should make permanent! Edit: I've been using this shadow almost daily for a little more than a month now and I have to say, it has become one of my very favourite shadows, even pushing Satin Taupe out of top ranking. Prepped for Glamour is even more wearable than Satin Taupe (or Coquette, Copperplate, Mulch - my usual "go to" shadows) and looks so flattering and complex even worn on its own on the lid and up into the crease. It only takes a minute and a swipe on both eyes with a brush like MAC's 217 to achieve a nice every-day look for work or running errands around town. If you have a chance to get your hands on this shadow, don't hesitate. I think it is universally flattering and EASY. (for reference, I'm an NW20 in MAC foundations)
Loose Powders -MAC - Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder
mariella99 12/1/2010 4:17:00 PM
I absolutely love this colourless setting powder by MAC. I use it over just about any foundation I wear - MAC's Pro Longwear (my new favourite foundation) or Clarins Everlasting, Lise Watier or the last of the MAC Studio Fix that I'm trying to finish up. I even use it if I'm just wearing under-eye concealer and moisturizer - a light dusting of this powder makes even bare skin look better. I love the perfect, almost "lit from within" finish that it seems to give and it simply helps my foundation and concealer "sit" better on my skin. And because it's colourless, it doesn't build up or turn orangey throughout the day. My only complaint would be the packaging. It's impossible to take this anywhere with you because there is no way to "close off" the sifter). I wish MAC and other companies would use a sifter like that on Laura Mercier's mineral powder foundation - there's a half circle disc that swivels to close off the holes. It's a very good idea. It's my understanding that this finishing/setting powder is considerably less expensive than the one from MUFE (Makeup Forever) and it certainly seems to work every bit as well, at least for me.
I purchased Vex because I love MAC's duochrome shadows, of which this is one. But I'm a little disappointed in it. It's not really green, not really silver...but looks more silver than greenish on my eyes. It's just not the greatest colour for me - not really super as a lid colour and not something I'd use as a highlight. I've tried combining it with other shadows, in combos that others have suggested, to make it work a bit better and to use it up. It's not hideous or anything but it's also just sort of "blah" for me and I wouldn't repurchase. Update - Jan/2011: I've added 1 lippie and changed my "buy again" to "yes" (though "maybe" is probably more accurate since I really like trying new highlight colours). I've been working with Vex and liking it more and more. I find it looks great on the lid and brow bone or as a wash when paired with Shale in the crease/outer v. Today, I'm wearing Vex all on its own (well, overtop of Painterly PP), packed (rather than brushed) on my lid and I keep catching sight of myself and thinking my eyes look so bright and awake (not at all how I feel, I can tell you!). So while I might or might not repurchase (so many shimmery and light colours from MAC to try - Nylon, Ricepaper, Vanilla, Crystal Avalanche...you get my drift), I have really changed my mind about this shadow. I like it much more than on first "exposure".
Blush -The Body Shop - Autumn Trend Cheek & Face Powder - 02 Berry
mariella99 11/27/2010 10:33:00 AM
I'm surprised that no one has yet reviewed this new blush from The Body Shop's Autumn Collection (unless it's in another section). I purchased this in shade 02/Berry. It also comes in a more bronzed colour called Chestnut. The Body Shop bills this as a "cheek and face powder" but don't see any way this could be used all over the face as it is so bright and so pigmented and a lot transfers onto my brush with just the lightest touch to the surface of the compact. It is a very highly pigmented shade of deep raspberry/cranberry. The product presentation is SO pretty - raised leaves in various colours of pink, coppery burgundy, deep rose - on a pink/rose surface (think of MAC's Petticoat but with the colours as individual leaves rather than veins). The actual packaging is pretty basic - plastic compact with a clear lid that lets you see the pretty surface of the powder itself. No mirror. The colour on the brush or swatched or applied is very much like the MAC MSFs. Like those, this product has a lot of sheen - not glitter bits or huge sparkle but a lot of sheen. You only need to touch your brush very lightly to the surface to get more than enough colour for BOTH cheeks so "handle with care". The finished product is very pretty - I applied with an angled brush (because my powder brush - which I like to use for blush - was wet from having been washed) and then buffed the edges with a flat topped kabuki brush to blend. You could also use this blush as a highlighter, especially if you used a small brush to pick up colour from the lighter coloured leaves. This is a LE product and may soon be gone so you might want to check out either this one or its warmer sister, Chestnut, if that suits your colouring more. The compact is HUGE and it is so pigmented that I cannot see myself ever needing to repurchase (not that I will be able to, I don't think). It was $21 here in Canada.
Blush -MAC - Satin Blush - Her Blooming Cheek (A Tartan Tale Holiday '10)
mariella99 11/23/2010 3:25:00 PM
Last week, I got the Hark the Heraldry blush trio after looking at Her Blooming Cheek. I figured the former would be more practical and wearable (and who doesn't love 2 new blushes and a beauty powder?). Her Blooming Cheek looks "scare the pants off you" bright and even though I had read very favourable reviews here, I decided to be "practical". But as more and more reviews of Her Blooming Cheek appeared here on MUA and as I started to think about how much I might regret not getting it when it's gone, I decided to take the plunge. I had the MAC makeup artist apply it on me in store and bought it with the thought that I could return it if I found it too overpowering. Well, I just tried it myself, applying with a blush brush and buffing out with my MAC 130 and I LOVE the result. It's a nice, clear rosy/fuchsia pink colour but natural looking at the same time - very much the colour I blush naturally. The trick is to use a light hand, apply it in a very small area and then buff it out and it does buff out very beautifully so that it really looks like a natural glow. Hard to believe from such an intense, almost "neon" colour. I even put some of this on my lips with a bit of clear gloss over top - really pretty! I did click "Yes" to repurchasing it but I cannot see myself ever using this up because it is SO pigmented and even if I did, I might be ready to try something different but still, it is "buy-again-worthy".
I had a gift certificate from my birthday and my friend wrote that I was only to spend it on MAC (she and I are both "afficionadoes"). So I figured it was time to use this as my birthday was last month! I had been thinking for some time about getting Dame blush as I talked another friend into getting it and she loved it. I figured I'd get it when/if I ever finished up my Desert Rose blush (I hit pan on it ages back but it is still going strong). But now I had this gift cert. to use up and was thinking about maybe getting Pink Swoon or Dame but then the new MAC Tartan Tales came out with this palette of 3 blushes, one of which I was already thinking of getting and I figured I'd at least check it out. I decided to buy Hark the Heraldry since it's LE and I can get Pink Swoon just about any time. While Dame seemed a bit light and powdery in the store, I figure I can "work with it" to make it work better. Plum Foolery is a lovely colour for fall and winter - a nice flush of colour that looks like I've been out walking in the snow. And this is my first Beauty Powder. I'm looking forward to using it a lot. Three very good blushes in one set seems like excellent value for the price. And while the packaging is just a bit boxy, it is actually quite clever and the 3 pans of blush are held together neatly and there is a pretty good mirror in the case as well, which is a great touch. Update: I don't know if the blush formulations in this LE are different from the permanent line products, but I'm having a devil of a time getting ANY of the Dame blush to show up on my brush, let alone on my cheeks. I've always liked DAME when I've tried it (regular compact) in the store and even got my best friend to buy it. But with this one, I can't even rub any colour off with my finger - when I went to swatch it, NOTHING came off. I finally took my Pur Minerals Chisel Brush - quite dense and stiff and almost scratchy - to scratch up the surface of the thing so it would release some colour! This seems to have worked though I actually have to use the Pur Minerals brush to transfer the colour to my cheeks. I know this isn't the case with the regular Dame blush. It was quite disappointing but at least now, I've got it to work! Another update: Well, at least Dame is working for me now (after basically "sanding" the surface to get some colour to come off) and it looks very pretty but I've notice that the small, rectangular shape of the 2 blushes in the top of the compact (Dame and Plum Foolery) makes it hard to get your blush brush into just the one pan. Not the end of the world but I do have to use a fairly small brush and can't really swirl and move it around to pick up just the one blush. I've changed my "yes" to a "no" in answer to "Would you buy this product again?"
I bought this based solely on the photo here and on the review by snarkywench, just before mine. I'm pretty much a Zoya and OPI girl - those are just the polishes that are "around me" and what I see at the salon when I go for a pedicure so I never even really thought one way or the other about Sally Hansen til seeing this review. I got the last one of this shade at a drug store near the school where I teach. I am delighted by the different and much easier to use brush/applicator and I am totally loving this colour to bits. I love the dark browny burgundy shade and the almost mysterious glitter within the polish. It seems to be wearing pretty well too (I have a devil of a time keeping polish on my finger nails and usually can't be bothered taking the time to do a manicure myself b/c they take soooo long and I make so many blobs and messes AND they don't last - all that work for 2 days' worth of wear, if I am lucky. But this polish is so easy to apply that I don't even mind if it only lasts 2 or 3 days. Absolutely striking colour and perfect for autumn, as the previous poster commented. I'm going to go back and look at a few more shades in this line.
Eye Shadow -Too Faced - Couture Eye Shadow Luxe - Glamazon
mariella99 11/12/2010 10:22:00 PM
I got this shadow last week in the Enchanted Glamourland palette and I've worn it a few times already. I wore it tonight to a corporate early Xmas party and it just looked stunning (I used Buck from UD's Naked Palette lightly in the crease and Virgin as a browbone highlight and the overall effect was very, very pretty). Glamazon is aptly named - it's a very glamourous looking icy light taupe - almost a beige but not too light. It applies like a dream in spite of the frosty finish - goes on smoothly and without making my lids look dry or crepe-y. I didn't have any trouble with fallout but I was careful to pack on the colour and also, I used a little "shield" under my eye to catch any shadow that might fall onto my cheeks. I will certainly repurchase this in its individual compact once I use up what is in the palette and I can see this being a staple for me.
I am a fan of mineral powder foundations and I've tried a LOT of them. This loose powder, by Laura Mercier, has to be one of the best of the bunch. I was never much of a fan of loose powders, preferring pressed minerals because they are less messy to work with and especially for tossing into your purse or for travelling. But the clever packaging of this product eliminates the down-side of other loose powders. I have the shade "Real Sand" and it is an excellent match and really evens out my skin tone perfectly. This powder leaves my skin looking beautiful without a made up look. It covers imperfections and broken capillaries very well and it is quick and easy to apply. I have several pretty good liquid foundations but to get a finished face that looks both flawless AND natural takes me a lot of time if I'm using a liquid foundation and even then, it sometimes eludes me and my skin looks WORSE with foundation than without it. Not so with this wonderful product...I get great looking skin that also looks like I am naturally blessed with perfect skin and I get it quickly and easily. I apply and buff with a flat topped kabuki brush and, voila....perfect skin (and some sun protection too!) I think I truly have found my perfect foundation.