For some reason I feel really awful saying bad things about BPAL. I truly respect the company, am glad they exist and would love to support them. Their website is one of the most fun and interesting ways to kill a few hours. But so far, none of the scents I've tried do much for me. Velvet is an unpleasant chocolate-esque concoction, think exlax melted into a tub of baby powder. There's a thin and rough representation of sandalwood in there, but like others I've sampled, Velvet is like taking a stroll down the candle aisle at the supermarket.
I was completely sold on this mascara after having used up one sample tube. It simply does everything right with minimal effort. Its light-weight formula keeps the curl in my lashes that I worked so hard for. The cone shaped brush is easy to maneuver, making for a fast and neat application. It lengthens, separates, thickens without clumping, like I said, all good. When I went to my local Nordstrom, the SA had never heard of Ultimeyes- didn't I really want Diorshow, the one everyone's wild for? Then she looked in a drawer, found Ultimeyes and said oh yes, this is Dior's sensitive eyes mascara, no fibers, no drama, more natural, was I sure this was the one I wanted? At home I read the packaged leaflet which describes an "exclusive lash extending ingredient... brush with patented fibers... and so on. It also mentions safe for sensitive eyes, but Diorshow makes the same claim. My point is, why can't m/u SAs bother to learn about the products they're selling?
Let me start by saying I'm not a regular MAC customer, having swapped it all away—including Satin Taupe [what was I thinking?]— years ago. Overall this is a very pretty collection of colors, and I'm thrilled to get Satin Taupe back again. Pearl of the Earth is seeing a lot of use, Tease 'N Teal is another gorgeous shade; both are dynamic yet highly wearable. Gingersoft is the must-have pearly beige shimmery neutral, similar to many other colors I have, but it's nice to have here for convenience. When viewed as a palette of six individual colors, they don't at first seem very well matched. But if you pull any two shades together, each one works so well with the other five it's like getting 15 different duos in one palette. I'm not loving the faux croco exterior of the compact, but if MAC does a complete switch over to square pans, and worked harder to improve the attitude of their SAs, I might consider more purchases.
Palettes -Bobbi Brown - Clay Collection - Nordstrom Anniversary Kit 05
2westies 7/20/2005 2:39:00 PM
I had my doubts at first about this collection—it seemed a little unoriginal and I thought, oh please- hasn't BB had the last word yet on earthy lips and brown eyeshadow? But true to form, the pieces in this set are of outstanding quality. Blush and e/s both apply with ease, blend well and the colors are simply pretty and flattering to all. What sold me was the Malted shimmerwash e/s which, when I inquired if it would later be offered for sale individually, the SA became very cagey and noncommittal- a clever marketing ploy that worked- I would have kicked myself if I had waited and missed out. It is indeed a perfect neutral mid-tone brown for all seasons. The Clay matte lip stain isn't terribly matte but soft and creamy. I kept waiting for it to bleed into my lip creases like most stains but it never did, though its staying power could have been better. Usually BB blushes are too pigmented for me but Tawney is pretty and natural. I complete the look not with Espresso Gel Liner (not included) as recommended, but with Cobalt Ink; the deep inky blue beautifully balances out all that earthy neutrality. The hard-sided zippered case has a funny chemical smell, but it's well constructed with elasticized interior pockets. Overall, I'm super pleased.
Treatments (Eye) -Dr. Hauschka - Daily Revitalizing Eye Cream
2westies 7/15/2005 3:31:00 PM
This is a wonderful lightweight texture for an eye cream. More like a lotion than a typical cream, it absorbs quickly and completely, making it perfect for daytime use. I must echo other reviewers when I say I don't expect miracles, especially not at my age. In my experience I have found that nothing short of a good concealer is going to erase dark shadows; and lines—they're just not going away. But this eye cream leaves a smoother appearance and no greasy residue at a comparatively fair price, considering the botanical ingredients. You really can't ask for more than that.
Given the exceptionally high quality of Diane Brill's Lip products, I had pretty high hopes for this mascara which, I am sorry to say, proved to be something of a disappointment. It doesn't even come close to the standard of her lipsticks, liners and glosses. The texture is thick and ultra-heavy, weighing down and flattening out my carefully curled lashes. The coating appeared slightly granular, probably because way too much product clings to the brush, which didn't seem to want to grab onto my lashes. Wiping away excess with a tissue is wasteful and having to do it irks me no end, not that this is the priciest mascara out there, but at $19 it's hardly a bargain. Keep a lash comb handy, you'll definitely need it.
Fragrances -Comptoir Sud Pacifique - Vanille Abricot
2westies 7/12/2005 3:13:00 PM
Referring to the previous reviewer and speaking of comments, I've got a few to add. Normally, comments about my perfume occur all too infrequently. What scent maven doesn't love to hear, "you smell nice" and "what are you wearing?" One morning I liberally spritzed myself with a sample vial of Vanille Abricot just before going into the office. I was immediately sorry, not being in the mood to smell like a root beer float. While in my cubicle I hear a quiet stranger's voice over the wall... "I smell something chocolate", they said. Not 2 minutes later a coworker using a nearby file cabinet says to me, "hey, you smell just like a Yankee candle!" (uh, thank you?) No sooner does she leave when my boss enters my cubicle to discuss a job, the first words out of his mouth are, "I smell pancakes." I handed him the vial... "here, give this to your 14 year old daughter and tell her it's from sephora. She'll love it". Fortunately none of it lasted, the whole buffet was gone in 45 minutes.
I've never been a devoted user of powders, even though I have several. But when the summer heat really kicked in, I reached for this to help combat sunscreen sheen. I dipped, tapped & buffed... and looked really pasty. (must be my shoddy technique, I thought.) I buffed some more until I began to feel a nice tricep burn but no matter what I did, my complexion seemed lifeless and artificially matte, like a department store manekin. I do like the sifter inside the tub, and may dump out the mineral veil and fill it with my Nars loose powder. Or if I ever get back into swapping, this will be one of the first things to go.
Mascara -Shu Uemura - Fiber Xtension [DISCONTINUED]
2westies 7/12/2005 12:27:00 PM
Sometimes it's really tough to decide whether or not you like a product, which has certainly been the case with Shu Fiber Xtension. As with most mascara containing fibers, it's been an up and down experience, due to the fiber's unpredictable behavior. Either they attach themselves in odd clusters and places— such as sideways across the middle of my lashes— or they don't appear at all. But having said all that, the effect when done properly, is beautiful— long, lush and fringey. But it does take some practice and getting used to. In my experience, application has looked the best when I've swiped each eye a few times, and worked back and forth alternating between right and left, without reloading brush or allowing lashes to dry, until I'm happy with the way they look. The brush is well constructed to separate and evenly coat the lashes with no blobbing or clumping at all. I've found that applying a 2nd coat after lashes have dried makes me wish I'd stopped after the first. I've knocked off one point due to steep learning curve and of course, the ridiculously high price. Bottom line, high maintenence but I would repurchase.
Eye Shadow -Shiseido - HydroPowder Eye Shadow H5 Aqua Shimmer
2westies 7/12/2005 11:58:00 AM
This product gets ultra high marks for its ease of use and versatility. The texture is unique and quite different from other shimmery cream eye colors I've used, which tend to be greasy or gritty. Not only does HydroPowder dry to a fine powder finish without creasing, but it glides on like silk, blending effortlessly over, or under, other powdered eye shadow. The Aqua Shimmer is an exotic yet totally wearable shade that I would imagine working well on all complexions. It can be applied as an overall wash of color, but it's fun to blend into other eye shadow colors—especially yellows and greens— for some interesting effects. I've also used a fine detail brush with it to line my eyes, and it absolutely stays put. Hopefully Tiger Eye will be my next purchase, if I'm lucky enough to find it.
If coffee bean hadn't been listed in the notes, I never would have known it was there; ditto rose, vanilla and fig. All I get is raging jasmine, and it's of the dirty diaper variety. Mata Hari is another that sounds great on paper, yet doesn't work for me at all. To quote the DA on Law & Order, "make this one go away".
Hellcat exemplifies what in IMHO is so typical and unpleasant about many of the [relatively] few BPALs I have sampled. There's a bizarre juxtaposition of nauseating sweetness, with an improbable medicinal flavor behind the sugar. Think children's medicine from the 1950's. Or the worst Yankee Candle has to offer. It's marzipan on steroids that's been marinating in a big jar of marischino cherries. Huge Yukky.
I love rose scents, but it took me a few minutes to get any rose out of this, so hidden it was by the brisk and somewhat astringent opening notes. There is some nice wood here, blended with a very subtle note of potting soil, then the rose kicks in. Before long it settles into a dry, brittle, unremarkable rose... so so and a little boring.
This has been my favorite BPAL so far, one that I could actually buy and wear regularly. I detect pine and eucalyptus in the crisp opening notes, very refreshing and almost bracing, perfect for a hot summer day. It reminds me of an old favorite of mine, original Vitabath Green. Unfortunately, this fades in about 5 minutes as the scent softens into a pleasant herbal blend with what I can only describe as that ubiquitous BPAL signature sweetness haunting the background. I find myself constantly reapplying in order to relive, or rather revive, the unique top notes.
This is indeed fruity, but resembling no fruit that exists in real life. At first I really got into its super sweetness as one might occasionally enjoy chewing juicy fruit gum. Even though I don't normally wear fruit scents, I thought this might be one I could wear. But it turns a little soapy after a while, then it all gets rather stale. And like the lone guest who stays way after the party's over, you keep hoping they'll leave, and they never do.