I found this to be very strong, almost overpowering, and not in a desirable way, like when you're on a hot and heavy date--more like when you're feeling unwell and you're on a crowded bus, stuck sitting next to someone wearing a heavy perfume. I, too, got a tobacco blast from this--maybe I'm misinterpreting the spice--followed by boozy/woody and a meh vanilla. I thought I'd love this because I love all the notes, but I have to say I'm unimpressed. I'm disappointed because I've been wanting to try it for a long time, but I'm glad I dislike it given the price. I will not purchase a full bottle.
This smells much better in the sample vial. On me, it's vaguely, slightly nauseatingly, artificial-powdery sweet with very little vanilla and absolutely no incense, smoke, woods, booze, citrus ... nothing else. Staying power is about two hours. It smells like a cheap air freshener. My wallet is thanking the deities of perfume that I dislike it, but it is a huge letdown given all the mystique that surrounds this fragrance. I, thankfully, will not purchase a bottle.
Brows -Urban Decay - Urbanbrow (Styling Brush and Setting Gel)
MaryEllen 12/12/2012 3:01:00 PM
I have unruly brows that are becoming more unruly with age. I've tried many brow gels and haven't found one that really does the job--until this one. It's clear, not shiny or glimmery, doesn't flake, and keeps my brows in place all day. The key to this is the brush--it's not a spoolie, but more like a teeny-weeny toothbrush with a single row of fairly stiff bristles. This lets me really direct my brow hairs where I want them to go, and then keeps them there. It's pricey at $20, but so little is needed that I don't expect to have to replace it for a long time. I will repurchase.
Eye Shadow -Anastasia Of Beverly Hills - She wears it well eye shadw palette
MaryEllen 12/8/2012 2:38:00 AM
I purchased this palette on eBay for a great price, and I'm pleasantly surprised with it. The palette, which measures 6 by 3 by 1/2 inches , holds nine neutral shadows--three matte and six shimmery, a mix of cool and warm. I was concerned that the shimmery ones might be over the top, but they're lovely and very kind to aging lids (as Anastasia claims they will be). The shadows are finely milled, apply easily without fallout, blend like a dream, are all flattering, and wear well. The pigmentation is medium for most, which I prefer. This is the grown-up version on UD's Naked palettes, and I highly recommend it if you're concerned about accenting the less-than-perfect aspects of your eyes. I would repurchase, and will check out Anastasia's other shadows.
Lips -Giorgio Armani - Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color
MaryEllen 12/6/2012 8:19:00 PM
I have this in Casual Pink (501), a lovely deep, cool pink shade. This is an interesting product--as other reviewers have noted, it's got quite a bit of slip to it, yet the color looks matte on the lips. I must agree that the packaging is tacky (and I generally don't care a bit about it)--the red top just makes it look super-cheap. And while the doefoot applicator is nice, it deposits FAR too much product, no matter how much you wipe off on the rim of the tube. I've found that the best way to apply is to either put a bit on the center of your lips and blend out with a brush, or to pick up a bit from the applicator and apply that with a brush. Otherwise your lips will slip and slide when you press them together, pushing the color outside the lipline, and the slightest overapplication looks cakey. That having been said, this stuff does have remarkable staying power, IMHO--way beyond a gloss or lipstick, but not quite as much as a stain. It lasted on me through eating and drinking, needing only a touchup in the center of the lips after eating. It also stands up to multiple applications of lip balm. However, despite the slip, I find it a bit drying--my lips were developing flakes after a few hours. And because of the slip, I had some trouble with bleeding (despite lining with a concealer pencil, powdering over that, then applying lip pencil), which is rare for me. For those reasons I deduct two lipsticks (although I wish I could give it a 3.5). It's unique and I like the color well enough to keep it (it's a year-round shade and great for a work look), but I will not purchase other shades. Update 1/15/13--I'm sending this back. I just don't want to deal with the bleeding, difficult application, and dry lips. Great concept with some very good qualities, but a fail for me.
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. This is a true burgundy that doesn't look black--in any light. The depth of color is spectacular, and the shimmer completes it, looking not at all cheap but sophisticated and glamorous. I got a full week from my self-manicure with this (Butter London base, Seche fast dry top coat) with only tip wear. This is a truly unique shade, high quality, and worthy of Chanel and the price tag. Just buy it before it's gone.
If you hate lip pencils, try this one. It's the best I've ever used for a number of reasons. First, it looks natural. No, really, it does. Although my lips are quite rosy and pigmented and the pencil shade is a slightly lighter neutral medium pink, it still looks natural. You can line right on the border of your lips to cheat a bit and it still looks natural. It works with nearly every lipstick I own (except red). The texture is creamy, but it doesn't bleed. You can fill in your lips with it and they won't shrivel up from the dryness of the pencil. And it's a twist-up, so there's no sharpening, and it comes in an elegant, black component that closes securely but is easy to open. Yes, it's pricey, but there are two per box. I find that I'm hardly using any of my (many) other lip pencils. Just buy it. You won't be disappointed.
What a disappointment. I've been looking for something to replace Stila's All Over Shimmer in #1 (the one in the tube), and thought this might be the one. It's not. It's pinkish and glittery, while the Stila product was neutral beige, shimmery, and perfect for adding to foundation to give skin a pickup. I will not repurchase.
This is the Rolls-Royce of this type of product. I bought it based on reviews here (thank you, reviewers!) and my very positive experience with the Creme for Style. I'm growing out a short cut, and this works every bit as well on my now-chin-length layered bob as it did on my near-pixie. I don't find the consistency as stiff as some reviewers have--I'm easily able to dig a little out of the gorgeous container. It emulsifies easily in my palms and makes hair obey and look beautiful at the same time. Bangs, layers, volume, depuffing--it does it all without greasiness or dullness, and I don't feel like I have to wash my hair the next day to get it out. I've also noted the easy restyling other reviewers have mentioned--a flick of a comb or even just running your hands through your hair freshens up your style without making a mess. Worth every cent, and I will repurchase.
Skincare - Body -Unlisted Brand - Providence Perfume Amber Cream Body Oil
MaryEllen 11/15/2012 3:43:00 PM
After reading about this on several blogs, I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did. This is made with obviously high-quality oils--apricot, sweet almond, safflower, aloe, and jojoba--and comes packaged in an unglamorous but very functional *plastic* (thank goodness) pump bottle. It is not, however, a dry oil. Applying it immediately after a shower or bath, when my skin is slightly damp, works best, and even then plan on not dressing for five minutes or so until it sinks in. It moisturizes amazingly well, but the best thing is the scent. Oh, the scent. It's a lovely, slightly sweet amber that, with wear (it goes through that awkward oil-smell phase immediately after application), smells like clean skin plus something wonderful--cozy and comforting. Don't expect to use this alone, unless you like an *extremely* subtle scent; in fact, you can barely smell the amber in the bottle--it develops on the skin. It is, however, great for chilly at-home days and as a base for other ambery scents. Heavenly. It's somewhat pricey at $26 for 3.4 oz (and shipping is steep), but just a little is needed (I use about 5-6 pumps for my whole body). You can find it at the company's website, and she sells on Etsy as well. Great stuff, and I will repurchase.
Treatments -Philosophy - The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel Pads
MaryEllen 10/27/2012 3:00:00 AM
I've been using these for a few months now, and while it's a good product, it's not great. First, they're expensive. I've circumvented this by cutting each pad in three sections, using one, and resealing the rest in the envelope each pad is packaged in (I fold the top over a few times and hold it closed with a small binder clip--this works well, and the remaining pieces of the pad stay as moist as when opened), so I get three uses from each pad. Second, although the ingredients are good (including Niacinamide and Mandelic, Azelaic, and Phytic Acids), the acids are far down on the list, so this is quite a mild peel.(I feel no stinging at all, and leave it on overnight, using no other product with it). What the pads contain a lot of is denatured alcohol (see below). Third, although easy to apply, the skin is left sticky. Fourth, despite using philosophy's Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash and my Clarisonic the morning after application, I notice no dramatic difference in my skin. It feels smooth, but not nearly as smooth and clean as after weekly use of philosophy's Microdelivery Dual-Phase Peel (which is the same price and provides many more applications). I think this peel would be great for those with sensitive skin, like the previous reviewers, but at the price philosophy asks for ten treatments, most people would be much better served by a peel from MUAC. I'll be going back to the Microdelivery Dual-Phase Peel, which really exfoliates and brightens my skin and leaves it as smooth as glass. I will not repurchase. Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Sd Alcohol 40b (Alcohol Denat.), Glycereth-7 Trimethyl Ether, Niacinamide, Mandelic Acid, Peg-8/Smdi Copolymer, Triethanolamine, Azelaic Acid, Phytic Acid, Bisabolol.
I'm glad I sampled this before buying, although 4.5 was a perfect match for my LSF 5.5, MAC NC25-ish skin. This is a very unique formula--watery and very light on the skin, but with correspondingly light coverage and, on me, a powdery finish. The latter emphasized every pore, dry spot, and tiny wrinkle on my face after about five minutes of wear--and it's still quite hot here in AZ, which means this would be a real disaster in winter when my skin becomes quite dry. In fact, the MA at Neiman's said she does not recommend this foundation for "older" skins (she and I are both 53) for just this reason. Additionally, my face began to itch after an hour or so, and was red when I removed my makeup a few hours later. This may be perfect for some skins, but not mine. I will not purchase.
Brows -Shu Uemura - H9 Hard Brow Pencil - Seal Brown
MaryEllen 10/7/2012 3:20:00 AM
Love. Grail. I've been having my naturally dark ash-blonde hair lowlighted for some time now, and have had trouble finding a suitable shade for my brows that works well. Powders generally don't last on me, and although I like Laura Geller's Brow Marker, it looks painted on and sweats off; YSL's Dessin Des Sourcils in Glazed Brown is close, but is soft and very easy to overdo. When I saw Shu Uemura was havving a sale, I decided go for this pencil, and I am delighted with it. Yes, it's hard, but it applies easily (without overdoing) when the lead hits the brow. And the color is amazing--dark enough to look natural with my lowlights, and an unusual shade that looks absolutely natural as a brow color. I'll be using this until I stop getting lowlights!
Gels/Soaps -Johnson & Johnson - Honey Apple Baby Wash
MaryEllen 10/7/2012 3:11:00 AM
*Very* nice cheap thrill. This body wash is rather thin, but lathers nicely and cleans well without stripping. (I don't find it moisturizing, but I don't feel the need to slather on a ton of moisturizer after using it, either.) I find the scent to be a very pleasant watery apple--I don't pick up any honey at all. Overall, I like it very much and will repurchase--next time the larger bottle with the pump. PS--thanks to previous reviewers about it not removing antiperspirants well--a very important and useful tip, and why I love MUA reviews!
I was somewhat surprised that I really like this. It's a very comforting scent on me, opening with true notes of non-foody vanilla and star anise/fennel, which lasted quite a long time. The ultimate drydown was a subtle floral (and I usually hate florals) with a hint of anise and amber. It wears close to the body, which I prefer, and has great staying power (on me). This isn't a gourmand or sexy scent--just pleasant and comforting. I can imagine it being a go-to for fall/winter, especially on casual days. I will repurchase.