I've been curious about this eye cream for a while, and when I got an undereye concealer that I really liked (MK concealer - great coverage), but it was a bit dry, I decided to give this a go. I am mildly surprised that this eye cream has lived to up my expectations - it makes it much easier to apply my concealer and keeps my concealer from creasing all day. I've found it to be slightly moisturising, but mainly it's a great primer and de-puffer. I use this cream only for day time, under my concealer, and a tiny dab covers both eyes. At $36.50 CAD for 15mL tube, it's a bit steep for an eye cream... I used a MAC gift certificate, so it wasn't as painful to purchase. BUT, it's perfect for what I was looking for in a daytime eye cream (I use another eye cream for night time), and I would repurchase once I run out (which I think will be quite some time, probably more than 18 months).
I really enjoy this shampoo. The SMELL! I think I'm addicted to just the smell... to me, it's a mix of coconut and baby powder. The scent is so light and comforting, I leave the lather in my hair just to get more of the scent in my hair - not sure if this works, but at least I get to smell it for longer while I wash my body! The performance of the shampoo is good - a decent amount of lather, cleans my hair well, doesn't leave any film or residue, or dry out my hair. I have pretty healthy hair with oily scalp that I wash daily, and this gentle shampoo is good for daily use. The bottle is just your standard Kiehls apothecary type with a flip top cap, easy to use, but also not that unique. Basically, this shampoo is an indulgence... it's $24.50 CAD for a 250mL. I can buy a drugstore brand that performs on par with this shampoo, for less than $5! It's not organic, or even all natural... but just a good basic shampoo that happens to smell really good! I would buy this again, but I wouldn't use it on a daily basis, just for pick me up days for that scent fix (mmmm... coconut + baby powder). Does any one know if there is a scent out there that smells like this shampoo? Maybe then, I can break free of this! I took a lippie off for the price vs product performance.
Moisturizers -Naturopathica - Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream
amarock 7/27/2009 9:07:00 PM
I bought this face cream on the recommendation of the esthetician who did my facial at Pure+Simple Spa (the "Urban Renewal" package). This was one of the creams she used on me during the facial, and I really liked it. Since they were having a 10% off all of their products, and I was in need of a good evening moisturizer, I decided to give this a try. This cream is really dreamy! I love how it smells - I can't really describe it properly, but it's just very natural and earthy scented. It does not feel greasy on my face at all and it absorbs into my skin very quickly. The cream contains ingredients which are supposedly good for reducing redness and soothing any skin irritations especially on sensitive skin. It doesn't irritate my skin or clog my pores, which is fantastic for my combo sensitive, hive prone, skin. I use this mostly on my cheeks during the summer months, but in the winter, I use it all over my face. I also really love the blue tinted glass bottle with the pump dispenser - very vintage apothecary looking and easy to dispense just the right amount of product. A very tiny amount of product goes a long way. I've had this face cream since February and I've made only a dent in it (probably about 75% left). I bought the 60mL bottle for $56 CAD (plus 10% discount!) but now I see it's listed as $65 CAD online. I would repurchase even with the price increase, meh!
I am kind of disappointed with this colour on my lids... on me it's not the universally flattering taupe silvery grey that everyone has been raving about. In the store, I tested this on the back of my hand and it did look quite nice, but on my lids, it looks like a dirty green ashy grey. It's not a bad colour per se, but just not what I had expected - maybe I got a "bad" batch? The formula of this e/s is quite nice, as mentioned by other reviews, it's very soft, buttery and highly blendable, and does not crease on me (with primer). But I don't find the pigmentation is as good to MAC's veluxe pearl or frost formulas. I don't reach for this colour very often, as I have many other taupes that suit me better. I may try mixing or layering this colour to see if I can downplay the green to make this work for me. As mentioned by everyone, Stila's pans are sold separately from the compact, which may turn some people off, having to shell out extra money for the container. I bought the aluminum e/s single compact to store this in, since I'm worried I might drop the pan and shatter the e/s. The e/s pan cost $18 CAD and the e/s single compact is $3 CAD.
I was very skeptical about this concealer when my friend told me about it, saying that it was on Oprah's favourite things and named as the best concealer by numerous publications... well, count me among one of the converted! This concealer has made the dark circles under eye area disappear! And it stays put ALL DAY LONG, without fading, or settling into fine lines, and has not caused any milia.
However, there was a learning curve in using this concealer (and I only use this for my under eye area, can't really speak for covering blemishes). First, the formula is very 'dry' and pigmented. When I used it for the first time, I didn't like how it would just sit on skin and not blend at all. Then I began using a light eye cream underneath it, which made all the difference. Now I use MAC's Fast Response eye cream, which is an awesome product in itself, and then I apply the MK concealer over top. As with all under eye concealers, I use my ring finger and a tapping motion to apply for the best natural looking results.
The second issue I had with this concealer was the colour selection. I chose "beige 1" to begin with, and although it was an acceptable match to my NC30 complexion, I found it to be a bit ashy looking. I decided to get the "beige 2" to see if it was better. I found beige 2 to be a little too golden and dark on its own. So, now I wear this concealer by mixing a dab of beige 1 and 2 together. The resulting colour is absolute perfection.
For reference, I had been using MUFE's Lift Concealer (shade #3) prior to this, and even though it's a great concealer, I found that it tended to fade through the day, and when I come home in the evenings, I can see that my dark circles are visible. In the past, I have tried many other concealers for my dark circles, but I find that the MK concealer combines the best attributes of all the concealers that I have found. It wears really well through the day, so that my concealer looks as good at 8pm, as it did at 8am. The price is very reasonable, at $12.50 CAD for a 8.5g tube, even buying the 2 tubes to get my colour match, it's cheaper than the MUFE Lift concealer. A very tiny dab of this concealer is all I need to cover both my under eye area, so I suspect these 2 tube will last me well over 12 months. I may end up having to replace them before I actually run out of product. Highly recommended, and will continue using unless something changes with my skin, or if it doesn't hold up well on my skin during the winter months.
Tinted Moisturizer -Mary Kay - Tinted Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 20
amarock 7/24/2009 2:23:00 PM
When a friend became a MK rep, this was one of the first items I wanted to try. Even though I have been faithfully using the TM by Marcelle, I wanted to find something with a higher SPF (Marcelle's is 15). And I had read good reviews about this product so I figured I'd give it a try. The shade I chose was "beige 1" and it matches my skin exactly - even better than my previous TM (I am NC30 in MAC, Neutral in EDM, Creme Beige in Marcelle). What I like about this TM is the natural dewy finish and the higher SPF. I have using this product everyday for 2 months, and I find that this TM wears really well through the day, without any oxidization or settling into fine lines. I look like I'm not wearing any foundation, but any blotchiness is evened out.
Some people have commented that it doesn't blend well - I had this issue when I first started using this too. This TM has a slight gel-like consistency to it, making it easy to absorb, but dries rather quickly. I've learned that the best way to apply this is in small batches and warmed with my fingers, blending into the skin and letting it set on its own. I sometimes spray my skin with Avene water to help it set and then I put a dusting of finishing powder over. This TM has a faint scent that I think is mostly due to the sunscreen, but it's not overwhelming.
The packaging is a little bit fiddly since it's so slim and long - I can't stand it up like I did with my other tubes, but really, not a huge deal. This TM costs $25 CAD for 43mL which is about twice the price of Marcelle's TM, but for the higher SPF and overall product quality, the extra price is worth it for me. And a little product goes a long way, at my current consumption rate, I figured a tube would last me about 6 months. Would recommend this to others and definitely will continue to use this (time will tell if this is a good winter foundation as well).
I bought this as a promo gift on pack (came with a Rimmel Soft Kohl eye liner in Purple Passion) on sale $4.99 at SDM. I have yet to try the liner but I bought the pack mainly for the mascara - it's a decent mascara, but did not leave my lashes looking what I would call "sexy". It's not very volumizing, and actually, only does an average job of holding a curl. What I did like was the gel-like consistency of the formula (which is typical of Rimmel mascaras that I've tried) and the brush shape. I found that I was able to really get to the smallest lashes and to build up the mascara without any clumping. My lashes felt soft and not stiff or spidery looking - quite natural looking. I also like the fact that this mascara does not smear or give me raccoon eyes during the day - also did not notice any flaking. Packaging is quite stylish, and the brush unique (the bristles themselves are rubber). Overall, a nice everyday mascara, but does not give dramatic results.
Makeup Brushes -Revlon - Vital Radiance Blusher Brush
amarock 7/17/2009 10:21:00 AM
I bought this off ebay on a whim - it was only $5 and I was already buying several other items from the seller. I've been searching for a blush brush for my less pigmented blushes and this brush looked to be a good dense shape to do the job. It's quite a soft brush with full bristles and a nice weight to the wooden handle (painted a pretty subtle pearlized pink shade). It does the job of applying blush to smaller areas for shading and concentrating the colour. The one downfall to this brush is the shedding! It sheds no less than 3 hairs every time I use it, and I've had it for about 6 months and washed it a few times already. It's a pity, but I guess at least it's not a high end brush that I paid a lot of money for. This brand is now discontinued but there are many sellers on ebay still carrying inventory. Now I am on the hunt for another blush brush with the same rounded shape as this, but without the shedding.
I guess I understand all of the negative reviews because I was a little taken aback when I first washed this brush... it did bloom and became quite fluffy, but I still really like it! I use this brush every day for dusting EDM Start to Finish powder all over my face as a finishing touch. I don't mind that the brush is 'fat' (its side profile) - it's still fan shaped, and the flattened bristle arrangement means that it's got very sparse coverage - perfect for a light dusting of finishing powder without depositing too much onto my skin. It's very soft and the like all Quo brushes, it's high quality and looks sleek and professional. I bought it on sale at 40% off... I think it cost me about $7 Cdn.
I bought these based on the positive reviews and I'm not disappointed at all. These apply well - although not as pigmented as more expensive eyeshadows - they are very easy to blend and have great staying power when used with a primer. I own Espresso (medium brown with slight shimmer), Eggplant (greyed purple matte - my favourite of the ones I own), White Chocolate (medium grey with shimmer - really don't understand the name of this one), and Charcoal (light grey with shimmer, almost silver - again, weird naming). The packaging is very sleek and practical - as others have mentioned, they interlock together creating your very own personal palette. They retail for $1 Cdn (1.1g) - give them a try if you have access to a Sally Beauty Supply store.
I bought this because I needed a new lipbalm for everyday use underneath lipgloss / lipstick - my other one was no longer available at my spa (Dr. Spiller aloe vera SPF 15 - they stopped distributing this item to Canada for some odd reason). Although normally I like Marcelle products, I'm quite disappointed by this product actually - it doesn't moisturize my lips, rather, it feels waxy and just sits on top of my lips without penetrating in. I also found that it doesn't stay put on my lips so I don't find that it protects my lips from dryness. The lipbalm has no scent added, but it smells and tastes like... wax. However, I do like the packaging - it's a lever type with the lid incorporated into the body of the tube so it's a one handed application and no risk of dropping or losing the cap. I paid $5 Cdn for this, I will finish my tube, but I would not repurchase.
I bought this base coat after reading many glowing reviews here, and once again, MUA has not let me down. This base coat replaces my former HG, Zoya Anchor, because Orly Bonder seems to work with just about any brand of nail polish. I found that Zoya tends to work best with its own brand of polishes, which doesn't work so well with my ever expanding nail polish collection consisting of many different brands...
I like Bonder's quick dry formula, it applies thinly, and creates a sticky smooth surface for the nail polish to adhere to. In particular, I have found that a layer of the Bonder with 2 coats of polish, sealed with a coat of Poshe top coat, makes my manicure chip and peel free for 7 whole days. I'm not exaggerating. Last week I wore Essie Jelly Apple (bright red creme) and on day 7 (today) I only had slight tip wear and I could easily have gone into work tomorrow without changing my polish. Like all of Orly's nail polishes, this comes in a bottle with a rubberized handle which makes it super easy to twist off the cap. I've been using my full sized bottle for about 3 months with weekly manicures, and I've only used 1/4 of the bottle. This cost me $6 CAD at Sally Beauty Supply with the club card. Definitely will repurchase, and I highly recommend!
Hair -Kiehls - Olive Fruit Oil Repairative Hair Pak
amarock 3/15/2009 11:25:00 AM
I've been using this regularly for the past 4 months and I'm very happy with the results. I first tried this as a sample pack when I purchased other Kiehls hair products. The sales person suggested this as a weekly treatment for my slightly dehydrated but otherwise healthy hair. I used the sample pack and really liked it, but didn't think I really needed a weekly intensive treatment, because my hair is typically problem free - actually, my hairdresser recommends that I don't use a daily conditioner because I don't need it and conditioners weigh down my hair (for reference, I have long, past my shoulders, untreated Asian hair with slight wave). From time to time I use a leave-in spray conditioner but I didn't see any benefits of using them versus nothing at all. The Kiehls hair pak was surprising because it did not weigh my hair down when I used it, and it really did make my hair feel silky. I used up the sample pack and promptly forgot about it.
Then, I went for a hair cut, and my hair dresser noticed that I had quite a few open cuticles at the ends - not split ends per se, but the hair shafts were not sealed properly - I guess from daily blow drying plus hot rollers. I'd never experienced this problem before, but I suppose the winter months really wreck havoc with my hair. She recommended a weekly treatment, and my natural inclination was to give this Kiehls product another try. I went ahead and bought the full size tub (a whopping 250ml tub for $34.50 CAD) and followed the sales person's instructions. She recommended that I apply it from below my ears downward to the ends only, and leave it on for 5 mins in the shower, and only use it once a week. I guess maybe because the sales person is also Asian with similar hair type as mine, I followed her instructions exactly and I really found that this hair pak made my hair very soft and healthy looking (even the bf noticed). The best part is, this really did not weigh my hair down, and actually make my hair more bouncy after I use hot rollers.
The scent is very light - smells fresh and doesn't interfere with perfume or hair products. I use approx 1 tsp of this (a scoop of my finger tips) each time and it covers all of my ends without dripping - I clip my hair up halfway to let it penetrate while I shower. A couple of caveats: be careful when you rinse this out in the shower, it makes the bathtub really slippery and I nearly wiped out a couple of times! Also, if you're not a fan of the fingers in jar type of packaging, you may not dig this (ha!). I do wish this came in a squeeze tube packaging rather than a tub. Ah well, can't please everyone. I think with weekly use of this, at 1 tsp each time... 250ml of product... let me do the math... oh it's going last me a LONG time! Well worth the initial price of $34.50 CAD.
When the GOSH brand came to Canada at SDM, this was the one product I wanted to try out due to the rave reviews here. Unfortunately, this eyeliner is not as good as I'd hoped it would be. First, let me mention that I bought this in "Truly Brown". It's a slightly reddish coloured dark brown that's rich and very wearable. The eyeliner applies very easily and glides across my lash line without any tugging or skipping. Where this eyeliner fails for me is that the colour fades and melts off my eyes by midday. I'm talking about major smudging raccoon eyes here. It's really too bad it doesn't work for me as it has for others. I have oily lids so it's always hit and miss with any eye products. I still give this eyeliner a 2 out of 5 since it applies well and it looks to be a good quality product. In reviewing this eyeliner, I compared this eyeliner against other drugstore pencil eyeliners that have received raves on the board, namely: Styli-Style Line & Seal, Prestige Waterproof and Revlon Colorstay. Revlon Colorstay is very long wearing, but I do not like the automatic style liner because it's hard to maintain the tip's sharpness and they seem to run out very quickly (perhaps the plastic casing is concealing the fact that there is very little actual product inside?). Styli-Style, for me, is too dry and difficult to apply smoothly - however, it does stay very well through the day. My favourite of the bunch is Prestige for the perfect blend of easy application and long wearing formula. The GOSH eyeliner for me is the least long wearing of all of these eyeliners. All 3 of the pencil eyeliners have a similar look - black wooden casing with plastic caps. Both Prestige and GOSH are made in Germany, whereas Styli-Style is made in France. They all cost about the same approx $9 Cdn.
So disappointed in this mascara. I think I have tried the regular Lancome Definicils in the past in gwp form, but it didn't make a lasting impression on me so didn't even warrant a review here. But I consistently read on the boards so many raves for Lancome mascaras, so I decided to give it another whirl when I was at SDM one day. I was buying a Juicy Tube ($21 Cdn) and the MA told me that if I spent another $11, I could get the gwp. At first I was going to buy an eye shadow but based on the raves here, I changed my mind and asked the MA to suggest a mascara to me instead. She suggested High Definicils because I have decent amount of lashes, but needed more length. After using this mascara, I wished I had bought an eye shadow instead! The main difference between High Definicils and regular ol' Definicils is the wand. High Definicils uses the same rubber molded bristles that Max Factor and Cover Girl have now made famous. But Lancome's version of the wand is a flimsy floppy mess that makes precision application of mascara very difficult. When I push the teeny bristles against my lashes to apply mascara, the wand wants to flop around, creating smears. I have tried other brands of rubberized bristle mascaras and none of them were this floppy (although Avon's comes close). The mascara itself is very wet, and tends to clump, and then flake once it's dry. I did not find that this mascara gave me even length, but it gave me spidery looking lashes that looked very unnatural and amateurish. I tried using this mascara over the course of a month, thinking the consistency could improve once the mascara dried out a little, but I finally threw it away without any luck. I've tried many different brands and formulas of mascaras, and I'm really miffed that a HE brand like Lancome doesn't even compare to some of the DS brands. High Definicils mascara retails for $29 Cdn for a mere 6.5ml of product (compare that to CG Lash Blast, a far superior mascara, which sells for $8 Cdn for 13.1mL of product). I guess I am thankful for this mascara because the Lancome gwp included a really good day moisturizer (Bienfait Multi-Vital moisturizer SPF 30) but I would not recommend or buy the mascara again.