It's true! I got a wild hair to wear red lipstick for the first time ever (blame the episode of "Marple" set in the '40's) and tried a total of 7 lipsticks before settling on this one. Somehow it's not as outrageous as reds like Retro Red (which is actually a lovely color and finish, just sooo bright it's difficult for me to feel okay about wearing). It still definitely says "red" though. I have pale skin with slightly yellow undertones and deep henna-red hair that looks auburn in some light, ruby red in others and has distinct winey violet lowlights in yet others. So finding a bold red that I really felt worked was a challenge, but this one does it. It makes my skin look very fair and my eyes look icy blue and the more I wear it the more I like it. It *is* sheer like the name says, but I don't find that it disappears in the blink of an eye. The main difference between it and the less-sheer reds that I tried seems to be that it leaves less of a stain on my lips after blotting or wiping. It stays on a good couple hours and doesn't chap or dry out my lips.
So, I was lusting after the L'Oreal HIP duo in Showy but not able to justify buying it, because I knew perfectly well I'd only use the teal half of the duo and chuck out the sucky blue half. I went looking for dupes and the teal lid color in this palette was a dead ringer. Not only that but when I got the palette home I started playing around with some of the other shades and falling in love with about 4 other colors that I wouldn't have bought on their own, so it's almost like I got those for free! The matte black and matte blue are pretty meh. The other shades are velvety, buttery and pigmented like whoa. The dark blue sparkle was a surprise for me because I did not expect it to be so gorgeous. It makes an amazing liner applied with a damp brush, although it doesn't last as long as I'd like. I pressed the colors I wanted to keep into magnetic shadow pans for my palette, and here is my biggest gripe really, which is that although the pearly colors pressed beautifully the glitter shades are constantly crumbling and dusting all over the palette. The black was so bad I eventually just took it out. When you think about how my biggest gripe is basically"I screwed around with the shadows in ways they weren't really designed for and didn't get optimal results", it tells you a lot about how much I like this palette. I'm unlikely ever to use a majority of the shades in these big palettes, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one just for one or two of the shadows.
Eye Shadow -Wet 'n' Wild - Color Icon Single - Envy
girlndocs 6/5/2012 1:18:00 AM
Another hit from the W&W singles! This is more of an olive green on my skin than it appears in the palette, which I like. It also has a faint blue sheen at just the right angle, and a subtly pearly finish without being a frost -- in short, I was curious when I bought the shadow and delighted when I opened it and swatched it. Velvety, buttery, easy to blend. I really wish W&W made these singles in more colors!
Love this. It's a failproof, bombproof, completely neutral crease color for whenever I'm in a hurry or want an especially natural look. I can't wear a lot of chestnutty browns because of my deep-red dyed hair, but this brown looks great. It's richly pigmented and blends well. It also presses into magnetic palette pans like a dream, and it has a permanent place snuggled up next to my MAC, Aromaleigh and Archetype shadows. I live in dread that it will be discontinued and I'll find out too late to stockpile.
Loose Powders -Coty - Airspun fragrance free translucent
girlndocs 6/3/2012 9:25:00 PM
Yep, there is such a thing as unscented regular Airspun powder without the sparkles. I found it at KMart in a rack full of the Fragrance Free Luminous powders. It was the only plain fragrance free jar; it has an aqua label like the Luminous, but the back label says "Translucent" rather than "Luminous Translucent" and although under the store lighting the pearlescence of the Luminous type was clearly visible in the canister, this stuff has the same finish as the regular Airspun. Just no perfume. I personally like the regular Air Spun perfume and will keep a jar of the scented powder around but sometimes I don't want to wonder whether my powder is clashing with my perfume when I touch up.
I don't use this on my hands or body. I use it as a laundry soap, because it hits the spot for that "clean sheets" smell so perfectly. It's the only soap I use to wash sheets and bedding, and I store the extra bars of soap in the drawer with the clean linens to give them more smell.
Conditioner -Alberto Vo5 - Blackberry Sage Tea Conditioner
girlndocs 5/27/2012 12:31:00 AM
I don't like overly perfumy or room-freshenery or candylike scents in my conditioners, and this is a nice change of pace from my usual VO5 Extra Volume. It does have a somewhat fruity berryish scent but it's not too sweet or dessertlike and it's tempered with some muskiness. It's no Mure et Musc, but at least the two wouldn't clash too terribly. And the scent is gone when my hair is dry. I have fine fragile hair and the way I use this conditioner, as any of the cheap conditioners I use, is to mix it 4 parts conditioner to 1 part each honey and pure aloe gel. This produces a conditioner that works better than very expensive ones. I use it for slip when I rinse out henna, for deep-conditioning, for occasional CO washes and as a regular conditioner after my Chagrin Valley shampoo bars (which really don't *need* conditioner but I like the extra super soft shine).
Hair Color -Unlisted Brand - Pure Henna Powder - no brand name
girlndocs 5/26/2012 9:34:00 PM
Yup, it's permanent. Really, truly permanent. I find that to be a huge advantage. No fading! Be sure you really mean it before you use henna, no matter what certain "henna" companies tell you. The conditioning is superb. Despite knowing how lawsone molecules work, I was skeptical that henna could increase the thickness of my fine hair substantially and long-term. Sure, it feels thicker and stronger after a fresh henna, but a good deep conditioner can do that too. Would it be permanent and noticeable, was the question. Well, I'm growing my hair out and since it's in that awkward not-quite-chin-length stage I clip it back from my face. After my 5th henna I started having trouble making my hair stay in the clips because it was thicker and bouncier. Okay then! I've hennaed repeatedly since I want a deep auburn and if possible burgundy wine shade without bright orange. 5 hennas (3 long full head hennas and 2 long root touchups with a short full head henna afterward) has gotten me pretty close. I find that it has more orange tones when it's freshly washed. whereas I see distinctly rosy, almost pink gleams on day 2 when the hair has a little natural oil back in it. I find it to be much less expensive than high quality and gentle colorants (Goldwell et al). I order from Henna Sooq, and their customer service and quality has always been excellent. I used Rajasthani first and then switched to Re Raj for my root touchups, since my roots are usually a coat or two behind the rest of my hair and I figured the extra lawsone would help close the gap. I mix with strong (overnight) rosehip or hibiscus tea, a spoonful of sugar, and a healthy dash of lemon juice. I am not at all sure I believe what a certain henna company says about pure lemon juice being the only liquid that will stop your henna from fading, and I suggest you mix with a mildly to moderately acidic liquid you're comfortable with if you worry about your hair drying out. It's kind of messy to use, can't deny that. But for several years I colored with products like Goldwell Elumen and Special Effects, and I find that a) compared to those, henna is much, much less prone to staining every little thing it even remotely brushes against for one nanosecond and b) covering your hair completely and evenly is much easier when you have a pint and a half of dye than it is when you have 6 ounces of dye.
Not a blush, I don't think. Looks like it's meant to be a very sparkly all-over powder (think Aromaleigh's Metamorphosis finishing powder) or highlighter. Beige with maybe the slightest peachy hint. I have a sample size of this (and will order some once it's gone but that will take a long time) and when I want a "who, me? oh, I just rolled out of bed looking gorgeous" makeup look, I brush it lightly all over my lids, over a coat of Monistat Anti-Chafing Gel as a primer. Mascara, Coty Air Spun powder, clear lip gloss, and a little EM Dusty Miller and I'm good to go. (ETA: I had good results mixing this with pressing medium and pressing into a magnetic eyeshadow pan. It really earns it space in my little palette -- doubles as a brow highlight shade for more dramatic shadow combinations, and an eye-opening lid shade for that super natural look.) The other thing I have used Wet Sand for is to mix with clear lip gloss to create a slightly pale, dewy, neutral gloss. I like it.
Lip Gloss -BeneFit Cosmetics - Ultra Shines in Who Are You Wearing?
girlndocs 5/25/2012 8:35:00 PM
I use glosses on purpose to get sheer color, so that part didn't surprise me. The vibrant berry-fuchsia from the tube definitely doesn't show on the lips. Instead it's a sheer, cool berry pink. I probably would have worn this before I colored my hair, but now it's a deep auburn color and cool pinks look strange on me. (Edited 3/2013: I've grown to really like this color on me! It's just the right pop of fresh pink color. I treat it like a statement lip, although it's much more subtle than that, and make it the only non-neutral on my face. I just ordered 2 more tubes to make sure I would have lots of it, because I spent weeks looking for a cheaper dupe and didn't find one, and now I really look forward to wearing it in the summer.) It's a shame because I quite liked the texture. It *is* kind of unusual and different, but pleasant -- not slick like glosses usually are and not sticky, almost a bouncy texture on my lips. I noticed it seemed to last longer than slick glosses. It has a very faint and shortlived berryish scent.
This is the first lipglass I've tried, and I was really surprised how highly pigmented and opaque it is. I was expecting a more sheer lip gloss and to be honest it's too opaque for me to wear by itself because of its pale milky color, which settles into my liplines and looks weird. That said, it's a pretty peach-nude color (not orange at all, wth, MAC), and I found that it looks really good if I pat a small amount into my lips with one finger kind of like a lip stain. It tones down the color on my lips, and I can wear it by itself for a sort of satin lipstick finish or top it with clear gloss. The advantage this latter combination has over just using a sheer gloss is that the pigments of the MAC gloss stick to my lips even after the clear layer wears off, so I still get the flattering lighter color even when there's no shine.
Skincare - Body -Unlisted Brand - Homemade Tendskin
girlndocs 5/23/2012 7:52:00 PM
Man, has this stuff saved my bacon. Every time I forget to use it I get terrible ingrowns. If I then get really skippy on using it 3 or 4 times a day, over a couple of days I can actually watch the hairs emerge from the skin where they had been ingrown.. It doesn't smell so great -- lavender or redcedar oil can help with that, if you're not sensitive to them. I use the recipe with witch hazel and 70% alcohol. I store it in a cleaned-out Eucerin sunscreen pump bottle.
Gels/Soaps -Chagrin Valley - Adzuki Bean Complexion Soap
girlndocs 5/23/2012 2:04:00 PM
I don't know exactly how new this product is to CV's catalog but it's my new love. I've used CV's complexion soaps for years and like most of them a lot, but the Adzuki is my favorite now. I'm not sure why people keep putting bits of scrubby things in soap "to exfoliate" because it just doesn't work (the particle density isn't sufficient). So I don't rub the bar directly on my skin, but lathering the bar in my hands and applying the suds to my face I feel a very slight gentle grittiness as from either very fine adzuki dust or the pink clay. It feels nice. Maybe the saponin in the adzuki contributes to the especially nice lathery feel this soap has. It's very gentle and non-drying (despite the clay), and the smell is subtle and pleasant -- I don't smell lavender or, really, tangerine, just an enjoyably warm and slightly earthy scent.
Lotions/ Creams -Unlisted Brand - Agbanga Karite Unrefined Shea Butter
girlndocs 5/23/2012 1:50:00 PM
I'm reviewing Agbanga Karite shea, since, it's you know, the brand in the title. Sheesh! This is the finest shea butter I've used. It was a little offputting at first because it has a less waxy and more ... almost but not quite gummy texture? than the other sheas I'd tried. But I soon realized that this is probably a quality of a fresher and more nutrient-packed butter. I love the smell. It's lightly smoky and earthy and comforting, and it does disperse quickly after the butter is rubbed in. I whip the everloving bejebus out of it with a whisk attachment on either my kitchenaid or my ridiculously powerful stick blender. You don't need to add any other oils (although you can) and you don't need to melt it completely before you whip it, just let it be warm enough to be like soft table butter. The whipping process makes it easier to scoop out of the container and spread even at cool temps. It's not exactly light and fluffy, just softer, and it make the butter go farther because it's easier to apply a thin layer. My favorite thing to use it for is my feet, hands, knees and elbows. It's been great for my cuticles and my rough heels. I also mix it with emu oil and sometimes a touch of beeswax to make a massage butter for my stretched lobes: far, far cheaper than Holey Butt'r and just as nice. And, I mix with coconut oil and olive oil and use it on my fine straight hair for pre-wash oilings.
I used to wear pale, almost-nude blushes leaning to the pink side (I think one EM blush I used was Nick Nack, and I know I used Aromaleigh Tenderkiss)), but now I have very dark red hair and have switched to peachier toned blushes and lip products. Dusty Miller (what an odd, name, since dusty miller is a plant with dusty green-white leaves and sort of mustard yellow flowers) is a nicely subtle blush for my Cool Fair skin tone. It doesn't so much darken the shade of my cheeks as it gives me a lovely natural looking glow -- an essential part of that "who, me? oh, I just rolled out of bed looking gorgeous" makeup look. The shimmer is really really sparkly in the container but pretty unobtrusive on my cheeks, and the product sticks around well over my loose powder. Unfortunately it seems they're discontinuing this, so get it while you can. Luckily, a large size container will last you for an eon.