I can't believe I haven't reviewed this yet. I first received this as a mini as part of a set and I've since gone on to purchase the full size. It's a great sophisticated non-shimmery nude colour on me (for reference, I'm MAC NC30) that's neither too cool or too warm. The application is great - the typical runny sheer Essie consistency that's nearly impossible to mess up. I use 2 coats to get bottle colour. It wears a full work week with Orly Bonder basecoat, and Poshe topcoat. I wear this colour at least once a month, so it's a staple for me.
Top/Base Coats -Poshe - Super-Fast Drying Top Coat
amarock 5/7/2008 10:02:00 PM
Finally, I feel that I have used this top coat long enough to give a fair review. The short version is: I love this stuff. I have pushed this product onto numerous gals at the office and not one of them have been disappointed. I'd been looking for this top coat in Canada ever since I read about the Seche Vite vs. Poshe debates on the nail board. I finally found it at Sally Beauty Supply... in the clearance bin! Apparently, they brought in some top coat minis to test out customer response, and they decided against carrying the line, which is a shame. There were only 3 minis left in the bin so I grabbed them up (I believe they were $1 each, total of 15ml of product). The wear on this top coat is amazing. I don't get chips, tip wear or peeling for 5 days, not a problem. I have even worn a colour for 7 days and only had to change my polish due to my nails growing and my cuticles were getting ratty. A big advantage of this top coat compared to Seche Vite is that it does not interact with any of the polishes I own, not even Zoya. It does not cause the peeling that I'd experience with Seche Vite, nor does it pull back on dark colours when drying (see my review on Seche Vite for more details). To round out Poshe's list of features: it dries 2 coats of polish plus 1 coat of base coat in 10 mins flat - I never worry about smudging; the top coat keeps my polish glossy, and the consistency does not get goopy half way through the bottle. Since I have gone through my small stash of this stuff, I finally succumbed to ordering this online. Check out H2T or eBay if this is not available where you live - it cost me $10 Cdn including shipping. This is now my one and only top coat.
I've had this item for more than a year and I keep forgetting to review it. Although I don't reach for this as often as I should (too many eye shadows!), it's really a great staple item. I was lucky enough to snag an auction on ebay that included eggplant, antique gold, slate and noir all together. Antique Gold is my second favourite of the lot (Eggplant being my favourite), because it is very versatile and wearable for everyday. It is a dull gold with a greenish hue that can be paired with many warm neutrals. The texture of the pencil is very creamy and does not tug on my eyelid. It can skip if I don't hold my eyelid taut. I don't wear this eye shadow alone - I find it makes for a great base for powder eye shadow to intensify colours. The formula sometimes can crease on hot humid days, but in general, it's very long lasting. Between MAC paint and MAC paint pot - I would say the Smoker pencil falls somewhere in between in terms of not creasing (with MAC paint being the best). The only downside is that the pencil is chubby and has to be sharpened by a special sharpener. This item is unfortunately discontinued, so ebay is your best source for it. My fear is that the supply of these pencils will eventually stop even on ebay... perhaps I should get a back up. Get one of these if you can!
I bought this item off ebay since this is now discontinued. I was curious about this eye shadow since it's been highly recommended on the makeup board. I was lucky enough to snag an auction on ebay that included eggplant, antique gold, slate and noir all together. Eggplant is my favourite of the lot - it's quite plummy upon initial application, but once smoothed out, it's more greyish mauve on me. The texture of the pencil is very creamy and does not tug on my eyelid. It can skip if I don't hold my eyelid taut. I don't wear this eye shadow alone - I find it makes for a great base for powder eye shadow to intensify colours. The formula sometimes can crease on hot humid days, but in general, it's very long lasting. Between MAC paint and MAC paint pot - I would say the Smoker pencil falls somewhere in between in terms of not creasing (with MAC paint being the best). The only downside is that the pencil is chubby and has to be sharpened by a special sharpener. My fear is that the supply of these pencils will eventually stop even on ebay... perhaps I should get a back up. Get one of these if you can!
I wasn't so sure about this colour on me initially, but once I got the hang of smoothing it out so it's not so intense, I fell in love with this colour. It shows up as a plum shimmery colour on me, and I usually pair a purple, mauve or voilet powder eyeshadow with it. The wear on this paint is amazing - it really holds my eyeshadow colour true and doesn't crease through the day. The price is reasonable ($20Cdn for 6.5g of product), given that only a tiny amount is needed with each application. I've had my tube for more than a year and I use this colour at least once a week, and there's only maybe 10% gone. And, the product has not dried out in the tube. I gave the packaging only a rating of 2 though - I had to return my first tube of this item because it kept oozing out when I opened the cap, even when I unrolled the end first. I took it back to the store and had the manager test open the next tube... and no exaggeration, every tube she opened (5 in all), the product oozed out. She ended up refunding my money, and I went to another MAC store to purchase my replacement. I think the oozing problem differs from lot to lot, but it's still a bit annoying. So far, this has only happened to 2 different colours of Paint that I've purchased. I must say though, the tube packaging of Paint has kept my product fresher than the pot style packaging like Fluidline or, I'd imagine, of the new Paint Pots (time will tell with my new Paint Pots, I suppose). Overall, Artjam is a great product that I would purchase again when I finish this tube.
I received a small 30mL tube of this cleanser as a gift with purchase. I took it along on a business trip since it made for a great trival size cleanser. I wasn't really expecting anything amazing - but I was pretty impressed after using it for my week-long trip. First, I really like the scent - it's got a light lemon grass / gingery fragrance that is refreshing (making it perfect for a perk-me-up in the mornings). Secondly, it cleanses my skin very well without stripping too much moisture out of my skin... although, I did find at times my skin felt a bit tight after using it especially if I used a face masque the night prior - nothing that a good moisturiser couldn't fix (and I'm thinking that once the weather warms up and my combo skin becomes more oil-prone, this cleanser will be perfect for the summer). Third, the cleanser lathers up well and rinses clean away. I've since bought the full sized 200mL pump bottle - great packaging (and the pump locks for easy travel) - for $13.25 USD at CCO when I was in NY. I hope this lasts me awhile, the regular retail price of this here is $20 CAD + 14% tax (and the dollar is at par right now!) I'm thinking this bottle will last me at least 6 months with daily morning use since I only need one pump-ful per use.
Sunscreen -Avene - Tres Haute Protection Lait SPF 50+ New formula
amarock 4/6/2008 9:37:00 PM
I like the idea of this sunscreen because it is both effective and non-chemical... however, the cosmetic aspect of its finish and wearability on the face leave something to be desired. As others have mentioned, it leaves quite a streaky white cast on the face when not blended thoroughly - and I just don't have the time or patience in the morning to apply it and then wait for it to sink in completely before applying my makeup. I find the cream very hard to spread evenly, and then once it's on my face, it's very difficult to remove at the end of the day (which is good for its long wearing properties, but dang, when I need to take it off, I can't!) Anyway, I've relegated this to a body sunscreen only. I've used this for 2 summers and it expires this year, so I'm on the hunt for something lighter and easier to wear on my face. I would recommend this for people with sensitive skin who cannot wear chemical sunscreens (it has no fragrance and did not cause me any irritation) but with the caveat that the sunscreen takes some getting used to.
Scrubs -Beyond Belief - Alpha Beta Hydroxy Deep Pore Scrub
amarock 3/17/2008 8:38:00 PM
An excellent scrub that doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. Prior to this, I bought the Mary Kay microdermabrasion kit, which I found to be far too harsh for my skin (it felt like I was rubbing shards of glass onto my skin) and left my face red and raw. I have also tried the Avon Anew Clinical Micro-Exfoliant, which was very similar to the Mary Kay scrub, and was too harsh as well. The Beyond Belief ABH has very small, even sized granules with no sharp edges for manual exfoliation, and I can feel the ABH going to work on a chemical level too. There is a light anise scent to the cream, which I don't find distracting or unpleasant - I actually find it quite soothing. I have combo skin that tends to get dull and flaky patches around my nose and cheeks - this scrub really helps to eliminate that. To use this, I wash my face first and apply a quarter-sized dollop to my still damp face, rub lightly in circular motions for 2 mins, then leave the scrub on like a masque for another 2 mins, then I rinse it all off and apply moisturiser. I have been using this product once a week or more frequently and have found that my skin is softer and more radiant overall. The tube I bought at Sally Beauty Supply in Canada for $7.59 CAD (with the Sally discount card) has lasted me for at least 6 months. I will repurchase once I run out.
Moisturizers -Avon - Avon Solutions Hydra Radiance Moisturizing Day Lotion SPF15
amarock 3/15/2008 10:15:00 AM
I'm quite impressed by this moisturizer. I've tried so many drugstore brand day moisturizers that don't live up to their claims of keeping the skin hydrated - but this Avon one does! When I initially apply it, it does make my skin look slightly shiny - however, the lotion absorbs into my skin quickly and leaves my skin glowing, not shiny. I apply the lotion mainly to my cheeks and chin area where I am most dry (combo skin). I use this moisturizer as a base for mineral makeup, which really keeps my skin hydrated and helps the mineral makeup buff nicely into my skin. The packaging of this lotion is superb - a pump that can be twisted to lock the pump so it's both hygenic and great for traveling. I took 1 lippie off due to the fragrance of the lotion - it is too strong and detracts from the product. I also wish it has slightly higher SPF protection, but ah well, we all can't be perfect! I paid $10 CAD for 118mL and I've been using this daily for 3 months - I would repurchase.
Styling Products -Got 2 Be - 2sexy- Voluptuous Volume Styling Lotion
amarock 2/24/2008 8:11:00 AM
I bought this on sale mainly because of the cute bottle design... I guess it really IS what's inside that counts! This product isn't so much of a lotion than a liquid gel - and I've used other hair lotions with much better results. I didn't find this to be volumizing at all - if anything, it worked better as a styling gel to hold flying-aways or structured styles in place. It's quite sticky and leaves a coating of residue on my hair - leaving it crunchy and rigid. The scent is pleasant enough, and like I mentioned, the packaging is quite cute, although the product does tend to dry and harden around the pump, causing a blockage. If you're looking for a gel, then this is for you - if you're looking for a lightweight volumizing lotion, then keep looking...
This is a fantastic once-per-week shampoo. I normally rotate my shampoo in order to avoid build-up (I currently have 6 different shampoos in my line-up), but I found even that didn't help in the long run. My hair mousse and hair spray would leave build-up that my other shampoos could not fully get rid of. I use this shampoo at least once a week, sometimes twice. I find it lathers up nicely and rinses completely away. My hair feels squeaky clean, but not dried out - when I blow dry my hair after using this shampoo, it is full of body and not weighed down. I like the scent a lot - it's almost medicinal with a bit of spice, that reminds me of baby shampoo with a twist. I'm almost finished my first 350 mL bottle, which I bought nearly a year ago.
I bought this to try based on the positive reviews here and was slightly disappointed. At first, the mascara was very clumpy and I found the wand too big and hard to work with. As the product dried in the tube, I found the mascara to be more manageable. Also, the mascara felt heavy on my lashes and it did not hold a curl very well. I find that the large barrel of the wand is better suited for people with long eyelashes to begin with, not really to reach shorter lashes. However, the real deal breaker for me was the fact that the mascara left me with raccoon eyes at the end of the day. So if you are blessed with long eyelashes and do not have oily eye area, then this mascara could be for you. The price isn't too high ($8 cdn) and you get quite a bit of product (10g) in a sleek looking black tube.
I was skeptical about using pure oil on my face, but after reading so much about cleansing oils, I thought I'd give it a try. In the past, I had been using baby wash or other foaming face wash to wash my face - I thought that 'squeaky' clean feeling on my face meant that I was getting rid of 100% of my makeup. But then I realized that I was also stripping of my natural oils, which left me with dry patches (I have combo skin). Then I would slather on face cream afterward, which would create a vicious cycle of dry/oily - oily/dry. This cleansing oil stopped all that. It really did leave my skin feeling clean of makeup, but also protecting my natural oils. I massage the cleanser onto dry skin for about 3 mins and then rinse off with warm water and pat my skin dry. Contrary to what one would think about oil - this cleanser does not clog my pores or cause breakouts, it foams up a bit when in contact with water, rinsing completely away. I've actually noticed that this helps to loosen oil from clogged pores so that after I rinse it away, I can often easily extract little whiteheads. I also love the scent - a light lemony vanilla scent that I wish they would bottle and sell as a perfume. The pump bottle is fantastic and hygenic - one pump is enough to wash my whole face. Lastly, my current bottle has lasted me 6 months and there's probably still another 2 months of use left in my bottle - I use this cleanser once daily to remove my makeup at night. $24 Cdn for 150 mL is definitely worth it.
Treatments (Eye) -Unlisted Brand - Life Brand Diminish Eye Cream [DISCONTINUED]
amarock 8/19/2007 9:11:00 PM
This product is sold under the Life Brand "Dermavive" collection, which also features a Micro-Dermabrasion kit and an enzyme peel. I bought this because it was shown in the beauty section of a fashion magazine - when I spotted it on sale at SDM for $10 Cdn, I thought, why not. I didn't have a lot of expectations because, first, it's a drugstore brand, and second, I haven't found any miracle product that helps to reduce dark circles. Well, after about 2 weeks of using this, I started noticing that my under eye area wasn't as dark and tired looking. By about a month into using this, I don't feel as compelled to slather on as much concealer under my eyes. The texture of the cream is very lightweight and non-greasy, making it suitable for daytime wear as well (it also doesn't interact with my mascara causing raccoon eyes, which is a plus). In addition to reducing dark circles, it also helps with de-puffing and, to a certain degree, reduce the appearance of fine lines (moisturizes). This product is definitely worth checking out - even at regular price of $15 Cdn, it is very affordable - and it works.
I'm disappointed in this product - I received a 2ml sample from the spa that I get my facials at, and I liked it initially and wanted to try it for longer. My friend gave me the full sized tube because she didn't like it after trying it a couple of times, so I decided to give this a longer trial. I'm not sure if the full sized tube is different from the little sample pack I received, but this just didn't cut it for me. It's very thick, to the point where I had to massage the tube before I can get any product out. And once it's on my lips, it is hard to spread around - and even with the tiniest amount I put on my lips, it leaves a white residue on my lips which isn't very attractive. I also don't care for the scent very much - at first I liked the natural scent but the menthol becomes quite overwhelming. As for protecting and moisturizing my lips, it does a decent job, but so so does many other lip balms for much less. I only wear this at nights before I got to bed because of the white residue, and it does seem to stay on my lips all night long which I like (not many balms can claim this). I believe this little 15ml tube is retailed at around $20 Cdn, which is way more than I would ever pay for this, thank goodness my friend gave me this. I would not purchase this for myself when the tube runs out.