Treatments -Neutrogena - On the Spot Acne Treatment Vanishing Formula
husserl 9/25/2010 2:17:00 AM
It's hard to know what to say about this product that could be helpful for you because I think that the success of this product depends on your skin type. So, for reference: I have very fair skin that is prone to both breakouts and clogging. I have an oily T-zone and my skin is very sensitive and prone to redness. Lately, I've been having *awful* breakouts on my mouth and my hippy "tea tree blemish stick" just wasn't cutting the mustard (don't know if it ever did, really, but that's for another review). This was recommended to me by the skin care board and they weren't joking about the efficacy of BP. Despite the fact that this is only a 2.5% BP formula, it really zaps blemishes. It's a very no-nonsense, unapologetic, boot-camp approach to acne. The packaging boasts that it "helps clear acne up fast while treating skin gently." I'm not sure what Neutrogena's definition of "gentle" is but gentle this is not. This product didn't cause an allergic reaction but it really made the areas I used the treatment in dry and flaky. I can easily see how using this product too much or too often can feed an irritation/breakout cycle. I can't imagine what 10% BP would be like on my skin. Maybe I don't want to know! So for me, I won't be repurchasing this as it is far too aggressive of a treatment for daily use. But, on the other hand, I probably won't be returning this either because I am glad that I got it this once to tame a couple of severe problem areas while I find something that is a bit more feasible in the long term.
This is my HG dry shampoo! I've tried Oscar Blandi, Ojon, and a couple others and Batiste wins! The key is to get a light spray so it doesn't look powdery (especially on darker hair). But once you master the technique, you'll love it! I think this is a must for everyone's hair product stash but especially for people who have color-treated hair and don't want their color to fade quickly. I used to wash my thin, fine, oily, color-treated hair religiously because it would look so greasy by the end of the day! My hair would get particularly dirty when using shampoos for color treated hair because they aren't as clarifying. But, thanks to Batiste, I'm writing this review on day 3 of unwashed hair. My hair looks clean and doesn't have that dirty feel or smell to it. Another benefit is that Batiste adds volume to fine hair. The only two drawbacks I can think of to this product are the scent and the price. I've tried the Blush and the Original scent (which are the only two I can find) and I slightly prefer the Blush scent only because it doesn't smell quite as chemical-y as the Original. If Batiste ever made an unscented version, I would be completely over the moon! I also think the price is okay, but I would be happier if it were a couple dollars cheaper because it's not a "fancy" product by any means. I would also be happier if it came in a larger size at its current price point. And maybe this is in the category of "over-sharing," but, I've discovered that Batiste kills small roaches. Apparently, the powder spray suffocates them. Gross, but hey, I'll take it. So there you have it: clean hair, dead roaches. A multi-tasking miracle in a can.
I have a lot of love for NYX in general but this product is not so great. I agree with the other reviewers that this is not well-pigmented, difficult to apply to the eyes, and doesn't have much lasting power. I did, however, have some luck using this as a lip liner for use with some of my sheer purple or violet glosses. While it is not highly pigmented, it does give my lips a nice purple tint for use with purple lippies and glosses. I'm sure there are better purple lip liners out there, but that's the only reason I didn't return this. I don't think I'll purchase again, though.
Well, I think we know the drill: pale blue-pink lippie, decent color payoff, some people can't pull this one off, etc, etc. Personally, I'm very, very fair and I have dark brown hair with hazel eyes and somewhat pigmented lips. If I build up the color well, I can get a nice opaque pink which is what I need to be able to pull this off. I think the formula could stand to be a bit creamier for me because it doesn't look quite right when applied lightly. But I'll just be super honest: I bought this simply because it is Gaga and Viva Glam all rolled up in one. I adore Lady Gaga and I will always support a just cause to the best of my ability. So, Lady Gaga + Viva Glam was a no-brainer for me. I really didn't care what was in the tube. It could have been the most heinous taupey mauve to cross this earth, I would have found a way to work it. I am a little monster forever and HIV/AIDS awareness is SO incredibly important! I love that this campaign in particular is focusing on women living with HIV/AIDS. And, frankly, this is the only product that I would even remotely consider buying again from MAC after the Rodarte disaster.
Here's what I like about this mascara: if I give it my standard curl + few "wiggle-swipes" technique, I get substantially darkened, lengthened, more defined lashes. The color is a true black and there's no crunchies or flakes. What's more is that there's no eyelid transfer during the day, I can cry my eyes out without fear of a horrible mess, and it comes off with warm water which is SO nice! Really nice, actually. What makes me want to buy this again and what makes it worth the price, though, is that I can use it like normal and then go back over my work with the tip of the mascara wands and extend each lash even more for extra lengthening. I just can't get away with this technique with other mascaras without it turning into a clumpy mess. This technique, however, takes a lot of time and some patience with application. So, if you want the "false eyelashes" look Fiberwig promises, you might as well take the time you'd use defining each lash and just slap some falsies on. I personally use this mascara for achieving my ideal "natural" lash look. I think this is a really good and dependable product. There are certain people who I'd recommend it to without a doubt. For example, my mom has very short eyelashes that she's sort of sad about and I'm going to get this for her because I know it's a product that will help her achieve the natural look she desires most. Are they falsies in a tube? No, of course not. And I do fault Imju for suggesting that they are! UPDATE: I ended up saying that I would not purchase this again. The reason why I liked this so much was that it was so smudge-proof. I have since found other mascaras that do not smudge on me that give similar results.
Makeup Brushes -Sonia Kashuk - Synthetic Flat Top Multipurpose Brush
husserl 8/27/2010 5:27:00 AM
YES. I can't believe I haven't reviewed this brush yet! I'm on a foundation hunt at the moment and I just had to throw in my two cents for this brush. It truly is one of those tools that can take an okay product and make it great which is why I use it for anything liquid that goes on my face. This is the kind of brush that people are talking about when they say that tools/brushes and application can make a big difference in the overall finish of a product. Personally, I like this brush has a smaller brush head since this allows me to blend easily on the sides of my nose and other places that need some special attention for blending. I found the handle awkward at first, but now I don't even notice it in the least. I think it's intended to be ergonomic. I was showing my good friend around Sephora the other day and she asked me what a stippling brush was. I showed her one of the Sephora professional ones and then I said, "But you don't need to spend 35 bucks on this. You can get one that's even better at Target for less than half that." So, I'm going to give you the same advice that I'd give any friend: save your money and back awayyy from the MAC 188!
I'm on the hunt for a new foundation and today was my day to try my sample of Laura Mercier's Moisturizing Foundation. For reference, I always wear the lightest shade in foundations and, sometimes, there isn't one that's light enough for me in a given product line. I tried this on in Porcelain Ivory. When I applied this, I was very pleased with its thin yet highly concentrated consistency which made it very bendable and achieve my desired coverage level quickly. My favorite technique for foundation and TM application is stippling it on with Sonia Kashuk's multipurpose flat-top brush and blending (and blending again!) in a circular motion. This is the technique I used here. The color seemed like a perfect match in my bedroom with natural light. It has a definitive yellow undertone (esp. when compared side by side with MUFE's F&B). After I completed my routine for the day and went out to my car, I noticed that I could still smell the foundation on my face. When I sat in the car and checked my rear-view mirror (my LEAST forgiving mirror -- but is really useful for double-checking makeup application), I saw that the finish was a bit splotchy and, worse, that those splotches had an orange tint. While I was able to rub them away, I noticed that the foundation was already settling into my smile lines and clinging oddly the teensy bit of blonde peach fuzz under my nose. The smile lines happen but usually that's something that usually takes several hours to show up -- not 30 minutes. The wear was okay and fairly long-lasting, but it didn't play too well with my setting powder over time and the foundation plus the powder gave me the flakies. Unavoidable since I think this foundation needs a setting powder. I like the coverage and the color, but the wear leaves something to be desired. I haven't tried everything I want to try yet, but I just don't see this foundation blowing others out of the water. If I end up choosing it for some reason, it will be because of the color match only. But for this price, why settle? If this can't look the way it did when I applied it for at least 2 or 3 hours, then I don't think it belongs in the "high end" category. Meh. *Edit* : I subtracted a lippie because, in retrospect, 3 was just too generous.
When I went on a NYX haul with my sister, I had prepared myself for a little bit of disappointment because I had heard that I should expect less pigmentation and overall quality from the palettes and trios. But honestly, that moment of disappointment never came to pass. I was looking for something to round out my collection as I'm starting to gravitate towards more smoky and intense looks and this is the perfect little palette for the job. But don't let the name fool you -- there are plenty of "neutral" looks that can be achieved with this palette and, in fact, it is my go-to for "I don't have time to think about what to wear to work" moments. I always use an E/S primer so I can't really comment on how these perform on a "naked" lid. But on a primed lid, these shadows apply evenly, blend well, and have very good pigmentation. To me, the "standout" colors are the champagne, rose-champagne, satin taupe-gray and satin blue-gray. The shadows do tend to stir up a bit more product than I'd like when I put my brush in, but I always tap my brush on a tissue before it goes near my face as a matter of practice so I haven't experienced any more fallout than I would with any other shadow. There are two finishes to choose from: a satin/frost finish (but I wouldn't call it a shimmer finish) and classic matte. Yes, there are a couple of "wimpy" colors in this palette and in my opinion those are the blacks. There's a brown-black, a blue-black, and what I would call an "off black" -- in other words, it's not a rich, true, and punchy black. That kind of black is sort of a must in a smokey palette. But aren't there always duds in palettes? Even in my most favorite palettes and quads, there are the well-loved colors that are mostly pan and then there are the unwanted eyeshadow stepchildren. I can't really fault NYX for that. I took a lippie off though because I thought that, despite the duds, there could have been another medium shade or two instead of another black. I think that would make it more useful for people to have a wider range of color intensity, even if it ended up being someone else's dud. In short, get this for your stash and, while you're at it, get one for your friend, sister, or favorite glam-rocker -- it's priced so reasonably you can afford to! And, it's good enough quality to where you can feel pretty good about it. I'm already considering giving this to a friend who wants to dip her toe into the makeup world. Oh and...guess what? Cruelty free! >^..^<
Lips -Stila - Pomegranate Crush Lip and Cheek Stain
husserl 5/11/2010 5:27:00 AM
This is the lovely pink-berry color on my lips that could-have-been. The color is perfect and, on me, it is quite sheer (although who would wear this as a cheek stain?! Both the color and the formula seem to be better suited for lips). So Pomegranate Crush gets two lippies for a good color. Despite its prettiness, this is one very flawed product. As other reviewers have mentioned, the click dispenser is terrible. There is no telling how much product will be dispensed on any given click. Sometimes, I'll click away and none will come out and sometimes it will gush out in one unusable blob. This lip stain is really best when it's applied lightly. Application control is key and these dispensers are no different than any other Stila gloss. Secondly, the formula itself simply doesn't feel that great. I expect a little bit of dryness with a stain, but this sensation is just bizarre. I don't know how to explain it any better but this feels both extremely drying and extremely tacky and sticky. Ehhh.
I am so ambivalent about this gloss. I had received this as a gift along with some other Lorac glosses and this was the shade I was the most nervous about trying. In the tube, it looks like a very femme light pink -- neither warm nor cool -- just pure and solid pink. It looks almost like a piece of candy. I don't know how to describe it, but I was hesitant to wear it because it didn't look very sophisticated and it didn't look like it would be a sheer gloss so I thought it would just "sit" on my lips. After I took the plunge, I fell in love! After about a minute, it melts into my lips to create beautiful soft pink that is a match made in heaven for my "5 minute rush out the door" look. My lips have some natural pigment to them so I feel that my natural pigment has something to do with why this shade turns out as well as it does on me. "Haute" would also be the perfect compliment to a dramatic smoky look in the evening time. The soft pink could add a nice feminine contrast to steel-y and smoky colors. The lasting power is only average for this one and I actually find the fact that "Haute" doesn't "stain" my lips at least a little to be a bit disappointing. The drawback? All of the Lorac glosses (and this one is no exception) STING my lips. They are downright uncomfortable to wear for the first 20 minutes or so and the only reason why I'm putting up with it now is because I love the color too much. In short, love the color, despise the formula. I will carry this in my purse at all times...so that I can find its dupe and buy it!
Warning! This is a long review. I try to be as thoughtful as possible in my reviews so hang in there with me! Let me start off this review by telling y'all a little bit about my skin concerns. My skin is quite reactive, has some redness issues, and is also acne prone with an oily t-zone (and in the spring and the summer, the oily t-zone is a huge issue). I was leery about trying this cleanser at first because, in my experience, things marketed toward sensitive skin don't do enough to actually clean my face and get rid of oil. I find this especially true of sensitive cleansers that allow you to tissue the cleanser off (and the FAB cleanser has that as an option). Most sensitive-skin cleansers often leave residue behind which has the charming effect of clogging up my pores and making my complexion look dull, irritated, and congested. Cleansers that are for acne-prone skin tend to strip my skin dry and leave it flaky, red, and irritated and congested from the irritation. I have been using Origins "Checks and Balances" frothy face wash for combination skin and it was the only thing that could cleanse properly without stripping my face. My main issue with the Origins cleanser was that it wasn't really helping with my skin's sensitivity but it wasn't hurting it more than any other product would. So, whenever I would finish washing with it, I would have a little bit of extra redness which would subside in some time. Enter First Aid Beauty. Like "Checks and Balances," a very small amount of product works up to a nice and satisfying lather. Unlike "Checks and Balances" and a host of other products, this product rinses away absolutely clean. So clean that I realized that I had forgotten what truly clean and fresh skin felt like. My make up is gone, oil slicks are tamed, and...what's this? NO post-wash irritation! Hallelujah! I've never had this experience with a cleanser before. I might even go so far as to say this calms the redness in my skin, but I'll at least say that it does not irritate in any noticeable way. Of course, I'll update later in case there is an improvement in my skin (or, in case there is a downturn -- I sure hope that won't be the case). It deeply pleases me that this contains no added fragrance. It has a very clean and almost medicinal smell to it (it reminds me of the smell of sterile gauze strips -- strange but true). I think there are a lot of options on the market for the dry-sensitive crowd so maybe for them, this will be just another option. But I predict that this will become an absolute cult favorite for the oily-sensitive and maybe even the pre-rosacia crowd. The only thing that's stopping me from shouting "HG!" from the rooftops is that I need this cleanser to stand the test of time and withstand the "honeymoon" phase of any new product (y'all know what I mean!). I also need to see how well it plays with my hormonal acne. If it does well and does not break me out a month down the road (this has happened to me before with aforementioned sensitive cleansers) then I will likely buy several tubes of this stuff at once in the event of a discontinuation or environmental apocalypse...and I have NEVER EVER considered doing such a thing for cleanser. All praises aside, everyone's skin is different and even products that are designed for sensitive skin aren't always going to be safe for all sensitive or reactive skin types. For example, I desperately want my friend to try this as we have a few of the same skin care concerns but it looks like there is a coconut-derived ingredient in here and her skin is very particular about coconut. A very small and hidden spot test might be in order in cases like hers because this product is completely worth it if your skin likes it. In short, I don't think it's coincidence that "First Aid Beauty" is goes by FAB for short! It is indeed FABulous. Ingredients: Water, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Stearyl Alcohol, Sodium PCA, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Crysanthemum Parthenium (Feverfew) extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Allantoin, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Coco-Gluoside, Glyceryl Stearate, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol UPDATE 8/27/10: HG! :) UPDATE 1/14/2013: I still think this stuff is the bomb.com, however, I just don't have the disposable income to spend about 20 bucks a month on stuff that I'm going to wash down the drain. I think there are products out there that are cheaper and can play nice with my sensitive skin. Are said products as luxurious as this one? No. But alas, I had to give it up. Sad day.
Personally, I don't buy into the notion that only women can wear "feminine" scents and only men can wear "masculine" scents. In the world of perfume (and maybe one day everywhere else), gender knows no bounds. Fresh's Cannabis Santal is often marketed toward men and thought of as a masculine scent but in my opinion, Cannabis Santal can work for any gender. In a quick turn of phrase, I can sum Cannabis Santal up like this: it is, without a doubt, sex on wheels. If its "sister" scent, Cannabis Rose is a contralto, Cannabis Santal is a baritone -- maybe even a bass. Cannibis Santal wastes no time and quickly bypasses its more citrus-y top notes and immediately develops into a deep and rich but nevertheless warm musk. It is rounded out by vanilla and a rather woodsy patchouli. On my skin, a more spicy note jumps to the foreground while the body of the scent hums along. It is complex and layered but the blend smells effortless. All of this makes for one powerfully sexual scent. I will say this, however: Cannabis Santal is inviting, enveloping, and sexy in precisely the same way that a burning fireplace in the winter is inviting, enveloping, and sexy. There is no intrigue, no chase, no seduction; Cannabis Santal is the chocolate part of the romance, not the wine. I don't think of this as a fault in the least. It is just that there are many different ways a scent can be sexy. I don't think Cannabis Santal is something that could have mass appeal across the gender spectrum, but I do think that for those who would enjoy it, it is a marvelous experience. I can't say that it would make for an ideal "signature" fragrance but it is excellent for date night, crisp fall days, and perhaps good for an "everyday" winter scent. My favorite time to wear Cannabis Santal is when the weather is cool and I want to have a commanding presence. Whether in a business context or in a romantic context, Cannabis Santal commands attention through one very delicious invitation.
Lip Treatments -Jack Black - Intense Therapy Lip Balm spf 25
husserl 4/9/2010 4:44:00 AM
My dear boyfriend loves this lip balm so much, he practically sheds these suckers. I was first introduced to this lip balm as "those little blue tubes that fall out of his pockets." One day, I was out picking up some goodies at Sephora and I saw this at the checkout counter. It was sort of an impulse buy as I had purchased the mint flavor only because it reminded me of him (and, um, I'm not gonna lie, it reminded me specifically of his kisses). Little did I know that I would actually stumble upon an excellent product! This is extremely moisturizing and has a very high SPF which is hard to find. I find that there are great lip treatments and there are lip balms with high SPF but there aren't too many that do both and do both well. The JB lip balm has a great texture that goes on smooth but not greasy. I personally enjoy the tingly sensation of the mint as I was previously the Burt's Bees type. I also find the packaging to be quite smart as the applicator tip is slanted. The only bummer about the packaging is that it's hard to squeeze the last little bit out at the end (did I mention that I hate wasting product?). One thing I like to do with this product beyond just using it as a plain lip balm on its own is to use it in conjunction with a lip liner. I apply the balm very sparingly first and then I line and fill in my lips with a lip liner. The result is a very nice understated look that lasts, has a subtle shine (so none of the "dry" look of lip liner), feels light, and wears great throughout the day. Men's grooming products for the win!
Alas, I believe my LTR with Origins is coming to a close. I'm not one to regularly use toners but I do like to keep one around for when I need to remove any make-up residue or if I am particularly oily. So, if this toner is supposed to work its mojo after consistent and repeated use, then I suppose I just set myself up for disappointment from the get-go. But, in my opinion, I think that the whole point of a toner is to give you immediate results -- whether they be mattifying, clarifying, moisturizing, whatever. Of course, those immediate results become more permanent if the toner becomes a permanent part of one's routine. The weather has started to change and for the past couple of weeks, my skin has been an oily and broken out mess with the exception of my cheekbones which tend to stay dry for some reason. So, clearly, it was time again for United States to work its way back into my skin-care routine since this toner is supposed to "unite" my oily and dry "states" of being. As the days went on, I realized that my skin wasn't becoming any less oily to the touch after cleansing and toning. In fact, I noticed that I was starting to *overproduce* oil even more so than usual. My dry areas weren't any less dry, either. My guess is that this toner was stripping my skin if my skins response was to become even greasier. Annoying, gross, and depressing (because oil slicks and breakouts are definite mood-killers for me). This must have worked for me at some point for me to use as much as I've used. But when I really think about whether or not I want to buy this again, I find myself thinking that, at its very best, it is only an average toner. At its worst, it encourages a greasy mess. And you know what? I don't want to feel annoyed and depressed after I cleanse and tone my face. My recent experience with this toner makes me want to not even bother finishing the bottle and I hate wasting product, no matter how much I hate it. Also, it's way too pricey for the amount you get (A five-ounce bottle of toner?! That's mighty stingy of Origins, in my opinion -- it may think itself "department store" fancy but it's just not that fancy!). I mean, if I want something that is going to strip my sensitive skin, I guess could just blindly pick out any random drugstore toner and have at it. If you want to spend twenty bucks or something like that on a toner, get something that at least feels like a twenty dollar toner. One last thought about why this product isn't worth a repurchase: Origins fancies itself a "natural" brand. If this is so, then why am I looking at the ingredients and reading things like "polyquaternium?" WTF is that about!? It sounds like either an undiscovered element or denture glue. I think Origins has one or two good skin care products out there that are worth it if one is willing to accept that they aren't entirely "natural" or anything close to organic. If something being "natural" is a priority for me (which, for some products, it is and for some it isn't), I don't have the consumer confidence in Origins like I used to. Now that the world of natural cosmetics has practically exploded in the past couple of years, the need for a brand like Origins becomes less and less clear to me because it's easier to find better products with more stringent regulations for acceptable ingredients. And, what's more, we can now have those products for less money.
When I think of Versace's Bright Crystal, I am brought back to the girls locker room in high school when everyone would spritz themselves with those fruity and flowery body "splashes." To me, Bright Crystal smells like a glorified, high-end mix of Teen Spirit and the ubiquitous "Sun Ripened Raspberry" smell that no tween can do without. The fruit notes and floral notes are much too cloying and sweet to convey any sense of sensuality or maturity. It's true that the scent has a certain lightness to it and in warm weather and I agree that lightness can be a virtue. But to me, this interpretation of "light" lacks precisely that: an interpretation. This is cliché opulence at its highest -- this is a scent specifically designed to be "inoffensive" so that it can have mass commercial appeal. This way, we can feel okay about spending our hard-earned money on something that smells simply "nice." But why just smell "nice" when you can smell "alluring," "intriguing," or 'intellectual?" When one stops to smell the roses (or in this case, the borderline toxic peony or whatever that high floral note is), there is nothing to write home about. At its very best, in my opinion, this could be a suitable gift for a young female that you are not well-acquainted with. Perhaps this is also a decent choice if you are to be your co-worker's secret santa and you wish to stay a secret. Personally, I rue the day this scent crossed paths with my nose. I find not only the actual smell offensive, but I also find it offensive on a conceptual level.