May is a warm, creamy pink that echoes Pantone's Honeysuckle and Lilly Pulitzer's signature pink. This particular color has a hint of white to it, not enough to make it pastel but to give it a classy edge, steering it away from the brink of brightness. Perfect for summer toes.
Absolue is a tinted microfine loose powder available in four natural finish shades and two shimmery highlighter shades. The natural finish shades are: Pearl, Ecru Light, Ecru Medium, and Almond. The shimmer shades are: Golden, a medium pinky-peach (quite blushy) and ... wait for it... Peche, a fair golden shade with no peach tones at all. What were they smoking? SMH.
The Absolue line is marketed toward normal to dry skin types. Don't expect any significant oil control with this loose powder. I've used this powder on and off for over a year and it's one of my favorite loose powders in the winter, when I need something very delicate and non-drying.
My biggest love for Absolue is the fact it diminishes the appearance of surface irregularities (by cutting back on some of my skin's shine) without any powdery tightness or over-mattifying. It's extremely finely milled - finer than Chanel or Laura Mercier. It's a great powder since a small amount goes a long way and the tint keeps the powder from taking on an ashy finish. I find that colorless or pale translucent powders dull the appearance of my foundation. Sweeping this on, it looks completely invisible without any ashy dullness. The natural shades are great for anytime, the shimmer shades are best as highlighters unless you prefer a shimmery finish to your foundation.
I own Pearl and Golden (the shimmery pinky-peach highlighter). Pearl is used all-over to set and a tiny bit of Golden is used on my cheeks and brow bone to spot illuminate, add warmth, and blend in blush.
At $56 for .35 oz, this is about the most expensive loose powder around. Chantecaille's loose powder is $62 for 1.2 ounces. La Mer is $65 for .88 oz. By Terry is $69 for .52 oz.. If you go through powder fast and like to apply it liberally, be aware that you don't get much compared to other brands. Attached are some pictures comparing Pearl and Golden. Pearl is really gobbed on my wrist because otherwise it wouldn't show up. Golden, not a lot was needed to bring out the sparkle. Select "continued" to see the pics...
The Lip Stains are wax-based tints that are meant to be worn as a subtle alternative to lipstick. With these stains, you apply them by patting the product onto your lips with your fingertip, or by patting it on with a brush. Applied this way, you get a satin-matte stain of color on your lips with a light waxy balm texture.
I read reviews where the Lip Stains are described as lipstick in a pot and I want to point out how I think they differ. Lipsticks offer more textural slip on the lips, more lip shape definition, and more dimensional color - it looks more substantial on the lips.
Lip Stains provide the faded glory of worn-down lipstick but with better lasting texture. The texture reminds me of a mix between a waxy lip balm and lip liner - it's soft enough to pat onto the lips and for some movement, but it's not as soft as lipstick. These stains were meant to be worn thin and the waxy texture helps the product stay on. It also reminds me of Bobbi Brown's old Pot Rouge formula - stiffer than normal lipstick.
I find these make an *excellent* lip gloss base. Anyone who's a fan of wearing lipstick and gloss together but wanting a less substantial finish might like these. The stains provide color without thickness so the combination looks finished but not greasy. They also help the gloss to last longer. One could argue that the same look is achieved with a patted down lipstick but I find the texture of the stains to be more durable and my gloss lasts longer over the stains than over a stain of lipstick.
$20 for 0.21 oz./6.0g at lauramercier.com
Primer/ Corrector -Laura Mercier - Foundation Primer - Hydrating
KittySkyfish 3/12/2012 5:22:00 PM
I feel this primer does a good job of keeping my foundation looking fresh and it helps keep it in place throughout the day. My skin is normal to dry, drier especially on my upper cheeks. I can tell the difference in the way my foundation looks on days when I skip the hydrating primer - my foundation looks heavier and drier on my cheeks by the end of the day. I look more radiant when I wear this. :)
I started using this primer when I received a generous sample in a jar, squeezed from the tester. My sample lasted about 2 weeks, then I splurged for the full-sized tube. Now here is where it gets interesting. I never had a problem with the jar sample being watery, and my initial first day with the primer in the tube was fine. But I heard about the primer getting watery so I shook my brand new tube each time before using it, just to keep it from separating.
First day was fine. Second day was fine but a tiny amount of water came out first. Third day after shaking it had a bit more water come out first. The fourth day I really gave it a whopping shake and it become clumpy/watery! After seeing this mess come out, I gave it a harder shake/rapping against my hand to mix it up...and I immediately made it WORSE. It disintegrated even further! Right before my eyes, the entire bottle was reduced to a slurry of shredded primer and water! Nooooo!!!!
I went back to the store to exchange it for a new one. Since I bought the bad one only four days' prior from her, the SA and I are assuming the new tube she gave me is from the same batch as the bad one.
My theory is the product will break down with shaking and I'm testing this new tube *without shaking* to see how long it will last for me. It's possible the formulation has suspended ingredients and the shock and jarring from rapping and shaking will just further separate the ingredients. I'm on day two and no water yet. I'll update my results within a week. :)
3/31, day 21: no shaking, no watery leakage. Doing well so far! I store the tube upside down on its lid so it's ready to squeeze out. Will update as needed.
4/9, day 30: Still not shaking the tube. No watery leakage.
5/9 - Still storing the tube on its cap, no shaking. No watery leakage. :)
6/1 - No shaking. No watery leakage. But I am starting to run out! lol...
Lotions/ Creams -Nubian Heritage - Indian Hemp & Haitian Vetiver Lotion
KittySkyfish 3/11/2012 6:58:00 PM
This is incredibly hydrating and smoothing! I've been on the hunt for a body cream to soften and protect my skin without all the chemical extras and Nubian Heritage does it all. It's a perfect body and hand lotion - keep a bottle of this at your desk because it's so wonderful on the hands. One small pea-size will sink in quickly and leave your hands hydrated, glowing, and non-greasy. It has hemp seed oil, which provides omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, plus shea butter, cocoa butter, mango seed butter, and neem oil. Note: This lotion does NOT smell like neem oil!! I have straight neem oil in my cabinet and very familiar with its icky garlic grass odor. No trace of neemy stink here!
The texture is thick for a lotion; it feels closer to a body butter than the way traditional lotions feel. Your skin will feel smooth and natural if you apply a small amount to showered-wet/damp skin, leaving yourself to air-dry, and applying it on dry skin using a greater amount will leave a residual waxy-lotion feel.
I expected the scent to be herbal but it has a definite honeysuckle fragrance. The vetiver dies off quickly, leaving the honeysuckle extract to linger for hours. It's not very strong but fyi to anyone on the fence over floral fragrances as honeysuckle is quite sweet and bright (what my mom would call "piercing" - she feels the same way over jasmine and gardenia).
You can find Nubian Heritage at The Vitamin Shoppe and at online e-tailers. $10.99 for 13 fl. oz. at The Vitamin Shoppe.
Highlighters -Bobbi Brown - Rose Gold Shimmer Brick Compact
KittySkyfish 1/23/2012 4:57:00 PM
Rose Gold is a limited-edition shimmer brick from Bobbi Brown’s Spring ’12 Rose Gold collection. In the past, I’ve used and chucked in the trash a few of Bobbi’s older shimmer bricks because I’m not a fan of heavy shimmer or highlighters that have a silvery finish. A few months ago I turned away from Laura Mercier’s LE Rose Rendezvous highlighter because it was *way* too shimmery for me. I prefer powders that provide a softer, buildable glow.
In my opinion, Rose Gold is a step away from Bobbi’s frostier shimmer bricks. This mosaic of powders builds on a palette of muted roses, warm beiges, and light bronze. On my Warm Ivory skin tone (approximately NC15), there isn’t a shade in this shimmer brick that pulls silvery or ashy when applied. The shimmer is surprisingly refined and gives my skin a subtle wash of sheer bronzed rose gold. I tested it with Bobbi Brown’s Face Blender Brush and one light pass gave me a hint of a warm glow. I found I could brush this across my temples, cheeks, nose, and chin for a winter’s version of bronzer – where you want “a bit of” warm color for radiance but don’t want to go darker. Out in the car and by the window, I kept peeking in the mirror like a vain hussy to see if the subdued department store lighting hid any glitter horrors but in natural daylight, my skin looked acceptably glowy with low-key shimmer (nowhere near metallic or frosty). Even with a few sheer layers, it still doesn’t seem overly shimmery. I think Becca’s Pressed Shimmer Powders have the same shimmer level as this shimmer brick.
I would recommend this shimmer brick as a final finishing complexion warming powder for facial high-points or as a *very sheer* light bronzed pink blush. JMO but if you build this up to full color it'll get very shimmery and I don't think it's meant to be used that heavily. Instead, dust it overtop your normal blush or bronzer/blush routine for that final touch of glow. You can use it to diffuse the color of your blush or use it as a sheer shimmery wash of color for the eye lids and brow bone.
$39 at Nordstrom. Total net weight .4 oz/10.3 grams
Cleansers -Clinique - Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm
KittySkyfish 1/13/2012 11:56:00 AM
If, each morning, you are the type to layer sunscreen, primer, foundation, concealer, powder...and so on...you need *this* to take it all off. Clinique's Take the Day Off Balm is a gentle, fragrance-free white balm that breaks down even the heaviest makeup and sunscreens and rinses away without the need for wipes. I've used this for several years and it's a HG Hall of Fame product in my cleansing routine. I will use it as long as Clinique makes it!
How you use it: The balm is designed to be applied dry, so scoop a small amount out and gently massage into dry skin. It will transform from a white balm into a clear fluid oil as you massage it in. You may use bare fingers or a scrublet pad (Sephora's Precision Pore Cleansing Pad) to help the balm break down all those layers of beauty products. (This cleanser needs some sort of friction to lift and break down makeup - it won't do it completely on its own - so make sure all areas of your skin get at least a few passes with your fingers before you remove it.) I found it takes me about 20 seconds of light massage to get a thorough cleanse.
The best way to remove the balm is to rinse it off. It breaks down easily with water and "almost" all of it removes with a thorough rinsing, the "almost" part is why I do follow up with a gentle cleanser afterward. I find this rinses away cleaner than comparable liquid oil-cleansing products like DHC or Shu Uemura - those I noticed leave a bit more residue after rinsing.
One tub should last you at least 4 months of regular use if you use a generous amount with cleansing (about 1/4 tsp). I don't find the balm to be particularly drying, but it's not hydrating either. Finish your skin care routine with your moisturizer of choice.
Concealers -L'Oreal - Visible Lift Serum Age-Reversing Concealer
KittySkyfish 12/15/2011 12:45:00 AM
This is L'Oreal's new concealer for the Visible Lift line. It looks like it will replace whatever Visible Lift concealer they got going (I think they used red in the last packaging). I got the product name from L'Oreal's website, which curiously is different than what is on the package. The new concealer tube is gold with the text "Serum Absolute" surrounded in blue. But judging by the L'Oreal website, the ingredients are the same and the only difference between the two is a smaller shade range. The new line shrunk down to four shades and it seems shades "fair/light" and "light/medium" have gone the way of the dinosaurs. Now, that's what I call progress. Hah.
It isn't radiant like YSL Touche Eclat, this product is strictly a concealer....in a portable brush wand. This concealer has SPF 20 (titanium dioxide 5.8%) and the coverage is lightweight and medium. I found it held very well under my eyes and around my creases with minimal shifting or fading (set w/ loose powder). My dark circles did need a few extra layers to cover them, which is why I call it a medium-coverage concealer.
And that's where my love ends for L'Oreal's concealer. I need AS much of this product to cover my dark circles and redness as any other liquid concealer out there, so why should I spend $12 for 0.05 fluid oz when I get the same coverage with (for example) Shiseido's Natural Finish Cream Concealer at $25 for 0.44 oz, which has over 8x the amount? Because it has an attached brush? Okay, I'll do the math for you. I'd have to buy $105 worth of L'Oreal to get the same product amount that I get with Shiseido.
It's a very decent concealer on its own. That's why I rate it a 4. Get it for the physical SPF too, but if price is an issue, check out Neutrogena's 3-in-1 concealer for eyes with SPF 20 - Titanium Dioxide (9.5%). You can get a 0.37 oz tube, a little over 7x the product, for a similar price.
Mascara -Yves Saint Laurent - Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking Mascara
KittySkyfish 11/11/2011 9:47:00 AM
I'm another person who found the Shocking line to be too much work. As a reference, I regularly wear Faux Cils and occasionally the Singulier version, and I am used to touching up my lashes with a comb...here and there...where needed. That's okay. With Shocking, this is a much WETTER mascara. I found it tough to apply Shocking without my lashes clumping up. This is worse than my clumpiest days with original Faux Cils. I had to use my comb all over to get my lashes unstuck! And this formula took longer to dry than the other versions.
I definitely noticed longer lashes with Shocking, but they tended toward a stick-like finish and not fluttery long.
After a few days usage, I exchanged mine for the original Faux Cils formula. Much happier!
Fragrances -Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Perfumes - Rose Muskissime
KittySkyfish 11/4/2011 4:09:00 PM
Rose Muskissime is described as a Fruity Floral, but I think it sits somewhere between a Fruity Chypre and a Floral Chypre. It is warm, sweet, opulent, and raspy. If you get your hands on the box, oakmoss and tree moss extracts are listed in the ingredients. This is why some sense dirty/earthy (and sweaty) notes along with the flowers and fruit. Rose Muskissime almost reminds me of a heavily fruited and rosy Magie Noire! It sits close to the skin and simmers all day long, with the brightness of the rose fading and the fruit, powdery iris, wood, and moss softly remaining on my skin. Somewhat close cousins of Rose Muskissime are Diptyque L'Ombre dans L'Eau (colder/blunter) and The Different Company Sublime Balkiss (fresher/more citrusy). Rose Muskissime is the softest, sweetest, and warmest of the group. I'm on my second 100ml bottle of Rose Muskissime, btw. I don't wear it all the time, but it's been a staple in my collection for nearly 10 years.
I bought this for an upcoming trip. Luckily I tested it out this week on my neck and chest and not my face because (48 hours later) the areas I exposed to this junk are covered with hundreds of tiny flesh-colored bumps!! Oh, and it's greasy too. Never sinks in and left my neck and chest a sticky mess all day long. FAIL.
Lotions/ Creams -Bath and Body Works - Rice Flower and Shea Body Lotion
KittySkyfish 4/18/2011 11:30:00 PM
Upon drydown, this lotion smells a lot like Perfect Veil by Sara Horowitz. It's a powdery sweet gourmand with a full-throttle dose of musk and sandalwood. I give it a 4 because it's a good guilty pleasure, but not a full score because it teeters on cloying.
Now this is a blast from the past! I used to wear it in high school yeeears ago, and off and on since then. It's a classic. Calyx is a crisp, green citrus that has a sparkling, slightly bitter edge. It's not one that I can get a specific note on: the blend is so complex that it's like Calyx is a reference to nothing but itself. Sort of like a citrus green Snozzberry; a fruit of the imagination. From the Prescriptives website:
"The exhilarating top note of Calyx Exhilarating Fragrance includes a profusion of grapefruit and mandarin with a tropical blend of passion fruit, mango, papaya and guava. The refreshing middle note is a bouquet of freesia, muguet, neroli, rose, lily, jasmin and marigold. The deep sensual base note is a luscious weaving of oakmoss, orris, sandalwood and vetiver."
I noticed one of the main notes is mandarin. Mandarin in perfumery doesn't smell like a mandarin orange. It comes off rather astringent, synthetic, and bitter, like the mandarin fruit but more typical of the peel than the juice. And this is starting to sound like a light cyphre (think green/slightly bitter earthy), looking at neroli, marigold, oakmoss, orris and vetiver.
On me, Calyx starts off as a crisp, fizzy, and plasticy citrus-green. As it mellows, the fruits and florals come out as it softens but still retains a brisk, mouth-watering freshness. I don't find it sweetens much on my skin as do most citrus-scents, which is why I could wear it in Phoenix...in the summer...and not come off smelling like condensed soft drink syrup.
NOTE: I've found this formula to be especially light and heat-sensitive. Keep it in a cool drawer to maintain freshness.
Cleansers -The Body Shop - Aloe vera gentle cleanser
KittySkyfish 12/18/2010 7:59:00 PM
What The Body Shop claims:
"Best if you want to: Sooth your sensitive skin with a mild, soap-free cleansing lotion that gently, but thoroughly, removes make-up and impurities."
People - this does NOT remove make-up. I tested it out by putting foundation, cream blush, and powder on my wrist and once set, I applied this lotion and massaged the area for 30 seconds before rinsing. Results? I still has obvious blush and foundation residue left on my skin. For those that imply we shouldn't expect this to remove makeup, well - they are correct because it doesn't, but the packaging clearly states that this will remove makeup, and advertising on TBS' website states this as well. FOR THIS REASON alone I give it a 2 score. If it was advertised to gently refresh the skin only and not imply it acts as a makeup remover, I would give it a higher score.
I'd say this would work for those that need something to lightly cleanse bare skin. That's it.
To be helpful, I found that TBS' Natrulift Softening Cream Cleanser removes makeup well. I tested a patch of skin with foundation, Bobbi Brown's cream blush and waterproof gel liner, and face powder and Natrulift removed everything after massaging for 30 seconds, followed with a thorough rinse. It's way too early to say if it is good for sensitive skin but it functions as a makeup remover. :)
Other -Bath and Body Works - Slatkin & Co. Mint Chocolate home fragrance oil
KittySkyfish 11/9/2010 4:51:00 PM
The fragrance is unmistakably minty chocolate. It smells just like York Peppermint Patties! Really, open up a bag full of Peppermint Patties and breathe deeply. This is what it's like! Mint Chocolate is a blend of dark chocolate, vanilla notes and peppermint. It also has a tremendous throw. I did just 6 drops in an electric burner and the scent filled up my house! Sweet, chocolate-y and delicious.