This is an OK deep conditioner. The scent is much more masculine than the other Orofluido products, and quite a bit stronger. I apply it to damp hair after using a clarifying shampoo, put a processing cap over it, and leave it on for a half-hour or so. My hair feels conditioned after rinsing, but not deeply conditioned. I alternate it with a Kerastase mask, and there's no comparison--it leaves this one in the dust. I'm using it up and will not repurchase.
Conditioner -Unlisted Brand - Orofluido Conditioner
MaryEllen 5/23/2013 2:55:00 AM
This is a below-average conditioner. It's thin, you need to apply a lot to get any benefit, and it doesn't do anything special for my hair. In fact, I usually combine it with a heavier conditioner to get any real conditioning. However, it comes in a great pump bottle, has that wonderful amber/vanilla scent, and doesn't strip my color. But I will not repurchase--there are much better conditioners for the price
This is an average shampoo. It's concentrated, lathers well, gets all styling products out of my hair, rinses easily, doesn't strip my color, and has that wonderful ambery/vanilla scent. But it's slightly drying and doesn't do anything special for my hair. I will not repurchase.
Lip Treatments -Unlisted Brand - Mox Botanicals- Lip Butter
MaryEllen 5/22/2013 6:26:00 PM
I have this lipbalm in Black Plum and Fig. The scent is incredible--dark, sweet, and seductive. The balm itself is colorless and goes on lightly, which is a good/bad thing. Good because it's excellent under lipstick--not too heavy so nothing slides, very moisturizing, and perhaps even extends the wear of matte lipsticks a bit; bad because if I want to apply a bedtime dose, I need to reapply several times to get a coat thick enough that will last all night. However, it is worth it to drift off to sleep with that aroma, and it really moisturizes, alone or under another lip product. The staying power is average--about what you'd expect from a light-textured balm. It's made from great, natural stuff, and comes in a small, hefty black pot (recyclable glass!) which is very chic, but makes it tough to get at the product if your nails aren't *very* short. (And I hate lip balms in pots.) However, I like this balm enough to keep it on hand at home (so I can wash my hands before I use it). The company is a small one based in Oregon. They have great, friendly customer service (not affiliated) and will refill your empty pot and return it to you for half price--a nice perk. Yes, I will repurchase and probably try another scent.
I received a very generous sample of this from BeautyHabit and was excited to try it. It is a delicate shampoo, yet it lathers well (not tons of lather, but it does lather), cleans well, and does volumize. It did leave my hair feeling a bit dry, so the companion conditioner would be necessary. (I just used what I had on hand, which worked fine.) However, this shampoo smells quite strongly of roses, which I don't care for, and it lingers. I will not purchase the full size.
Hair -Unlisted Brand - Christophe Robin Creme Lavante au Citron
MaryEllen 5/22/2013 3:27:00 AM
This is a very nice, unique cleanser for colored hair. It smells great and left my hair conditioned, yet shiny and full of body. However, it is a fussy product to use--put it on, add a little water, massage it in, add more water, massage, etc. I wasn't sure, even after watching the videos on how to use it, that I had massaged it in enough, and I found it a bit difficult to rinse out thoroughly as Christophe recommends. Although I didn't need a separate conditioner, I found it a bit of a time-waster. I'm also not sure that it would remove the normal amount of product I use to style my hair. Additionally, it contains chamomile which, if you're allergic to ragweed pollen (as I am), can cause a cross-allergenic reaction. So, sadly, I will pass on the full size of this (I received a very generous sample from BeautyHabit) and try Christophe's Antioxidant Cleansing Milk with 4 Oils and Blueberry instead.
This Eye Tint didn't get a lot of love when it first came out, and Becca is discontinuing it. I snapped it up for less than half price because I was intrigued by the shade. It's a light lavender which reminds me very much of NARS' D. Gorgeous, but with slightly more blue than grey tones. The texture is like the other Eye Tints--it holds its shape when squeezed out--and applies equally easily. I used UDPP under it and had no problem with creasing, although I did apply a bit of translucent powder in the crease area. I like this very much on me--it looks very clean and doesn't make me look tired or emphasize my dark circles the way most purples of any kind do as I age. It gives a really polished look by adding just dark brown cream liner and mascara. This is a great shade for summer, and I love the ease of application. I'll be wearing this a lot!
Foundations -Edward Bess - Ultra Dewy Complexion Perfector
MaryEllen 5/17/2013 5:43:00 PM
I love Edward Bess's products and, although I'm a bit wary of the new ones (it seems like he's bringing out too many new products too quickly), I wanted this as soon as I heard about it. I've used it a few times now and love it. This is EB's take on a BB/TM, but much better than any of those I've ever tried. It comes in a sanitary squeeze bottle with a twist-off cap. (I wish it were a flip-top, but that's quibbling.) The texture of the cream is light but not at all runny--sort of light-medium thick--and there's no scent I can detect. It glides on incredibly evenly (no fussing) and it doesn't take much to cover your whole face. The coverage is slightly more than a TM but slightly less than a light-coverage foundation, and it gives a lovely, polished, but not makeup-y look. The finish is *not* "ultra dewy"--much more satin than super dewy or dewy at all--and it does not feel heavy on the skin. The website states that it contains light-diffusing particles, but here is no shimmer I can detect in any light, not in the formula or on my skin, in any light. But wow, it makes my skin look great. Really, really great--healthy, hydrated, youthful, even-toned. I was looking in a bathroom mirror at a doctor's office (how bad is that lighting?) this morning and couldn't believe how great my skin looked--even my melasma/hyperpigmentation was really tamed by this (I used concealer, but not as much as I usually need to). I've had no breakouts, and my skin feels good when I remove this, not as though all the moisture has been sucked out of it. I have this in light--there are only four shades, and light is the lightest--and it's a perfect match for my NC 15-20 skin. I'd have to say that this shade is neutral to *very* slightly yellow, and would definitely be too dark for really pale folks. And although it's not overly hydrating, it is moisturizing, so I doubt that oily-skinned folks would like it, either, or maybe even normal-skinned folks in the summer. The wear is very good--it's almost 100 degrees here today and it only slipped a bit into my marionette lines (easily fixed), which is impressive considering that I only set it with a phloof of powder--no packing it on with a sponge or puff. I've also used several blushes over this, both powder and cream, and detect no difference in wear. Cream blush applies easily without eradicating the foundation underneath. This is a product worthy of the Edward Bess label, although the name is a little misleading--it's not ultra-dewy, it's not super-hydrating, and it's definitely not a primer. To wrap this up (sorry it's so long, but I want to be thorough in this first review), if you have normal-to-dry skin, are not very pale, can afford the price ($56 for 1.79 oz), and especially if you are a woman of a certain age, buy this. It feels great, it looks great, it wears great. It's what Armani's Face Fabric should have been and more. I know I'll be wearing this a whole lot--probably exclusively.
Makeup Brushes -Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman - Expert Face Brush
MaryEllen 5/17/2013 5:07:00 PM
I received this brush in a swap and love it as much as my other RT brushes. I use it mostly for blending--foundation in those spots where it tends to collect, cream blush--especially at the edges, concealer. It works great for all, cleans up easily, keeps its shape, it's super soft and comfortable on the skin, and it's cheap! Can't beat that combo. I won't be without this brush.
After having gone through a couple of bottles of Skinceuticals Vitamin C serums, I decided to explore lower-priced options. This is the one I decided on, and I'm very happy with it. I feel that I get the same results I did with Skinceuticals Serum 20 AOX with Ferulic (more even skintone, fading of melasma/sun spots, healthier-looking skin) while saving nearly $100 per bottle. I use 4 drops in the morning, which is sufficient to cover my face and neck. This serum is slightly more watery than Skinceuticals (hyaluronic acid is further down the ingredient list), but applies easily and doesn't leave skin feeling coated--great for summer. I've also found that this doesn't oxidize as quickly as Skinceuticals products, which really ticked me off. This serum also comes in a 1 oz. dropper bottle, so I decant a few milliliters into a smaller bottle I keep at the sink while the big bottle stays in the fridge. I must add that CSS has great customer service--quick shipping, and they answer questions very quickly (on the same business day). I'll be repurchasing this and spending the money I save on something else! BTW, I am not affiliated, just a happy customer. Full Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, L-Ascorbic Acid (Topical Vitamin C), Propylene Glycol, Ethoxydiglycol, Zinc Sulfate, Glycerol, Triethanolamine, Ferulic Acid, D-Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium Edetate, Hyaluronic Acid.
Sunscreen -Bioderma - Photoderm Laser Creme SPF 50+
MaryEllen 5/10/2013 12:36:00 PM
I'd been using Bioderma's Photoderm MAX Cream SPF 50+ UVA 38 Creme for a couple of years and loved it. But when I saw this new formula, I jumped at it because it's supposed to minimize the risk of increased pigmentation. Since I live in Phoenix and already have melasma and some sun damage, it sounded as though it was made for me. I'm not disappointed. I find it slightly less greasy than the Photoderm MAX Creme, and it applies easily on my dry skin (over Vitamin C serum)--I've had no problems with it balling up. It does leave a slight white cast, but I'm pretty pale, so it's not a deal-breaker. I also haven't had problems applying makeup over this. I do, however, put a paper towel over my face and blot gently ten minutes or so after applying the sunscreen and before applying makeup, and that does the trick. And I do think it gives excellent protection--I've noticed a slight lessening of my dark spots since I started using it about 6 weeks ago. I don't know whether that's from better sun protection or the product, though. This is absolutely the best facial sunscreen for my skin type I've ever used. It is pricey--$24 for 1 oz. (the tube is smaller than that of Photoderm MAX)--but it's worth it to protect my face from the crazy desert sun. I've already ordered two more tubes.
Moisturizers -Vaseline - Deep Moisture Creamy Formula
MaryEllen 5/9/2013 10:36:00 PM
Where has this been all my life? I have dry skin in general and extremely dry hands, and I live in the desert. Not a good combo. I'm always on the hunt for something that will effectively moisturize my skin, and this is it. Every night, I apply it over my usual Neutrogena Norwegian Formula hand cream to lock in the moisture, paying special attention to my cuticles, then rub any excess on my elbows. The results are pretty amazing--moisturized, younger-looking hands overnight without having to wear gloves. It's perfect for dry shins, feet, even facial skin (applied sparingly). And I love the no-fussiness about it--a simple flip-top tube, a faint, pleasant scent, and not much greasiness left behind. And it's cheap. I found it at Target after failing at CVS and Walgreen's, and bought multiple tubes. What a great, simple product!
Other -Rembrandt - Intense Stain Whitening Toothpaste, Mint
MaryEllen 5/9/2013 6:14:00 PM
I'd been using GoSmile toothpaste for some time, and felt that it really wasn't doing anything for my smile any more, so when I saw this at Target I thought I'd give it a try. Wow! I too saw a difference after the first brushing, and my teeth keep looking whiter. This tastes great, isn't gritty, works, and is less than half the price of Go Smile. And it has fluoride, so you're getting benefits as well as whitening. I will repurchase again and again!
Polishes -Estee Lauder - Pure Color Nail Lacquer in So Vain
MaryEllen 5/7/2013 11:52:00 PM
This polish is from EL's Spring 2013 French Nude Collection. In the bottle, it looks like a slightly mauvey, slightly shimmery medium nude. On the nails, it looks--well, odd. It's a color-shifter in different lights, but on my nails it looks much darker than it does in the bottle and has very unflattering yellow/orange undertones. After having worn it for a few days, I'll just say it's ugly. But that's not the biggest problem--the application and wear are. The bottle is nice--very stable--but the brush is short and somewhat stiff, making it difficult to apply. It's fairly thin and goes on streaky and, despite using my usual "manicure insurance" products with it (Butter London Flawless Basecoat, Seche topcoat, and OPI for Sephora Nail Colour Drying Drops), I had amazingly bad tip wear on the first day--the worst with any polish, ever--despite not doing anything unusual with my hands. And even the great self-leveling Seche couldn't hide the unevenness of the application due to the formula and brush. I rarely return polishes, but this is going back. Ugh.
My new favorite lipstick! This product has the moisturizing power of Chantecaille's Lip Chics without the slightly heavy, jellylike feeling and at a lower price point. The shade, on me, is slightly darker than MLBB, depending on how much you use. One swipe is MLBB, more is MLBB amped up. Utterly gorgeous. It does not bleed and had decent staying power, particularly for a sheer lipstick. Love it and love Rouge Bunny Rouge. I think this is one of those lipsticks I'll buy until they stop making it.