To Lipstick Queen's credit, they introduced glossy pencils long before mainstream brands like Clinique, Tarte, and NARS did. The concept and the colors of the Chinatown pencils are fun, and the packaging is beautiful. So it's too bad that the execution was so poor. I own two of these pencils, and the caps of both cracked within days so they go down too far, smooshing the product. I had to duct tape both caps (there goes that lovely packaging!). The pencils need to be sharpened, and doing so wastes a ton of product. Packaging problems aside, these look lush and glossy on lips and don't dry them out. The color goes on bold but sheer, so you get a bright pop of pop art color that's super glossy. Sadly, the effect lasts only about 30 minutes, before the gloss wears off and the color fades. If you eat or drink anything, it vanishes even sooner.
Being a big fan of kitten eye shadow, I thought this would make a fun base. I was wrong. The formula is thin, so thin the color hardly shows up, and it is impossible to build any color.
I went through a couple of bottles of this when I had a pixie haircut. Even though my hair is very dry, at that length I didn't need moisture, just shine. Now that I'm growing my hair out (it's about chin-length right now), I can better evaluate S&P. For starters, it's not moisturizing at all. The shine that it lent my very short hair is mitigated now that my hair is longer by the general lack of moisture. My hair looked dull, even when I paired this conditioner with my beloved Barex Gloss Shampoo. In short, this conditioner is a nice option for those wishing to maintain the status quo of their hair, which doesn't need any outside moisture.
Another day, another eye cream that doesn't work. Sigh. I gave up buying eye creams long ago, but I'm forever getting free samples of them. To Chanel's credit, this particular eye cream (which I used faithfully twice a day until my sample tube ran out) felt like a nice treat for my under-eye area, very moisturizing and soothing. But it did not outperform any of my general facial moisturizers, and it certainly didn't alleviate my under-eye circles. The fact that the full-size product comes in a jar just makes it more of a joke. Jar packaging is neither stable nor hygienic, so after a bit you'll just be rubbing a very expensive bacteria breeding ground around your eyes.
After getting Pop Nail Glam in Tomato on a whim and finding it to be the single greatest nail polish of all time, I purchased several more Pop Nail Glams, thinking they'd share Tomato's great formula. I was wrong, most of them were average, but Turquoise stands out as being particularly crappy. I was excited about it because it's a true turquoise, but it was a disaster. It applied unevenly and the color was muted instead of bright and shiny. After three coats it was still very sheer with bald patches. It would've taken at least another two coats to get it opaque, but the color on my nail was so icky I didn't bother. I usually pass beauty disappointments on to my sister, but this one I just tossed. Note: I replaced Turquoise with China Glaze Flyin' High, another true turquoise that applies beautifully and dries to a bright, glossy finish.
Self Tanners -Kiehls - Sun free self tanning lotion
bluemymind99 9/24/2011 2:20:00 PM
This is a fine self-tanner. Easy to apply evenly, quick to dry, and imparts a natural, golden, buildable glow. What I don't like about it is how bad it smells. Self-tanners seem to have lost that horrible skunk smell that used to characterize them, but it's been replaced with an organic stench that's not much better. When I was applying Kiehl's self-tanner, I didn't notice it; it didn't show up till the product was on my legs. Maybe heat activates it?
I liked the results this self-tanner gave me, and the fact that it's instant gratification: my legs started darkening immediately. Also good: the color is buildable and the product is easy to apply evenly, thanks to its highly fluid texture. The not-so-good: It reeks. So much so that I can't stand to use it. Too Faced seems to have tried to cover up that fake tanner smell with a pina colada fragrance, but instead of masking it, the pina colada just adds to the overall olfactory assault. As a perfumista, I don't like products that compete with my perfume anyway, but this is just bad. I also don't like the shimmer in this product. I use self-tanner to take the glare off my very white legs, so I can rock pencil skirts at the office without feeling self-concious. But sparkly legs that smell are just as bad.
Self Tanners -Paula's Choice - Almost the Real Thing-Self Tanning Gel
bluemymind99 9/24/2011 1:59:00 PM
I have tried so many self-tanners to take the glare off my legs. They all work just fine--that's not the problem. The problem is how unpleasant they are to use. Stinky, greasy, and generally a mess. Paula's Choice's offering is none of those things. It's an ingenious gel instead of a lotion, with a smooth, dry texture that imparts a natural glow. AND IT DOES'T SMELL!!!!! So why only four lippies? It's really hard to get right. I follow the directions to a T--washing my legs with shampoo instead of soap, exfoliating, applying a thin layer of lotion, and then patiently applying the gel in small sections--and it doesn't matter. I still get an uneven application on at least one part of my legs. It's a frustrating problem plaguing this otherwise perfect product.
I'm really not a fan of this brush. It's good at applying and spreading foundation evenly, but it leaves brush strokes in its wake, so you have to follow up application with a buffing brush or sponge. It is also exceedingly difficult to clean. I have a large collection of brushes, and I find myself reaching for this one less and less.
I keep a tube of this handy for special events, and ONLY special events. The effects are way too dramatic for regular daytime use. The stiff plastic bristles of the oddly shaped brush deposit the product at the very base of the lashes, which makes all the difference in terms of drama. Your lashes will be glossy black, sky high, and thick. The price you pay for lash nirvana is that VE is a very high-maintenance mascara. Because the brush paints color on your lashes instead of brushing it on, you get a lot clumps and, if you're not careful, a lot of smearing, as the formula is quite wet. So do keep a lash comb handy. It will allow you to get rid of clumps and even out the mascara's distribution across your lashes.
My first experience with Fresh's makeup line was the mini mascara duo, which explains why I've shunned the line as overpriced and poor quality ever since. Adorable packaging aside, the Fresh mascaras were two of the worst I've ever tried. Supernova was less offensive than its now-discontinued sister, Thunderbird, but that's not saying much. Supernova is a nice, rich black, but it clumps, runs, and generally doesn't look good on lashes. Save your money.
If you look closely at photos taken backstage at fashion shows or fashion shoots, you will almost always see a can of this hairspray. It's what the pros use, and they use it because it's the best. It offers superior hold and shine without any stickiness or crunchiness. I use a lot of it to slick my hair back into a ponytail or a little misted all over to set my straight style or keep my waves in check, if I'm going au naturel. Fabulous stuff. Just wish the bottle wasn't so prone to clogging!
Toners -Alba Botanica - Rainforest Refreshing Mist Toner
bluemymind99 9/21/2011 1:57:00 PM
People who think they don't need a toner aren't using the right one! I love the way this feels on my skin. I keep one bottle in my desk to spray my face during the day when it feels dry for an instant refresher. At home, I spray some onto a cotton round and wipe my face with it every morning and evening after washing. The softening effect is immediate. RRMT has its own moisture and plenty of antioxidants to add to my skin, but it also preps my skin for the serums, moisturizers, and exfoliating treatments I use to deliver even more antioxidants and moisture. On hot summer nights I use only this toner and a light serum to moisturize without heaviness or greasiness.
You do not need this, the Madder Root Shampoo. You only need the Madder Root Conditioner. The shampoo does not deposit any color into your hair, it just "preps" it to receive color from the conditioner. It works just fine as a regular shampoo, but had I known this sooner I would not have purchased it. The SA didn't share that gem with me until I purchased the conditioner a couple of weeks later, when I realized the shampoo wasn't really working. Aveda only sells MRS in ginormous size. The huge jug of it takes up valuable real estate in my tiny bathroom, and it leaks orange all over my pristine white tub. (Tired of hoisting it up, I replaced the cap with the pump it was sold with, which made product access easier, but the product now leaks out of the pump.)
I've lived within spitting distance of the beach my whole life. I learned to swim as an infant, to surf when I was 10, and I wear a bathing suit under my work clothes so I can take a dip on the way home. I know the havoc salt water wreaks on my hair, so why the heck did I buy this? Why did I pay for hair havoc? I dunno. I suppose I wanted an easy, go-to style. I thought I could spritz this on during hectic mornings and be able to say "done" as far as my hair was concerned. Instead, I get beach hair. Dry, crunchy, out-of-control beach hair. So why would I buy it again? I like the wetsuit-inspired bottle, and I even like its vaguely marine smell, but mostly I like that it provides instant volume. Typically if I want volume, I have to start from scratch, spraying on a root booster and blow-drying. I spray Surf Spray around the crown of my dry hair and tousle it with my fingers and voila! My hair is lifted at the root and the effect lasts for hours.