This is my absolute favorite liquid foundation ever, no contest. Smells like paint, feels like paint, but I'm okay with that, because it also stays on your face like paint!
I have no problems with application (having it dry too quickly, streaking, et cetera), and I put it on pretty low maintenance-like - Just shake some out onto my finger tips and smear it onto my face. I do one section of my face at a time, and so far, no issues.
The coverage is heavy enough that I find I do not need a concealer at all anymore, even for my ridiculously dark under eye circles. It is also buildable without becoming cakey, so if I have a trouble spot I just let the first layer dry, hit it again, and I'm good to go.
It REALLY does last. I love being able to spend the night somewhere, and wake up with my foundation still intact, not all over the pillows, my clothing, and what have you.
It's not a complete *miracle* or anything (I have somewhat blotchy skin with large pores, and while this does an excellent job of evening me out, I don't look like I stepped outta a magazine ad), but it is the very best I have found among drugstore and high end liquid foundations. ONLY wish is that the formula left me looking a little bit more "dewy" (it doesn't dry me out, but the finish is extremely matte), but I can deal. Oh, and a pump bottle or squeeze tube would be nice, too, but that's a minute complaint not worth dwelling over.
The price is nothing compared to the fancy stuff that just ends up smearing and melting and settling into my pores. I'm a lifelong addict, unless something even more magical appears.
Lipstick -Aveda - Lip Color Concentrate in Rambutan
brkrbrkr 12/30/2011 1:45:00 AM
This, to me, is the PERFECT red. I know that most girls prefer to bestow that title upon MAC's Russian Red, but I find this shade much more versatile and universally flattering. Many of my friends own this shade, and I've used it often on photo shoots, and have yet to come across a skin tone, hair color, age group, that it doesn't flatter.
Whenever I'm feeling drab, I just throw this on with the bare minimum of mascara and black liner, and voila, I'm good to go! Looks fancy applied straight from the tube, or can be dabbed on as a pinky-red stain for slightly subdued but still eye-catching lips. I love that it fades out to a nice cherry shade as it wears, instead of coming off in patches like some of the drier formulas tend to do. I never feel that touch ups are an absolute necessity, as the color and texture are still pleasing even after meals or end of the day wear. I also love the consistency, and have never experienced any drying. It has a nice creamy feel on the lips that is lighter than most lipsticks with this level of color intensity.
The packaging is a little "blah," not exactly something that feels luxurious pulling out of your purse for a retouch, but the product contained within is magical, so I'm not docking any points. ;)
(4 1/2 stars - 1/2 star deducted because it lacks the staying power of my other HGs, but I'm planning on buying this in all of its other forms for layering, so no biggie.)
I don't care what anyone says, I love, love, LOVE this! I purchased it sight unseen (scent unsniffed?) based upon reviews comparing it to Pink Sugar, but was beyond stoked to discover that it actually bears more of a resemblance (on me, anyway) to my previous HG, the long discontinued Hard Candy Liquid. It is almost an exact combination of both; In fact, I spritzed a bit of my remaining HC Liquid on one wrist, Pink Sugar on the other, rubbed them together, and then compared the smell to Can Can. (Yes, I am a weirdo with too much free time.) Perfection!
Hard Candy Liquid was a very polarizing fragrance (people either LOVED it or abhorred it), but being that I was of the former group, was crushed when I thought I would never again find anything to replicate it. Then, along came Can Can, to whisk me back to my glory days of being constantly complimented on my signature scent.
I'm no good with descriptive fragrance jargon, but for me, this is a beautiful, uplifting scent, sugary enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, but with a crisp citrus note upon first spritz and a cozy musk on the dry down to keep it smelling fresh and not "too young." (By the way, since when is smelling, looking, or acting young such a terrible thing? I'm in my late twenties and still enjoy feeling like I just rolled around in a pile of candy and glitter. Then again, I work in the beauty biz, so I suppose I can get away with it.)
Bottom line: I find this to be a sexy, playful, and even complex perfume that could work on anyone from their teens right on up to middle age! Paris, I still think you're an insufferable doorknob, but I will happily contribute to your miniature dog clothing fund as long as you keep turning out this gem.
3 1/2 stars.
Was given this lipstick by a friend who shyly confessed, "I used to be really into this color when I wore platform flip flops and highlighted my hair." Ha!
Upon first application (swiped it on my lips sans liner, primer, or gloss, just to check it out), I decided to toss it into my professional kit for shoots where I needed to make a model look sick or dead. (Absolutely zero sarcasm intended. In fact, I might purchase another for that very use.) However, after playing around with it a bit, it's really grown on me!
Some reviewers have noted that with a truly great lipstick, you shouldn't HAVE to work with it to make it look good. And while I understand where they're coming from (every girl needs a few trusty shades she can throw on sans mirror on her way out the door without worrying about looking like she forgot to take off her Halloween zombie get-up), I don't have any issue working with products and finding ways to utilize them to their full potential. I mean, think about it - So many of us spend time exfoliating, prepping, lining, glossing. . . What's a couple of extra minutes to find what could potentially be an amazing look for you?
I've actually come up with one of my favorite new looks using this lipstick - I apply one light swipe (it's very concentrated, and foundation-y and thick if you over-apply), blot, and then mix in a teeny bit of berry stain. It produces a beautiful MLBB appearance that everyone compliments me on, takes literally five seconds longer than applying the lipstick on its own, and lasts all day. I also like mixing it with a dab of sparkly gloss, for a fun, nude shade that is a fantastic compliment to a dark smokey eye. (Perfect for the upcoming holiday party season.)
Bottom line: It's not for everyone (but what is?), and certainly NOT for the girl who likes to swipe on a lipstick and be done with it. But if you enjoy playing with unique shades and creating new looks, I would almost call this a must-have!
Another day, another dollar wasted on a disappointing Almay foundation.
I'll try to be fair here and say that I CAN see this working out for someone looking for super sheer, light coverage that feels like you're not wearing makeup. For me, however, this just felt (and looked) like cold, watery, mummy dust. Tried it with a vast variety of brushes (the one that is included, which is actually decent for a drugstore brush, my kabuki, a fluffier face brush, stippling brush, a makeup sponge), but could not achieve a natural, even finish.
Not feeling this "cooling makeup" trend AT ALL. In the future, I'll just buy a quality foundation and stick it in the fridge.
Sorry, Almay, but this Smart Shade schlock is DUMB! *rimshot*
Purchased this in the absolute lightest shade available, as I am mostly fair with yellow undertones and planned to use it primarily to cover dark circles and uneven skin tone. Comes outta the tube white, and, as you blend, is supposed to magically morph into your skin color. Um. . . Not so much, for me. As I was blending, I noticed it turning a darker, orange-y shade. I was slightly concerned, but thought that if I kept on blending it out, it would settle. Nope. I made the rookie mistake of test driving this for the first time right before a work function, and did not have time to play around with it or start my makeup from scratch. (I tend to do eyes before concealer and face makeup.) Instead, I ended up mixing it in with a bit of lotion and applying it all over my face, figuring that if I was gonna look like Christina Aguilera, I may as well just go balls out.
For a brief moment there, I almost thought I looked good. Like, "Hey, check me out, I look like I caught a tan! Nice!" Maybe I had found an alternate use for this deceptive concealer after all. Then I took a glimpse into a full length mirror, and the color that this junk had turned my face in contrast to the shade of my neck and rest of my body made it appear that I was wearing a Snookie mask!! UGH!
Gave it one more chance the next day, because A) I'm an idiot, and B) I hate returning cosmetics to drug stores, but this time was even worse. I used it just around the eyes, and again was left with ruddy orange splotches that looked about a hundred times worse than the circles I was trying to cover.
I've had decent luck with Almay face makeup in the past, but with these "Smart Shade" shenanigans, they have officially made it on to my shit list. I hope everyone over at Almay is having a good chuckle, because I cannot come up with any other reason that they would have released this to the general public.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Parlux - Jessica Simpson Fancy
brkrbrkr 11/14/2011 5:15:00 AM
SO disappointed with this fragrance. I'm no perfume snob, and am a total sucker for anything over-the-top gourmand (my forever HG is Pink Sugar, followed closely by Gayle Hayman Delicious Cotton Candy, and I have no shame in admitting it!!), so I was eager to try this one out after reading the comparisons and even complaints from other reviewers noting the hints of cotton candy, cupcakes, and vanilla. Unfortunately, I detect no semblance of any of those.
Perfumania describes it as such: "FANCY was launched by the designer house of Jessica Simpson in 2008. This scent possesses a blend of pear, apricot nectar, red fruits, gardenia, jasmine, toasted almonds, caramel, sandalwood, vanilla crème and amber crystals."
I DO pick up on the fruit notes, but for me, this is a predominantly floral scent, and an artificial one at that. I started out with a spritz on the wrist (watch out; you'll only need one, cos this stuff is strong!), and was hit with a headache-inducing flowery blast that dried down to a nearly unnoticeable fruity smell that resembled one of those cheapy body sprays you see at the drug store around the holidays. I tried it again the next day, this time misting it in the air and walking through it in an attempt to avoid a flower-scented headache. Again, I got a ton of jasmine and gardenia, definitely some fruit, but no vanilla, caramel, or toasted almond.
I REALLY wanted this to work for me, and lovingly place it and its adorable bottle next to all of my other embarrassing teenage girl perfumes, but so far it's just not doing it for me. I feel bad, almost, because I kind of like Jessica Simpson! (Or maybe I just feel sorry for her?) I would be so much more comfortable declaring my distaste for this if it were from, say, Kim Kardashian. I think what went wrong here is that the perfume makers tried to cram way too many notes into one fragrance.
If you like strong, fruity florals, this could be a hit for you. After all, it is not totally repulsive, and may just be my body chemistry and/or nose for sugary sweet scents that is turning me off. But, if like me, you seek out true gourmands that make you smell edible, move along. . .
Probably closer to a 3 1/2 in regards to the product's performance, but I am subtracting a point for cost!
I decided to give these a try in part due to the high ratings and glowing reviews on The Body Shop's website. I was on the hunt for a sort of "all-in-one" cleanser convenient for end of the day makeup removal, toning, and exfoliation. These sounded like the perfect fit, and the fact that I am a big fan of tea tree sealed the deal. I added them to my evening routine, after using a gentle gel cleanser and before applying night cream. Honestly, I have nothing overtly negative to say, but nothing to write home about, either.
Pros: Convenient if you're on the go, easy to use, does a good job of removing residual makeup that your cleanser might have missed, skin feels clean but not tight.
Cons: WAY overpriced (had I not purchased using a Groupon, I probably would have avoided them altogether), the cleansing pad itself is very small, and the supposed "exfoliating" side of the pad does nothing for me. Maybe I'm just used to something heavier.
A brand called Desert Essence makes a nearly identical product (except I believe you get more pads per package, and they are larger), available at your local Trader Joe's or health food store for about a third of the price. I've used and loved them before, but thought I would give this supposed exfoliating version a try. Not impressed! Going back to the cheap stuff as soon as I use these up. :)
I would rate these a "1" as an actual long term skin improvement routine, and a "3 - 4" as an occasional spot treatment, which is what I use them for.
I'll buy these maybe once a month to do a very thorough facial, which starts with a gentle wash, exfoliating treatment, and removal of visible blackheads from my t-zone with an extractor. After, I steam my face with warm water and apply a strip to both my nose and chin. I definitely see a ton of sebum on the strip after removal, so, for me, they work. I follow it up with a bit more light extraction while the pore is still open (since the strip most definitely does not get it all!), apply a sulfur mask, tone, and moisturize.
Could I do without them? Sure. Are they a must-have? No way. But they make me feel like I am doing a really deep, thorough job of removing my blackheads, and since I do have large pores, this is important to me. Just don't expect these alone to improve your blackhead situation! They are merely a tool to be added to your existing routine to aid in more complete removal.
I am going to copy & paste my review for this blush in "Petal" (as they are, after all, essentially the same product), with a few minor tweaks!
This is one of two Baked To Last blushes that The Body Shop currently offers. Coral is the warm to Petal's cool, and is paired with a shimmery, golden brown highlighter. Sometimes I swirl my brush over both to blend them together; other times, I will use the blush on its own and then sweep the highlighter over my brow bone, cheekbones, or anywhere else I want to add a burst of shimmer. The website is right on when they say this creates a "fresh, flirty, natural-looking complexion." Very glowy and a cinch to wear, a wonderful product for beginners to blush and/or highlighter who may be intimidated by the vibrant colors in the pan. (It really is hard to go wrong with the application.) Love the fact that it stays looking fresh all day, and does not oxidize or sink into my pores, as some blushes have a tendency to do.
One caution if you are ordering online: This product is very shimmery, and, while you can apply a relatively subtle, light dusting, it might come off as "too much" to those with an aversion to sparkle. ALSO, while the online photo for Petal is pretty much right on, Coral appears much darker than it does in person. It is peachier in real life!
This is one of two Baked To Last blushes that The Body Shop currently offers, and definitely my favorite of the two. The compact contains a cool-toned fuchsia blush paired with a shimmery, champagne highlighter. Sometimes I swirl my brush over both to blend them together; other times, I will use the blush on its own and then sweep the highlighter over my brow bone, cheekbones, or anywhere else I want to add a burst of shimmer. The website is right on when they say this creates a "fresh, flirty, natural-looking complexion." Very glowy and a cinch to wear, a wonderful product for beginners to blush and/or highlighter who may be intimidated by the vibrant colors in the pan. (It really is hard to go wrong with the application.) Love the fact that it stays looking fresh all day, and does not oxidize or sink into my pores, as some blushes have a tendency to do.
One caution if you are ordering online: This product is very shimmery, and, while you can apply a relatively subtle, light dusting, it might come off as "too much" to those with an aversion to sparkle.
Nothing special, in my opinion. The coverage was WAY too sheer to stand up to my dark, hereditary under eye circles, and doesn't serve dual purpose like most other concealers I've used. I prefer to buy one concealer for use on both the under eye area and troublesome spots (redness around the nose, the occasional breakout), but this did nothing for them. I understand that it is specifically marketed for use under the eyes, but still! I expect a bit more from a concealer, especially one on the higher end of the drugstore price point. The consistency is nice, and easy to work with. However, despite being sheer and creamy, it is hardly build-able. Applying more than one layer gives it a heavy, creased look that settles into lines.
Oh, and can we talk about the packaging? WORST ever. It comes in this obnoxious, flimsy little squeeze tube with a rough bristle brush tip, which makes extracting the right amount of product a hit or miss procedure. The tube starts collapsing in on itself after a couple of uses, and you end up squeezing out way more than you need. Used the entire tube up in just over a month.
I picked this up on a whim, and was pleasantly surprised! I remember when Cover Girl first came out with their line of lip stains, and I really, really wanted to try them out, but couldn't, due to their involvement in animal testing. I stuck to the pricier stains that I knew were cruelty-free, but when I came across this at such a bargain, I had to give it a try.
First off, their color selection is amazing. I decided to give Rock On Ruby a go, thinking that, as a "stain", it would leave a nice, reddish glow. In actuality, this applied with the intensity of a matte lipstick! A bit misleading, but I'm definitely not upset about it. In fact, I was kinda psyched. One thing worth noting - while the packaging would lead you to believe that this is a deep, cherry colored red, it has a distinct orange undertone. Again, I'm not mad, just thought I would mention that the color of the tube is not necessarily the color that shows up.
Pros: Long lasting, great color pay-off, simple to apply, cute packaging, super affordable, and has a great scent, to boot.
Cons: Can be drying, so you'll definitely want to keep your lips exfoliated and moisturized in between uses. The product contained within the tube seems to dry up quickly, also. (Been using it periodically for under a month, and it's noticeably less liquid-y than it was before.) Also, I'm calling BS on the "16 hour" claim; yeah, it might still be there after sixteen hours, but it will have started wearing off in spots.
Overall opinion: A fun product that is certainly worth the cost. I will be giving some other colors a try, for sure. You don't have much to lose by checking it out.
Blush -New York Color - Color Wheel Mosaic Powder Pink Cheek Glow
brkrbrkr 10/25/2011 7:07:00 AM
Let me start off by saying that I am in no way whatsoever a product snob. Some of my most cherished cosmetic items are cheap drugstore finds that blow the fancy stuff out of the water, so I never judge a product by it's brand or price without having tried it. My only non-negotiable requirement is that the company does not engage in animal testing.
Having said that, this stuff sucks. I tend to be a bit finicky with blush, as my face shape (oval, with full cheeks) makes application crucial, lest I wind up looking like a toy doll, in a bad way. My go-to blushes are MAC Pink Swoon and Dollymix, and Urban Decay Quickie. I like the bright, vibrant pinks, which I can blend out into a natural flush. As far as drugstore blushes go, the only one I've found that compares is Jane Blushing Orchid, which I had been happily using for about a year. But the day finally came when I ran out of my MAC, UD, and Jane, and, being a bit short on cash, had to hit up the drugstore for a replacement. Apparently the CVS in my new neighborhood does not carry Jane, and after scouring the aisles for a blush that was the color I wanted, the price I could afford at the time, and from a cruelty-free company, this is what I was left with.
What a shame. It seemed well enough at first - great price, good amount of product, and a satisfactory shade of sparkly girly pink when swiped on the back of my hand. Applying it to my face was a different story, however. It made me realize why my HG blushes tend to be high end - this cheap stuff seems to be comprised mostly of talc, making for a chalky, uneven appearance on my slightly oily skin. I first tapped some onto my cheeks with a small blush brush, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the color pay-off was excellent. However, it was a bit too vivid, and when I went to blend it out with a fluffier brush, half the product flew off my face! What I was left with was a blotchy dusting of light pink, and darker areas where the blush had settled into my pores. Basically, I looked like I was developing a rash.
I decided to give it a few more tries, to no avail. I simply could not get it to blend properly without losing almost all of the color. I do not think that it has anything to do with my application technique: I make my living as a freelance makeup artist; I know how to blend! I wore it out once at night, to gauge it's performance when applied with a heavier hand. When I got home and looked into the mirror, a sad, feverish clown was staring back at me.
I'm happy that the majority of you seem to have had success with this product, but curious as to why it was such a dud on me! Oh well. I went ahead and splurged, and am now happily reunited with my UD Quickie.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Prince Matchabelli- Cotton Candy Cologne Spray
brkrbrkr 10/17/2011 11:00:00 AM
Despite being in my late twenties, I am a HUGE fan of all things cotton candy scented! Aquolina Pink Sugar is my HG fragrance (I own every single available form: roll-on, solid perfume, hair perfume, EDT), and alternate it with other cotton candy/sugary scents, such as Gayle Hayman Delicious Cotton Candy, Britney Spears Fantasy, and Body Fantasies Cotton Candy spray.
I have this in the aerosol mist version, and, no surprise, I adore it! As other reviews have mentioned, it is a lighter, less complex version of Pink Sugar. No "top notes" or "end notes" here - It smells like pure cotton candy coming out of the bottle, and stays that way on the skin. It is ever-so-slightly less cloying than the similarly priced Body Fantasies spray but does not last nearly as long on my skin (probably the only "con" I can think of), and for that reason I prefer to use this as a base to layer under one of the pricier cotton candy perfumes for staying power and complexity. I get complimented and asked constantly (seriously, at least a couple of times a day) what I am wearing, and I usually just say that it is a secret blend of different scents. ;) Unless it is a woman asking, in which case I let her in on my juvenile cotton candy fetish and which combo I happen to be using that day.
I found this at Walmart for $3 a can and snatched up three of them, lest they stop carrying it like they did with Body Fantasies and force me to order online. (I like instant gratification!) In addition to being a fun, playful body spray, it also works great as an air freshener to keep around the house or the car, so for the price you really have nothing to lose.