Oh man, I wanted to like this, but I swear this stuff was the start of my slide from a flawless complexion this summer to full out acne. My skin was doing fantastic using the soy cleanser from fresh, a cleocin-t prescrip topical, and revale moisturizer and going for regular facials. A friend who gets comped a ton of products gave me a basket of goodies and this cleanser was one of them. I was excited to give it a try and began to use it daily in the morning. Well soon my skin was in a full out, don't want to leave the house breakout. Then I went on vacation for a week and didn't take it with me, and my skin started getting a bit better but I didn't make the connection, and started using it again. Back to hideous-get-me-to-a-dermatologist skin. Now I'm on an an antiobiotic and some topicals, and hiding indoors until it is back under control. I mean, who knows, I could have something totally hormonal and unrelated going on, but I never had a problem until I started using this product and I just threw it in the trash, especially since I didn't spend any money on it.
Fragrances -Narciso Rodriguez - Nr for Her Musc Collection
calisummer 12/7/2009 8:20:00 PM
Oh my gosh, I just LOVE this. My review is for the Musc Intense in the metallic purple-y/pink bottle. Brief background - a few years ago before the original NR hit the market, I tried it at Saks and found it quite strong and distinct. I was a fan, but wasn't sure if I could pull it off for every day wear. However, I loved being ahead of it even being released, so I left my credit card info to be on the very first mailing when it arrived. Well the guy wrote my number down wrong and left me a voice mail to let me know the card wasn't right. At that point, I didn't know if I loved it *that* much and decided I would wait. But it always ended up on my "list" of products to buy. Fast forward a few years later and I ended up getting some rebate credit card back from my contacts with $100 and thought - yes! I am FINALLY going to go get my NR perfume! So I dashed off to Saks and up to the NR counter. Now keep in mind it has been a few years since I had last looked so I had no idea there was a "black" bottle or a "pink" bottle - or what the differences were. I just thought it was called Narcisco Rodriguez for Her - the woman spritzed it, I loved it, I handed her my acuevue rebate visa card and done! The whole way home I kept inhaling myself, surprised that I didn't just *like* this intriguing scent, I was completely digging myself. When I got home and unwrapped the package, I was surprised to see the metallic bottle and thought it must just be limited edition packaging. Only once I started googling did I realize this was actually NOT the original scent, and in fact there was a light pink bottle version out there as well. I started pouting thinking I had managed to buy the wrong thing! Until I inhaled myself again and thought DAMN, I really really like this! More so than I recalled ever loving the initial one. How do I describe this scent? I feel like I just stepped out of the cleanest, gentlest shower...rolled in some soft powder, but not a baby soft or powdery scent....then stretched out naked on the most luxurious, woodsy, velvet, sexy cashmere.... It's more than subtle, distinctive, yet without being overpowering or cloying. It's feminine without being girlie or floral or too musky. It's just hot and makes you want to have sex, like you can't get enough of how good someone smells. It's almost like if someone's own skin smells that amazing you just want to inhale them. I don't think the original is going to do it for me. Don't love the actual bottle...kind of like the black one better, but yeah, I heart this scent.
Treatments -Unlisted Brand - RevaleSkin Night Cream
calisummer 6/4/2009 10:42:00 AM
Full disclosure – one of my friends is a sales rep for this product and hooked me up with a nice supply of the day cream, night cream, eye cream, and intensive recovery therapy. While I was somewhat intrigued by the potent antioxidants of this coffeeberry line, I don’t know if it is a moisturizer I would have purchased on my own. It is also pretty expensive for a pretty small bottle. When I first started using it, I wasn’t crazy about the smell, or even sure if it was absorbing as deep as other moisturizers I have used. Yet, as I continued religiously using the RevaleSkin day cream in the morning and the night cream before bedtime, something crazy started happening. Besides the smell kind of growing on me, my normally red/blotchy and not so awesome textured skin began looking, well, pretty much flawless. To be fair, I have also been benefitting from monthly facials, but my facialist comments all the time now on how beautiful my skin has been looking. I mix a generous amount of the day cream with my Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer in the morning, and I just heart the way it goes on. And thanks to a review I read here, I also mix a dab of retin-a with the night cream. My skin looks and feels beautiful. I have to say though, b/c I am not paying for this stuff, I do not use it sparingly. I use a few pumps and I use it every single day. If I had to buy this, I would be trying to use as little as possible to try to conserve it for as long as possible at those prices. It is so weird, b/c when I use it, it just doesn’t feel or seem like it is anything special. But I have noticed a huge overall improvement in my skin – much more even skin tone, soft, healthy, dare I say, even a glow, without a shine? And it has been an improvement on an old acne scar. The best part is I literally have not had one blemish on my face in months. Like, I’ve been so spoiled using this that if my friend gets a different job, I might actually have to start buying it myself. Sigh…..
I received a sample of this in bare radiance and was excited to give it a try. It certainly is “illuminating!” I have mixed feelings about that! I have to say, at first I LOVED it. The coverage it gave me was so FLAWLESS, I almost ran out to buy it. I mean, my skin looked just gorgeous, it evened out my skin tone, didn’t look like I was even wearing makeup, no cakey texture, no pores showing - just beautiful. Fresh from the shower looking. But man, that shine aspect. Hmmm. Too much. It looked like I had light reflecting off my face from every angle. Or even worse, that my face was so moist, giving the illusion that I was sweating profusely, yuck! Instead of a radiant “glow” it really was just a tad too shiney/reflective/dewey from EVERY angle. I think I will stick to what I am currently using – Laura Mercier regular tinted moisturizer with just a dab of my Becca skin perfecting lotion mixed in for my all over coverage. Together, that is much, much more subtle. Then I take the Becca highlighting and sweep a bit on my cheekbones, brow bone, cupid’s bow, etc. That gives me that “glow” in the places I want to highlight, without overkill. Still, there’s something about this, I still like. Maybe for summer?
Having pretty thick, almost coarse, eyebrows, I never would have even thought I needed a brow powder? But my awesome Laura Mercier girl used the Soft Blonde brow powder on me while doing my makeup for a premiere party, but I didn't pay much attention to what she did to my eyebrows. When my friends and family saw the pictures, they all kept commenting on how great my eyebrows looked! What?!! So I asked my girl what she did and she showed me how she mixed the two colors in the Soft Blonde palette and filled in my eyebrows with the LM brow brush. Wow. I mean, until then, I had no idea that my eyebrows needed or could be filled in. But the effect is very cool. She finished it off with the LM brow gloss and I am now a fan of this brow powder and brush. I am fair skin with blond hair - well a dark blond natural color with lots of light blond highlights. My eyebrows are somewhat dark, but I get them lightened along with my hair, so the soft blonde brow powder is a very good match for my coloring.
After some great facials and good products, my skin has been in good condition lately - no breakouts and my skin tone is pretty even. However, once the initial glow from my facials goes away, my skin was looking somewhat dull. I was looking for a good exfoliator to primarily help brighten and polish my skin without irritating it. Thanks to reading some of the reviews here, I learned that this daily microfoliant was a powder and therefore not grainy so shouldn't irritate the skin. Intrigued, I decided to give a try and very happy that I did! A little powder goes a long way although sometimes more than you want comes out and if your hands are all wet, it’s kind of wasted. This exfoliator feels VERY gentle and leaves my face looking so clean and fresh, not red or splotchy at all, my pores even look smaller, and yes, my skin instantly looks brighter, exactly what I was looking for. Depending on the texture of my skin, sometimes I use this every day, sometimes every other day. If you are not using any harsh products in your skin care routine – like just a cleanser, toner, and good moisturizer, I think this is definitely gentle enough for everyday use. However if you are using anything like obagi, a retin-a, or even something like differin, I would use this microfoliant every other day or as needed so that you are not using this on red or raw skin. But I have to say, this powdery paste is very gentle and I love massaging it into my face for about a minute, it feels like it is getting in so deep and really working and then my face feels soo soft as I rinse it off and looks awesome - bright and polished. I am very pleased with this exfoliator and consider it an integral part of my skin care routine. (As I have posted in another review, I have invested in the aquasana shower filter and I think washing my face with that gentle no-chlorine water has also helped the overall softness and quality of my skin. I have not found this product drying for me at all, I am wondering if the quality of the water I am mixing the powder with has helped with that.)
Hair -Jonathan - Beauty Water Shower Purification System
calisummer 5/19/2009 10:19:00 AM
I noticed this Jonathan filter a few months ago at Sephora and was intrigued enough to come home and read some reviews here. I have my hair highlighted every 6-8 weeks or so and find myself loving the fabulous bright bursts of blond for the first week or two, and then gradually it dulls, despite the high end color stay products I use. I am guessing my lovely city water has a great deal of chemicals and chlorine in it and takes its toll on my hair. If I am going to invest in $300 highlights, I want them to last! So when I saw this shower filter, I wondered if this could help with the color dulling problem. Thanks to Pheebie’s review, I learned that the more reasonably priced Aquasana filter system is just branded as part of the Jonathan hair care line. I purchased mine from bestfilters.com. I have been using the filter for a month now and I am very pleased. My color, while still not as dramatic as in the initial days after my highlights, still brightly shines. My hair also feels soft - it reminds me of the way it feels when being on vacation at a hotel and showering with a great water system. But quite honestly, the biggest difference I notice is in my SKIN. Wow. I wash my face in the shower all the time now. My face feels sooo soft and hydrated and is soo clear. It’s like showering in spring water. In fact, I stayed with a friend for a weekend and realized after I returned home how dry and slightly red/splotchy my skin was. This system is supposed to eliminate 99% of chlorine and I think washing my face without that drying chlorine has made the biggest difference of all. It was well worth the purchase. Oh and I love, love, love the massage showerhead, water pressure, and stream. I thought I had a good one before and quite honestly, I like this one way better. The only thing I will say is definitely read the instructions when you install. It is super easy to install, but they aren’t kidding when they say it can sputter black whatever comes out. It’s only for 2 seconds and then is flawlessly clean clear water, but I of course did not really read the instructions carefully and jumped a mile when that burst of black came flying out – luckily my shower curtain was out of the way, but it was close!! Thanks again for the great aquasana tip, Pheebie!!
Don’t like this at all. Like others, I am also a big fan of the Nars blush in Orgasm and thought the lip gloss color looked equally pretty. It is too light and frosty for me, and I actually prefer my Neutrogena gloss in Glimmer? or Dizzy? (I forget) to this one at a fraction of the cost. And I hate, hate the texture. It is so sticky, doesn’t spread right and looks awful on my lips. I had purchased a Dior Ultra Gloss the same day and the difference in application really stood out to me. The Dior felt so light and spread so easily, and this one really did not go on well. I will definitely not purchase a Nars lip gloss again.
BEST BRUSH EVER. Okay – I had my doubts. $40 for a brush?? But, I had come across my first Becca cream blush – the perfectly awesome Wild Orchid. I used my fingers to put it on for weeks and quite honestly thought the result was just fine – what did I need a brush for? Circle dab of color on each cheek and blend, right? I thought it looked great! But, I read a few reviews of this brush and I don’t know, moment of weakness and Becca online shopping and I clicked to add it to my order. Well oh my gosh, I could not even envision how amazing this brush is and how easy it is to get a perfect result even if you are a totally uncoordinated idiot like I am while putting on makeup. Seriously. I put a dash of color on each cheek with my new brush and my first thought was oooh – waaay too much color, I totally prefer using my fingers. THEN – I started sweeping and blending the color upward. Well, with no effort or technique from me, the color blended perfectly – along my cheekbones, across my apple cheeks, that whole cheek line thing that always talks about but I never knew how to really do, were highlighted, in all the right places. It was like I must be wearing blush to look that good, yet it looked so perfect it was like it must be amazingly awesomely envy-envoking natural. A dash of the shimmery becca skin perfector in pearl and I just glow. I did a demo for my mom using the brush and she could not believe the lines and color it created. My fingers cannot compete. If you love these cream blushes, the brush is worth the $40 without a doubt, and this coming from a girl who thinks $40 for a makeup brush is outrageous!
Total Holy Grail product. I highlight my hair every few months, kill it with a hair dryer every day, curling irons, and straighteners. I have naturally wavy (aka annoying) hair that “takes work” and poofs and looks awful if I don’t “do” it. Because of the color treating and the heat I am always blasting it with, my hair would be dry and dead (and look kind of like Alex’s on the Real Housewives of NYC) if I did not use good products. Well I have tried everything from drug store brands to Bumble & Bumble’s deeeep conditioner to an awesome hair mask from Lancome to other high end products. Some work better than others, but none of them give me the same absolute silky hair fabulousness of the Kerastase masque. Yes, I hate the price, but if you are going to spring for $300 highlights, you might as well take good care of your investment. I also find you do not need a lot of this and a jar lasts for several, several months. My hair can feel tangled and fussy, and the second I put this on in the shower, it just feels like silk I can run my fingers through. I actually feel like I have gorgeous hair. When I dry my hair, it styles much easier, is less poofy, just makes such an incredible difference. I try not to use it every day b/c I am paranoid of having any build up and have it not work as well. So I tend to alternate it with other conditioning products and use this one a few times a week, letting it sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing. I have yet to find a better deep conditioner on the market.
Primer/ Corrector -Becca - Line and Pore Corrector
calisummer 4/8/2009 2:30:00 PM
When I bought this product, I thought it was going to be a product that improved the lines on my face and reduced the size of my pores. In reality, it is not a product that improves the quality of the skin, but it does do a nice job of coverage to appear that way. I do not like the name of the product as I feel it’s claims are misleading. However, I do think it acts nicely as a primer, which essentially is what it is. I had been expecting a serum, but it is not. The texture is actually a bit weird and off-putting at first. It’s not smooth like foundation or a tinted moisturizer. It’s somehow both thick and foamy, yet it does spread easily. And gives a very natural finish. I was very worried with the texture that my foundation would not glide on easily and that instead I would get little yucky peels. But the skin seems to absorb this primer well, so that has not been a problem. I do not think this is an * absolutely essential* product, but I do feel like it is a nice start to building THE APPEARANCE of a flawless complexion before tinted moisturizers, foundation, and concealer. I like it, but it is not exactly what I was looking for or what I purchased as I was looking for a product that actually improved my lines and pores.
After several weeks of using this product, I came back to modify my review. I first got a sample of this free with my “Beauty Insider” Sephora card. I did not like the smell at all - it reminded me of the cucumber sauce that comes with Thai takeout food. But after using the product, I noticed that it was just gentle enough to leave my skin soft, but yet left my face feeling truly clean and fresh, and took the makeup off as well. After continuing to use it, I finally sucked it up and bought the full size product. I find it *slighty* more drying than moisturizing, but any cleanser I have used that is more gentle has not really "cleansed" my face or taken my makeup off and I would always be using an oil of olay daily facial wipe to get the rest off. So this cleanser by Fresh really seems to be the perfect PH balance for my skin, making it literally feel clean and fresh without being too harsh or drying. I just use a good moisturizer when I finish my skin care routine and overall I am very pleased with the product. I don't *love* the smell but I don't really even notice it anymore.
I have a confession to make. I would have NEVER bought this blush on my own. First of all, I have only used powder blushes, and I always get them in shades of bronze-y corals and peachy-pinks, bronzed roses, and apricots. Well let's just say I came across a Becca's wild orchid blush - a pink mauve - and even though it looked a million shades of wrong for me, decided to give it a try. Well, wow. I use just a tad right on the apples of my cheek, the creamy texture just blends right in, literally giving me that pretty, natural blush color, but in a way prettier color than I would actually blush. I really am liking Becca's products. I just hate they are hard to find in person and I don't like buying things without trying them out first!
Disappointed. Whenever I get my makeup done, they always use an eyelash curler, so I decided it was time for me to have one of my own. After reading various reviews, the Shu Uemura seemed to be the one to have. Not impressed. It barely makes a difference. Now I do have crazy long thick lashes, so I thought mine would be so easy to curl and look amazing. Well they look fine on their own and with some mascara, this doesn't do anything. I don't know if it is the shape or what. Maybe my eyes are set too far back or something, but I can't even get the right grasp. I wanted so much to like this, boo!
Eyeliner -Sephora - Flashy Liner Waterproof - Flashy Mauve
calisummer 3/28/2009 4:47:00 PM
These Sephora flasy liners are awesome! My favorite is the flashy mauve. It is not mauve at all. It is a light pink/purple perhaps lilac, but more of a pink lilac, that is perfect for lining the inner lower lid. Wow. It gives the best "pop" without looking done or obvious. I have the flashy silver (which is really a white) that works great, but I like this one even better. It just opens my eyes right up. Goes on sooo easy, no effort at all, and the price is great!! You do have to re-sharpen a lot, but I will always keep these in my makeup bag!!