This base coat is HG for me, a total game changer. I apply it in this manner: 1 coat of bonder, 1 coat of color, 1 coat of bonder, 1 coat of color, and then a quick dry top coat (these days it's Sally Hansen Hard As Nails). I guess you could call this the bonder variation of the sticky sandwich. With this combination, my nail polish lasts a FULL seven days, with tip wear showing around the 4th or 5th day. My nail polish generally lasted only 3-4 days before, with significant chipping on day 5. Love this stuff! Aside from the awesome formula, I love Orly packaging - the rubberized grip on the handle makes it easy to work with and the brush is the right size and flexibility to make it easy to apply and maneuver with precision. Will repurchase again and again.
Gorgeous deep, dark, blackened plum-burgundy color. Sole Mate applies beautifully -- it's horribly streaky with the first coat, but as a review says below, it magically evens out with the second coat to a gorgeous, even, opaque coat of color. I've had issues with streaky Essies in the past (even with 3 coats!), and Sole Mate is not one of them. Applies beautifully, and with Orly Bonder BC and SH Hard as Nails TC, it lasts me a work week before I start to get significant chipping.
Skin Veil is wonderful - it has a light texture without feeling overly siliconey or greasy, light to medium buildable coverage, and melts into skin providing a dewy finish that lasts all day. I don't have one gripe about the formula whatsoever. It's worthwhile to note that Ellis Faas products are all paraben and fragrance free (and no animal testing!), and this foundation is no exception. Prior to reading the company statement, I was very pleasantly surprised to find the foundation and concealer to be unscented; this seems to be a rarity when delving into the higher end cosmetics brands.
As stated in another review below, the even-numbered shades are warm (yellow-undertoned) and the odd-numbered shades are cool (pink-undertoned). Since I don't have access to EF at a store or counter near me, I contacted customer service at the EF website and was delighted when they graciously sent samples (all the way fromt the Netherlands!) of several shades of the foundation and concealer to help me find a match. This experience, coupled with the brand's commitment to superior texture and ingredients (not to mention the no animal testing and fragrance-free products aspect) has sincerely made me a fan for life.
I am NC35-40 with yellow/slightly olive undertones, and S104 is a dead-on match for me. Correspondingly, I am S204 in EF concealer. My skin is fairly sensitive (to fragrances and other irritants) and I am able to use this foundation and other EF products with no adverse reactions. My other foundation “matches” (since I generally have to mix shades) are: MUFE F+B mixing 32 and 34, NARS SG mixing Stromboli and Syracuse, NARS TM in St. Moritz, GA LSF 7 (this runs ever so slightly too cool for me, but was the closest match).
Lips -Revlon - Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain - Lovesick
candied 5/31/2012 3:54:00 PM
This product retails for $7.99 at my local Rite Aid and I purchased it during one of their 40% off sales. Lovesick is a gorgeous, bright rosey-fuchsia color (if that makes sense). JBKBS are lightly mint scented, but I can't detect a scent or flavor shortly after application on the lips. They are in twist-up lip crayon form (similar to Tarte's LipSurgences) and apply smoothly and build up color evenly. The texture of JBKBS is really nice; feels moisturizing and glides along your lips nicely, yet not too slippery. Applied heavily, the color is as intense and true to the appearance of Emma Stone's lips in the ad. Applied lightly, it gives a hint of brightness that is very wearable in my opinion. Initially, the product leaves you with a glossy finish that wears away within the first hour or so, and you're left with intense color with a satin-y finish on your lips. Very comfortable, and the color wears evenly over the course of the day -- I can still see a nice stain at the end of the workday, so the lasting power on these is at least 7-8 hours.
I am NC35-40 / MUFE F+B 32 & 34, and currently have (and love) this color, Lovesick, and Rendezvous.
Styling Products -SAMY - Fat Hair 0 Calories Thickening Spray
candied 2/22/2012 12:04:00 PM
I'm always on the hunt for the perfect volumizing product for my pin straight, fine, thin hair - and this product really fits the bill. It took me until midway through the bottle to finally get it working optimally for me, and I wish I'd taken the instructions on the bottle a bit more seriously when they said to spray "generously." Spraying generously has been the key for me, and for those that have said the spray does nothing, my suspicion is that they are simply not using enough product.
I spray each section of hair twice (two pumps), blowdry my hair upside down, then use a round brush to blowdry by section for volume at the roots. Using only this thickening spray, I get volume that lasts through the day with no stickiness, crunchiness, or greasiness (since I have a habit of running my fingers through my hair). If I weren't currently on a use-up campaign of my overstocked styling product shelf, I'd repurchase right this second.
The only downside to this product, I think, is the expectations that come from being named a "Lip Butter Glaze." I'm a Korres Lip Butter fan, and upon hearing that they were coming out with the glazes (not in a pot, yay! in a squeezy tube, YAY!) I was jumping for joy. However, these really are NOT the same. They are very nice, moisturizing, pigmented glosses, but truly are NOT Lip Butters in a tube. My main disappointment comes from the fact that all Lip Butter Glazes (at least the ones I have -- Jasmine, Pomegranate, Quince, Raspberry) are all vanilla-scented. Had they kept the same scents as the Lip Butters, these would have been absolutely perfect.
Laura Mercier Secret Brightener is a luminizer billed to "brighten dark circles, reduce shadows and minimize discolorations." It's packaged in a nicely hefty click-pen, with a synthetic brush tip. I came across this product because I bought the Laura's Secret Flawless Brightened Eyes Volume 2 kit from Sephora, I don't know that I would have purchased this item separately to try, given its relatively big price tag.
According to the little instruction card included with my kit, LM recommends using the Secret Brightener under her Secret Concealer, with Secret Brightening Powder dusted lightly over top.
I think luminizer is the correct term to describe this product. It's a lightly flesh-colored thick cream that is luminous and light-reflective, with no noticeable shimmer or large glitter particles. It spreads smoothly and nicely, without being overly pasty or slippery. It is a rather thick formula to be in pen form, but I think if you're patient with the click dispensing, the packaging is ideal (as opposed to a pot or tube). Don't expect any color correcting or concealing properties with this pen, unless your undereye circles/discolorations are very slight! I think Secret Brightener lends a nice luminosity underneath undereye concealer, and prevents it from looking too flat, if you know what i mean. I use it daily underneath either the LM Secret Concealer, or another of my faves, KA SSE and have no problems with creasing or gathering in fine lines/dryness.
As for dispensing, be patient! What I tend to do is give the pen one or two clicks AFTER I'm done using it in the morning, so there's the perfect amount waiting for me the next day. Otherwise, in the morning rush, I'm tempted to click click click while impatiently waiting for the product to appear -- leading to regret and product overload. We've all been there, right? (thinking of some guilty offenders like Stila Lip Glazes...)
Side note: LM Secret Brightener has much less (if any) concealing power than Clinique Airbrush Concealer, which I think is fair, given that the Clinique IS a concealer. I would have loved the Clinique, except my fussy skin decided it was allergic to it.
Deodorants -Fresh - Roll-on Sugar, Deodorant and Antiperspirant
candied 12/8/2011 10:53:00 AM
I bought this because I was looking for an alternative to the traditional antiperspirants that use aluminum to stop sweat. I've tried natural deodorants before (e.g., Tom's), however I found that my problem doesn't really lie with odor, it's more that I dislike my underarms feeling wet. I had heard good things about this deodorant+antiperspirant, and given my general impression of Fresh as "natural" and "good for you," I gave it a go. Imagine my disappointment when I looked at the bottle (I ordered this online, and the active ingreds are not listed on Sephora's site) and the active ingredient is Aluminum Chlorohydrate (15%). This is a higher percentage than my current deodorant+AP, and it's less effective at stopping sweat!
All in all, this deodorant+AP is ok -- it smells lightly of sweet lemons (and is very pleasant, like most Fresh products), no flaking or white residue. However, its ability to stop sweat is markedly less than my current Dove AP, and this is especially disappointing because it contains aluminum. I would have cut it a lot of slack if it were using some sort of natural ingredient or alternative to aluminum. I just don't see the purpose of paying more for this, when it's using the same active ingredient as all other APs, AND is less effective.
I wish Sephora had made it more clear on the site that this product uses aluminum as an active ingredient. It IS billed as an antiperspirant though, so maybe I'm the fool for assuming that since Fresh is "natural" and aluminum wasn't listed, that it wasn't in there.
This eyeliner is a twist-up pencil with a built-in sharpener, which I absolutely love -- probably the most ideal packaging for a pencil liner I've seen yet! The eyeliner is smooth and creamy enough that it doesn't skip, but not too creamy that it doesn't hold its shape or becomes too slippery. Applies smoothly, sets after several seconds. Rue Bonaparte is a flesh-colored matte beige, which I (NC35ish here) find perfect for lining my waterline to make my eyes appear a little larger and more awake. It wears pretty well -- lasts on my waterline through my roughly 10 hour or more days, with a bit of fading towards the end. This pencil has lasted longer on the waterline than the squillion other eyeliners I've tried, including, MUFE Aqua Eyes, SB Limitless, Tarte (forget the name, but it's twist up), UD 24/7, MAC FL, SB Jet Set, and even my beloved Milani Liquif'eye. I've yet to try the other colors of NARS' Larger than Life Liners, but given the performance of Rue Bonaparte, I am sorely tempted! Would definitely repurchase!
I bought this palette during the tail end of the first craze, when they were still accompanied by the double ended 24/7 pencil (not the brush). I just thought I'd add my 2 cents to the reviews -- the only eyeshadow I find unusable in this palette is Sidecar, due to the glitter and fall-out. I've used it once and glitter ended up all over my face for the entire day. How it spreads that far I will never know.
This palette is a terrific deal - 12 full-sized shadows, decent eyeliners (or e/s brush), and a mini UDPP. The eyeshadows (with the exception of Sidecar, since glitter really isn't my thing) are great -- pigmented, buttery, and long-lasting. Unfortunately for me, I knew that 24/7s don't really last that long on me, and UDPP tends to dry my lids out (or it could be an allergic reaction?). At any rate, even knowing this, I still find that the palette is a great deal for the eyeshadows alone. It is a must-have? I think this depends on what your stash currently contains. I am warm complected, love neutrals, my stash had slim pickins as far as neutrals, so for me the answer was YES. At this point in time, there are various other neutral palettes out there ranging from Wet n' Wild, NYX, Too Faced, etc. so there are plenty of choices. Personally, I am quite satisfied with my purchase and love having a palette of great stand-by neutrals together for quick access.
I have sensitive skin - generally sensitive to fragranced products and whatever is in sunscreens, with the exception of EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46. I haven't narrowed down the exact ingredient(s) I'm allergic to in SS, but I've tried more than a fair share (all sensitive skinned varieties), and the Elta is the only one that hasn't left me with a lovely rash after a use or two. Anyways, now that you know that my skin is fairly fussy, let me tell you how much like I like this mask. It leaves my skin wonderfully soft and, for lack of a better description, feeling refreshed! My skin feels soft and clean, but not dry or tight, and just FRESH. In my experience, it's rare for a product to make my skin feel clean and just, fresh, without it feeling like it dries out my skin too. This is the first Boscia product I've purchased and it is spendy, in my opinion, but I find that it's worth it. After reading the reviews, I knew to expect a small tube and was ready to have finished the tube after several masks -- but I've now done 6 or so masks, and I'd conservatively guess that less than a quarter of the tube is gone. Not bad, right? I've been using this mask twice a week, and maybe I'm weird, but it's quite satisfying to use peel off masks, no? Imagine, it's like a biore nose strip, but for your entire face! But without the crustiness or dryness of the strips. I've never had a problem peeling the mask off, I can usually get the below-the-eyes zone of the mask peeled in one big piece, then my forehead as another big piece. The trick is to apply the mask decently thickly, with enough opacity that you can't really see your skin peeking out underneath. Pay special attention to the edges and try to make them as distinct as possible - as that's where you'll start peeling and it'll make it easier to start peeling. Little remnants left at the edges are easily rinsed away after, but FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS GOOD DO NOT GET THIS IN YOUR HAIR (eyebrows included). Just leave yourself some clearance, you have been forewarned. All in all, love this mask, it makes my skin feel good, and the tube lasts for enough masks that I don't find the price exorbitant. Would repurchase!
Eyeliner -NYX - Super Skinny & Super Fat Eye Marker
candied 4/29/2011 11:24:00 AM
This review is for the Super Skinny Eye Marker. I am a liquid eyeliner fiend - I've tried many a liquid liner (mostly drugstore, see my reviews), but also branched into gel liners (drugstore and ME/HE like MAC, Bobbi Brown, Smashbox) - all in the search of a liner that stays the day and is easy to apply.
The Super Skinny Eye Marker is in pen form with a snap top cap, and has a super fine felt tip applicator. It applies easily and smoothly, delivering a true, intense, black line. There is nothing left to be desired in color or application -- opaque black, and the felt tip is firm enough to deliver excellent precision but not too hard that you feel as if you are poking your eyelid. The shortcoming of this liner lies in its longevity - it faded within a couple hours for me. I probably could have predicted this though, as when I swatched it on my hand and ran water over it, the line immediately disappeared. As much as I wanted to love this product (liquid liner! in pen form! super black! easy to apply!), it did not work for me and I would not repurchase.
For anyone looking for a long lasting DS liquid liner in pen form, I would recommend Physician's Formula Eye Boosters - these things are amazing and as easy (if not easier) to apply! (If you are looking for a true black go for the "Ultra Black," for a soft dark/grey black opt for "Black").
Product Description: Special Volume Building Brush provides intense color-payoff without clumping. Quick dry, waterproof formula set lashes in place for all day wear. Removes easily with warm water and gentle pressure. Polymer spirals will release upon rinsing.
As I was applying this mascara it seemed promising, the brush lifted and separated, the formula didn't make my lashes stick together or get clumpy. I didn't get smudges under my eyes at the end of the day, but it seemed to flake off throughout the day -- so much so, that by evening my lashes felt like most of the mascara was gone? It was the oddest thing, and I've never had that happen before. Tested it for a second full day, and the same flaking/disintegration occurred. Returned and would not repurchase.
I've recently become reobsessed with Revlon lipsticks (I had a short-lived affair with the Mattes, then the Color Bursts, then my short attention span waned...) - for the longest time I stayed away from the Super Lustrous line because I (mistakenly) thought that these had a scent. I can now add the SL's to my Revlon love list, as they are creamy, pigmented and moisturizing with no scent! The finish for Ravish Me Red is slightly moist, but not glossy, just a slight sheen. I love the bright red-orange lipstick trend lately (see the color on many a J.Crew models' lips in their recent catalogs) and was eyeing MAC's Lady Danger as I'd heard that this was what they used for their photo shoots. I have a hard time with MAC's matte formula though, so when I saw Revlon had a color that I thought would work, I snapped it up.
As far as whether this color is a dupe for the color of Lady Danger, I cannot say... but, on my lips, Ravish Me Red gives the desired effect of a J.Crew bright red-orange lip. Love and would repurchase this or any Revlon Super Lustrous!
Edit: Swatched Lady Danger today and the color is much brighter (almost fluorescent like) than RMR, another big difference being the texture since LD is matte. I would say that RMR is LD's slightly toned down, big sister - the finish is more forgiving, the color is more suitable for everyday. Hths someone!
Lipstick -Revlon - ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick
candied 4/7/2011 12:08:00 PM
I have this in Stellar Sunrise, a vibrant coral color with teensy tiny microshimmers in the tube that don't really show up when the product is applied (I find this a good thing, as they also don't affect the texture and there is no frostiness). I think a lot of reviewers have misunderstood the nature of this product -- it is NOT a lip gloss. It is NOT intended to be moisturizing -- it IS a long wearing lip color. Admittedly, I was in a rush in my local drugstore and grabbed this based on color alone -- not realizing that this was a liquid lipstick. But, the directions, should you read them, clearly say -- "Apply a thin film to lips, wait until dry, remove with oil-based remover." I'm willing to bet that those having issues with removal are not following directions.
The product itself has a doefoot applicator and applies thin and is light and slightly creamy - sort of between a gel and a cream if that makes sense. It has a very slight chemical-ish scent (no added other fragrance) which is only discernible to me if I am sniffing the tube -- no scent or taste once it has dried on the lips. The color is intense, and on the lips is true to the tube color. It then dries, and leaves a paint-like coating on the lips, slightly tacky to the touch. It doesn't transfer onto coffee cups and the like, but I do find it to be drying. I would not rub your lips together before it dries (moves the color around too much and it won't dry in an even coat). As I didn't intend to buy this type of product, but LOVE the color, I'm still looking for ways to make this work for me -- I've tried balm either under or over, but found it's affected the longevity of the color too much for it to be a solution. Will update in a bit - I've heard that using a wax-based balm over (as opposed to oil-based) will help with moisture and not affect the color.