I got really excited when I saw the raves here for this mousse, and promptly tracked it down to my local Ulta. It was very affordable, I think I paid $5.99 for it. I was prepared from the other reviews to deal with overwhelming musk, in order to have voluptuous hair! Unfortunately, this didn't provide much volume or any other benefit to my very fine, straight, chin-length virgin hair. I used it every day for a week to see what worked best in terms of application and blowdrying: totally wet hair, slightly damp, mostly dry...and nothing made it worthwhile. My hair would get a little lift that completely deflated in about 20 minutes, so by the time I left the house in the morning my hair was flat. The product also left a distinct "I have hairspray in my hair" feeling to it (no matter how much/how little product I used), which I'm not a fan of. The smell everyone has mentioned is definitely present throughout the day, so those who are sensitive to fragrance may want to consider this before buying. I also didn't like the white build-up that I started to see on my hairbrush after just three days with this mousse! Back to Ulta it went. I suggest that if you are open to spending a bit more on a volumizing product (but one that is truly great and lasts forever), see my review on GHD's Fat Lotion, it's one of the best volumizing products that I have ever encountered!
Viva Glam VI SE was released in March 2009 as part of the Viva Glam Refresher Campaign. It's a lovely blue-based, plummy pink shade, and it is also a Lustre formula. It reminds me of the underside of a rose petal in terms of color, if that makes sense! I wouldn't say it is a "neutral" shade per se, as I think that it does lean towards the cool end of the spectrum, but I think that many women will still be able to wear it. I love how this color is different from many of the brown-based pinks that I tend to collect, and how it seems to brighten my face in a natural sort of way when I have it on! I also purchased the Viva Glam VI SE gloss (released in 2007) to wear over it, which is a really gorgeous combination. Plum Royale (Cremestick) lip liner looks fantastic with both the gloss and the lipstick as well. I'm glad this was released in time for spring, because I think it is pretty and fresh. I hope this becomes part of the permanent Viva Glam collection, so I can continue to support a wonderful cause and also have this color always in rotation!
Creme in Your Coffee is a permanent Cremesheen shade released with the Creme Team Collection in February 2009. It's described as "creamy mid-tone pinked brown". On me (NC/W 10 or lighter, light brown hair, hazel eyes, medium pigmented lips), it comes off more as a "very slightly browned pink" than as described, but it is eminently wearable and really beautiful, no matter which way you phrase the shade! It is understated in color while still giving some oomph to my face. I really like the subtle glossiness of it as well, it's not "shiny" but has a very rich look to it, sort of like the sheen of silk, if that makes sense! I find it to be really long-lasting and moisturizing, which is a pleasant surprise to find both in a lipstick at the same time. It also wears really well, with minimal transfer to water bottles and SO's, and when it wears down a bit, it wears evenly and still looks pretty. This shade goes really well with Beurre Cremestick liner. I can see this becoming a staple shade that stays in my handbag on heavy rotation- give it a try!
Blush -MAC - Mineralize Skinfinish in Blonde Degradé
circe1202 2/2/2009 5:48:00 PM
This product is perfect for PPP's, and great for winter! It's also my favorite MSF of the three I own (Soft and Gentle and Petticoat being the other two) because it's a muted shade, and not in any way glittery or unnatural. On me (NC/W 10 or lighter, hazel eyes, light brown hair), it creates a perfect pale pinkish-rosy flush with slight shimmer (and even when I'm just dusting over the lightest section). I use my 188 brush for a perfect application. It's a super product because it's like blush and highlighter combined! It will also be perfect for spring and softer makeup, but for now it works with both my "natural" looks and also as a complement to strong lips (e.g. Laura Mercier Lip Velvet in Cassis). I'm sorry that this is LE, but the pan is large and should last a long time! I got it for $28.00 at Nordstrom. Highly recommend!
ATTENTION all fine-haired women (and/or those that want volume): this is the real deal! I have baby fine, straight, dry-ish, chin-length virgin hair that gives me the constant battle of getting (and holding) fullness. After picking this up at Sephora, I haven't touched a single other product! I also don't need to change the shampoo/conditioner I'm currently using (Joico Moisture Recovery) for amazing results. It is a thinnish lotion, thinner than gel, with a slight fragrance (the smell doesn't last on dry hair, for those sensitive to fragrance) in a convenient pump bottle. I use a quarter-sized amount (about 4 pumps) in my palm and run it from root to tip on my damp hair right before blow-drying. Next, I blow it dry while using a round brush to style. I don't need to use any products after it's dry, I find that the Fat Lotion does give me hold to the style. The result is the best I've ever had, with natural looking volume and shine, my hair is still soft to the touch, and the volume LASTS. I mean it--my hair still looks great (heck, maybe even a little better) at the end of the day! My SO, friends, and coworkers have all noticed and commented that my hair looks fuller/ "pretty" (and my SO is one of those oblivious men who rarely comments on anything beauty-related! ). I've never gotten compliments on my hair before in my entire life! My only gripe is the price ($25 at Sephora), but it seems like the bottle should last quite a while with the small amount that I need every day. Run, don't walk, to get this if your hair needs a boost!
Finally, my search for the perfect cool-toned pink blush is over! So many pink blushes were too bubble gum or too warm, or just too "something" on me (for reference, PPP, NC/W10, neutral toned, dry skin). Rosebud gives me perfectly flushed, angelic cheeks that last for hours and look completely natural-- think sweetly flushed on a cold day! The color is buildable as well, and I think would suit many looks. The texture is moist without being greasy, and a dream to apply. I use my MAC 188 brush to apply it, and the application looks flawless so no one can tell where the blush begins or ends. My only gripes are the price/availability of Becca, and the size of the blush, but for something as fabulous as this, I'll deal and gladly re-order!
This is a blush that often goes neglected in my collection, but I always remember how much I like it when I "rediscover" it from time to time :) It's a soft, very slightly warm peachy pink/nude shade with very subtle shimmer, almost just an imperceptible glow. As someone who's super pale (NC/W10), it's great to have a blush that is almost literally impossible to overdo, and Penny Lane is one of those shades. I can load it on if I want a sweet-cheeked, yet still natural (really!) look. I use my MAC 188 brush for a perfect application. My only gripe is the lasting power, I feel like this one doesn't last all day and needs a touch up after 4 hours or so. Overall, it's really pretty, and a great addition to anyone's blush collection.
My lips seem to go through phases (probably because of retinoid use on my face) where they are just dry and hard. It drives me insane, because they will be fine one day and then change over the next...and inevitably, I end up licking them and making it worse! Enter Nivea's Kiss of Moisture...a perfect daytime alternative to my usual night lip repair, Aquaphor. Unlike Aquaphor, KoM is not thick and somewhat slimy/greasy, it's just about the smoothest and thinnest lip product I've ever tried without losing any of the rich moisture! My lips retain so much of the product, there's no need to obsessively re-apply, like sometimes what seems to happen with Chapstick and other similar products. I do notice that if I am drinking/eating/smooching, it does seem to come off a bit easier than I expected it to, but that's not a big drawback, IMO. It has a very, very light fragrance/taste, almost seems to be a slightly lemony essence, it's just pleasant and fresh. I found this at Wal-Mart at the checkout for $2.36, and as someone who has spent $17 on BB Lip Balm, this was a drop in the bucket for a product that is well worth several times its cost. Love it!
Top/Base Coats -Essie - Good to Go! The Fastest Drying Top Coat
circe1202 10/29/2008 5:41:00 PM
After using Seche Vite and having it literally destroy several manicures (shrinkage, major chipping/peeling, and dullness within two days, enough that it had to be taken off!), Good to Go is a godsend! I've used it both on a home manicure and also to protect a professional one, both with really good results. Unlike some other reviewers, I think this is pretty shiny. Best of all, I have never had such fresh nails for so long before (and I'm not that rough on my hands), but with G2G, I don't see tip wear or minor chips on majorly used fingers (thumb and pointer, usually) until day 5! WOW! My only complaint is that I still don't think it's super fast in terms of drying, but it's good enough for the great results I get. I usually do my nails or add topcoat to another manicure while I'm vegging out watching TV, so it's not really a big deal to me to wait a while :) I got this for $10 at Ulta. Definitely will repurchase!
Gels/Soaps -Johnson & Johnson - Vanilla Oatmeal Baby Bath
circe1202 10/23/2008 8:31:00 PM
This is such a fantastic body wash, at an even better price! I've alternated between using Jason body wash (in the huge pump bottle) and Philosophy's 3-in-1, but now I get the size I want with a great smelling, gentle product, and it's CHEAP. As another reviewer said below, this is a floral vanilla scent (as opposed to a foody vanilla), but it is still delicious. The wash is a thinner consistency, but makes a great lather. I loved the slight smell that it left behind on my skin, but never interfered with my perfume all day. It also left behind a great smell in the bathroom after my shower! I got this at Wal-Mart for less than $5 in a convenient 30 oz. pump bottle. Great product, great smell, lots of it, and affordable...what else can you ask for?!?
Other -Unlisted Brand - Listerine Vibrant White Pre-Brushing Rinse
circe1202 9/30/2008 11:05:00 PM
I'm not typically a sucker for better "versions" of products, but I think this new Listerine rinse is even better than the first! I've used the original Listerine Whitening Rinse for a while with pretty good results, but my local Wal-Mart was out of it for quite a while. I finally got some of the Vibrant White (Target was even out of the original!), and I really like it. The taste is a little bit different, maybe more pleasant/palatable? All I know it that my teeth and gums feel super clean, even before brushing, when I use this! I also think that any "losses" in whitening that I might have had when I couldn't get the original rinse have been "regained" within just a day or so. Just for reference, it took a while with the original rinse to see any whitening effects. A big 32 oz. bottle was about $7.00 at Target, and in my experience with the first one, lasts a long time with daily use! Will update if anything changes.
Undoubtedly, Lip Wax is one of the best cosmetic purchases I've made this year (and that says a lot). Thanks to KarlaSugar and her fabulous swatches, I took a trip to Saks to check these out. I took home #2 & #3, and I have plans to go back for #4 & #6! The colors are deceivingly "boring" in the pans, but are so beautiful on, just perfectly polishing your lips with natural looking color, but without screaming "I HAVE ON LIPSTICK/LIPGLOSS!". #3 is the sleeper hit, as far as I'm concerned. It is the most lovely browned reddish shade I think I've ever used! I wore it today with minimal eye makeup (mascara and a little black eyeliner on the waterline and a light dusting of blush) and I got compliments from everyone from my hairdresser, salespeople, acquaintances, and my BF about how "beautiful" I looked, and that they "couldn't quite figure out what was different"...seriously, when does that happen? I have to think it was #3 doing all the work for me. Besides the amazing colors this product comes in, the formula is FANTASTIC. Like a cross between a stain and a lipstick, it feels like there is almost nothing on my lips, it's not drying in any way, and it lasts ALL DAY. I mean it-- no residue on water bottles, forks, SO's. The hue might fade slightly, but still looks wonderful after several hours. I use the MAC 318 lip brush for even application, but I think your fingers can also work as well! The only drawback to this product (well, more to GA Beauty) is that it's listed as LE on the website...maybe they will change their minds and make this fantastic item permanent! It's available for $26.00 at select Saks and on giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com.
Misc Beauty Tools -Laura Mercier - Loose Powder Puff
circe1202 9/30/2008 8:43:00 PM
I'm so glad I read the reviews on this, and didn't waste money on a MAC powder brush! Since starting to use Caron translucent powder, I've been wishing I could afford their goose down puff, but that's a luxury that a grad student has to do without. I have a big oversized Sephora powder brush, but I felt like that didn't always apply this amazing powder as well as it could look. The LM puff is a generous size and really soft, and it doesn't irritate my sensitive and dry skin like the brush would sometimes do. I put it over the holes in the Caron container and turn it over, then gently shake any excess back from the puff into the container. Then, I take the puff and do a little pat-and-roll motion, to really "set" my foundation (or sometimes just my sunscreen). This works so well, I never look "powdery" and the foundation doesn't get disturbed or moved around, especially in those areas around the nose that might look cakey later in the day (or in the rearview mirror-- yikes!). It was $12.00 at Nordstrom, and well worth the money! I also like that I can wash it with the towels, and I should have this for years as a result.
Sunscreen -La Roche Posay - Anthelios XL 50 Creme Fondante PPD 25
circe1202 9/30/2008 8:35:00 PM
Don't let the "rich cream" part of the name scare you away- this sunscreen is fantastic! I think it is meant for people with normal to dry skin, as it is emollient, as opposed to drying or mattifying. I've been using this for a little over a month now, and I love it! My skin is slightly tricky to work with, as it's super fair (lighter than NC/W 15), dry, and I burn from incidental exposure in the car, yet I also have some mild facial eczema. Enter LRP! I tried the Fluide Extreme, but found it to be a bit drying. The Creme Fondante is more pleasant to apply, it feels like a smooth lotion. I use about a 1/4 tsp. for my whole face, and I let it sink in for about 10 minutes before applying MU. I don't find that it gives me a white cast, but other users with actual skin pigment (darker than me, which is just about anyone!) might want to make sure it's really rubbed in. It does make me a little shiny, but not in a greasy looking way, more of a "glow". I can easily make the shine disappear with a light dusting of powder. I haven't experienced a single breakout so far, and this SS also makes a great primer for when I end up wearing foundation! I found this on eBay much cheaper than other e-tailers, but it's worth the money no matter where you find it.
Until recently, I was always a "Ballet Slippers" kind of girl, going for the classic, sophisticated pale shade on short squared nails, both for hands and feet. One day, I decided to "take the plunge" and go for for a dark shade, looking for the "vampy yet sophisticated" look. Sole Mate is just perfect, and has gotten me out of my pale nail rut! It's a chic burgundy shade, but instead of the wine undertones in many similar shades, Sole Mate has this fantastic purple undertone. It looks fantastic with anything you would wear-- like a dark neutral, IMO. I like it year-round, but it definitely makes a fabulous fall/winter shade! It only takes two coats to get the color in the bottle, which is great. I have very pale, neutral toned skin (lighter than NC/W 15), and I like the contrast between myself and the polish, though it doesn't look goth or anything. The wear is pretty good (about 3-4 days) until a chip typically appears (YMMV). I take my own bottle with me now to the nail salon, that's how much I love it! Give this a try! Will definitely repurchase.