I got this shadow on discount for about $10 on StrawberryNet. Not sure if it's still available on that site but I'm sure they still pop up now & then on ebay. It's a shimmery, warm mid-toned golden brown with good pigmentation, blendability and staying power. I wore this with my GOSH metallic brass eyeliner as a user below recommended and it looks GORGEOUS. Paired with the GOSH liner, it produces a unique bronze-y, greenish gold sheen. It's now my go-to summer look!
I recently got a miniature eau de parfum bottle as part of a GWP and I really like it alot. However, this is a fragrance that should be used very sparingly. Like not even a full push of a spray sparingly. Since it's a very strong scent, any more would result in headaches. Used correctly, this could work as a beautiful, floral, feminine scent for anywhere, anytime. I gave it a lippie off because you have to be super careful of the amount when applying it and the slightest bit of over-spraying could result in public-scent-terrorism. If you're used to fragrances that are more forgiving, are familiar only with ones created in this millenium and/or light fruity florals & marshmallowy gourmand scents (which is great in its own right), this fragrance might be somewhat startling. It's definitely worth giving it a chance, though. Red Door is a mature (not old!), sexy and refined scent. Update as of 09/27: I've been using this about a week and have received many compliments from friends/family, coworkers and random strangers. To be honest, I've always considered Elizabeth Arden/Red Door to have kind of an "old" image so I'm pleasantly surprised to discover this oldie but goodie that works for me. I'm finding that with my body chemistry, it gives off a spicy, warm & glowing scent which isn't too heavy (due to the lack of musk). The drydown, especially, has a lovely, rich, honey scent. I think this fragrance is more suitable for colder weather. Product description: Top notes – Lily of the Valley, Freesia, Wild Violets Mid notes – Red Rose, Moroccan Orange Flower, Jasmine, Ylang Base notes – Oakmoss, Sandalwood, Honey
Loose Powders -Laura Mercier - Loose Setting Powder - Translucent
ericaspinky 4/13/2011 1:53:00 AM
I pick up a bunch of this product with my fingers (this could get messy if you don't have steady hands) and rub & blend it into any area with noticeable pores and lines. The creamy texture of this powder allows me to do this successfully. It has to be this particular loose powder; the other Laura Mercier powders cake or ball up when I do this. I noticed that if you use this method on a bare, foundation-less face, it tends to produce the dreaded "polka-dot" effect (especially on your nose) because the powder does have a light beige tint to it. However, this could be your savior when your foundation starts to fall apart while you're out. The powder performs wonderfully as a touch-up, even on slightly-to-moderately sweaty skin. Also, if you're less than pleased with the results after using a foundation that has great coverage but looks cakey/accentuates your pores and wrinkles, applying the LM powder in this manner will save the day by producing an effective "soft-focus" effect. This product is a bit drying, so I intend to put more care into making sure my skin is well-moisturized when I go to sleep (so that I wake up with a well prepared "canvas" in the morning). Also, I have no idea how this would fare in hotter weather and oilier skin. I will update accordingly.
Polishes -Estee Lauder - Pure Color Nail Laquer in Frozen Fantasy
ericaspinky 4/9/2011 9:11:00 PM
I've received this as a GWP a few times in the past. Like other reviewers have said, this is an exceptional nude, subtly gorgeous shade for your nails/hands. The sheen is beautiful, the application smooth and it lasts about a week on me. It has a thicker texture than my other salon brands (OPI, Essie, etc.) and it's very easy to work with (one coat does the trick!). This shade is quite darker and "beige-ier" than my natural skintone (light yellow based). It looks fantastic in the summer and goes with everything. I am almost out of the GWPs, so I plan on swapping for it or searching it on Ebay. $19 is pricy for sure, but if all else fails, I would purchase this for full retail.
Powder -Everyday Minerals - Foundation Original Glo Formula
ericaspinky 4/5/2011 11:33:00 PM
Hands down the worst foundation I've ever tried. This made my skin look worse than without makeup (which is saying alot!). It didn't matter what kind of primer or finishing powder I used; this foundation emphasised every single pore and fine line (I actually discovered lines where I didn't notice any before). This product does the complete opposite of what makeup should do! It was also very drying; no matter how much I took care in moisturizing my face beforehand, this powder sucked every bit of moisture right up. Isn't mineral makeup supposed to be better for your skin?! Anyhoo, I decided to get other products from the EM site in a last-ditch effort to somehow use this product up (by blending with a more matte formula). I was shocked to find that the ONLY shipping option to Canada costs $20. Yes, even if you're only ordering samples! I thought this was some kind of mistake on their part so I contacted CS. Apparently, some packages they sent to Canada went missing so they're forcing all Canadians to take the brunt. To their credit, the CS representative reassured me that they're looking into cheaper shipping options. However, with so many mineral makeup brands out there, I'm not willing to go through the trouble of either coughing up 1.5~5X the total cost of the actual product I intended to buy *just* for shipping, or waiting for god-knows-how-long for them to get serious.
Lip Treatments -Smith's Rosebud Salve - Minted Rose Lip Balm
ericaspinky 7/9/2010 5:02:00 PM
This balm is very thin in consistency, imparts a lovely, bright reddish tint and smells like candy canes. However, it's mediocre as a lip treatment. It moisturizes better than the original Rosebud salve and is effective on slightly dry lips but I found that the Strawberry version performs much better. I love how it looks on my lips but due to the slippery texture, the lasting power is next to none. Personally, I don't mind the jar form; I use this at home and rub the remainder left on my fingers into my cuticles. Here's how it compares to the other Smith's salves that I've tried: Tint: Minted Rose>Original Rose>Strawberry Consistency (from heavy to thin): Strawberry>Original Rose>Minted Rose Moisturizing ability: Strawberry>>>Minted Rose>>>>>Original Rose
Lip Treatments -Smith's Rosebud Salve - Smith's Rosebud Salve
ericaspinky 7/9/2010 4:24:00 PM
I found this product to be nothing more than a rose scented version of vaseline in a pretty tin (i.e., doesn't do anything for my lips). However, I found that the strawberry version by the same company works MUCH better; in fact, it's my new HG lip balm. Here's how it compares to the other Smith's salves that I've tried: Tint: Minted Rose>Original Rose>Strawberry Consistency (from heavy to thin): Strawberry>Original Rose>Minted Rose Moisturizing ability: Strawberry>>>Minted Rose>>>>>Original Rose
Lip Treatments -Smith's Rosebud Salve - Smith's Strawberry Lip Balm
ericaspinky 7/9/2010 4:07:00 PM
My new HG lip balm; I find this much more effective than the original Rosebud Salve and Minted Rose (and a whole slew of other brands). It smells like strawberry candy rather than strawberries, which is very nice in its own right. The consistency is a little more slippery and thin than vaseline, which helps the balm sink in more quickly and effectively. It only takes 2-3 applications to recover my lips from its worst chapped state and plumps them up nicely/gets rid of lines to boot. Personally, I don't mind the jar form at all; I use this at home and rub the remainder left on my fingers into my cuticles. Here's how it compares to the other Smith's salves that I've tried: Tint: Minted Rose>Original Rose>Strawberry Consistency (from heavy to thin): Strawberry>Original Rose>Minted Rose Moisturizing ability: Strawberry>>>Minted Rose>>>>>Original Rose
This has been a staple of mine for a while now. Shade number 2 matches my skin so perfectly that I really only need a dusting of powder afterwards. It also doesn't clog my pores or aggravate existing pimples. I've only tried 2-3 other drugstore brands and I imagine there are better concealers out there. But for now, I find this concealer perfectly adequate (although it's hard to get a hold of in North America for close to retail (609yen or $6.80US). I use a different, more moisturizing concealer for my undereye circles, just like I use a separate eye cream for that area and a separate eye makeup remover. I find that this product does a good job of covering up anything from angry red blemishes to discoloration around my nostrils. The tacky texture is easy to work with and it bonds to my skin well; never drying it up or slipping off. The only issue I have with this concealer is that you can't twist the stick back down (you have to push it back in with your finger) but that's not a great concern, especially considering the cheap price.
I started out using this once a day with Cetaphil cleanser but it irritated my skin right from the start, so I cut back to every second day. After a week, my skin looks and feels raw, with dry, itchy rough patches :( I didn't have great skin to start with (acne, bumpy texture, large pores etc.) but I've never considered myself to have sensitive skin. Quite the opposite, in fact. I also took care not to push the brush on my skin too hard and washed the brush with antibacterial soap before every use. Refusing to give up, I invested in a delicate brush head (it originally came with a sensitive head) and a more gentle cleanser (Spectro jel). I will update after I give my skin a chance to heal completely and give the Clarisonic a second try. *update*9/2/2010*Overall Rating bumped up from 1 to 3 It took a while to give the Mia another fair shake, partly due to the damage it caused the first time but admittedly, mostly due to my ongoing search for a skin routine that worked for me. Switching to a gentler cleanser (Spectro jel) and the delicate brush head was definitely a good move. It exfoliates my skin very well and the sonic action seems to bring the gunk in my pores to the surface, making extraction a breeze. I don't know about using this daily for extended periods of time, though. No matter how much care I take in not pressing this against my skin too hard, using it for more than 3-4 weeks on a daily basis (once a day) seems to "thin" my skin out too much. Over-exfoliating could result in stripped, vulnerable skin with a vinyl-like, ruddy appearance. The skin needs a certain amount of "dead" layers to grab onto moisture and the natural oil your skin produces, as well as protecting against the elements. So now, I'm in the midst of finding the right routine of using the Mia that would prevent over-stripping. It has improved the overall condition of my skin but I'm not sure if it does much of a better job than a good exfoliator; enough for it to be worth the price, anyway.
I love this soap. The tart, lemony scent is a great pick-me-up in the morning! At $16CDN, it is pricier than the soaps that I usually buy but the bar is huge, the scent is very organic and fresh (as opposed to manmade and cloying) and it doesn't dry my skin out. The paper packaging is very pretty; this would make a great gift.
Lipstick -Clinique - Colour Surge Butter Shine Lipstick
ericaspinky 2/12/2010 4:15:00 AM
This is my go-to, HG lip product. I don't like the look of vinyl-shine gloss but can't stand the opaque finish of most lipsticks. I prefer the ease of application of lipstick but want the casual, sheer finish of lipgloss. To me, butter shine is the perfect hybrid of lipgloss and lipstick. The product in the tube is extremely soft and tends to melt easily in hot weather (which can be fixed by placing in the fridge for a few minutes). You also need to be careful about twisting too much of the product up; more than a quarter inch and you'd risk smooshing the tube off. Also, the staying power is virtually non-existent. However, despite all of these cons, I still love this product. It has the perfect amount of shine, sheerness and pigmentation. It achieves the polished look and depth of clear lipgloss layered over a shimmery, pigmented lipstick in one easy step. Having to reapply after each meal/drink isn't too much of a pain due to the lovely, sleek packaging (I'm a sucker for presentation!). The reflective surface (specifically the top part of the lid) can be used as a discreet mirror in a pinch. Even the fact that I go through this product quickly is a plus for me as I own way too much m/u and hardly ever use up any products. I have these in "baby baby" (a sheer, neutral beige with gold shimmer) and "first love" (a sheer pink with silver shimmer); both are perfect, understated shades for eye-makeup accented looks.
***I got my brushes from Hakuhodo Japan, which varies slightly from the Hakuhodo USA site*** This is a review for the saikoho goat hair/maple handle large kabuki (the company calls them kinoko, or mushroom) brush and blue squirrel/goat hair fan brush. The kinoko brush apparently costs around $140US and the fan brush around $60US. Which is insanely pricey; I was lucky enough to receive them as gifts. Even crazier is the recommendation in the pamphlet that you replace them every five years (due to hairs being worn down)!! To that, I say: "um..yeah, we'll see". However, even considering the craziness, I would have to say that it's worth its cost and that I would repurchase these (probably after wearing them down to a nub!). First off, the brushes are of craftsman quality and truly a thing of beauty. The density of the mushroom brush is so thick that it looks and feels like one whole piece rather than a brush made up of individual hairs. Performance-wise, the first day I used this brush with my usual powder foundation, my makeup started off looking more natural and glowy than usual and stayed this way THE ENTIRE DAY (I usually need to blot/re-powder after 5-6 hours)! This brush seriously raised the performance level of my makeup many times over. As for the fan brush, I use this to apply finishing/mattifying loose powder. It does a wonderful job of applying a thin, even veil of powder and even though the results aren't as dramatic as the mushroom brush, it has reduced unevenness and the cakiness near my nostrils that I used to end up with. According to instructions, you're supposed to brush them off with the palm of your hand after each use and brush them on tissue paper to get rid of powder buildup. They should be washed ONLY when they start to develop an odour and/or when the hairs start to get tangled due to buildup. Also, long periods of disuse causes the hairs to decay; the key to making them last as long as possible is using the brushes every day. I think the value of these hakuhodo brushes lies not only in the performance and results they produce but also in the few minutes of sublime luxury that the weight and feel of the wooden handle and silky texture of the brush lets you indulge in each morning. Thanks to these brushes, putting on my foundation feels more like a ritual than a chore. P.S. They also have a neat little option of personalizing your brush with gold or silver lettering for a couple of dollars.
Lip Gloss -Victoria's Secret - Sweet Talk Mouth Watering Lip Gloss
ericaspinky 7/17/2009 5:34:00 AM
I'd never even heard of this lipgloss until I received it in a swap recently. I gingerly tried it on...WTF?! It honestly felt like I had fly paper on my mouth; I immediately decided give it away. But curiosity got the better of me and I'm glad I checked these reviews out. I read the (few)positive reviews on here which recommended lip balm before applying; this got rid of the discomfort factor. There was also praise for its thickness, which makes it last all day and give off an uber-glossy shine. It reminds me of MAC clear lipglass; it has all the same properties, good and bad + cute packaging and yummy smell! So all in all this ended up in my lipgloss arsenal for its glossy finish like no other. However, it's not wearable on even slightly windy days, so one lippie off for that. update: I don't wear this out because of the stickiness factor and the fact that it tends to turn into gross slobber strings if you put too much on and talk alot. However, I tried using it to "seal in" a thick application of lip conditioner (avon dew kiss, my HG) like a reviewer recommended below. Not only did it get rid of dead lip skin, it plumped up my lips to the max and the results lasted the whole day! So now it's part of my lip care kit.