It lives up to its name, that's for sure! My skin has never looked smoother than when I first apply a thin coat of Hello Flawless. I'm pretty pale, and "Me, Vain?" Champagne has the right tone for me for summer, ever so slightly darker than my normal complexion, but not so that I get the dreaded orange line at the edge of my face (oh, it blends well, too!), just so that I look a little more lively and my blemishes are evened out better. Holds up decently to hot Texas summers, if not perfectly. At the least, I don't get clumpy runs of powder if I sweat a bit, and it wears evenly so it's no more or less noticeable as I heat up. Doesn't clog pores, either, which is a huge issue for me! As others have mentioned, the packaging is cumbersome in relation to the contents, making it too big for my regular makeup bag — though I do love the big mirror and I'm fine with the sponge for heavier application. I use a foundation brush instead of the included one, though. And the price is far higher than I'm used to, but I don't feel ripped off.
Eye Shadow -Revlon - Illuminance Cream Shadows in Electric Pop
jmarvellous 5/8/2010 6:03:00 PM
I'll admit, I bought this pack for the electric blue and deep cobalt blue. It was inexpensive enough (about $4 at Target, not on sale) that it was still worth it to me even if those are the only ones I ever use. The lime and white are both promising, though, for a different sort of look. The texture is creamy without being too thick or too thin. You can control application fairly precisely with the right tools, which brings me to my main complaint: There's no applicator included! The mirror in the compact is convenient, though. I might have to pick up a few other color selections -- the rest are much more muted -- if it continues to hold up so nicely. UPDATE: Downgrading to a 3. The colors pop but they do NOT last when it's hot out, and they're really hard to apply precisely. The electric blue and lime are the best of the bunch.
Makeup Brushes -Ecotools - Bamboo 5 Pieces Brush Set (Mineral Makeup)
jmarvellous 4/22/2010 10:28:00 PM
Each brush is very useful for its purpose, soft and easy to use. The tiny kabuki handle's a bit annoying but nothing that's not typical of that kind of brush -- it could stand to be a little denser, though. The others are all pretty close to perfect. They're slightly difficult to get in and out of the little pouch when all of them are in there, but as a mode of carrying them around, it's pretty nice and I'm glad it was included. I'm almost certain you won't find a better 4-brush travel set for the price.
The golden-reddish tone looks almost brick-red on the cap, but it goes on sheer and light (and doesn't look gross if you accidentally go a little outside the lipline, for people like me who are tempted to apply when there's no mirror nearby). Looks good with or without a totally made-up face. I like the gentle, minty tingle and the smooth texture. It's not a lot of product for your money ($5ish for me at Whole Foods), though, and that narrow tube is somewhat awkward, though increasingly common in tinted lip products.
This deep, brownish green is perfect for brown eyes with gold tones. Use with green shadow (Ulta has one that matches) for an understatedly sophisticated look with an unexpected touch. I love it as alternative to brown liner. It's as low as $2 at the store or online sometimes, but even the regular price of $7 isn't bad for the unusual shade.
The thickness of this liner product is GREAT in lighter colors, but the black just goes on way too heavily and is prone to very noticeable smudging. If you want a super-dramatic eye, go for it, but be careful to let it set for a while before touching your eye area (usually I'd line before mascara, but do it in reverse with this product). There are comparably priced black liners aplenty that do a better job (try the twist-up Maybelline). The beauty of Ulta liners is in the colors, not the black.
This is my everyday, ultimate eyeliner. I love that it's dark and a slightly thick line, and it looks great with purples, greens and golds/bronzes, aka my go-to eyeshadows. It's dark enough that it's not shockingly purple from far away, but sparkly/bright enough that it's distinct from the blah brown I'd been using before I discovered it. Stays all day and goes on smoothly.
I love Ulta's twist-up liners, and this color is one of the prettiest with my brown eyes. Works great with gold-toned or smoky shadows. Staying power isn't perfect, but consistency (smooth) and precision are pretty great, especially for the price (I got it for $2 during a sale)!
Styling Products -Unlisted Brand - American Crew - Fiber Molding Creme
jmarvellous 4/12/2010 12:57:00 AM
I've had the same jar of this stuff for years, which isn't to say that it's a bad product, just that, as we said when I was a kid about Elmer's glue, "a dot does a lot." Warm it up WELL in your hands before applying. Your hands will get hot before the "cream" gets pliable, but trust me, if it's even slightly cold, it's just going to sit there and look gross. I first got this when I hacked off all my hair in favor of a spiky punk look. I used it for a moderate/soft hold on the spikes because I didn't want to poke anyone's eye out. It sat in my old beauty supplies box for a long time before I decided to retry it with my long, layered look recently. A very, very small amount lightly applied throughout the bottom 2/3 of my hair can give it texture and body; applied closer to the roots, but not quite at the scalp, can give some lift. My boyfriend found it way too waxy and thick (but probably didn't warm it enough) for his short, tousled look. It smells quite nice and despite what I remember being a high expense, it lasts and lasts and lasts, so it doesn't work out to much per use. I would buy it again, but I may never have to!
Shampoo -Aussie - Dual Personality Root Cleanser Plus Tip Mender Shampoo
jmarvellous 4/12/2010 12:50:00 AM
A good all-purpose shampoo for men or women of any hair type. Nothing but the lovely, mysteriously floral smell makes it stand out from others at this price point (except Pantene, which sucks), but nothing makes me want to stop buying it for a backup shampoo, either.
I use this in the summer to make my hair shiny and bright and bring out my highlights. I have dark brown hair with natural golden streaks that pop in the sun somewhat, but I'm convinced this conditioner helps them along! I hadn't used it in about a year but bought it recently for use in my second shower, so I use it about twice a week, and I feel like my hair is more vibrant already. Unlike many cheap conditioners, it's not heavy or greasy and is light enough for really short hair (prone to dullness if conditioner's too heavy) or long hair (prone to slackness if conditioner's bad).
Invigorates my scalp with a slight cool tingle, invigorates my spirit with the bright, fresh smell! I was worried that mint conditioner would smell like toothpaste, or that tea-tree would smell medicinal, but the two together seem to work perfectly. I do get more tangles than I'd like with this, and I have to use a good heavy squeeze each time to get enough to cover my head, but it's pretty darn effective at smoothing my long, thick, wavy hair and doesn't weigh it down at all.
This shampoo leaves my hair soft, smooth and clean. It smells terrific and the effect lasts about a day and a half (I'm usually someone who MUST wash my head every morning or my hair looks gross). Rinses out easily. I use it sometimes without conditioner (and my boyfriend with very different hair from mine (short, coarse, blond) uses it without nearly every time) and I'm still happy with it. It's even better with, though. It is a little more expensive than your average drugstore shampoo, and the bottle squeezes oddly -- it'll suck the whole dollop of shampoo right back in if you're not paying attention -- but overall it's really nice for my extremely thick, mildly wavy, frizz-prone hair.
Treatments -Sally Hansen - Diamond Strength Nail Strengthener (Clear)
jmarvellous 4/12/2010 12:17:00 AM
This is a fine solo clear coat for when you don't want colored nails, but I do not see any signs of stronger nails even after many uses. I don't have brittle nails to begin with, though. It seems to chip more with two layers than with a single layer. It's a pretty thick polish. Do not use as a topcoat; OK as a basecoat.
I got this in the 'nude' color combo. I like both colors, but they're just not that noticeable on my face -- and I have pretty pale skin. Perfect palette for day-to-day, but definitely not going-out makeup. Moderate staying power. The bronzer darkens me a tad but doesn't necessarily look tan.