I have dry, somewhat sensitive, rosacea prone skin. When i hit 60 i thought maybe i should do more for my skin that just wash it and occasionally use sunscreen. I bought a lot of expensive products at sephora (that was fun). But i wanted to know what ingredients and products actually worked. Then i discovered Paula's Beautypedia. I trust her skin care product reviews because, even though she has her own line of products, she does not hesitate to give high ratings to a wide range of other products, from inexpensive drug store brands to higher end (although it's amazing how many insanely expensive products are nuthin' special). And there definitely can be a certain amount of objectivity when it comes to analysing skin care ingredients - some are well known to be irritating or helpful - it isn't just a matter of personal preference. I can now opt for products with larger amounts of beneficial ingredients and avoid products that promise the moon and have few or no remarkable ingredients, or are actually irritating to the skin. Paula doesn't slam natural ingredients. She just points out which ones have good research to indicate whether they are harmful or helpful to the skin. I was rather surprised to read scientific studies (she has links to them) showing that lavender is skin damaging. Paula also links to studies about the benefits of a number of natural ingredients in skin care products, such as tea and caffeine, just to pick two random examples. However, i am less enamoured of the cosmetics reviews. I do look over those for foundations, since that item covers a lot of skin. But her personal taste intervenes in the reviews of product colors and finishes, something not based on the effect of their ingredients on the skin. This is especially true in relation to eye and lip makeup, and to a lesser extent cheek products. Paula prefers neutral colors and matte finishes and is highly critical of brightly colored eye makeup and shimmery finishes. Me, even at my age and with my crepey eyes, i look better with shimmery eye shadows - i tried neutral matte eyeshadows and looked like a recently exhumed mummy. And i LOVE bright colors on lips and eyes, when used judiciously, of course. So naturally i still come to makeupalley to check out cosmetics. I think that makeup colors and finishes are more a matter of personal taste and thus subjective. Skin care ingredients really can be treated objectively, based on whether the ingredients actually do anything beneficial or are irritating. I'm still giving the Beautypedia a 5 rating because of the vast number of well thought out skin care reviews. Just "caveat" when reading the makeup reviews.
Hair -Kinky Curly - Knot Today leave-in conditioner
lilinah 5/3/2013 10:51:00 PM
I had straight hair much of my life, then after my daughter was born it got wavy, and now that i'm getting up there in age, my hair has even more curl. So i started looking for products to encourage the curl, moisturize a bit, and reduce frizz. I am very happy with Knot Today. I squeeze a little into my palm, rub my fingers together, then comb and gently rub my fingers through the lower half of my hair (i have more or less butt length hair). It helps my curls and keeps my hair from looking like i spent the day in a wind tunnel.
Lipstick -Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics - Lip Tar
lilinah 5/1/2013 6:54:00 PM
I fell in love with a LE color, Butch, which is a periwinkle blue. I finally gave in and ordered it and a couple more. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Lip tars are NOT lip glosses. They MUST be applied with a lip brush. They can NOT be applied directly out of the tube - well, they can but they'll look like cp. One or two drops the size of a pinhead are enough to give my lips complete opaque coverage. The color lasted many hours with only a little fading. Salad dressing was the one culprit that really took it off. They are phenomenally pigmented, although a sheerer application is possible if a color is too strong or bright for your taste. Lip Tars may accentuate any textures in your lips. So it is best to exfoliate and moisturize well before applying a Lip Tar. However, take note, as it says on the OCC website, "glosses that contain silicone do not play well with Lip Tar" So know your ingredients first before mixing or putting a Lip Tar over or under another lip product.
Brows -MAC - Fluidline Brow Gelcreme in Dirty Blonde
lilinah 2/6/2013 6:16:00 PM
MAC released three Fluidline Brow Gelcremes at the end of January 2013. I have dark brown hair, but my brows are very thin and sparse, and without a brow product they barely show up on my fair skin. Dark brow products look heavy and overbearing on me. So I have been using MAC matte eyeshadow (pressed powder) in "Omega", which MAC says is "soft muted beige-taupe". It has been great, but i was eager to try the new Brow Fluidlines. They come in a little clear glass pot with a MAC black lid. The three choices are (were - it's LE) Redhead, Dirty Blonde, and Deep Dark Brunette. -- Redhead is described as "Muted Golden Brown", but it's much too warm for me. -- Deep Dark Brunette is described as "Rich Brunette", but it's much too dark for me. -- Dirty Blonde is described as "Soft Taupe Brown", and it's just right. It is warmer and a little darker than "Omega", but blends into my brows nicely. It is a very versatile color, suitable for brunettes whose skin is not very dark, and for blondes who have dark brows. I use a fine liner brush with stiff fibers so i keep the color inside my sparse brows. People with larger brows may prefer a different method. The gel sets after a short time so that it doesn't smear or rub off easily. I tried some regular Fluidlines in my brows and they were not as stable. One of these little pots should last a heckuva long time, so even though it isn't cheap, it's a good buy. Dirty Blonde is now sold out on MAC's website, but may be available in MAC shops or counters. Some people are expecting MAC to make these permanent, but not before late fall 2013, if they do at all.
I have had dandruff since i was a wee child. Seriously, the doctor prescribed Selsun for me back when it was a prescription-only product. Over the years I've tried so many different dandruff shampoos, but my favorite is T-gel. It really does the job of taming my scalp. I am even fond of its smoky tarry smell. I don't like shampoos with a lot of perfume in them, and this stuff just smells like itself. I don't wash my hair daily - just 2 or 3 times a week - because i've found that nearly every dandruff shampoo is hard on the hair, and a head full of dried out straw is not nice. If you feel you must wash daily, dandruff shampoos are best alternated with a gentler, more moisturizing shampoo.
This is, like, HG! I'm pretty pale - between 15 & 20 on the MAC scale - but neutral-toned. So when i wear a pink blush or a peach / apricot blush i have to adjust my make up to make me look warmer- or cooler-toned. Pink Cult is a matte neutral pink, neither warm nor cool, slightly muted with perhaps the slightest hint of greige. On me it just the utmost of naturalness. It just looks like i have genuine color in my cheeks, not like i'm wearing a blush. I don't have to worry what other colors i'm wearing because it really looks like a natural extension of my skin. I have mild rosacea in my cheeks, so before i wear ANY blush i have to tone down the redness (otherwise i'm heading into Bozo territory). So this might not show up much on someone who has normally red or pink cheeks. This is a Limited Edition product. I bought it when it came out in the So Reel / Reel Sexy collection in April 2012. But MAC re-promotes some products from time to time so it might come back.
Makeup Brushes -Sonia Kashuk - Synthetic Flat Top Multipurpose Brush
lilinah 1/24/2013 8:35:00 PM
I use this brush to buff out blush, highlighting, and contouring powders, after i've applied them with a stippling / skunk brush. I don't want the colors to look streaky or too intense and this brush does a great job of evening and smoothing out the borders between colors. The fibers are densely packed, they're very comfortably soft, and the top is quite flat. This is one of the SK brushes with an ergonomically shaped handle. I don't know if the shape of the handle really makes a difference, but it's certainly not uncomfortable. And, what the heck, it has a cool sculptural look. I make sure the flat head is flat against my skin, then i move it around in circular motions. There is minimal shedding - i've had mine for several years and i've only noticed a couple hairs coming out in all that time. I still put my liquid foundation on with a mix of fingers and a flat / paddle foundation brush, but i may give this a try, based on comments here.
Makeup Brushes -MAC - 188 Small Duo Fibre Face brush
lilinah 1/6/2013 1:30:00 PM
This brush is perfection! MAC makes two similar stippling brushes; both have long white hairs that are fine, soft, and gentle, with darker hairs that are a bit stiffer and more densely packed, holding the white ones in place. The MAC 187 Large Duo Fibre Brush is just a bit too big to get the controlled look i prefer. But the 188, with its smaller circumference, is perfection for precise application, and is THE brush i use for powder blush, highlighter, or contour (bronzer). I generally do not like too much strong color and this brush is does not overdo application. It is especially good with really bright MAC blushes and mineralize skin finishes, as well as with NARS blushes, which tend to be highly colored. Yet when i want a more intense look, i can get more product on the brush or build up the color without wasting any blush or highlighter. The 188 and 187 are recommended for both powder and cream (emollient) products. I only use the 188 for powders, however. For cream blush, particularly my fav MAC Casual Colour Lip & Cheek Colour, i use MAC 130, a duo fibre brush with shorter, more densely packed hairs. I spot clean with MAC Brush Cleanser, and wash with gentle soap or shampoo every week. So far in nearly 2 years of frequent use and much travel it has held up beautifully. The white hairs are even still white. And it has NEVER shed a hair. One of the short black hairs did get bent, so i just snipped it off. If anything happens to this brush, i will absolutely be buying a second one.
When i heard people talking about Notorious, i had to look, but i wasn't going to buy this very expensive powder. Then i saw photos, and how could i resist a taupe-grey contour powder! ...you see, i like unusual, atypical makeup colors. . I didn't get to see it in real life, but i still rushed to order it from chanel.com, since it was already sold out at all the department stores in my state. I was on tenterhooks waiting for it to arrive. What was it going to be like? . First, the packaging is luxurious - not quite as luxurious as Guerlain, but, then, Chanel is less expensive than Guerlain. I opened the shipping package and nestled inside was a medium sized black cloth bag. Inside was a shiny black box. Inside the box was a small velvety cloth bag. And inside that was the shiny black plastic compact with the Chanel logo. . The compact is not terribly large. Inside the lid is a convenient mirror. The dome of powder fills only about 60%, the other 40% holds a tiny, natural hair brush. I was a bit disappointed at how small the powder was. . Then came the moment of truth - applying Notorious. Using my own, easier to manage brush, i put it on over my liquid foundation - it didn't blend as well as i would have liked. Using a large, dense, flat headed brush i buffed it out. Still imperfect, but nonetheless i was really liking the basic look. . I learned one lesson: first powder all over a moisturizing foundation, before applying Notorious, or give that foundation plenty of time to set. That way it will have a more natural look. . The powder is a small dome of taupe-grey with a hint of mauve. It appears to have some shimmer, but it is not shimmery, rather it provides luminosity. The powder is quite fine and silky. A little is all you really need, but if you want a more intense color, it is definitely buildable. . Final impression: Notorious is an amazing neutral contour. Many contour products are brown, "bronzy", or even orange-y. Notorious is the color of a shadow. I love it. . I'd buy it again, but it's Limited Edition and sadly sold out (and, no, i will not give in to insane evilBay prices)
Lipstick -Revlon - Colorburst Lip Butter in Creamsicle
lilinah 11/27/2012 5:49:00 PM
Cremesicle is a frosted light peach. Because it's a Lip Butter, it is quite soft, somewhat sheer, and needs to be reapplied from time to time. It has some shimmer, which doesn't bother me. . I'm very pale and i like the way this color is almost neutral, just slightly peachy. But because Cremesicle is a light color, the shimmer will doubtless show up a lot more on people with medium, olive, or darker skin. . My lips are naturally strongly colored and tend to be blue pink. Cremesicle warms up the color a bit. I think Cremesicle is a great informal, day to day lip color.
Lips -Revlon - Colorburst Lip Butter in Sugar Plum
lilinah 11/27/2012 5:24:00 PM
My first Revlon Lip Butter was Gumdrop, a light lilac. I liked it enough to try more. . Sugar Plum was one i tried... and it went back. . Sugar Plum is a medium dark yet sheer, cool red. I like genuinely plum lipsticks -- MAC Musky Amethyst, Kat von D. Oh My Goth -- and plum glosses -- MAC Dark as Night and On Display -- for example. On my lips Sugar Plum was too red and not plummy enough, and i do not wear red lipstick, so it went back. . I now have 6 Lip Butters, and Sugar Plum is not one of them.
Lipstick -Revlon - Colorburst Lip Butter in Fig Jam
lilinah 11/27/2012 5:12:00 PM
My first Revlon Lip Butter was Gumdrop, a light lilac. I liked it enough to try more. . Fig Jam was one of them... and it went back. . The color is dark, yet sheer, brownberry-ish, but not very distinct. I like genuinely dark lipsticks (MAC Chestnut and Musky Amethyst, for example). But Fig Jam just did not look distinctive to me. I prefer a dark lipstick with more intensity. Fig Jam was just enh to me. . I now have 6 Lip Butters, and Fig Jam is not one of them.
Concealers -Lancome - Maquicomplet (Complete Coverage Concealer)
lilinah 11/16/2012 10:58:00 PM
This may be my HG concealer! I've been looking off and on for a few years. I haven't been desperate, because i don't have puffy bags or really dark circles under my eyes, but i have blue quarter moons closer to my nose and tan quarter moons toward the center of my under eye. In my search i found two things: most concealers were too hard, waxy, pasty, or drying for my dry skin, and/or the color range did not include my fair neutral skin tone - most were too pink, or too peach, or too yellow. . I read reviews and descriptions on several sites while looking for concealers to test, and Maquicomplet ended up on my list. My local Sephora did not have the full range of colors, so i ended up with Light Buff, which is close but a tad too yellow and dark. Still i figured their return policy is so good that if i hated it, it would easy to return. . I am really happy with Maquicomplet: it blends like a dream into my foundation; it is moisturizing and soothing - and fortunately it does not irritated my often sensitive eyes. It stays soft, but it stays put, and doesn't dry up, crease, cake, or settle into fine lines. . I've read some complain that it goes on too thick, but i suspect that they applied it all over with the doe foot wand. What i do is put small dots where i want concealer - under my eyes, on a couple age spots, etc. Then i blend it out with clean fingers or a concealer brush. The silky texture blends out well and merges with my foundation. . Now i plan to go to a department store to test the fuller range of colors and i hope to find an even better match. My biggest concern is that i am not really certain how much is in that little tube and i'm going to use it up too soon, since it is expensive. . I would rather spend less, but multiple experiences with DS foundations and concealers have shown me that low end brands just don't work for me - they have been far too matte and drying, don't match my skin color, and irritate my skin and my eyes. So i am resigned to spending a bit more for products that feel good and behave well.
This is a terrific blue-violet lipstick. It is truly a dark blue-violet, slightly greyed, quite opaque, with a satin-matte finish, a little dry going on, but i did not find it drying. . This is a HG color, since true blue-violets are so hard to find. You have to be committed to wearing this color with confidence and assurance. It is probably NSFW for most jobs. But when out on the town, this is a real eye-catcher and head-turner. . I don't have a camera so i can't post pictures, but Christine of Temptalia has some excellent shots in her review: http://www.temptalia.com/illamasqua-kontrol-lipstick-review-photos-swatches . Illamasqua lipsticks have a slight vanilla scent. Because they apply somewhat dry they stay on quite a long while, but salad dressing and hot food will take it off a bit. . For times when i want more moisture or a bit of shine, i apply Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss in Boost over Kontrol. They are not the same color (Boost is a bit lighter), but both are blue-violet and highly compatible. . If you are jones-ing for a blue-violet lipstick, this could be the one for you!
I love violet - blue-violet - lip products. But i am so often disappointed. The hype says it's violet, but when i see the actual product IRL it turns out to be merely purple - that is red-violet. But Fierce did not disappoint me. This is really a medium-light blue violet. It is relatively opaque and gives good coverage. I am in LOVE! . Illamasqua glosses have a fruity scent which disappointed me - their lipsticks have only a slight vanilla scent - but thankfully no flavor. The glosses are very shiny but not sticky, rather they are slick. I also find them to be rather moisturizing. . I don't have a camera, so i can't post pictures. But Christine of Temptalia has some lovely photos of this gloss: http://www.temptalia.com/the-summer-season-illamasqua-fierce-intense-lipgloss . One thing to note is that since Christine - and MUA-ers here - reviewed this gloss, the package has changed. The glosses now come in a long square-sectioned tube, with a brush in the cap for application. The brushes work fine. However, one of the two glosses i ordered had some splayed-out bristles. . I sometimes put this on over Illamasqua Kontrol Lipstick. Kontrol is a dark, slightly greyed, blue-violet. Because it can feel a bit dry, i moisten it with Fierce. They are not the same color, but both are blue-violet and compatible. . If you are looking for a true violet lip product, you too will probably love Illamsqua Intense Lipgloss in Fierce.