In the interest of being "seasonal", I removed "Suzi Says Da" and put on "Don't Know, Beets Me" this afternoon. This is another OPI polish I picked up in the discount bin at the beauty supply on my way home. I passed on it initially and then, after reading the outstanding reviews and the 100% repurchase rating here on MUA, I went back to get one. My heart sank when there didn't seem to be any left (there had been several a day or 2 earlier) but I was persistent and there, at the bottom of the bin, was the last bottle they had. Home it came with me (along with its "last bottle also" friend, "An Affair in Red Square"). "Beets Me" is a rich, deep shocking pink. It covers really well and, as a previous reviewer stated, it has such a beautifully shiny finish that it hardly needs a top-coat. Perfect for the warmer weather. I smile every time I look at my fingers!
Yes, yes, yes, I would absolutely repurchase this polish! I'd give it 10 lippies if I could. As I said in my other recent nail polish reviews, a beauty supply store near me has a bin of discontinued OPI colours marked down to half price. Almost every day, on my way home from work, I stop in to pick up a new one and It's All Greek to Me is the latest addition. I love EVERYTHING about this polish - the rich rosy pink colour, the beautiful glitter, the good coverage and application. It covers well in one coat and absolutely perfectly in 2 and it applies evenly and without streaks or "dragging". I put this on my toes last night and it is just so pretty. Even though today is a bit on the cool side, I really want to wear sandals just so I can show off my toes. I'm so pleased I took a chance on this shade. I haven't tried it on my finger nails yet but will probably do a polish change in a few days and put this on to test finger nail wear! And on my way home today, I may just stop in and get a second bottle of this!
This is the 2nd Essie polish I've tried and based on my experience both times, I won't be repurchasing from this brand again. The colour is a pinky coral that I thought would be nice for the warmer weather. But I find the Essie formula to be very watery, to the point that the polish seems to pool more at my cuticles and not spread well with the brush. I have only used this on my toes but the application just was not very good. While I'll make an effort to use this up over time, I would not repurchase again and, like I said, won't buy any more polishes from Essie since both this one and Secret Story were both disappointing.
Makeup Brushes -Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman - Contour brush
mariella99 5/8/2013 6:26:00 AM
Got this in the RT Core Collection - the only way it can be purchased (truly a shame that the brushes in the sets cannot also be purchased individually!). What's interesting is that I didn't even want this brush. I bought the Core Collection purely to get the Buffing Brush and didn't think I would have any use for the other brushes in the set but it turns out that the Buffing Brush is my least favourite of the 4 brushes and I like the Contouring Brush much more than I ever thought I would. I rarely contour because the results on me are either non-existent or silly looking and, before getting this brush, I couldn't get a good balance between the two extremes. While I still don't contour as part of my daily routine, with this brush, it is at least something I will attempt more often. What I do love this for (as many others do) is applying highlighter. The Contour Brush applies highlighter in such a way that it gives subtle effect that is natural but still gives a highlighted "glow". Given the low price of this brush, the quality it delivers is even more amazing. I just love Real Techniques!
I use Lotus Oil in the summer, when my skin becomes more oily, as my night treatment/moisturizer 2 or 3 nights a week. Oil in summer? When skin is oilier? Seems odd but it actually works. Lotus Oil has been developed and blended specifically for oily skin. When I first started using it, I wasn't exactly sold on it and then one night, I was able to press a bunch of gunk out of an enlarged pore on my nose (I know this doesn't sound exactly appealing) - stuff that had withstood my attempts to get it out after trying things like pressing a hot face-cloth to the area first, using scrubs and clay masks, etc. After 3 or 4 nights of Lotus Oil, I was suddenly able to extract this garbage. After that, I was sold on the stuff. Used sparingly on summer nights, it leaves my skin soft and also seems to help control oil over-production in my T-zone. I have this in the older packaging (without the dropper) and because I use it sparingly and not all that often, the colour has changed to a very pale yellow. I asked my Clarins rep if I should replace it but she assured me that even with the change in colour, it is still effective. I do wish this came in a smaller bottle (with a smaller price tag) for people like me who use this up very slowly but still, I find it a very effective product and will continue to purchase it.
A beauty supply store near me has a bin filled with limited edition, discontinued shades from OPI for really good prices. Most are not spring-time shades (it's early May right now) but they are such superb colours that I'm slowly making my way through those I've purchased - Peru B Ruby, Pompeii Purple, It's All Greek to Me - and the stunning Mrs. O'Leary's BBQ. A deep, deep burgundy/brown that covers wonderfully (one coat is almost enough but 2 are definitely what I'd recommend) that looks terrific and very high-style against my pale, cool-toned skin. I don't often wear nail polish because of my job and my inability to make most of them last long enough to justify the time and attention it takes to apply them, but this is one shade that is worth the effort for the stunning effect it gives.
While this is a classic "autumn/winter" shade and where I am, we are rapidly bypassing spring and heading right into summer, I picked up Suzi Says Da! in a sale bin at a beauty supply outlet for a really good price. I applied it as soon as I got home and while, as I say, it's not really a spring/summer shade, I absolutely LOVE it. It's a deep burgundy/brown (similar to Sally Hansen's now discontinued Moccachino from a few years ago) only better and it wears longer. This shade can stain your nails, though, so I really recommend wearing a base coat (on my fingernails, I usually don't bother with a base coat since I find my polish lasts better without one but in this case, I think it's a good idea unless you always wear polish). It gives a rich, opaque finish easily in 2 coats (in fact, one coat almost does it) and the wear with this polish is pretty good (polish doesn't last well on me as I wash my hand a LOT and they're in water a LOT and I rarely can be bothered fishing out my dish washing gloves!) I can't wait for the cooler weather so I can wear this on my toes. I practice yoga and so even in the dead of winter, my tooties are often on display and this will look stunning! I may go back and get a back up of this since the price was so excellent!
To paraphrase an old hair colour tv ad, "Don't hate me because I got this for FREE"! Yes, really. I purchased this with my SDM points (Canadian MUAers will know what I mean) after looking at it and telling myself I honestly didn't need it for weeks and weeks. Truth of the matter is that I probably don't "need" it as I love neutral shadows and have dupes, I'm sure, for every shade in the palette but still, I was just craving this so much. And I am so happy with it. The colours are exactly my favourite shades - 4 cooler toned neutrals that work together beautifully, apply so smoothly, blend seamlessly and effortlessly and give a truly refined look. Often with palettes, I find there is one shade that I'm not crazy about or not likely to use but that's not the case with Les Fumes....every one of the 4 shades is one that I can wear well and the shades look awesome whether worn on their own or put together in various combinations. My favourite shades are the 2 on the sides - the silvery taupe on the right and the cool toned slightly browner taupe shade on the left. I use these 2 shades the most but all 4 shades are total winners. The case is lovely and heavy and luxurious and includes a mirror that is the full size of the lid. Definitely this is a palette worth purchasing.
I got a nice sample of this at Sephora. The only things keeping me from purchasing the full size are the price ($110 CDN for 1 ounce) and the weirdly "dill" smell. This is a nice moisturizer. It is very rich and heavy and, for me, it would be great for the winter months as a night cream. But to be honest, in terms of results, I don't see results any more "impressive" than I get with my newly purchased $10 bottle of Lumene retinol night treatment or good old Eurcerin Q10 face cream and both of these products cost a small fraction of the Black Tea cream and seem to deliver results that are every bit as good (and in the case of the Lumene product, even better!) I wouldn't spend my money on this cream. At $30 to 50, I'd consider it, in spite of the odd smell but not for over $100!
I got this brow "pen" in the colour Medium, though to be honest, I would have preferred "Light" but they were sold out. I am very wary of doing my brows. I know a lot of people say it's the most important part of their eye makeup routine and that brows frame the eyes, etc., etc. but the first time I had my brows done by a makeup artist, I honestly felt I looked like Groucho Marx. I was SO self-conscious. And this feeling continues. On those rare occasions when I do fill in my brows, I'm so concerned that I look weird so I take great pains to keep it subtle (hence my preference for purchasing this in the shade "Light"). So, having said that, let me just also say that this is a great brow product. It has a fine brush tip and the product dispenses much like a lot of those "automatic" eye liner pens. The results this fine brush gives are very subtle and natural looking. I don't have to worry too much about "overdoing" it and having brows that look too dark or heavy. It's sort of a fool-proof product that reliably gives great results. I would gladly repurchase this.
I'd been waiting since I got the RT Travel set for Walmart to restock these brushes. Well, when I went and got this, it was the ONLY one left - they'd clearly got more and sold out in no time flat. Real Techniques is clearly a very popular product here in Canada (as everywhere else, from the sound of it) and for very good reason. My reason for wanting to buy this set was so I could get the BUFFING BRUSH, which, like all the brushes in the sets, cannot be purchased individually, which I think is very annoying. Most of us use 2 or 3 brushes to apply eye shadow and so need multiples of those but don't need quite so many foundation, cheek or powder brushes, so I really hope at some point, at least more of the eye shadow brushes will be available to buy singly. Anyway, on to the Buffing Brush. When I first used it - with my MAC Matchmaster foundation - I was SO disappointed. The results were very uneven and patchy and the brush did not blend well at all. Matchmaster is always a tricky foundation to use since when I first apply it, I think something dreadful has occurred because of the alarming orange colour! I never trust that within a few minutes, the shade will adjust. I guess I need to use this foundation more often, just to reassure myself. But still, this brush didn't apply the foundation nicely at all. I have since used it with Clarins foundation and the results were just "okay". I noticed that at the RT site, Sam Chapman never recommends this for liquid foundations but always for powder products and that has been my experience with this brush. It is excellent for applying finishing powders (Nars pressed finishing powder) and for pressed mineral powder foundations. I also like it for applying some powder blushes and blending/buffing them so they look really natural and I end up looking like my colour is coming from within. But for liquid foundation (which, again, isn't what it's recommended for), it doesn't hold a candle to my Shiseido foundation brush or the other excellent ones from RT. PRETTY GOOD brush. I really love the tiny POINTED FOUNDATION BRUSH in this set. While it is a bit small for applying foundation, it is just great for blending out under-eye concealer - I use MAC Pro Longwear and this brush will blend out the small amount of that product that you actually need to give a really good effect. GREAT brush The very tiny DETAIL BRUSH is perfect for me for applying shadow under my lower lashes. I am well over 50 and need to be careful that shadow applied under my eyes doesn't go down too low or it looks like under-eye circles or just drags my face down. This very small but dense brush allows you to put the shadow only where you want it. GREAT brush. I'm not heavily into contouring. I'd love to make my face look thinner and more sculpted, but usually, I just end up looking like I've 2 smears of dirt on my face. But with the CONTOUR BRUSH, using a bronzer or contour powder to bring a bit of definition and warmth to my face is now a real possibility. This brush is also fabulous for applying highlighter in a controlled way to give a flattering result. GREAT brush. I have quite a few pretty pricey cosmetic brush and don't get me wrong - I love them. The MAC 130, 239 and 217 are amazing brushes that I use all the time. But these brushes that Sam Chapman has developed are giving all my pricier brushes serious competition because they are so good, perform better than I'd ever have expected and give amazing results for a very affordable price. I'm lucky to be able to afford more costly brushes but actually prefer using some of the RT brushes over my more costly ones.
Makeup Brushes -Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman - Domed Shadow Brush
mariella99 4/26/2013 6:46:00 AM
I got this brush a few weeks ago in the RT Travel Set. In fact, I bought the set just to get THIS brush. Not that big a hardship as both of the other brushes in the set are first rate and the price for all 3 brushes was not outrageous but how I wish Sam Chapman would make this brush (and a few others) available individually, rather than just in sets. Everyone else has more than adequately explained the many uses for this brush, from crease work to use as a basic "one brush" eye shadow applicator, as well as working great to apply concealer, cream eye shadows, etc. It is just an amazing brush and I would love to have 3 or 4 of these to use on a daily basis. The only problem is not being able to purchase this brush on its own; I don't need 3 or 4 of the other brushes in this set, nor do I need a whole bunch of the cases (which are actually pretty nice for travel, though a bit on the small side to hold all the brushes someone might want to take with them to travel). I am delighted with the quality and versatility of this brush and I am so happy that RT brushes can now be purchased here in Canada. I only wish several of the brushes could be purchased individually.
Moisturizers -Lumene - Retinol Night Revitalizer Age-Defying Night Cream
mariella99 4/21/2013 8:26:00 AM
I got this product at Winners (sort of the CDN version of TJ Maxx) for $9.99. I was really surprised to see a few Lumene products (and also some Dr. Payot!) there but they always seem to get a strange assortment of things that aren't available at drug or department stores. I picked up 2 bottles of this, after reading the sole review here. For 10 bucks, what had I to lose, I wondered? I have to say that this really was not what I was expecting at all from a retinol product. For starters, it comes in a really nice small pump bottle (I was expecting to find a tube - a la Alpha Hydrox or LRP - inside the box) that dispenses a pre-measured amount of product and which is also very clean and hygenic. And the product itself is a really rich, thick cream which is very different from my other retinol products. In fact, it is so thick that it's actually a bit difficult to smooth over the skin. The texture/consistency is a bit like the original Nivea Cream. Once applied, this definitely looked shiny and almost greasy so it's a good thing this is just for night time use. It did penetrate fairly quickly, though....half an hour after applying it, the oily look is gone. I've only been using this for about a week so it's too soon to say if I see any marked difference or improvement, though I do notice that this gives my cheeks a bit of a rosy flush after I apply it - there is no stinging or burning, but no other retinol products I've used have had this effect. The cream also contains sea buckthorn oil, which I know is supposed to be good for many skin issues. An unusual product but so far, it seems pretty good but I'll wait a bit more and update if there are any "miracles". My only concern is that if I really like this, I will have problems getting more. I may have to scour a few more Winners stores in my area to buy up all I can of this since the price is hard to argue with! UPDATE: (May 17, 2013) This stuff is AMAZING! I've been scouring other Winners/HomeSense locations to try to find more of this product (so far, with no luck). After a few days of using this, I noticed that my skin looked smoother and more plumped up and my skin tone seemed more even but I thought that could just be a fluke (you know how sometimes, all of a sudden and for no apparent reason, your skin will look significantly, noticeably better for a day?). But it's now been a few weeks and my skin continues to look better to to the point where I do notice a sustained difference. I don't know what I'm going to do when I run out of this stuff. Probably have to book a trip to Finland to buy more!
I've been wanting to try one of the Hourglass eye shadow duos for ages. A 15% off coupon from Sephora was all the encouragement I needed (I am such a sucker!). I wasn't too sure about getting this, since I tend to keep buying the same shadows (only from different companies and with different names) over and over again. So, as I often do, I did a mini-comparison in-store to see if this was anything like UD Loaded and I can tell you it is not. The dark side of this duo is more a very dark grey with brown and slightly green leanings - very different from Loaded . Anyway, the point of all this is that I swatched both Loaded and Dune on my hand along with a few other shadows. Later on, I wiped all the shadows off and I could still see the pigmentation from Dune but not from any of the other shadows I had swatched on my hand (from UD, Bare Minerals and MAC). So, the lasting power and pigmentation in these shadows is simply outstanding. The lighter champagne colour is gorgeous and so versatile - as an all over the lid shade or inner corner/browbone highlight - it works for any and all. The dark shade looks so overpowering but it is such a classic and so blendable that even for daytime, it is very wearable on the outer V. I am so happy about having bought this. Oh, and the packaging - so very cute and clever and I like that you can used the closed compact to swipe on some lipstick if you're in a rush. The brush that is included is better than most brushes included with eye shadows. Unlike all the photos I've seen of this palette, the brush that came with mine is a double-ended one. which is pretty sensible (a clean brush for each shadow when you're in a pinch) but they are really, really tiny and very fiddly so, again, better than nothing in a pinch but not the best. All in all, it's a win-win on all counts. Of course, now I'm just left wanting MORE of these duos. It's a good thing Sephora has a fairly limited range of colours since there are only maybe 2 others that I'm contemplating (and at these prices, it's good that there aren't too many duos to tempt me)
I knew that Rebel had a crazy high rating here at MUA and so I checked it out in store a few months ago. The SA put it on me and, to be honest, I wasn't thrilled about it. My skin is very fair and my hair and eyes dark so in theory this should be a great lipstick colour on me. Well, maybe if I were 15 or 20 years younger. But I felt it looked harsh and made me think of this mom from years back when my kids (now young adults) were in primary school and this mom - also very pale and not exactly in "the first flush of youth" - wore a very deep blue red lipstick that looked really aging on her (as a dyed in the wool makeup addict, I've always love and noticed strong lipstick colours but couldn't help noticing that this shade was not flattering on this woman). So, fast forward to a few months back and there I was, feeling that I looked just like this woman did. BUT....I had to bring a cosmetics purchase up to $75 so went over to MAC to purchase two lippies for this purpose and I decided "What the hell....I'll be a rebel and buy Rebel." I don't wear it often and when I do, I apply with a light hand and rather than going light on the eye (as many would do with a red lip), I do make a point of going a bit intense on the eye and cheek as well, not so much to compete with the lip colour as to balance it out so it doesn't look quite so harsh and aging. With a bit of attention to detail, I can wear this but, at this point, I doubt this would be a "repurchase" for me since I'll be older still by the time I use this one up!