I was looking for a bright pink matte lipstick for spring. I wear Russian Red in the winter, but MAC doesn't have any bright matte pinks. So, on a trip to Sephora, I found Carthage. It is fabulous--bright, but somehow muted, like the lipstick has worn away a bit. Sounds bad, but it's gorgeous the way it manages to be soft AND bright, with a hint of blue base, with great staying power. And doesn't dry my lips--but mattes don't usually dry my lips. Wasn't crazy about the packaging, with a slim tube that I worried would break off, but it hasn't, and it's easy to find in my sea of fat-tubed lipsticks. I like it better than Schiap, which is a Nars semi-matte. It's a pretty color too-- brighter and more blue-based than Carthage, but Schiap smells awful, like castor oil; Schiap contains castor oil.
Styling Products -Living Proof - Full Thickening Cream
marley100 1/6/2013 7:10:00 AM
Like many reviewers, I have mixed feelings about this thickening cream. First, I can't stand the smell. I'm sensitive to smells, and this is a heavy men's cologne smell. That said, if you apply it before going to work etc., it dissipates and doesn't make your pillow smell too awful. But why they can't make an unscented version.... I bought the stuff this fall, and when I first used it I was disappointed. It gave me great body--for about 10 minutes, and then collapsed. I have fine, straight hair, but a lot of it and wear it in a bob. People think I have thick hair until they feel it, and then they're disappointed :(. For some reason the stuff makes my hair full of static; maybe it's exacerbated by the dry winter weather. So I added my hair gel to it (Kiss My Face Upper Management, which, by the way, has a terrific but faint grapefruit smell). I use a pea-sized amount of the thickening cream, followed by my hair gel and then blow dry. With that combo, I have great results--and it stays looking great and volumized for hours. However, if I use the thickening cream every day--I usually wash my hair every day--it drys out my hair and makes it full of knots--and I've NEVER had knots before. However, my hair is color-treated and highlighted, so it's a little dry to begin with. Thickening cream shouldn't be a problem if you have oily hair or normal hair. But if you have dry, watch out. For me, the only way around the dryness and knots is to increase my conditioner, but that leaves my hair flat, which just compounds the problem that I want to solve. So now I just use the thickening cream when I really have to have my hair look fabulous, and that works really well.
Crème -Graftobian - High-Definition Glamour Color Creme Foundation
marley100 12/10/2012 4:52:00 PM
The good news: this stuff makes your skin look flawless. The bad news: Graftobian feels a little heavy on my skin, at least when I use it on my whole face. I can't wait to wash it off. Of course, everything is relative, so if you're used to a heavier foundation, Graftobian may not have any downside for you. I bought this foundation when I started to break out for the first time in my life, from a medication. My Prescriptives (now-discontinued) foundation, Photochrome, in warm beige (but I can also wear the lighter color vellum, in the winter) didn't completely cover up the break-outs. For other reference, I'm an NC20 in the summer in MAC. I have sensitive skin that's a little oily. Even though I have cool-toned skin, I bought the warm palette #1. I subscribe to the Bobbi Brown philosophy that everyone has some yellow undertones, and that adding more redness to my pink cheeks isn't the way to go. That said, perhaps the neutral palette would be the better way to have gone. On the warm #1 palette, I'm somewhere between Ingenue (the second lightest) and Vixen (the third lightest), but closer to Vixen. (I have rosy cheeks, or the Ingenue would have worked.) I often mix Vixen and Ingenue together. Both colors, and particularly Vixen, are way more yellow than the Prescriptives Warm Buff, but still definitely serviceable. I stopped the medication, and my skin has pretty much stopped breaking out, but I still use Graftobian sometimes. It's definitely drier than Photochrome, stays put, and gives lots more coverage--it makes my skin look near perfect, and in reality, it's so not. Even my hair stylist remarked on my Snow White complexion--my skin usually looks ruddier. Here's a tip to make your makeup look even more amazing: if the foundation settles in your pores, take a foundation brush or an angled blush brush (I prefer the latter) and swirl the makeup once it's on. First, though, I apply a tiny amount with my fingers and blend. Then, with the brush, I swirl first clockwise and then counterclockwise. I don't find that Graftobian accentuates the pores--quite the opposite--but if you do this trick you won't see pores, period. It can actually look kinda scary, almost too perfect, so don't go too overboard. But even without doing the clockwise/counterclockwise swirl, this stuff is pretty amazing. As several reviewers have remarked, Graftobian would be great to use if you're taking photos. It's not quite a matte look; it's a little dewier than that. I set with Fresh powder in Chalet Girl, and voila. Because of the heaviness of the product, usually I use the Prescriptives and then spot-apply Graftobian for any break-outs and discolorations. But Groftobian for special events or when my skin is looking too ruddy/irritated is a must. Also: Graftobian is awful under the eyes. It looks like a hot, dry, caked-on mess! I would think if you have dry skin, Graftobian might be too drying anywhere on your face, unless cut with moisturizer. All in all, a good product that I'm glad I have. UPDATE: I bought the neutral palette #1 to compare. The colors are much much lighter than the warm palette #1. Glamour Girl, the darkest color on the neutral palette, is a little lighter that the Vixen (the middle color) on the warm palette. Using Glamour Girl and Vixen on the cheeks in a toss up, but Glamour Girl on the chin or forehead is too light. I could try the neutral palette #2, but the warm is working, so I'll stick to it.
Styling Products -Kiss My Face - Upper Management Styling Gel
marley100 12/1/2012 10:02:00 PM
I've been using Upper Management for over a year, ever since my Korres lime gel was discontinued. It's better than Korres. Like Korres, no buildup or cones, and it's better because it has more hold without gunking up my hair. It has a fresh, clean mild grapefruit smell. And it's dirt cheap online at Vitacost and Swanson Vitamins--less than $6.
First the good news: Trixie was so much fun to apply. It went on like liquid silver. No brush strokes were visible when dry. Really nice polish. The not-so-good news. It made my hands look older, and I don't have old-looking hands, so I kept the polish on for only a couple of days. Usually I wear dark polish or French or semi-sheers. Next, I tried it under my Lippmann blood-red color My Old Flame. That gave it a lovely, shimmery ruby slipper effect.
I like this color--a slightly darker than medium blue red; it's elegant and flattering on my pale, cool-toned skin. It dries very quickly. My only gripe is that it takes three coats for me to get that rich, luxe, perfectly even look. Two coats certainly works, but three is much better--and who has the time with a red cream to do three coats? I reserve three coats for sheers that I want to build to opacity.
I'm new to Zoya polishes. Up to now, I've used Lippmann or Chanel, but Zoya puts them both to shame--and at $8, is considerably cheaper. Angelina is the deepest and coolest of browns. People think it's black at a quick glance, but to me it's clearly a very dark coffee brown. I adore it. I've had it on 9 days, with only one tiny chip, which was easily touched up. Polish never stays on my nails that long. What I love about Zoya is that the company website tells you what polishes are cool or warm, taking a lot of the guesswork out of purchasing. I've bought three polishes in the past month--Dakota (blood-red, with a hint of brown) and Lara (a blue-based electric pink), in addition to Angelina, and they're all gorgeous, but Angelina is my fav.
I've never adored a lipstick as much as I adore Russian Red. The first day I wore it, two people complimented me on my smile. The lipstick makes my teeth look gleaming white--and they're not. It's a semi-matte lipstick--not as matte or dry as say, Ruby Woo, another MAC red. And it has terrific staying power. For reference, I'm a MAC NC20 and do well with cool, blue-based lipsticks. I loved Russian Red so much that I went back to Nordstrom and bought another tube the next day. I also decided to look for a pink semi-matte lipstick --I'm really over lipsticks that don't last--and settled for MAC's Pink Plaid, which ended up looking dreadful on my lips--too pale and too blue, like death warmed up. And it made my teeth look yellow. Then I tried Pink Plaid over Russian Red and got the blue pink I'd been looking for. Using MAC's lip primer is a must for keeping Russian Red where it belongs. A red lipstick like this isn't for sissies. Without the primer, I can end up looking like the Joker in Batman.
This, along with Boots #7 waterproof, is the best mascara I've ever used. Dirt cheap ($5.99 at Bed, Bath and Beyond, and the 20 percent off coupon makes it under $5!), it doesn't smudge, doesn't sting, and comes off easily. After trying most every high-priced brands (Lancome, Dior, Shiseido, Shu Uemura, Panthera, Fresh, to name just a few), I had had it with the smudging, the perfume, the clumping, the burning. Prestige is really fabulous. It's not waterproof--so I use Boots when I need waterproof mascara--but it's never ever smudged or flaked on me, curls, lengthens, and separates my lashes, and I can wear contacts without it getting into my eyes. Long and thin, it's the best brush ever--gets every eyelash. The black isn't as dark as Boots or some other brands I've used, but it's natural looking, and works especially well for a daytime look. It's always satisfying when you find a product that's inexpensive but performs better than the expensive brands.
Love this spray and love the beachy smell. I have pretty straight, highlighted hair, with the barest hint of a wave if I air-dry, totally straight if I blow-dry. My hair is fine, and these days normal to dry from sun and coloring and middle age (it used to be super oily), and I have a lot of it. Because it's fine, it tends to get weighed down quickly. I wear it in a reverse, chin-length, layered bob. Here's how I use it: I blow-dry my hair straight using a dollop of Korres Lime gel. After it's dry, I spray Surf Spray a couple of times into my hands, and toss my hair over my head and finger the product through my hair from the bottom layers up. Used this way, it gives my hair body and volume and it's slightly piecey. It's a little drying, so I don't use it every day. (And for me, using it on wet hair and then blow drying is awful: super dry-looking and Brillo-y.) But it's great when I'm having one of those flat hair days or for special-casual occasions. Instant body and volume. To save money, I tried making my own salt-water spray, but it wasn't the same. Made my scalp itch, my hair looked dull, and it was super drying.
I have to disagree with most of the reviewers about this blush. It's so intense, at least on my pale skin, that it's hard to apply without looking clownish. (Normally, I wear MAC powder blush in Gentle.) I tried cutting the Hot Pink blush with moisturizer but can't find the right ratio. It's just too much work and tugging for me to apply. I have managed to apply it to my liking a few times, but again, too much work, in my view. However, I have used it on my lips after I apply Trish McEvoy's fat pencil lip-liner (in Nude), and over that it's a pretty nice, neutral look.
Scrubs -Makeup Artist's Choice (MUAC) - Micro Polish Cream
marley100 8/13/2010 1:20:00 AM
I almost didn't buy this Micro Polish Cream because I thought tiny granules might mean it would be ineffective. But it's amazing. Really strong, if you want it to be--if you scrub hard--but more gentle, if you're more gentle. Best face scrub I've ever used. The only thing I don't like is that it contains methyl- and propyl-paraben and dimethicone.
Shampoo -Burt's Bees - Super Shiny Grapefruit and Sugar Beet Shampoo
marley100 8/13/2009 11:50:00 PM
I tried this because I was looking to find a shampoo with fewer problematic chemicals in it. It doesn't smell like grapefruit or sugar beets and doesn't lather a lot, but none of that is a problem. What is a problem is that it's drying. I have been using Biolage Shampoo for dry hair, which is not a particularly moisturizing shampoo despite its name, but I never need to use a conditioner with it, and I shampoo every day. While I love Biolage, I want to go more natural. The Burt's Bees shampoo might work as a decent clarifier once a week, but as a daily shampoo it's way too drying for my normal to dry hair.
Good hair gel. Doesn't smell like lime, but it's a clean smell that doesn't linger. Doesn't build up, a huge plus. Most other gels and other hair products I've used do build up in my fine hair, requiring a once-a-week anti-residue shampoo like Neutrogena to get rid of. No problematic chemicals, which is the reason I tried it in the first place; for those trying to go more green this is an excellent alternative to most salon and drugstore products. It's a little pricey at $15 a tube at Sephora, but I got it much cheaper on Ebay.
I have straight hair, not curly, but several years ago a curly-haired friend told me about Ouidad, and I've been using Deep Treatment ever since. Hands down, it's the best deep conditioner I've ever used. I usually deep condition a few days before I get my hair cut and colored. The deep treatment helps prevent damage and dryness that coloring can inflict. Sometimes I apply it, cover with a shower cap, and use a blow dryer on low for 15-20 minutes, as recommended. But when I'm feeling lazy, I'll apply it and blow it dry on medium or high without a cap--I have fine chin-length hair--so it takes just a few minutes. But instead of rinsing the stuff out, I often leave it on overnight and then shampoo in the morning. After I shampoo, my hair will look more flat than usual--that is, if my hair is already in good condition. It'll take another hair wash to get it looking full and fabulous. But, if it's fried from too much flat ironing, it will actually look good right away. Deep Treatment improves the condition and revitalizes the color. The price, though is obscene. Fifty dollars for eight ounces? I mean really.