I was drawn to mineral makeup as a possible solution to my very sensitive skin, which only got worse when I developed acne rosacea. Like most women, my first exposure to mineral makeup was Bare Minerals. It was close enough to convince me I was on the right track, but not quite right. After trying a few other brands, I found Alima Pure. And it was the answer–my holy grail foundation. Alima's Satin Matte Foundation feels great on my skin, and there's not much scent to it. Best of all, the color selection is excellent! My skin is very, very fair: Neutral 0, described as "palest neutral." I use it, with some Neutral 1 from my initial purchase of samples as an occasional concealer. It works well across the seasons, too, whether my skin is a bit drier or oilier. It's also very easy to apply, and doesn't require a lot of buffing like many other brands. The packaging has a quality feel to it but is environmentally sound. It's minimal–a recyclable plastic jar with a logo on the lid, slipped inside a recycled-paperboard sleeve with well-designed graphics. This makeup is all I use now!
Bordello is part of the Ars Amatoria line at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. On the website, it's described as: A decadent, deep perfume, lusty and luxuriant. The scent evokes images of velvet-lined Old West cathouses, tightly laced corsets, rustling petticoats and coquettish snarls of pleasure. Bawdy plum with amaretto, burgundy wine and black currant. I was hesistant to buy this one, since I wasn't eager to tell anyone I smelled like a bordello! However, I live near one of the few retail outlets for BPAL, so I was able to try it with no commitment. And I loved it. Like many perfume oils, Bordello smells differently in the bottle than on my skin. In the bottle, it's pretty much just a fruity scent: plum, berry, and cherry. But on my skin, it develops quickly into a much richer fragrance. It's much more complex, with a warm base I attribute to the amaretto, and a touch of wine. I usually characterize it as "exuberant and larger than life," which seems very appropriate. As is often the case with perfume oils, it's easy to overdo it. All I need is a dab on my wrists and my neck, and it lasts for hours.
I tried Color Pulse in Red Pulse for a scifi convention. I was very happy with the finished result, even though it was messy and the neon orange foam dyed the tiles in my shower for a couple of weeks! I would use it again. However, do NOT expect it to wash out in "eight to ten shampoos." It will start fading with the second shampoo, but it will take quite a while to fade completely. I have photos of my hair freshly colored and of it ten shampoos later. Search flickr.com for "Loreal color pulse," and you'll see the results. Looked great, but took at least twenty shampoos to return to my original color. But if you want a funky or dramatic color that must look like a natural (or semi-natural) color soon afterwards, L'Oreal Color Pulse is a great choice. Once my hair was dry, the color didn't bleed or rub off. I'll be using it again this year.
I have searched high and low for a product WITH sunscreen that I can use on a daily basis, buy locally, and afford. I spent over half an hour at Whole Foods last month, sitting on the floor and reading every word of every label of every moisturizer with sunscreen that was under $20. In the end, I chose Collective Wellbeing's Day Moisturizer over a few less-expensive options because it had no synthetic colors or fragrances, used titanium and zinc instead of chemical sunscreens, and contained plant oils. Colors, fragrances, and chemical sunscreens have all caused breakouts for me (I have rosacea), so I was optimistic. Plus, the plant oils might help the dryness. After a month, I have had a few breakouts, but no more than usual. It feels good on my skin, goes on well, and seems to absorb well. Add that to the seeming lack of allergic reaction, and it has my gratitude!
Lotions/ Creams -Unlisted Brand - Corn Huskers Lotion
mirawyn 2/21/2008 12:59:00 PM
I used Corn Huskers as a teenager, which I bought at the Revco next to my first job. When I changed jobs, I no longer had easy access to my Revco and was lured away by fancier lotions. (Wow, I'm dating myself...) Fast forward: recently, my hands became very bad. I noticed my mom, who is a cashier, had begun using Corn Huskers. She has horribly dry skin, and since she works in a grocery store, she washing her hands a lot, which doesn't help matters... I've seen a real difference in her hands when she uses it, and I can tell when she has run out, because she hates greasy stuff and goes back to using nothing until she gets more! And as for me? I had forgotten how wonderful the stuff is. It's fast-absorbing, and it works. My skin loves it, and it feels great going on. Why oh why have I wasted so much money on more expensive products that just don't work as well?
I bought this on clearance at Bath and Body Works. Now I may have to go back and buy another, before they are all gone. This mask just feels wonderful on your skin. It's touted as a "refining" mask; I think it did that, but it felt very nourishing. After using it, my skin was very moisturized, and it rinsed easily. And I smelled like a pumpkin pie, which is always nice.
Fragrances -Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab - Blood Phoenix
mirawyn 1/1/2008 11:30:00 PM
Blood Phoenix is a limited edition fifth anniversary fragrance for Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. From the website: "Blood: expressing passion, will, and a sensual aesthetic. Dragon's blood resin, helichrysum, burgundy wine grape, red musk, opoponax, red poppy, myrrh, carnation, tonka, almond, mimosa, jonquil, and neroli." Blood Phoenix is very grape, a bit like grape candy. It's sweet but not cloying. The grape, after all, is only one note out of many in this one, and the other notes give it a richness and depth. Overwhelmingly, though, it's a foody scent, and very yummy. By chance, I wore this for the first time Christmas Eve. Equating "blood" with "grape" seemed odd, until it came time for the Lord's Supper (Communion). In the Christian tradition, blood is represented by grape juice or wine, so now it has extra meaning for me. However, I enjoyed the fragrance even before I made the connection. When I run out, I'll probably seek out more of this scent from private sellers.
Fragrances -Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab - The Peacock Queen
mirawyn 1/1/2008 11:22:00 PM
The Peacock Queen is a limited edition Yule scent for 2007. The Lab calls it "a blood red, voluptuous rose, velvet-petaled, at the height of bloom. Haughty and imperious, vain, yet incomparably lovely to the eye, but thick with thorns of jealousy, pride and hatred. Rose, rose and more rose!" And I have to agree: it's pure, elegant, unadulterated rose. It's what old roses smell like, not the newer hybrids we're used to. If you love roses, you'll probably love the Peacock Queen. If you don't like roses, well...don't even try it. I bought a 1 mL decant, and loved it enough to buy a full bottle. Wish it weren't limited edition... I wear this, but I think I'll also try it as a home fragrance. If my husband will go for it, that is.
Fragrances -Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab - Christmas Rose
mirawyn 1/1/2008 11:16:00 PM
Christmas Rose is a limited edition Yule scent for 2007. It's described as "bruise-tinted hellebore blossoms pushing through snowdrifts." In case you're not familiar with the hellebore, or "Christmas rose," it's not a rose at all. And it doesn't really smell very floral, either. Instead, it's an herbal, green sort of scent, with only a touch of a floral note. I consider it crisp and clean; strangely enough, my husband says it's a bit sensual. I bought a 1 mL decant online, but I'm definitely buying a 5 mL bottle! That's the only downside to me: limited edition=must buy now...
Chimera is described as "the fiery, volatile scent of cinnamon, thickened by myrrh, honeysuckle, and copal." It has become my new favorite fragrance! On me, it's warm and rich, definitely cinnamon but balanced with the resins (myrrh and copal), and a touch of floral from the honeysuckle. "Fiery" for sure!
Mascara -Maybelline - Lash Stylist Mascara ] [DISCONTINUED]
mirawyn 12/14/2005 2:20:00 PM
I'm very glad I bought this as stage/performance makeup and not to wear for real. I bought it to perform in a restaurant (I do Middle Eastern folk dance) and then used it a few days later for my church's Christmas drama. It worked fine for that; a "heavy makeup" look is expected for dance, and no one saw me up close for the drama. That's a good thing, because the look is extremely artificial. I like mascara that makes my lashes look (almost) like they really are that dark and long. (I have thick, light lashes.) Lash stylist made my lashes dark, thick, and long, but the mascara is very obvious ("spider legs"). The first time I applied it, I continued to use the wand to comb the mascara while it was wet (as per the directions), but that was a disaster; I ended up with WAY too much mascara on my lashes. I removed it and reapplied, this time using a separate lash comb after applying one coat (which is quite clumpy). The results were definitely better. Once on, the mascara stays put; I used cold cream, eye makeup remover, and soap, and still had some on! (Fortunately, it's fairly easy to remove before it dries.) I used it for a total of five performances, so I got the routine down pat. But I wouldn't buy it again, unless it was only for stage or costume makeup.
My mother-in-law received Spice as part of a gift, but gave it to me since she doesn't wear browns. It works great, either as a lip liner or as a stand-alone lip color, with a bit of lip gloss or lip balm. However, I won't buy it: it's just too expensive (for me). I don't use it often (I mainly use Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Nutmeg), so it should last a while. But when it's gone, it's gone.
Lotions/ Creams -C.O. Bigelow - Quince Hand Lotion
mirawyn 10/11/2005 12:06:00 PM
I've been very happy with this lotion. It smells great and really feels good going on. Best of all, it absorbs very quickly. The first couple of days I reapplied often (probably because the seasons are just starting to change here in the Deep South). Since then, I only apply after washing my hands. I've been very happy with it, but I won't pay full price for it ($15.00 for four ounces). (I bought it for $8 on sale at Bath and Body Works-a much more reasonable price.)
The Hand Protection Lotion has been one of my best purchases, by far! I originally bought it during last summer's Semi-Annual Sale, and went back for a second one. I bought two more this summer and am my last bottle. I just hope it lasts until December! I keep it in my drawer at work and use it all day. It absorbs fairly quickly and leaves a great fragrance. (I use Coconut Lime Verbena; a Lebanese guy in the office invariably comes by and comments on the "beach smell"-he used to live on the Mediterranean.) In fact, it makes my whole office smell good! I like that it contains a broad spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen and a multivitamin complex. (I'm not sure the vitamins actually do anything, but it's good to know they are there, just in case.) It does seem to have strengthened my nails, as it claims. (And they sure need the help!) Fortunately, I don't have any age spots, so I can't speak for that claim. It is a bit expensive for the size, so I always buy it on sale.
Skincare - Body -Vaseline - Heathly Hand Essentials Lotion
mirawyn 9/28/2005 2:10:00 PM
This is a good light lotion, a great choice as a "maintenance" hand lotion. I use it as a supplement to my regular, heavier-duty lotion, since I have perpetually dry problem hands. We use it at work, after hand washing, since we handle lots of paper. It has been good for my cuticles, I think. They still need lots of help (which I am very bad about giving them), but this lotion really has made a difference. I like the fact that it absorbs fast, so I can go right back to typing without making my keyboard greasy! I can't do that with my main lotion. I will mention that my coworker with "normal" hands loves it and rarely needs to use anything else. But with my hands (I'm an artist, so I wash them LOTS at home), it's not enough. It's still very good, though.