Treatments -Unlisted Brand - Bye-Bye Blemish - Drying Lotion
renaissancegirl 2/19/2012 1:29:00 PM
An excellent alternative to Mario Badescu's drying lotion. It's less expensive ($10 vs $17) and is just as effective. I don't have a serious acne problem but I am clog prone and get stress/TOTM pimples. This is the only treatment that works for me. It doesn't make my pimples disappear entirely but it definitely reduce in size overnight and they clear up more quickly. If MB's drying lotion works for you (it's definitely a "your mileage may vary" kind of product) I suggest checking this out.
I only have this in one shade: Rose Elixir. When I first put it on, it was so sheer and I hated it (this was after trying Revlon's Lip Butters which are quite pigmented). Regardless, I still found myself reaching for it nearly everyday. It may be sheer, but it gives my lips a nice glossy finish without making me look like I'm drooling (I'm not a fan of the standard lipgloss look). I like wearing it on top of other lipsticks (it's especially nice with mattes to make them less drying). So in the end, I am glad I bought it but I wouldn't repurchase if I lost it. However I don't think it's worth the price for such a subtle effect.
Eyeliner -Physicians Formula - Shimmer Strip Gel Creamliner (Hazel Eyes)
renaissancegirl 1/30/2012 2:26:00 PM
This set of gel liners is nothing short of amazing. I've been using the black shade nearly every day for over a month and it is still creamy and wonderful. It is very opaque and long-lasting (I have to oil cleanse very thoroughly to get it off at the end of the day). It has some pretty violet sparkles in it but it doesn't show up very well on the lid (which is just fine with me). My cat eyes come out very smooth and fluid since I started using this. The taupe is equally wonderful, but I don't use it to line my eyes - I use it on my brows. It looks shimmery in the pan but looks, more or less matte once I put it on. It is the perfect shade for me, gives me very defined brows and it doesn't budge. I admit I have yet to try the plum shade but the high quality of the other two make this an item I am definitely repurchasing.
I was pleasantly surprised by this product - it's quite amazing. I have it in Dark Yellow and it is a great match for my skin tone. It looks a bit too light going on but it oxidizes and matches me perfectly. I apply it like a foundation using a Sigma F84 and set it with a powder foundation (I use Cargo BluRay) for a bit more coverage and a flawless finish. I first saw this in DulceCandy's channel and I must say - she puts way too much on. I use no more than a pea-sized scoop (using a metal spatula to keep things sanitary). I may use a bit more than that on days when my skin needs more coverage but not nearly as much as DulceCandy! They don't have a wide choice of shades and I"m not really a fan of the packaging but it works very well for me. I've been using it for a month now and it hasn't broken out my skin.
As of this writing, I own 4 of these and plan on getting two more. I just love them - and I'm not much of a lip product person. The ones I have tried so far (I will update this review when I get home with a list) have been very pigmented. When applied normally (swiped straight from the tube) I get a very pigmented shade that is not glossy but has a nice sheen. It also doesn't settle into lines which I hate and keeps my lips decently moisturized. It survives a typical work day well enough, requiring only a bit of touching up after my lunch break if I so desire (because it looks like a nice lip stain after a few hours so it's not really required). But since I do prefer my lips slightly matte and not as colorful, I like to pat it on and then blend with a brush (Candy Apple especially since it looks really bold on me). $7 give or take seems a bit steep for a drugstore product but Revlons often go on sale (unlike high end brands) and if you are good with coupons these can be had for quite a steal.
I made the switch a while back from liquid to powder foundation and I was on the search for just the right brush. I needed something that was denser than traditional powder brushes but not quite as tightly packed as a kabuki. This brush was exactly what I was looking for! When I saw how black it was, I was fearful it would bleed like crazy but it didn't bleed at all. It's quite soft and picks up the right amount of product for the coverage I want. I'm still surprised it was only $3.
I was seriously hating on this mascara when I first got it. It was so thin and my lashes hardly looked like I had anything on at all. So I set it aside and forgot all about it. I tried it again a month later and the formula seems to have thickened because now it's not bad at all. It's great at volumizing and decent at lengthening and holds a curl nicely. If you are doing two or more coats though, it does tend to get clumpy and needs to be combed out.
Misc Beauty Tools -Clarisonic - Deep Pore brush head
renaissancegirl 10/19/2011 4:47:00 PM
When I first started using this, my initial reaction was: "hey this feels exactly like the sensitive brush head!" When I was finished, my complexion was a bit red (which doesn't happen with the sensitive brush head). The redness did fade quickly and my skin felt fine (in other words, not raw or painful in the least). A couple of days later, I started breaking out. I assumed it was my skin "purging" - this is what happened when I first stated using my Mia. After a couple of weeks, the purge has subsided and my complexion is even better than before. So needless to say, I'm glad I gave the deep pore brush head a chance. And I'm also glad I bought the two-pack.
Palettes -Urban Decay - 15 year anniversary palette
renaissancegirl 9/8/2011 4:38:00 PM
A great mix of neutrals and bright colors, great pigmentation but, as stated by previous reviewers, this palette is fallout city! I tried different methods of application and I'm at the point where I can get it to work and look nice, but there is always some fallout, no matter which shades I choose (although some are worse than others). You definitely have to apply your foundation after doing your eyes if you don't want a generous dusting of glitter on your cheeks. The thing is that I have sensitive eyes and the glitter chunks tend to get in my eyes resulting in so much redness and tears that my eye makeup gets basically ruined. I thought it was just the weather or seasonal allergies but whenever I switch eyeshadows (be it Wet n Wild, or Tarte, or theBalm) my eyes are totally fine. I still like it in some way because the colors are gorgeous and if I avoid putting it in my inner eye lid I can reduce the irritation but at this price point, I don't think a product should be this finnicky.
Palettes -Tarte - Soft & Smokey 5-piece Color Collection
renaissancegirl 9/8/2011 1:57:00 PM
I wanted to add this here as this product is limited edition and wanted to get the word out before it is gone. But this set is amazing. It contains a number of Tarte products I've been meaning to try out so this set came at a perfect time for me. Overall, this is a wonderful bargain (as all the products are full-sized) and the quality is amazing. And although, it is listed as 5 pieces, you actually get 6 things: The Soft & Smokey palette: these eyeshadows are very pigmented and the formula is very smooth (not chalky at all and no fall-out). I'm thrilled it includes a matte dark brown - a lot of palettes neglect to include a dark matte color for using in the outer socket; really there's not much more I can ask in a neutral palette. I wore it with Nars eyeshadow base and it had pretty good lasting power (still good after 8 hours). It comes in a sturdy bamboo case with a mirror in it and would be perfect for travel. AC blush in "Wonder:" Tarte's AC blushes get a lot of hype and I have to agree with most of the praise. The shade "Wonder" is very flattering on my skin tone (which, at the moment, is slightly tan) but no doubt it will look great when I my tan fades in the winter. It has a slight sheen to it which gives a nice glow without making you look like a disco ball. The lipgloss is nice. I admit I'm not big on lip products so I'm not any kind of authority on the subject but the shade is versatile and would go with a lot of color combinations, especially smokey lips. It's also quite opaque. Black Aqua Gel Liner: This was very pigmented and smooth but so soft so it's hard to draw a precise line (which is what I prefer). It stayed put throughout the day without budging though. Lights, Camera, Action, Lashes Mascara: I admit I haven't tried this mascara yet (I'm saving it for when my current runs out) so I can't weigh in on it at this time. Double-ended eyeshadow brush: while I hate double-ended brushes for storage reasons, the brushes themselves work very well. I used them to apply the shadows in this set and it had very soft but dense/firm hairs and lays and blends shadows nicely. I should note that I bought this at Ulta and they had a special for Tarte purchases which included Park Ave Princess Bronzer and Lip Surgence Lipstain in Moody. They aren't full-size like the others but they are still pretty big. So overall, I got 8 products for $39.
This is a great, on-the-go hand cream. It absorbs quickly and leaves a nice, hydrated, satin finish which I love (I hate having greasy hands for several minutes after applying hand cream). As mentioned by other reviewers, this isn't a "hand treatment" by any means - just a nice thing to keep in your purse or pocket when you're out and about. I personally find the scent lovely (I have the cucumber) and it pairs well with my fragrance. If you happen to love this as much as I do, be sure to get the full size pump bottle for refills (the top can easily be popped of by inserting scissors between the main body and top). Needless to say, I love the packaging - it's very easy to find in my purse.
Treatments -Unlisted Brand - Homemade Vitamin C Serum
renaissancegirl 7/5/2011 1:05:00 AM
I have been using a few variations of homemade Vit C serum over the past few months and I have finally found a perfect combination that works well with my skin. First of all, I got my pure, L-ascorbic acid powder from Trader Joe's - you get a big jar for $10 (it should last for ages), it has no other ingredients or fillers and it dissolves nicely. The jar just says "ascorbic acid" but based on my research and experience, it is plenty good for the serum. I also use reverse osmosis water and I make it fresh every week and store it in an amber glass, dropper bottle. I was adding a few drops of glycerin but I made the last several batches without it and suddenly the serum became much more effective for my skin type. So if you've had mediocre results with some recipe you found online, I urge you to try other variations. Now here's the kicker, the serum is fine on it's own but I've had amazing results when coupling it with Alpha Hydrox 10% AHA enhanced cream. My skin became amazingly smooth after just a couple of days of doing this. I have large pores which are still visible but at lease it is very smooth - unlike the divot-like holes they were before (tinted moisturize covers it up nicely and no need for a smoothing primer anymore). Some of my old acne scars have faded quite a bit as well - my naked skin never looked this good. Note that I only do this at night as I live in a pretty sunny place and want to minimize sun damage.
This is, hands down, the best moisturizer I have ever put on my face. I saw results within a week. My blemishes cleared up, my complexion is a lot smoother. Extractions are a lot more successful as the AHA clears up a lot of dead skin cells and the comedones nearly slide right out. For several years, my skin seemed to get duller and rougher (chalk it up to aging) but this, along with homemade Vitamin C serum, has restored a lot of that youthful glow. That's another thing - it's quite nice on its own but I saw amazing results when coupled with Vitamin C (which, for me, didn't work all that well UNTIL I used it with this cream)! I apply the Vit C first, wait for it to dry and then a thin layer of this cream. It tingled a bit at first but I got used to the mild stinging sensation. I use this in the evenings only as I live in a sunny place. The only thing I do not like is that it comes in a tub which I find unsanitary. For now, I just overcome this by transferring a week's supply of product into a separate tub to keep the main tub as clean as possible. I was on the verge of repurchasing a more expensive moisturizer but I'm glad I gave this a try because this blows the other one out of the water.
This nailpolish is what all holos aspire to be. When I am wearing it, I can't stop looking down at my hands. It's nearly dangerous to drive because it is so mesmerizing. Even indoors or in the shade, where other so-called holo polishes fail, this little baby shines that beautiful, spectral rainbow like there's no tomorrow. I tried to take a pictures of it but no picture can capture what this beauty looks like in person. If I was grading on color and beauty alone, I wouldn't hesitate to give it 5 lippies. But alas, the formula, application and wear are enough to bumped it down to a mediocre 3. It cuticle drags like crazy! If you manage to overcome the dreaded drag (either by using Nfu-Oh's special Aqua Base or ninja-like nailpolishing techniques) you better sit absolutely still while it dries because even the slightest nudge will expose the naked nail underneath and ruin your manicure. Oh and it takes a very long time to dry (I usually wait a full hour after the last layer) and even when it feels dry to the touch, it is still maleable enough to be nudged and ruined. It chips almost immediately the next day (although I admit I did not use Aqua Base and I hear the wear time is better with it). Regardless, if you are one who wants a manicure to last a solid week, this is not for you. But if you have a Serena Williams-like affinity to nailpolish, get this now for it is one of the most gorgeous things I have ever seen. To apply this, I started with two layers of Orly Bonder. One thin layer of #61. And when you apply, never re-stroke any area you just painted - this increases drag. And work fast (I mentioned ninja-like didn't I?) once it starts drying a little, you will experience cuticle drag. Sit absolutely still and let this layer dry as much your patience will allow. Two more coats of Bonder, another thin, non-restroked layer of #61 and that's it. Skip the topcoat as it dimishes the prismatic effect.
I love purples and lavendars so I really gravitated towards this palette. I especially love using the right, eyelid shade (a gorgeous, red-based purple with gold shimmer) to blend my crease and my highlight together. Unfortunately, the formula left too much to be desired. It's quite chalky so it's easy to over-blend. I pack the color on and use primer and even still the color fades to a wash by lunchtime. If you love neutrals, this palette would be just fine for you (they look bold in the pan but they wash to a very neutral shade once applied. But for those of us who love very pigmented shadows, this palette was a bit of a disappointment.